SmithAir747
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Just Moved To Canada; How To Get A Mobile Phone?

Fri Sep 28, 2012 10:05 pm

I recently moved to Canada (specifically, Calgary) from the USA.

I would like to get a mobile phone I can use in Canada (I am attracted by the Samsung Galaxy Note, which is a smartphone and tablet in one device). Telus and Bell are offering the Galaxy Note for $0 with a 3-year plan.

However, the carriers do not accept a VISA debit card (I have a TD bank account) for purchase of a phone and plan.

How would I go about getting a phone and plan?

SmithAir747
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WestJet747
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RE: Just Moved To Canada; How To Get A Mobile Phone?

Fri Sep 28, 2012 10:17 pm

Quoting SmithAir747 (Thread starter):
However, the carriers do not accept a VISA debit card (I have a TD bank account) for purchase of a phone and plan.

Perhaps there was a misunderstanding? I used a TD Visa for my most recent contract with Bell without issue.

At which step of the process did you get to when they said no?
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SmithAir747
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RE: Just Moved To Canada; How To Get A Mobile Phone?

Fri Sep 28, 2012 10:53 pm

I was doing it online with Telus Mobility, and at the end of checkout, there was an error message saying "Checkout is currently unavailable". I also looked at the terms & conditions; they said they only accept valid credit cards (VISA, MC, or AE), not debit cards. Mine is a TD VISA Debit. Could the failure of checkout coincide with the credit/debit card acceptance policy?

I also tried it with Bell Mobility online, and that website could not validate my card information.

SmithAir747
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WestJet747
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RE: Just Moved To Canada; How To Get A Mobile Phone?

Sat Sep 29, 2012 12:58 am

Quoting SmithAir747 (Reply 2):
Mine is a TD VISA Debit. Could the failure of checkout coincide with the credit/debit card acceptance policy?

I can't see why that would be a problem. It's still a Visa. When I moved to Australia I was still able to sign a contract using my Mastercard debit/credit card.

I would suggest going to the nearest mall and signing-up in person.
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scrubbsywg
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RE: Just Moved To Canada; How To Get A Mobile Phone?

Sat Sep 29, 2012 1:13 am

Debit cards that are tied to credit cards are not common in Canada, at least in manitoba. Most here wouldn't even understand what they are. When canadians say "debit" we mean a card issued by your bank that you use at ATMs and at stores that accept interac. From browsing Visa's site, it seems that even though they accept visa, they do not necessarily accept visa debit.

Another option is to do it in person. Most major malls will have every Canadian cell phone retailer in the mall, either a kiosk in the halls or an actual store.
 
cabso1
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RE: Just Moved To Canada; How To Get A Mobile Phone?

Sat Sep 29, 2012 2:40 am

For Telus, you're best off calling them. The customer service agents would be able to get you the contract with a spending limit of $200. That's how I got around it because the online systems can't validate your credit history if you're new to the country and don't have any established credit in Canada.
 
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czbbflier
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RE: Just Moved To Canada; How To Get A Mobile Phone?

Sat Sep 29, 2012 3:13 am

Visa debit cards are a very new phenomenon in Canada. Until last year, the only way for debit transactions to take place was through the Interac system- one that was invented by the Canadian banks for the Canadian banks.

Visa has managed to get a toe-hold into the Canadian banking system using its brand to debit directly from a card-holder's account. However this card, despite being a "Visa" card is still a debit card- that is to say, the amount available to the cardholder is only the balance of the account or a daily limit, whichever is less.

Credit cards, on the other hand, have no daily limit and have their own properties. As a consequence, vendors who only take "credit cards" will no accept "debit" cards, no matter the brand: Interac or Visa.

It is not necessary to have a credit card to get a cell phone in Canada. However, you are well advised go to a vendor in person- if only to establish a relationship with someone who has insider access to your cell provider (and if you don't have an actual credit card to make the purchase).

Since you are looking at getting a cell phone in Canada, a word of caution: cellular service in Canada is among the most expensive in the world. We have just recently seen new entrants into the cell phone market- namely Wind and Mobilicity.

For network features, you might want to have a look here. Take note of some of the names and how they are associated with one of the big 3 - Bell, Telus and Rogers.

I have just renewed my contract with Telus in the last week after doing some very serious shopping-around-research. I am very impressed with some of the promotional plans all the providers have on RIGHT NOW. Seriously, at about $60.00 - $65.00/month, the plans are 1/2 the price they were 3 years ago. Yes, they are still rather dear compared to what you can get Stateside but hey- welcome to Canada. (I got a customer retention plan that would have been absolutely unheard of as recently as last year thanks to the new competitors in the market.)

So here's the scoop- if you're looking for a phone that you'll be able to unlock down the road, go with Telus. Their policies seem to be the most customer-friendly at this time. Bell won't allow you to unlock your phone until you're over 3/4 of the way through your contract. The cost to unlock a Bell phone, I can't recall- I don't think I even asked because of their onerous requirement to be 3/4 of the way through the contract first. The Bell rep told me that their policy is the same as Rogers. On the other hand, with Telus you can do so anytime after 3 months into the contract for $50.00. That's a plus for Telus.

To cancel your contract, Bell and Rogers will expect you to pay off the phone (remaining months on your contract X $20.00 to a maximum of $400.00) plus a $200.00 data cancellation fee. Telus only has you pay off the phone (prorated at $15.00/month to the end of the contract) plus $50.00 cancellation fee. Score a second point for Telus.

Apart from these points, all the cell providers are pretty much the same (good in some ways, mediocre in others) so based solely on the cancellation / unlocking policies, I'd recommend Telus.

I had a friend who recently went to Wind only to find that the coverage was not that great. While still in Vancouver, he went to UBC and found that his phone was 'roaming'- I imagine it was off the Nanaimo towers on Vancouver Island- and wound up paying nasty roaming charges. Needless to say, the original three, now responding to new competition price-wise, have already gone through these kinds of network-service growing pains years ago and are much more reliable providers than the upstarts.

So go to a store. And especially because you're in Alberta where Telus originated and arguably has the very, very best coverage, choose Telus.

Just my 2 ¢ worth.
 
scrubbsywg
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RE: Just Moved To Canada; How To Get A Mobile Phone?

Sat Sep 29, 2012 3:59 am

Quoting czbbflier (Reply 6):
To cancel your contract, Bell and Rogers will expect you to pay off the phone (remaining months on your contract X $20.00 to a maximum of $400.00) plus a $200.00 data cancellation fee. Telus only has you pay off the phone (prorated at $15.00/month to the end of the contract) plus $50.00 cancellation fee. Score a second point for Telus.

Of note, Manitoba, two weeks ago, instituted a law that limited the amounts cell phone companies can charge when canceling a contract. It isn't much less, but for some contracts it could be significant.

As far as which company goes...i rarely use a phone for voice or data. I have a pay as you go with Rogers with 1 cent evenings and weekends. I have had it a year have spent less than $200 on it.
 
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Aesma
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RE: Just Moved To Canada; How To Get A Mobile Phone?

Sat Sep 29, 2012 4:37 am

I understand now why I had trouble using my Carte Bleue VISA in Canada, it was a debit card (as most French use, credit cards are for people that shouldn't be spending that money they don't have anyway).

Can't you provide a bank account reference instead of a card for a plan like this ? Won't the system provider (VISA in this case) earn money every month if your bill is on the card ?
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scrubbsywg
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RE: Just Moved To Canada; How To Get A Mobile Phone?

Sat Sep 29, 2012 4:44 am

Quoting Aesma (Reply 8):
I understand now why I had trouble using my Carte Bleue VISA in Canada, it was a debit card (as most French use, credit cards are for people that shouldn't be spending that money they don't have anyway).



To be fair, that is exactly what our interac debit system is. tied directly to our bank accounts and not credit. It was designed by our banks and is accepted at nearly every retailer in canada; just pretty useless for online purchases. It also works on the plus system so it allows for ATM use around the world. When i travel, i use ATMs all around the world with my TD debit card.
 
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stasisLAX
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RE: Just Moved To Canada; How To Get A Mobile Phone?

Sat Sep 29, 2012 4:45 am

You might want to contact Bell Mobility Canada customer serviice at 1 800 667-0123 and determine what their payment methods are now. I had some business dealings with them late last year and found them to be very professional and customer-centric. They will not, however, be the cheapest provider.
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StarAC17
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RE: Just Moved To Canada; How To Get A Mobile Phone?

Sun Sep 30, 2012 12:27 am

Quoting scrubbsywg (Reply 9):
To be fair, that is exactly what our interac debit system is. tied directly to our bank accounts and not credit. It was designed by our banks and is accepted at nearly every retailer in canada; just pretty useless for online purchases.

That is the only real benefit to debit credit card as it allows for purchases that only a CC is good for.


Quoting WestJet747 (Reply 3):
I can't see why that would be a problem. It's still a Visa. When I moved to Australia I was still able to sign a contract using my Mastercard debit/credit card.

Here's why,

A debit credit card doesn't rely on a limit of any kind meaning it isn't credit so the credit card company is taking a risk when a card is rejected due to a low balance as opposed to when a traditional credit card is rejected due to a maxed balance meaning they refuse to loan you more. A cell company can determine you credit limit if they feel and decide for or against signing a contract with you.

Also when in Australia what kind of contract did you sign and for how long??

The normal contract is 2 yrs IIRC and their pre-paid was pretty good.
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pilotsmoe
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RE: Just Moved To Canada; How To Get A Mobile Phone?

Sun Sep 30, 2012 6:37 am

Never heard of them here, ether. Most debit cards here can be charged like a credit card, though. Still need to have the money in your account or it's declined, so not a credit card.

Quoting scrubbsywg (Reply 4):
Debit cards that are tied to credit cards are not common in Canada, at least in manitoba. Most here wouldn't even understand what they are. When canadians say "debit" we mean a card issued by your bank that you use at ATMs and at stores that accept interac. From browsing Visa's site, it seems that even though they accept visa, they do not necessarily accept visa debit.

Another option is to do it in person. Most major malls will have every Canadian cell phone retailer in the mall, either a kiosk in the halls or an actual store.

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