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Old 31-03-2016, 09:15   #31
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Re: Best Canadian bank for cruisers?

I am a retired VP from a Cdn bank. I believe that RBC has a good offering. I didn't work there.

Set up a US $ Visa Account. A US $ Cdn RBC account to HD cash and a US Dollar US RBC account.

Their on line system is good and you can pay and move money to all accounts on line

The big advantage of a US dollar US account is that you can access cash at any ATM with no exchange or charges. Pay for purchases and just move the money to which US card you are using.

Just do your exchange in as large as amount as possible

The stock brokers have the best rates. VISA cards have the worst followed by ATM etc.

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Old 31-03-2016, 09:26   #32
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Re: Best Canadian bank for cruisers?

There are branches of the RBC, Scotia, CIBC in many of the West Indies islands. I have been living abord in the Caribbean for 21 year. I use the RBC and have always has very good service.

They offer US account and Canadian accounts in USD. I see no need for this. Unless... Visa is accepted everywhere. But it would be a good idea to have more than one bank and credit card. Just in case one decides to block you or you lose a card.
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Old 31-03-2016, 10:04   #33
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Re: Best Canadian bank for cruisers?

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Originally Posted by Mike OReilly View Post
Just wondering what my fellow Canadians think is the best major bank for cruisers. Of the big five (Royal, TD, Scotia, BMO, CIBC), which do you find most useful? I'm thinking in terms of access to local branches, quality of services for cruisers, low cost, etc.

My short and medium term plans are to be travelling the east coast (Maritimes then maybe US Atlantic coast), perhaps out to Bermuda, and then into the Caribbean for a number of years.

I've banked with a local (Thunder Bay, ON) credit union for the past 15+ years. I'll be staying with them, but now that we're cruising I've run into a few hurdles with the lack of local branch access.

For Florida and the East Coast TD is bank of choice for ease of cross border banking and number of branches in the US. CIBC does not have any for instance. TD refunds all fees for funds transfers across the border between TD accounts.
Canadian Banks are very strong in the Caribbean and hold many domestic mortgages being the banks of choice for the indigenous population as well as Canadians. Scotia Bank and CIBC have many branches and ATM's.
Basically I use TD in Florida and CIBC in the Bahamas and Caribbean.
My wife on the other hand has always used RBC. Being an American with her own business she was impressed years ago with RBC setting up her employee payroll accounts and maintaining them for no charge.
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Old 31-03-2016, 10:16   #34
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Re: Best Canadian bank for cruisers?

When I was in Antigua, I was surprised that most of the Canadian Banks had branches there, CIBC, ScotiaBank, and RBC.

None of our Canadian debit cards worked there. Only credit cards worked there. VISA was well received, while others (mastercard, american express) less so. Cash worked best.

My friends all used plastic and I think they got treated more like tourists because of it. I had cash...USD and EC...I think it made me seem more "local".

Also, the banks seem to be the only buildings with air conditioning (or walls for that matter)...so maybe do some banking just to cool off a bit one day.
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Old 31-03-2016, 10:20   #35
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Re: Best Canadian bank for cruisers?

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I would recommend RBC without a doubt. I have been with them since I became non resident Canadian and started cruising. I set up an account in Toronto with Can$ Acc, U.S$ Acc, and RBC Platinum Visa. The bundled accounts have a $30 monthly fee but I do not pay ANY international ATM fees (used to be $5 each time), and no yearly credit card fee ($200).
Wait till you start cruising and get the ATM fees alone. HUGE.
The customer service is excellent, and you have the ability to make a phone call and have your daily withdrawal limit on your ATM card increased to whatever you need for short periods of time. If you open an account at RBC U.S.A they have branches all over U.S. and you can link the Canadian and U.S. accounts with each other online and transfer funds back and forth from internet banking.
RBC has a large offshore presence in Bahamas, Caribbean, Etc, but you probably won't need them, everything can be done online.
I looked at Scotia Bank but no where near as flexible.

I have been a RBC client since about 1940 when they had penny accounts for war bonds. We had an RBC VISA card in Europe back in 1972-1977, still use it for all our daily transactions and travel with it. We have C$ & US$ accts. Have never ran into any problems anywhere.

As to the staff at branches, I walk into my home branch here in the Comox Valley and they all look up and say "Hi Ted, how are you, and your wife". You have to get to be known. I have also had to phone toll free from some God forsaken outlying places to get help, no problem. My personal banker comes right to the house if I can't make it in to the branch.

I'ts like a family doctor, once they get to know you, the better the service.

We also have a small business acct with the Scotia Bank, we did have real good service for a lot of years, but it has dropped in the past 2-3 years. Have heard that they are closing a lot of branches in the Caribbean.
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Old 31-03-2016, 10:27   #36
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Re: Best Canadian bank for cruisers?

I have used TD for over 40 years when they were still Canada Trust. We used our TD access card from Vancouver thru the states, Mexico, Cook Islands,the southern ocean islands including NZ & Aus and now up into Southeast Asia. Only place we had to go into a bank was French Polynesia where they didn't have international ATMs at that time (2001).
Only time we went into a bank was for wire transfers and it was so inexpensive it didn't require much effort. Those transfers were to pay for goods ordered and shipped to us.
TDCanada Trust has a special account and Visa Credit card combination that eliminates all their bank charges for any ATM in the world along with Card costs by just keeping a balance of $5,000 CAD in it.
It doesn't eliminate the local fees that some local banks charge for handling the transaction but saves us enough in charges to provide us with over 25% interest on that balance. Well worth it.
Have never needed to go into a bank for any major reason other than ATM machines.
There are other benefits as well at home when wire transfers and more don't cost anything either.
Well worth looking into. We do have an American TD account but haven't needed to use it for anything. It was only set up a year ago. Nothing wrong with CAD dollars but we usually use local currency from an ATM when you travel to another country.

An email to our TD bank in Canada wire transferred money to Philippine bank where we set up an account to pay periodic payments for major renovations to the boat.
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Old 10-07-2016, 10:36   #37
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Re: Best Canadian bank for cruisers?

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Old 10-07-2016, 11:01   #38
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Re: Best Canadian bank for cruisers?

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Old 10-07-2016, 12:28   #39
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Re: Best Canadian bank for cruisers?

I'ved used ScotiaBank in the US and West Coast of Mexico almost exclusively. Good service, convenient and competitive rates on transfers and ATM fees out of country. They also have branches in the US and Mexico... Phil
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Old 10-07-2016, 13:14   #40
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Re: Best Canadian bank for cruisers?

One disappointing thing I've found with Soctia is that although they have branches in many countries, each country operates independently. For example, having a Scotia account in one country doesn't mean jack in another.
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Old 10-07-2016, 14:33   #41
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Re: Best Canadian bank for cruisers?

Good info, Belize... I didn't know that! Cheers, Phil
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Old 10-07-2016, 22:57   #42
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Re: Best Canadian bank for cruisers?

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Good info, Belize... I didn't know that! Cheers, Phil
Yeah, I have an account with Scotia in Belize, thought that would make it easy to open one with Scotia in Panama...nope. In fact Scotia had one of the most onerous list of requirements of any bank I checked with, having an existing Soctia account was not even a consideration.
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