How to adjust to life as a Canadian in the US

3 minute read

Making the hop from Canada to the US is an increasingly popular move.

In fact, it’s estimated that there are over 800,000 Canucks currently living in the US. It’s not that surprising – we all speak the same language (kinda) and have a love for sports.

So, we grabbed some Canadian TransferWise customers and team members for a chat to find out what their biggest surprises were when they moved to the US.

From getting used to your new insurance plan to dealing with imperial units – here are some obstacles you’ll meet as a Canuck in the US:

What are these copper plated discs in my change?


Remember that little coin that Canada killed two years ago?

Well it’s back from the dead and it’s here to stay…for a while at least.

Due to the way the US loves to price their items (e.g. $19.95, $4.99, etc.) you will almost always get pennies in return. However, that is probably the only scenario they’ll ever be useful.

By the way, what’s up with all American bills being colored the same? And have you noticed how flimsy they are?



Like quantum physics, the US healthcare system is based on the principal that the more you know, the less you understand it.

Even the customer service people at the insurance companies don’t really understand how any of it works.

What’s the difference between a deductible, copay and coinsurance? No one knows.

Where are the milk bags?


Your milk now comes in jugs.

While it is something that you will have to get used to, it’s also something that most welcome with open arms. Jugs and cartons are just way easier to carry and pour, easier to store in your fridge and they come in various sizes. Just don’t try to wrap your head into just how much a gallon or half of gallon of milk is.

Long gone are the days that you accidentally cut off too much from the tip of the bag.

There goes your credit card!


You just finished your meal and asked the waiter for the check, take out your card and wait patiently for your them to come back.

Now they say they need your card? And you’re going where exactly with it?

The strangest part is that your bill is not closed right in front of you. You have to write in the merchant copy of the receipt how much of a tip you want to leave and then at some point after you leave the restaurant they will finally charge your card for total amount.

Bank fees


So you’ve settled into your new life and now want to send a little money back home.

Well forget about using your bank. The 3% exchange rate markups, $40 wire fees and the fact that you have to wait 6 days to receive the money are just some of the ways your new bank will try to rip you off.

TransferWise charges just 0.7% over $5,000 with no mark-up - that means you get a far better exchange rate.

What do we mean by a mark-up? Take a look:

But don’t worry, TransferWise is here to change this.

TransferWise is the smart, new way to send money abroad.

Find out more
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