Debit Visa and Debit Mastercards Now In Canada

Click here for NOVEMBER 2010 Update: CIBC Launches First Debit Visa Card in Canada: So Far, LOOKS GOOD!

Hopefully a Debit Mastercard is soon to come!

Canadian Will Soon Have Mastercard and Visa Debit Cards

Good news for Canadians that want the convenience of a Visa or Mastercard, but don't want to deal with monthly bills, are under 18, overspending, or have poor credit.

Visa and Mastercard are planning on launching debit Visa and debit Mastercards in Canada, perhaps in 2009. These cards will work just like Interac debit cards, whenever you make a purchase, funds are instantly taken out of your bank account and you can't spend more than you have.

These will make a nice alternative to the Prepaid Mastercards and Prepaid Visa cards now on the Canadian market, though for now, they are the best bet for some people. 

Debit Visa and Debit Mastercards have been available forever in the USA, I even have one through my US Bank account, but I guess in Canada, the banks got their act together and implemented their own system, Interac, which every retailer signed up for because it was cheap.

Canadian Debit Mastercard and Debit Visa Advantages 

These debit Visas and debit Mastercards will be great for those that want to buy stuff over the internet, since the electronic Interac system never really took off for e-commerce. Finally people will be able to book a hotel in advance that didn't have a credit card before. 

The other advantage of these new Visa and Mastercards is that they will probably have better fraud protection than current Interac debit cards do, where the bank is basically being nice to you if they refund you fraudulent transactions.

The interesting thing is that Interac, Visa and Mastercard are all moving towards "chip-and-pin" systems, where the cards have a computer chip instead of a barcode, and you enter a PIN (like Interac before) instead of signing for each transaction. So, both methods of paying will take just as long to use.

Debit Cards with Decent Rewards in Canada?

One big difference between the two payment methods is the cost to the retailer. When Interac is used for payment, the retailer spends about six cents to process the transaction, but for Visa and Mastercard credit cards this is more like 2-3%. Why does this matter to you? Well, from this 2-3% commission, the credit cards give you rewards, like 1% cash back or the Airmiles Credit Cards. Prepare to see lots of Visa Debit Rewards Cards and Mastercard Debit Rewards Cards if Visa and Mastercard decide to charge retailers the same commissions for their debit cards.

However, Interac might jack up its fees to retailers (who have become dependent on the technology) in order to increase profits, but also to fund rewards for consumers. So far, just BMO and Scotia have rewards Interac debit cards, but they aren't too popular, though that could change if they had more money. 

We'll just have to wait and see how it turns out, and I'll keep this page updated on that.

March 2009 Update on Debit Visa and Debit Mastercards in Canada

It looks like an article posted in the Vancouver Sun (courtesy of Canwest News Service) has many of the same worries as I. It also pointed out that Interac has recently applied to switch from a non-profit organization to a for-profit organization. I guess in order to be allowed to continue with their near monopoly status, they were required to stay non-profit, leading to ultra-low transaction costs for transfers over the Interac network and all in all a successful network. It will be interesting to see how they simultaneously fight for regulation of Visa and Mastercard debit cards and likely use the upcoming entry of these products onto their market as arguments that the market is currently competitive and be allowed to become for-profit.  I can't say for sure though, I haven't investigated their Competition Bureau submissions (if even publicly available). 


As a Canadian but having lived and done business in both the US and Canada, I have learned the hard way, that there are no utopia's when it comes to banking or credit. Both countries have problematic issues with their banking and credit systems. While in the USA I had a Visa Debit card from CHASE. for many years. It worked very well for me world wide. Canadian Dedit Cards seem to only work locally, because they are only INTERAC .(some banks link their debit(atm) cards to the PLUS system making them more usefull for ATM withdrawals outside Canada, but they generally can not be used for POS purchases. That requires Visa.

Now for those folks who like to associate the cause of the financial and sociological crisis that The USA seems to be in, with the fact that their banks were not as cautious(backward) as our Banks which have not introduced Visa debit cards, my response is this: The use of Debit cards in the consumer market has tended to reduce consumer debt levels and interest costs rather than increse them. The USA financial crisis was largely attributed to too much debt and easy credit. Our "percieved " backwardness " here in Canada has not prevented our consumer debt from having reachd levels almost as high as in the US. We are warned every day that Canada can not remain insulated from the world's problems forever and restricted use and availability of versatile debit card systems, will actually contribute to hastening the breakdown of that insulation. No, the main reason for not seeing Visa network debit cards here is because the banks are deriving too much revenue from consumer debt via Credit Cards (VISA/MASTERCARD). It s not in their best interest at least in the short run to interfere with the source of that cash flow.

Canada has the best Banking

Canada has the best Banking system in the world!

Canada is behind

Canada is behind in a lot of things. It's not being unpatriotic, it's just a fact. We don't have a lot of stuff the the US has like the Visa and Mastercard Debit cards and a lot of retail products that are available in the states aren't available here. It's unfair in a way because as Canadians no one really invests money in bringing their company and products to Canada when our southern neighbours enjoys so many new technologies and new products as well as cheaper taxes and prices. Companies release everything in the states first because they make more money there since there is a larger population and lots of customers. It doesn't make sense for a company to release something in Canada and spend the extra money doing so across the border when they aren't making enough of a profit from the small population here. Canadians do benefit from a smaller crime rate etc. so there is a positive and negative to everything. To everyone who's saying to "just go f'ing back to the states then" it's extremely rude. Do not deny the fact that canada is behind the US because it's true, I'm a Canadian and I often complain that we aren't as up to date but it's not worth moving to the states and giving up our safer environment for new products. I just hope the canadian banks realize the amount of money they can make if they offered visa debit cards.

I agree with the fact that

I agree with the fact that Canada is so far behind , we are like a third world country , some countries have a lot more and pay a lot less , I had a visa debit card in the USA ten years ago , another thing we are so far behind in is the mobile phone plans , we are finally catching up in the internet service . we are also far behind in citizens rights to protect there own properties , and the recycling thing , it should be your choice to recycle , not a do it or go to jail thing

Canada's behind America in

Canada's behind America in technology? What are you talking about? We have the third fastest internet in the world and the States is like 20th. There are very few products that come out first in the United States almost everything is released at the same time in north america. Also there is no additional cost to releasing a product in Canada because we have a free trade agreement with the United States. I can't think of any area's even outside of technology where Canada is "behind" the States except maybe in military power. We have better education, better health care, less crime, higher income, a cleaner enviroment. Why don't you give an example of your supposed extra costs to releasing a product in Canada? There is no need for extra marketing since most of our tv is american. The language is the same for most of the country. Your point is completely invalid.

No Canada is not ahead in education and healthcare

Ummm pull your head out - Canada has a good education system but the US has some of the best schools in the world and some of the worst. Canada is mediocre at best. Healthcare - yes everyone has it but it is nothing like having health care in the US where you get the best technology available without a wait. Cable and satellite in Canada way more expensive and far less content, less HD and sub par. Taxes are very high in Canada and there is little to no return. I have lived in both and can tell you that quality of life is much higher in the US. Canada is nice if you are are one of the many who immigrate here from Africa, Asia or the Middle East.

If we have the third fastest

If we have the third fastest internet in the world, why is my upload speed only 500k a second on "high speed" internet while other counteries their high speed upload is alteast 20MB a second..

so i upgraded to "extereme" internet and my upload is now 1mb a second. cost nearly 65 dollar sa month from shaw.

So i wanted faster internet as you claim we have the 3rd fastest internet in the world, so i upgraded to "warp" now i have 2mb. cost 110/per month.

Maybe you mean internet in 3rd world counteries are faster then CANADA.

If we have the third fastest

First of all dude, why don't you learn how to type properly? If you don't like what Canada, the best "COUNTRY" in the world has to offer, then hop back on that rusted boat you snuck in the country with go back to your third world country and be gone with you!

For shame. This is not how we

For shame. This is not how we Canadians respond to others we disagree with. A nation is only as good as its people, so if we claim our country is best, let's prove it by being the best people.

I am that person...

You know what I find really annoying is that I cant really get a credit card and if I did, I hate to have one in my pocket. But the part that pisses me off is that I cant go on a holiday outside Canada, or buy something or some service on the internet, or even rent a car with out a damn credit card. What the hell is the deal with the stupid things anyways! For the longest time we Canadians have either had to just break down and get a credit card or suffer without one. Then came along the Prepaid cards. Yay! Anyways it would be nice to have a way just some way to use your bank account for purchase on-line or other such things you can think of instead of these stupid credit cards. I mean come on, isn't this the DIGITAL AGE? Time for the Canadian Banks to wake up and SMELL the irritate customers that we don't have a way to do this YET! I mean come on its 2010!

BC Resident!

Visa fees outragious

as a business person i have firsthand experience in running Mastercard, VISA, INTERAC, and Amex (american Express) systems.

From my point of view, VISA is a terrible card to use: first because of the high percentages they charge for each transaction (4-6% depending on the card) in comparison to Mastercard which averages a little less. And interact which only chages 2-3%.
SEcond, because of the monthly fees, complex penalties (any direction, it feels like you are scared to do anything or get a Fee-d to death)

It would be a disaster for INTERAC to divest itself of it's non-profit status, as this would see our opperation cost skyrocket. I have personally fantisized about passing the exact percentage charges on to the customer, for using a card that costs more to opperate, but the billing is extreamely vauge, and the miniscule fees are impossible to trasfer to a simple charge system for the customer. I think i would be more FAIR to the customer to not have to pay high prices becasue some cards bill merchants to death- rather paying for their own cards (and realizing how little they get back from their benifit plans!!!!).

Did you know that the fees / random penalties (for not using, etc) a machine {I use Paymentech :( } run WELL over a hundred a month... Visa chages almost all that amount alone... that is NOT including the PERCENTAGE CHARGES taken from each transaction. And the merchant service absoluely sucks.

cibc just released a debit

cibc just released a debit visa card called advantage!!!!!

Any update on this?

I can find no evidence at the CDN banks carrying visa cards of this visa debit card. Has anyone heard any updates on ETA for this in Canada?

Visa Debit Cards

As far as I know, there are no consumer level cards... yet...

yes, you can get it here in Canada

For the moment, I know that CIBC and Bank of NovaScotia have this type of card, debit/visa card.

Hey! Thanks for the


Thanks for the notice!

I've written an article about the CIBC "Advantage" Debit Visa Card that they launched. I wasn't able to find any Bank of Nova Scotia Debit Visa cards, and the Visa Debit website says it was exclusive to CIBC right now.

Check it out and please leave any comment you have. I've also updated my prepaid cards articles so people know to check it out.

debit visa cards

Does Canada still not have debit visa cards? I returned home in 2005 after living 10 years in the U.S. I had a debit visa card which was fantastic. I didn't have to worry about a credit card. I was also able to purchase on line or book a holiday and it was an automatic debit from my chequing account. Since I don't have a visa this makes it a problem for me here in Canada. I don't like the prepaid cards at all. So, has there been any progress to this issue?
Lorenza Barron

Hi. I totally understand your

Hi. I totally understand your feeling about the prepaid cards, most of them leave a lot to be desired, but the BMO Mosaik Travel Prepaid card isn't that bad if it does what you need it to do. Fortunately, CIBC has launched a Debit Visa card, called the Advantage, and you can get one to replace your debit card, so there shouldn't be any unexpected charges (other than all that stuff online you can now buy :) )

Visa debit inCanada

in Canada we are always behind the U.S. in technology and the list goes on. I'm retired and have no Visa Or Mastercard and being on pension i have to watch my spending.I have 4 children who now live in Alberta.If I want to go visit I have to use someones credit card since your limited for using a Debit Card for major purchases.If I had Visa Debit there would be no problem.
During our recent Olympics there were all kinds of tv adds saying the only card accepted was Visa.I have using my debit card at the local corner store and was charged 25 cents for service.
I live on the Canada-U.S. border and there are retailers that would not accept my Canadian Scotia Bank Debit.Then you have to go to the local ATM to withdraw U.S. funds which makes it very inconvienant.Futhermore at our local ATM's each bank has a charge of up to $1.50 if you are not a member of that bank.The list gets bigger and bigger.
I have been waiting since July/09 when it was first announced that Canada was going to get Visa Debit. Todays date is March 24/10 and still no VISA DEBIT.

GO CANADA GO!!!!!!!!!!

Canadian Banks are 20 years behind the rest of the world!

I have just contacted every bank in Canada and NOT ONE knows anything about the debit visa/MC. I keep being fed propaganda about how there bank is the most secure, and modern....they read from the same speach! Sinapore had Debit visa 20 years ago, Dubi, Switzerland, most if not all of Europe. Melasia, Papau New Gunie, Australia New Zealand, most of Africa and South America all have Debit visa and debit MasterCard.
The Canadian Banks are not providing the Dibit MC and Visa strictly to steal more money from us. The credit card system makes them millions, The Debit system saves the coustomers millions. No intrest, no overpayments, and best of all you are using your own money. When your pay goes into your bank account, you have immediat acces to it, if you are in Edmonton, Paris, Brisbane, or Dallas. I have been using one for 10 years, the benifits are greater every time you use it. Lets get the banks to stop ripping us off. Keep calling the banks every week and ask for a Debit Visa, until they catch on. I can not believe Canada is so far behind.... even Africa!

you can get a CIBC

you can get a CIBC "Advantage" card that is a visa debit for international, online or mail order products, all domestic point of sale transactions are processed through the interac network though.

Debit Visas, Debit Mastercards & Canadian Banks

The Canadian banks are both very conservative and collegial competitors. They're certainly not modern, and only secure due to their unwillingness to lend. Calling the bank is probably not going to get you very far, since, as you learned, they're going to have no idea what you're talking about, since it doesn't yet exist here.

Anonymouse Debit Cards

I understand that the Interac debit cards are not personalized. That is, they do not have the name of the cardholder on the cards. Do the consumers view this as a security or privacy advantage? If Visa or MC require the cardholder's name on the card, how will the average consumer view it? Better for security? An invasion of privacy?

Sorry for the epically late

Sorry for the epically late reply, but maybe someone else is wondering the answers to the same question. I personally view this as a privacy advantage. Since the cards are stripe+PIN, if the card is lost, you do not want it easy to track down the person the card came from to get their PIN (eg: a "security" call from the bank asking them to "verify" their PIN to "cancel" their lost/stolen card).

They are personalized. It

They are personalized. It will have your name on it. I owned one before when I was in the UK.

Interac does not charge

Interac does not charge anything for its use. They are a not for profit company. The charges from interac is from the merchant's aquirier (company they process through) for the cost to process Interac on their system.

Meh, the semantics don't

Meh, the semantics don't really make a difference to the merchant. Certainly Interac needs to charge someone to cover its own costs of operation, even if it is a non-profit. Perhaps they get paid by the "merchant's acquirer" ?

is there really a need for Visa/Master Debit?

I don't know why the obsession on Visa/Mastercard Debit. The reasons for having Visa/Mastercard Debit in US is because US banking systems are relatively disjointed (with some exceptions such as NYCE but still regionalized), therefore it is easier for banks to implement a debit system on top of the existing Visa/Mastercard system. In Canada, Interac has established a nation-wide debit system; there is no need for Visa/Mastercard Debit.

In Hong Kong (one of the most developed financial centre in the world) uses EPS as their debit system (EPS consists of a consortium of 21 major banks), analogous to Canada's Interac; Visa/Mastercard Debit do not exist in Hong Kong. I don't think anyone consider Hong Kong's banking system a third world system simply because Visa/Mastercard Debit do not exist there.

Is there a need for the Visa/Master Debit card?

Unfortunately, it does not matter what countries do if you are not travelling in that country. I just returned from an extended holiday in the USA where most Motels, many gas service stations, 80% of stores, did not accept my debit card because it did not have Visa or Mastercard on it. That was a very inconvenient and unexpected part of the trip which caused a lot of difficulties for me.

As an American and a Canadian

As an American and a Canadian business owner, it totally sucks that there is no visa debit card. You can't pay online with your INTERAC card and most hotels and car rentals in Canada do not take INTERAC cards only credit cards. It is nice to have a VISA debit card because it is stress free. All your transactions are paid through your checking account, no filing credit card statements and paying credit card bills. Having only one way to pay, eliminates late charges, missed bills, not having enough money. The bottom line, the banks here are a monopoly and benefit the banks, not you as a customer. It amazes me how much the Canadians screw over the Canadians. Visa debit benefits the consumer not the banks. That is one reason the banks do not want them here. I would love to have the VISA debit it would be an asset for my business.

Visa Debit Cards

It says on the site that visa debit cards are now available in Canada, but I can't find one. Have you heard of which company/bank is offering them?

Visa Debit Cards

CIBC now offers them and TD Canada Trust now offers a secured Visa

US Citizen

We certainly do pay a lot for many retail products compared to our US counterparts - cars, gas, furniture, clothes, etc. But you have to remember also, they are different demographics and you have 10 times more people than Canada, which leads to a whole lot of social problems we don't have like the USA does - crime rates for one, uncontrollable deficit you will never pay off.
Your comment saying that no one can get ahead making less than 100K is crap.
If it's so bad here, go back to the USA! Your country has proven it's worth in the latest recession and frankly is no better ahead than any other country on the planet. Your in debt up to your asses. Obviously the US does need more regulation and inconvenience to stop people from doing whatever they want - ponzi schemes, bank collapses, crooked CEOs, etc
Plus we get free healthcare

Visa & MC Debit Cards In Canada

It's about time. I'm a US citizen, but have been a landed resident of Canada for a year now. I was always under the impression that Canada was so socially advanced, boy was I wrong. It seems that between the banks, the government, taxes and the cost of guys have been taking it in every orifice imaginable. To add insult to injury, almost every thing is over-complicated, over-regulated and incovenient. And you guys just accept it and go around thinking your system is so much better than the States. Ignorance is bliss. I don't see how anybody making less than 100k gets ahead in this rigged system you have here.

Typical American Unwarranted Self-Importance.

Hey genius, since the American system is so far advanced and efficient, why don;t you gfgo back and use it instead of getting confused with what the Canadian bumpkins have to offer?
Are you sure that the Canadian system is over-complicated? Or maybe you are just a little delayed in your understanding? I've lived in Canada for many years, and don't find anything about it complicated, even compared to my years living in the US and using that system.

You talk about ignorance being bliss, but your post is just about the most ignorant thing you can read on this topic; oxymoron much?

You would be well advised to think first, then type.

oh really?

what city/province do you live in? I'll move there tomorrow.
Ever noticed home prices? Ever noticed how much a realtoR will charge you for selling you a home? ever tried to run a business here? Probably not. ever paid taxes? Again, probably not.

And here is the good one:
Have you ever aspired to be more then some lowly canadian bumkin? Probably not.


Seriously? Wow.

Okay, so can we get a little de-patronized? If you've been here (Canada) at all, you've paid taxes. I'm not exactly sure what paying taxes has anything to do with the entirety of this article (note: its' about Visa and MasterCard Debit Cards).

If you're from another country and have moved to another, note that you're not going to get the same understanding as a native of the country off the bat. It's like learning a new language. If you're having difficulty setting up a business, or finding a RealtoR (note that's a private Tridemarked company with no offical regulation from any level of government to enforce their use) maybe you need to ask someone for help - I'm sure someone is more than willing to help - just you need to be willing to listen, which it doesn't sound like you're going to do at this point (but rather float burns around.)

Our system of centrailized banking does make us unique, and like many other countried around this planet: it works. The United States doesn't have a Federal Bank that is Centrailized, where it is a de-centralized model in which is under very little and almost no-regulation. Does this system really work expecially with the recent financial crisis in the U.S.? And if you say it does work: I think you've got to do some reading and get over this ignorance quickly before looking like a idiot.

And a rigged system? How so? I'm sorry if you're a blittering idiot, but I think we've got a good system setup here - where is it rigged? I happen to be living quite peacfully below the 199k you mentioned - havent fallen into this "god forsaken" trap.

Additionally, If you're un-happy that you're living here- you're always welcome to leave, I mean unlike MANY countires around the world, we WILL let you leave. Let us know thou how we compare in other countries, I doubt you'll think things are as bad when you get back. Atleast you'll realised several things in your travels: you'll reliased that there is more to the world than the U.S.; Canadians don't in igloos or ride polar bears to and from work; there is other languages other than english and not everyone is American.

I'm not trying to provoke a nuclear war over you're idiotcracy but seriously? Burn?

I know this is an old post,

I know this is an old post, but I have to agree. I am on the same boat, but the worse part being that I'm an international student from VENEZUELA living in Canada. VENEZUELA! It's the frickin' third world and we are far ahead of Canada in things like this. Also, don't even get me started on surviving here under 100k... Try to bring it up to someone and they'll say "yeah but in the states minimum wage is like 5.50." Well, it's 8.50 in Vancouver, but the 3 dollar difference isn't enough for a starving student to even afford a basement in someone's house. I lived in Texas for a year and I rented a 3 bedroom townhouse off 9.75 an hour!

Another bias.

Did you get ANY healthcare? Did you get any social services while in the US? Oh yah, and did you finance this "townhouse" I'm sure if you tried to finance that place after the recession? We did have one and yes, the banks learned a lesson: Give to those who can AFFORD it and CAN pay it back.

I am Canadian and every

I am Canadian and every single word you said is true. I predict that the first bank that rolls out Visa Debit will do very well, because the day that a certain bank provides this to their customers, is the day my entire family switches all personal and business banking to that bank. All the other banks will follow because that is the canadian business model. Offer just a little better than the other guy but don't offer something great.

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