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Old 30-03-2016, 10:40   #1
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Best Canadian bank for cruisers?

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.
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Old 30-03-2016, 11:35   #2
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Re: Best Canadian bank for cruisers?

The world tends to revolve around US dollars so I set up an account with the TD bank in the US. I do all my cash ATM withdrawals through TD with no problems when travelling.
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Old 30-03-2016, 11:39   #3
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Re: Best Canadian bank for cruisers?

About 15 years ago I switched to ScotiaBank and absolutely love the personal service they give. All the major banks have pretty similar online systems, but I can call my branch manager at ScotiaBank and get what I really need in unusual situations. I use them for personal and for my business. I have a US $ account and an US $ credit card set up for business where I travel overseas. You might consider that.
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Old 30-03-2016, 13:01   #4
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Re: Best Canadian bank for cruisers?

Thanks guys. I may go with a US dollar account, but I'm mainly wondering if any of the big five treat cruisers better than the others. Your experience sounds great Foolish. I'll give Scotiabank a good look.
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Old 30-03-2016, 14:29   #5
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Re: Best Canadian bank for cruisers?

I'd stay with your credit union, way more personal and you can actually talk with real people that you know. That aside you need a US Visa Card and we use BMO. You need a couple of other cards as sometimes when you need it most the ATM will not allow you to use a Canadian debit card.
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Old 30-03-2016, 16:05   #6
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Re: Best Canadian bank for cruisers?

Thanks Robert. I do plan to stay with our CU -- I'm a big fan of local banking, just like a fan of shopping local. Unfortunately I've run into some issues not being able to access a branch, so sadly I'm turning to one of the Big Five.

Interesting thing about ATMs in the USA. We just got back from a six-month motorcycle journey around the States. We initially had a few hiccups using our Members card for cash withdrawals in a few ATMs due to the network not being able to confirm our balance. A call to our CU straightened it out immediately. After that, zero problems anywhere in the US.
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Old 30-03-2016, 17:09   #7
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Re: Best Canadian bank for cruisers?

I could ask my daughter if you like - she has more experience than I in this area - but from what I recall it's about trying to get an honest answer about how things actually work and what hoops you have to jump through.

For example, when she was in Germany she was with Scotia because they have a relationship with Deutsche Bank. But that didn't mean it was easy: to transfer money from one to the other she would withdraw cash from Scotia at an ATM, then redeposit it to DB. But there were no fees for doing so ...

In New York she had accounts with TD Canada and US, and it seemed to be about the same thing. It was like they were two separate entities (legally, they probably are) with very loose ties between them.

I've looked at various options over time for something that would facilitate travel in Europe, and have come up blank.

I'm jealous when European friends talk about "just sending a wire transfer". I hope that Canadian banks will disover the rest of the world some day.
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Old 30-03-2016, 17:18   #8
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Re: Best Canadian bank for cruisers?

I sailed from Florida to NS in 2014/15. Most credit cards and debit cards charge an "out of country" surcharge, something like 2%. Amazon Visa (Canada) does not and I believe Capital One does not as well.

TD's American division, TD Bank North, has branches all the way down the US East coast. There is no ATM fee for using a TD Canada debit card in a TD Bank North ATM. I am not sure if they charge the "out of country" surcharge.
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Old 30-03-2016, 18:05   #9
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Re: Best Canadian bank for cruisers?

Thanks AnglaisInHull/KrazySailing. Good info. Seems like for our travels we might was to look at both TD and Scotia.

KrazySailing, I did not know cash withdrawals were subject to additional "out of country" surcharges. I am aware that most credit cards add from 2% to 3%, and I know we get dinged pretty heavy for ATM fees ($2 to $5) for each withdrawal, but I didn't know there were other hidden "out of country" fees. I'll have to check my MemberCard fee list for this.

BTW, I researched Canadian credit cards and also discovered the Amazon (Chase) VISA is one of the few which does not charge any foreign transaction fee ("out of country"). We used this card pretty exclusively while travelling in the US.
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Old 30-03-2016, 18:17   #10
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Re: Best Canadian bank for cruisers?

I think of all the Canadian banks the Bank of Nova Scotia bills itself as the most international bank.. They have locations throughout the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America.

I've used ABM's in Mexico and I think the withdrawals fees were modest.

http://www.scotiabank.com/ca/common/...mber-banks.pdf
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Old 30-03-2016, 18:17   #11
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Re: Best Canadian bank for cruisers?

It all no doubt depends on the bank and card agreement. For cash withdrawals when in Europe I use my Canadian ATM card, and there's usually a service charge equivalent to something like $5, but nothing else. Withdraw 300 Euros at a time, that's a pretty low percentage. And they are providing a service.

The Canadian banks used to add a little premium to the exchange rate on international (credit or debit) transactions, but they got hit by a class action suit on that and my recent experience is that they offer pretty fair exchange rates.
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Old 30-03-2016, 18:22   #12
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Re: Best Canadian bank for cruisers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike OReilly View Post
Thanks Robert. I do plan to stay with our CU -- I'm a big fan of local banking, just like a fan of shopping local. Unfortunately I've run into some issues not being able to access a branch, so sadly I'm turning to one of the Big Five.

Interesting thing about ATMs in the USA. We just got back from a six-month motorcycle journey around the States. We initially had a few hiccups using our Members card for cash withdrawals in a few ATMs due to the network not being able to confirm our balance. A call to our CU straightened it out immediately. After that, zero problems anywhere in the US.
Yes Mike, the USA is good that way, not so much in the Caribbean
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Old 30-03-2016, 18:31   #13
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Re: Best Canadian bank for cruisers?

Mike, 15 years here with CIBC in Ontario and the Maritimes and a couple with a credit union....

Scotiabank does indeed have the best network in the Caribbean among the Canadian giants, as well as on the east coast of Canada (not surprisingly). As mentioned above TD has the best network on the US east coast. They are your 2 best bets IMO, though if you're undecided about the New England bit I would just do Scotiabank. In any case, you can still easily access both your credit union and Scotiabank accounts easily through US atm's.
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Old 30-03-2016, 19:21   #14
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Re: Best Canadian bank for cruisers?

We bank with TD bank. Branches all over the place. But you'll find that you'll mostly use ATM machines wherever you go. When cruising, I can't remember the last time I went into a bank... maybe five years ago?

No problems using a TD bank debit card or capital one credit card anywhere we go. American Express... Nobody accepts it outside the USA except at hotels and some fuel rocks.
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Old 30-03-2016, 19:21   #15
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Re: Best Canadian bank for cruisers?

Supposedly having TD accounts in both Canada and the US allows you to transfer funds easily with no "extra" fees. But I didn't see TD in the Bahamas - there you have Scotia, RBC and First Caribbean, which is wholly owned by CIBC - of course being a CIBC customer does not save you from being charged all the extra fees when you use their ABM. I've been told Scotia and RBC customers are fee-free at their machines, but cannot confirm that. The Bank of Bahamas (BOB) ABMs did not charge a fee, but you can only get local currency, not US.


Add: article of interest - http://www.theglobeandmail.com/repor...ticle23199267/
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