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Published March 25, 2024
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Presto Card vs. Credit Card: How to Choose

Decide which card is best to pay for public transportation in Ontario.

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Deciding whether to pay with a Presto card or a credit card doesn’t have to be hard.

Here’s a side-by-side look at the details that matter most, so you can make a decision quickly and confidently.

Presto card vs. credit card

Presto cardCredit Card
EligibilityAnyone who wants to use public transit in Ontario can purchase a Presto card or use the Presto contactless payment system.You must apply for and be approved for a credit card in Canada, which requires meeting minimum income and credit score requirements, among other things.
Interest ratesThe Presto card does not charge interest, because you're not borrowing money — just pre-purchasing transit fares.Canadian credit card interest rates are typically between 19.99% and 25.99%.
Contactless paymentYou can choose a physical Presto card or add it to your digital wallet for contactless payment.Contactless capabilities vary by card.
Credit buildingNoYes
Usage RestrictionsCan only be used on participating transit systems in Ontario.Can be used anywhere credit cards are accepted.

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Frequently asked questions about Presto vs. credit card

Where can I use a Presto card?
  • Brampton Transit
  • Burlington Transit
  • Durham Region Transit (DRT)
  • GO Transit
  • Hamilton Street Railway (HSR)
  • MiWay
  • Oakville Transit
  • OC Transpo (Presto in Google Wallet not accepted)
  • Toronto Transit Commission (TTC)
  • UP Express
  • York Region Transit/Viva (YRT/Viva)
Is it cheaper to pay with Presto?

Presto partners with 11 different transit agencies in Ontario, and according to its website, using Presto guarantees that you’ll pay the lowest fare. For instance, some transit agencies may offer Presto users a discount, or fares may be free after paying with a Presto card a certain number of times.

Does Presto save you money?

Yes, depending on the transit agency you use, paying with a Presto card may earn you a discounted fare.

Can I use a credit card instead of a Presto card?

Yes, in many cases you can pay transit fares with a credit card or a card in your digital wallet.

Should I get a Presto card when visiting Toronto?

If you plan to be in Toronto for several days or longer, and plan to use transit as your primary means of transportation, a Presto card may be a convenient way to pay and perhaps earn slightly discounted fares. However, if you’ll only be there a short time or taking a limited number of trips on transit, single-ride tickets or single day passes may be a better option.

What are the benefits of using a credit card instead of Presto?

Assuming it’s a rewards card, using your credit card instead of Presto may earn you cash back, airline miles or other rewards.

Does my credit card offer contactless payment?

Examine your physical card carefully, looking for the contactless payment symbol, which may be on the front or back of the card. The symbol looks like four vertical, curved lines that get bigger from left to right, and it may be enclosed in an oval shape. Some people say it looks like a horizontal Wi-Fi symbol. You can also contact your credit card issuer or read through your credit card’s terms and conditions to see if contactless payment is a feature of your card.


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