Debit cards and credit cards are widely accepted across Canada; however, the extent to which you can use a foreign-issued card and the fees that apply depend on the card issuer and the account you've set up.
Here are some guidelines and things to consider when using your bank cards for purchases and cash withdrawals in Canada.
- Debit cards issued by other countries will likely not work with point-of-purchase terminals (the little machine you stick your debit card into) in Canada. You will have to use your credit card or cash when making purchases.
- Debit cards can be used to withdraw Canadian currency from ATM's in Canada.
- Two charges may apply when you withdraw money from an ATM: a withdrawal fee of between $2 and $5 and an exchange rate fee equaling a small percentage of the amount of your withdrawal.
- If you travel to Canada frequently, you may want to check with your bank about setting up an account that does not ding you for extra withdrawal and currency exchange fees when out of country. For example, State Farm Bank offers a debit card that allows its users to take money out of ATMs in foreign countries without charging these fees.
- For most casual visitors to Canada, the best advice is to use your credit card for purchases and make larger ATM withdrawals to last you a few days and avoid frequent withdrawal fees.
- Capital One Cards are one of the few credit cards that does not charge foreign transaction fees. Many others do.
- Always call your bank or credit card company to tell them you will be using your bank cards in Canada.