US Bank Accounts for Canadians and other Non-US Residents (ie: Foreigners)

A guide on how to legitimately open a US Bank account as a Foreigner (Canadians can use this method, or this method without having to leave Canada).

Click here for opening a US-Dollar Account at a Canadian Bank.

This is a guide for a real US Bank account, not a Canadian Bank Account in US Dollars or an expensive real US Bank account through a Canadian bank. A real US Bank Account will let you transfer US$ freely to/from Paypal, write cheques to Americans that won't be on hold for forever, accept USPS Domestic money orders and save you greatly on other currency conversion fees. All for no monthly fees!

Why I, a Canadian, Setup a US Bank Account

Having all of my Google Adsense Earnings in US Dollars, I figured that I should start banking with a US Bank account.  I do have some US Dollar Transactions, like my Telcan Toll Free Number and my DealExtreme purchases. I also buy and sell items on Paypal, and I hate having Paypal's currency exchange fees when I buy, or transfer funds to my Canadian bank account. I'd rather keep it in US Currency than get dinged on the exchange only to get dinged again when I need to buy something with a credit card in US$.

So, I set out to get an American Bank Account in the US. The US Banking Industry is far more competitive than the Canadian banking industry. I was able to get a free checking/chequing account with a free order of cheques and a US$ Debit Visa card with no monthly fees, unlimited transactions and with no minimum balance requirements. My main requirement is to make sure I do at least 1 debit or credit transaction every six months. Good luck trying to find this kind of offer in Canada.

So how do I get a US Personal Bank Account as a Canadian?

You MUST apply in person. This is probably the hardest part. You should be able to get most any chequing/checking account that a regular US Citizen/resident can get, but many banks aren't really aware of how to sign up a Canadian. For this reason, I suggest going to a bank in a major border town if possible, since they've likely done this before. Also, you should call beforehand and even ask to speak to the branch manager(s) to determine their familiarity with foreigner bank accounts, and perhaps ask them to do a bit of research with their own information systems, since it should be possible with any of the major US Banks.

I originally wanted to go with Bank of America due to their nationwide presence, but I ended up near a National City one day and got everything set up in less than 30 minutes.

What documentation do I need to bring?

I believe what is required is a proof of citizenship (I used my Canadian Passport), and another piece of government issued ID (I used my driver's license). I'll update this list when I can find the list of acceptable ID again.

Also, make sure you bring some US$ cash, as there is usually a small account opening minimum deposit. Mine was US$50, Bank of America's is US$25.

Who did I go through?

I started my account with National City, a regional bank based in Cleveland Ohio. I was lucky in that the branch manager that I spoke with was knowledgeable with setting up accounts for Canadians, so he knew which forms to have me fill out etc. etc. Their Free Checking Account had the features that I needed, had no monthly fees and was okay with only periodic activity. If they are in your area of interest, I'd recommend them based on my experiences so far.

Which Bank Should I try to get an account with?

The US Retail Banking industry is very fractioned. In other words, companies with a big presence in one part of the country may be non-existant and unknown in another. There are lots of regional and local banks, as well as some somewhat national banks, like Bank of America. So, do your research online to find accounts that meet your needs, but first take a look at the branch locator, since it may not do you much good if it is hundreds of miles from where you will be (say, you shop in Buffalo, but winter in Florida). Bank of America has a presence in both Buffalo and in Seattle Washington, for those Toronto and Vancouver people visiting this site.

How do I get money in my account?

The obvious: Deposit US Cash into the account. Beware that Canadian cash isn't as well-accepted in the US. My branch said that their's did not handle foreign currency bills/coins. If you deposit a cheque from another country, even if it is in US Dollars, a long hold will probably be placed on the funds, in my case, 45 days. Wire transfers are expensive in North America and subject to problems.

Quite possibly the best method that I've found, though I have yet to try, is to use XEtrade. They will allow you to transfer money to them from your Canadian account, exchange it at a good rate, and then transfer it to the US account as an e-cheque. XETrade is run by , a currency conversion rate site that I've used for a decade now to monitor exchange rates.

Potential Problems

I may never have online access to my account, I'm not super sure why. As well, when I tried calling their telephone service, the first prompt was for my social security number (which I obviously did not have), and the system would not process without one. The branch manager that set up my account asked that I call him back in a few days to see what might be necessary to have these set up. He also stated that I might end up having to call the branch itself for updates as required, which I would be okay with. I think it either has to do with laws that have changed limiting foreigner's control over accounts (like the Patriot Act requiring account openings to be done in person), or just their system's dependency on SSNs as a unique identifier (which is a terrible practice really).

US Debit Card System Compared to Canadian Interac:

The US Debit card systems is different than Interac. The US system runs over the existing Visa/Mastercard system with a Visa/Mastercard card and the money is indeed directly taken out of one's chequing account upon purchase. I also believe if you try to make a purchase over your balance, the transaction probably will go through and you will be charged a (very large NSF-esque) overdraft fee, instead of having the transaction declined. I believe my US "Debit" Visa card will work like any other Visa card in Canada, but I haven't tried that yet.

Never with RBC

I need to open a bank account in USA to use it for transactions of business, RBC is not accepting it as considered business transaction, any idea?

RBC fees go up 34% last month

Monthly service charges for a US account at RBC USA go from $2.95 to $3.95 last month. It was free a few years ago. Time to look elsewhere!

RBC Bank (Georgia) N.A. Update

I've made quite a few posts over the past few years regarding RBC Bank (Georgia) N.A. and it's predecessors RBC Bank USA, and RBC Centura Banks.

It's been almost a year since the PNC transition, the kinks seem to have been worked out, and all seems fine.

I did find an issue with making cash deposits on a recent trip to Orlando, however, I found a solution, and I'm posting this to help others overcome this issue.

Everyone is well aware that RBC sold all its brick and mortar branches to PNC. At this time, RBC is still working on obtaining ATM deposit capabilities, however at this time the only thing you can do at a PNC branch is use their ATM for withdrawals only.

On my recent trip, I needed to redeposit after withdrawing too much cash after losing my RBC Signature Black VISA card. I needed to deposit some cash back into my account with my RBC Bank (Georgia) Visa Debit card. I first took my cash to a familiar 'logo' from Canada, a TD Bank on John Young Rd in Kissimmee, TD charges $5 to purchase a money order, for TD clients only, with a TD account in the USA. I hold a TD Visa Infinite card, and TDCT Visa Debit, however the bank would NOT sell me a money order, period. It seems that US banks will NOT sell money orders to non-clients period, it's almost impossible to get a bank to even break a bill, or sell coins to do laundry when travelling. I spent 3 hours one afternoon trying to find a way to make a deposit with cash.

Fed-up, I went into a 7-11, and asked the clerk if he knew anywhere where I could buy a US money order without being a bank client - I was at the right place, 7-11 sells Western Union money orders for $0.57 ( Yep, fifty-seven cents! ). I completed the money order at the check-out, scanned it with my iPad, and deposited the funds back into my account right there at the counter with my Slushie! The clerk also told me that any AMSCOT will give you a money order for free in Florida without having an account. (AMSCOT is like Money Mart). This turned out to be a simple, cheap solution to making a cash deposit. Wal-Mart as well sells US money orders for less than $1.00.

RBC still seems to be the best choice if you can bank with a smartphone or iPad while travelling. Yes, TD has 20 branches in Central Florida, but everything, just like Canada comes with a fee, a transfer from Canada to the US bank requires a telephone call and waiting until the next business day for funds to be available. RBC is still instant, and deposits by phone before 1pm are usually credited on the same business day, otherwise, funds are available the next day, although there are no guarantees. You can also deposit by mail to RBC Georgia in Carol Stream, IL

BMO Harris Bank now have two branches in Central Florida since they acquired M&I Bank of Wisconsin, with one branch and ATM in downtown Orlando at West Gore & Orange Av - just off Beachline. BMO Harris allows US & Canadians to open an account online (the only bank I know of to allow this at the time of writing) however you will suffer a hit on your credit score opening an account this way ( people don't realize that a bank account is a credit decision, and accepting a cheque for deposit is the bank allowing you to cash that check 'on your good credit' until the bank physically receives the funds from the check- writer ) - the BMO Harris account has a minimum $7/mo fee, waived with a direct deposit of $500 or more once a month, or a sum on deposit and/or relationship banking with the Harris. TD has a checking account with no fees, however much like Canada, I've heard they 'hold' everything, and transfers are not instant.

There are a few posts I've read on here that most need to be 'alarmed' or red flagged.

1) Opening a US account in Canada at an offshore bank is totally uninsured, not covered by the CDIC or FDIC.
2) If you hold a large sum of US funds on deposit, you don't want to hold them in a Canadian institution in Canada as they are not CDIC insured, even if your infrequently visit the USA, you should have your US funds on deposit with a US bank, in the US, and they will be FDIC insured - even for non- residents (currently up to $250K but subject to change!!!)
3) Offshore banks can be a scam, you have NO recourse. It's a fools paradise! Just like the banks operate with the KYC rule (Know your Customer) depositors need to KYB (Know your bank, and know it well!)

Most US banks are now requiring an ITIN, and the legislation changes almost monthly. RBC will open a US account without an ITIN number. The US Government is making it more and more difficult to obtain an ITIN card, they will only issue one to you if your in a position to have to pay taxes to the IRS, and now require ORIGINAL docs when applying, such as your passport, to be mailed with your guaranteed signature, a certified copy of an original ID document is no longer acceptable, applying in person is no longer possible, your ID must be mailed to the IRS, and you can expect to receive it back in 4-12 weeks ( however, you run the risk of never getting it back - as government (any) seem to lose items easily).

There are a few minor inconveniences to the new RBC, however the ease of use when travelling in the US make up for it.
Also, the RBC Signature Black Visa ( no fee, with Visa Infinite privileges) is a bona fide US bank issued Visa credit card. However, for online orders, unless you have a US billing address, you will still have issues with some retailers like Amazon, or cell providers like Verizon, as well as the old wives tales of putting two zeroes before or after the numbers in our postal code will allow you to pay at the pump...they don't work. To get around this, I opened a USPS post office box. The procedure is quick and easy, and takes about 20 minutes. You will need your passport, and proof of residence in Canada, and a good reason for having it to get one. (I advised US credit card bills and stock investment statements) and for $58 a year, it's made online ordering, getting a US cell, or even paying at the pump a breeze to use.

Having a US account in the US makes paying US bills and credit cards simple with online bill pay, and I'm investing more money into stocks thru DRIPs in the US without hefty fees from Canadian brokerage firms. In order to do this however, you need a US domiciled bank (a US checking account here in Canada is useless, and uninsured) checking account, in the US!

RBC allows you to temporarily change your address on the RBC Georgia website for a day, week, a month, or permanently, quickly and easily making travelling and ordering easy, once you've returned to Canada, or processed your online credit payment with your US zip code you can quickly change your address back to Canada to receive your statements (or send them to your USPS box, it's up to you, and easy. The P.O. Box will only benefit you however if you live close enough to use it, as you must empty it once a month (the postmaster demands once a week, so just agree, and move on) - the first time you go to your box it will be stuffed with crap, you can't ask the USPS to hold 'junk' mail, but you can call the 1-800 number (on the fine print of the junk mailer sender, it's all done by seemingly one company, and they'll stop for three years, leaving your box neat, clean, and avoid pissing off the postmaster!).

RBC still seems to be the most convenient. I just hope too many don't leave because they need the reassurance of human tellers, making this service a liability to the bank, where most complaints so far I've heard have been from those who do not adapt to technology well (or at all).


The BMO Harris branch in downtown Orlando is off the Beachline, not the Florida Turnpike. Not sure why the previous post posted 3x but sure Dan will fix it.

Nothing but solid gold here

Nothing but solid gold here Jeff.

Thanks for your post and others made over the years. Let me know if you need anything of me, or have any other recommendations, I'm more than willing to help out.

I was reading your post on my small-screened mobile and thinking: "This guy should become a DRIPer", and then you went into it yourself. I bought some shares in GE a while back when I had some spare US$ in my now closed National City (now PNC) account, and it looks like I bought them at a good time :). Hopefully I'll be able to get a cheque when I sell, or just do a p2p sale. Since it was my first stock purchase ever, and not a huge amount, I've resolved to never sell them, just to maintain a "Buy and hold" philosophy, even if it's tax-disadvantaged in a non-registered account.

I've made your correction and removed the extra posts. I think it happens because the webpage uses caching for pages that doesn't immediately update when people make a post. So they go back and post it again. And possibly again. I could turn it off, but that would make the site slower for the 99.9% (seriously) of visitors that don't make a post.

(And yes, this was intended as a public post)


Thanks Dan.

Just an FYI, I was able to deposit into my RBC Georgia account at a PNC Bank ATM in SE Michigan on the weekend, there was an expected two day hold (day, not business day). Their machines dispense a single envelope, and require you to write your names, deposited amount, and bank's name on e bring a pen. This service has been available for awhile, but RBC Bank, Georgia is not advertising this...yet.

DRIPs and a US domiciled account are a dream come true for anyone who wants to start investing, but isn't loaded, and hates paying $28.95 to buy stock from an online broker.... In addition to our regular investments (at a bank brokerage), I decided to try a DRIP in the US for 'fun'.... It was 2008, and I was buying Disney at $15.25 a just under five years that $50/mo (a minimum for most DRIPs) has turned into $5000+ with Disney now trading at $54+/share, and some sweet dividends...even with the 30% US investor withholding had I put that $50/mo into a passbook savings account, my $3000 ($50x12mosx5yrs) would be worth $2880 after a measly .05% interest and $2.25/mo passbook fee. So anyone thinking that they don't have enough to purchase stock can get into the markets with just $50 US a month...whether your 18 or 80, want to build a portfolio, or invest as a hobby, a DRIP is for you, there easy, you don't have to go to the states to buy one, and it's a well kept secret from young savers.... Check out a few sites like (Wells Fargo), (Computershare, also with Canadian offices) or even to invest in Disney. Even big investors started small. don't pay brokerage firms $28.95 for NOTHING, invest in individual companies thru DRIPs, and save your money. (There are risks in the markets, and investments are not insured). One of the great things about investing in DRIPs is most companies will issue share certificates without fees, and you can take these to a bank for deposits into RRSPs or brokerages and build a portfolio without paying their fees. Of course, you need to research your investments before buying into them, and have an interest in the company you wish to invest in. Like I said, In 2008, I started with just $50 a month a Disney, and a RBC USA US Bank checking account, now I'm investing a few hundred a month in different DRIPs, my annualized return last year was 25.85'%, and I'm now in Ford, Disney, Southwest Air, Citibank, learning n my own, not paying fees (pennies instead of $28.95) and doing well. Citibank was $4.04 when I bought them dropped to .98 cents (but I stayed in) and now that $400 investment is now $4,000. Everyone needs liquid cash for emergencies at the bank, but only a fool thinks they're getting ahead on a street savings're actually losing! It's fun, it's easy, you just got to start small, and jump in with both feet.

Again this posted many times,

Again this posted many times, must be an issue with iPads, sorry Dan. Just wanted to add, as my friend Gail says, your banker is not your friend, and as an ex-career banker, it's true. A bank won't tell you were the best mortgage rate is, that's why you go to a mortgage broker, a bank won't tell you were the best GIC rates are, again why you would you a broker, but when it comes to stocks.....a broker WON'T tell you were the best DRIPs are, nor how to invest for yourself with little money upfront....this is where you have to do some work for yourself, or get info word-of-mouth (don't pay for It, it'll no doubt be a scam) .... Sometimes there are things you have to do for yourself to get ahead, so invest your time to learn about DRIPs, and share your knowledge with others in a forum like this because when the bank isn't making money off you, they're definitely not your friend.

Transfer PayPal USD to Paypal CAD for free

At you can exchange USD for Canadian dollars with your fellow PayPal users. You might even get better than interbank rate

And the domain

And the domain name no longer works. Be careful with your Paypal passwords out there people.

starnded snowbird with a RBC US bank account

3 weeks after what was supposed to be a smooth transition I am still unable to do any online banking with my RBC US Bank. Not only am I unable to register new accounts for online payment but I can't even pay bills that are presently registered. NOTHING!!! NO ONLINE BANKING period! After being on hold for a minimum of 1 hour every time I call I keep getting told a different story. Everything from this little "glitch" was fixed (the very morning I called) to they have no idea when it will be fixed. Who is going to pay all the late fees and interest? Who is going to fix what was once my excellent credit rating? I am so angry about being lied to by everyone I speak with at the call centre
. But guess what? The poor people giving us the wrong information, are being paid minimum wage and they are being lied to by the big bosses at RBC Bank US. I am going out today to look for another bank. I live in the Port Charlotte, FA area. Can anyone recommend a good bank for stranded Canadian snowbirds like myself?

Stranded snowbirds

I am in a similar situation as yourself. I've decided to use my RBC USA account simply for transferring funds across the border. I've registered an external account here in Florida with 5th 3rd bank. I did this on-line. Like you, I'm disgusted with the way RBC has treated us. They packed their bags and left town. Don't worry about late fees and interest. When you eventually get through, simply explain your situation and they'll reverse the charges. They've even offered me no bank charges for the next 12 months.

After Merger My new RBC Visa cannot be added to Paypal

What a bad merger, much worse than the TD+Canada Trust Merger. I got an email saying after March 4th, my credit card would not work, so I drove back from California late Feb and guess what my credit card stopped working before the end of Feb. This was due to it being a Visa/Debt card. What are they thinking a bank that started to help snowbirds with there u.s. banking needs does a Merger in late Feb???? WTF? I have my new RBC debt Visa card and paypal won't let me add it. I keep getting a message that it is refused by my bank. I called the number on the back of the new card and they had me on hold for an hour and I ended up being transferred to the US PNC bank. Still can't get it to work.

I want my money

I have been trying to get RBC to close my account since March 1 through the dedicated service number at 1-800-769-2553. The first call March 1 was 37 minutes and the second call on March 7 was 47 minutes. Still waiting. Goodwill is gone.

Sullied reputation

Things may be improving but I suspect RBC has lost a lot of goodwill and many customers. Rather than telling all its customers that they were going to 'recreate and improve their cross-border capabilities to continue meeting the unique needs of RBC clients who require U.S. banking services', it would have been a lot more honest and beneficial for everyone concerned, at the outset, if they had told their customers that they were pulling out of Florida, warning clients that many services would be changed and there would probably be glitches in the process, especially the first few weeks. From having a reputation of excellent service in Florida, RBC has quickly changed to a reputation of being dishonest and offering limited service. If they truly care about their customers, which they profess, they need to look at themselves, start being truthful in their marketing and embark on some serious damage control.

RBC Bank Transition

After few weeks of total disaster, now it seems to be ok. Staff now know what they have to do instead of saying anything like the first week, and rbc bank will solve everything by a few weeks. But i'm glad that i didn't go to US this spring break, it would have been a lot of hassles.

Trouble with RBC Bank (Georgia) wires

My US client wires my fees to my RBC Bank account once a month. There has never been an issue until now. They have tried twice this week to make the wire transfer. Their bank (a rather large one) can't seem to make it work with the new routing and account info I have now. I have called RBC Bank Customer service twice to confirm the numbers and they are correct. There's no one else to talk to. Escalations take a few days and are available via email only. So, right now, it's physically impossible for me to get my money without a very expensive alternative. It's almost cheaper for me to fly down and get my fees in cash.

RBC Transition is A Disaster!

So far, this transition has been a disaster!
I did a transfer online from RBC US to RBC Canada but it gave me an error message, the next morning I noticed the money has been taken from my US account, but its nowhere to be found in my canadian account!!! I waited for 45 mins to talk to RBC 1800 number in the morning around 9 am! and when I finally got someone, they said they'll escalate it and so far two days and no news!!!!! I hate this when it happens to money!!! Any alternatives to RBC?????? if someone found out a way to transfer money from the US to Canada, please do tell because I have bills to pay over there!!!

New RBC Bank (Georgia)

I was using RBC US Bank to get Marketplace seller money transfered from to my checking account, with all those new changes to RBC Amazon doesn't recognize new routing number as not ACH enabled, new routing 063216608. I am looking for different options to get those founds transfered between US and Canada.

Hey, i'm in the same boat as

Hey, i'm in the same boat as you are. after the transition, to RBC (Georgia) - isn't accepting the new routing number (063216608).I spoke with and RBC. RBC says, amazon shouldn't have any trouble accepting the new routing no. Amazon says its an automated system and there is nothing they can do about it. did you find a solution to that?

Transition a disaster so far!

This transition is a disaster so far. I'm unable to getting any customer service at all. I leave messages with RBC staff at the 800-769-2553 number and I'm told someone will call me back within two business days. Not true! Not only has RBC deserted its customers physically, by closing down all its Florida branches, it doesn't seem to have enough staff to service its customers. I'm unable to link my account on the internet, I'm unable to correct my mailing address for RBC rewards, I'm unable to close an account, I'm unable to properly identify withdrawals from my account. This is ridiculous!

Rbc Bank US Remote Deposit

I like how they said available after 8am on Feb 20th. I call and they say its not available!! Liars!

RBC-US account

I have no problem opening an RBC US acct but where can I make cash/cheque deposits? All the ATMs are on the east coast and we winter in Arizona.

Depositing to RBC Bank (Georgia) N.A.

All the RBC Bank branches are closing on March 2, and re-opening March 5 as PNC Bank, N.A. Therefore there are NO ATM's on the east coast you can use either, now.

However, GOOD NEWS! RBC Bank (Georgia) N.A. starting on Monday February 20 will be allowing deposits via Smartphones, and Home Computer scanners. This is an extremely easy to use service (as I currently have this as well with CHASE in the US, and the funds are usually available the next business day). This will allow you to deposit checks to RBC Bank in Arizona, Canada, on the plane, in Mexico, anywhere in the world you can use your smartphone, otherwise, you can deposit by mail to RBC Bank (Georgia) N.A. to a USPS postal address in Illinois, so not only no longer an issue, but a better solution!

Now, RBC no longer has ATM's available to RBC Bank accounts (for Canadians) after the transition to PNC Bank. Currently you can use RBC ATM's along the east coast, and Publix supermarkets. These will no longer be available, But, the news is good! RBC has made arrangements to allow RBC Bank (Georgia) N.A. clients (now a US Bank for Canadians only, but still a REAL US Bank, reporting to US credit bureaus) the availability to use ANY PNC Bank, N.A. ATM ANYWHERE in the USA. This opens ATM use pretty much everywhere east of the Mississippi River (at PNC), and if there isn't a PNC near you, you can use any ATM in the USA, and get your fees rebated for 2, or more, depending on your account with RBC Bank (Georgia) N.A. each month.

The branches are gone (will be tomorrow) but the service will be greatly enhanced. All accounts will be opened in Canada now. They have substantially reduced the fees on the premium banking account, and reduced the basic by $1/month. You can also get a REAL US VISA credit card, line of credit. loan or mortgage based on your Canadian credit, that reports to the US bureaus. The account also includes a free US Debit VISA card.

Tax implications

Hi. As a US Citizen (already having bank account in USA) living as permanent resident in Canada, what is the tax consequence of transferring cash from a Canadian Bank to the US Bank ? Already doing every year the US tax (worldwide income), and I know the new money transferred will be declared on the US tax but do I need to report the US bank account in the Canadian tax papers ? Is there a limitation on the amount that can be transferred ? Thanks.

Reporting Foreign Accounts

If you have more than $100,000 CDN in U.S holdings ( the account + other holdings, accounts, cash or other property ) then YES you do have to report the US Bank account in your Canadian tax filing. This may also INCLUDE foreign fund accounts in your CANADIAN BANK!

The fine for not filing this paperwork is $2500/year + penalties and interest. It doesn't matter if your bank is also reporting it.

As an American you also have to file ( separate deadline and mailing address ) your foreign accounts ( Canadian or wherever ) and the penalties can be much worse than the Canadian example.

the Canadian form is the T1135
the American form is Form TD F 90-22.1 ( known as FBAR).

If you find that you failed to file in previous years you MUST use the Voluntary Disclosure program to correct it. Up until 3 years ago you could just file the next year and say oops I didn't know. Now they will fine you. To make things more nerve-wracking the Voluntary Disclosure Program is run by the Audit department ( although it does not mean you will automatically be audited ).

It's crazy that this new tough stance on things increases the paperwork, ruins more lives, costs the government more and ends up collecting less. Removing the option to use the Vol. Disc. program for real mistakes along with the realization of how horrible the tax system is really destroyed my entrepreneurial spirit.. I'm just now climbing out from under my rock. Nice move Harper.
At least they should change the instruction booklet to clarify this requirement.. the American's even specify more than just "property" and better highlight it... or is Harper just interested in trapping people?

RBC leaving Florida and betraying its Canadian customers

I opened an account with RBC bank in Naples, Florida, because I loved the idea of easy transfer of Canadian funds to the U.S. The personnel at the branch I used in Naples were very good and I was very satisfied with the service I was getting. As I see it, RBC has done a complete reverse turn. Originally, they saw potential in the growing market for baby boomer snowbirds. Now, they're packing their bags, leaving town, and causing a whole lot of inconvenience for their customers. In their transition guide booklet, they make a statement, on the first page, as follows: "We have recreated and improved our cross-border capabilities to continue the unique needs of RBC Canada's clients who require U.S. banking services". Wow, how about that for some "spinning"! What a load of baloney! Lots of additional hassle for the customer changing debit cards, credit cards, account numbers etc. No more unlimited use of ATM's for cash withdrawals. And, to add insult to injury, adding service fees where there were no service fees beforehand. RBC has done irreparable damage to its reputation. Obviously, the number of customers affected is so small for RBC, they simply don't care. They cut their losses and left town.

RBC left....not turning back on customers.

RBC left the branch banking network because they were losing money hand over fist. However, they have developed an even better system with smartphone deposits or check scanning by computer to deposit. If you need to deposit cash, suggest you take it to Walmart, buy a 50 cent money order and deposit it by smartphone.

This had nothing to do with abandoning snowbirds. If anything, they did whatever the could to continue servicing them.

Reconsidering RBC accounts after transition

I have the RBC Access Preferred account. I have a fair amount of USD exposure but transact infrequently. The Access Preferred account seemed like a great option as it offers preferred exchange rates, a no fee credit card, debit card etc. Normal fees on the account are $20 per month but were waived provided you maitained a sizable balance in the account (>5k I believe).

As indicated elsewhere I spoke to RBC and they are eliminating the waiver so this account has suddenly become a terrible choice for me. Very, very, very disappointed with RBC on this one. Sufficient to warrant pulling ALL my business with RBC on both sides of the border. Needless to say I believe in lifetime punishment for this sort of thing and hopefully I will live a long time to exact the largest possible retribution ;-).

Beware all you snowbirds -- you've been sold out by RBC. Guess I better call my father-in-law -- he was the one who told me about how good the accounts were.

U.S Credit Card Royal bank

I just purchased a U.S. credit card Royal Bank and will be on
a cruise ship from Jan. May and will not be home to receive new card .
This is IMPORTANT as I will be using it a lot on the ship.
It is set up that when the U.S. visa is due they will transfer funds from my U.S. account.
Please respond as soon as possible. June Bond

RBC Bank USA (Georgia) N.A.

RBC Offers the ULTIMATE in Ease of Banking in the USA for Canadians. Their Royal Embassy Account (for a monthly fee of $3.95 (waived with a balance of $700) is extremely reasonable, while other US Banking institutions are charging up to $20 a month for checking accounts that used to be free, and even implementing a monthly 'debit card' fee for the convenience of using a debit card instead of checks or cash - even Canadians, who are used to paying for their accounts would find fees like this outrageous, and would never pay for their trusted debit card, period). This account can be opened at any RBC Royal Bank Branch in Canada in minutes. Within two weeks you will receive your banking package from the US operation in the mail. This account is the ultimate in convenience for those who travel or invest in the U.S. Any of you who invest in the US, with a D.R.I.P, know the convenience of having a proper US checking account, with a proper 'routing number' recognized by the US Federal Reserve Bank. Those who plan to move to the US in the future can get a head start on building credit with the US bureaus with RBC Bank USA (Georgia) N.A. Credit Cards, Mortgages, Loans, and Lines of Credit. The Ultimate convenience is the ability to transfer funds in REAL TIME back and forth between the US Bank and the Canadian Bank, online at home, or wherever you are near the internet. (Smartphone transfers between the banks are not yet available, yet!) There are no fees to transfer funds, no wiring charges, nothing. RBC Bank USA currently waives a limited amount of fees charged by other banks ATMS, however when you read the transition information below, it appears that the new entity RBC Bank USA, (Georgia) N.A. will open this to all transactions.

Now the downside; with the sale of the RBC Bank USA, N.A. branches to PNC Bank, the teller services, drive thru, and the ability to deposit will be lost. RBC Bank USA (Georgia) N.A. will be an Internet based bank only, however RBC Wealth Management customers will have access to personal services (Non-Teller) in certain cities. Most RBC Bank USA N.A. customers who reside in Canada rarely use these services anyways. The inconvenience to snowbirds should be limited as they do not 'earn' an income while they're gone and most have direct deposit to their Canadian Accounts in the first place. If you move to the USA as a permanent resident in the future, this new set-up won't be suitable, HOWEVER, your Canadian credit history will open up the ability to apply for, and get a mortgage from RBC Bank USA (Georgia) N.A. - and you may need to set up a basic account with a bricks and mortar bank wherever you decide to hang your hat, and maintain your relationship with RBC (fed-up Americans are moving away from Banks to Credit Unions - you might want to look into one, as they are limited to what they can charge in fees, and interest, and are more people based than profit (for US residents) - most US Banks and Credit Unions have the ability to transfer funds online between institutions, with minimal fees, that will allow you to continue to fund your RBC Bank USA (Georgia) N.A. accounts) Those of us who will retire to the USA will still need this RBC Canada-USA arrangement due to pension deposits, RIF's etc., deposited to a Canadian account to allow you to better manage exchange rates, while only exchanging funds when needed (although, in ten years time we could have locked in exchange rates with the US (dollar for dollar) or be using one currency between the nations; only the future can tell).


Be aware, that other Canadian Banks claim to have the same set-up as RBC Royal Bank/RBC Bank USA, but to date NONE of them actually do. The BMO Bank of Montreal/BMO Harris Bank do not have the same online transfer facilities as RBC, and TD Bank USA won't even entertain opening accounts for Canadians, Call them, and I won't say "I told you so!"

The post below is from the Transition site, as of today.

RBC to Continue Serving Consumer Banking Needs on Both Sides of the Border.

We want to provide you with more details regarding RBC’s recent announcement to sell the majority of its U.S. banking operations to PNC Financial Services Group, Inc.

As part of this transaction, which is expected to close in March 2012, subject to regulatory approval, RBC will maintain U.S. banking capabilities dedicated to servicing its Canadian clients. Your accounts will be transferred to this new operation, owned by Royal Bank of Canada, where you will continue to enjoy the convenience of products such as RBC Access USA,® online funds transfer, and integrated Canadian/U.S. contact center support.

Between November 2011 and February 2012, we will be communicating with you regarding the transition of your accounts. As many clients travel during the winter months and/or have seasonal addresses, we want to ensure that we have your correct contact information, including your mailing address, email address and phone number(s).

Have questions? Take a few moments to read the frequently asked questions list below for additional information on our plans.

What was announced?
On June 20, 2011, RBC announced that it is refocusing its U.S. growth strategy by entering into an agreement to sell the majority of its U.S. banking operations to the PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. in March 2012, pending regulatory approval. RBC remains fully committed to the U.S. market and subject to regulatory approval, RBC will maintain U.S. banking operations to serve the needs of Canadian cross-border personal banking clients across the U.S.

Is RBC exiting the U.S.?
No. RBC remains committed to the U.S. market and this transaction allows us to focus our U.S. efforts on growing our two largest U.S. businesses, RBC Wealth Management and RBC Capital Markets, while also continuing to serve our valued Canadian clients with U.S. banking needs through a new banking platform.

How does this announcement impact me as a Cross-Border personal banking client?
Cross-Border personal banking clients will not transition to PNC as a result of this transaction. RBC Royal Bank intends to maintain U.S. Cross-Border personal banking operations and serve the banking needs of its clients across the U.S. This business plan is subject to regulatory review and approval, which is now under way. As part of this plan, RBC is working to continue to offer Canadian clients cross-border banking in the U.S. and look for opportunities to expand features and services in our new banking operation. For now, there is no change or impact to clients’ banking services or accounts. In February 2012, your accounts will transition to the new banking platform we are building to service our cross-border banking clients. You will receive information in the coming months regarding this transition.

When will this new Cross-Border personal banking service be launched?
Cross-border clients will transition to the new U.S. banking operation in mid-February 2012, subject to regulatory approval. We will be communicating with Cross-border clients between November 2011 – February 2012 to explain the transition process and how they will continue to bank with us in the future.

Will RBC Access USA still be available? Will I still be able to view accounts and transact online?
We will continue to offer RBC Access USA® products, the option of preferred foreign exchange rates and credit/debit card services. Cross-Border personal banking clients will continue to have seamless access to funds and banking products in addition to automated teller machine (ATM) access, U.S. dollar accounts and integrated online banking.

Should I close my current accounts and open new accounts after the conversion?
There is no need to close or reopen accounts. As part of the transition activities, cross-border U.S. accounts will automatically be moved to RBC’s new U.S. banking platform. As we move through the transition period, we will notify clients of new account information as well as details on the migration process. By maintaining your current accounts, you will continue to have access to your current services, and will not need to go through the time-consuming process of re-opening accounts as part of the new Cross-Border platform.

When will I receive more information? How will I be kept informed of any future developments?
A letter to all Cross-Border personal banking customers will be mailed on September 14.
You will receive postal mail from us between November 2011 – February 2012.
You may receive emails or Online Banking messages and reminders.
You can visit our web site at
We understand the importance of open and frequent communication, and we will keep clients well informed as we move through this process. Our goal is to make this transition as seemless as possible for our clients.
We will work to ensure clients receive information, and that they continue to have full access to accounts and services.
Relationship managers will be excellent sources of information and will keep clients up to date on developments.
What can I do to prepare for this conversion?
We recommend the current Cross-Border personal banking clients contact us to ensure we have the correct contact information on file so they will receive important account transition materials. Clients should respond to the letter they received in mid-September or call 1 800 ROYAL 53 (800-769-2553).

Who should I contact with questions?
We have established a dedicated line for questions relating to this transaction at 1 800 ROYAL 53 (1-800-769-2553). Clients may also contact their current banker either in Canada or the U.S.

What will the new bank be called?
We will retain “RBC Bank” as our trade name and logo for the new cross-border banking operation. The legal entity for this business is called RBC Bank (Georgia), N.A.

I’m nervous about this new bank. Is my money safe?
Absolutely. The legal entity that will serve as the new cross-border bank is already chartered and operating in the state of Georgia. RBC Bank (Georgia), N.A. is a member of the FDIC, which guarantees the safety of deposits.

In addition, Royal Bank of Canada (“RBC”) remains the corporate parent of this new operation, and has among the highest credit ratings of financial institutions globally, supported by very strong risk management practices. Moody’s, a top credit-rating agency, gives RBC a Aa1 rating with a Stable Outlook. Standard & Poor’s gives RBC a AA- with a Positive Outlook, and Fitch and DBRS both give RBC a Stable Outlook with senior debt ratings of AA.

What will happen to the branch(es) I use in the U.S.? Will they become PNC branches?
Yes, the current RBC Bank branches will become PNC branches in early March, pending regulatory approval. Please don’t worry, though. You’ll continue to have ATM access, an Online Banking platform integrated with online money transfers to your Canadian accounts and online Bill Pay. Our dedicated Canadian/U.S. contact center will be available anytime you need us and want to speak with us. Not only that, but we will have office locations in select markets for Private Banking clients to come in and meet with bankers or Wealth Management officers.

You will receive more information about our new banking operations in January along with the details of your account transition.

Will my account numbers change and will I receive new checks, debit cards, and credit cards?
Yes. Your current account numbers will change as your accounts are transitioned in mid-February. New checks and debit and credit cards reflecting your new account numbers will be sent out. More detailed information on this will be provided in the January time frame along with instructions for card activation and usage.

Will I still continue to have rewards on my debit and credit cards in the new RBC Bank?
Credit card clients will continue to have a rewards program after the transition and you will receive information in the January mailing on the details of this program. The debit card rewards program is being discontinued. We are working on a special communication to explain the changes. Please look for this mailing in early December.

Will there be an ATM network I can access to get cash in the U.S.?
Yes. In fact, you will have access to even more ATMs than today. You’ll be able to use any ATM network to access your accounts and get cash. All clients will automatically receive a number of ATM service charge refunds each month. Look for specific details in the product information mailing in January, 2012.

Will I still be able to make cross-border transfers?
Yes. We understand this is one of the most important features of our cross-border solution and you’ll be able to transfer funds online just as you do today.

Who should I contact if I have more questions?
You can call our Canadian/U.S. contact center at 1-800 ROYAL 53 (1-800-769-2553) where our staff can assist you with any questions or issues. Please also feel free to talk with your local banker in Canada or the U.S.

What else will you be sending me during the transition?
In November, we’ll be mailing you a brochure with answers to many of the questions you might have about our new banking operations.

In January, you’ll receive information on the full product suite and capabilities for the new bank, as well as details on how accounts will transition.

Between January 23 and February 17, 2012, we will send out new checks, credit cards, debit cards and PIN mailers. More information on these specific dates will be included in the January mailing.

Transferring funds to USA for free

An alternative to RBC's usa fund transfer is to use Bank of Americas " bank by mail " feature.
If you have a Bank of America account in the USA and want to send money from your Canadian bank account to your USA bank account, than just mail a check to yourself at the bank of America " bank by mail " address, and the amount gets deposited into your account in about a weeks time. I use PC financial in Canada, which is a free checking account with unlimited check writing and mail the checks to my bank of America account. There are no fees or charges for this transfer. They apply the currency conversion rate, it is much cheaper than Western Union where the minimum cost is atleast $ 28. and they also give you a horribly lower exchange rate, almost $ 5 less per 100 $.

The only 2 disadvantages in using bank of America "bank by mail "is that, if you are sending amounts over $ 5000 then there might be a 5 day hold on the check. The way to circumvent that would be to send mulitple checks with smaller amounts. Also the transfer is not immediate, takes about 1 week to get the funds into your account, primarily because of the mailing time from Canada to the USA. If you are already in USA, than probably you could just go and deposit your check at the bank of america branch.

RBC Bank (USA) starts charging monthly fees after Feb 18 2012

According to RBC Bank's latest communication materials sent to its current cross-border customers (, the new Royal Embassy Checking package will incur a monthly fee of $2.95, regardless of deposit amount. I currently maintain a balance of at least $700 so there's no monthly fee for me....until after Feb 18. This is very disappointing!!!! Although at that time you can access PNC ATMs free of charge, they are not found in every state.

$2.95 a month is still

$2.95 a month is still extremely reasonable. Chase charges $6 for one account I have, and the once everywhere, 'Free Checking' account has virtually disappeared in the USA. This RBC/RBC USA plan is well worth the $2.95. It's gonna to cost RBC to provide the service. Nobody provides service they're going to lose money on! You're getting a real deal! Set up something else at a US bank, and your looking at huge wire transfer fees to/from Canada. You still have it extremely good!

RBC Bank (USA) starts charging monthly fees after Feb 18 2012

I believe we should all call the RBC Bank Transition number (1-800-769-2553) and complain about this. If many people call, maybe (I just said maybe!), they will change thair mind. I find this is "greety" from such a big organisation. We didn't ask for this change; we are the ons who have to call or write to all companies who had our bank account number for regular payments. Why don't they keep the same options as before i.e., no fee for a minimum balance of $700????

Count your blessings!

If they didn't care about the Canadian clients they would have just shut everything down. Canadian accounts could not be transferred to PNC as they were opened by RBC and the verification information was held in Canada and did not comply with the US Banking & Terrorism rules.

Re: RBC Bank (USA) starts charging monthly fees after Feb 18/12

I know, I just confirmed it with their transition phone line. No minimum deposit, you have to pay no matter what. The only choice is $3.95 with a printed monthly statement, or $2.95 if you choose an e-statement. I can't decide if it is worth it to keep this account. :S

Open an Account at RBC Bank in USA


RBC US Sells to PNC

Does anyone know how this will affect accounts held at RBC US. I am a Canadian with a RBC US Access account used for travelling in US. Will I still be able to transfer funds from Canadian RBC to USA Access account. No info from RBC or NC to date.

hello i too have an RBC


i too have an RBC Access USA account and the email i received regarding the sell told me that nothing would change, in fact they are committed to inproving their cross-border features and services. we have nothing to worry about and business will continue as normal.


this is the email.:

To Our Valued Canadian Clients,

RBC recently announced that it is refocusing its U.S. growth strategy and has entered into an agreement with PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. to sell its regional U.S. retail banking operations, RBC Bank, to PNC.

RBC remains fully committed to the U.S. market and this transaction allows us to focus our efforts on our cross-border banking service, as well as our two largest U.S. businesses, RBC Wealth Management and RBC Capital Markets. If you have an existing relationship with either of these businesses, please know that this relationship is not impacted by the sale of RBC Bank.

As a highly-valued client to RBC in both Canada and the U.S., you can be assured we will continue to meet your consumer banking needs on both sides of the border with the same high quality service and products you expect. As such, subject to regulatory approval, RBC will maintain our existing cross-border banking platform to serve the cross-border consumer banking needs of current and future clients across the U.S.

We will continue to offer products such as RBC Access USA®, on-line funds transfer and foreign exchange capabilities that make it easy for you to manage your personal finances and consumer banking needs in Canada and in the U.S. In fact, we are committed to improving and expanding capabilities in this area in the future. RBC will also ensure access to funds through ATMs and day-to-day account servicing and support through our dedicated service number at 1-800-769-2553.

At this time there is no change or impact to your banking services or your accounts. The sale of RBC Bank is expected to close in March 2012, subject to regulatory approval. Over the coming months, you will receive further information about this transaction and any impacts to you as a result. In the meantime, please contact your banker either in Canada or the U.S. for any needs you may have.

On behalf of RBC Bank, thank you for your business and we look forward to continuing to serve your needs on both sides of the border.


Jim Westlake
Group Head, International Banking & Insurance
Chairman and CEO, RBC Bank

RBC Access USA - not sure if you've heard about it

Hey Dan,

i know your original article is like 3 years old, but i just thought i would throw my two cents out there :)

i just last week opened a US-Based USD checking account from my canadian RBC branch here in ontario.

RBC Royal Bank has a sister bank called RBC Bank, in the southeastern USA. They offer an account called RBC ACCESS, specifically tailored for US banking for canadians. (see link - )

i didnt already have an RBC account when i went to sign up for it, so i was set up with 2 canadian based accounts at RBC Royal Bank first, one a no fee checking account (im a student) and the second was a no-fee $US dollar savings account.

then i was set up with the RBC ACCESS USA account in the same meeting. you will get your RBC canadian chip debit card, and then in 7-10 business days you will recieve your welcome package and the RBC ACCESS USA visa check card. once you have set up your two canadian accounts to be accessed online, and once you recieve your welcome package from the US bank, and set that account up on the US site for online banking, you are able to link to 2 accounts, with their ONE-SIGN-IN feature. i now see my 2 canadian bank accounts, AND my us based bank account on a single summary screen, through a single log-in.

i am about to casually transfer funds from my $CDN checking account, over to my CANADIAN $us dollar account when the rates are favourable, accumulate a bit of money there, and then make a direct no-fee instant transfer over to the USA bank account, with no currency exchange since its already in $US dollars. but you dont have to use that second step, i just like it, you can if you like just transfer directly from your canadian dollar account over to your USA based account in a few simple clicks.

this all just sounded WORLDS easier than the whole process you went through, and especially when you were talking about how to deposit $ into your US account, it sounded terribly complicated lol. this is a perfect solution for me. maybe you will find some use in it too


RBC Access USA

Hey Trevor;

That's really interesting. I travel in the USA all the time and I keep asking my banks (BofM & CIBC) about a US-based account but they can't help me. RBC may be another bank I need to open an account with!
The big question is: Do you know if the RBC ACCESS account allows for depositing US cash via USA ATMs?

Thanks for the great tip!


I just researched the RBC

I just researched the RBC Access account and it looks ok for those travelling in the SE part of the USA as that is where the majority of the US RBC locations are. For people like me who travel in the SW part of the USA (AZ, UT, CA, etc.) I have an account with Wells Fargo. They will open an account for you even if you are a Canadian citizen. I have a free checking account with them, no fees whatsoever, and it includes a Visa debit/credit card. It also includes online banking and it can be linked to your PayPal account to make purchases there in US dollars. I can make deposits with my TD Canada Trust US dollar account into my Wells Fargo account. There is a 48 hour hold but after that the funds are in my account and available for use. Thought I would point this out to the people who travel to the SW states.

I was very happy when I read

I was very happy when I read this since I bank with TD Canada TRUST, but after calling both TD and Wells Fargo, both said this is impossible. Could you please give me more details on how you are making deposits from your TD us dollar account which I have also into your Wells Fargo account. TD said you could not deposit into a US bank for a TD US Dollar account.
help! much appreciated, c

He did, he said it takes 48

He did, he said it takes 48 hours to transfer via PAYPAL!

I just was Googling these

I just was Googling these kinds of stuff and found this thread. I am a green card holder, a Canadian working in Hollywood. The RBC debit card actually works in Bank of America ATM's. Accidentally brought my RBC card a year ago and usually I leave it BC before heading back to Los Angeles. I also like Wells fargo because they are open on Sundays (when banks are traditionally closed).


hey andy,

to answer your question. yes. the account allows you to do everything a full american can do with any other american account.
RBC Bank even has the option for you to set up a credit card or overdraft protection on your american account, based on your CANADIAN credit history, and from the point that its approved by your canadian credit score, the account then becomes reported ONLY to the US credit bureaus and not canada, and allows you to build a credit history in the states, without needing a SSN or an IETN (or whatever) which i think is a really great option, as someone who may want to move to the states in the next 5 years, it allows me to build and maintain an american credit history even before i ever step foot in america.

take care!


bank account in the USA

Dear Sir/Madam,

Our company needs to open bank account in the USA.

Principal points for a bank account are:
1. Company was incorporated in the United Arab Emirates, Dubai.
2. Company needs bank account in the USA,
3. Company needs prompt e-banking or other rapid way to perform payments.
4. Principal signatory is in Russia, he will sent instructions mainly from Russia.

1. Can you provide us with your assistance in such case?
2. If yes, what documents do you need from us to open an account? and
3. How long does it take to open an account and get token for e-banking?
4. Will it be easily if we open permanent representative office in the USA and then open bank account in it’s behalf?

Please do not hesitate to contact me directly at any time.
Thank you in advance!
Kind regards,
e-mail: [email protected]

Sounds like a fraud-magnet

Sounds like a fraud-magnet that most any US bank would ran away from quickly.
Two suggestions come to mind: Contact banks in your jurisdiction (either UAE or RU) and see if they have a relationship with a US Bank and can open the account from your local bank OR set up a US Corp/LLC and then an account should be set up fairly easily, but this has a lot of potential legal and tax consequences.

Canadian, non-resident applying for a personal bank loan

Is it possible, as a Canadian, to apply and be granted a personal loan at a Canadian bank, as a non-resident (currently living in Ireland)?

National City don´t open new

National City don´t open new accounts online to non-resident accounts. Another bank that treats customers like thieves before they even know.



I saw this website and I would like to open a save acct on US. Im from Panama city Republic of Panama and I would like to know if I can apply to this. I'm very interesting on having one but here in Panama banks suchs as HSBC don't do that for us the panamenian.
Please advise

US Bank Accounts for Panamanians

It would probably be very difficult without actually going to the USA. You could also apply to get an ITIN and apply online, but even that might be difficult. You could also set up a US Corporation and get a bank account for that, but that would lead to plenty of reporting requirements.

Try calling your own bank and seeing if they have some type of affiliate in the USA that they can open accounts for, but this might be limited to their higher wealth clientele.

Why do you want to open up a US Savings Account in the first place?

depositing since Vancouver, BC to Seattle Wa

I just wanna know how one of my friends can deposit me if She lives in Downtown Vancouver, BC and I have an account in US Bank.

I am setting up an internet

I am setting up an internet based business with a product that is manufactured in the United States and is going to be sold within the United States. I am a Canadian Citizen and was wondering what I would need to do in regards to Income Tax filings (do i need to file in both Canada and in the US), US Bank Accounts, and if it would be easier to have a business office physically located in the United States. Any help would be appreciated.



TD Bank

I cab't belive that this forum only talks about RBC.
TD bank in the USA is far bigger than RBC and has allowed sinple tranfers between US dollar Canadian acoounts at TD Canada Trust and TD bank in USA for years. I have had accounts in both countires (& credit cards) for years. Works great.

No we don't! Not yet anyway.

No we don't! Not yet anyway.

BMO vs TD Bank

I am a TD Client that swith over to BMO's Harris account due to this issue. TD may be integrating itself with it's US counterpart but its not working and with not the same service level. BMO's US Bank takes it to another level and I am satisfied with the service and support. Not to say that RBS has a US ban and they too work fine. I am not sure about the fees and ease of service but it does the job.

TD Bank USA - International US Dollar Transfers

Care to elaborate? I thought it was difficult to do transfers between the US and Canadian operations of TD Bank. Did you have a US Account with TD Waterhouse bank from back in the day? (As in, 5+ years ago?).

$US Account Set up

Hi Dan,

Re: Setting up a US account at a US bank in person

Harris Bank of Chicago accounts can be opened by Canadians via Internet. A representative will then contact you by phone and conduct an interview or you can download the forms and mail them in with a copy of your driver's license or passport.

Initial money can be deposited by credit card I believe.

Other US banks are similar.

Many at are opening US accounts this way.


Harris Banking Accounts for Canadians

Hi OB, Nice to see some of the DRIP crowd here. My GE shares have been doing me well ;)
I've written an article on the subject here: Open up a Harris Bank US Bank Account without Leaving Canada. Soon enough I'll write a DRIP article too it's too bad my Scotia share shot up so much by the time I got it all registered with the transfer agent.

Like everyone said before, RBC is the best choice.

1. Go to RBC bank in canada to open a checking account, then ask them to open a US account with the bank in the US that they own

2. once it done, you can transfer money back and forth like you wish, at the end you have 2 bank account: 1 Canadian and 1 US. They are link together, so when you go to the canadian RBC online access you see the US one.

More Detail:

Thanks for this information

Very interesting article :D

Like everyone said before,

Like everyone said before, RBC is the best choice.

1. Go to RBC bank in canada to open a checking account, then ask them to open a US account with the bank in the US that they own

2. once it done, you can transfer money back and forth like you wish, at the end you have 2 bank account: 1 Canadian and 1 US. They are link together, so when you go to the canadian RBC online access you see the US one.

More Detail:

US bank

I am so confused. I read some of your postings and was hoping you could provide some advise.

I am a Cdn living in Toronto. I use to live in Atlanta and still have storage and a car that i have left in Atlanta. I need to make montly payments in US dollars. I work in Canada and get paid in Cdn dollars. Every month I send Wachovia a bank draft from BMO to transfer into my account so that i can make these payments.

any suggestions on how i can make my life easier? or what would be a cheaper option?

BMO Transfers

I worked in the U.S. for a period of time and regularly transferred funds from my BMO account to my U.S. bank account without paying any fees. I gave BMO the account details for my U.S. account and they set up what was called (if I recall correctly) a pre-note account. Once it was set up, all I had to do was call BMO to ask that they transfer funds to the pre-note account (I could not do the transfer online). It would take a couple of days for the funds to appear in my U.S. account, but I paid no bank charges for the transfer and making a call is far easier than buying a bank draft.

US Bank Accounts

Can I assume you can't pay these with a US$ Credit Card?

I'd get an account through RBC. They bought a US Bank, and I believe you can do transfers between the two accounts. You'll have to pay a monthly fee unless you have enough funds in the account.
You could also just have a regular US bank account and set up something with XEtrade to do your exchange and transfers from your Canadian account to your US account. The exchange rate is probably better, but you'll have to travel to the US to open an account and will have to wait a couple days for XEtrade to execute each trade.

US free chequing account at KEY Bank

I opened this account in 2008 in Buffalo, people there are used to open accounts for Canadian Citizens, the problem I haven't had online access until nov 2009 when Keybank Compliance deparment send me a letter because my account was not with a SSN number or ITIN number and It was asking me to fill out a form indicating I am a foreigner with a foreign tax number... well I stated I am canadian and I gave them my SIN number, after two weeks they send the form to my branch at buffalo and they input the SIN on their systems, then I was able to create my online account by phone validating my sin number and all other information however you can avoid all the hassle signing up with Bank of America they already now about the compliance of all account holders have to have ITIN, SIN or whatever tax number they hold ( Canadian SIN for example) then they don't have problems to give you online access to your account.


You mentioned you'd prefer US Bank but as I noticed the lower min initial amount, I also noticed that US Bank has a MONTHLY FEE unless you keep a min of $300 in the account...kind of defeats the purpose for those Canadians who just want to have a USD credit card and pay it in full for those purchases made overseas/US or on a cruise.

The average Canadian Joe is better off using cash or paying BMO's annual fee of $25 for the convenience, depending upon how much you use the card (ie. conversion charges vs how many times you're paying your US bill). If you are charged $12 canadian for 1 years worth of credit cards vs $25 USD annual fee, you are better off NOT having the credit card.

BMO US$ CC with no fee

BMO has a US$ credit card with no annual fee.

BMO card

BMO charges $25 per year but will refund the fee if you charge at least $1000 on the card per year. If you want insurance benefits(eg. car) then you must pay about $40 but not sure if the $ 25 is refunded.

BMO US$ Card $25 Annual Fee Waived

Unfortunately, they only waived the fee for the next year, so even though I spend enough, I still got dinged once. Plus there are no guarantees that they'll waive it again the year after that. Having said that, it's definitely saved me more than the $25 one-time charge.

Not anymore.

Not anymore.

USD Bank Accounts in Canada

Cheapest is ICICI bank (Indian bank) that has pretty much zero fees, no min deposit and basic identification. I walked into the one in Surrey and walked out with a USD account. No BS royal bank runaround. There are plenty of 'foreign' banks in Vancouver/Canada where you can open a USD account such as any Chinese bank, any Tawainese bank, State Bank of India or ICICI, HSBC (considered 'offshore'), Japanese banks, German banks, ect.

Best option is to self-incorporate in Delaware, and get a US account, or offshore (Seychelles IBC or Belize IBC) for $900USD, then it comes with business Latvian and Cyprus USD bank accounts that are 100% protected from tax. Simply google Seychelles IBC and solve all your tax and money problems or look here (run by a VIP member of Talkgold forums)

These may be good options,

These may be good options, but one needs to do a lot of research on the bank. Lots of these places can mean your money just disappears (but only when you need it and ask for it). Some of these countries have shaky finances and shaky deposit protection, so if the bank goes bust, your deposits go along with it.

Banks are inherently risky due to how they operate, don't deposit money in banks that don't have good state backing.

U.S. Bank Account in Turks & Caicos

I'm canadian and I will work and live in turks & caicos.
I'm trying for 2 days to open a U.S. Account, but I don't know which option to choose.
The 1st is: opening a US account with my current bank=CIBC and then, while I'm there: I open an account with some local bank
I switch bank, open a U.S. account at Scotiabank, which is in Turks & Caicos as well and open a U.S. Account while I'm there and transfer funds from one to the other without fees.

Any help with this one??

I Have a company in Wy and I'm Canadian

I am Canadian and am trying since 2 days to open a U.S. bank account for my company. I introduced myself in person at the RBC Bank in my town and they told me that it is impossible to open a bank account in Canada for an American company and they have never seen that.
I have an ESN number for this company.
Do you have any suggestions?
Thank you

US Company, Canadian Account

Hi, chances are the RBC in your town has never done such a thing before, and therefore thinks it cannot be done. The bank technically can do so, but you'll probably have to deal with one of the "commercial services branches" of the bank. So give them a call if you can, or call the RBC main phone number at 1800 ROYAL-11

just walk into HSBC and open

just walk into HSBC and open a USD account, and use it for your business I don't see why not. or has branches all over Canada and you can open for a business located outside the country.

The Bank of Cyprus has a Canadian branch in Toronto, and there is no restrictions on who can open an account. Since you're already incorporated/have ESN, you can get an international USD account pretty much instantly in the branch, or mail/email them scanned copies of ID.

Bank of Cyprus: Be careful

Keep in mind that the Bank of Cyprus is NOT a CDIC member. A "Representative Office" essentially opens up an actual Cypriot account. I just hope Cyprus doesn't have the same problems that its Greek "parent" has if you open an account with them.

Having said that, their ID requirements and such are likely far less onerous, but don't go complaining to any Canadian banking official if anything goes bad, they won't be able to help you much.

To open a USA bank account

All you have to do is go to a local Canadian RBC Branch and ask to open a US access account. Which is an account in a U.S RBC branch. If you have a Canadian account with RBC you can transfer money between the two account for free. Some of the repersentives do not Know that this is possible so if they say it is not avialible ask for the manager. This is not just a US dollar account it is a US banch account giving you the same banking as if you where a US resident.

About setting up a US account for Canadians

The Royal bank of canada has affilite banks in the US and you can open on from your local branh in Canada it is called a US access account.

Harris Bank

Harris Bank allows you to now open an account online if you are Canadian and you can fund it through your visa or MasterCard. Saves the trouble of having to cross the boarder.


Just did that. But:

1. While you can originally fund a new account with a $100 credit card payment, after that you're only not-in-person deposit options are mailed-in cheques or wire transfers

2. Worse (for me anyways), you can't pay bills online (thorugh CheckFree) without a SSN.

Paypal is free, but it takes a few days

Have you considered transfering money via Paypal? It's free and unlimited. You can then do it online. That's how I fund my chequing account for my US DRIP plans.

In many cases you can use the

In many cases you can use the bank's transfer code to electronically pay your bills. Many DRIP Investors are buying US DRIPs this way with Harris.

OB (editor: Bank of Hawaii for Canadians)

I've had a checking a/c with them for years; opened with a local address, while I was on vacation, with my passport ID.

The thing I like is the american "Bill Pay" system. Although it is not cheap at 6 bucks a month, YOU can enter the details of ANY payee you want, and a snailmail paper check is sent to them.

Quite unlike my CIBC that has only its OWN short list of possible payees to pick from!



USD accounts. Bank & CC.

Just a couple of comments about my experiences.

Many years ago (20+?) my wife and I obtained a USA sin number. At the time you could have a non-work number with no hassles, so we did.

A couple of years ago, in Niagara Falls we dropped into a KEY Bank, 800 Main St., and opened a no-fee chequing account, with debit/credit card (works at Tim Horton & NoFrills, - easy pay, very small charge, 9c). No big deal, no tricky questions, it was simple and quick, seems like they do it all the time. We can top up the account whenever we cross the Niagara Frontier, or mail a USD cheque.

Because we have a US SIN number we can check the balance on line and make US payments. Any US trip purchases are through this account (the store always asks if it is debit or credit - same card!)

Prior to this we were ripped off by the Can. Visa cards 2.5% +++$.

It is true that KeyBank has spotty presence in some states (not much out west, but well represented in Florida) but this has not been a problem for us as all all take the debit card - groceries etc.

Anyway that is our story.

Rob. and USD prepaid cards.

Thanks for the site, Dan!

A somewhat new option, not too well known, is the prepaid credit cards. Lots of variations. Not that flexible; read the pros n cons carefully. That can be applied online; can't remember if I had to fax a passport page for ID. Otherwise you do it all online.

I have the "all access" netspend card above. Use online like any VISA card. Make DARN sure you don't go over your PREPAID limit!

The one nice thing with it, is that there is ALSO some sort of a virtual US BANK account behind it, at "MetaBank", and I can add that bank to my Cdn as well as US Paypal a/c's. If I understand correctly every single customer uses the same "routing and bank account number", with just your name being different; so be sure you have the exact SAME spelling of your name with both PP and Netspend.

So I can actually transfer funds back AS WELL AS forth between the virtual US bank account at MetaBank, AND my US Netspend VISA card, AND my USD OR CDN pp a/c!!!

I'm still "verifying" with PP, but it seems like I can have both the US Netspend Prepaid VISA, and the MetaBank Bank a/c at the same time on my Cdn PP a/c!



Thank you for this blog

Thank you for this blog article.

I tried opening a bank account, and they asked for a permanent US address. Did you have to supply this?

Also what do you think about etrade banking?

I personally was asked to

I personally was asked to give one, but they made it seem like it was more in case they needed to contact me while I was down there. I never get mailings there.

US Citizen in Canada wants to set up US account

Hey I am a Us citizen Duel Citizen actually and I wish to set up a US account in US I am travelling to Orlando soon..JUst wondering if anyone can tip me off on a ffree account I can set up.I have A ss #

SunTrust US Bank in Florida

Just research banks in the area and see what their account offerings are. Just a cursory Google search shows that National City, Wachovia and SunTrust are options that exist in Orlando.

SunTrust seems to have a decent free checking account that includes a free order of checks. I'd try to go with them if I can based on that.

Banking Privileges for a Retired Canadian using a US Bank

I have set up an account at a US Bank. My wife and I will be spending some part of the year in the Southern States and want to bank there. Since I will be buying property down there, I will need to pay some recurring bills and when I am in Canada it would be lovely to be able to pay these bills on-line, but they seem unwilling to give me either a proper credit card OR on line bill pay privileges without a US Social Security Number. Does anybody have any idea how to get around this issue.

Many thanks.

Without SSN

You can get an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) with Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

Individual Tax Identification Numbers and Taxes

The problem with this is that I believe it obligates you to fill out a US Tax return every year. I'd rather find a bank that'll open up an account without such a requirement.

Nordstrom's Visa for Canadians

I'm not sure why they're not allowing you to do on-line bill pay, maybe you can deal with another bank instead for that.

As for getting a true US Credit Card, you can apply for a store Visa credit card through Nordstrom's completely online as a Canadian. I haven't done it myself, but it apparently is possible. You can apply for a Target Red Visa in-store as well. Keep in mind that these store cards have sky-high interest rates, and you'll still have to pay the bill somehow, perhaps by mailing in cheques from your account, or figuring out a way to get on-line bill payment. 

Best Advice for Canadians who want to Bank in the U.S.

Hi Dan

I never leave comments online but thought I would share my recommendations as a Canadian who frequents the United States often. I did tons of research after being charged ridiculous fees using my Canadian credit card in the United States (Beware: Canadian credit cards have horrible exchange rates. Guaranteed to rip you off in the conversion process).

Here is my advice for a Canadian who wants a U.S. bank account should do the following and go to: (click bottom right corner) OR visit your RBC Royal Bank location OR call 1-800-ROYAL 53

You must complete an application at your local branch. If you do not have an RBC Royal Bank account you will need to open one. RBC is the only financial institution that allows you to link both your Canadian and American accounts and view them online simultaneously. You can make instant transfers between your Canadian and American accounts at the current exchange rate.

The bonus to the American RBC account is that you can use your debit card like a visa. Just be careful not to go into overdraft. It may take a few days before the purchase is charged to your account. Always be sure to leave yourself a cushion or apply for overdraft protection. I learned this the hard way with paying $211 USD in overdraft fees for 4 purchases I made that totaled less than $10.

Hope this helps any Canadians looking for a way to bank in the United States!

It is easy for Canadians to open a bank account in the USA

Accepting payments from Americans is expensive and slow. PayPal charges us around 7% and maybe more if a customer pays by credit card. MoneyGram charged my American customer $25.00 to send $400.00 me then they ripped me off for about 10% on the currency exchange rate. American cheques take forever to clear. Bank drafts cost my customers too much. Email money transfers don't work from the USA to Canada.

I wanted a US$ account in a bank that was located in the USA, that I could access from Canada and make FREE transfers between that US account and my US$ account here in Edmonton. I searched for days to find a way, it looked like I would have to go to the States to open an account.

The solution I found does everything I asked for, it is easy and free.
Go to your local Canadian RBC, they will open a "RBC Access USA checking account" for you in one of their American locations. Their US bank is called RBC Bank USA. My RBC US$ account in Edmonton is linked to the account in the USA, I can now transfer funds back and forth for free. My customers can now pay me by sending an on-line payment from their US bank to my US bank account for free.


ATM Alliance

You could have also opened up a Bank of America account and then used your debit cheque card at ScotiaBank ATMs to withdraw the money at a usually superb exchange rate.

ITIN in lieu of SSN

If one is not eligible for a US Social Security Number (SSN), one may be eligible for a US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Individial Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). You may want to see if using an IRS assigned ITIN when asked for a SSN will allow you access to your US bank's online banking website. If you are eligible for a SSN, that is preferable, but the ITIN probably serves the needed identification number requirements for a US bank account. It is possible that when you set up your US bank account that you at the same time applied for and were assigned an ITIN. For more information check out the web page addresses below.,,id=96696,00.html


canadian currency acct. in us banks

Are there any us banks that have a canadian currency acct. my brother lives and works in the us and recieved a large inheritance in canadian funds from his canadian parents but doesnt want to lose on the exchange rate at this time .

Canadian Dollar Bank Accounts in the USA

Off the top of my head, I can think of both HSBC and US Bank offering Canadian dollar bank accounts in the USA. US Bank's may only be for businesses however. The other (and IMO, better) option is that if your brother lives close to the border (or will need to visit Canada at some point to sign lawyer papers or anything), he can probably make an appointment with a big 5 bank (TD, Scotiabank, CIBC, BMO or RBC) and open up a Canadian bank account and order cheques. When he does want to exchange funds, he should look into a reputable brick and mortar currency broker, as the Canadian banks tend to have crummy rates.

dan, thanks for the

dan, thanks for the advice....I deal with the BMO. they are saying that my brother can open a checking account as long as its interest free?....yet they are telling me that he can have term investment products . The investments are subject to a with-holding tax, but they cant tell me exactly what that ammount would be. The amount of inheritence is between 85,000 - 100,000. Would you know what the with-holding tax would be? .....also is he taxed by the u.s. or canadian or both gvnmts.

I'd imagine they want you to

I'd imagine they want you to open an interest-free checking account so they don't have to deal with those very withholding taxes. Don't worry about it, interest rates on checking accounts are pretty much zero. As for investment products, I wouldn't bother with the bank-provided mutual funds (highest fees in the world), go with either a brokerage account or a GIC (what we call a CD up here). GIC rates can vary greatly from bank to bank.

I honestly can't help you too much with the withholding taxes (which would only be on EARNINGS, not on the principal). I'd imagine you can either get it all back by filing a Canadian Revenue Agency form, or claim it against your US taxes, but sorry, I can't be of too much help on that. Try to get more info from the bank, or talk to a CPA that does international stuff maybe?

I have a company set in

I have a company set in Delaware to get my US sales easier and I could be able to open a US dollar account in HSBC in Canada for this US company. But problem is depositing a US cheque is taking almost 30 days to cash in. I am trying to find a way to smoth this transaction, any ideas. I am a Canadian Citizen and I do not have a US social security number. But I do have a Employer Identification Number (EIN) for my company.

Sorry, I can't say that I'm

Sorry, I can't say that I'm too familiar with business accounts, but I believe that the EIN is the equivalent of an SSN, but for companies, so you might even be able to sign up online using that number.

RBC Centura may be able to help you open up a US-based bank account in Canada (RBC bought out a Florida bank some years ago, and has things somewhat integrated).

My experiences opening up a US Account

I tried to open up a US account through a canadian bank. I thought I might have some luck with BMO due to their ownership of Harris, no such luck.

See post at for BMOs response:

I'm not going to be headed down to the States anytime soon, so it looks like I might be stuck with the RBC option.

Opening a US account

I have a US checking account with CompassBank, and it was very easy to open it from home. I should mention that I don't live in the US nor have a SSN. All I had to do was contact the International Department through email, and they sent me the application documents. I signed everything, sent a photocopy of my passport, and the next day my account was activated.
I believe the branches along the border are the most agreeable to opening non-resident accounts, so you might wanna contact one of those. Also, it might make it easier if you already have an account with a bank that is part of a parent banking system to which the bank you want to apply to is also a part of (BBVA, Citi, HSBC).

I'd say don't worry about

I'd say don't worry about it. Scotiabank just bought out the Canadian operations of E-Trade, so I'd say that your money is nice and safe (but I am in no way personally guaranteeing that).

Scotia Bank Buys Out Canadian Operations of E-Trade

Having said that, if it is a significant amount of money you have in there (especially in terms of the GICs and such) that would exceed the CDIC limits, I _would_ recommend keeping them diversified between institutions. Not that getting paid out would take that long, but having stuff available for emergencies is always a good idea.

E*Trade Canada broker question

I have cash, stocks, mutual funds and GIC's in E*Trade Canada. If anything happens to them, what would happen to my funds?

Would you suggest I open a TD Waterhouse account and put half of it with them?


FDIC Insurance

As I understand it, FDIC insurance is on the total amount of funds you have at a bank and the bank itself. So, in the event of a bank failure, you should have the same rights as any American Resident-Citizen. Not that I'm guaranteeing anything to you or anyone, consult the FDIC and the bank for official advice :)

There could be delays however in terms of getting your money from the FDIC due to the postal system (written sworn statements may be required) and since wiring your insured funds is an option, it may not be available to you since you might not have any accounts at other US Banks. Likely, they can cut you a check, but that'll add more delays. 

From :

Who does the FDIC insure? Any person or entity can have FDIC insurance on a deposit. A depositor does not have to be a citizen, or even a resident of the United States. FDIC insurance only protects depositors, although some depositors may also be creditors or shareholders of an insured bank. 

Canadians with money in American Bank Accounts - FDIC

Question: Are Canadian with money in American Bank Accounts covered by FDIC insurance?

getting the best exchange when buying a house in USA

We are buying a house in the USA and we will need to transfer money from our Canadian Account to pay for the new house in Nevada. What is the best way to get the best rate of exchange for this LARGE sum of Canadian money?

Currency Exchange

Well, firstly, I have no direct experience with this, but here it goes.

Call all of the banks (and even credit unions) that you can, tell them how much you are converting, likely they should be able to transfer you to some type of specialist that can give you different rates. Be sure to get contact names and phone numbers for each specialist that you speak with.

Likely, a bank that you do not have an account with will want "locally certifiable" funds, which would be like a certified cheque, or perhaps a bank draft. 

Also, look up in your yellow pages for currency exchangers. It is hard to say what might be in your area, but Custom House is a fairly large one. 

Also, online companies, like XEtrade, can do these kinds of transactions for you. Basically, they electronically deduct funds from your account like an electronic cheque, and then do an electronic cheque back to another account. They can also send you bank drafts, but they _can_ get held up clearing. For this, you'll probably need to set up a US$ bank account at a Canadian bank. 

Finally, if say, Custom House or XEtrade (not Etrade) give you the best rates, see if a local bank (remember when I said to keep phone numbers and names?) will agree to match it.

If you read the fine print,

If you read the fine print, you will see that XEtrade just uses Custom House under the hood. The two are essentially the same service (although Custom House offers more than what XEtrade does). There are two other companies that offer a similar service: and

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