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RBC Debit Card Review

Make instant payments with your everyday RBC Client Card or sign up for the RBC Visa Debit to make purchases online. 

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The RBC Client Card is a fairly average debit card that isn’t linked to a credit card. It has relatively few benefits when compared to the debit cards on offer from Canada’s other Big Five Banks. The only advantage with this card is that you can use Interac Flash and Mobile Pay to make purchases in-store. If you want to make virtual purchases, you’ll have to sign up for a separate RBC Visa Debit that can only be used to spend money online.

30-second take

  • Think about an RBC Debit Card if you’d like the ability to pay in-store with the RBC Client Card or online with the RBC Visa Debit.
  • Choose something else if you’d prefer to earn rewards or you want an integrated debit card that lets you shop in-store and online (without having to hold two separate cards).

Types of RBC Debit Cards

There are two main types of RBC Debit Cards to choose from depending on whether you want to shop in-store or online.

  • The RBC Client Card. This is the default debit card that will let you shop with retailers in-store. It has no added benefits other than allowing you to make quick tap and mobile wallet payments.
  • The RBC Visa Debit Card. This is an add-on RBC Debit Card that you can sign up for separately from the RBC Client Card. It lets you shop online with a card number, expiry date and CVV (just like a credit card).

The Basics

The RBC Client Card offers relatively few benefits and only lets you shop in-store. You’ll have to sign up for the RBC Visa Debit Card separately if you want to make purchases online.

  • Fast payments. Tap your RBC Client Card to pay for purchases quickly in-store with any merchant that’s equipped with Interac Flash-enabled terminals.
  • Make purchases in the US. Use your RBC Client Card to make purchases with retailers across the USA (though you may need to pay a fee for cross-border transactions).
  • Link to your mobile wallet. Connect your RBC Client Card to your mobile wallet to pay in-store by swiping your mobile phone at checkout.
  • Free RBC ATM withdrawals. Use your RBC Client Card to withdraw cash at RBC ATMs or pay a small fee to take money out at non-RBC ATMs across Canada and overseas.
  • Online shopping. Sign up for a second RBC Visa Debit to make purchases exclusively online (you won’t be able to use this card to make purchases in-store).

The perks

  • Fee-free transactions. You won’t pay fees to use either RBC Debit Card as long as the merchant or ATM you use doesn’t charge convenience fees on their end.
  • Mobile banking. Manage your debit transactions on the go with RBC‘s user-friendly online and mobile banking app.
  • Enhanced security. Protect yourself from fraud with security features such as chip technology and transaction limits.
  • Transaction records. Track your spending with a transaction record every time you use your RBC Client Card or RBC Visa Debit.

What to watch out for

No rewards. You won’t earn points or cashback when you shop with either RBC Debit Card (a feature that’s offered with Scotiabank and CIBC debit cards).

  • Transaction limits. You could have trouble making large purchases depending on your RBC Debit Card limits.
  • No access to credit. Both RBC Debit Cards only allow you to access money that’s already in your account, which means you can’t use them to make purchases on credit.
  • Separate cards required. You’ll need to sign up for two separate cards to make online and in-store purchases (whereas debit cards with other banks are integrated).

What should I know before I apply?

Eligibility requirements

You won’t need to apply for an RBC Client Card because you’ll get one automatically if you meet the following criteria:

  • You are a Canadian citizen, permanent resident or temporary resident of Canada.
  • You are applying for an RBC chequing or savings account that qualifies for this card.
  • However, you will need to apply for an RBC Visa Debit separately by visiting your branch or calling the RBC customer service line.

Required documents and information

To sign up for an eligible RBC bank account, you’ll need to provide the following:

  • Your name, residential status and contact information
  • Your Social Insurance Number and date of birth
  • Your email address and phone number

How to apply

  1. Visit RBC‘s main page to apply for the chequing or savings account of your choice.
  2. Complete the application, which includes providing your name, email address, Social Insurance Number and birth date.
  3. Review and submit your application.
  4. Your RBC Client Card should come automatically included with your account once you sign up (so you won’t need a separate application).
  5. To get an RBC Visa Debit, you’ll need to go into your RBC branch or contact the bank by phone to apply.

How to make purchases online

You’ll have to apply for an RBC Visa Debit separately from your RBC Client Card to make purchases online. Once you’ve got your RBC Visa Debit, you’ll just need to input your details as you would with a credit card. This includes providing your full name, card number and card details such as your RBC Debit Card expiry date and RBC Debit Card CVV.

Bottom line

RBC offers two separate debit cards, depending on how you want to spend money. The RBC Client Card can be used for in-store purchases while the RBC Visa Debit may be the best fit for you if you want to make purchases online. Both cards come with relatively few benefits compared to debit cards on offer from other Big Five Canadian banks.

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Frequently asked questions about the RBC Debit Card


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