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Old 05-15-2010, 09:48 PM
 
271 posts, read 1,486,648 times
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Hey there, proud Canadians. I currently live in Texas. I haven't been to Canada in over 15 years. Starting next month, I'll be going on a solo jaunt to Toronto, Montreal, and Edmonton- flying from one city to the other.

I plan on using my credit card as much as possible, in order to avoid the whole exchange rate stuff. But there will be instances where I'll need to use cash- like at a fast food restaurant.

So how does currency exchange work for American tourists visiting Canada? How do I go about obtaining Canadian cash- especially at the airport?

I currently bank with Bank of America. And someone told me that I could use my debit card to get Canadian cash from Scotiabank ATMs. However, there may not be a Scotiabank ATM at the Toronto, Montreal, and Edmonton airports.

So what would be the best way for me to swap American cash for Canadian cash?

What do you native Canadians suggest that I should do?

Thanks everyone!
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Old 05-16-2010, 10:26 AM
 
271 posts, read 1,486,648 times
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Bump
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Old 05-16-2010, 11:30 AM
 
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I'm not a native Canadian, but I do travel up there quite often.

My suggestion would be to try to find a Scotiabank ATM. They are quite common, and you can take a look online to see where the closest one might be to where you'll be before you go.

If you don't want a lot of Canadian cash when you get home, the best thing to do would be to get out a minimum amount of Canadian cash, and use your credit card or American currency where you can. Depending on the exchange rate at the time you go (and whether or not you can find a Scotiabank ATM near where you are), paying in American currency and getting Canadian change may also work well for you for those incidentals. Most places will take American currency, and most places (including fast food) do take credit cards.

IMO, there's no reason to do the whole "exchange" thing, and pay the fees for it.
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Old 05-16-2010, 08:28 PM
 
4,285 posts, read 14,421,440 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mishigas73 View Post
I'm not a native Canadian, but I do travel up there quite often.

My suggestion would be to try to find a Scotiabank ATM. They are quite common, and you can take a look online to see where the closest one might be to where you'll be before you go.

If you don't want a lot of Canadian cash when you get home, the best thing to do would be to get out a minimum amount of Canadian cash, and use your credit card or American currency where you can. Depending on the exchange rate at the time you go (and whether or not you can find a Scotiabank ATM near where you are), paying in American currency and getting Canadian change may also work well for you for those incidentals. Most places will take American currency, and most places (including fast food) do take credit cards.

IMO, there's no reason to do the whole "exchange" thing, and pay the fees for it.

One caution with regard to using US cash.

Yes, establishments in areas frequented by tourists will usually accept US cash.

However, the exchange rate they offer will not be favourable simply because those businesses will be charged a conversion fee by their bank when they deposit that cash. Expect to pay 5-10% above the official rate when using US cash at stores.

There are thousands of Scotiabank ATMs across the country --use them for your cash needs.

If you want some Canadian cash in your pocket when you get off the plane, go to your bank before leaving home and pick some up.
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Old 05-17-2010, 08:14 AM
 
Location: Hougary, Texberta
8,565 posts, read 11,065,012 times
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Added points -

Using your credit card is easy, but not cheap. Don't forget that BOA will charge you betwenn 3-5% for using a foreign currency, and that's before the exchange rate.

Your normal BOA card will work at any bank machine, but it is without fees at Scotia. (other than exchange)

You'll find people will be far more accepting of US cash in Canada than the US is of Canadian.

Given that currencies are at close to par, expect that if you're paying cash, there will be no favorable exchange.
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Old 05-17-2010, 10:12 AM
 
Location: Boston, MA & Istanbul, Turkey
793 posts, read 1,190,722 times
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Also if you by any chance have a Capital One Credit Card, use it for as many transactions as possible. Capital One Cards have no foreign transaction fees, I always use mine when abroad.

You should just go ahead and exchange some walking around money at your local bank (as Cornerguy said) before hand and I agree with everyone that said Scotia Banks are very easy to find in most major cities.
Have a good trip!
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Old 05-17-2010, 02:38 PM
 
Location: Silver Spring, MD
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your ATM card works the easiest, so take out a good withdrwal at one if you want (meaning repeat withdrawls will cost more service fees of course). I usually just use a credit card cause the fees are low enough on it and it usualy gives a better x-rate.

We are at parity now so there's no real bargain to be had on that front like there use to be.

Other things are going to banks and exchange booths in airports but I usually don't bother with that, the ATMs always work... it's just a question of what your bank is going to charge you.
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Old 05-17-2010, 05:47 PM
 
Location: Vancouver, BC
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One detail. If you do decide to pay with US cash, businesses do so as a courtesy, not because it's required of them to do so. They do it as a favour to American visitors.

Because Canada only has one legal currency (the Canadian dollar), they cannot transact using US cash. Stores don't have dual tills. You can't just use American cash like a dual currency while in Canada. While you can certainly pay in US dollars at some stores for your convenience, expect your change in Canadian cash.

Also, US coins are accepted at par...

Also, Canadian infrastructure is set up to accept Canadian cash/coins only. By that I mean, if you need to pay a parking meter, it'll only accept Canadian coins. If you need to pay a vending machine, it'll only accept Canadian coins/bills, etc. Public transit tickets, etc... any automated machines? It will only accept Canadian cash.
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Old 05-17-2010, 10:10 PM
 
2,288 posts, read 3,931,622 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeyyc View Post
Your normal BOA card will work at any bank machine, but it is without fees at Scotia. (other than exchange)
This. Your debit card will work anywhere, but you may have to cough up $3-5 in fees unless it's Scotia. Having traveled in both Canada and the US, I've found the number of places that only accept cash (no credit/debit) is much lower in Canada than in the US.
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Old 05-17-2010, 10:34 PM
 
271 posts, read 1,486,648 times
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I don't know if any of you guys would know the answer to this.

Does the Sky Shuttle from the Edmonton Airport to Downtown accept major credit cars?

I was thinking about getting some Canadian cash from my local BOA so that I could take the shuttle when I get off the plane. But if the Sky Shuttle accepts credit cards, I'll just skip going to BOA and head for a Scotia once I reach Downtown.

What do you guys think?
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