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Old 06-21-2016, 05:33 PM   #1
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Exchanging US Currency to Canadian

What is the best (most favorable) way to exchange US currency to Canadian? Is it best to do this in the US or wait until you cross the border? How do you estimate how much to exchange since bringing Canadian currency home results in losses on both ends.
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Old 06-21-2016, 05:40 PM   #2
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We are in Canada now but will be heading home tomorrow. For cash we just gathered up what we had left from our last trip. This wasn't a lot. We charge everything with our Schwab Visa. They give the exchange rate on the day of the purchase exactly - no other fees. If we use an ATM for additional cash up here they give us the same rate and we don't pay any ATM charges period.
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Old 06-21-2016, 09:37 PM   #3
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I agree. Use a credit card that doesn't have Foreign exchange fees. Most everything that we purchased went on the card. We did go to a local bank to convert a small amount of currency (USD for CAD) for snack food and small trinket purchases. Just before we crossed back to the US, we put our CAD cash into one of those collection jars for charities. We don't get into Canada nearly enough (IMHO) to try and remember where we stashed our CAD for a future trip.
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Old 06-21-2016, 09:55 PM   #4
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Currency Exchange Vancouver - Best Foreign Exchange Rates Canada |Knightsbridge FX

Just used these guys to exchange some money and saved several thousand.
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Old 06-21-2016, 10:30 PM   #5
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If you can charge everything that would be the best. Yes there is an exchange rate charge but it usually isn't too bad. If you have time before you go research and find a card that doesn't charge additional money as in previous posts.

Do not make the mistake of using your credit card to withdraw money from and ATM. I did this in Spain ~4 years ago, I needed some cash to pay for parking and used my CC. They charged me ~+$50 for this transaction besides the currency exchange rate and fee. I did write Citicard to complain, they used my "average" balance and charged me a % rate as if it was a loan. Since I was traveling internationally I had +$10K on my CC so the cost was huge. Ultimately after 3-4 email exchanges they agreed to wave the fee but it was a hare lesson learned.

After that I used my bank debit card and they the fees were not that bad.

Also, if you think you'll need cash get it one time to reduce the overall fees. The exchange rate is the US's favor so that helps a little. When I was traveling to Canada on a regular basis 4 years ago we are at par, but everything is more expensive in Canada so I was spending more.
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Old 06-22-2016, 05:05 AM   #6
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With Schwab there is no currency exchange fee and we never pay an ATM fee.
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Old 06-22-2016, 07:25 AM   #7
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The only place I've ever received the FULL exchange rate was in a Canadian casino.
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Old 06-22-2016, 11:21 AM   #8
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I agree on using a credit card with no currency exchange fee. A lifetime ago, I lived in Canada and purchased US currency on almost a weekly basis for weekend trips to the US. Banks have two different rates for foreign currency, depending on whether they are selling it to you, or buying it back. Their mark-up is usually 2.5% over the actual market rate at the time you purchase the currency from them. Conversely, anything you sell back to them after your trip, will only get you 2.5% less than market rate. Assuming that the market rate is unchanged between those two time frames, which is unlikely, you could have payed a 5% fee on some of those funds.
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Old 06-22-2016, 01:43 PM   #9
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"Full exchnage rate"

Here's the link to Schwab's fee's and features of their high yield investor checking with their debit/credit card.

https://www.schwab.com/public/file/P...LS77378-01.pdf

I have verified the exchange rate they've given me against the official published rate for that day.

I agree buying currency from a bank is costly. They have to stock the foreign currency in each office and assume to liability of exchange rate flucuations with hard currency in the till. 2.5% is reasonable for buying and selling hard currency.
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Old 06-22-2016, 02:28 PM   #10
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Banks do not stock foreign currency. You have to place an order, then your bank will get the foreign currency and you will then be able to pick it up.
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Old 06-22-2016, 02:30 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom N View Post
Banks do not stock foreign currency. You have to place an order, then your bank will get the foreign currency and you will then be able to pick it up.
My bank stocks it. Maybe because we are in NH and close to Canada.
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Old 06-22-2016, 04:38 PM   #12
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If you plan to camp in any Canadian provincial parks, you will need some Canadian cash. The ones we stopped at were all self pay.
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Old 06-22-2016, 04:45 PM   #13
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Don't forget your passport ; being very friendly Canada Customs may allow you into Canada without one, some photo ID may get you through ; getting back into the US , well that's a different story.
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Old 06-23-2016, 12:54 PM   #14
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In Canada at this time--had to get my DIL to go with me to bank to get CDN money, they don't do the exchange unless you have an account.
Later, farther in BC, went to RBC bank, NOPE, we'll check around, found credit union willing, but they pleasantly offered .85CDN for 1.0USD???Nope, went down street to CIBC and they willingly did the exchange for no fee (that I know of) but it took a lot of personal info to get it done. Got $374CDN for $300USD--that looks to be 1.0CDN to .80USD.
Sounds like maybe the credit union info was reversed.
RBC said on May 1 their rules changed. ?? Don't know if it is RBC only, or a nationwide deal.
We do use a Capital One that has no exchange fee on the conversion.
Joe
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