U.S. credit and U.S. debit cards bring you a number of advantages that are especially useful to Canadians. Making purchases, getting gas, and managing monthly spending in the U.S. are easy when you have both cards, and use them in tandem to cover your expenses south of the border. They help you avoid unfavorable foreign exchange rates and fees – and the risk that your Canadian card won’t be accepted. They’re also faster than writing checks and much safer than carrying cash.
U.S. Visa Debit Cards
A U.S. Visa‡ Debit card works differently than a Canadian client card, which has limited acceptance in the U.S. You will appreciate how useful it is for transactions in the States.
Keep in mind, even though your debit card carries a Visa logo, it's still a debit card, and, unlike a credit card, the amount you spend immediately comes out of your checking account. Take a look at the many uses a Visa Debit card has:
Sign or enter a PIN for purchases: In the U.S., when making purchases, you’ll be able to choose whether to use a PIN or your signature to complete transactions. However, if you are opting to receive cash back with a debit-card purchase, you must use your PIN.
You can make the choice at the card terminal when paying. Press CREDIT to sign for your purchase. Press DEBIT to enter your PIN.
Shopping, dining, and entertainment: Since your U.S. Visa Debit card is accepted wherever Visa and NYCE are accepted, you’ll be able to use it for dining, shopping, entertainment, hotel bookings and even online purchases—all the places you see the Visa logo.
Getting cash: You can get cash back with your Visa debit card PIN at many larger retail merchants, such as grocery stores. Before you complete your transaction at the store, use your debit card and PIN to select “cash back” on the card terminal.
Of course, you can also withdraw cash at thousands of no-fee ATMs and other Visa, Plus, or NYCE ATMs.
Protection from liability in case of fraudulent use: With your U.S. Visa Debit card, you’re protected from liability resulting from fraud or theft by Visa’s Zero Liability Policy10 and by federal consumer protection regulations. However, ATM transactions or PIN transactions not processed by Visa may not be covered.
U.S. credit cards4
Along with your U.S. Visa debit card, you’ll benefit from having a U.S. credit card. Here are a few of the key benefits that come with a U.S. credit card:
Build a U.S. credit history: One great way to build a credit history in the U.S. is to regularly use and make payments on a U.S. credit card. And if you’re relocating to the U.S., your history will be helpful when applying for a loan or mortgage in the States.
Enjoy travel benefits: For your travels and stays in the U.S., many credit cards offer valuable insurance coverage9 and other travel perks, such as travel accident, trip cancellation, and auto rental insurance, as well as luggage reimbursement.
Earn rewards: Many credit cards offer generous rewards programs with points you can redeem for travel, gift cards, cash back, merchandise and more.
Make one-time and recurring bill payments: You can use a credit card to pay in U.S. dollars when you shop online and by phone. In addition, credit cards provide a secure way to pay bills—and the convenience of setting up automatic payments to cover your U.S. obligations while you’re away is a great plus.
Pay at the pump: If your U.S. credit card is associated with a U.S. address and zip code, there’s no problem paying at the pump. If you don’t have a U.S. address, however, you can still pay at the pump with your U.S. credit card. When the pump asks you for your zip code, simply enter the 3 digits from your Canadian postal code and add “00” to the end. You’ll be able to fuel up and be on your way.
Your RBC Bank debit and credit cards together make a great team—letting you conveniently pay for purchases, get cash, and make payments as easily as you do back home.