Personal Finance

US bank account and credit card for Canadians

  • Last Updated:
  • Aug 20th, 2016 7:19 pm
Newbie
Sep 20, 2010
66 posts
21 upvotes

US bank account and credit card for Canadians

Does anyone know how I can get a US bank account and US credit card? I am a Canadian who does not officially reside in the US but I often do work US companies who will only pay me in USD if I have a US bank account.

I would love to just set up a bank account IN THE UNITED STATES and have a US based credit card. (Note: I know Royal Bank and most other Canadian banks have US dollar accounts, but this is not the same as having a US bank account.).

Many thanks.
3624 replies
Banned
User avatar
Dec 10, 2008
1659 posts
49 upvotes
Take a day off and cross the border. Most smaller banks will open an account for you. I have one with Community Bank. Key bank is Canadian friendly too.

Everything else is hit and miss.

BTW, you mean VISA/MC debit card, right?
Deal Addict
User avatar
Nov 22, 2002
2612 posts
444 upvotes
Opening a bank account in the US requires a passport and a mailing address.
I used a friend's address and managed to open an account with Bank of America in Bellingham, WA.

Currently I am working on getting an American Express card. I'm doing it through their Special Handling department.
This is all done over the phone. Presumably, if you have an AMEX card in Canada, they can transfer your credit history over.
My application is still "in processing" stage according to their rep.

I'll create a new thread on this topic if everything goes successfully.

PS: Somehow Capital One already has my info (either culled from Bank of America and/or AMEX) and they have already sent me TWO credit card applications to my US address. Hilarious.
Banned
User avatar
Dec 10, 2008
1659 posts
49 upvotes
Magoomba wrote:
Sep 21st, 2010 8:08 pm
Opening a bank account in the US requires a passport and a mailing address.
I used a friend's address and managed to open an account with Bank of America in Bellingham, WA.
I just opened a PO box in the States and it worked wonderfully.
Sr. Member
User avatar
Aug 7, 2010
548 posts
67 upvotes
If you go with Harris Bank, you can use the BMO ATMs to withdraw cash fee-free, whenever the exchange rate seems acceptable to you. They also have a true US based mastercard, but you have to call them to apply (no online).
Deal Addict
User avatar
Sep 22, 2009
2739 posts
194 upvotes
Canadia
Just do RBC Bank USA. You don't even have to go to the US. It's a true US-based bank account, and they'll give you a true US-based credit card, line of credit and other stuff. No fees at all for any of this.

Can be opened at a local RBC branch in Canada (even though the account will technically be based in Florida).

Also if you keep a balance of 700 bucks, they will give you free ATM withdrawals at any ATM in America, and refund the fee charged by the owner of the ATM. So you when you are in the US you can use Citi ATMs, Bank of America ATMs, JP Morgan ATMs, etc all for free; you never have to think about finding an RBC ATM (max 4 times a month I think though, so don't overdo it).

I've yet to see another US bank that offers all this with no fees whatsoever, and no requirement to show up in the United States to open the US bank account. That includes the "US divisions" of all the other Canadian banks.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Mar 30, 2004
2913 posts
267 upvotes
Harris Bank lets Canadians open up accounts on their website without stepping foot in the states.
Deal Addict
Oct 9, 2005
1776 posts
140 upvotes
nauru wrote:
Sep 21st, 2010 8:55 pm
Just do RBC Bank USA. You don't even have to go to the US. It's a true US-based bank account, and they'll give you a true US-based credit card, line of credit and other stuff. No fees at all for any of this.

Can be opened at a local RBC branch in Canada (even though the account will technically be based in Florida).

Also if you keep a balance of 700 bucks, they will give you free ATM withdrawals at any ATM in America, and refund the fee charged by the owner of the ATM. So you when you are in the US you can use Citi ATMs, Bank of America ATMs, JP Morgan ATMs, etc all for free; you never have to think about finding an RBC ATM (max 4 times a month I think though, so don't overdo it).

I've yet to see another US bank that offers all this with no fees whatsoever, and no requirement to show up in the United States to open the US bank account. That includes the "US divisions" of all the other Canadian banks.

The best part is online banking "one sign in" that lets you transfer to/from and access the account along with your Canadian-based ones.
Jr. Member
Jul 5, 2006
153 posts
12 upvotes
Magoomba wrote:
Sep 21st, 2010 8:08 pm
Opening a bank account in the US requires a passport and a mailing address.
I used a friend's address and managed to open an account with Bank of America in Bellingham, WA.

Currently I am working on getting an American Express card. I'm doing it through their Special Handling department.
This is all done over the phone. Presumably, if you have an AMEX card in Canada, they can transfer your credit history over.
My application is still "in processing" stage according to their rep.

I'll create a new thread on this topic if everything goes successfully.

PS: Somehow Capital One already has my info (either culled from Bank of America and/or AMEX) and they have already sent me TWO credit card applications to my US address. Hilarious.

+1. I've done that successfully also and Amex is the only one that will export your Cdn credit history and give you a card. I would be interested to see if you can get those other applications to go thru though, I had "pre approved" applications that didn't, and this was at the height of the easy money so I am not sure it would be easier now. The other thing you might want to try to build up a US credit history is to apply for dept store credit cards like at Macy's or Saks. They should be ok with Cdn applications especially at the outlet malls near the border. Try to get at least 3 items on your US credit records and you'll be on your way to bulding a credit history there.
Newbie
Aug 10, 2010
45 posts
5 upvotes
AB
jpm88 wrote:
Sep 23rd, 2010 4:48 pm
+1. I've done that successfully also and Amex is the only one that will export your Cdn credit history and give you a card. I would be interested to see if you can get those other applications to go thru though, I had "pre approved" applications that didn't, and this was at the height of the easy money so I am not sure it would be easier now. The other thing you might want to try to build up a US credit history is to apply for dept store credit cards like at Macy's or Saks. They should be ok with Cdn applications especially at the outlet malls near the border. Try to get at least 3 items on your US credit records and you'll be on your way to bulding a credit history there.

In order to have , or "build" , US credit file , you MUST have SSN
Without SSN , you don't have US credit file , period .
Deal Addict
User avatar
Sep 22, 2009
2739 posts
194 upvotes
Canadia
jpm88 wrote:
Sep 23rd, 2010 4:48 pm
+1. I've done that successfully also and Amex is the only one that will export your Cdn credit history and give you a card. I would be interested to see if you can get those other applications to go thru though, I had "pre approved" applications that didn't, and this was at the height of the easy money so I am not sure it would be easier now. The other thing you might want to try to build up a US credit history is to apply for dept store credit cards like at Macy's or Saks. They should be ok with Cdn applications especially at the outlet malls near the border. Try to get at least 3 items on your US credit records and you'll be on your way to bulding a credit history there.

Are you sure that just having US credit products such as credit cards will start you building a credit history in the US, even without a social security number and without an ITIN? If so, please post credible source. I have been wondering this myself and have received conflicting reports. Thanks.
Jr. Member
Jul 5, 2006
153 posts
12 upvotes
Good point on the SSN, I forgot about that little detail cuz I got one from working there and so was just trying to share the parts after that to eventually get enough credit to get loans there. Let me see if I can find a definite answer but it sounds like it would be tricky. However I guess it wouldn't hurt to get the products, then if you get a SSN# in the future then maybe you can just join the card histories to the SSN.
[OP]
Newbie
Sep 20, 2010
66 posts
21 upvotes
Thanks for all the replies. You all rock! I will try RBC's US based account since I already bank with them. Failing that, I will give harris a try.
Jr. Member
Mar 10, 2003
143 posts
13 upvotes
guessaaa wrote:
Sep 22nd, 2010 12:40 am
The best part is online banking "one sign in" that lets you transfer to/from and access the account along with your Canadian-based ones.

Does anyone know if you can do email money xfer from another bank account into the RBC Bank US account or you have to have RBC Royal Bank to perform a fund transfer? I dont really want to open up an RBC Royal bank acct too ...
× < >

Top