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Are US Credit Cards issued in Canada Worth It?

There are some Canadian financial institutions that issue United States currency credit cards. Here are a few examples with their highlights:

CIBC U.S. Dollar Visa Card

CIBC US Dollar Visa

  • $35 USD annual fee
  • No annual fee for supplementary cardholders (to a maximum of 3)
  • No rewards

RBC U.S. Dollar Visa Gold

RBC US Dollar Visa Gold

  • $65 USD annual fee
  • $30 USD for  supplementary cardholders
  • Earn 1 RBC Rewards point for every $1 spend on all purchases

TD U.S. Dollar Visa Card

TD US Dollar

  • $39 USD annual fee
  •  No annual fee for supplementary cardholders (no limit mentioned)
  • No rewards

BMO U.S. Dollar MasterCard

BMO US Dollar MasterCard

  • $35 USD annual fee
  • No annual fee for supplementary cardholders (no limit mentioned)
  • No rewards

All four of them offer no foreign transaction fee for US base purchases, which is the key to these types of credit cards. Between the four, TD is definitely the obvious one to kick out because of the higher annual fee. If you spend a lot, then the RBC one could make sense because the points can turn out to be valuable. These credit cards could make sense depending on how you manage your finances.

First of all, keep in mind that all Chase Canada credit cards (except the Chase Best Buy Reward Zone Visa) already offer no foreign transaction fees and many offer no annual fees. If you’re not a fan of annual fees, then you don’t even have to bother thinking about these credit cards and go straight to the Chase credit cards. Some of the no annual fee Chase Canada credit cards were discussed here and here.

Remember, you need to have US currency lying around to pay off the bills on the US credit cards offered by the Canadian financial institutions. You can always wait until the bill comes through, then exchange your currency a few days before to pay off your balance. The problem with this is the currency fluctuations. If the currency exchange is not in your favour, then you could be overpaying. If you have extra cash lying around and you watch the currency exchange often enough, what you can do is exchange some Canadian to US currency ahead of time (when the exchange is in your favour), then store the money in your US bank account to pay off these US credit card bills as they come in.

If you do not take this approach, then you’re not coming out ahead and you’re just paying the annual fee for nothing, because you mine as well have a Chase Canada credit card with no annual fee. Furthermore, keep in mind that these US credit cards only waive the foreign transaction fees for purchases made in the US. The Chase Canada credit cards waive their foreign transaction fees anywhere you go.

Therefore, if you travel a lot, to maximize your return, it could make sense for you to have both a US credit card, as well as a Chase Canada credit card to use in combination with each other. As always, do the calculations before making your decision.

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