How does Costco Credit Card Work?

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January 13, 2022 - Halifax, Canada - Customer traffic at the Bayers Lake Costco Warehouse store, built in 1992.

Debit and credit cards are widely accepted throughout Canada; However, the extent to which you can use foreign-issued cards and the fees that apply to depend on the card company and the type of account you have set up with them.

Most casual visitors to Canada should use their credit cards for purchases and make local currency withdrawals at larger ATMs at Canadian banks, but often travelers should talk to their bank about the best debit and credit cards for this purpose. Each traveler should call their bank or credit card company in advance to notify them of upcoming overseas uses.

Keep in mind that currency exchanges often charge additional fees if done at a foreign bank, especially at an ATM, so it’s best to limit the number of cash withdrawals you make to avoid expensive fees.

Tips for Using a Debit Card

Most debit cards issued by non-Canadian banks will not work in Canada to make retail purchases, but some debit cards issued outside Canada will work at point-of-purchase terminals in the country. For example, the United States Bank issued from the American debit card will work at Canadian retailers, but users are not charged a three percent foreign transaction fee for each purchase.

Note that debit cards differ from credit cards in that they withdraw real-time on the money in your bank account. Purchases made by swiping, inserting, or pressing your card and entering the PIN on the terminal will have the funds withdrawn. In Canada, these terminals operate on the Interac network, a network specific to Canada, which means they cannot access this information or top up your account in real-time.

Even if your debit card doesn’t work for point-of-sale purchases, it can be used to withdraw Canadian money from ATMs in Canada. Withdrawal and exchange rate fees usually apply but will vary depending on your bank, so try to make cash withdrawals at large banks where user fees aren’t quite as hefty as the small ATMs you find in retail outlets (such as shops and restaurants). ), which usually adds a fee of three to five dollars per transaction.

If you travel to Canada frequently, you may want to check with your bank about setting up your unclaimed account for extra withdrawals and currency exchange fees when out of the country. For example, State Farm Bank offers a debit card that allows its users to withdraw money from ATMs overseas without charging this fee.

Major Credit Cards Accepted at Retailers in Canada

Major credit cards are accepted at all retailers in Canada, with Visa and MasterCard being the most common, but some exceptions include Costco Canada, which accepts cash only, or MasterCard and Walmart Canada, which no longer accept Visa credit cards as of fall 2017.

foreign-issued credit cards incur foreign transaction fees for their users unless you choose one of several such as those offered by Capital One which waives this fee, so it may be worthwhile if you are on vacation in Canada for a short trip to only withdraw once lump-sum cash and use it at all retailers, vendors, and restaurants.

Be sure to call ahead and inform your credit card company that you will be spending money overseas, especially if you have already traveled outside the United States with your current credit card, as your credit card company may place an emergency hold on your account for ” suspicious activity” if you start shopping somewhere you’ve never been.