Getting Canadian $

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Getting Canadian $

Postby InvestoGuy » Fri Jan 11, 2013 2:59 pm

Hello:
I may have to travel to Canada for a few days. Where will I get the best rate to convert USD to Canadian Dollars?
Should I do it at a local bank in the US or a bank in Canada or just go to the ATM in Canada and withdraw money there?
Thanks.
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Re: Getting Canadian $

Postby Keep It Simple » Fri Jan 11, 2013 3:08 pm

I wouldn't go to a Canadian atm in order to get money. I would simply call a few local U.S. banks and see who has the best exchange rates.

K. I. S.
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Re: Getting Canadian $

Postby ddunca1944 » Fri Jan 11, 2013 3:08 pm

I think you'd get the best rate just pulling it out of an ATM. However, you need to watch for fees.
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Re: Getting Canadian $

Postby Rainier » Fri Jan 11, 2013 3:10 pm

Best rate will be at an ATM in Canada. Banks will fleece you, kiosks will just take all your dollars.

I haven't brought local currency to a country in over ten years. Always stop at the ATM when I arrive.
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Re: Getting Canadian $

Postby Valuethinker » Fri Jan 11, 2013 3:30 pm

Many Canadian hotels, bars, stores will take USD.

I can't tell you whether you will get a good exchange rate, but particularly in border cities and tourist places, USD is recognized.
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Re: Getting Canadian $

Postby InvestorNewb » Fri Jan 11, 2013 3:42 pm

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Re: Getting Canadian $

Postby InvestoGuy » Fri Jan 11, 2013 3:46 pm

I am only talking a small amount here for food and entertainment, maybe $500-600 bucks.
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Re: Getting Canadian $

Postby Ace1 » Fri Jan 11, 2013 3:51 pm

You will get the best exchange rate at a bank in Canada, especially for that small amount.
The rate is usually a couple cents less than the financial rate from
Bloomberg or what you see on yahoo finance. The casino is another cent less.
The only place Ive found that is better is the duty free shop in Ft Erie which has been par
for quite a while now - this is on purchases when coming back into the US.
Have fun up there !
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Re: Getting Canadian $

Postby dm200 » Fri Jan 11, 2013 4:03 pm

It has been a few years, but when I did travel to Canada more often, I found that almost all merchants in Canada gave very good exchange rates for US currency. You got the change back in Canadian currency/coin. Except, perhaps, for a few areas in the US with a lot of Canadian customers, Canadian merchants gave a more fair exchange rate that, I suspect, most American merchants would give Canadian customers with Canadian currency.
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Re: Getting Canadian $

Postby ddunca1944 » Fri Jan 11, 2013 4:13 pm

If it's just for food/entertainment, I'd use a credit card (one that does not charge transaction fees). They give good rates and you don't run the risk of changing more than you need.
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Re: Getting Canadian $

Postby Valuethinker » Fri Jan 11, 2013 6:20 pm

dm200 wrote:It has been a few years, but when I did travel to Canada more often, I found that almost all merchants in Canada gave very good exchange rates for US currency. You got the change back in Canadian currency/coin. Except, perhaps, for a few areas in the US with a lot of Canadian customers, Canadian merchants gave a more fair exchange rate that, I suspect, most American merchants would give Canadian customers with Canadian currency.


Being of Scottish origin, most Canadians know good money whatever its funny monochrome printing ;-).
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Re: Getting Canadian $

Postby jsl11 » Fri Jan 11, 2013 6:28 pm

Years ago, I was working downtown where all the banks were in walking distance. On my lunch hour, I just called all of them and asked what their exchange rate was. They were not all the same. I bought my Canadian dollars at the one with the best rate. When I came home, I did the same to sell the leftover Canadian dollars. The bank with the best rate for selling was not the same bank for buying.
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Re: Getting Canadian $

Postby investomajic » Fri Jan 11, 2013 6:34 pm

I have been to Canada many times (usually once or twice a year) and I have never been successful exchanging US Dollars into Canadian Dollars at a local Canadian bank. I have yet to find a bank that would do this for me without an account at the bank. I always have a local friend exchange the money for me. Do keep in mind that I have only tried this at the "Big 5" banks (Royal Bank, TD, CIBC, Bank of Montreal and Scotia Bank). You may have better luck at a smaller bank but I wouldn't count on it.

If you need cash, get it before you go even though you are not likely to get the best exchange rate this way. In my experience, the most convenient and cheapest method is to just use your credit card, assuming you have one with no foreign transaction fees (I use Capital One). Your US credit card will be accepted everywhere. I have had a few problems while paying for gas at the pump, but I have always been able to complete the transaction by visiting the cashier.
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Re: Getting Canadian $

Postby wesleymouch » Fri Jan 11, 2013 6:39 pm

I have not traveled to Canada recently but in traveling around the world I have found that bringing cash and exchanging it typically gives you the best exchange rate. Many credit cards charge 5% conversion fees, the better ones charge 1%. ATMs I have found charge 2 to 3 % which is a crummy deal. Most airports are set up so that one encounters two layers of exchange facilities. The first one you run into gives you a really bad rate. If you keep going toward the exit a better rate can be had. Most airports have maps of their facilities with exchanges noted online.
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Re: Getting Canadian $

Postby crowd79 » Fri Jan 11, 2013 6:46 pm

I have travelled all over the world and determined it is best to withdraw the local currency from an ATM with a DEBIT CARD linked to your checking or MMA account in that specific country. Just check the exchange rate before and do the math ($USD to xxx) to make sure you have the money available in your accounts.

Get and Ally Debit ATM card linked to an Ally MMA or Checking account and they have always reimbursed me for fees charged (except the 1% conversion fee) abroad at other banks.
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Re: Getting Canadian $

Postby 6miths » Fri Jan 11, 2013 6:50 pm

investomajic wrote:I have been to Canada many times (usually once or twice a year) and I have never been successful exchanging US Dollars into Canadian Dollars at a local Canadian bank. I have yet to find a bank that would do this for me without an account at the bank. I always have a local friend exchange the money for me. Do keep in mind that I have only tried this at the "Big 5" banks (Royal Bank, TD, CIBC, Bank of Montreal and Scotia Bank). You may have better luck at a smaller bank but I wouldn't count on it.


This is hard to believe. I've exchanged USD for CAD at Canadian banks without any issues and not at bad rates. Perhaps if you were far from the border or in a smaller town there might be an issue. I would think that a Canadian ATM on the same system as your US Bank (C-Plus, Cirrus, etc) would give the best rate. This has been my experience in pretty much whatever country I have traveled to. Credit card exchange rates have been worse in my experience but that depends on your credit card according to previous discussions here. If it isn't that large an amount and you aren't far from the border, you could just ask a Canadian acquaintance to exchange it for you. They'd probably give you the spot rate. :happy
'It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so!' Mark Twain
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Re: Getting Canadian $

Postby 6miths » Fri Jan 11, 2013 6:51 pm

crowd79 wrote:I have travelled all over the world and determined it is best to withdraw the local currency from an ATM with a DEBIT CARD linked to your checking or MMA account in that specific country. Just check the exchange rate before and do the math ($USD to xxx) to make sure you have the money available in your accounts.

Get and Ally Debit ATM card linked to an Ally MMA or Checking account and they have always reimbursed me for fees charged (except the 1% conversion fee) abroad at other banks.



+1
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Re: Getting Canadian $

Postby WendyW » Fri Jan 11, 2013 7:17 pm

InvestoGuy wrote:I am only talking a small amount here for food and entertainment, maybe $500-600 bucks.

You're going to pay 1%-3% no matter how you do the exchange.

(Unless you change your money at the nudie bar -- in which case it might be 10%.)

I wouldn't spend a lot of time shopping around for a rate to save $10 or something.
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Re: Getting Canadian $

Postby investomajic » Fri Jan 11, 2013 7:21 pm

6miths wrote:
investomajic wrote:I have been to Canada many times (usually once or twice a year) and I have never been successful exchanging US Dollars into Canadian Dollars at a local Canadian bank. I have yet to find a bank that would do this for me without an account at the bank. I always have a local friend exchange the money for me. Do keep in mind that I have only tried this at the "Big 5" banks (Royal Bank, TD, CIBC, Bank of Montreal and Scotia Bank). You may have better luck at a smaller bank but I wouldn't count on it.


This is hard to believe. I've exchanged USD for CAD at Canadian banks without any issues and not at bad rates. Perhaps if you were far from the border or in a smaller town there might be an issue. I would think that a Canadian ATM on the same system as your US Bank (C-Plus, Cirrus, etc) would give the best rate. This has been my experience in pretty much whatever country I have traveled to. Credit card exchange rates have been worse in my experience but that depends on your credit card according to previous discussions here. If it isn't that large an amount and you aren't far from the border, you could just ask a Canadian acquaintance to exchange it for you. They'd probably give you the spot rate. :happy


But you are a resident of Canada no? So you probably have an account at one of these banks? I might not have been as clear as I could have been but keep in mind when I said I have not been successful converting US$ to CDN$ at local Canadian banks, it has been while using a bank teller, not an ATM. They have always required that the person exchanging the money have a bank account at the bank (again, this has been my experience). I was not in small towns either, these were in major cities between Toronto and Hamilton.

I have not tried using my ATM card in Canada.
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Re: Getting Canadian $

Postby Randomize » Fri Jan 11, 2013 7:26 pm

Couldn't you just stop in at a gas station to buy a candy bar with your credit card and ask for cash back?
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Re: Getting Canadian $

Postby crowd79 » Fri Jan 11, 2013 7:31 pm

brianbooth wrote:Couldn't you just stop in at a gas station to buy a candy bar with your credit card and ask for cash back?


I don't believe merchants will allow cash back on a credit card at a point of sale in a store. Remember, the merchant has to pay a certain percentage (1% or something "merchant fee") of the sales transaction directly to the CC company.
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Re: Getting Canadian $

Postby MattE » Fri Jan 11, 2013 10:41 pm

If where you're going has one in the area, the best place to exchange money in Canada is a casino. They charge no fees, because they want you to gamble and spend money.
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Re: Getting Canadian $

Postby centrifuge41 » Fri Jan 11, 2013 10:45 pm

Do you have a Bank of America account? Use your debit card in a Scotiabank ATM. No ATM fees, and great exchange ratio.
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Re: Getting Canadian $

Postby jcnelsn1 » Fri Jan 11, 2013 10:55 pm

I travel to Canada yearly. I cannot recall a time when a place would not take US Dollars, and it has been 1 for 1 the past 2 years. This is in rural areas on the Canadian prairie. May be different in other parts. Usually not worth the hassle looking for a place to convert.
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Re: Getting Canadian $

Postby 6miths » Fri Jan 11, 2013 11:34 pm

investomajic wrote:
6miths wrote:
investomajic wrote:I have been to Canada many times (usually once or twice a year) and I have never been successful exchanging US Dollars into Canadian Dollars at a local Canadian bank. I have yet to find a bank that would do this for me without an account at the bank. I always have a local friend exchange the money for me. Do keep in mind that I have only tried this at the "Big 5" banks (Royal Bank, TD, CIBC, Bank of Montreal and Scotia Bank). You may have better luck at a smaller bank but I wouldn't count on it.


This is hard to believe. I've exchanged USD for CAD at Canadian banks without any issues and not at bad rates. Perhaps if you were far from the border or in a smaller town there might be an issue. I would think that a Canadian ATM on the same system as your US Bank (C-Plus, Cirrus, etc) would give the best rate. This has been my experience in pretty much whatever country I have traveled to. Credit card exchange rates have been worse in my experience but that depends on your credit card according to previous discussions here. If it isn't that large an amount and you aren't far from the border, you could just ask a Canadian acquaintance to exchange it for you. They'd probably give you the spot rate. :happy


But you are a resident of Canada no? So you probably have an account at one of these banks? I might not have been as clear as I could have been but keep in mind when I said I have not been successful converting US$ to CDN$ at local Canadian banks, it has been while using a bank teller, not an ATM. They have always required that the person exchanging the money have a bank account at the bank (again, this has been my experience). I was not in small towns either, these were in major cities between Toronto and Hamilton.

I have not tried using my ATM card in Canada.


Yes I'm a resident but have exchanged USD for CAD in banks where I don't have an account. I would go with the above suggestions and just use a compatible ATM or exchange at a merchant. I think the McDonalds down the street was at 1.04 with the spot rate at 1.017. Or look me up and I'll give you the spot rate. :D
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Re: Getting Canadian $

Postby Epsilon Delta » Fri Jan 11, 2013 11:39 pm

Valuethinker wrote:
Being of Scottish origin, most Canadians know good money whatever its funny monochrome printing ;-).


Do try to keep up, US currency has not been monochrome for some years.

Image
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Re: Getting Canadian $

Postby 6miths » Sat Jan 12, 2013 12:13 am

Epsilon Delta wrote:
Valuethinker wrote:
Being of Scottish origin, most Canadians know good money whatever its funny monochrome printing ;-).


Do try to keep up, US currency has not been monochrome for some years.

Image



Actually I think it was you guys who took a while to catch up, eh? :D
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Re: Getting Canadian $

Postby sometimesinvestor » Sat Jan 12, 2013 12:48 pm

Does Norbert's Gambit work for USA brokerage firms?. Its not obvious that it would just reading the link.
Probably not necessary for me as I have trouble visualizinga need fo ra 10k cash purchase in Canada
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Re: Getting Canadian $

Postby Valuethinker » Sat Jan 12, 2013 6:30 pm

investomajic wrote:I have been to Canada many times (usually once or twice a year) and I have never been successful exchanging US Dollars into Canadian Dollars at a local Canadian bank. I have yet to find a bank that would do this for me without an account at the bank. I always have a local friend exchange the money for me. Do keep in mind that I have only tried this at the "Big 5" banks (Royal Bank, TD, CIBC, Bank of Montreal and Scotia Bank). You may have better luck at a smaller bank but I wouldn't count on it.


There aren't really smaller banks in Canada. I mean there is National and Laurentian, and HSBC etc. have branches in Toronto. But really, that is Canadian banking. The other big place people keep deposits is Credit Unions.

Odd if a local branch does not do USD.
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Re: Getting Canadian $

Postby Valuethinker » Sat Jan 12, 2013 6:34 pm

Epsilon Delta wrote:
Valuethinker wrote:
Being of Scottish origin, most Canadians know good money whatever its funny monochrome printing ;-).


Do try to keep up, US currency has not been monochrome for some years.

Image


Fascinating.

http://www.newmoney.gov/currency/images.htm

*that* tells me since 2003. I think the last time I was in USA was in 2007, and I don't recall noticing (nor coming back with) color printed money.

Must have been a huge shock? Doesn't that kind of thing usually provoke a huge debate in the USA? Thinking your various struggles with a dollar coin?

Next you are going to tell me everyone uses dollar coins? ;-).
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Re: Getting Canadian $

Postby 3504PIR » Sun Jan 13, 2013 1:58 pm

Just use an ATM, using a bank or other currency exchange business is a rip off. I'm still amazed that currency exchange businesses are still open in international airports. Although for a 5% fee, I guess it is an ok way to launder small amounts of money.
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