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BMO Financial Tip of the Week: Carry a Trio of Payment Options When You Travel/Shop South of the Border


TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 13, 2012) - As part of BMO Financial Group's ongoing commitment to financial literacy and 'Making Money Make Sense' for Canadians, BMO is releasing a financial tip every week in 2012.

BMO's Financial Tip of the Week: A combination of cash, credit card and debit card will give you convenience, security and flexibility when you travel or shop in the United States.

Increases in duty-free limits, significant price gaps between U.S. and Canada for domestic goods, and a spike in the number of Canadians planning to take vacations at home and abroad mean more Canadians than ever are expected to flock to the U.S. this summer.

If you plan to travel to the U.S. or anywhere outside Canada, here are three simple criteria to help you decide what combination of cash, credit card and debit card you need to carry in your wallet.

  • Access. How do I ensure I have easy and immediate access to emergency funds if I need them? Can I use my debit card to make purchases or access my bank account from anywhere in the U.S.?
  • Safety. How can I protect my funds and purchases against theft or loss?
  • Convenience. Can I readily convert my Canadian currency to U.S. dollars if I need to? How widely accepted is my credit card?

Su McVey, Vice-President, BMO Bank of Montreal, suggests "Carrying a combination of all three payment options - cash in local currency; a widely recognized and accepted credit card that offers some form of purchase protection; and a debit card that gives you access to your Canadian bank account from local ATMs and Points of Sale terminals - will provide you with the highest degree of convenience, security and payment flexibility when you're travelling outside of Canada."

Credit Cards
Credit cards remain the most popular way to pay among Canadian travellers. In addition to world-wide merchant acceptance, many credit cards offer loyalty rewards, insurance against loss or theft of purchased products, extended warranties and zero liability in cases of fraud. Some cards, such as the BMO World Elite MasterCard, also include travel medical coverage, trip cancellation/delay insurance, and car rental collision damage waivers, which can add up to substantial savings for travellers. If travel insurance features are not built into your credit card, they can often be added on an as-needed basis at a competitive cost.
Debit cards
Some bank plans with unlimited transactions allow for domestic and international debit card transactions at no additional cost, so check your banking plan. For a low monthly fee, BMO's Performance Plan allows unlimited transactions internationally over the Maestro network, as well as withdrawals from BMO Harris Bank and M&I ATMs in the United States.
Local currency (cash)
Have a small amount of local currency on hand so that you can pay for incidentals such as the cab ride from the airport and tips. But don't take too much; if it is lost or stolen, it is gone. BMO branches usually have U.S. dollars available, as do many BMO ATMs -- particularly those in cities and towns that border the U.S.

If you have questions about the best financial product and service options for your specific needs, stop by a BMO branch to speak with someone who can help you, or visit www.bmo.com/smartsteps.

About BMO Financial Group

Established in 1817 as Bank of Montreal, BMO Financial Group is a highly-diversified North American financial services organization. With total assets of $525 billion as at April 30, 2012, and more than 46,000 employees, BMO Financial Group provides a broad range of retail banking, wealth management and investment banking products and solutions.

Media Contacts:
Carol Greene, Toronto
(416) 867-3996
carol.greene@bmo.com

Ronald Monet, Montreal
(514) 877-1873
ronald.monet@bmo.com

Laurie Grant, Vancouver
(604) 665-7596
laurie.grant@bmo.com

Web: www.bmo.com
Twitter: @BMOmedia