Personal Finance

Which bank to use; Sterling Savings or Banner ? (Point Roberts/Blaine)

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  • Mar 12th, 2010 6:32 pm
[OP]
Sr. Member
Sep 26, 2008
667 posts
205 upvotes

Which bank to use; Sterling Savings or Banner ? (Point Roberts/Blaine)

I'm looking to open a USD account, mainly for buying stuff and the occasional travel expenses. Looking at them both, they seem to offer the same stuff really. Any reason one is better than the other?
I was wondering, are they linked like our credit unions? Example, I can deposit and withdraw from any CU ABM/ATM all over Canada, without any fees whatsoever.


I don't know if this is the best way to do things, but I figure I could save money on my online purchases this way. I'll use xetrade to buy my USD with CDN and send it to my account in the US and use their visa-debit thing or something. The rates are way better than what my Visa charges me for converting currency. This sound about right? Or is there a better way of doing things?

I'd appreciate any advice, thanks for reading.
4 replies
Deal Fanatic
Mar 6, 2005
5782 posts
802 upvotes
I don't think so, I think just choose the one that suits you the best. For example if you like to go to Bellingham, I don't think Sterling has a branch there but Banner does.

I know Sterling has Exchange ATM access BUT since the Canadian/US systems are different you obviously cannot deposit money in Canada. I believe there are fees for using the Canadian exchange network withdrawals (check with them). In the US it's a bit tougher since Banks aren't as friendly in terms of non-customer use fees can be quite steep.

Do you hold a lot of USD? Sure you might be able to save a bit but unless you hold a lot of US I wouldn't say it's way better than what your Visa charges. XE Trade and TD Borderless seem to be similar (about 1.5%), when you factor in the reward (if you have decent rewards) from your VISA, it's actually not all that different if you are always converting CAD --> USD.

What's also to say that you convert a whole bunch and then the USD goes down, but it can go the other way too.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Sep 26, 2008
667 posts
205 upvotes
Thank you tkyoshi.

Sorry, I didn't clarify the part about ATMs very well. I meant transactions within the US. I take it using another bank's ATM would incur fees.

Whoa, only 1.5%... My card sucks then, I'm getting hit with like 4%. =/
No, I don't hold a lot of USD, but I buy a lot of stuff in USD though.

Anyway, thanks again.
Newbie
Oct 19, 2006
45 posts
Vancouver, BC
I've used Sterling Savings for the last 3 years or so. No complaints about their service.

I have a USD Mastercard that I use to make purchases when traveling (or to purchase items online). That means I also have a Canadian-based USD chequing account to pay the credit card bill, etc.

I just use the Sterling Savings account to write US cheques (for investments, etc.)

It's another way to do things, anyways.
Deal Fanatic
Mar 6, 2005
5782 posts
802 upvotes
syuzh wrote: Thank you tkyoshi.

Sorry, I didn't clarify the part about ATMs very well. I meant transactions within the US. I take it using another bank's ATM would incur fees.

Whoa, only 1.5%... My card sucks then, I'm getting hit with like 4%. =/
No, I don't hold a lot of USD, but I buy a lot of stuff in USD though.

Anyway, thanks again.
Ohh ok, yeah generally you will get dinged at any 3rd party ATM. Bank of America ATMs are the most common but also generally have the highest fees.

One thing you can do is a lot of places in the US will offer cashback like Safeway, Walmart, etc... When you do a debit, ask for cashback, they will usually let you take up to around $100 per transaction. So if you buy $5 of stuff, and you want $40 they will just debit your bank account for $45, no extra fees for doing this.

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