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Snowbirds: Bank at Home with a U.S.-based Bank Account


Published May 28, 2020 • 3 Min Read

As you adjust to the new routine of managing your day-to-day responsibilities from home, like many Canadians you may be looking for ways to perform U.S. banking transactions without leaving the house. A U.S. based bank account that offers U.S. banking services digitally may be the solution you need.

U.S. Banking from Home

Banking from the comfort of your home using an online account or mobile app is a quick, easy and secure way to conduct all of your cross-border transactions. But not all U.S. based accounts are equal. Look for an account that offers these helpful features:

  • Move money across the border  You will want to be able to exchange your currency and instantly transfer it south conveniently from your mobile device or computer – to do this, look for a bank that will allow you to connect your Canadian and U.S. accounts. Ensure you can also transfer your U.S. money north of the border too in order to benefit from the favourable exchange rate or move money from the sale of U.S. property home to Canada.

  • Pay U.S. bills online — If you have unpaid U.S. expenses or bills like credit cards, condo fees, property management fees, club dues or U.S. utilities, paying them from Canada without a U.S. account can be challenging. Having a U.S. bank allows you to pay those bills online in U.S. dollars.

  • Deposit U.S. cheques instantly — Do you have U.S. cheques on hand from renters, employers or another source? Canadian financial institutions often won’t accept a cheque from another country, so look for a U.S. account that allows you to deposit those cheques remotely into your U.S. account using your mobile device or scanner and desktop computer.

  • Send bank wires via telephone — If you sometimes need to send U.S bank wires, look for an account which allows you to send U.S. wires over the phone so there’s no need to enter a branch.

Pro Tip! If you’re shopping online with a U.S. retailer but using your Canadian credit card you’re likely being charged 2.5 per cent foreign transaction fee at the time of your currency exchange. Avoid this foreign transaction fee by making your U.S. purchases with a U.S.-based credit card instead.

And finally, look for a U.S. account which allows you to apply online, doesn’t require a permanent U.S. address and uses your Canadian credit history towards your application. Start by researching financial institutions you are familiar with and trust.

RBC Bank is a U.S. bank created specifically for Canadians.

Link your RBC Canadian and U.S. accounts to transfer funds in real time — for free.1 Plus, easily manage all of your accounts online using your mobile devices or computer.

If you already have a Canadian account with RBC, it will only take you five minutes to apply online for a U.S. based bank account or credit card. Learn More.

1. Standard account charges may apply. Maximum transaction limits may apply and are subject to change. Availability of the money will depend on the time when it is sent from Royal Bank of Canada or RBC Bank. Transaction may not appear on your RBC Bank account transaction history until the following day but will reflect the date of transfer.

This article is intended as general information only and is not to be relied upon as constituting legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. Information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date but we do not guarantee its accuracy and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the authors as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or any of its affiliates.

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Banking/ Digital banking Cross-Border Snowbird