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Sadly, I think the solution in the US and some parts of the EU is even worse than the chinese one.

Try buying Cuban cigars without cash anywhere. Your VISA or MasterCard will mysteriously fail to allow this purchase – because, due to the embargo, these companies just refuse to allow transactions containing the words "cuba", "iran", etc.

VISA and MasterCard also have additional rules of their own, and if you have a society that is cashless, they can just cut you off, too.

This is giving a for-profit entity (which, by its own nature, does not care about you, just about taking your money) far too much power.

Sweden is having that problem: You can’t do anything without a debit card anymore, banks have high fees just to get cash from your account, but the only debit cards you can get are from VISA or MasterCard.

This wouldn’t be an issue if there were many competitors, or even local competitors, or if the systems were open.




I'm Canadian, so not only can I buy Cuban cigars, I can buy them in a store down the street with my debit card. (A real debit card that connects directly to my account, not just a prepaid credit card.) Regardless though, making an illegal purchase isn't a very good reason to argue for cash; in fact you may have more luck changing the dumb laws if people are truly hurt by them.

The US definition of a "debit card" is massively different than the Canadian one. For us, our bank card is the debit card. The same one I use to take money out of my account at an ATM is the same one I can use to buy a $1 coffee.

Why some banks do charge outrageous fees, thanks to the free market there is a healthy market and many banks in Canada are now fully virtual or offer next to no fees.

Just because a system is poorly designed in one locale does not mean the idea itself is flawed, just that it should be implemented in an improved way.


> The US definition of a "debit card" is massively different than the Canadian one. For us, our bank card is the debit card. The same one I use to take money out of my account at an ATM is the same one I can use to buy a $1 coffee.

I keep seeing this pop up, but it's a misconception; we have these in the US too. I have one, although I don't use it for purchases (I use a rewards credit card that gets paid off monthly instead). Here's an example (hopefully Wells Fargo doesn't redirect you because you're in Canada): https://welcome.wf.com/checking/?gclid=CIzL2ong1NMCFVBtfgodb...


It's not that they don't exist, it's that you don't have the POS being widespread enough to support it in a common way.

The Interac system in Canada is pretty much a given for any vendor that has a cash register. That automatically makes every single bank card into a direct debit card. You can choose to use it if you want of course, but it's default for all bank accounts, really.


This is still very wrong. US debit cards work with any credit card-accepting POS. If you can enter 16 digits and expiration date and get a charge, your debit card will deduct that amount from your checking account for you.


> in fact you may have more luck changing the dumb laws if people are truly hurt by them.

But that’s the point.

Cuban Cigars are legal in Germany.

You can legally buy them.

But every payment processor that’s located in the US can not process such a transaction.

Relying on foreign companies for most basic needs means you lose a lot of sovereignty.


Given that I've personally bought Cuban cigars with my Amex card last Christmas as gifts, I'm pretty sure your assertion is false.

It's more likely the case that an American credit card holder cannot buy them, even when he is in Germany, because he's subject to American laws, as I would be if I took a box into the US and started selling them.


No, my assertion is pretty much right.

It went so far that PayPal, VISA and MasterCard ended up threatening several German store chains to stop selling products from Cuba or they’d end all business with the store

It went into national media, and was discussed on reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/technology/comments/ka26b/paypal_bl...

Rossmann won against PayPal in court, to this date they don’t offer any payment via PayPal.

They came to an agreement with VISA and MasterCard, where if a sale contains embargoed products, everything but these products can be paid by card, but the embargoed products can not.


Processors don't send l3 data for normal consumer based transactions. How would they know you were buying cuban cigars?


> many banks in Canada are now fully virtual or offer next to no fees.

Uhh, which ones? Free chequing accounts have transaction fees for Interac, and with unlimited Interac accounts you pay monthly or must keep a minimum balance. I'm sure there are a couple exceptions, but certainly not with TD, CIBC, NBC, etc.


Check out credit unions. I'm with Coast Capital and pay zero for fees at regular bank machines. "Private" atm fees do cost, yes. Tangerine and PC financial also offer no fee options too, but I'm not sure to what extent.




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