🇨🇦 Monzo in Canada [Wiki]

This is a wiki crowdsourced by the Monzo Community to help you travel with Monzo.

Just like Wikipedia, anyone can edit it to help out others. If you have any tips or feedback for visiting Canada with Monzo, please feel free to edit this guide. You can also add a comment or question below — someone will then incorporate your comment into the main text below and then delete your comment. To create your own “Monzo in …” guide if one doesn’t already exist, just copy this template into a new post and write away!

Safe travels! :wave: :airplane:


Currency

Canada utilises the Canadian dollar ($)

Card usage

Card acceptance is widespread with chip & pin as well as contactless working flawlessly.

ATMs

Be aware that although acceptance of the card at ATMs is fine, the fees (anywhere between CAD$2.50 - $3.50 per transaction) can add up. Try making larger withdrawals or stick to card transactions. If there is a Costco nearby, their ATMs only charge C$1 per withdrawal, a better value. Additionally, some credit unions do not charge fees at their ATMs.

Payment and withdrawal limits

All Monzo cards have some payment and withdrawal limits. To check yours before you leave, tap on the manage card icon and then tap on Spending and card limits.

Crowdsourced merchant data

Data will most likely be scant so please try and contribute relevant feedback about transactions :slight_smile:

Miscellaneous

Contactless MasterCard is supported on transit in Vancouver, however there are two shortcomings:

  1. The amount of a three-zone fare is authorized on your card every time you transfer. You will only be charged one fare based on number of zones traveled in a 90-minute period once the charges have settled, however, this can result in a large amount of your money being held up in authorizations depending on how much you travel.

  2. You are also charged a higher fare than if you pay using stored value on a Compass card. The difference varies from C$0.60-$1.25 depending on number of zones traveled.

MasterCard contactless on transit can thus only be recommended for infrequent journeys. The price difference exceeds the cost of a new Compass card (C$6) after 10 one-zone trips or 8 two-zone trips.


To edit this guide, just tap the pencil icon below. Alternatively, add a reply with your comments and someone from the community will incorporate your suggestions into the guide and then delete your comment.

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Not sure how widespread this is, so decided to leave it as a comment and let others decide. Monzo worked flawlessly in Canada, but one retailer (Jean Coutu) required me to specify debit or credit before using Chip and Pin. Debit failed, but credit succeeded. I only have one data point though, so it could have been cashier error.

No, it is correct. Debit refers to their domestic debit card scheme. Credit refers to international debit cards and credit cards.

Could you please add “debit vs credit” as a topic?

In Canada, there is a difference in paying between debit and credit cards - one is always asked to say if it is a debit card or a credit card when one pays by card. Although I think monzo would be a debit card, one actually has to say credit card here. Monzo has to be used as a credit card and this should be made clear.

Indeed. Debit is really Interac and Credit is (Visa, MC, Amex, DC etc.)

It has to be done this way as some Canadian debit cards are cobranded with Visa or MasterCard but only for use abroad (Or online), if you attempt to run a Canadian visa debit card over Visa in Canada, it’ll decline.

Travelling to Canada in May. Would be interested to hear if there are any tips for travelling abroad with Monzo. Both my wife and I will be going with our personal accounts and our joint account, so assume the withdrawal limits are per card (we have three) rather than per account I’m named on.

I’m banking on taking money out across all three when needed.

I don’t know about the cash withdrawal limits, but you’ll find that contactless and chip and pin are widespread in Canada. I used very little cash on a trip there last year.

Tried in Walmart. Didn’t work - card error. Didnt even ask for pin

Food basics. Didnt work - card error. Didnt ask for pin

Scotiabank - tried to withdraw - couldnt authorise

TD bank - tried to withdraw - couldnt authorise.

Dollarama - works

Super something drug store - works.

Collere - works and gives you option to pay in CAD and/or GBP.

I found that where it works you have to confirm that it is a mastercard debit before terminal asks for pin.

Not Monzo, but tried my Amex in Denny’s and contactless didn’t work, then tried chip and pin which said to use the mag stripe (which worked). Wondered if Monzo may have failed too and I’d need to enable that in settings.

Monzo and Amex failed to add to the TapCarr app (like Uber as it isn’t available here). Tried ReRyde afterwards and Monzo works great with that.

Also worked perfectly in McDonalds via Google Pay.

One last note, the busses look like they take coins and contactless but the driver said they don’t take card, so I assume the contactless logo is actually for some kind of Oyster card equivalent.

Monzo worked flawlessly in Canada, but one retailer (Jean Coutu) required me to specify debit or credit before using Chip and Pin. Debit failed, but credit succeeded. Myprepaidbalance

Small hiccup: contactless doesn’t work at Shell gas stations. I tap my card at a Shell in Vancouver to buy a drink and it says “Card Not Accepted Insert Chip Card”. Inserting the card worked fine.

I don’t know whether this is specific to my US-issued Monzo card or if it affects UK-issued Monzo cards too, though- anyone else tried using theirs at Shell?

Hello, I just got to canada from UK and am staying for a while. I just tried my monzo card at an atm and it asks for debit or credit and then checking or savings. Checking didn’t work
Should it work if I put savings
I just cant get it cancelled if I get it wrong will it deactivate? Cheers

Hi Danielle & welcome :wave:

Try activating the card magstripe - pull down the transaction feed on the Monzo card you want to use and tap on the ‘Account’ icon under the card, then in the ‘ATM’ section, enable ‘Magstripe ATMs’

@DaniCraig You need to press Credit. Chequing/Savings is just for domestic Interac debit cards. The same applies at the point of sale.

The same pretty much applies in any country when travelling outside of Europe, the debit button is pretty much reserved for local debit cards. Credit really just means Visa, MasterCard, Amex etc, not that it’s a credit card.

@davidwalton All ATMs in Canada are chip enabled and have been for several years (Interac, the local debit card network, stopped processing magstripe withdrawals 4 or 5 years ago) so that shouldn’t matter.

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Thanks guys :slightly_smiling_face:

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However, for the benefit of anyone else who comes by this thread but is one of the lucky few with a US card, it works slightly different for those- it’s “chequing” at the ATM but “credit” at point of sale. I’m guessing this is because the ATMs do have some sort of link to US debit networks.

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Yeah Interac has a partnership with the US debIt card network NYCE.

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For anyone that is looking at travelling to Canada with their Monzo card, here is what I found useful.

My salary is paid in GBP, but I work in Canada & I live here pretty much fulltime. Monzo still outweighs the conventional banks out here i.e BMO, ScotiaBank.

BMO for example have a monthly charge based on how many transactions you make per month. So the more transactions you make the more you pay.

I don’t withdraw cash from ATM’s purely because of the Candian fees which can be around $2.50 each time.

I use contactless pretty much everywhere I go, I used Santander until I made the full switch to Monzo & Santander were charging me a non sterling transaction fee every transaction.

One point to note is that our cards from the UK are classed as “credit” although they say debit.

I hope this helps anyone travelling to Canada.

Chris.

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