In this latest blog post, we’re going to cover opening a US bank account as a Canadian.
How to Get American Credit Cards as a Canadian articles:
- How to Get Your ITIN Number
- Opening a bank account in the USA (so you can pay off your credit card balance)
- Getting an American mailing address
- Your First American Credit Card
- Getting a US Phone Number
Why you need to open a US bank account as a Canadian if you want American credit cards
If you plan on getting American credit cards, then you’re going to need to open a US bank account. The purpose of the US bank account is the following:
First, you can use your US bank account to pay off your American credit cards. Second, if you apply for a credit card from another American bank, then you can ask your US bank branch if they can provide you with supporting documents.
There are two major ways you can accomplish opening a US bank account as a Canadian.
Method 1: Royal Bank, TD Bank, or CIBC Bank
First, you can open a US bank account through existing Canadian banks using the cross-border method. The two major banks in Canada that you’re going to want to use will either be RBC or TD Bank.
To open an American bank account through RBC or TD, you can either go in-branch to set this up or use the links below to open your account online:
Apparently, RBC’s fees are lower so that might be the better option. I personally use CIBC’s cross border banking as my second USA bank account. I did that for the ease of paying off my American credit cards when I cannot deposit money to my other American bank account.
Do keep in mind that where you bank is also where you need your US mailing address to be at if you want to get credit cards from Bank of America or Chase just to name a few…
This leads us to the second method of opening a US bank account.
Method 2: Physically opening a bank account in the US
If you live close to the American border, then it’s worth investigating the US banks on the other side to see if they would let you open a bank account as a Canadian.
Because I live in Vancouver, Canada, it’s quite easy for me to drive to Blaine, Washington. Upon closer inspection, it turns out Banner Bank is more than happy to open a bank account for their Canadian neighbours. Not only that, Banner Bank is more than happy to give you any supporting documents you need to give to other American banks. This will help if you plan on getting American credit cards outside of the entry level American Express.
My personal experience
It was my friend Allen Chao, one of the speakers at PointsU, who showed me how to open a US bank account. We went on a field trip to Blaine from Vancouver to check out Banner Bank.
The process was quite easy as the bank’s customer service representative was more than happy to open an account for me. They also had a promotion where the person that referred you and yourself will get $25 USD as a bonus incentive to open an account with Banner Bank.
Allen Chao and myself both received the $25 bonus for opening an account with Banner Bank during the promotional period which is a pretty sweet deal.
Opening a US bank account is one of the easiest part of getting American credit cards. If you follow the first method, then you can transfer your money from your Canadian RBC, TD, or CIBC account to your American account in order to pay your credit card balance.
If you follow the second method, you’ll probably just have to drive to the border and deposit cash manually in order to pay off your US credit card balance.
Either way works, just depends on what works best for you. I decided to go the second route because it’s easy for me to drive to the US from Vancouver. Also, I plan on getting my US mailing address in Washington so it makes sense for me to bank in the same State. As mentioned in this updated article, I also have a second USA bank account with CIBC just in case I can’t put money in my Banner Bank account. The pandemic definitely made it impossible for me to cross over to the USA to do any banking. Being able to pay off my credit card through CIBC’s cross border banking helped a lot in this situation.