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Old 01-07-2023, 04:29 PM   #1
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Canadian Snowbirds Using ATMs In USA

Trying to cut down on Fees sourcing US$'s as we become FT's from Canada.

In the past when we have spent several weeks couple months in the USA, we have taken the maximum <US$10,000 with us but have topped up at ATMs over due course of depletion. The challenge we've found is most ATM's in the US only allow us to withdraw a maximum US$500 at one time with a charge of $5 plus a foreign transaction fee as well TD Bank charges a fee also if we do more than 12 transactions per month total including our bill payments etc.

We have contemplated taking maybe US$25,000 and declaring this at the border when heading down as snowbirds for 5+ months. Has anyone done this and if so any issues? Is it two forms or just one that needs completing? Form 6059B and FinCEN 105.

Looking at the FINCEN 105 it asks a lot of US resident info???

Can anyone using Canadian Debit Cards to withdraw from ATM's in the USA when down there advise what they have found as the best bank ATM's to reduce charges and maybe withdraw more than just $500 at a time?

I've googled every which way to sundown to consider cross bordering banking accounts with TD, BMO, Scotiabank but they are more geared on US Visa/Mastercards not actual debit cards. I've tried finding out which ATM's in areas we will travel (a lot of locations) with PLUS/CIRRUS (TD) I could use to avoid some charges to no avail. I've tried ascertaining which US Banks/credit unions allow a larger withdrawal at ATM or how I can maybe do in branch withdrawal and at what cost.

Much appreciated how you handle getting cash as a Canadian when in the USA for several months.

STBFT.
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Old 01-07-2023, 04:44 PM   #2
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How about opening a US checking account such as this one RBC U.S. Bank Account ? It includes a debit card good at over 50,000 locations.

If you do open a U.S. account just make sure there's no interest income accumulating.
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Old 01-07-2023, 04:58 PM   #3
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You mentioned you bank with TD in Canada, TD Bank has a full US based Arm that runs the East cost, why not open a US account and then just transfer between the two and withdraw funds as needed?

(Full disclosure, I work for TD here in the States)
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Old 01-07-2023, 05:01 PM   #4
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X2 on the US account... I know Merrill Lynch dba Bank of America doesn't charge for ATM withdraws and will reimburse for out-of-network ATM charges. There may be minimum balances involved there somewhere...
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Old 01-07-2023, 05:16 PM   #5
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X3 on the US account. We do the same thing. We got it for the open roads fuel card, but itís come in handy a bunch of times.
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Old 01-07-2023, 11:18 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BobGed View Post
How about opening a US checking account such as this one RBC U.S. Bank Account ? It includes a debit card good at over 50,000 locations.

If you do open a U.S. account just make sure there's no interest income accumulating.
Thanks Bob, I checked the link and does look interesting. I notice all these non-fee ATMs appear to be in stores any idea what the maximum withdrawal amount is using that card? Is there any physical branches easily accessible throughout the USA to go into for larger amounts than ATM's allow?

Thanks, any info gratefully received.
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Old 01-07-2023, 11:31 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blastvalve View Post
You mentioned you bank with TD in Canada, TD Bank has a full US based Arm that runs the East cost, why not open a US account and then just transfer between the two and withdraw funds as needed?

(Full disclosure, I work for TD here in the States)
Thanks Blastvalve for that. From everything I read it references TD Ameritrade in the US which is just investment locations if I'm not mistaken??? Forgive my ignorance in this.

Also we go through a lot of Western, Southern and Middle States whereas TD appears to be on the East coast for the majority. Again how easy would it be to access no fee ATM machines in these other areas (non-east coast) and can you access more than $500 a time from these? Are there any branches one can visit to get a higher amount than what the ATM's would allow when required.

Appreciate your knowledge in this working for US TD

Of course if it saves us more on fees etc, for ease we'd love to stay with TD for cross border needs. We've banked with them for almost 3 decades here in Canada.
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Old 01-07-2023, 11:50 PM   #8
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MightyJ and Firedog53. Absolutely I agree about having a US checking account. We had one from 2008/9 until when we closed it down June 2022. When we started Bank of America had a lot of physical locations with ATM's and we had a good daily/weekly limit to access their ATM's from = great no hassle.

Over time BOA shut a lot of locations and those ATM's have also gone. However, the biggie for us was when we sold our Florida house in 2017 and changed our address for cards/account info etc to our Canadian address. They just couldn't seem to get with the program of inputting and keeping it input our Canadian address. Trying to renew our ATM/Visa cards, initially getting statements was such a chore and many hours spent on the phone chasing to find out CA = California and so on and so forth they just couldn't handle the Canadian addressing to get our new cards to us and for us to activate them being in Canada.

Anyway's it became a huge battle and then with not crossing the border from 2019 until this June due to Covid restrictions/mandates etc we just decided to go to one of the 2 BOA locations in Idaho (both in Coeur D'alene = go figure!). Even then after clearly closing the account down at the branch with manager, and handing over our cards and anything BOA connected, we still kept receiving bank statements with a $12.95 monthly debit for account maintenance. Another hour plus phone call to tell them for the umpteenth time. We never paid a monthly fee before withdrawing and shutting down the account because we always kept a good minimum balance to negate it.

For sure if there's a US bank that can handle our Canadian situation/address to get replacement cards when required, and when sometimes we can't get down if there's border/pandemic type restrictions in the future to use our cards to keep account active. As long as it's got good access US WIDE, not just one coast, to ample no fee ATM's with a reasonable daily rate attached for withdrawals we'd be absolutely more than interested in having a US based account again.

If you have any suggestions in the above regards. Appreciate it. Bottom line in this thread just trying to reduce the costs associated with being snowbirds and accessing US$'s easily in our travels. Thanks very much.
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Old 01-08-2023, 09:11 PM   #9
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Your question intrigued me. So I did some searching. Seems the recommendation ends up being get a US based bank/checking account and a US based credit card. Several Canadian banks have US subsidiaries or US banks with Canadian subs. Occasional transfers to fund these accounts shouldn't have much in the way of fees. Using the US bank, setup automatic payment of the CC. This assumes you are financially responsible and ready to pay your full balance on a monthly basis. Using a CC provides a lot of security in the US over both carrying large sums of cash and using debit cards. Setting your US CC and bank account up to use e-mail notifications in place of mailed statements will minimize how much mail you need to receive.

Apparently, this all works easiest if you have family or friends in the US who will let you use their home address, though there are alternatives. To open a US based consumer CC, you need to have a non-commercial mailing address.

Here is one site I ran across.
https://princeoftravel.com/guides/ge...for-canadians/
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Old 01-08-2023, 09:25 PM   #10
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Do cash back at grocery stores. We rarely use bank machines.
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Old 01-08-2023, 09:34 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoonToBeFT View Post
Thanks Bob, I checked the link and does look interesting. I notice all these non-fee ATMs appear to be in stores any idea what the maximum withdrawal amount is using that card? Is there any physical branches easily accessible throughout the USA to go into for larger amounts than ATM's allow?

Thanks, any info gratefully received.
Sorry I don't use ATM's much in the states as I don't usually have much of a need for large sums of cash. I have US based bank and credit card accounts and have those setup with a mail holding and forwarding service with a base monthly fee of $10.00 (forwarding postage, if and when needed, fluctuates).

Most of my activity is using credit cards and/or ACH transactions on my checking account.

It sounds like you have a need for large ATM cash withdrawals so maybe calling some of these institutions might give you more information.
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Old 01-08-2023, 09:59 PM   #12
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If Bank of America has a presence where you're going, it's supposed to be in an alliance with ScotiaBank for fee-free ATM transactions.



https://www.scotiabank.com/ca/en/per...-alliance.html


Still the forex fee though.

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Old 01-08-2023, 11:53 PM   #13
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We bank with TD in Canada, have opened an account in US Funds (in Canada) and applied for a US Dollar Visa card with TD (no 2.5% admin fee per transaction).
We transfer funds (through foreign currency exchange agencies) into the US account through out the year and when we head south for 3 months each year we carry US cash for emergencies, but typically put all expenses on the US Visa and pay off the statement monthly from the US Account.
No looking for a bank, simply do all your banking online.
We typically arrive back home with a minimum 75% of the US cash we took and just deposit back to the US Account.
A very basic process, and using online banking allows us to do it at anytime anywhere.
As an FYI, foreign exchange companies charge a minimum of 2% less than traditional banks and this increases depending on the amount of the transaction.
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Old 01-09-2023, 01:28 AM   #14
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Thanks everyone I really do so appreciate your sharing and suggestions.

The reason I sometimes need to take out a larger top up sum (more than $500/ATM) is hubby likes to indulge in the Casinos for a date night here and there, and I like to make sure we always have plenty of cash on hand in case we have emergency/situation where our cards aren't usable or whatever. This happened when we saved a fortune on a replacement engine paying a large portion in cash in the past. I try to budget charges and he likes to donate mainly LOL. It's also our Ruby Wedding Anniversary this year so I think we might become a little off budget in our entertainment for that time of celebrating!

Jim, yes I use the currency exchangers for converting from Canadian to US at a better rate than the bank. When we sold our Fl house in 2017 I actually had the US$'s sent over to a UK forex company that offered unbelievably more than TD here to exchange. For just a few thousand here and there I use a local exchanger that offers a couple hundred more than the bank typically, so worth the extra $5 gasoline to visit LOL. Being a TD long term customer with a US$ savings account to park some funds in plus US$ and Can$ trading accounts, I'm for sure considering the TD US$ visa and just pay it off from my US$'s accounts in full each month.

Would be awesome if I could get a US$ debit card attached to the US$ account and a myriad of ATM's/banks across the USA with zero transaction charges for it.

Can you kindly share which foreign exchange company you use in case it's a bit better than the one I use here right now?

I tried calling TD to get some answers for my best options but after half hour holding on and pressing a dozen different auto numbers the person I got through to I struggled to understand his accent and then he cut me off = seems to be the norm with all these auto answering systems nowadays

CATs yeah I was wondering about that Global Alliance Scotiabank situation with BOA using their ATM's if that would save but again I'm restricted to a low withdrawal amount and that highish foreign exchange fee at ATM's still.

Thanks BobGed, SailorSam and Radar - alas getting cash back at a grocery store being Canadian I'd have to use that debit card which would work out too expensive an option for little cash back, and using a US$ visa card I would be charged a high interest rate taking out cash on it I would assume as is the norm here in Canada. Don't have any contacts for long term US address to consider opening up another US physical bank account.

Like I said BOA when we had house in Fla and mailing was done through that was awesome ($3000 max daily withdrawal ATM x each card which we never needed so high), but not since having only Canadian address attached to it for getting replacement cards etc or threats of dormancy during Covid lockdowns/non-US visiting etc and if it were and maybe happen again! I just don't want to spend countless hours on the phone any more trying to sort all this out each time.

Like I said main issue is what is the cheapest and easiest way to get US physical currency higher than just a max $500 ATM withdrawal anyone has found as a Canadian in the USA.

Also has anyone taken down more than US$10,000 and completed the form/s suggested above. Was there any issue at the border?

Thanks again to you all. It really is appreciated.
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