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Old 06-15-2009, 07:10 AM
 
Location: St. Louis, Missouri
9,354 posts, read 16,824,797 times
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I'm guessing that this has probably been answered, but don't have time to sort through all of the threads, so PLEASE bear with me.........

i will be spending a week in B.C. in early july...... i will be taking some cash (American Dollars) and my Visa debit card. The friend that I am visiting says it is no problem to exchange American dollars for Canadian where she is..... but i am wondering...... would it be better to take more cash and less on the debit card?? or more on the debit card and less cash??

for what its worth, i use my bank of america account for travel, and am not sure how they work as far as exchange...... i will be checking with them this week for details.......

thanks in advance for your wise advice........
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Old 06-15-2009, 07:21 AM
 
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Credit and ATM cards usually give you the best rate of exchange (but not always). Bring a little, but not alot, of cash and rely on credit and ATM cards to take cash out when you need it. Don't sweat it - lots of places in Canada also accept greenbacks.

I never advise using debit cards (in the U.S., or anywhere).
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Old 06-15-2009, 02:18 PM
 
Location: Maryland
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I've also heard you'll get a better exchange rate at an ATM vice a foreign exchange service. Plus, some banks have deal with other countries banks to where you won't pay any fee for using their ATMs. I know Bank of America had such a deal with Paribas Bank when I went to France.
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Old 06-15-2009, 08:33 PM
 
Location: St. Louis, Missouri
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thanks to both of you..... so i'm thinking ... take a smaller amount of cash and use the ATM's in BC for a better exchange rate.......

its been a while (QUITE a while) since i traveled outside of the states.....)
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Old 06-16-2009, 02:41 PM
 
Location: Branson Area
880 posts, read 2,584,234 times
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Default check with your bank and credit card co

Before you figure this out, check with your bank and your credit card company to see what type of fees that are adding to your exchange. Very recently I rec'd a letter from my credit card company that they are going to start adding a 2% fee to exchange rates...my ATM is still fee free, but I know some banks have recently changed that policy.

If your trying to avoid the fees then getting local currency via an ATM might be your best route. But credit cards just for the shear convenience would be my choice. A little cash in local currency and everything else on CC. 2% of $1000 would be a $20....might be well worth the convience.
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Old 06-19-2009, 12:57 PM
 
Location: DC
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I always go with a credit card and ATMs (aside from a little emergency cash). When we went to Italy my friend brought only cash and ended up losing at least 25% of her money in exchange fees.
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Old 06-19-2009, 01:37 PM
 
14,253 posts, read 23,969,886 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by latetotheparty View Post
i will be spending a week in B.C. in early july...... i will be taking some cash (American Dollars) and my Visa debit card. The friend that I am visiting says it is no problem to exchange American dollars for Canadian where she is..... but i am wondering...... would it be better to take more cash and less on the debit card?? or more on the debit card and less cash??
Personally, I would take currency if travelling to BC. Try to take bills no larger than $50s as the RCMP is always warning the banks about counterfeit $100 bills. I would suggest that you always use a bank for better rates. If you need a $20 cashed, McDonald's also generally has a good rate is you use US currency for a purchase.

The problem with credit cards is that MOST issuers, especially B of A, charge a 2-3% foreign currency fee, which really adds up. Some cards, like Capital One, charge no fees.

If you are driving, make sure that you leave no valuables visible in the car. We were in Tofino, BC recently and saw a half dozen vehicles with broken out windows.
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Old 06-20-2009, 01:12 PM
 
Location: St. Louis, Missouri
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yeah ... i talked with boa yesterday and they said they have a reciprocity agreement with scotiabank in canada..... but that there will still be a 1% surcharge/fee from visa and 3% from them.....

i think i will take some cash, and just use the atm's at scotia banks when i need to replenish.......

and you mention mcdonalds .... do you mean the fast food / golden arches mcdonalds??
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Old 06-20-2009, 03:55 PM
 
14,253 posts, read 23,969,886 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by latetotheparty View Post
yeah ... i talked with boa yesterday and they said they have a reciprocity agreement with scotiabank in canada..... but that there will still be a 1% surcharge/fee from visa and 3% from them.....

i think i will take some cash, and just use the atm's at scotia banks when i need to replenish.......

and you mention mcdonalds .... do you mean the fast food / golden arches mcdonalds??
Yes, that one. When you are really need a little Canadian currency before the banks open, McDonald's will cash a $20.

Make sure that you see which Canadian banks accept your ATM card. Cirrus is popular in the US and less so in Canada.
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Old 06-21-2009, 02:10 AM
 
Location: Bike to Surf!
3,080 posts, read 9,937,572 times
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ATM withdrawl in local currency, hands down. 1% VISA fee on top of bank exchange rates (within a few 0.1%'s of those published by Yahoo currency converter)

Best rate on the market. Beats traveller's cheques, hard currency exchange, and for sure credit cards every time.

of 150 cities in 30 countries can't be wrong...

Open an account with a local bank. In my experience, the large banks like BOA and (former) WaMu charge exorbitant fees on foreign ATM withdrawls. Local banks usually use big ATM networks like PLUS which you can easily find even in outer Mongolia (literally, I've been there) and don't piggyback their own fees because locals don't tend to travel so it's not worth it for them to tack on fees.

Check first, of course. Don't worry if the teller looks (or tele-teller sounds) confused, just be patient and they'll make some calls and find out for you if there's a fee. Keep looking until you find a bank without one.

Credit Cards are the worst. They use horrible exchange rates 5-10% worse than the going cash exchange rate, plus sometimes an extra fee on top of that, plus the 1% VISA fee (something you can't escape)

Have fun!
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