Using Starling in Canada 🇨🇦


So far I’ve used my Starling in a few chain retail stores with no problems whatsoever. The till attendant sometimes looks confused trying to work out whether it’s a credit or a debit, but otherwise, all good.

I’ve worked out that CIBC and TD charge $3 for ATM withdrawals. I’m still working my way around the other ATM providers to see if there are any cheaper. Although being charged $3 for withdrawing the equivalent of £300 on Starling is still a great deal, I’m still looking for free options.

I tried to do a cashback with some purchases at Walmart and Sobey’s and on both occasions the till attendant said their massive chip & pin machine will prompt me for cashback if it’s possible on my card. I wasn’t prompted either time and both attendants said they treat foreign debit cards as credit cards and do not offer cashback.

I’m not sure if that varies retailer to retailer, so any tips would be appreciated!


Interesting that this approach echoes that experienced by @Lorenzo currently in the US.


Thanks @Graham for drawing the parallel, just saw @Lorenzo’s post. Maybe it’s just a N American thing?

When they say they ‘treat foreign Debit like Credit’, I wonder if that means they incur a percentage fee instead of a fixed fee on foreign debit cards.


It’ll be good to see what other colleagues find now that @Lorenzo and @FSA have reported back. :canada::us: :sunglasses:


Canada don’t have debit cards, so it’s an alien concept to them hence choosing ‘credit’ card. Debit cards are also very rare in the US so once again, choose ‘credit’. Remember, both countries still use cheques :wink:


@sarasin It’s more the fact that in Canada, debit cards run on the local Interac network (and many also support the US debit NYCE network as well) as opposed to Visa or MasterCard, when you’re pushing Debit, the transaction goes to Interac and when you push the credit button it goes to Visa/MC. The main reason this needs to be done manually is that many Canadian debit cards now also carry the Visa/MC logo but this is only for usage abroad (and will decline for in-Canada transactions). The debit/credit button stops the card machine from accidentally processing a Canadian debit card as credit.

The US debit card system is more complex as most also carry the Visa/MC logo but you can choose if you want to run it over the Debit or Credit card network (The latter not needing a PIN either).


I used my Starling card throughout Canada for some 3 weeks for both cash withdrawals and to pay bills etc ;it all worked like a dream .The only exception being that all ATM’s annoyingly levy a small charge for using them so the obvious point is to withdraw the maximum amount as infrequently as necessary.