Services for Canadian Small Businesses
It is very important to have the right tools for your business. Having the right tools can save you time and also money and this builds up.
I have research lots of different options and these are the services I use:
Bank Account: HSBC.ca – Business direct
One of the few no fee banking services but unlike others which are usually credit unions there are many locations and a powerful online banking where you can do a lot of different transactions.
These two have a lot lower rate than the banks and other currency brokerage houses. Oanda has the lowest rates for smaller volumes around $10,000. I find that at higher volumes they are about even. For me I use VBCE because people are nicer and Oanda gave me such a hassle when I tried to sign up. Also VBCE uses HSBC so when I wire them money, it’s free and they wire it back to my HSBC USD account.
USD based bank account: RBC USA bank
Paypal requires you to have a USA based account to withdraw fees. What that means is the bank has to be physically based in the US. I recommend calling them to sign up, the branches are clueless about setting this up and will often tell you that they can’t do it or you need are not approve or other crap. It’s very easy and quick when you call in. You will need to put this under your personal name. You will get a credit card as well to use, I discovered that if I use credit card for transactions outside the US they charge a 1% fee. Be aware of this.
Credit Card: MBNA Smart Cash
No annual fee, 1% back, 2% on gas and grocery. Nothing beats this!
Unless you have high volume shipments you are not going to get a special rate from UPS or Fedex. E-shipper gets a volume discount and passes part of the savings to you. Shipping within Canadian cities are very inexpensive. Going to the US, I’m not sure the savings that great and it doesn’t offer much for international savings.
For larger item shipments FreightCenter seeks rates at the different trucking companies and gets you the lowest price. The prices are actually lower than directly contacting the trucking companies yourself.