If you find yourself traveling in the US frequently, or you’re paying any financial obligations in USD, then you’re probably familiar with the headaches and costs involved with currency conversions on your credit card transactions. There are a couple of ways that many people confront the exchange issue. Some hold a bank account in USD and a US-issued credit card with which they pay their bills or account balances that apply.
This can be a bit difficult for most Canadians, since the US Patriot Act and Canadian regulations make it almost impossible for US banks to issue credit cards to Canadians.
Instead, most Canadians will simply use their native-issued credit card and allow their card issuer to handle the conversion. The obvious drawback with this method is that most issuers tag them with a 2.5% “convenience fee” on each conversion. Either of these solutions result in a higher cost on your end, or at the very least, more things to deal with and more statements to juggle.
We can’t overstate the convenience of a good US Dollar credit card, at least in concept. For a good while, there were only four of these types of cards to choose from (RBC, TD, BMO US Dollar Credit Card and CIBC). If you’ve looked into these cards, you probably know that they weren’t all that highly regarded. Due to customer feedback, I always hesitated to recommend any specific option.
Well, there’s a relatively new card in town, and I feel a renewed confidence in recommending a USD credit card. It’s being offered by Scotiabank, and it’s the perfect solution for any Canadian who loves going south of the border to shop (or buys from American retailers online.)
With the Scotiabank US Dollar Visa Card, all USD currency conversion fees are eliminated. The card carries a modest APR of 19.99% on purchases, and bears a minimal fee of $35 annually. Cardholders also enjoy up to 20% off AVIS car rentals, which can be quite handy when you’re jetting off to the states on a regular basis.
Another noteworthy benefit of this card is the ability to share it with your family members. Supplementary cards carry no additional fees, which means that the whole family can be appropriately equipped for a shopping trip to the US without incurring any additional cost.
Given the other options that are out there, it’s hard to pass up the Scotiabank US Dollar Visa as the go-to solution for avoiding conversion fees and exchange rate fluctuations. If you’re regularly spending in American currency, I highly recommend giving it a look.