It's easy to understand why places like sunny Florida tend to be a favorite destination for Canadians seeking warmer climates in winter – but keeping an eye on their finances while away from home can prove to be less than relaxing.
Each year, more than 1 million Canadians make an annual trek to the southern U.S., like South Carolina and Florida, according to Canada's Snowbird Advisor website.
As you'd expect, a group this large makes a significant contribution to the local economy. In fact, Canadian winter travelers and part-time residents were estimated to have contributed over $95 billion to the Florida economy in 2019 and supported over 1.6 million jobs in the state, according to the Florida Realty Marketplace.
However, for many Canadians – including retirees, vacationers, businesspeople, shoppers and students – managing finances while traveling to the U.S. can often be a significant hassle. The TD Cross-Border Banking program includes financial products and services that helps cross-border travelers manage their money while they are in the U.S., like:
- Online banking and bill pay that allows travelers to open a U.S. dollar-denominated banking account online – without a U.S. address – allowing them to pay their bills easily and conveniently.
- Flexible currency exchange options at optimal rates that allows Canadians living in the U.S. part-time or regularly transferring funds from Canadian to U.S. dollars.
- Additional financial products and services, including U.S. mortgage, home equity lending and credit card options based on Canadian income and credit history, providing timely decisions.
- Ability to transfer funds between Canadian and U.S. accounts without paying international wire fees.
Further, the multi-faceted program can be tailored to meet a customer's specific needs, adding a unique level of personalization and support customers have come to expect from TD.
"We knew it was critical that our cross-border banking program offered customers a full suite of top-tier key financial products focused on helping relieve the financial pain points many Canadians might experience when they head south, including the barriers they may have in obtaining credit in the U.S.," said Nick Miceli, TD Bank Regional President of Metro Florida. "Additionally, our strong store presence with convenient hours seven days a week is a key differentiator compared to other cross-border banking programs because our colleagues can provide that one-on-one customer service our competitors can't match."
Nothing better than meeting face-to-face
Ursula Dittmar and her husband, who reside in a Toronto suburb, have long enjoyed spending their winters in sunny Naples, Florida. When TD opened a store down the street from their home away from home six years ago, they paid the team a visit and learned about the many benefits of cross-border banking. For Ursula, one of the biggest advantages of banking with TD is always having a store close by to work with trusted advisors, like Store Manager Dukens Pierre.
"We find it's very helpful to have someone to talk to in person who listens and understands what we need," Ursula said. "Dukens helps us feel more confident. It's been a big, big benefit to us when it comes to transferring money and using our credit card – and I can't forget all the advice! TD has given us so many benefits."
Dukens shared he's noticed an increasing number of Canadian seasonal residents and travelers stopping in to understand the many ways cross-border banking can help them.
"The feedback about the program has been tremendous," he said. "Customers appreciate how we take the time to listen and then walk them through things at the store. It really shows them how our cross-border banking program is enhanced by our store locations."
Dukens recalled a particular Canadian customer he was able to help who was struggling in securing a mortgage at other U.S. banks due to the cross-border complexities.
"We sat down together and went through all of her options, and we were able to get her a line of credit in the U.S. which allowed her to purchase the property she wanted here in Florida. That became a win-win for the customer and us because, in return, she told her friends and family members, and now many of them have opened accounts and credit cards with us."
Living the dream
Claude Papasian is one of the many Canadian visitors who realized his dream to avoid the cold after retiring. Two years ago, he retired from TD after 42 years and now spends the winter months at his home in Pompano Beach, Florida.
"My game plan was always to get away from the cold when I retired," he said. "Since my wife had family in Florida, we used to visit quite a bit, and we really liked the neighborhood and decided to settle here."
Even before retiring, Claude took full advantage of all the cross-border banking program had to offer in order to avoid the challenges he previously experienced traveling back and forth for work or when on vacation in the states. Specifically, Claude noted that using online banking and bill pay features have made potentially difficult issues managing important payments much easier to handle.
"Most U.S. companies will not accept Canadian checks, and the ones that do, charge fees," said Robert Costanzo, TD Bank Store Manager in Naples, Florida. "Utilizing our cross-border banking options allows Canadians to pay their bills with U.S.-based accounts and in U.S. dollars. They can use free bill pay services, ACH, debit/credit or checks to pay their expenses from either side of the border. Our U.S. debit and credit cards work at all merchants, anywhere Visa is accepted. Another huge perk is the cash back options we offer on our U.S. credit cards.
"Overall, our cross-border banking program is just another great example of how TD is committed to delivering convenient, helpful products and services backed by expert advice and dedicated customer support."