The largest Canadian banks with branches in Montreal are:
Credit cards are widely used in Montreal. The most popular are Mastercard, Visa and American Express. Many retailers also have their own credit cards. When applying for a credit card, foreigners may encounter difficulties getting a card with a reasonable credit limit because of a lack of a local credit history. In this case, it may help to provide the bank with a letter of comfort from your own local bank, as well as your letter of employment and a copy of your work permit.
Cheques are not commonly used for retail transactions but rather for regular payments such as rent, utilities etc. Automatic payment systems may be established upon presentation of a voided cheque. Penalties for writing NSF (non-sufficient funds) cheques are quite high to the holder, approximately $40.
The most common method of payment is the Interac or Bank card which allows you to make a retail purchase and have the money taken out of your account immediately. Similarly, most basic banking functions are performed at Automatic Teller Machines (or ATMs). You can go to the teller for basic deposits and withdrawals if you choose but higher service charges will be deducted from your account.
Money can be exchanged at banks, airport exchange counters or at exchange dealers. Some retailers will accept US dollars (at extremely poor rates!). Rates change constantly so it is important to shop around. Usually, credit cards offer competitive rates and cash can be withdrawn directly from ATMs. Similarly, you can use your bank card at an ATM machine if it has the Cirrus or Interact symbol on it. in this case, you will receive the amount requested in Canadian dollars and the equivalent amount in your home country currency will be withdrawn from you bank account automatically.
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