Getting a US Address for Canadians

Getting American credit cards means you must have a US address as issuers will not ship to foreign addresses. Short of buying a house in (unless you live in Vancouver, in which one Vancouver house buys many US houses) you will have to receive mail another way.

Getting a US Address

The method with the least hassle is getting a mail forwarding service. They receive mail for you, and send it to your door. No lifting of fingers required.



The best service for a US Address is Shipito, and is free to signup for. I’ve heard great things from my friends about this company, and I highly recommend them. They have two options, a free subscription or a paid one. You can also choose from addresses in California, Oregon, and Nevada. The free option should be fine unless you need an Oregon address with no sales tax.

The rates are REALLY reasonable. To forward a package Shipito charges only $2 per package in addition to shipping costs. I guess they have huge volumes that makes it possible. From their calculator, a package should cost around $35 to ship from Nevada to Vancouver. This is roughly similar to the rates that FedEx and other shipping companies display on their site. At the end of the day, this cost is negligible compared to the rewards you’ll earn.

US Address - Shipito Shipping

US Address – Shipito Shipping

The other option is to get a US address mailbox. This works if you live close to the US border, although it means driving down to pick up your mail. Vancouver gets it really good, as most of us live 30-90 minutes from Blaine. One service has been around for a long time is Kinek.

They have many locations near the border – Blaine WA, Buffalo NY, Burlington VT, and more. Like Shipito, they have no monthly or membership fees, and notify you with images when they receive your mail. The cost to receive your items is just a pickup fee starting at $5 per package. If you get one letter or package per month, you could save hundreds of dollars by picking it up yourself.

Select the Right Company!

There are plenty of other options that you can find online. One thing, however, is extremely important. Ensure that the company that you use is not designated as a mail forwarding or PO Box service. This can be an issue with some banks who again will not ship to those addresses.

a screenshot of a web page

To verify if this is the case, check the address with the USPS Zip Lookup Tool. The line to pay attention to is the Commercial Mail Receiving Agency. For example, another service I found online displays Y instead of N. That will be a problem. Both Shipito and Kinek do not have this designation.

The last option is using a friend or family member’s address. This is what I’ve been doing ever since getting credit cards, although the logistics are tricky, which is why I’m hesitant to recommend this. Despite how well you know them, most people won’t be too fond of forwarding mail every month. Using their address works for me since I travel frequently enough to visit them several times a year. The drawback is that sometimes I receive my mail late (of course I get them to take pictures of the important items).

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  1. Unless you are a US citizen or permanent resident living in Canada, I think that this crosses the line to fraud. It’s one thing for this community to engage in manufactured spend and hack banking prodcuts, but it’s another to openly advocate for non-US based individuals to use a service to apply for Us based credit cards. Remember this is a contract and a bank has the right to enforce their end of the bargain through a court system. It’s a lot harder if the person not only doesn’t live at their claimed address but is in fact in another country and not a citizen of the country which the credit card contract belongs to.

    I know the Us market is lucrative for points, but that doesn’t excuse fraud.

    • I’m not a lawyer, but I’m not quite sure what citizenship or permanent residency has to do with a credit card application as well. If you take a look at the credit card agreements (other than Wells Fargo), nothing in the terms and conditions makes that a requirement. I also don’t see how a mail-forwarding service has anything to do with this. There are plenty of people who use mail-forwarding systems for other reasons. I’m not advocating for people to misrepresent themselves. Rather, I’m just saying mail-forwarding is an option if you don’t live at that address. If issuers do ask you for proof of address and financial status (like any other American), and you can’t prove that, then you won’t get that credit card.

      • First, a majority of banks do require US citizenship or permanent residency. They will inquire on the application about this.

        Second, applying for a credit card using a mail forwarding address is in fact fraud. Not only is it likely a violation of the US Patriot Act, but also a a fraudulent contract. A bank is relying on the truth of the data you provide on the application. If you do not live at that address and do in fact live in another country, the contract may be voidable. If you don’t repay the amount the bank has little to no way of getting personal service on you since you don’t live at that address and therefore, may have limited resources to enforce the bargain.

        Third, if you already have the credit card – that is one thing, but still there are fraud issues involved here.

        Maybe you should research this information before advocating for likely illegal behavior.

  2. I tried using such service before but was still rejected by the bank I’m applying to because according to them the address I’m using IS a commercial mail receiving agency (I didn’t even get to the final “submit application” button yet). Just now, I checked using the USPS Zip lookup tool that the address is -not- listed as a commercial mail receiving agency. Have you actually tried applying for a US credit card using shipito or any other such services (and succeeded)?

  3. I have a bank account, several credit cards and an SSN in the US. I recently applied while in Canada for the US chase sapphire card and Chase directed me to their fraud team who requested that I provide proof of address in the states, (rental agreement, driver’s license, or phone/water/electricity bill. Bank statements is not sufficient) otherwise they can not approve my application. I was not able to provide proof of address thus I was not able to get the card (any guidance to still get it would be appreciated). I have other cards with Chase in the US and cannot see any reason for this issue other than that I applied from a computer (IP) from Canada.

    Take away: 1. card issuers may decide to ask for proof of address, which we can’t provide.
    2. If possible to apply while in the states or to have someone in the states you trust
    apply for you that can possibly avoid problems getting approved.

    All the best to all , and definitely try to grab some of the US cards if possible.

  4. How do you get around the fact that you don’t have a US Credit Report?
    (Unless you have one from previous cards) Will they look at your Canadian
    Credit File? And just a note for YOSE
    could he have not used a VPN service
    when making the application?
    Just asking?
    BTW I just love your site and have learned plenty from you, and have
    shared it with many of my trusted friends and associates.
    Thanks again.

    • You don’t get around it. This is just a method to receive mail if you can’t fly to California or Nevada. If you don’t have US history I suggest doing a Global Transfer if you’re eligible. See my other post about that.

  5. As a dual citizen who has dealt with this issue and has cards in both countries, I suggest you stay away from the use of mail forwarding organizations for this purpose unless you have a history with the card issuer already. They do know the addresses for these companies and it will flag your application (and potentially future applications). Its usually fine to change address to mail forwarding after some history is built, but you will get calls from some issuers. Sometimes trying a border town bank can get you further if you’re trying to start building credit, but you’ll still likely need a residential address. It’s the same going in either direction.

    • Fair enough. As I say in my site’s terms of use, none of this is professional guidance nor am I a financial or legal professional. This is my knowledge and my experience – other folks may have had different outcomes. Thanks for your comment.

  6. I am a dual citizen who has always lived in Canada. I started credit card churning a few years ago, and now want to get US cards. Based on advice I read online, I went to Amex first. I needed a US bank account to pay the US card, and I think Amex wanted to see that I had a US bank account with the same address I was giving them. I used a mail forwarding service: reship. This all basically worked, but I do not recommend reship, as they state that they will not reship credit cards and they did refuse to re-ship a second Amex US card that I got (Amex ended up sending it to me where I was in Canada because I didn’t get it at my US address).

    So the tip about shipito is really helpful. I have now changed my address to shipitto.

    Now I would like more cards, but early indications are that I still don’t have enough credit history in the US to get more. But later this week I will follow up on applications I recently made to see if I can get anywhere.

    Thanks CK for the very helpful post on the address issue, this looks like it will really help for one piece of the puzzle!

    • p.s. for the US bank account, I just went to one of the Canadian banks that has a US operation (Royal). This was pretty easy. Listed the US address as one of my addresses with Royal, then was able to show that I had a US bank account with a US address associated with it.

  7. Update on the US credit card venture:

    For me, this doesn’t seem to be making too much sense yet. Case in point- recently, as described on your blog, the Amex Starwood Preferred Guest (Canadian version) gave 25,000 points after 1500 minimum spend, with an annual fee of 120.

    Being interested in the whole US credit card thing, and having done a bit of it before and put the pieces in place, I got the American version of the card (25,000 SPG points after 3000US minimum spend), which had a promotion of no annual fee for the first year.

    The main problem is though, the money you lose transferring back and forth. For example, a $30CDN purchase Amex converted as $23.42US (a pretty good exchange rate, actually). But, when go to exchange through Royal to pay that 23.42, the rate was $1.329CDN, which means I have now paid 24.42 x 1.329= 31.25CDN by the time I actually pay that 30CDN charge. That means that the whole process is costing me 31.25-30/30= 3.75%. Over my minimum spend of 3000US (3846CDN) that’s $144CDN.

    Plus, I had to pay $43CDN to courier the card up here (all things considered, this is the only optoin that really works from Shipito).

    So in total, in order to get the benefit of 25,000 SPG points, I will have transaction costs of almot $190CDN (and a higher minimum spend to contend with).

    So, it turns out that if I would have just gotten the Canadian version of the card when the annual fee was waived, I would have gotten the bonus for less transaction costs.

    So not the end of the world, but so far for me the US cards aren’t really proving to be better.

    Also, I have not been able to find a no-fee US bank account, which means that I’m paying 3.95/Mo. USD (Royal’s fees) to be set up for this whole venture.

    Would be glad to hear anyone’s thoughts . . .

    • There are cheaper ways to move money, and plenty of no fee bank accounts around. I never compared it to the Canadian version – they’re both different cards that are well worth if you know what you’re doing.

    • One benefit of the Canadian card is that the points are awarded based on $Cdn spend which means you get approx 1.3 points per $US equivalent. Effectively you get a 30% bonus on spending compared to the US card.

      At least that is how I read it.

  8. It could be that there are some methods that I’m not aware of. Regarding bank fees for this whole US credit card endeavor, can you give any suggestions? My understanding is that in order to pay a US card, you need to have an account at a US bank (as opposed to a Canadian bank that offers a US dollar account).

    The easiest thing seems to be to get one with one of the Canadian banks that has a US subsidiary, like Royal (whose US bank is Royal Bank U.S.).

    Am I missing something? Can you pay a US credit card from a Canadian bank? Is there a Canadian bank whose US subsidiary has a no-fee account? Or is the thing to do to open an account at a US bank (but this would be hard to do from Canada I assume)?

      • I opened an account with TD’s US bank. It isn’t as smooth as Royal was (some problems getting it open, and their process by which you transfer money between the Canadian side and US side isn’t as smooth), but it works, and and with $100 US minimum balance there is no fee.

        Thank you for the tip, this gets me around monthly fees for a US account!

  9. The Kinek in Champlain NY (near Montreal) do not accept regular envelope, only padded ones, so they would not accept the Amex envelope with a CC….! Moreover they do have a YES as ‘Commercial Mail Receiving Agency’… So they seems to be useless…

  10. All financial institutions in U.S request proof of physical address. Like utility bill to validate u.s residency. You don’t have to be a u.s citizen to apply for credit cards. It’s not illegal to apply for credit card if you are not u.s citizens or green card holder. OP statement about patriot act false. Likewise as long as a legal status in Canada you can apply for any credit card. Citizenship has nothing to do with credit card. All application form ask Citizenship status for bank internal reporting / money laundering tracking. All mail forwarding companies are commercial and not valid for credit card applications. Application ask residential address. When you enter commercial mail forwarding address in place of your residential address is illegal. This is where you will be subject to your disclosure statement being fraudulent.

  11. Has anyone been able to get a US account with a Kinek address recently?
    I just signed up for Kinek and the address they gave me includes a 5 digit # (kinek#) and the Company name. I’m just wondering if they’d accept it as a valid address for my TD US checking account. Thanks!

  12. One thing I have done in the past is have letters or parcels shipped to a business that receives mail but doesn’t register as a CMRA with USPS. You don’t need to sign up or show any ID. They will receive the mail for any name you want to use and then you just pick it up. Usually no ID required.

    With the border closure, a lot of them will forward the mail to you. Just email them a postage label and they will slap it on and mail it over the border to you.

    Here are a few I have used in the past….

    Much easier and more private than going through the registered CMRAs

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