Yes, you can use your credit card in Canada, but you’ll have better luck with some types of cards than others. Visa and Mastercard are the most widely accepted networks, and you should be able to use their cards at any merchants that take credit cards in Canada. Discover cards have only “moderate acceptance” in Canada, as opposed to “high acceptance” in the U.S. And American Express cards aren’t accepted everywhere in Canada, but they work at “thousands” of places, according to Amex. Fortunately, you can check where American Express and Discover cards are accepted in major Canadian cities before you travel.
You don’t need a special type of chip card to use your credit card in Canada, either. Yes, cards issued by Canadian banks use chip-and-PIN authentication. But most U.S. cards are now chip-and-signature, which should work fine. Just be prepared for merchants to be surprised when you need to validate the transaction with a signature because your card doesn’t have a PIN.
Here’s where you can use your credit card in Canada:
Mastercard: Should be accepted anywhere credit cards are.
Visa: Should be accepted anywhere credit cards are.
American Express: Not quite as widely accepted as Mastercard or Visa, but over 90,000 places in Canada started taking Amex in 2019.
Discover: “Growing merchant acceptance” according to Discover. Accepted anywhere you see a Discover or Diners Club logo.
Store Cards: Only usable at the merchant they’re associated with. If that merchant has locations in Canada, you should be able to use your card there.
If you’re going to use a credit card in Canada, Visa and Mastercard are your surest bets. You should also make sure your card has no foreign transaction fees so you don’t pay extra. With such a card on your side, you’ll be able to save 7% - 10% on all international purchases, thanks to low card network exchange rates.