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RBC Visa Signature Black US Credit Cards

You probably saw all over Facebook, a RBC add promoting their new US based Black card. On the surface, I was very excited about the no annual fee version when comparing it to the Gold card (see below). However, once I read the fine print (and discussed with customer service representatives), they are not what it seem. The Black cards are good cards to have for a very specific group of people.

Let’s take a look at the highlights of the first card, RBC Visa Signature Black US Credit Card:

  • No annual fee
  • No U.S. credit score or address required
  • Earn 1 RBC Rewards point for every $1 spent
  • Redeem 1 point for 1 cent

There is also an annual fee version called the RBC Visa Signature Black Plus US Credit Card with the following highlights:

  • $75 annual fee
  • No annual fee for supplementary cardholders
  • No U.S. credit score or address required
  • Earn 1.5 RBC Rewards point for every $1 spent
  • Redeem 1 point for 1.25 cents

If you compared the above two cards to the RBC U.S. Dollar Visa Gold, you will see an unfortunately difference:

  • $65 annual fee
  • Earn 1 RBC Rewards point for every $1 spent

The challenge with the Black cards is that you need to have a US-based bank account to be able to pay the credit card bill (i.e. having a US bank account in Canada will not work). If you do not have a US-based bank account, you can still qualify for the Black cards, but you will need to send a money order to pay each month. In which case, the fees of a money order will nullify any benefits that you would gain.

Note that you do not need a Social Security Number (SSN) to qualify for the Black cards (if you have a SSN, you are better off getting US based credit cards anyway) but you do need to be an existing RBC client, because they will base your application on your Canadian credit profile through RBC.

Therefore, unlike the Gold card, where you can pay the balance with your Canadian US bank account, the Black cards are designed for people who have a US-based bank but without a SSN. Like I mentioned at the beginning of the post, these cards are for a very specific group of people.

On the bright side, I am glad that this card has been introduced to Canadians. It is a good first step!

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