Using Other Currencies in Canada

If you are visiting Canada and you are from another country, then you want to make sure you have the right currency or where you can go to make the switch if yours is not accepted. Additionally, there are any foreign currency exchange and rules in Canada that you want to make sure you’re following.

Since there is a law in place in Canada about using foreign currencies throughout the country; this is something that you want to keep in mind before traveling to the country. If you are looking to travel, then you want to make sure you’re set to go with the right currency to pay for the trip and all you are going to do while there.

Travelers coming into Canada are able to exchange their currency before or after they arrive; there is no right or wrong way to do this. It is important to note that if you are choosing to transfer over $10,000 then you need to declare it at customs while you are entering into the country.

The Foreign Currency Exchange Law

There is a law that states whether or not you can use foreign currency inside the country when buying or selling goods. This law allows the movement of these funds to and from the country, regardless of where the currency is from.

Businesses are able to transact with foreign currencies and make or receive payments while using them within the country.

Exchanging Your Currency in Canada

When you go to exchange your foreign currency, you want to make sure you’re going to the right place to do so. You will get a set price depending on the market conditions when exchanging the currency. Where the currency is coming from is also going to make a difference on the rate that you end up getting.

You can check the conversion rates using online bank converter programs and tools. This way, you know what to expect when exchanging your specific currency to Canadian currency.

There are a few places you’re able to exchange your currency at depending on what is accessible and easiest for you to use to your advantage.

Foreign Currency Desks

These are specialized desks that can be found in airports or hotels. They are there for those who are not from the country but want to exchange their money for the local currency. These have higher fees that other options though, so it is important to only use them when you are faced with an emergency where CAD is required.

Banks or Other Financial Institutions

These are one of the best places to exchange your currency to CAD. They have the most reasonable fees that you can use to your advantage. You can directly bring or send your foreign currency funds here and they will automatically convert it to Canadian dollars.

You can also purchase foreign currencies from these institutions. You can use the internet or a phone to do the transaction and then have it delivered right to an account of your choice. The switch is easy for anyone to do.

The Black Market

Yes, this is a thing. It is also illegal and if you notice that you can do this, or if it does not seem right then choose to stay away from it. Having an idea of this and knowing it is there can help you reduce the chances of being robbed with fees and other issues, but also fraud, scams, and ways you can lose your money.

Research and know you’re using a reputable source to exchange your currency in. You want to make sure you are working with the right place, but one that does not cause you to lose your money when trying to exchange it.

There are Also Restricted Currencies in Canada

There are currencies that are not allowed to be used throughout Canada. Having an idea of what they are can help you stay away from using them while you’re in the country. This happens depending on the economy and political factors. The list changes from time to time, so it is important to keep up on the new currencies that are not allowed throughout the country.

Some of the blocked currencies include, but are not limited to:

  • North Korean
  • The Rupee, etc. 

It is important to think about the lists that are accepted and not accepted throughout Canada before heading out. Exchanging your currency prior to visiting is the best way to ensure that you have the right currency to use while you’re in the country. Currency is important and if you want to stay somewhere, eat something, or do something then having the right currency is going to make a huge difference. Make sure to look into the specifics before heading out, as you want to make sure you’re choosing the best method to exchange it before or after your trip to Canada.

Frequently Asked Questions About Using Other Currencies in Canada

Do I need to bank with the financial institution that I am using to exchange currency with?

You do not have to have an account with the financial institution or bank to exchange your currency to the CAD that you need, or from whatever currency you are currently using. It is easier if you have an account with them though, because they can transfer the money you have in there to the money that you need to use in another country.

Can I exchange my CAD for another foreign currency in the same places and in the same manner?

You are able to exchange your CAD currency into any currencies that you need to depending on where you’re going through the same types of places. It is recommended that you do this before you head out on your trip at a bank or other financial institution of your choice.

It is important to know the currency you need, and then speak with the bank more about what to expect when exchanging and using it.

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Smarter Loans Staff

The Smarter Loans Staff is made up of writers, researchers, journalists, business leaders and industry experts who carefully research, analyze and produce Canada's highest quality content when it comes to money matters, on behalf of Smarter Loans. While we cannot possibly name every person involved in the process, we collectively credit them as Smarter Loans Writing Staff. Our work has been featured in the Toronto Star, National Post and many other publications. Today, Smarter Loans is recognized in Canada as the go-to destination for financial education, and was named the "GPS of Fintech Lending" by the Toronto Star in 2019.