How to Setup a US iTunes Account in Canada with Vanilla MasterCard

Update, May 21, 2011: This method still works, but you need to ensure the ZIP code registered to your Vanilla MasterCard matches the ZIP code in your iTunes account.

Previously this did not matter, but the card setup has changed.

How do to this? Visit this link here…then select USA (English), and enter your card details. Go to edit card info, and ensure the ZIP code entered is the same as your US iTunes account.

**This post is for educational purposes only.**

There are lots of perks living in Canada. Think of our freedoms, our multicultural society, maple syrup, back bacon, hockey, $2000 blog anniversary giveaways, and US iTunes accounts. Okay, so maybe the latter perk is not something we can easily acquire or enjoy. When it comes to creating a US iTunes store account in Canada, it does require more effort than usual.

So just how do we create US iTunes accounts in Canada? The easiest way is to get your American friends and family to buy you US iTunes gift cards or find them on eBay (or try shady iTunes gift card resellers). However that can be a pain in the butt if you don’t know anyone in the US or don’t want to get scammed on eBay. Well, today I’m going to show you how to create a US iTunes account in Canada. How? Easy. Buy Vanilla MasterCard gift cards from Shoppers Drug Mart!

How to Setup an US iTunes Account in Canada: Buy MasterCard Gift Cards from Shoppers Drug Mart

I was surprised really when I heard of this method. It’s actually pretty cool when you think about it because there are literally hundreds of Shoppers Drug Mart locations scattered across Canada. Here are the steps I took to create my US iTunes account here in Vancouver.

1. I went to my local store and quickly purchased a $25 MasterCard gift card (they also add on $3.95 activation fee, which is a small price to pay for convenience). Cards come in $25/$50/$100 denominations. Look for this card:


**EDIT** You will need to register a US ADDRESS for your Vanilla MasterCard for this to work. Do this online. Look at the back of the Vanilla MasterCard and visit the website to ACTIVATE/REGISTER!!!

—- read above before continuing —-

2. I opened iTunes on my computer. I clicked on the iTunes Store and then scrolled to the bottom. From there, under “My Store” I selected “United States” from the drop down menu.

3. On the upper right, click on “Sign In”. Click on “Create New Account”.

4. **did you register your Vanilla MasterCard yet? Do this online before continuing.** Ensure ZIP code entered matches your US iTunes Account.

Agree to all the terms, etc. For your address, enter in the details of a “family member” or “friend” that lives in the US. Once could use a “friend’s” address in Oregon because they have no tax there.

5. On the next screen where it asks for payment details, select MasterCard. Enter in your gift card details (number, expiry, security code).
6. Once successful, you will see a screen explaining that your US account is now setup!
7. If you need to refill your account in the future, just buy another Vanilla MasterCard gift card, login to your iTunes account info, and change the payment info with the new card details.

Footnotes: I am able to switch easily between my Canadian and US iTunes account seamlessly. I can sync apps redeemed from the US iTunes store without a problem, along with US iTunes content.

What’s the Big Deal with a US iTunes Account?

Why get a US iTunes account? Well, for starters you gain access to a vast library of TV shows, movies, and music that is not available in iTunes in Canada. You can also rent movies and watch them on your Apple TV. More important, if you win a contest and get a promo code for an iPhone app, the only way to redeem them is through a US iTunes account. Certain iPhone apps are only available to the US as well (Pandora, Loopt; although Pandora doesn’t work in Canada!).

I’m sure this method of signing up for a US iTunes account will work with other pre-paid credit card gift cards, but so far all I know is the MasterCard gift card works like a charm. Also, this method should work for people living in other countries trying to get access to a US iTunes account.

So if you’ve been trying to setup a US iTunes account in Canada, stop procrastinating because a viable solution is finally here! Let me know how this works out for you in the comments!

*edit* Thanks to @eplatero for the heads up on this. Apparently this method also works for the Amazon MP3 store and streaming Netflix.