U.S. Dollar Chequing Account with a U.S. Bank
Canadians have the option of visiting the US and opening an account with a local bank in the neighbouring country. Having a U.S. Dollar chequing account has various advantages. For instance,
- If you regularly receive funds or payments for say, freelance contracting work in American currency via Paypal, the gateway automatically converts the amount into Canadian currency when transferring to your bank account. As a result, you may have to pay a conversion fee. And, possibly lose money because of the conversion rates. Moving the American dollars into a U.S. dollar account helps you save on the conversion cost.
- Keep in mind that many banks place a hold on cheques coming in from the US. You’ll see the funds transferred into your account only after two to four weeks. By depositing the cheque directly into the US Dollar chequing account, you’ll have access to the funds as soon as the cheque clears.
- People who own real estate in the US and need to pay bills or taxes on the property would want to open a U.S. bank account.
U.S. Dollar Chequing or Savings Account with a Canadian Bank
In place of visiting the U.S. to open an account, you can visit a Canadian bank that offers personal banking services in the US. You may have to search around for a bank that offers this facility because not all the Big Banks have such accounts. Although most banks levy a monthly account fee ranging from $1 to $10, they also have the provision of waiving the fee if you can maintain a minimum balance in the account. As a result, you can save a particular sum in the U.S. Dollar account for future use. The best positive of having a US Dollar balance is that you won’t have to make conversions every time you travel across the border. Further, you need not accept the high prevailing conversion rates.
U.S. Dollar Investment Account
If you’ve invested money in registered or unregistered US securities, it is advisable to hold them in a US Dollar investment account. When you liquidate the securities, the funds will not immediately convert into Canadian currency. In this way, you can save on conversion fees and other charges. Many brokerages may suggest that you move your liquidated funds into the US money market to avoid currency conversion charges. But, opening a US Dollar account is a smarter option.
U.S. Dollar Credit Card Account
If you regularly shop at American stores to take advantage of the sales and deals they offer, using an American dollar credit card ensures that you don’t incur exchange fees. If you pay using a credit card with Canadian currency, you’ll likely end up paying conversion fees charged by the credit card company. As a result, you’ll make purchases at higher prices and lose the savings you would have made because of the store discounts.
While most companies offering you a Forex card charge a fee, you can opt for the Scotiabank Passport® Visa Infinite Card. This card carries an annual fee of $139 but does not levy any charge on currency conversion. An added advantage is that you’ll earn points on the purchases you make.
If you spend a minimum of $1,000 on actual purchases (without counting refunds, returns, and other credits), you can earn 25,000 Scotia Rewards points. These points translate into $250 worth savings and the only condition is that you shop for the amount within 3 months of opening the account.