USD Credit Card

Spring 2013 CSANews Issue 86  |   Posted date : May 01, 2013.Back to list

Bird talk - Le Jaseur
Dear Bird Talk,

I have read with interest your previous exchanges on the difficulty of obtaining a U.S. $ bank credit card. Last summer, the solution seemed to be to get a U.S. tax ID number. That option won't work anymore, as the IRS will not issue one unless you will be filing a U.S. Tax Return.

There is a solution, however, at least as far as the Bank of America is concerned. Assuming you bank there, just go into their website, select the card you want and apply by telephone. You will need your Canadian passport # and other personal details. You can't apply by completing the online application, as you will hit a brick wall once you get to "Social Security No." If you prefer, you can go to your BOA branch and they will review your documents and complete your application for you. However, if the card for which you are applying has a special promotional offer, please note that the BOA branch will not be able to get this for you as they are completely excluded from such promotions.

You may be able to apply this way even if you don't bank with BOA...this can be checked locally. This is a definite change in practice from a year ago. Other U.S. banks may also have changed.

Bob B.
Colborne, ON

Response :
Ed: The credit card rules are changing very quickly at every bank and credit card issuer. Some are becoming more Canadian-friendly (if you can get to the right knowledgeable person), while others are going backwards. I find that my Wells Fargo debit card is by far the best option. I simply opened a bank account and fund it via CSA’s Snowbird Currency Exchange Program. The detailed reports, also available online, are very helpful. They also gave me a small line of credit…which I try hard not to use…and this will automatically cover any overdrafts. I still carry my Canadian credit cards, of course, but the hidden costs of using them in a foreign country are exorbitant. Having a Canadian credit card in U.S. dollars can resolve some issues, but ordering online or by phone can prove very complicated, if not impossible. Thanks for the update, Mr. Bovaird.

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