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I can't open a Schwab account because I live in Canada!

And to say I am furious is an understatement. I made it crystal clear to the Schwab representative over the phone, that even though I am a US citizen with a US passport and a US SS#, I physically live in Canada. I was assured there would be no problem so I sent in my application. Well I was denied today. Just because I live in Canada. So what do you Canadian travellers do for a no-fee debit card? I have a Capital One Visa for no foreign transaction fees but I also need a debit card that won't charge me any fees when I withdraw from an ATM. Help!!

Posted by
3216 posts

Capital One 360 has a no fee Debit card they offer.

Here is their requirement:
"360 Checking is available to United States citizens or lawful permanent residents with a U.S. physical address or with military addresses (APO or FPO), who are at least 18 years old with a valid Social Security number."

Any friend in the US you could use as an address?

Posted by
923 posts

Surprise, surprise -- don't read any farther if you're a dyed in the wool Schwab fan.
I left Schwab in 2009 after being a senior broker there for 12 years. Mainly I worked in specialty trading departments. By 2007 or 8 when Walt Bettinger took over, the company was only run by the bottom line, no heart as when Chuck was in charge. The idea was to get rid of anyone who knew anything, thus earned more, and replace them with entry level customer service reps. At a conference, Walt was overhear (this is hearsay) saying that Schwab hires people cheap and gets rid of them after a year to avoid paying them more.

Do you know how scary it is when you're trading something as simple as mutual funds and the customer thanks you because you know what you're doing? That was when I knew the politics and me could no longer get along. Several of my long-term Schwab friends have since been layed off/fired to reduce high salaries.
Any rep should know that living in Canada or France disqualifies you from opening an account.
I retired from Scottrade two years ago after 24 years in the industry.

Edit: Mark, many banks and brokerage asked for current address id or send it thru e-verify so that may not work.

Posted by
412 posts

Actually I was assured by two different reps over the phone, that it would be fine if I lived in Canada. As long as I could provide a US SS# and a US passport #, I could have the account. So imagine my fury when, no, I can't have this. Incompetence makes my blood boil like no other.

So... Canadians!!! What do you do?

Posted by
412 posts

And Mark-- I do use a US address for everything, it's just that I physically live in Canada.

Posted by
3435 posts

What Canadians do, mostly, is pay. Canada's banking system is highly centralized, dominated by about a half-dozen big institutions (plus assorted small tykes and credit unions.) It's easy enough to find an ATM machine from your particular bank and others will deal with your card -- for a fee. Outside the country, the client pays a fee for dealing in foreign currency (almost always set by the bank back home.) It can be a flat fee or a percentage. Then comes the exchange rate.
On the flipside, almost every card is chip-and-pin, for convenience and security. The biggest, the Royal, doesn't even require notification of foreign travel. No problem buying on-line SNCF tickets, either, at least with credit cards. The banks are fabulously profitable (buy their stock) and had no trouble during the recession melt-down. So you get what you pay for, I guess. But if anyone knows a respectable institution with a no-fee ATM (ie. debit) card, please let all of us Canadians in on it.
PS: Capitol One has fees in Canada, or at least did when I cancelled my credit card a few years ago.

Posted by
412 posts

I use a Capital One Venture (visa) in Canada and the US with no fees whatsoever. Love that.

Posted by
2510 posts

Judy, do what I did. Since you use a US address, open a checking account at Capital One. No fx or other fees for using debit card, no fees or minimums for the bank account. My "everyday" account is at PNC but they charge 3% fx + an ATM fee. Using my CapitalOne debit and credit cards have saved me a lot on fees c

Posted by
412 posts

@ Philip: Is this an online account?

Edited to add: my US everyday account is at Citizen's (formerly Chase) and they advised that they have nothing that would benefit me. My Canadian credit union has nothing either. I opened up the Cap One acct because my Bank of America US acct (credit card only) also has nothing that would be of help. None of my Canadian cards are no-fee either.

Sigh....

Posted by
11407 posts

Judy. I have an account with the TD bank that gives me NO FEE foreign ATM withdrawals.

You must keep a minimum balance of 5,000 dollars.

When my daughter ( now 20) went to Europe last year I lent her the 5,000 dollars.. and she opened an account there.. and then deposited all the money she had saved to use in Europe. After she returned we just closed the account.. my money went back to me.. so theres no time limit on account .

Posted by
3435 posts

Judy, to be clear, I was referring to Cap One cards issued in Canada by their Canadian branch.

Posted by
1037 posts

I'm just jumping in on the address issue... i live in a tiny town without home mail delivery, my real address is a po box. I went a couple of rounds w my health insurance company when i moved here, they said they had to have a street address. I said, ok, but you have to also list the po box, the rep did not do that, everything kept bouncing back to them.. sigh. Its resolved now.

Posted by
3216 posts

The Capital One 360 account is online. That is why I suggested it.

Capital One has multiple account types now in the US. Some of the ones you need to go to a branch to open do charge foreign exchange fees on debit cards. The 360 account does not charge any fees for the majority of the banking services it offers. (The 360 account for US citizens used to be from Ing, previously from Royal Bank of Canada, previously from several different internet only incarnations. I've been with them since the beginning and have never had any issues with anything.)

Posted by
13 posts

It's annoying isn't it. I'm from the states and I have a schwab account too. When I went to Canada, I told them I was living there and I wanted my statements mailed there, and they said they wouldn't do it because I had to have a u.s. address to keep my account open very annoying. You should've opened the account in the states before you left and just kept it once you got to the Great White North. Although, they would still want a u.s. address to send your statements too. Although I think they send them by email now.

Find a good credit union up there.

Posted by
412 posts

@blaze... I moved to Canada in the 80's when I got married. Lol. I do use a US address for everything. But on the app I told the truth and said country of residence is canada. I didnt want to lie and get caught and get in trouble. So now I'm euchered.

I don't care if the acct is in USD or CDN. I can do either. I just abhor fees. I will look into the aforementioned Cap One 360 acct. All I need is a no foreign transaction fee debit card. Sigh....

Posted by
2790 posts

Actually I was assured by two different reps over the phone, that it would be fine if I lived in Canada.

That was your big mistake. You assumed that a bank's reps actually knew what they were talking about. That used to be safe assumption, but not anymore. It's probably not a question of their lying, just ignorance.