Filed under: Travel
Recently I enjoyed hosting or helping around town several friends from several countries, including (mostly Americans, but including residents of the United Kingdom, Israel, the Czech Republic, Australia). There was one thing that struck me – since most had never been to Canada, they were unfamiliar with Canadian banking practices. They had to ask about how to get money, and how to pay for things without cash. This was true even of my American friends.
To aid others in preparing for a trip to our fair country, I have put together this primer. If you're expecting visitors from elsewhere, you may want to help them prepare by forwarding it to them before they arrive.
The most commonly used general purpose credit cards in Canada are Visa and MasterCard. They are generally accepted, and big enough they vie for sponsorships in Canada -- Visa just sponsored the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. Both are issued by large Canadian bank, so you can get cash advances with either one.American Express is also relatively easy to use. But two American friends who wanted to use their Discover cards were out of luck – they no longer have much presence, if any, in Canada.