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Continental OneCard vs. BMO® Prepaid Travel Mastercard®*

In Business and Currency, Continental Connection by Continental StaffLeave a Comment

Thank you for your interest! OneCard is not currently available for sale. If you already own a OneCard, you may continue using your card without interruption. Please visit a branch near you to get the cash you need, today!

Travel cards can be handy tools for travellers who want to cut back on the amount of cash they carry and who don’t want to risk losing their bank cards to pickpockets and thieves. A good travel card incorporates features like improved foreign conversion rates and multiple currency accounts that make the travelling experience more affordable and less daunting. The best travel cards offer perks that make domestic use just as convenient as international.

In this post we compare two examples of Canadian travel cards. Read on for a detailed comparison of OneCard by Continental Currency Exchange™ and the BMO Prepaid Travel Mastercard. By the end, you should have a pretty good idea of the best card for you!

What Are the BMO Exchange Rates?

coins graphs exchange rates

One of the biggest considerations to make when signing-up for a travel card are the rates you are going to get with it. A major perk of a multi-currency card, over that of a generic travel card, is the fact that you can lock in rates when they are favourable, and store money in that currency until you need it.

Storing money only goes so far, however; and when you’re travelling and spending money, you can burn through those funds pretty quick. Besides, if you’re not getting better rates than you would otherwise get with your debit or credit card, why have a multi-currency card at all? Rates are constantly fluctuating, so it can be hard to state for certain which card has them better. One thing we can look at though, are the foreign conversion fees.

Foreign conversion fees (alternatively known as foreign transaction fees or foreign exchange fees), are charges made on any purchases where a foreign transaction is involved. For example, if you’re travelling to the US with your BMO Prepaid Travel Mastercard, any purchase you make with your card will require funds to be converted into US dollars. On top of whatever the rate from CAD to USD is at the time of your purchase, BMO will charge an additional percentage as a fee for facilitating that conversion.

But what are these fees? Let’s take a look!

BMO Foreign Exchange Fees vs OneCard
CAD to USDUSD to CADBetween All Other Currencies
BMO® Prepaid Travel Mastercard®*2.5%2.5%2.5%
OneCard by Continental Currency Exchange™1.49%1.99%2.25%

As you can see, the BMO foreign conversion fee remains constant across the board at 2.5%, with OneCard 25% lower in most cases, and up to 50% lower in CAD to USD conversions. Pair that with Continental Currency Exchange’s best rate guarantee and strong record of offering better rates than the banks, and OneCard is definitely the superior product in the conversion rates category.  

Clear Winner: OneCard by Continental Currency Exchange™

How Many Currency Accounts Can I Hold With BMO?

digital currency accounts currencies

A major weakness of the BMO Prepaid Travel Mastercard is that it doesn’t offer any currency accounts apart from the standard one in Canadian dollars. OneCard has a clear advantage here. With four currency accounts (CAD, USD, EUR, GBP), you can wait for the rates you want before loading up your card. You won’t be held hostage by the bank’s conversion rates, and your money will be ready in the currency you need before taking that holiday you’ve been dreaming about.

Clear Winner: OneCard by Continental Currency Exchange™

How Much Does it Cost to Send Money With BMO?

laptop phone money sending money

Storing currencies is a big advantage, but there are other things to consider as well when picking a travel card. Namely, what are you primarily going to be using your card for. If sending money overseas (or receiving it), is a motivation, OneCard is probably the way to go.

Making purchases anywhere Mastercard is accepted is a selling point of both cards (though OneCard has the added advantage of making purchases in foreign currencies on global e-commerce). However, BMO hasn’t made the ability to send funds a priority with the release of their travel card. Continental Currency Exchange, on the other hand, has made sending money a key component of OneCard’s capabilities. Take a look at the table below for the costs involved in sending/receiving money with each card.

Fees to Send Money
Sending MoneyReceiving Money
BMO® Prepaid Travel Mastercard®*15-125 CAD + 10.00 CAD Communication Fee14 CAD + 10.00 CAD Communication Fee
OneCard by Continental Currency Exchange™Between OneCards: FREE

To other institutions: 10 CAD or less


Clear Winner: OneCard by Continental Currency Exchange™

BMO Fees vs OneCard

pen document fees

When it comes to fees, the playing field is a little more level: OneCard comes with a 3.00 CAD activation fee and a monthly fee of 1.00 CAD against the BMO Prepaid Mastercard’s annual fee of 6.95 CAD. But considering the amount of services and features provided, OneCard offers far greater value than the BMO Prepaid Mastercard.

Activation Fee
BMO® Prepaid Travel Mastercard®*0.00 CAD
OneCard by Continental Currency Exchange™3.00 CAD
Recurring Fees
BMO® Prepaid Travel Mastercard®*6.95 CAD/year
OneCard by Continental Currency Exchange™1.00 CAD/month
Replacement Fee
BMO® Prepaid Travel Mastercard®*6.95 CAD
OneCard by Continental Currency Exchange™10.00 CAD
Charge for Dishonoured Payments
BMO® Prepaid Travel Mastercard®*40.00 CAD
OneCard by Continental Currency Exchange™No Fee

With the risk of incurring a $40.00 charge alone for any transaction made with insufficient funds, the BMO Prepaid Mastercard could prove to be an expensive liability for any who fail to keep an exact tally of their card’s balance. Considering how easy it can be to lose track of spending while travelling, the BMO Mastercard is a source of stress not worth the other (albeit few) benefits it has to offer.

ATM Fees
Within CanadaOutside of Canada
BMO® Prepaid Travel Mastercard®*5.00 CAD5.00 CAD
OneCard by Continental Currency Exchange™1.00 CADUS ATM: 1.50 USD

EU ATM: 1.50 EUR

UK ATM: 1.50 GBP

Other ATM: 1.50 CAD

ATM fees are another area where OneCard holds an edge over the BMO Mastercard. Whether home or abroad, you stand to save considerably by using your OneCard to withdraw cash instead of the BMO Prepaid Mastercard. With savings of up to 4.00 CAD per withdrawal, the slight amount you save with the BMO Prepaid Mastercard in other fees will be quickly lost after just a couple of cash advances.

Clear Winner: OneCard by Continental Currency Exchange™

What Are BMO’s Loading & Spending Limits

friends guy girls women phones shopping bags spending

Loading funds is an important aspect of a card’s functionality. Things to consider here are:

  • How easy it is to actually load funds to the card?
  • How much can you load at once?
  • How much can you store in total?

In terms of loading funds, both cards are fairly evenly matched. But only OneCard has a mobile app and website with which you can manage your accounts.

After the physical act of loading funds, we get to the issue of how much you can load.

Card Load Limits
Minimum Load (Single Transaction)Maximum Load (Single Transaction)Maximum Card Value
BMO® Prepaid Travel Mastercard®*100.00 CAD10,000.00 CAD 10,000.00 CAD
OneCard by Continental Currency Exchange™10.00 CAD (or equivalent value)10,000.00 CAD (or equivalent value)10,000.00 CAD (or equivalent value)

OneCard and the BMO Mastercard are pretty well-matched in this category. But with an app to manage your card and a lower minimum load amount, OneCard wins this category by a slight margin.

Close Winner: OneCard by Continental Currency Exchange™

Is BMO® Prepaid Travel Mastercard®* Secure?

digital security lock

Another important thing to consider when selecting any debit or credit card is security. How secure is your hard-earned money going to be when stored on this card? As prepaid cards, both OneCard and the BMO Prepaid Mastercard offer a degree of peace of mind and protection against fraud and theft that your normal bank and credit cards do not. Both products incorporate standard PIN technologies, though the BMO Prepaid Mastercard does not have chip. Both require you to go through a verification process in the event your card is lost before you can order a new one. Both transfer your old balance over to your new card once your identity has been verified.

The main feature that really separates the two when it comes to security is a feature on the OneCard app and online portal. If you lose your card, you can access a page on the app and lock your card. Your card will then be frozen until you either find it again or have received a new one. If you find your card, it’s another easy click of the button to unlock the card. No more need to call your bank or credit card company while on vacation!

Winner: OneCard by Continental Currency Exchange™

What Other Features Do I Get With My BMO Prepaid Mastercard?

piggy bank lights balls features

Before we conclude, there’s one more category worth considering: what other extra features can you get with your card? The BMO Prepaid Mastercard has come up sorely lacking in almost every category so far, and unfortunately this doesn’t change when it comes to bonus features.

What BMO touts as bonus card features essentially boil down to specialized travel insurance, and as such come with another price tag attached. For additional fee of 9.99 CAD/month, you will receive the services of the InfoProtector 360™†# package, which will provide protection against fraud and send you travel updates regarding your destination. Another package, going for 19.99 CAD/month, provides you with a credit report and monitoring.

OneCard, on the other hand, offers a host of features and benefits included in the cost of the monthly fee. On top of its four currency accounts, the option to send money for free between other OneCards and the ability to lock/unlock your card with ease, it offers one other big feature that lends a big boost to any person considering a travel card.

Family Sharing, or the ability to link multiple cards to a single account, is a key feature of OneCard. If you’ve got a kid (or kids) going off on exchange, it will enable you to conveniently monitor their spending and send them money, when they need it, in one of four currencies. Even if you’re just taking a family vacation overseas, or staying at home, OneCard’s Family Sharing can be a great way to give your kids a bit more independence (while still keeping an eye on them). The BMO Prepaid Mastercard has nothing similar to offer.

BMO Prepaid Mastercard Features vs OneCard
OneCard by Continental Currency Exchange™BMO Prepaid Travel Mastercard
Multiple Currency Accounts


Best Rates


Send Money for Free


Family Sharing


Card-Lock Feature




Free Mobile App


Choose your design


Clear Winner: OneCard by Continental Currency Exchange™

Final Notes

All in all, in terms of both a travel card and a prepaid credit card, the BMO Prepaid Mastercard is pretty disappointing. The card doesn’t really offer anything to justify itself as a travel card; and with an annual fee of 6.95 CAD it’s rather overpriced for a prepaid credit card.

Compared side-by-side, the BMO Prepaid Mastercard has nothing with which it can stand up to OneCard by Continental Currency Exchange™. With four currency accounts, low fees, better rates, and more features overall, OneCard actually lives up to its hype as an indispensable tool to have with you when you travel. If you’re looking for a travel card, there really is no contest here. OneCard is the way to go.

Overall Winner: OneCard by Continental Currency Exchange™

Interested in learning more? Check out the OneCard website!

Thank you for your interest! OneCard is not currently available for sale. If you already own a OneCard, you may continue using your card without interruption. Please visit a branch near you to get the cash you need, today!

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