As viewed by competitors to the north, U.S. credit card issuers are a bit uncouth. They clog the mails, impose nuisance fees, and offer flashy teaser rates that jar some sensibilities.

But incursions by U.S. card companies have only stiffened the resolve of Canada's largest card issuer, Royal Bank of Canada. The company says the strength of its brand-and its understanding of its home market-are ample protection.

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