USD Bank Accounts and Credit Cards

Fennella Brewer

Earning My Ears
Joined
Oct 2, 2015
The cheapest way to convert CDN to US is with a no foreign transaction fee credit card. All you'll be charged is the spot rate, with no foreign exchange fee. This will also beat exchanging money at the branch, where they embed the foreign transaction fee into the exchange rate they offer, often between 2% to 3%. Chase is the only issuer in Canada that currently does not charge foreign transaction fees on its credit cards.
Did Chase recently sell their Canadian credit card accounts to Scotiabank? If so, I would assume that there is a transaction foreign exchange fee.
 

isabellea

Combining beach and Disney!
Joined
Jan 22, 2014
Did Chase recently sell their Canadian credit card accounts to Scotiabank? If so, I would assume that there is a transaction foreign exchange fee.
I have a Chase Amazon Visa card and no 2.5% fee. To see my account I also log in on Chase Canada website. Never saw a mention they sold to Scotiabank from them.
 
  • bankr63

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 3, 2010
    Actually, the entire Chase portfolio had been sold to Scotiabank, this was mentioned in another thread here, and I know one of the principals at Chase that was involved. The no foreign exchange is still in effect and will remain there until such time as the cardholder agreement is updated, and that will likely take some time. I do expect it will go away eventually, but probably not for several months yet - and it better stay in effect for my March vacation!!
     

    ShaunaM

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 9, 2010
    Hi all
    I am pondering a Chase card ; does anyone know if any of them offer travel insurance with he card. Our existing card provides insurance for travel booked with the card; for example trip interruption..
     

    bankr63

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 3, 2010
    Hi all
    I am pondering a Chase card ; does anyone know if any of them offer travel insurance with he card. Our existing card provides insurance for travel booked with the card; for example trip interruption..
    Not certain, but I would check the Marriott card as the most likely. I know my Amazon card does not, but I tend to book the travel portion locally using a C$ card that does.
     
  • bankr63

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 3, 2010
    Actually, the entire Chase portfolio had been sold to Scotiabank, this was mentioned in another thread here, and I know one of the principals at Chase that was involved. The no foreign exchange is still in effect and will remain there until such time as the cardholder agreement is updated, and that will likely take some time. I do expect it will go away eventually, but probably not for several months yet - and it better stay in effect for my March vacation!!
    Replying to my own post here with an update.

    The piece I read in one of the banking industry press sites indicated that the entire portfolio sold, but when checking my statement this month the Chase site certainly makes it sound like Scotiabank only picked up the 3 Sears cards from them. So it may be business as usual for the other Chase cards including Amazon and Marriott. Doing a little Happy Dance! :yay::tongue::yay:
     

    ShaunaM

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 9, 2010
    Not certain, but I would check the Marriott card as the most likely. I know my Amazon card does not, but I tend to book the travel portion locally using a C$ card that does.
    I called and neither one does, the Marriott has a bit for car rental but that is it. We are staying on site and the balance is due next week, so not enough time to get the new card here anyway. So I will keep that on my existing card, I think we will largely just the Marriott going forward on in park expenses. I shifted my park hoppers to flight centre.ca and can pay in Canadian funds with my existing card and all the insurance built in and avoid FOREX that way at least for that. Now if we were staying off site and did not to pay up front I would have charged hotel too, I sleuthed around and could not get the same onsite rate or even close to it in CAD which is a bummer, but the hotel will be the only thing we will pay with our other card in USD.
     

    bankr63

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 3, 2010
    I called and neither one does, the Marriott has a bit for car rental but that is it. We are staying on site and the balance is due next week, so not enough time to get the new card here anyway. So I will keep that on my existing card, I think we will largely just the Marriott going forward on in park expenses. I shifted my park hoppers to flight centre.ca and can pay in Canadian funds with my existing card and all the insurance built in and avoid FOREX that way at least for that. Now if we were staying off site and did not to pay up front I would have charged hotel too, I sleuthed around and could not get the same onsite rate or even close to it in CAD which is a bummer, but the hotel will be the only thing we will pay with our other card in USD.
    A quick tip for the hotel. I generally give them my Canadian card with coverages to hold the deposit against. This doesn't cause any forex unless they actually put a charge through. On checkout, I swap the balance over to my Amazon with no forex. That way if there is an issue, you can lean on the card with the coverage, but when you are done you can skip the forex. Watch for some hotels (including Disney Resorts) that will actually place a charge on your card each time you go over a preset limit. This only works if the balance isn't charged until checkout.

    As someone who worked in Credit Card for several years, I am all about maximizing the benefits I get from the cards I choose to carry (and I choose my cards carefully), while minimizing the amount of money I actually give the CC companies (in both fees and interest).
     

    ShaunaM

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 9, 2010
    A quick tip for the hotel. I generally give them my Canadian card with coverages to hold the deposit against. This doesn't cause any forex unless they actually put a charge through. On checkout, I swap the balance over to my Amazon with no forex. That way if there is an issue, you can lean on the card with the coverage, but when you are done you can skip the forex. Watch for some hotels (including Disney Resorts) that will actually place a charge on your card each time you go over a preset limit. This only works if the balance isn't charged until checkout.

    As someone who worked in Credit Card for several years, I am all about maximizing the benefits I get from the cards I choose to carry (and I choose my cards carefully), while minimizing the amount of money I actually give the CC companies (in both fees and interest).
    We are staying on site and package needs to be payed in full 30 days out...
     
  • disneymath

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 10, 2006
    The scotiabank replacement for the Chase Sears Mastercard is maintaining the no for-ex fee ... at least for now. It's the only reason I opted to keep it.
     

    Tam&Sam

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Feb 23, 2016
    My fiance and I research the topic of USD credit cards this weekend and found that 2 really stood out: Amazon and Marriott Visa. The common advantages of both of these cards are the absence of the 2.5% commission on foreign currency transactions and the cards are issued in CAD meaning you do not need a USD bank account to pay them.

    Your USD expenses are converted to CAD on the credit card with the rate trading at the moment of processing +/- spread which means you're getting the same conversion rate you would if you would take your $CAD and deposit them into a USD bank account. This is a neat option since it eliminates the need of a USD account and potential bank fees from keeping the account active while making sure you get the best conversion rate possible.

    The cards differ when it comes to the annual fee and rewards. The Amazon credit card has no annual fees whatsoever and rewards you with a 2% cash back on your amazon.ca expenses and 1% for everything else. The Marriott credit card has an annual fee of $120 which is wavered the first year and it rewards you with points for their hotel chain as well as a free night per year; we analysed that the annual fee = the free night.

    The choice to go with one card or the other is highly personal and will vary on your needs and/or consumption behaviour. We ultimately decided to go with the Marriott Visa since we do not make many purchases on Amazon.ca and we wanted this card to be a secondary card used only for our USD expenses and vacation. We also go to the Marriott on a regular basis to visit family; therefore, the annual fee doesn't really bother us since it's giving us a free night that we would have paid for otherwise. Instead of costing us $150-$200 it's costing us the annual fee of $120 if you're looking at numbers closely so it's not "free" but definitely cheaper and the points have a use to us since we visit the Marriott chain often.

    There are other strategies to cut on cost when it comes to the foreign exchange costs going from CAD to USD in this period where our currency has depreciated but we found that this one was the easiest and it didn't require much effort. One of them is to open up a $USD account from a USA bank (like many mentioned in earlier posts RBC and TD offers it) and transfer money when the exchange is low and transfer it back to CAD when the exchange rate is closer to par. This is doable but I would like to refer to this as scientific lottery; it's hard to predict the exchange rate in the global economy we are part of so it might be difficult to get the best return and it will require a lot of time and dedication.

    I hope this post helps out a few people and thank you for reading if you got to here...quite lengthy post! :D
     

    bankr63

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 3, 2010
    Your USD expenses are converted to CAD on the credit card with the rate trading at the moment of processing +/- spread which means you're getting the same conversion rate you would if you would take your $CAD and deposit them into a USD bank account. This is a neat option since it eliminates the need of a USD account and potential bank fees from keeping the account active while making sure you get the best conversion rate possible.
    Not quite true. When you deposit C$ to a US$ account through most major banks you will pay a fee or spread charged by the bank. Generally 2.5 to 3%. These two cards charge the going Visa or MC exchange rate (with no spread), that I generally find to be within 0.1% (one tenth of one percent) of the Bank of Canada noon rate. You are actually getting a better deal with the these cards than from your bank. But otherwise, an excellent post!

    And a good argument for why each person needs to make their own choices. We pick Amazon because we like cash back in hand. The rewards always mean that you have to take the night; if you don't take a vacation, or worse, take a vacation to "use up" the reward, you are losing. And you have to stay in Marriott hotel whether you want to or not. Fact is, MOST rewards go unredeemed in the credit card business. Cash, well, that always gets used. Take that from a former credit card banker, we bank on you not using these rewards...
     

    Tam&Sam

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Feb 23, 2016
    Thank you bankr63 for the precision on the bank accounts! Always something new to learn!
     

    Fennella Brewer

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Oct 2, 2015
    At this point in time, the Sears Momentum Master Charge does not charge the conversion fee. This is because of an agreement when they took over Chase Sears MC accounts. I used the card during my Disney trip two weeks ago and I paid only the exchange. This may be temporary and not applicable to new accounts. But it was nice.

    I do have the RBC US banking but since I have to pay bank conversion rates to deposit in the US account, it doesn't save anything short term.
     

    ottawamom

    The "Air Miles" Lady
    Joined
    Mar 9, 2005
    We have a US account with BMO. I go to a local foreign exchange business (Accurate) and then take that US cash to the bank and deposit it. We have a USD credit card with BMO and transfer funds from our US account to the BMO CC to pay it. We are charged $1 for this transaction each time we do it. No annual fees on the account. The CC has a $35 annual fee which is waived if you spend $1000 in a calendar year.

    We don't earn much interest on the US account but we don't get much interest on our savings account either. By doing things this way I control the exchange rate I convert funds at. When the rate is good (its a relative thing) I convert more and stock pile it to use later when needed.
     

    Kontos

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Feb 20, 2016
    We have a US account with BMO. I go to a local foreign exchange business (Accurate) and then take that US cash to the bank and deposit it. We have a USD credit card with BMO and transfer funds from our US account to the BMO CC to pay it. We are charged $1 for this transaction each time we do it. No annual fees on the account. The CC has a $35 annual fee which is waived if you spend $1000 in a calendar year.

    We don't earn much interest on the US account but we don't get much interest on our savings account either. By doing things this way I control the exchange rate I convert funds at. When the rate is good (its a relative thing) I convert more and stock pile it to use later when needed.
    I also have BMO mastercard but no other accounts with them. I've just been going in and paying with USD cash although it's a pain cause I can't pay at a machine and have to stand in line. God their tellers are slow
     

    Schooner

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    May 16, 2016
    I just paid for the entire DVC membership on my RBC US Visa, and they told me that if I call them directly, they'd let me transfer my points into Avion points (As long as it's under 30,000 points). Just some information for any Avion people out there.
     

    KNovacovschi

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 30, 2007
    We have a US account with BMO. I go to a local foreign exchange business (Accurate) and then take that US cash to the bank and deposit it. We have a USD credit card with BMO and transfer funds from our US account to the BMO CC to pay it. We are charged $1 for this transaction each time we do it. No annual fees on the account. The CC has a $35 annual fee which is waived if you spend $1000 in a calendar year.

    We don't earn much interest on the US account but we don't get much interest on our savings account either. By doing things this way I control the exchange rate I convert funds at. When the rate is good (its a relative thing) I convert more and stock pile it to use later when needed.
    I also have BMO mastercard but no other accounts with them. I've just been going in and paying with USD cash although it's a pain cause I can't pay at a machine and have to stand in line. God their tellers are slow
    I'm glad you brought this up as I was just going to ask. We just received a BMO US CC and paid off our trip with it however didn't realize or know how to pay off the card since we have no accounts with BMO. What I'm wondering though, just to be clear, is we can take out the equivalent in US that we need and just take that US to BMO and pay it off?
     

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