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The Best US Dollar Credit Cards in Canada

The Best US Dollar Credit Cards in Canada

If you travel frequently to the United States or purchase in US dollars, you may want to consider getting a US dollar credit card. US dollar credit cards allow you to spend and pay off your balance in US dollars, thus eliminating currency conversion fees at the time of purchase.

But while the Canadian banks and other financial institutions have US dollar credit cards in their lineup, you don’t hear much about them. They’re not as heavily promoted as premium rewards cards, which are more popular and profitable.

In this article, we’re putting Canada’s top US dollar credit cards in the spotlight to help you find the best card for you.

The 6 Best US Credit Cards in Canada

When you want a hassle-free way to manage your US dollar transactions, these credit cards can make your life much easier. Here’s a closer look at 6 of the best US dollar credit cards for Canadians

1. BMO US Dollar Mastercard

What We Like: Low annual fee with available rebate

Card Features:

  • $35 USD annual fee (Secondary card is free)
  • The following year’s annual fee is waived if you make $1000 USD in purchases with the card
  • 20.99% purchase interest
  • Extended warranty and purchase protection
  • Zero Liability coverage
  • BMO alerts you to suspicious transactions
  • Optional BMO roadside assistance
  • Available Cirque Du Soleil discounts

Summary: The BMO US Dollar Mastercard has a low $35 USD annual fee, which is waived if you spend $1,000 USD or more in a year, a nice feature. The card also includes valuable protections, including extended warranty and purchase protection, zero liability coverage, and BMO alerts.

2. CIBC US Dollar Aventura Gold Visa Card

What We Like: Low annual fee, no charge for up to 3 additional cards

Card Features:

  • $35 USD annual fee ($0 for up to 3 additional cards)
  • An annual fee rebate is available
  • 20.99% purchase interest
  • Earn 1 point per dollar spent on travel through the CIBC Rewards Centre
  • 1 point for every $2 spent on all other purchases
  • No currency conversion fees
  • Extra purchase protection for up to 90 days on most purchases
  • Visa’s Zero Liability policy
  • Fraud alerts

The CIBC US Dollar Aventura Gold Visa Card is unique because you receive Aventura rewards points when you spend. Like the BMO card, there is an annual fee of $35, but it can be waived if you have a CIBC US dollar bank account AND a premium CIBC rewards credit card.

3. TD US Dollar Visa Card

What We Like: Includes four types of travel insurance coverage.

Card Features:

  • $39 USD annual fee
  • $0 for additional cardholder
  • 19.99% purchase interest
  • No foreign exchange fees
  • Trip Interruption Insurance
  • Common Carrier Travel Accident Insurance
  • Emergency Travel Assistance Services
  • Delayed and Lost Baggage Insurance
  • Avis and Budget Rental Car Discounts
  • Auto Rental Collision/Loss Damage Insurance
  • Purchase Security and Extended Warranty Protection
  • Works with Apple and Samsung Pay
  • Visa Security Benefits

Summary: The TD US Dollar Visa Card is a solid value. While you don’t earn rewards points like you do with the CIBC Aventura card, you can access a wide range of travel insurance benefits. You also receive complimentary Auto Rental Collision/Loss Damage Insurance. If you travel frequently to the US, this card, along with a TD US Dollar Chequing account, is a powerful combination.

4. RBC US Dollar Visa Gold

What We Like: Six types of insurance included.

Card Features:

  • $65 USD annual fee
  • $30 additional card fee
  • 20.99% purchase interest
  • Trip Cancellation
  • Trip Interruption
  • Purchase Security & Extended Warranty
  • Emergency Purchases
  • Auto Rental Collision/Loss Damage Insurance
  • Earn 1 Avion point per dollar spent
  • Petro Canada fuel discounts
  • Earn Be Well Points at Rexall
  • DoorDash discounts

Summary: The RBC US Dollar Visa Gold Card is the most expensive US dollar card on our list, placing it a bit lower in the rankings. However, the card has plenty of features, including six types of insurance coverage, a rewards program, and perks at places like Petro Canada, Rexall, and DoorDash. You’ll need to decide if the benefits are worth the added cost.

5. Meridian Visa US Dollar Card

What We Like: Includes seven different types of insurance coverage

Card Features:

  • $65 USD annual fee
  • $30 USD additional card
  • Earn one reward point for every dollar spent
  • Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption coverage
  • Delayed Baggage/Lost or Damaged Baggage
  • Common Carrier Travel Accident Insurance
  • Auto Rental Collision/Loss Damage Insurance
  • Purchase Protection Insurance
  • Extended Warranty Insurance
  • Travel Assistance Service

Summary: Like the RBC card, the Meridian Visa US Dollar card has a higher annual fee and charges you for a secondary card. You do have the opportunity to earn rewards points, and there are seven types of insurance coverage included.

6. Alterna Savings US Dollar Visa

What We Like: Complimentary Auto Rental Collision/Loss Damage Insurance

Card Features:

  • $50 USD annual fee
  • $35 Additional card fee
  • 19.99% purchase interest
  • Zero liability fraud protection
  • Earn Reward Points (1 point for every $2 USD spent)
  • Purchase protection and Extended Warranty coverage
  • Auto Rental Collision/Loss Damage Insurance

Summary: Alterna Savings is a credit union based in Ontario. Their US Dollar Visa card has a higher annual fee ($50) than other cards, and you do have to pay $35 if you wish to have an additional card on your account.

However, the card comes with complimentary Auto Rental Collision/Loss Damage Insurance, a nice feature if you regularly rent cars when traveling in the US. This card doesn’t offer the same value as the TD card, but if you’re an existing Alterna Savings customer, it may be your most convenient option.

Why Use a US Dollar Credit Card?

With a US dollar credit card, your transactions are charged in U.S. currency. This helps you avoid the daily fluctuations of exchange rates and eliminates foreign transaction fees. Not only does this save you money, but it also makes managing your finances more straightforward. Let’s explore these benefits more closely:

1. Avoid Daily Exchange Rate Fluctuations

Every time you use your Canadian dollar credit card to make a purchase in US currency, a currency exchange occurs.

This leaves you at the mercy of constantly fluctuating exchange rates and the credit card company, which may not offer a competitive exchange rate. By paying with a US dollar card, you can exchange funds another time at a better rate through your bank or a company like Wise.

For example, let’s say you’re planning to take a trip to the US in September. But several months before your trip, you notice that the US dollar has dropped in value versus the Canadian dollar, and it’s an excellent time to buy US dollars.

You decide to purchase $3000 in USD at a favourable exchange rate. You then store that money in a US dollar bank account that you hold with your primary bank.

A few months later, you notice that the exchange rate has swung in your favour once more. You buy an additional $1000 USD and add it to your account.

You go on your trip in September and use your US dollar credit card to pay for your hotel and meals. You haven’t had to deal with currency exchange or foreign exchange fees because all of your purchases were made in US dollars.

When you return from your trip, you receive your credit card bill, which has a balance of $ 3,500 USD. Because you already have the funds available in your US dollar bank account, you can easily transfer the correct amount without any foreign exchange to pay off your credit card.

Reduced Foreign Transaction Fees

Another advantage of using a U.S. Dollar Credit Card is that it eliminates the annoying foreign exchange fees. Most Canadian credit cards apply a 2.5% to 3% fee on top of the converted amount when you make a purchase in a foreign currency. With a U.S. Dollar Credit Card, you can avoid these fees by paying in U.S. dollars, helping you save money over time.

Easy Budgeting and Expense Tracking

When you use a U.S. Dollar Credit Card, all your purchases are listed in U.S. dollars on your monthly statement. This makes it easier to control your spending and budget for future trips to the United States. Also, as I already mentioned, if you have a U.S. dollar bank account in Canada, you can quickly pay your credit card balance without converting your funds.

Final Thoughts

A Canadian credit card that allows you to spend in US dollars is a highly underrated product that most banks and credit unions offer. You can use your Canadian credit history to qualify, you avoid paying a foreign transaction fee when you spend, and you aren’t subject to daily foreign currency fluctuations.

I chose BMO and CIBC as the top overall cards due to their low annual fees and the fact that they can be easily rebated. Most Canadians who are getting a US dollar credit card already own a premium rewards credit card that earns rewards points and includes several insurance coverages

It doesn’t make sense to pay a high annual fee for a US dollar card to get the same benefits.

Ultimately, the best U.S. dollar credit card for you will depend on your individual needs and preferences. Take the time to research and compare the available options to find the right fit for your cross-border spending habits.


How can a U.S. dollar credit card benefit Canadians with cross-border expenses?

If you frequently make purchases in U.S. dollars, a U.S. dollar credit card can save you money on exchange fees. This is because these cards allow you to pay for purchases directly in U.S. currency, avoiding exchange rate fluctuations and the 2-3% foreign transaction fees typically charged by regular credit cards. They also make it easier to track your U.S. dollar spending, as transactions and balances will be displayed in United States currency.

Which Canadian US dollar credit cards are best for frequent travelers?

Your top priority with a US dollar credit card should be getting a low annual fee. BMO, CIBC, and TD offer US Dollar cards with sub-$40 annual fees. While some US Dollar cards offer a range of additional benefits, like reward points and insurance coverages, your best bet is to use those features with your primary Canadian credit card.

What factors should be considered when choosing a US dollar credit card in Canada?

In our opinion, the number one factor should be the annual fee. After that, look for additional benefits such as extended warranty and purchase protection, rewards programs, and travel benefits.

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