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Two years ago my wife and I moved from Ontario to Quebec (Montreal, specifically) - I know, we went the 'wrong way' (or so we're often told) but there were professional decisions involved.

Anyways, one thing I've noticed aside from the outrageous tax rates, is the number of stores and restaurants here that don't accept Interac (or anything other than cash for that matter), and even some chain stores like Jean Coutu not accepting Interac on purchases of less than $5.

What gives? In Ontario, Interac is accepted pretty much everywhere, at least in my experience - from small mom and pop shops to large chains.

Are Interac merchant fees higher in Quebec (wouldn't surprise me), or perhaps are establishments trying to escape the insane tax load by doing everything off the books in cash?
 

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I don't know about ON or ROC, but in QC most CC processors will charge between 7-9cents for interac transactions and 1.5%-2.25% for VISA/MC transactions. As a owner of a "mom and pop" shop I do accept transactions under 5$ in interac (there are very few in my case) but I always have the kind of face that says: "what?? you don't even have a 5 dollar bill in your pocket??". I know we are in the digital age, but why don't you keep some real dollar bills for let's say, you are 500km away from home on the road, your CC/debit cards have been frozen by your bank because of a suspicious activity and you gas tank is empty? what will you do?
The chances that you really get stuck this way are thin, but so is the cost of insurance of always keeping a small amount of cash on you. JMO.
 

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One store I shop at regularly doesn't accept visa/interac for purchasing under $10, not a big deal as I always buy more than that there. It's usually the smaller shops just trying to keep profits in store rather than handing a percentage over to the card companies and really, I don't blame them.

I rarely carry any cash, I put darn near everything on my card. And in the case of frozen card, which did happen to me once, you just call the number on the back and likely they'll take care of you. In my case I told them I'll be buying something at three different stores (which I named) in the next two hours, after that, lock out the card which they did.
 

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I see a lot of small shops charge a fee on debit or credit under $10. No big deal for me. They are trying to keep fees down which is fair.

I always carry cash in case of emergencies, usually at least $50 but usually $100. It hides in a little compartment in my wallet and I leave it.

I happen to have weird things happen to me, so I like to be prepared for those unknowns. My spouse was caught at the airport in NY during the blackout of 2003. He was stuck there with no power, stores only took cash. It helped him get a bottle of water. Then when the other airport was up and running, he was able to take a cab because he had the cash to get to the other airport and get out of there.

One odd example, but it wasn't the the only time cash has saved our butts.
 

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One issue might be the charges for smart card capable terminals. I am pretty sure that the Quebec merchants were not subsidized during the conversion by the card issuers.
 

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I never carry cash. Even the dollar store near my office takes Interac.

Where I work in Ontario it is 15c per Interac transaction.
 

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This is an interesting conversation for me because my husband and I use our credit card for as much as possible, we pay no fee and get a minimum of $1000 in free travel money in cash, not airmiles or anything like that each year.

We are contemplating retiring outside Canada, and will be taking our first trip to Thailand to check it out, and the thing I hear there is almost EVERY store there only takes cash, except for higher end hotels, restaurants and possibly chain stores in the malls.

This will be a fairly large adjustment for us, always remembering to have cash in our pockets.
 

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In Ontario merchants get hit pretty hard on credit card transactions - especially non-qualified "points" cards and Amex cards. Someone has to pay for all your cash back, travel rewards, etc. Merchants can pay well over 2% per transction on some cards.

Large retailers likely pay 3-5 cents per debit transaction and smaller businesses with less volume often pay somewhere around 10-15 cents per transaction. Most terminals are rented for a nominal monthly fee and updated by the supplier free of charge, as required - cost of doing business for both parties.

I can't see the fees in Quebec varying much from Ontario. Personally I hate carrying around cash so not being able to use debit and credit would be annoying. Perhaps we need a new currency, anyone watch the move "In Time" :encouragement:
 

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We NEVER use our debit card. Ever. Don't want some 'skimmer' gaining access to our funds/bank accounts.

If we are going to get skimmed, we would much rather it be to our credit card. More protection for us, less downside risk. Plus, we get points on our cards.
 

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I got my debit skimmed before. Now I only use it to withdraw cash at a small number of trusted ATMs. I use credit cards for the fraud protection.
 

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+1 to fraser. .
Seconded.....we don't use ours as a debit card, (only for ATM withdrawals at branches of our bank.......the exception being if we're in Europe), and cannot envision a time when we would be so inclined.
 

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The reason merchants don't like to accept plastic is due to the ever-escalating merchant fees charged by Interac and the CC companies, esp on the various "points" and other "premium" CC cards people like to use. There's no free lunch. Those fees are indeed indirectly being passed on to consumers, however it is very difficult to do so on sub-$5 purchases that have low profit margins. Plastic also takes a lot longer to deal with in busy situations such as morning coffee shops with lineups and impatient people.

I always carry cash for these small purchases so I don't end up wasting gas and time driving around when I end up somewhere that won't take plastic. It's also more private to use cash, as using plastic means your purchase is going into someone's database, which is valuable to certain marketers and loyalty programs and the like.
 

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I have a great idea. Instead of being cry babies, and complaining, why don't store owners offer a slightly better cash only price?

I understand the interac charge is a put off but if I pay cash why should even more money go to the business? Don't you build into your pricing these costs? Why don't you charge me a fee to help pay your lease and utilities as well?

If you don't accept interac or cc, you don't get my business.
 

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I have a great idea. Instead of being cry babies, and complaining, why don't store owners offer a slightly better cash only price?

I understand the interac charge is a put off but if I pay cash why should even more money go to the business? Don't you build into your pricing these costs? Why don't you charge me a fee to help pay your lease and utilities as well?
How do you know that the stores/restaurants that don't accept interact or CC have already discounted the cost? I know there are some restaurants that will offer a discount if you pay in cash (they tend to be Chinese restaurants). You can speculate and assume that maybe they're cooking the books, but at a 10-15% discount, would you not take it? Of course, these arrangements tend to be apply to those "favoured" customers who may patronize the restaurant more than others.
 
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