Best US Dollar Bank Accounts for Canadians

Compilation of US$ Bank Accounts Available for Canadians at Canadian Banks.

I've already written a guide here on getting a US-based US Bank Account as a Canadian. These have to be opened in-branch at a US Bank Branch. RBC, through its Centura operations can do it through a Canadian Branch (I think), but they're kind of expensive.

Also, I've written a guide on the best US$ Credit Card for Canadians here. It has no annual fees and seems to be the only decent card available to Canadians that doesn't have one, plus it has 0.5% cash back, a nice bonus.  This card can be paid at any BMO Branch in US$ Cash with no fees even if you don't have any other BMO Accounts.

When it does come for you to convert money from one currency to another, take a look at my comparison of the currency exchange commissions/spreads of different Canadian banks, they can vary substantially, and you're sometimes better off going through a reputable broker. 

This guide is for Canadians looking for a low-volume US$ Account. If a bank has a free US$ Chequing account, I've put that one in, if not, I included their cheapest US$ Chequing account. Depending on your needs, an account with a monthly fee may be better than a free "pay-as-you-go" one, kind of like cell phone plans. 

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Note that the fees are usually for writing cheques, making debits in branch or at ATMs or for bill payments. Depositing US$ cheques/cash is usually without charge.

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Bank Name & Phone # Link

Account Name

Monthly Fee (US$)

Included Transactions/Per Transaction Cost

RBC Royal Bank

U.S. Personal


6 Included

RBC Royal Bank
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RBC US High Interest eSavings

1/Month, Pays 0.35% Interest as of Mar/09 - No Check Privileges

TD Canada Trust

US Dollar Daily Interest Chequing


$1 Each, waived with $1000 balance


CIBC US$ Personal Account



Scotia / Bank of Nova Scotia

US$ Daily Interest Account


Monthly Fee waived with min balance of $200. Debits $0.60 each after 2 (first 2 are free)

Bank of Montreal

Practical Plan


10 Included. Fees waived with $1500 balance

 ING Direct
ING US$ Investment Savings Account
No charges. No teller access (online only). Interest: 0.75% Jul/09. 
 National Bank of Canada  Progress Account in US$  $0 $1.25/withdrawal. Waived with $2500 balance.
Citizens Bank of Canada
 $0 Another Virtual Bank. $0.75 per cheque written. FREE US$ CHEQUES! 0.75% Interest Jul/09. 

With BMO/Bank of Montreal, you're allowed to have multiple accounts under one banking plan (ie: one monthly fee), so you might be able to do it all for free if you have other accounts there, or are willing to move them there. 

CIBC gives those over 60 two free transactions under the no-monthly fee plan.

Royal Bank and other banks might make you go through a pointless form to satisfy US government requirements. 

PLEASE keep in mind that US$ Deposits at Canadian Financial Institutions are NOT CDIC insured. If the bank goes kaput, you may very well lose all of your US$. 

RBC has converted to PNC here

RBC has converted to PNC here in Florida. The only access you have to the money in your RBC American account is at the ATM. The card is both debit and credit, but I'm not sure what you would do if you lost your card as you do not have a bank that can help you here. We come here on vacation and are looking for a more secure way to bank while we are here. Any advice?????

American credit card transfer from canadian?

Are there any US credit card companies that will do a balance transfer from a Canadian credit card? I have BMO Mastercard, and it would be a lot easier for me to cancel my canadian bank account and only use my US one, I only keep it open to pay my BMO card. I also would love to transfer, as I have excellent credit in Canada, and the US doesn't even know who I am.

Scotia Bank - Excessive Transfer Rates between CDN / USD

Can anyone explain the 4% surcharge at Scotia
Trying to xfer online from Scotia Power Savings (CDN) to USD Savings.
Today's exchange rate... 1 CAD = 0.9810 USD (TDWH - dec 4, 2:30pm est)
Scotia Online transfer rate = 1.062

Isn't it outrageous! I closed

Isn't it outrageous! I closed my US account with them immediately. Talk about GREED!
They also boast tat you can withdraw free at Bank of America ATM's in the US, but their fX spread is covering that free transaction.

Canadian Banks

Dan, I think you should incluse the TD Borderfree Account on your site as well, as it only costs $4.95 for unlimited transactions.

In addition CIBC is enhancing there account so you can exchange money online between US and Canadian accounts. They also have a lot of ATM's that allow USD withdrawals, while TD does not.

I wonder if anyone will ever offer US debit and ATM access on an Canadian based account, that would really improve things.

I find you website informative and it gave me some ideas for a website that I am working on.



Working in Vietnam, need to convert USD to CAD

I am a Canadian working in Vietnam and am paid in local currency, Vietnam dong (VND). I used to have no problem transferring money back to Canada in CAD but in the last few months the CAD/VND exchange rate has gotten out of control and I'm losing too much money transferring CAD dollars. The USD/VND exchange rate is much more favorable but transferring USD into my CAD account results in bank fees etc.

My question is this: what is the best way to get USD back home to CAD? By depositing them in a USD account at a Canadian financial institution? (I don't know how to open such an account from overseas) Or transferring USD into my CAD account and pay the associated fees. Any guidance is welcome! Thank you!

Banking in Canada

I do a little work annually in Canada and I am paid through different Canadian Banks. There is a significant delay when depositing the checks in the U.S. and wait for clearance. As a U.S. citizen or company I would like to open an account in Canada, deposit the checks in a Canadian bank and make assorted payments for materials by the same bank in Canadian money.

Anu thoughts and recommendations on a Canadian bank that may facilitate this effort.

Thank you

Canadian Banking for Americans

If you can make a physical appearance (ie: visit an actual branch in Canada), I'm sure any of the "Big 5" Canadian banks could set up an account for you. I'm a bit partial to TD-Canada Trust, but they all compete quite well on customer service.

I'd just call a convenient branch of a bank that has the best banking plan. Let them know that you're an American and can visit the branch. The banks to look at are: Toronto Dominion, Bank of Montreal, Bank of Nova Scotia, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and Royal Bank of Canada. Don't let the names fool you, these are all national banks. HSBC has branches in some areas, as does National Bank of Canada.

Of course, they compete so greatly on customer service because they hardly compete on price. Expect to pay a monthly account fee unless you keep your balance sufficiently high enough. Rewards/cash-back credit cards are nowhere near those offered in the US.

Decent credit unions may be an option, especially if you're in BC or Quebec (Coast Capital, VanCity and Desjardins).

Any other questions? Leave another comment!

U.S. Dollar Canadian Bank Credit Cards

Thanks for this Blog. I have had a CIBC US dollar visa card for about 8 years now. My wife and myself spend February and March in Oxnard Ca. each year and I use the card to buy a number of things over the internet from the US. My biggest frustration is that I can not view purchases on CIBC personal banking site nor can I pay over the internet from my CIBC US dollar account. When I set this up I was assured it would only be a year or two before I would be able to do the above.. Do any Canadian Banks with US dollar credit cards have these features available on the internet?

I had US accounts w/ TD and

I had US accounts w/ TD and BMO, but never knew that RBC was the only one that is a US-chartered bank.

Time to open up an RBC account (and possibly close the TD/BMO accounts)

Coast Capital Savings

If you're in BC you can get a decent USD account at Coast Capital with good rates. You can use PayLine for currency exchanges in and out of the account to either send money abroad or between your own accounts for currency trading.

Hello, Thank you for the


Thank you for the information.
BMO closed my USD account and returned my funds on deposit for no apparent reason.

Is there any reason why the accounts you listed above would not be open to Americans as well as Canadians?

THank you

US Citizens/residents should

US Citizens/residents should have no difficulty opening up one of these accounts, as long as they appear in person at one of the Canadian branches and bring appropriate ID.

Credit Unions offering US Clearing


I have a US Dollar Chequing through my local credit union . They offer a US Dollar Account and my cheques clear through the states via Bank of America. I was able to hook it up to Paypal as a US Bank Account (I put the financial institution as Bank of America on Paypal). I'm wondering because many Credit Unions run similarly, that (at least all Credit Unions in Alberta) credit unions offering US Dollar Chequing have clearing in the US.

BTW, I use my account for investing in direct stock purchase plans for US companies.

BMO Changing US Checking Accounts

I had the same problem as Lloyd's regarding BMO's announcement to cease clearing $US cheques through their NYC branch. When I initially contacted BMO about this, they blamed their decisions on some changes in US regulations, which I did not beleive. I then contacted a more senior bank staff, and this is the response I got (i.e. it had clearly nothing to do with americans changing the rules -- it was a decision by BMO in order to reduce costs).

" Thank you for contacting BMO Bank of Montreal. This is Alena and I appreciate the opportunity to respond.

I regret to read that your previous inquiry was not answered to your satisfaction.

With regard to your inquiry I can advise that BMO Financial Group has made the decision, for various operational reasons, to no longer offer ABA (American Bankers Association) MICR encoded or par-crossing cheques. To confirm, this change was not dictated by American regulations.

New and existing customers will no longer be able to write ABA MICR encoded cheques on their USD accounts as of April 30, 2009. They will also be asked to retrieve any outstanding post-dated cheques and replace them with alternative forms of payment by April 30, 2009, to avoid having them returned unpaid.

There are a number of alternatives available for these customers to continue to meet their USD payment needs including U.S. MasterCard, USD cheques that clear through the Canadian payment system operated by the Canadian Payments Association (CPA) or chequing accounts and Global Treasury Management solutions at Harris Bank.

For many customers, CPA MICR encoded cheques will continue to fully meet their U.S. payment needs. Other customers with more frequent or time sensitive USD payment needs may require a combination of solutions. Customers, who use their USD cheques to make payments in the U.S., should be aware that CPA MICR encoded cheques do not clear through the U.S. Federal Reserve clearing system, but clear instead through the Canadian clearing system. This means that when presented at a financial institution in the U.S. the cheque may be rejected, or sent back to Canada for collection. If sent back to Canada for collection it can take up to four to six weeks for the payee to receive credit for the funds. Service charges for this service may also apply.

In situations when CPA MICR encoded cheques do not meet the customers needs the following alternate forms of payment are also available:

• Unlimited USD drafts and / or money orders at no charge to customers holding a USD account. Drafts and / or money orders are negotiable anywhere in the U.S.
• USD BMO Mosaik MasterCard®, issued in Canada
• USD wire payments at standard fees (unless previously negotiated otherwise).

Customers have been notified of the changes by mail in early February, and will receive a follow-up call from Direct Banking to help make sense of the changes and choose the alternative(s) that best meet their needs.

Should you wish to discuss the above described changes further, please visit your local branch of BMO Bank of Montreal to speak to a Financial Services Manager. To determine the location of the BMO Bank of Montreal branch most convenient to you, please click on your Personal Information tab (see Tools and Info).

It was my pleasure assisting you online. Please contact us again, if you have any questions or concerns.

Thank you for choosing BMO Bank of Montreal. We appreciate your business.


Alena Magdolen
Direct Banking Manager
BMO Bank of Montreal Direct Banking

"TRUE" US-based USD checking....


Loosing the real ABA clearing is a big deal for many people!

Just checked RBCBank, and if I understand correctly they still do it.

1---Anybody knows for how long?
2---Do I understand correctly that one would need THREE RBC checking accounts? CAD-RBC, USD-RBC, USD-RBCB???
3---In that case is online transfer between all 3 possible -for funding coming mostly from cdn CAD? And the forex spread is what?


RBC Bank (Georgia) N.A.

RBC Bank will not lose its authentic USA ABA as it is an authentic US domiciled bank, it's business address is in Atlanta, GA while it is operated out of Raleigh, N.C. (8081 Argo Corporate Dr., Raleigh NC) - their official address on Piedmont Dr., is actually an RBC Wealth Management office, in Atlanta - this address is used because the bank is officially chartered in the State of Georgia, therefore they must have an address there. They are governed by the banking laws of the State of Georgia (such as savings/trust accounts for kids are under the Georga Minor Trust Act. 'GMTA') - although they no longer hae branches, deposits & withdrawals can be made at 7,300 PNC Bank ATM's located East of the Mississippi River. Deposits can also be made by smartphone, wire transfers (fees!) scanners, by mail to a USPS mail processing center in Carol Stream, IL, and inter US bank transfers (such as transferring from another bank you deal with, for ex. Chase) and finally direct deposit. They are also the only North American banking company (today) that have real-time, online transfers between their Canadian & US Bank, without the assistance of a call center operator. RBC Bank USA has its call center in Moncton NB (so don't be surprised if you get an agent who does not know where Michigan is, or that its even a holiday in the USA on the day you called, etc.) Lots of RBC Bank (Georgia) USA call center reps have never even been to the US, however they are a truly bonafide US domiciled bank. (TD and BMO have their US Call Centers in the US)

Their is one drawback using RBC, TD, or BMO in both countries... (Royal Bank/RBC Bank(Georgia)N.A., TD Canada Trust/TD Bank, USA N.A., or Bank of Montreal/BMO Harris Bank, N.A.) ....all three institutions have included 'Right of Offset' in their legalese in both countries. What this means is either related institution, on either side of the border, can seize financial assets on either side to satisfy debt of the other. Remember, you don't even have to be in default for any bank to offset debt. They just have to believe there may be a possibility of risk to do so, and can do so without prior notification!

This is where a cardinal rule in banking should be used. Never have your assets in the same institution as your liabilities. If you have your Canadian Savings at BMO, then your US Savings should be at the Harris. If your Canadian debt is at ROyal Bank, then your U.S. debt should be at RBC Bank, Georgia. (You do NOT need to maintain checking or savings at RBC Bank Georgia to have a US credit card, loan, or mortgage, and you can pay these thru any other U.S. domiciled bank, where the Harris and TD Bank USA might be more convenient for Canadians, Canadian travellers, vacationers, or expats. You can also have accounts at non-Canadian owned banks like Chase and Bank of America, that you can electronically fund by having one of these TD/BMO/RBC accounts in the USA if so desired.

Maintaining accounts in both countries gives your better control over exchange rates. If you receive a Canadian Pension or benefit, you are subject to the foreign exchange rates of the institution that handles the governments business, where if you maintain accounts in Canada - you control when your money is converted. Rates fluctuate every minute of the day.

RBC Bank (Georgia) N.A. - Royal Embassy Checking - $2.95/3.95 per month ($1 for paper statements) - no minimum balance. Free transactions at PNC Bank ATM's - up to two other bank ATM fees reversed per month, upon asking. They have a second 'Preferred' Checking account for $19.95 that provides a favourable exchange rate, and ID Defense benefits. A real U.S.Visa card is available with your Canadian Credit History.

TD Bank UsA has quite a few checking accounts. The TD Convenience Checking has a monthly fee of $15, that is waived if you maintain a minimum balance of $100.00 ((One Hundred). Their VISA cards are available to Canadians based on their Canadian Credit History as well. (Coincidentally their bank cards are the same design as old TD cards before the TDCT merger in 1999)

Bank of Montreal/Harris Bank have a few accounts offered, and the only bank that allows the online opening of accounts (credit bureaux pulled). Their least expensive account is $7/month waived with $1000 minimum deposit. No credit available unlike TD and BMO.

Their are no fees (with the exception of normal withdrawal fees on your Canadian accounts to transfer funds between both RBC & TD owned institutions) - Transfers to Harris Bank from Bank of Montreal can only be completed without charge if you subscribe to BMO Bank of Montreal's Premium Plan for $25/mo. (US Credit cards are NOT available to non-residents, yet (TD and RBC allow Visa cards to Non-Residents with acceptable Canadian Credit Histories)

BMO Harris Bank has ATM's in the Metro Chicagoland area, as well as a limited few in Central Florida, and the only Canadian Bank subsidiary with branches/ATMs in Arizona. Filling a desparate void for Canadian Expats living in AZ.

TD has branches from Maine to Florida along the Eastern Seaboard States, with 1300 branches (200 more than Canada, and similar hours, including Sundays in the US) Both Canadian and US access cards can be used at TD's in either country without additional fees (TD is the only institution that does not charge clients in either country to use their proprietary ATM's in either country) RBC does NOT have ATMs in the US, but US cards an be used for free at PNC ATMs (Canadian ATM cards can not). BMO does not have information online at this time as to whether their cards can be used at their ATMs in either country.

There are two other institutions in the State of Florida in the Fort Lauderdale area with a similar set-up, these are National Bank of Canada/NatBank USA, N.A. & Caisse Depot Desjardins/Desjardins Bank USA, N.A. with four branches combined, offering services in English and French at the counter. These two institutions are primarily set-up to assist retired and expats from QC in the Fort Lauderdale area.


TD and RBC have US Dollar Banking Machines in Canada. DO NOT, REPEAT, DO NOT USE A US Bancard at either TD or RBC's US ATMs in Canada to withdraw US cash from a US domiciled bank account with a US Bancard. If you do... You're in for one hell of a shock.

Your USD withdrawal will be converted to CAD funds, then reconverted BACK to USD funds. This means you will pay the ForEx spread twice...once as a sale, and a second time as a purchase. The US Cash buy rate today is 106.49, and the sell is 101.13 - the spread is 5.36 CAD If you withdraw $20.00 USD from your US Account in the states, you'd figure that you'd be debited $20.00 - however, as I said the money is converted to CAD and then repurchases into USD. There may not be a transaction fee, but the bank earns money on the spread. The spread is 5.36 CAD that is repurchased into US funds. You will receive $20.00 in cash from the machine (USD) but your USD account in the states ill be debited $25.03 USD (20.00 cash plus the 5.36 Canadian spread repurchased in US funds at 1.0649=$5.03) - You might not think this is too much, but on $1000 - that spread is now $50.33!

There are many great benefits to these Canada/USA banking relationships.

1) For as low as $40 a year, you can open a USPS post office box. Once your bank and credit cards are open you can change your 'billing' address to the USPS post office box. When travelling, you will have a ZIP code making refuelling at gas stations easy with your US issued USD Visa/MasterCard or Visa/MasterCard debit card. Most items can also be shipped to a USPS avoiding outrageous postage and brokerage fees when buying online and shipping to Canada. Of course, you MUST empty this box regularly (at least monthly, but you MUST tell the postal clerk you'll empty it weekly! - and you must opt out of junk mail or else it'll be stuffed full in less than a week!) therefore you must be close enough to the US Post Office to go over to it, at least once a month. (You can also opt into US Reward Cards and get some awesome coupons and bonus offers that you would not get in Canada with a Canadian address! There are many stories and tips to get around the Zip, such as '00' and then the three numbers of your Canadian Postal Code....these do not work, nor are consistent. A ZIP code in the US is the only solution.

2) Some companies allow you to have per authorized billing to a US issued credit or debit card, however the billing address MUST be a US address. This resolves this problem for about 11 cents per day. I for example have a pay-as-you-go Verizon Cell Phone with a permanent US phone number. Verizon automatically debits my VISA credit card once a year for $100 keeping the line open, and allowing me to keep unused minutes that would have disappeared had I forgot, or was unable to get over to the states to replenish my account or if the cell account balance goes below $5, Verizon replenishes the account providing seamless service. I'm also able to go online to and set up my phone number, even postal address to the white pages making it easier for family to find me while travelling, and keeping the same number allows others to reach me without having to provide contact numbers on each trip.

3) You can invest in US Stock Purchase Plans or DRIPs with smaller amounts on a monthly basis avoiding larger trading fees ( funds can only be debited from a US domiciled bank account) - once you start earning enough dividends that would trigger IRS taxation, you can apply for a ITIN card that will give you a US type SSN (SIN) number for tax purposes only, however, it also gives you a US Credit Bureaux, and you need to tell your bank to report your credit products to it - to build your USA credit score. You must have a valid reason to apply for a ITIN (and building a credit rating is not a valid reason to the IRS).

4) I can use my US iTunes account, even rent shows or programs not available in Canada because I have a US bank issued VISA card with a US billing address (POB) - having only one of this combination will not work.

5) And of course, the biggest reason is having control over exchange rates while your savings are FDIC government (US) insured to $250,000 where US funds in Canada are NOT insured by the CDIC.

Happy Travels, Investing, Shopping & Retiring in the USA

References: / / / /

Check the solvency of your US bank, and if its products are insured at:

Thanks for posting the

Thanks for posting the response. I wonder how much it'll cost them when a good chunk of these customers have to go into branches and taking up actual labour to get USD drafts for free.

BMO Changing US Chequing Accounts from US Clearing to Canadian

I received a letter from BMO last Friday that told me that as of April 30th, my BMO US $ cheques would no longer clear through BMO New York City but would now clear through Canada. I use my BMO US chequing account to pay all my bills down in Florida where we own property.

The implications of this change according to BMO are that my payees in Florida - phone bill, electric bill, cable TV, Condo Association will likely have to pay a fee for these Canadian cleared cheques, wait longer for payment and some smaller banks will not accept them at all any longer.

When I complained to the office of BMO's CEO via email, I received a call back today explaining that some new regulation was being put in place and BMO could no longer clear their cheques in the US Banking system. I was told that BNS and CIBC were in the same boat.

Does anyone know if this is true for all Canadian banks?

I will move my business to any Canadian bank where I can write cheques to pay for my US bills as long as they clear through the US banking system and are accepted by US banks and my payees.

This change at BMO, etc must affect thousands of Canadians who own property in the US and use US chequing accounts to pay bills, etc. I wonder if the Canadian banks really understand or care that their customer sevice will deteriorate once they change their existing process.

BMO stated in their letter that their US$ Mastercard might work for customers as well as "free US $ money drafts" as long as the money comes out of the customer's US $ account. In my case, I would be over at my branch over 60 times per year to do this.
So far I've balked at that idea.

I look forward to any comments or suggestions.

Hi Lloyd, As I

Hi Lloyd,

As I understand, BMO stopped offering these so-called "par-crossed" checks a while ago, but continued to honour those that still held them.

I guess that's coming to an end.

For you, there are two possibilities:

1. Open up a US-based account through your local Canadian RBC Branch. RBC a number of years ago bought out a regional Florida bank and now calls it RBC Centura. Since RBC Centura is a US-chartered bank, you shouldn't run into these kinds of problems with them. I do believe they have an actual branch network in Florida as well. If you can meet their minimum monthly balance requirements, you can get away without paying any fees.

2. Open up a regular US bank account at a bank in the US. I wrote a guide on opening up a US bank account as a Canadian. It's not hard, and many/most of them have no monthly fees on their standard accounts. This can have less hassle, but #1 is nice because their US and Canadian operations are quite well integrated. 

US$ Checking Accounts in Canada/USA

Thanks for you reply to me Dan!

I have checked with RBC and they have the best answer so far. Open up a US$ account with a Canadian branch of RBC and open up a checking account with their subsidiary in Florida - RBC Centaura. With their on-line banking system you can transfer money from your Canadian US$ account down to the Centaura account to cover payments made on-line or with checks.

BMO tell me that they are working on doing the same thing as RBC/Centura with their subsidiary in the USA called Harris Bank. Unfortunately their automated system won't be available until 2010. So I'm entertaining opening up an account with Harris Bank so I can write US cleared checks or pay bills on-line. My local BMO branch tells me that they will provide me with "free" wire transfers any time I need to move money to the Harris account. This will help us as we rent out our Florida condo and receive US checks that in turn are used to pay our bills down in Florida.

I'm tempted to trial BMO's offer and if it doesn't work, I'll switch to RBC.

How BMO got so far behind their competitor - RBC is beyond me! Taking another year to offer an automated service (tying their on-line banking system together with Harris Bank's) is also beyond me!

Thanks again!


Thanks - great summary

This has saved me hours of time. Thanks for collecting and organizing and sharing this info.


Is there any Canadian

Is there any Canadian Financial Institution that offers a debit card for us chequing accounts or savings?

Not that I'm aware of. Heck,

Not that I'm aware of. Heck, the first debit cards for Canadian chequing accounts/savings just got released.
You'll have to go through a US Bank for this (of which RBC and BMO both own US Banks that offer services to Canadians, but you'll be working with their US bank in these circumstances).

canadian banks

i just opened up a rbc checking acct $100 down with debit card online. does that make me eligible for a credit card then. thanks jenna

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