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Old 06-04-2019, 08:37 AM   #1
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Canadian currency question

We are looking forward to towing our Escape to Vancouver Island next week for about a week's stay. Would we be wise to bring Canadian currency with us? Seems like I should know this ..
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Old 06-04-2019, 08:59 AM   #2
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You can either bring it or get it from an ATM there. Just like us going to the US.
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Old 06-04-2019, 09:01 AM   #3
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When I recently crossed a fairly remote border check point and drove to Salmo BC where I stopped at 8 PM for a pizza at the local SubWay they said they don't take US money. Had to use my credit card. First chance I got I went to a credit union in Osoyoos and exchanged $200 US for CAD. The exchange rate being excellent, they gave me around $259 CAD.
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Old 06-04-2019, 02:50 PM   #4
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It's really just a summary of what others have already posted, but my view is:
  • most purchases don't need cash, since you can use credit or debit
  • for when cash is needed... many tourist-oriented businesses in Canada take U.S. currency, but
    • they don't need to and should not be expected to, and
    • they will probably give a lousy exchange rate
  • bank machines dispense the local currency (at a reasonable exchange rate determined by your bank) and usually take your bank card
When I go to the U.S. or Mexico, I only take a bit of their currency to handle whatever may come up before I get to bank machine. Many years ago that was a potential taxi ride, but I can't remember how many decades it has been since I've used cash for a taxi in Canada.
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Old 06-04-2019, 03:08 PM   #5
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My experience is Canadians don't want our money any more than we want theirs. I came home with $96+change, CAD, in my pocket. Went to my bank in town to exchange for greenbacks. Got around $70+change US, back. They exchanged all the paper but would not take a single Loonie.
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Old 06-04-2019, 03:42 PM   #6
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I keep the Canadian money I end up with after a Canadian Trip in an envelope with my passport. I have some Canadian cash with me when I’m in Canada. I will be in Canada three times this year so it’s convenient that way. I like to leave a waiter or waitress a cash tip rather than on my credit card slip. Probably just me. But it works. I used a Canadian nickel in Panera’s a while back. The clerk said “ oh wow, this nickel has a beaver on it”. I said “It’s part of the new wildlife series of coins.” And showed her the back of a quarter.
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Old 06-04-2019, 04:20 PM   #7
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Felt really dumb incurring Foreign Exchange fees from Chase using my debit card outside the U.S. My Chase Explorer credit card touts "No Foreign Exchange fees ". Not so with the debit card with the Visa logo. Had to fight to get about half of it back. Using a foreign ATM was another garbage fee. Had forgotten that My USAA card doesn't charge for either ATM or exchange fees. So check the fine print in your cardholder agreement!
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Old 06-04-2019, 04:40 PM   #8
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We got our CAD money thru our bank, ordered how much we wanted and got it the next day didn’t cost us any fees
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Old 06-04-2019, 07:50 PM   #9
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Ross, we use USAA Visa also for the same reasons. DW just returned from a trip to Vietnam and incurred no fees during her visit.
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Old 06-05-2019, 11:00 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iowa Dave View Post
I keep the Canadian money I end up with after a Canadian Trip in an envelope with my passport. I have some Canadian cash with me when I’m in Canada. I will be in Canada three times this year so it’s convenient that way. I like to leave a waiter or waitress a cash tip rather than on my credit card slip. Probably just me. But it works. I used a Canadian nickel in Panera’s a while back. The clerk said “ oh wow, this nickel has a beaver on it”. I said “It’s part of the new wildlife series of coins.” And showed her the back of a quarter.
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I do much the same - stuff the Canadian money in a freezer bag. Putting it with your passport is a great idea. I keep forgetting the freezer bag - the last time I remembered it I got funny looks when I handed someone a paper instead of plastic $10.00 bill...
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Old 06-05-2019, 02:40 PM   #11
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And, so very colorful.
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Old 06-05-2019, 03:13 PM   #12
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And, so very colorful.
Yes Myron, and unlike yours which most Canadians like us have to look at the corner of the bill to see the denomination since we don't generally know the presidents, we can just check the colour of ours and nothing more.
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Old 06-05-2019, 04:55 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emers382 View Post
Yes Myron, and unlike yours which most Canadians like us have to look at the corner of the bill to see the denomination since we don't generally know the presidents, we can just check the colour of ours and nothing more.
Hey Adrian,
I never look for a president’s face on a bill, I just look for Ben Franklin and then I know I can get a couple cases of beer and a piece of red meat for dinner at the store. Hope you have fun in the Black Hills. Stay out of the gunfight in the street in Deadwood and the Casinos.
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Old 06-05-2019, 05:55 PM   #14
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Thoughts on foreign exchange:

1) Get a credit card that does not charge a foreign exchange fee (typically 2.5%) - I like CHASE. VISA and MC offers very good exchange rates on credit purchases, once you do not have to pay this extra fee.

2) Canadian businesses are reluctant to accept US currency as they do not typically have the ability to fish-out counterfeit notes.

3) You take cash out at a Canadian ATM, the exchange rate is actually set by your US financial institution, not the Canadian bank. That rate varies a lot. All the Canadian bank wants to see is that if it dispenses $100 CND, it receives a credit of $100 from the US bank, plus any “fee” charged for the service. Canadian banks are far more likely to provide a reasonable exchange rate for US cash brought in for exchange, as they are accustomed to foreign exchange transactions.

I typically have less than $100 cash in my wallet and that will last me for weeks. Tap and go payments are so prevalent here, I don’t need to carry cash. Or cheques.
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Old 06-05-2019, 06:46 PM   #15
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2) Canadian businesses are reluctant to accept US currency as they do not typically have the ability to fish-out counterfeit notes.
... and they would need to keep track of the exchange rate, and they would need to keep it separate (some businesses used to have two cash trays stacked in the register's drawer, or even two complete drawers), and they would pay for conversion...

Quote:
Originally Posted by suncoastdancers View Post
Tap and go payments are so prevalent here, I don’t need to carry cash. Or cheques.
Good point. Cheque (or "check") use seems much more common in the U.S., and that has been true for many years. I wouldn't count on any store taking a cheque.
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