After setting up my TD BankNorth account this morning which was so simple it was akin to rolling off a log, I thought about the possibility that my BankNorth account may not play nicely with Paypal. I like the options it offers though and as I had one of those accounts before, figured that I can always transfer funds to it as additional savings incentives along the way.
To ensure that my Paypal account wasn't going to present me any grief or surprises I began searching for another way in which to fall back on just in case. I came across the RBC Access USA account and liked what it had to offer. I also found that many people seemed to have a relatively easy time of attaching this account to their Paypal account. I wanted to be prepared just in case the BankNorth gave me a problem. As I don't have very many bank accounts any longer, considering I use to have at least one at almost every major bank here - I decided it wouldn't be a bad thing to open up an RBC account just the same.
I made the first trip - there were two in total - this morning around 11 a.m. bringing all the ID I thought would be necessary except for one vital piece. They required a Marriage Certificate to explain the change in my name from the one that appears on my Birth Certificate and the one that appears on my license. So, I had to arrange to return after 2 this afternoon. Given that I didn't have any current accounts with them, I had to appear in person at the bank rather than just do the application over the Internet or phone.
A very helpful and accomodating bank representative, Amy, helped make the opening of not one but two accounts so simple that I just had to sit there and answer a question occasionally. To set me up as a customer who would then be able to open an Access USA account, I had to have an actual account to reference which meant that I'd need a savings or checking account of some sort. She set me up with a savings account that has no monthly fee, which was great. After that she completed the paper work and I had to provide a password for the online banking portion as well as a pin number and in short order, under 15 minutes, I had a new RBC Savings account and an RBC Access USA account.
The RBC Access USA, also know as the Centura account to some who signed up before the name changed, offers me everything my Borderless BankNorth account offers with one nice little plus. This account has a minimum balance of only US$700 at which time the US$3.95 fee is waived. I figure I can easily manage that relatively quickly.
There is a minimum US$100 deposit required within 30 days of opening the account though, but isn't a concern. Where my BankNorth account requires a higher minimum balance, this one is low and where the other account gives me free services, this one charges but overall, I think I'm getting a pretty decent deal.
I have access to no charge checking, ATM use, no hold on deposited checks etc., and the nice thing about this account is that if I find myself in the US and need to purchase a car or take out a loan, I can do so through the US bank I am closest to that is an RBC branch. My Canadian credit history is available for me to utilize if I ever need to in the US, which is nice.
The quickness of this account was at the application process, getting the actual account number and the ATM card attached to it will take approximately two weeks to arrive, but Amy promises that she'll contact me with the Account information and routing number as soon as she has it available.
Overall, this account was simple to set up and not nearly as fraught with problems as I thought it might be, especially after reading a few stories on the net about other Canadians who had tried to set up a US dollar bank on their Paypal account.
Now I'm totally set for US Bank accounts and all I need now is a winter home in the US and perhaps a few thousand dollars extra kicking around and I'm all set!
Update On Nov 04, 2008: Nov 4/08 - True to her word, Amy contacted my on Saturday past with my account and routing information, the package for this account was in the mail on Nov 3 and I am good to go! Excellent service so far.