05/12/2014 06:46 EDT | Updated 05/13/2014 12:59 EDT

Canadian Tire Money Is Almost Legitimate Currency: Report

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Canadian Tire Corp. money sits bundled together in stacks at a store in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on Friday, Jan. 18, 2013. STCA - Statistics Canada is scheduled to release retail sales data on Jan. 21. Photographer: Reynard Li/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Canadian Tire money is so well accepted among retailers that you could almost consider it an unofficial currency, says a report from Moody's Investors Service.

The credit rating agency mentioned the retail giant's branded money in a recent report, saying that it is almost a "sub-fiat" currency in the Great White North, meaning it was not issued by a government.

It said that Canadian Tire's hold over consumers is "often both misunderstood and underestimated," and that it has taken time for U.S. retailers such as Lowe's, Home Depot and Costco to resonate with shoppers amid existing competition.

These claims came as the rating agency argued that Target Canada still has promise despite negative returns since the retailer expanded northward.

Canadians appear to be more "economically stressed" than Americans, Moody's said, pointing out that their household debt has grown more than four-fold over the past 23 years, making it more difficult for Target to succeed where consumer dollars are scarce.

It also said that stores such as Canadian Tire, Loblaws and Shoppers Drug Mart stepped up their promotions to keep customers in the face of fresh competition from an incoming U.S. competitor.

Target is expected to turn a profit in its Canadian stores starting in 2015.

Target's Foray Into Canada Will Pay Off by Jesse Ferreras

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