A Range of Alternatives: US Dollar Credit Cards For Canadian Residents

Sunday 06th, November 2011 / 19:53 Written by
A Range of Alternatives: US Dollar Credit Cards For Canadian Residents

For over two centuries, Canada and the United States have shared a relationship that has proven be one that reflects a mutually- beneficial partnership. With a shared border, these two countries currently represent the largest trading collaboration across the globe.

A large number of Canadians each year take part in cross-border shopping, as well as making online purchases from a variety of U.S. retailers. The exchange rate is often a shopping draw as well as the alternative retail options and products. On average, within the last calendar year, Canadian residents have spent up to $19.8 billion in the United States. For all Canadian consumers who are involved in this cross-border activity, it may be worth looking into applying for a US Dollar Credit Card.

Canadians can experience a range of benefits from using US Dollar credit cards, including the flexibility they encounter when making U.S fund transactions. Card users will not have to inconvenienced by the currency shifts and additional fees associated with using a regular credit card. Using one of these cards can also be a remedy for having to carry large amounts of U.S. cash, which can prove to be a nuisance and even unsafe. Individuals who are traveling in the U.S. or those who are part-time US residents can also take advantage of US Dollar credit cards.

Some of the features of these credit cards include the user’s ability to link the card to a U.S. dollar bank account. This function allows the card holder to avoid the conversion charges associated with monthly bill payments, and annual fees will be automatically deducted in the same currency. This alternatively is an improvement over the use of regular credit cards, as the standard Canadian card users incur conversion charges when making U.S. purchases, as well as when depositing funds in other currency forms.

A variety of US Dollar credit cards are available at many major financial Institutions across the country. These cards offer both competitive features and perks, including rewards and special insurance offers. Canadian consumers, who make a lot of U.S. transactions annually, should examine the range of cards as they are likely to find a suitable option.

The RBC U.S Dollar Visa Gold Card is the only U.S Dollar Card that comes with a rewards program. It offers a free travel insurance package, including trip cancellation and interruption, travel accident, and car collision coverage. In the event of lost or delayed luggage, the card also entitles the user to a $25,000 essential clothing and toiletry allowance. The annual percentage rate (APR) is 19.99% and a value of up to $50,000 is included for protection against the loss, theft, and damages of purchased items (if claimed no later than 90 days). As the annual fee is $65, this steep value may be the biggest downside to using this card.

The BMO U.S. Dollar MasterCard boasts one of the lowest annual fees of all cards at a rate of $25 and offers an annual percentage rate (APR) of 19.50%. In addition to the lower fee, card users can receive a rebate for that amount in the following year, and once the balance exceeds $1,000 (U.S). Included with this card, is free purchase protection as well as extended warranty insurance coverage. Travel insurance, is only available at an additional cost so you’ll have to consider this when applying for the card.

Unlike the first two options, The TD U.S. Visa Card offers a mid-range annual fee of $39 and a comparable APR of %19.99. The complimentary travel insurance package is comprised of a $1,000 limit for each individual which offsets the costs associated with lost or delayed luggage. Also available is additional purchase protection and extended warranty insurance. The exception with this card is that users are not covered in case of trip cancellation. This may still be a good option for Canadian residents who are not using this card mainly for travel purposes.

The CIBC U.S. Dollar Visa Card offers its own unique take on the US dollar credit card, by linking the card to a U.S. bank account. This service establishes the automatic deposit of funds in U.S dollars, so that monthly payments are not affected by fluctuating currency rates and card users do not need to fret about missing payment due dates. With the 2nd lowest annual fee rate of $35, and an consistent APR of 19.99%, card users will also be provided with commission-free travelers cheques as and discount car rental offers. Cardholders are also entitled to a free travel insurance package that ranges as high as $100,000. Canadians looking for a US Dollar Card that will primarily assist with across the border shopping, may find they do not prefer this card because both purchase protection and extended warranty coverage are not available with this option.

Lastly, the RBC US Dollar Gold Credit Card for Students is also a rewards card that provides younger adults with many benefits that meet their lifestyle needs. When using the card to make purchases related to travel/vacation, merchandise, financial products, as well as charitable donations, the cardholder will earn 1 RBC Reward point for every U.S. dollar they spend. Rewards points can be redeemed on a variety of like-minded merchandise and travel purchases. Benefits associated with this card include car rentals, trip cancellation insurance, as well as purchase protection coverage. The annual fee is still fairly high at $65 and the annual percentage rate is 19.99%. In this instance, students users will need to decide if the advantages overshadow the high annual costs.

If Canadian residents know they will make even an average of three large US dollar transactions per year, it may be quite worth their while to look into a US Dollar credit card and avoid the costs and annoyances associated with differing exchange rates.

It will important for consumers to first review their financial needs and then proceed with matching these needs with the most suitable credit card option.

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One comment on “A Range of Alternatives: US Dollar Credit Cards For Canadian Residents”

  1. Roberto says:

    I’m a Canadian living in the U.S. know, and have been for 8 years now. I have had my Canadian Tire Mastercard for over 15 years, and just recently they have cancelled my service. I called and spoke with a representative. They said that any cardholder that does not live in Canada, they are terminating their account. I am quite upset with this new policy. I have been a great customer. This whole time and never complained about my outrageous interest rate. When I moved to the States I had to start from zero with my credit history, credit scores are non transferable from Canada to the US. So, Canadian Tire was my only credit card for a long time. Now I am paying off a credit card, with a ridiculous interest rate, that I can no longer use. Do I have any options to reduce my rates or am I s.o.l.?

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