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Sr. Member
Jul 10, 2005
754 posts
121 upvotes
Toronto
eonibm wrote:
Jul 24th, 2015 12:50 am
Anyway, my point was that if you are depositing cheques from companies that are made out to you personally the bank does not care.
And my point is that they DO care, because it's an opportunity for a LOT of extra profit.

I used the personal account for over 10 years for business purposes, and it only became an issue when they launched the business service.

My guess is that they are actively trying to identify people they can force the option onto. If only 3% of them take the business account and the rest moves out they make a profit.
[OP]
Deal Guru
Aug 2, 2010
13044 posts
3270 upvotes
Here 'n There
dani_toronto wrote:
Jul 24th, 2015 1:09 am
And my point is that they DO care, because it's an opportunity for a LOT of extra profit.

I used the personal account for over 10 years for business purposes, and it only became an issue when they launched the business service.

My guess is that they are actively trying to identify people they can force the option onto. If only 3% of them take the business account and the rest moves out they make a profit.
But, you're missing my point totally. If you are running a business other companies you are doing business with are not going to make the cheques out to you personally. That is a big risk to them in many ways if they do so. If you are running a business they are going to make the cheques out to the name on the invoice which is your business name not your personal name. If you are a sole proprietor it'll still be and should be your business name. How they convince their accounting department not to issue the cheque to the company name on the invoice but to you personally is beyond me.

Hence, companies that are making cheques out to you personally are very rarely companies you're doing business with. That is why banks don't care when they see that.

You are obviously one of the outliers where somehow you got the people that you do business with to make your cheques out to you personally instead of to your business name and the bank caught that. Certainly if a great deal of the cheques you received were from businesses that would raise a red flag.
Sr. Member
Jul 10, 2005
754 posts
121 upvotes
Toronto
eonibm wrote:
Jul 24th, 2015 6:47 am
You are obviously one of the outliers where somehow you got the people that you do business with to make your cheques out to you personally instead of to your business name and the bank caught that. Certainly if a great deal of the cheques you received were from businesses that would raise a red flag.
I will repeat: I didn't deposit any cheques. I don't receive cheques. Nobody pays me with cheques, either to my name or my company name.

The RBC US account only received funds by internal transfer from my Canadian personal account (US currency) through the RBC website. I had both accounts linked in online access.
[OP]
Deal Guru
Aug 2, 2010
13044 posts
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So BMO/Harris is working quite well. However, I sent my USD wire to my overseas supplier using my personal TD Canada USD account instead of BMO Harris as I had the CAD in my TD personal account and used Norbert's Gambit to convert it to USD and wanted to avoid another transfer fee to my BMO Harris US account . That TD wire cost me $80 CAD ($61 USD) as it was over $50K CAD (it is $50 CAD for $10K-$50K and $30 CAD <$10K). BMO Harris charges $45 USD for any foreign wire transfer ($25 for domestic) but then I would have had to transfer it there first. All I have to do is make an accounting entry in my business account to account for the funds coming from my personal bank account so no big deal doing that transaction personally.

Luckily I have a free TD Plan 60 account (no longer offered) jointly with my Mom (she's only on it in name and doesn't use it) and bank drafts are free on that account. So I was able to get a bank draft in USD for free to mail to my US customs broker (for overseas shipments into the US). Also, the bank told me there is no limit on the amount of the draft. I simply mailed it as Canada Post no longer provides registered mail to the US (apparently it's been this way for quite some time) and to send it priority post with a signature is $26. Given only the payee can cash it I just mailed it regular mail for about $1.50.

So, as I earn 95% of my revenue in the US through my ecommerce business and it gets deposited into my US business bank account my main issue now is how to transfer the profits back to my Canadian personal TD USD or BMO Canada business bank account for free. The remainder of the funds will be left in the US business bank account to use to purchase inventory from my overseas supplier in USD and so I will wire it for the $45 BMO Harris charges for that. It looks like the only way to transfer money for free from the US to Canada is to use a personal account, but they cost money. RBC has a personal premium checking account for $3.95/mos that allows you to do that but no option for no monthly fee if you keep a minimum in the account. They also have a personal savings account for $5/mos with fee waived if you keep $300 minimum in it. However, I'd have to get the money transferred from my BMO Harris account first to that RBC account and that costs $25 (domestic US transfer). Given I'll only be transferring money back once or twice a year it's not really worth the hassle. As I mentioned initially, RBC's US cross-border bank account is $150/mos so that's not worth getting as I pay nothing for the BMO Harris business account as long as I keep $5K in it all the time, which I will anyway. I use BMO Harris as they are integrated with my Moneris CC payment processor and so the money is deposited the next day. I was going to use TD America since I already have a business bank account with them here in Canada but unlike BMO Harris they require you to physically attend a branch in order to open a business bank account in the US! Since they have no branches in Buffalo or Western NY, that was not an option.

The only thing I don't like about BMO Harris is they don't have any branches in Buffalo or Ft Lauderdale where I go a lot so I have to pay $2.50 to take money out of an ATM. The best way to avoid that charge is to make sure I take enough cash with me (don't need a lot these days anyway) or use my BMO Harris debit card and buy something inexpensive I need like something at the grocery store and ask for cash back as there is no debit card fee for the first 500 transactions. Otherwise I'll be using my amazon.ca VISA card as there is no forex fee.

Anyway, the upshot of all this is the only bank fees I'll be paying to operate the US side of my business will be about 8 wire transfers a year overseas for inventory and 1 or 2 back to Canada for the profits in USD to my Canadian US bank account. Any profits I need to convert back to CAD will be done using Norbert's Gambit. I will be opening an RBC Direct trading account again in order to take advantage of being able to do Norbert's Gambit for the 2 x $9.99 online trading fees. TD still, after all of these years (and after RBC has allowed you to do it online for 6 years now) requires you to phone in and pay the $39 + $0.08/share to do the sell side of the Norbert's Gambit. That cost me an extra $110 USD on my last NG! Well, actually it didn't as they screwed it up so badly by forgetting to journal the shares over that I got them to credit me the entire fee.
Newbie
May 4, 2017
1 posts
Hi, I have a similar problem.
So I incorporated my business in Canada recently, and I want to sell stuff through online in US, and I was wondering are there a cross-border banking for business. Which bank do you recommend?
And I will order product oversea from China to send it to US.

I know it been two years in this post but hope you can give me some advice cause I have been searching this kind of info. Exhausted
Newbie
Mar 2, 2018
3 posts
I am in the same situation as OP. I want a US-based account and a US dollar Canadian account. I just incorporated so I'm looking to switch from RBC (not paying $150/mo in fees!).

But it seems hard to get a hold of someone at bmo who knows about the business banking with BMO Harris (US-based) business account and connecting it to a BMO US dollar account.

I spoke with BMO Harris, and I was able to get information on applying for the $15/mo (waived if >$5000 in account) business account and I'm in the process of doing that. But when it comes to the Canadian-side US-dollar account, they tell me it has to be a business US dollar account (be in the same name as the corporation) to be able to do instant transfers.

My only option that I see for the Canadian-side US-dollar account is the business US dollar checking account, but the fees for that are $6/mo + $1.25 per direct deposit + $1.25 per pre-authorized debit. I do one direct deposit per month (transfer from the US-based account to the Canadian-side US-dollar account) and one pre-authorized debit per month (to pay myself in CAD). Plus, they say to be able to do the instant transfers between the two accounts, there is another $10 monthly fee. So the monthly cost of this setup on the Canadian side would be $18.50.

So I'm wondering if you were able to find another way of doing this cross-border business banking? What setup do you have on the Canadian side? The rep who assisted me at BMO Canada about the Canada side setup didn't know much about the cross-border setup with Harris. It's likely she's missing things.

Thanks
[OP]
Deal Guru
Aug 2, 2010
13044 posts
3270 upvotes
Here 'n There
AmberD17 wrote:
Jan 8th, 2019 3:44 pm
I am in the same situation as OP. I want a US-based account and a US dollar Canadian account. I just incorporated so I'm looking to switch from RBC (not paying $150/mo in fees!).

But it seems hard to get a hold of someone at bmo who knows about the business banking with BMO Harris (US-based) business account and connecting it to a BMO US dollar account.

I spoke with BMO Harris, and I was able to get information on applying for the $15/mo (waived if >$5000 in account) business account and I'm in the process of doing that. But when it comes to the Canadian-side US-dollar account, they tell me it has to be a business US dollar account (be in the same name as the corporation) to be able to do instant transfers.

My only option that I see for the Canadian-side US-dollar account is the business US dollar checking account, but the fees for that are $6/mo + $1.25 per direct deposit + $1.25 per pre-authorized debit. I do one direct deposit per month (transfer from the US-based account to the Canadian-side US-dollar account) and one pre-authorized debit per month (to pay myself in CAD). Plus, they say to be able to do the instant transfers between the two accounts, there is another $10 monthly fee. So the monthly cost of this setup on the Canadian side would be $18.50.

So I'm wondering if you were able to find another way of doing this cross-border business banking? What setup do you have on the Canadian side? The rep who assisted me at BMO Canada about the Canada side setup didn't know much about the cross-border setup with Harris. It's likely she's missing things.

Thanks
I got free cheques from NEBS and just write a cheque on my BMO Harris USD account and deposit it into BMO Canada. Easy peasy. Zero cost.
Deal Addict
Jul 3, 2017
3382 posts
2282 upvotes
AmberD17 wrote:
Jan 8th, 2019 3:44 pm
I am in the same situation as OP. I want a US-based account and a US dollar Canadian account. I just incorporated so I'm looking to switch from RBC (not paying $150/mo in fees!).

But it seems hard to get a hold of someone at bmo who knows about the business banking with BMO Harris (US-based) business account and connecting it to a BMO US dollar account.

I spoke with BMO Harris, and I was able to get information on applying for the $15/mo (waived if >$5000 in account) business account and I'm in the process of doing that. But when it comes to the Canadian-side US-dollar account, they tell me it has to be a business US dollar account (be in the same name as the corporation) to be able to do instant transfers.

My only option that I see for the Canadian-side US-dollar account is the business US dollar checking account, but the fees for that are $6/mo + $1.25 per direct deposit + $1.25 per pre-authorized debit. I do one direct deposit per month (transfer from the US-based account to the Canadian-side US-dollar account) and one pre-authorized debit per month (to pay myself in CAD). Plus, they say to be able to do the instant transfers between the two accounts, there is another $10 monthly fee. So the monthly cost of this setup on the Canadian side would be $18.50.

So I'm wondering if you were able to find another way of doing this cross-border business banking? What setup do you have on the Canadian side? The rep who assisted me at BMO Canada about the Canada side setup didn't know much about the cross-border setup with Harris. It's likely she's missing things.

Thanks
We have the BMO Harris "Essential Business Checking" account, which waives the fees with an average (not minimum) $1500 monthly balance. We also have the crappy US$6/month + fees US$ chequing account at BMO Canada, which we don't actually have much use for now.

BMO Canada was very unhelpful with information about setting up the BMO Harris account. They're really two independent banking organizations with no synergy at all between them. The Canadian staff don't know anything about BMO Harris. They also make it awkward and more expensive than it should be to transfer money back and forth cross-border.

We don't use eonibm's strategy of writing cheques - instead we make transfers via the online portal of our business forex processor, Cambridge Mercantile. We're usually transferring US$ income directly to our BMO Cdn$ account, which CM does for no fee at a decent exchange rate, much better than BMO's. As a courtesy CM will also do same-currency transfers with no fee, so we can transfer US$ back and forth between BMO Harris and BMO Canada US$ account that way. Transfers take about 24 hours to complete.

We also find it very handy that we can deposit US$ checks received by mail via the BMO Harris mobile app. They only hold US$ check deposits for 2 business days (including Saturday!), unlike BMO Canada who holds them for 30 days by default. Only problem: the BMO Harris mobile app is marked "U.S. only" in the app stores, so you have to jump through some hoops to download it.
[OP]
Deal Guru
Aug 2, 2010
13044 posts
3270 upvotes
Here 'n There
Exp315 wrote:
Jan 9th, 2019 1:25 pm
We have the BMO Harris "Essential Business Checking" account, which waives the fees with an average (not minimum) $1500 monthly balance. We also have the crappy US$6/month + fees US$ chequing account at BMO Canada, which we don't actually have much use for now.

BMO Canada was very unhelpful with information about setting up the BMO Harris account. They're really two independent banking organizations with no synergy at all between them. The Canadian staff don't know anything about BMO Harris. They also make it awkward and more expensive than it should be to transfer money back and forth cross-border.

We don't use eonibm's strategy of writing cheques - instead we make transfers via the online portal of our business forex processor, Cambridge Mercantile. We're usually transferring US$ income directly to our BMO Cdn$ account, which CM does for no fee at a decent exchange rate, much better than BMO's. As a courtesy CM will also do same-currency transfers with no fee, so we can transfer US$ back and forth between BMO Harris and BMO Canada US$ account that way. Transfers take about 24 hours to complete.

We also find it very handy that we can deposit US$ checks received by mail via the BMO Harris mobile app. They only hold US$ check deposits for 2 business days (including Saturday!), unlike BMO Canada who holds them for 30 days by default. Only problem: the BMO Harris mobile app is marked "U.S. only" in the app stores, so you have to jump through some hoops to download it.
I use the US BMO Harris app to deposit USD cheques into my BMO Harris account too. You don't really have to jump through hoops though. Just set up a US iTunes account to download the app.

I don't use AmberD17's method of having an intermediary convert the funds to CAD for me because I get a much better rate using Norbert's Gambit with BMO Canada's InvestorLine.
Deal Addict
Dec 21, 2012
1973 posts
312 upvotes
Toronto, ON
eonibm wrote:
Jan 9th, 2019 8:48 pm
I use the US BMO Harris app to deposit USD cheques into my BMO Harris account too. You don't really have to jump through hoops though. Just set up a US iTunes account to download the app.

I don't use AmberD17's method of having an intermediary convert the funds to CAD for me because I get a much better rate using Norbert's Gambit with BMO Canada's InvestorLine.
How are you logging into the US BMO Harris app? Never works for me...keeps saying to call customer service.

FYI: best solution I found for cross border was BMO Canada USD account + BMO Harris USD account. I have additional services with the bank....but usually my transfers take a few mins. If anyone is looking to open in BMO Harris I can provide my contact who has made everything seamless. Always go to see him when I fly down to Chicago and we go for lunch.
[OP]
Deal Guru
Aug 2, 2010
13044 posts
3270 upvotes
Here 'n There
AFG786 wrote:
Jan 11th, 2019 3:34 am
How are you logging into the US BMO Harris app? Never works for me...keeps saying to call customer service.

FYI: best solution I found for cross border was BMO Canada USD account + BMO Harris USD account. I have additional services with the bank....but usually my transfers take a few mins. If anyone is looking to open in BMO Harris I can provide my contact who has made everything seamless. Always go to see him when I fly down to Chicago and we go for lunch.
Yes, that's what I advised people to use in my post #1 over 3 years ago.

However, I found out recently I don't even need the BMO Canada USD account. I got rid of it and save the monthly charge by just having the cheque deposited right into my BMO Canada InvestorLine USD account.
Newbie
Mar 2, 2018
3 posts
Exp315 wrote:
Jan 9th, 2019 1:25 pm
We have the BMO Harris "Essential Business Checking" account, which waives the fees with an average (not minimum) $1500 monthly balance. We also have the crappy US$6/month + fees US$ chequing account at BMO Canada, which we don't actually have much use for now.

BMO Canada was very unhelpful with information about setting up the BMO Harris account. They're really two independent banking organizations with no synergy at all between them. The Canadian staff don't know anything about BMO Harris. They also make it awkward and more expensive than it should be to transfer money back and forth cross-border.

We don't use eonibm's strategy of writing cheques - instead we make transfers via the online portal of our business forex processor, Cambridge Mercantile. We're usually transferring US$ income directly to our BMO Cdn$ account, which CM does for no fee at a decent exchange rate, much better than BMO's. As a courtesy CM will also do same-currency transfers with no fee, so we can transfer US$ back and forth between BMO Harris and BMO Canada US$ account that way. Transfers take about 24 hours to complete.

We also find it very handy that we can deposit US$ checks received by mail via the BMO Harris mobile app. They only hold US$ check deposits for 2 business days (including Saturday!), unlike BMO Canada who holds them for 30 days by default. Only problem: the BMO Harris mobile app is marked "U.S. only" in the app stores, so you have to jump through some hoops to download it.
Anyone got hit by the foreign transaction fee with BMO Harris?

There's a 2.8% foreign transaction fee but they clarified it's only when there's currency conversion. But I'm doubtful - I get hit by it on the RBC Visa Signature Black US credit card Everytime I do foreign payments (in USD).

There's also a 3% Debit card foreign transaction fee they said. The rep said that's even if it's in USD. But I'm yet to hear back whether it will apply to ACH and pre-authorized debit if they are set up using my account# and routing# (not by using the debit card number). I usually pay my suppliers in USD through payment services like Alibaba, Paypal or Transferwise. Those services display the location of the bank the money was sent to BMO Harris. BMO could charge foreign transaction fees if they applied. So I'm wondering if Cambridge Mercantile transactions would be seen as foreign (since the bank receiving the money is Canadian hence foreign) and if there were any fees incurred.
Deal Addict
Jul 3, 2017
3382 posts
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AmberD17 wrote:
Jan 11th, 2019 12:32 pm
Anyone got hit by the foreign transaction fee with BMO Harris?
I've used the BMO Harris debit Mastercard to pay for a few U.S. expenses. No problem there, no fees. But I tried using it to pay a US$ fee to voip.ms recently, and as it happens voip.ms is actually a Canadian company although they bill everyone in US$. That transaction was unexpectedly hit with a 2.8% "foreign transaction fee". That's different from a currency conversion fee, and appears to be common with U.S. credit cards. It's hard to compare to Canadian credit cards because foreign companies don't tend to bill in Cdn$. We just pay a combined exchange + transaction fee, usually around 2.5%.

So don't use the BMO debit Mastercard to pay for US$ expenses that actually come from a non-U.S. company.
[OP]
Deal Guru
Aug 2, 2010
13044 posts
3270 upvotes
Here 'n There
AmberD17 wrote:
Jan 11th, 2019 12:32 pm
Anyone got hit by the foreign transaction fee with BMO Harris?

There's a 2.8% foreign transaction fee but they clarified it's only when there's currency conversion. But I'm doubtful - I get hit by it on the RBC Visa Signature Black US credit card Everytime I do foreign payments (in USD).

There's also a 3% Debit card foreign transaction fee they said. The rep said that's even if it's in USD. But I'm yet to hear back whether it will apply to ACH and pre-authorized debit if they are set up using my account# and routing# (not by using the debit card number). I usually pay my suppliers in USD through payment services like Alibaba, Paypal or Transferwise. Those services display the location of the bank the money was sent to BMO Harris. BMO could charge foreign transaction fees if they applied. So I'm wondering if Cambridge Mercantile transactions would be seen as foreign (since the bank receiving the money is Canadian hence foreign) and if there were any fees incurred.
I've been using BMO Harris for over 3 years. There are no 'foreign transaction fees' or 'debit card foreign transaction fees' as there is no foreign transaction being processed as USD is being deposited or debited on a US-domiciled USD bank account. There is no fee for ACH either. I pay some suppliers that way.

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