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Mastercard, ATM's and Banks

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posts: 13
reviews: 2
Mastercard, ATM's and Banks

I will be taking CAD upon arrival to Montreal for trip incidentals (taxi, meals, etc.) I understand that using credit cards get you the best exchange for shopping and restaurants while I am there. Is that true? Would it be more advantageous to use ATM's or banks for currency exchange?

Manchester N.H.
posts: 6,206
reviews: 2
1. Re: Mastercard, ATM's and Banks


I have no advice about the banks, but do suggest using ATMs if you want cash. It's much more convenient't. I really don't remember the fee being any higher than any other ATM that's not affiliated with your bank.

It will save you the hassle of finding a bank, and making a special trip. Have fun!!!. Nancy

Boston, MA
posts: 308
reviews: 7
2. Re: Mastercard, ATM's and Banks

Using a US-based credit card gives you a favorable exchange rate as well. You will need to check on the fee each credit card issuer charges for foreign transaction though. These fees do vary among different card types. I heard that even after taking into account the fee, it is still a good way to spend in foreign coutries because the exchange rate is much better than any bank can offer to you. Can anyone confirm?

Roswell, New Mexico
posts: 715
reviews: 47
3. Re: Mastercard, ATM's and Banks

I generally just use cards, but be sure to have some cash as well. If you can get to a bank before you go ,that's great, but the Canadian gov't also have money exchanges at the tourist stops just across the border. Their rate is generally better than the exchange places on the street in Montreal.

I find using cards much easier than having to familiarize myself with 'Monopoly money.'

Arlington, Virginia
Destination Expert
for Washington DC
posts: 3,002
reviews: 25
4. Re: Mastercard, ATM's and Banks


I would also advise some cash and some credit card use. Don't exchange money before you go, just get cash from an ATM, you'll get a better exchange rate. Just note that you will be charged a fee each time you use the ATM (which is usually higher than the charge your credit company will charge you - the cc compaies get you in other ways!) so try to just take out money once or twice so avoid additional fees.

BUT... also note that you can not use a Visa card at the ATM machine in the Montreal Airport. I tried to use my visa debit card after exiting through immigration and was concerned when the machine told me I couldn't get money. Fortunately, the same thing happened to the woman after me. The person at the exchange booth didn't seem like she really wanted to tell me what the problem was. I think she wanted me to just exchange some cash. But since there were two of us asking, she did say that the machine doesn't accept visa. However, many of the taxi drivers (especially from the airport) accept credit cards. I paid the cab by credit card and then got cash from an ATM near McGill after I checked into my hotel. I never had a problem with Visa after that - it was just at the airport.

Enjoy your stay!

Kathmandu, Nepal
posts: 37
reviews: 52
5. Re: Mastercard, ATM's and Banks

Hi all,

Most American credit cards and American ATM debit cards charge a foreign transaction fee when used outside of the U.S. This is in addition to your ATM fees. The foreign transaction fee is determined by your credit card/debit card company (bank), and varies widely. My bank charges a foreign transaction fee of 1 percent, others are as high as 4 percent. This is a question to ask your bank. The exchange rate with the ATM is usually the best.

posts: 1,423
6. Re: Mastercard, ATM's and Banks

Its not just US banks, it is universal. They all charge fees and for them there is no such thing as free lunch.

Boston, MA
posts: 308
reviews: 7
7. Re: Mastercard, ATM's and Banks

If you are a Bank of America Customer, you are in luck. You can draw cash from any Scotia Bank ATM machine in Montreal without any fee. I bet you will even gain from a favorable exchange rate. Not very sure on this.

Most credit cards charge between 2-4% for the foreign transaction. Capital One is one that does not impose any fee.

8. Re: Mastercard, ATM's and Banks

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