Prepaid bank cards in Canada

Relocating to Canada isn’t easy. There are a lot of banking issues: where can I withdraw cash? Which shops will accept credit or debit cards? Are there fees applying to withdrawals or wire transfers?

There are some possible alternatives other than a classic bank account, like the prepaid bank card. It works the same way as a classic debit or credit card but you can only spend the exact amount that you have on your card. You can load it easily, and pay everything that you need with your new card. You can use it to withdraw cash, if the machine accepts your card (Visa, Mastercard…), and purchase items in shops.

More and more banks in Montréal are offering prepaid cards, including Desjardins, Poste Canada, and BMO. Moreover, there are also prepaid bank cards for different companies, as the one proposed by RBC, which allows companies to allocate some money for their employees dedicated to work expenses.

Although this type of service is more practical for prepaid bank cards owners than a debit or credit card, it is also more expensive.
Prepaid bank cards are subject to fees that apply each time you load your card, withdraw cash, and can often include management fees per month. Increasingly, there are other international solutions, such as money transfer services Revolut and FairFX, which provide you with a prepaid card and can make for a good short-term solution.

If you have to open a bank account in Montréal, think about which card and account fits best with your lifestyle.

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About the Author:

I founded ARIANNE Relocation Canada in 1997 in order to assist families relocating to Montreal, and then all over Canada. I have a lot of advice and stories to share about how to successfully move and relocate to Canada! If I can be of help please contact me at

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