Do you winter down south or frequently cross the border to go shopping? If so, you may have wondered if there’s an easier way to pay your U.S. bills from Canada — bills like online subscriptions, department store bills, monthly rent, utility bills, or even your U.S. credit card.
Here are six ways you can pay your U.S. bills from Canada.
1. Online Through a U.S.-Based Bank Account
Canadians who regularly spend time in the States can streamline payments with a U.S.-based bank account. For example:
- Pay directly from the account. Need to send a deposit in U.S. dollars to reserve your beach condo? With a U.S.-based bank account and online banking, you can easily fill in the merchant’s name, address and your account number. You don’t need to pay costly wire fees, and you may avoid foreign transaction fees when you pay your U.S. bills in U.S. dollars online.
- Set up payments from the account. You can schedule regular automatic payments, like homeowner association dues, or even online subscriptions like Netflix from your U.S.-based bank account, even while in Canada. Also, many merchants, like utilities, U.S. mortgage payments, and credit cards, will set up automated bill payments at your request. You can transfer funds from your Canadian account online, and your U.S. dollars stay in your account until they’re needed.
- Pay with a Visa Debit card. With a U.S. Visa Debit card linked to your bank account, you can pay your bills online in U.S. dollars anywhere Visa is accepted.
2. Cheques From Your U.S.-Based Bank Account
Yes, some people still write cheques — or checks! You could pay your U.S. bills with paper cheques from your U.S.-based chequing account. This requires you to mail your cheque early so it reaches its destination before your bill is due. It’s also important to remember that post-dated cheques are not honored in the United States, so you may be debited earlier than you expect.
3. With a U.S.-Based Credit Card
Do you prefer to pay bills with a credit card? Paying your U.S. bills with a U.S.-based credit card may also save you money by avoiding costly currency conversion fees and providing a secure way to pay for your U.S. bills. A U.S-based credit card can also help as some stores in the U.S. don’t take foreign credit cards.
4. Through PayPal
Canadians can pay some U.S. merchants through PayPal. Paying this way is convenient, quick, and easy to set up. Simply link your Canadian bank account or Canadian credit card to your PayPal account, and then make one-time or recurring payments to select vendors who accept PayPal.
Although convenient, not all merchants accept PayPal. And if you pay in Canadian currency, remember your payments are subject to fluctuations in currency rates as well as PayPal’s current currency conversion fee of 3%.
5. With a Canadian Credit Card
Paying your U.S. bills in Canadian dollars from a Canadian credit card might seem easy, but can be costly. Most Canadian credit cards charge a foreign transaction fee of 2.5% for U.S. purchases and payments. Also, as currency rates fluctuate, if the Canadian dollar is lower when your payment gets posted, it could become more expensive.
6. Wire Transfer or Bank Draft From Your Canada-Based USD or CAD Bank Account
If you have a Canadian-based USD bank account, you might be able to pay your U.S. bills using a wire transfer, or by buying and mailing a USD bank draft. You can also make payments this way from your regular Canadian dollar bank account, but in either case, expect to pay fees. Wire transfers cost about $30 per transaction, while purchasing each USD bank draft will cost around $7.50.
There are several ways to pay U.S. bills from Canada; however, some methods cost more and create more work for you.Consider your situation and decide which payment methods will help streamline paying your U.S. bills from Canada.
See how you can pay U.S. bills and manage money more conveniently on both sides of the border with a U.S. bank account from RBC Bank.
This article is intended as general information only and is not to be relied upon as constituting legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. Information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date but we do not guarantee its accuracy and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the authors as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or any of its affiliates.