Can I Use American Money In Canada?
If you plan to visit Canada from another country, your first question and worry might be, “can I use American money in Canada?”
Although Canada and the United States have a very close and long relationship in trading, the two countries have different borders, governments, and currencies. So, does Canada take US money? The two answers to your question are no and yes. No is the short answer, while the yes one has an explanation.
Read on for more precise insights on this.
Why the Short Answer Is No
The Canadian dollar is the official currency of the country according to the Canadian Currency Act. All accounts in the country and those started in the country should have their money in Canadian dollars. American cash is not accepted.
Also, since Canada is a developed country, the US dollar is not very highly valued like in developing countries.
Unlike in developing countries, Canadian enterprises will pay more to exchange the money into the Canadian dollar hence incurring losses. Therefore, when a business in Canada accepts your US dollar, they are doing you a favour.
It is also important to note that most businesses that accept the US dollar in Canada have their set exchange rates. The rates might be higher than you thought. Therefore, converting your US dollar will bring in more money.
Public transit machines and parking meters that only take coins will not accept US money. Therefore, if you are going to Canada, it is advisable to change your currency to the Canadian dollar. Consider banks that have low conversion fees and take advantage.
Why the Answer Could Be Yes
Although the Canadian Currency Act does not allow the use of other currencies, there are some exceptions. The act permits private transactions in other currencies as long as both parties accept it. This means that you can still use the American dollar.
Also, other places like gift shops, restaurants, and hotels accept US dollars. Also, large corporate deals are done in both US and Canadian dollars. However, be aware of the exchange rates in these places because some might be unfavourable.
Tips about Money When Traveling To Canada
Before leaving for the country, it is essential to research Canada and its currency, what they accept and what they don’t. Ensure you have travel insurance and different sources of funds to be safe.
Before leaving, check with the Canadian embassy in your county to know everything concerning cash. Ensure you keep your money in different and safe places for security.
If you are planning to spend a significant amount on the trip, carry a credit card. It is essential to use a credit card only when needed. Also, get the best exchange rates for international transactions even when using credit cards.
Check if your bank has international branches in Canada. This will allow you to use your debit card freely. You can look for the bank’s ATM in Canada to get the cash in Canadian dollars and avoid inconveniences.
Where to Exchange Foreign Currency into Canadian Dollars
Currency exchange kiosks offer foreign currency exchange services. These kiosks are available at airports, shopping malls, and banks.
Also, if you go to Canada with the American dollar, you can exchange the currency at the Royal Bank of Canada, Bank of Nova Scotia, and others that offer exchange services.
You can also do the exchange at the ATMs available in malls, near banks, and in stores and bars. The ATM allows you to withdraw money and get Canadian currency, but a conversion rate applies.
Research the conversion rate of your bank before you leave for Canada. Also, consider ATM networks that charge less or no exchange fee for visitors. The banks charge the best exchange rates because they use the current currency rate without extra costs.
What to Know When Using US Credit Cards in Canada
Credit cards are a safe way to carry money and provide convenience when you anticipate spending a lot. They also have favourable exchange rates. Besides, you can also withdraw cash from your credit cards in ATMs and get Canadian dollars.
Canadian businesses honour some similar credit cards as in the US. The most common ones for these are Visa and MasterCard. You can also use American Express in hotels and restaurants.
You Can Cash a Cheque in US Dollars in Canada
Banks and cheque-cashing stores allow you to cash cheques made in US dollars while in Canada. However, some factors like hold periods, fees, and exchange rates still apply. These rates are different from those of Canadian dollar transactions.
You can deposit the cheque in person or through the ATM. It depends on the Canadian bank’s terms. Other banks require you to speak to a representative to cash a US dollar cheque.
Doing the transactions in person is an advantage because you can ask questions about the exchange rates on the transaction.
Hold Periods for US Dollar Cheques
Banks have a holding period for cheques, and the period can be longer with US dollar cheques cashed in Canada. Some banks can hold the cheque for up to 10 business days, whereas a Canadian dollar business cheque takes about five business days to mature.
So, Can You Use US Dollars In Canada?
Big hotels, restaurants, and malls will accept US dollars because they can access a bank to exchange the currency. However, if you are going to any smaller or more rural destinations in Canada, you will need to carry a Canadian dollar.
Although some small retailers might take the US dollar, they include their rates which will not be favourable to you.
Avoid These Places When Exchanging Currencies
The airport is the first place you arrive when you go to a new country. The airport exchange shops know that most visitors don’t know areas around the country, and you will desperately need a bus or a taxi to move around.
The vendors take advantage of the visitor’s naivety and offer very high exchange rates, making big profits. Get Canadian currency in your bank before going to Canada. You can also exchange at an ATM or a bank in the country.
Again, your next stop in the country could be at the market of a popular tourist area. Currency exchange shops are situated near these places because they know you will need Canadian currency if you don’t have one.
These shops have very high exchange rates because they know the tourists have little or no knowledge about exchange rates. Again, look for an ATM or a bank near you for better exchange deals.
Canada and the US are close but very different countries. Canada has an independent Canadian dollar and not the US dollar. However, your question, “can I use American money in Canada,” has a yes and no answer. It depends on your needs.