Personal Finance

How are you all doing the cross-border / USD banking with no fees?

  • Last Updated:
  • Jun 6th, 2021 8:38 pm
[OP]
Sr. Member
Sep 26, 2008
703 posts
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How are you all doing the cross-border / USD banking with no fees?

I've come across a few posts hidden in the major threads, they mentioned both TD and RBC have an option where you have 2 accounts, a USD one in Canada and a USD one in the USA. They can move money between them for free, no fees, conversions, etc. Then pay bills, credit cards, ACH, etc. with USD.

I have some USD in a Canadian USD account, but I can't do things like bill pay or ACH. I'd have to convert it to CAD, then use another service to convert it back to USD to buy things in USD.

I can't seem to find the RBC options with no fees. I think this might be the TD stuff:
Open this account:
https://www.td.com/ca/en/personal-banki ... g-account/
Then open this account:
https://www.td.com/us/en/personal-banki ... nvenience/

Maybe talk with the staff or whatever to enable cross-border transferring and you're set? Not sure though.
21 replies
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Feb 14, 2002
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Only TD and BMO offer no-fee US checking accounts. CIBC has one, but you need a US driver's license to apply.

It's the smoothest if you are a TD Canada account holder and apply for TD USA, or BMO Canada and apply for BMO Harris USA.
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quanta wrote: Only TD and BMO offer no-fee US checking accounts. CIBC has one, but you need a US driver's license to apply.

It's the smoothest if you are a TD Canada account holder and apply for TD USA, or BMO Canada and apply for BMO Harris USA.
On the CIBC Bank USA checking account, I opened one online recently. I don't have a US DL. It's free for the first year.

@syuzh , if you only plan on using USD in the US, you probably do not need a Canadian-based US bank account. You can have a US-based account only and then if you need to buy USD, you can use TransferWise (or similar) to buy USD and then transfer it to your US account.
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Your options for cross-border banking are essentially TD, BMO, CIBC, and RBC. (Scotia doesn't have a US presence.) None of these are free, but the two that come closest are TD and BMO. For people with more modest or occasional American banking needs, Transferwise is also worth considering.

TD USA's Convenience Checking Account has a $100 minimum balance to avoid a $15/month fee. TD Canada Trust's U.S. Daily Interest Chequing Account is pay-per-use at $1.25/transaction, or free with a $1500 minimum balance.

BMO Harris' Smart Advantage Account has no minimum balance, though you should keep $1 in your account to prevent it from getting purged. BMO Canada will only give you a USD account if you get a plan, so you have to pay a monthly fee of at least $4 (the Practical Plan) or maintain a minimum balance of at least $3000 (the Plus Plan).

You can read about more differences between TD and BMO's cross-border setups here.
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If I recall, the 100% no-fee CIBC USA account requires you to be a US resident. The CIBC Smart USA account you have is only free for the first year. Then it's $5/mo.
The no-fee choices left are:

TD Convenience Checking - Free if you keep a minimum balance of $100
https://www.td.com/ca/en/personal-banki ... r-banking/

BMO Harris Smart Advantage - Free with no minimum if you choose e-statements
https://www.bmo.com/main/personal/bank- ... er-banking

This is the CIBC Smart USA account:
https://us.cibc.com/en/personal/checkin ... count.html
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Sr. Member
Oct 21, 2003
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So, how does one go about opening up the TD or BMO US-Based account? You must go into a branch or can everything be done online?

Thanks
Newbie
Apr 9, 2013
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Is TD going to be the cheapest option among these banks?
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Dan325ci wrote: So, how does one go about opening up the TD or BMO US-Based account? You must go into a branch or can everything be done online?

Thanks
With TD, it can be entirely online. You just go to https://www.td.com/ca/en/personal-banki ... r-banking/ and click on the "Long-term travellers" tab and go to the "TD Convenience Checking" and then click on "Open Account"

On the Canadian side of things, you can either stay with "Long-term travellers" and pick "Borderless Plan" and then select "Open Account" or you can click on the "Short-term travellers" and then click on the "Open Account" within "U.S. Daily Interest Chequing Account" depending on how much of a minimum balance you want to maintain and/or whether you want to pay per transaction.
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my163cih wrote: Is TD going to be the cheapest option among these banks?
It is the option that I use and I believe that it is the least expensive option based on my quick research and my habits and US funds availability.
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Oct 21, 2003
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lmcjipo wrote: With TD, it can be entirely online. You just go to https://www.td.com/ca/en/personal-banki ... r-banking/ and click on the "Long-term travellers" tab and go to the "TD Convenience Checking" and then click on "Open Account"

On the Canadian side of things, you can either stay with "Long-term travellers" and pick "Borderless Plan" and then select "Open Account" or you can click on the "Short-term travellers" and then click on the "Open Account" within "U.S. Daily Interest Chequing Account" depending on how much of a minimum balance you want to maintain and/or whether you want to pay per transaction.
That seems to be the link to open a USD account in Canada. I already have a borderless plan. What I am looking for is a US Based USA bank account to have some money in the U.S. and be able to link my Paypal account there. Can that be opened online?
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Jul 1, 2006
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syuzh wrote: I can't seem to find the RBC options with no fees. I think this might be the TD stuff:
The RBC no fee on the Canadian side:
https://www.rbcroyalbank.com/accounts/us-e-savings.html

On the US side:
WIth $1K deposit, this is free (it is essentially a chequing account that pays interest but has a limit of 6 withdrawals):
https://www.rbcbank.com/cross-border/us ... vings.html
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Dan325ci wrote: That seems to be the link to open a USD account in Canada. I already have a borderless plan. What I am looking for is a US Based USA bank account to have some money in the U.S. and be able to link my Paypal account there. Can that be opened online?
You can apply for TD USA's Convenience Checking Account here. If you decide to go with BMO Harris, the OP and thread summary in this thread tell you what you need to know.

I'm curious, why do you have the Borderless Plan instead of the U.S. Daily Interest Chequing Account. The Borderless Plan's only real perk is a mildly better exchange rate, but you can get a better rate by using Knightsbridge, XE, or Norbert's gambit. The U.S. Daily Interest Chequing Account lets you waive fees with a $1500 minimum balance, while the Borderless Plan requires $3000.
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Dan325ci wrote: That seems to be the link to open a USD account in Canada. I already have a borderless plan. What I am looking for is a US Based USA bank account to have some money in the U.S. and be able to link my Paypal account there. Can that be opened online?
You have to read the top section of what I posted.
With TD, it can be entirely online. You just go to https://www.td.com/ca/en/personal-banki ... r-banking/ and click on the "Long-term travellers" tab and go to the "TD Convenience Checking" and then click on "Open Account"
The bottom section/paragraph refers to opening a TD Canada Trust USD account.
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Oct 21, 2003
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lmcjipo wrote: You have to read the top section of what I posted.



The bottom section/paragraph refers to opening a TD Canada Trust USD account.
I saw the link you gave was for the Canadian side and only options were for Canadian based accounts. I used someweirdo's link above and it took me to the right place. However, I get stuck at the select account section. Everytime I choose one of the checking account options it just redirects me back to the start of the application. Really horrible experience to open an account with TD so far lol.
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Dan325ci wrote: I saw the link you gave was for the Canadian side and only options were for Canadian based accounts. I used someweirdo's link above and it took me to the right place. However, I get stuck at the select account section. Everytime I choose one of the checking account options it just redirects me back to the start of the application. Really horrible experience to open an account with TD so far lol.
Using my link, to open up an account at TD Bank NA (which is the US bank) and not TD Canada Trust, the image for this is below (if you click on the Bordeless Plan link, this is for TD Canada Trust):

Screenshot 2021-04-10 132131.png
[OP]
Sr. Member
Sep 26, 2008
703 posts
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sckor wrote: The RBC no fee on the Canadian side:
https://www.rbcroyalbank.com/accounts/us-e-savings.html

On the US side:
WIth $1K deposit, this is free (it is essentially a chequing account that pays interest but has a limit of 6 withdrawals):
https://www.rbcbank.com/cross-border/us ... vings.html
This is one of the most annoying things with RBC. Regarding the US side account, it says $0 monthly fee if balance is above $1000.
OK. Great, what if it's not above $1000? What's the fee? Not listed anywhere on the site.
And does it need to be above $1000 at the end of each day in the month? Or just the average of all days in the month?
The lack of details and information is enough to write them off completely.
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May 16, 2017
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syuzh wrote: This is one of the most annoying things with RBC. Regarding the US side account, it says $0 monthly fee if balance is above $1000.
OK. Great, what if it's not above $1000? What's the fee? Not listed anywhere on the site.
And does it need to be above $1000 at the end of each day in the month? Or just the average of all days in the month?
The lack of details and information is enough to write them off completely.
Takes a bit of digging - but the link to all the account disclosures and documents IS on the pages you reference. At the bottom - "Account Documents" then "Personal Schedule of Fees".

$5 monthly fee waived for minimum monthly balance of $1000. ("minimum means exactly that - if at any time the account balance is less than the minimum, you will be dinged).
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robsaw wrote: Takes a bit of digging - but the link to all the account disclosures and documents IS on the pages you reference. At the bottom - "Account Documents" then "Personal Schedule of Fees".

$5 monthly fee waived for minimum monthly balance of $1000. ("minimum means exactly that - if at any time the account balance is less than the minimum, you will be dinged).
Let's just give people the link.
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Dec 14, 2017
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Know people haven’t commented in a long time

I’m a TD Cad customer

Can confirm TD USA account can be opened and is free if you keep 100 USD in that account. It’s great

Also can confirm BMO Harris US allows Canadians to sign up with no US ID and no BMO CAD account required.

Both have been great so far since they are free.

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