Ottawa - Post Report Question and Answers

Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

Yes and yes. All embassy personnel must get a local bank account to pay rent and the fees are at least $4/month at your own expense. - Sep 2023

No problems. - Aug 2015

Yes, you can. - May 2014

U.S. credit cards work just fine. Expect the locals to be confused a little as they all have a chip in their cards. - Jul 2013

Easy to use and plenty of ATMs around. Canadian cards are Chip and Pin, so sometimes I get a funny look when they have to swipe mine, but that's all. You will need to open a Canadian bank account to pay your rent, utility bills, etc. - Jan 2013

Banking is a pain in Ottawa. Most people use RBC, and there is a fee for everything. You can only deposit money into one branch near the embassy, and their exchange rates are hit-and-miss at times. You will need a local account, as Ottawa is an LQA post, and you have to pay your own bills up front. Do not expect to ever qualify for a Canadian credit card. - Dec 2010

Just like in the U.S. - Aug 2010

ATMs are widely available but probably cost a fortune for people with international debit cards. Credit cards are widely accepted but American Express is not always accepted due to the hideous fees they charge retailers in Canada. Banking in Canada will definitely be a step back for people coming from the US. - Nov 2009

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