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Old Oct 13, 11, 10:54 pm   #16
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tom911 View Post
I see you're Canada-based. Can you clarify which card (debit, credit) hits you with the 19.5% interest? Is it, like Fredd suggests, a cash advance on a credit card? I've only done that once in the last 20 years in Sweden when the ATM network was down and I needed immediate cash. Strictly for emergencies.
MBNA Canada Mastercard, Capital One Canada Mastercard all had these ridiculous rates. I've kept them open because I didn't want a cancelled card on my credit report.

I keep the cards in the safety deposit box. Never consider using those cards anymore. Come to think of it, my Capital One card should have expired by now and they haven't sent me a replacement.
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Old Oct 14, 11, 9:36 am   #17
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tom911 View Post
I see you're Canada-based. Can you clarify which card (debit, credit) hits you with the 19.5% interest? Is it, like Fredd suggests, a cash advance on a credit card?
It's an Aeroplan Visa credit card. If I put that in a bank machine and take out cash, its considered a cash advance and attracts interest immediately. However, if I use my debit card, that is just taking money out of my account and no interest is charged.

For most purchases though, just using your credit card is the easiest, and then Visa or MC does the currency conversion for you on your statement. Most Canadian cards have about a 2.5 or 3% foreign exchange fee if the transaction isn't in Canadian dollars.

Some places you'll need cash, I don't think the Toronto transit system takes cards of any kind, but I've never tried.
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Old Oct 14, 11, 12:46 pm   #18
 
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I think I got tokens at the window with a card. I also bought paper tickets in a convenience store in Toronto. Whether that was cash or a card I don't remember.
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Old Oct 15, 11, 6:47 am   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tom911 View Post
I see you're Canada-based. Can you clarify which card (debit, credit) hits you with the 19.5% interest? Is it, like Fredd suggests, a cash advance on a credit card? I've only done that once in the last 20 years in Sweden when the ATM network was down and I needed immediate cash. Strictly for emergencies.
Since a debit card is drawn against money in an account, there can't be an interest charge. As for credit cards (in Canada), all the ones that I know have an interest-free period of about one month for purchases (if you have no balance owing from the previous month) but charge interest immediately for cash advances. And each card with each bank has its own rate. Also, CIBC has acquired Citibank's cards and TD has acquired MBNA's cards from Bank of America. As a point of information, TD has acquired lots of US retail banks and has lived by its acronym, like IBM. In Canada, we know they're Toronto-Dominion (a merger of the Bank of Toronto and the Dominion Bank of Canada). Even more shocking, CIBC is the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. That one would play well in Zucotti park.
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Old Oct 15, 11, 6:54 am   #20
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I'm in Canada 6-8 times a year. Just use ATMs. The exchange rate is very good and ATM fees are less than the typical US bank. Some US banks rebate any worldwide ATM fees. Do not use currency exchanges (anywhere) and don't use US currency as it will be discounted way more than the official rate.
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Old Oct 15, 11, 10:52 am   #21
 
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OP's Summary w/ Priority

Thanks for all suggestions folks. My Plan/Suggestions:
1) Use a no or 1% foreign transaction fee CC as a first choice.
Since I only have the Fidelity AMEX, 1%, I will use it as a first choice. I don't have a CC with 1% that is Visa or MC - Any suggestions?

2)
Quote:
Originally Posted by B1 View Post
Since a debit card is drawn against money in an account, there can't be an interest charge.
Yes, you put enough money in that (checking) a/c where money is withdrawn. As long as there is your money still in there, there won't be any cash advance interest rate - you never loaned any of Banks money

3)
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Originally Posted by Fredd View Post
Agreed. I think it's embarrassing to pay for anything under $10-20 with a credit card, and the ATM cards charge the merchant a fee (at least they do in the US - something in the news lately) and again you might not get as good an exchange rate as you would with your credit card.
Not really. I would use CC at any big shops (say Safeway) without any embarrassment. I surely be embarrassed at small shops, owned by an individual.
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Old Oct 15, 11, 2:27 pm   #22
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Originally Posted by sciconf View Post
Since I only have the Fidelity AMEX, 1%, I will use it as a first choice. I don't have a CC with 1% that is Visa or MC - Any suggestions?
As stated previously (by me first I belive) AMEX is much less commonly used in Canada than US, so you may have to go to plan B.

You don't really say what you want to use CC for, but most major hotels will accept AMEX, certainly the chains. For smaller purchases use your ATM and pay cash. Or use your ATM as a credit card if it's a large purchase and you don't want to carry large amount of cash.

Never tried this in Canada, but just returned from Peru where I used Discover Card to pay for an apartment. How so, since they probably never heard of it there?

Well, I prepaid my apt using PayPal which is linked to my Discover card. This card is also rarely (almost never) used in Canada, but since OP does not have one should not be a problem.

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Old Oct 19, 11, 1:50 am   #23
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Not sure if there are big differences between different Canadian banks in terms of ATM fees, which ones tend to have lower fees? TIA.

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