Question currency in Canada: best options?

Discussion in 'Canada' started by Lady Penelope, Oct 3, 2017.

  1. Lady Penelope

    Lady Penelope Dedicated Member
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    i am now in the final throes of planning our trip and wondering about the best options for converting Aussie dollars to CAD and carrying this. I have a Qantas card but their currency conversion rates are terrible. I also have a Citibank plus transaction savings debit Visa card but seem to recall that some forum members reported problems using this in Canada (@Born2ski??). I was hoping to use the latter and take some cash. Anyone have any recent experience using the Citibank card, and are there only limited ATMs that will accept it?
     
  2. Nozawaman

    Nozawaman Addicted Member
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    I had no problems with Citibank in Whistler, or Alaska and Seattle .
     
  3. Born2ski

    Born2ski Part of the Furniture

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    No real problems with the Citibank card, the only issue I found was very limited Citibank ATMs in Canada which meant paying a small fee (about $3) when withdrawing cash from other ATMs. But most of the time I just use the card for purchases so rarely need to withdraw cash.
     
  4. Budgiesmuggler

    Budgiesmuggler Addicted Member
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    Likewise no issues with Citi in Canada
     
  5. gareth_oau

    gareth_oau Old And Crusty
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    I put the vast majority of soend on my amex card. Probably cost me about $300 in fees and exchange rates but its very convenient and earns me points towards my next holiday
     
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  6. Lady Penelope

    Lady Penelope Dedicated Member
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    Ok, thanks. Seems like I can go ahead and load up the Citibank card with $$$!
     
  7. person s

    person s Old And Crusty
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    only problem with Citibank is if you have to deal with them over any issue - they’re completely bureaucratic and stupid
    could be worse ie HSBC
     
  8. sly_karma

    sly_karma Part of the Furniture
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    Gawd I have no clue where you'd find a citibank ATM in Canada, let alone a store front branch.
     
  9. Budgiesmuggler

    Budgiesmuggler Addicted Member
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    I think we pulled some cash at the airport and then used it as a credit card wherever we could

    Plus some ATMs do not charge a fee
     
  10. Crystal

    Crystal Sand skier extraordinaire
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    We usually take some cash and same as gareth...use the Amex where possible
     
  11. shabu_shabu

    shabu_shabu Active Member

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    Is Amex better than a Visa/Mastercard from one of the majors in terms of fees and exchange rates?
     
  12. Budgiesmuggler

    Budgiesmuggler Addicted Member
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    The Citi card is the best - no foreign exchange fees. It's a particular card you need to get I can't remember the name now.
     
  13. gareth_oau

    gareth_oau Old And Crusty
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    I haven’t compared that closely.

    Now that I’m not earning as much as I used to I will definitely take a closer look next time LOL
     
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  14. FatBoyDave

    FatBoyDave Dedicated Member
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    Get some CAD at Auspost before I go and ccard for the rest.

    Just remember to factor in added federal tax and state tax to every purchase...
    Makes that initial cheap item not so cheap....
     
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  15. Ralph_Plow

    Ralph_Plow Dedicated Member

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    Citibank works, and is ok for cash withdrawal, but 28 degrees mastercard is still the best for purchases IMO.
     
  16. Crystal

    Crystal Sand skier extraordinaire
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    I have heard that the 28 degrees is the better card for rates and fees. For Us our Amex gives us a better rate on the day and lower fees than our VISA so have always gone that route. To be honest I don't look that carefully.
     
  17. sly_karma

    sly_karma Part of the Furniture
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    Lots of places don't take Amex in BC, it's definitely the third brand of credit cards.
     
  18. Crystal

    Crystal Sand skier extraordinaire
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    yeah have found that, cash and VISA is the back up
     
  19. Marty_McSly

    Marty_McSly Addicted Member
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    Don't bring any cash back to convert back to A$. You will be raped on exchange rates coming and going. The day I bought cash last year, the rate was 0.89 to buy CAD and 1.12 to sell them back for A$.

    Just take the bare minimum cash if you feel the need to take any at all.
     
  20. Marty_McSly

    Marty_McSly Addicted Member
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    I had no problems with this account and card in Sun Peaks and Whistler in January, February and March this year. I didn't use any ATMs however, or hire a car. I think it was @Ralph_Plough who flagged an issue with using a debit card rather than a credit card for car hire.

    You will have to sign for every swipe/chip EFTPOS transaction. PIN codes aren't used with foreign cards. Tap to pay is not widespread in Canada but works well where it is available.
     
  21. Ralph_Plow

    Ralph_Plow Dedicated Member

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    Yeah, hiring a car out of Kamloops airport was not possible with a debit card, but apparently some car hire places will let you, if that is a concern.

    My advice is make sure you have at least a few sources, in case one buggers up. For me it is Citibank (Cash and EFT), 28 degrees (credit purchases), and daylight to CBA Visa (the back up of the back up).
     
  22. Marty_McSly

    Marty_McSly Addicted Member
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    Same here, except my last resort was a prepaid multi-currency card. Its exchange rates are more or less in the middle between the Visa rate and the cash kiosk rate. I probably wouldn't go out of my way to get one, but at the time I had one that had some GBP and Euros left over from my daughter's year in Europe.
     
  23. gareth_oau

    gareth_oau Old And Crusty
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    Any cash that comes back to Oz gets put in a kitty ready for the next holiday
     
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  24. Legs Akimbo

    Legs Akimbo Part of the Furniture
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    It used to be the case that Am Ex currency exchanges would convert cash back to AUD without fees. I don't know if they still do.
     
  25. robbo mcs

    robbo mcs Dedicated Member
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    and never keep all your backups in the same physical place ;)

    I take minimal cash, maybe $300 just in case and just use the cards (amex and visa) for everything else. The fees vary from card to card, exchange rates, transaction fees, withdrawal fees etc. I crunched the sums a few years ago, and cards were actually cheaper than cash for me.

    Notify the bank that you will be using the card OS, as that will minimise the risk of the bank putting a block on them. You can generally do that online these days

    If you ever do use an ATM then use one that is associated with a physical bank branch, rather than just a random one in a wall somewhere. That way in the unlikely event the machine swallows your card, at least you have some chance of getting it back
     
  26. vibe++

    vibe++ Dedicated Member
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    We used the Qantas card. whenever the exchange rate went up we loaded the card with more money in any currency before we went away..
     
  27. Lady Penelope

    Lady Penelope Dedicated Member
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    Yes! I've had some wonderful dealings with Citibank over the phone.....
     
  28. Lady Penelope

    Lady Penelope Dedicated Member
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    Thanks everyone - some great advice. I don't have an Amex card and have never sought one, despite my bank (Which bank?) frequently offering me one. That same bank hits me up big time for currency conversion fees anytime I purchase things overseas with my Visa credit card So I think the Citibank card plus a combination of cash and a small amount for emergencies on the Qantas card may be the way to go, although I may look into the 28 degrees one too (another card in my purse ...... ugh).
     
  29. Legs Akimbo

    Legs Akimbo Part of the Furniture
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    28 Degrees seem very relaxed. I have one sitting in my drawer with around $50 credit. I haven't used it for 3 or so years (long story) but they are happy to let it sit there doing nothing. I only use it travelling.
     
  30. Astro66

    Astro66 Still looking for a park in Thredbo
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    Last time I was in BC for 4 weeks, I took $100 CAD cash with me. I brought $80 of it back. 28 degrees MasterCard for everything. Had 2 VISAs as backup. Never needed them.

    I've still got $40 of it left. I won't be getting any other cash for this trip.
     
  31. Lady Penelope

    Lady Penelope Dedicated Member
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    Wow! Canada sounds a bit like Australia in the trend towards cashless transactions, then.
     
  32. Astro66

    Astro66 Still looking for a park in Thredbo
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    Paywave not as popular. So sign or pin number required regularly. But accepted at nearly all places you'll need to visit.

    That said. I stopped carrying cash 3 years ago. And I'm used to only buying from card only venues.
     
  33. Lady Penelope

    Lady Penelope Dedicated Member
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    Sounds very attractive - may have to consider this.
     
  34. sly_karma

    sly_karma Part of the Furniture
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    Paywave is still in the uptake stage in Canada because the merchants are charged so much for their point of sale hardware. They went through the switch to wireless POS handsets and after that the providers came out with new tap-enabled handsets. Most merchants said screw it, we just paid for a new one. And the credit card companies have restricted tap transactions to a $100 limit, doesn't work for all merchants.
     
  35. northsail

    northsail Dedicated Member

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    28 degrees MasterCard + cash for us.
    Love to flash those loonies and toonies!