Best place to exchange American & Canadian money?

Kestas

Staff member
Messages
13,863
Location
The Motor City
The published rate is $130 Canadian to $100 American. Anywhere I go I get $117 Canadian for my $100. I think that's a big hit. Where can I get the best rate?
 
Messages
1,224
Location
Houston, TX
I am guessing that you are stuck with a lot of cash? When I travel, I try to stick to credit cards. Otherwise, I use an ATM to withdraw local money and try to use it up. If I end up with too much, I deposit to my credit union. Are any of those options?
 
Messages
2,406
Location
Chicago IL USA
I have had the best luck using local ATMs to get the best exchange rate. If you're in Detroit, head to the Ambassador bridge, fill up with non-taxed fuel on your way over, have dinner at the casino and hit up a no-fee ATM before returning.
 
Messages
9,594
Location
Ontario, Canada
Maybe check what your CC does for exchange? Pretty much every place a tourist would go accepts plastic with the exception of small road side food, fruit and veggie stands.
 

JHZR2

Staff member
Messages
45,266
Location
New Jersey
I heard atms give the actual rate, while the bank's profit is instead built into the terminal fee. I had good luck at a casino once.
 
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11,506
Location
Illinois
Some ATMs do. Also, some credit cards offer the official rate with no mark up. We had a Capital One card that did that for our trip to Italy 5 years ago. Each transaction was posted and converted at that day's rate with no mark up. Don't know if that is still the case, but I'm sure there is a website on the order of "bob is the travel credit card guy" out there somewhere.
 
Messages
1,850
Location
British Columbia, Canada
The best plan is to avoid changing back and forth to the greatest extent possible. I generally keep any US$ left over after a trip for future trips. Likely $20 or so. I also pull any US coins out of change and keep them for future trips. It probably amounts to 1 or 2 dollars a year. I have a US$ investment fund where US$ investments and US$ dividends stay in US$. When we travel in the US we pay for whatever we can with a credit card and withdraw only small amounts of US$ cash from a banking machine. It would probably be a good idea for a Canadian who does business in the US or who travels in the US a lot to have a US$ bank account and a US$ credit card. I've never looked into it.
 
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3,002
Location
Cincinnati
Originally Posted By: scurvy
I have had the best luck using local ATMs to get the best exchange rate. If you're in Detroit, head to the Ambassador bridge, fill up with non-taxed fuel on your way over, have dinner at the casino and hit up a no-fee ATM before returning.
Exactly what I used to do. Always made it from Cincy to the gas pumps here on one tank and refilled cheaply.
 

JC1

Messages
5,509
Location
Oshawa, Ontario Canada
Are you coming to Canada? Try a bank on the Canadian side. You'll probably get the most for your us dollars. TD is open Saturdays and late Fridays. But they will be closed on Saturday july 1, that's a Canadian holiday.
 
Messages
6,156
Location
Buffalo, NY
If you want USD back, since you're on the border try a local casino or mall that caters to Canadian shoppers, they'll usually exchange at rate with little or no fees... Yeah, checking Detroit, you should be able to get a free exchange at one of the casinos wherever the "cage" is for winner cashout...
 

Kestas

Staff member
Thread starter
Messages
13,863
Location
The Motor City
I'm basically looking for spending cash when I go to Canada. Plus, there were a few times I've gone to Canada to buy antiques where I can only use cash. A Canadian colleague of mine suggested using the Windsor train station, which gave the best rate according to him. I'll also have to give the ATMs a try.
 

Kestas

Staff member
Thread starter
Messages
13,863
Location
The Motor City
I found myself in Sarnia yesterday. Using the ATM, I got $127 CAN for $100 US. This is an excellent rate. This'll be the way to go. You can't beat the convenience. I went to Via Rail, but everything seemed closed in the Sarnia station.
 
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