Using your Dozens card in Canada - a handy guide

This may not be true of ALL of Canada, since the Provinces are quite independent so experiences may vary, but I have been travelling here for a couple of weeks and learned some tricks I thought I would pass on.

Canada uses a unique debit payment system called Interac and this is the one that is recognised by most shops.

A Dozens card, or any UK debit card, using Mastercard or VISA, will not be recognised as a debit card for transactions. It WILL work, but in shops you will be asked whether it is a “debit card or credit card” and despite all logical arguments, in fact our cards should be treated as “credit” cards for these transactions.

Contactless will work, but in many cases you will need to warn the assistant that the card should be treated as a credit card.

This is particularly confusing when withdrawing cash from an ATM.

When you put your card in the machine, you will be asked whether the money should come from your “chequing” (current) or “savings” account, or whether it should be a “cash advance” (i.e. a credit card)?

Here again, you will need to select “credit card” or “cash advance”. This is NOT treated as a cash advance by Dozens, but it means that the transaction will be routed via the correct payment channels.

There is still not fee charged by Dozens for this transaction!

One minor complication I have come across is that not all Canadian banks (e.g. Scotia Bank) have relationships with Mastercard and VISA, and therefore you will not be able to use their ATMs. You will need to check with the relevant bank before using the machine - I assume they will display the logos if they accept it.

If anyone has any further experience of banking in Canada and can add to this explanation or let us know what banks might be best to use, then feel free to join in.

Happy holidays!!

9 Likes

I see it’s hard to be completely off the job :stuck_out_tongue:

2 Likes

I’ve travelled numerous times to Canada, and found it pretty much as you’ve said. The savings/checking/credit problem also crops up in the US and it is the same solution.

I’ve found withdrawals OK at CIBC AND RBC.

I’ve never found an issue paying in a store/restaurant etc. But I think my last visit was pre dozens/Revolut so I probably used my Credit Card anyway.

One of the issues I did have was a double charge due to using contactless and it appearing to fail, then them trying again with chip and pin, hopefully with the dozens notifications system you would know quickly the transaction had been successful. With my snail credit card I didn’t find out for a week and had to call the restaurant in Canada to ask them to reverse it. I guess that could happen anywhere though :slightly_smiling_face:

1 Like

exactly right!

I had a couple of contactless failures, but probably because their systems were different (and slower) and I removed my card too quickly. I was never double-charged, but I agree that the notification would alert you (as long as you have a data plan active of course!)

That is another issue with travel that I’ll need to think about more deeply. As free wifi becomes more prevalent it becomes less of an issue, but if you depend on mobile data plans in North America, you may well have turned off roaming and not know immediately … but at least you would not wait until you got home to hear about it.

(this was always my excuse reason for asking for wifi passwords everywhere we went, so I could update my apps :wink: )

Very true about the data. The first couple of times I went I specifically bought a 5GiB Global Data Roaming SIM, not cheap but cheaper than the network roaming fees at the time.

More recently my provider now offers free roaming in the ‘Inclusive Zone’ https://www.o2.co.uk/international/travel-inclusive-zone, which includes most countries I’d care about, and the contract was reasonably priced to include it (I now note that this is only available with the next price band up :slight_smile:)

Other providers are available of course, I believe three offers free North American Roaming and I think Vodafone has a package also.

Three has a seriously good roaming thing, loooong list of useful countries, and you can just use your plan as intended, no limitation like other networks. That’s what we use at work, saved us a LOT of unexpected bills

Three has good roaming.

Long list of countries.

There is actually a limit though - it’s something like 20GB a month or something (or if your plan is under that - Free)

It’s also capped to 3G, there’s no option to pay £1 a month more or something and get 4G roaming as opposed to it.

Vodafone and O2 however give “whatever the highest speed we can get” roaming (although not included on every plan - unlike Three)

EE also has as O2/Vodafone does - but with a lower amount of regions iirc

1 Like