Written on: 22/06/2013
We too ordered the PO TMCP for use in Canada recently. Topped up with Canadian dollars (CAD) when rate good before travel.
We wanted to use it to spend rather than draw out cash via ATM (not recommended as expensive). The only issue we found was that it shows only the available balance and the current balance but not pending. These will only show up after a few days but you cannot see them online.
The other issue was that you must not use them to check in at hotels as they don't tell you what the holding deposit is and ping you between the hotel and the PO TMCP (bank) if queried. We used it at different hotels and found out later that the first hotel had kept some $200 holding deposit (HD) without notification nor explanation. Then you find that your available balance is far less even when you know that you have not spent that much. Keep all receipts to tally amount spent when checking online to
compare. You contact the bank and they fob you off and eventually we found out that the pending transaction was the HD. The bank then wants the hotel to fax the details that the money is released on check out so that the balance can show back into your account. The hotel tries to fob you off by saying that it will go through the system and back into your account after 5-10 days. No one explains that the bank is dealing with another bank who can only release after this period. To speed things up the fax needs to come from the hotel to the bank otherwise 'tough'. In hindsight, the easy solution would be to take some cash to present to hotel after asking how much they will hold back, get a receipt, then get the cash back on check out to take to the next hotel. The other option would be to use a credit card which you will not need until your return home as it takes this period to go through the system before it balances out. You have to bear in mind the deposits can add up so need to take this into account before presenting it instead.
Please note that it is a debit MasterCard so can only be used to spend as a result, and it worked fine at restaurants, petrol sites and shops, in some cases by swiping it instead of using a PIN code to authorise transaction. In Canada you have to add a total of about 15% (Federal and Provincial Tax) to anything you buy, along with any tipping that is presumed customary either as a % or a figure you choose. You do not have to to do that but the server is not happy with this if you decline.
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