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Old 08-04-2015, 01:15 PM   #1
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Canadian vs American Dollars

Going on a trip to Niagara Falls in a few weeks and plan on visiting area towns such as Niagara on the Lake etc. My question is do I need to obtain Canadian currency for the trip or will they accept american dollars and the good old Mastercard.

Thanks in advance for your input.
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Old 08-04-2015, 01:33 PM   #2
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some places accept american but you would most likely take a hit on the exchange.
id get it changed at the bank you deal with first for at least some of it and use CCard for larger things.

we are heading to the cellar dollar wise again - worst in almost 7 yrs for exchange rate...

enjoy your trip to a beautiful area and stay safe.
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Old 08-04-2015, 01:36 PM   #3
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We spent this past June in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. We changed some US dollars into Canadian dollars at a bank, but we mostly got the Canadian dollars as we needed from ATM's. There are plenty of them. Check your debit card company to verify the fees. Ours actually waived the ATM fees.


We had no problem using our VISA cards anywhere. Our debit cards and credit cards did charge a foreign transaction fee. It was about 1% on most charges, but was sometimes 2%.


I'd suggest calling your credit card company(s) to tell them your travel plans. Ours has automatic monitoring and would deny charges outside our normal travel area. I set it up with them to allow charges in Canada the time we would be there. After that, the automatic monitoring would again deny charges.


Also, check the web sites for the provinces you will be traveling through. Their minimum vehicle liability limits may be higher than your state requires. It only cost us about $40 to increase our limits for the remainder of our insurance period, and I returned it to the previous limits when it came due again (actually right now).
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Old 08-04-2015, 01:40 PM   #4
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In the Niagara Area, all the Merchants will have Cash Drawers FULL of BOTH Currencies. In fact, given the absolute Tourist Driven Local Economy and the Popularity with Overseas Tourists, some probably also have Yen and Yuan and Euros and...

The real Issues are:
1) Banks charge Fees (on top of the Exchange Rate) for their Currency Exchange Services - even if those services are "Internal" rather than Overt (ATM dispensing Local Currency when Account is in Foreign Currency). Research the Fees that are Charged by each of your Banks and Credit Cards. Know what those Fees do to the Effective Rate, so that you can decide when Cash vs Credit is advantageous to You.
2) Will each Merchant give you a "Decent" Exchange Rate?? The Official Exchange Rate is ONLY Applicable to Banks and their Credit/Debit Cards and Travelers Checks. All the Retail Shops and Restaurants will apply "Their Own Rate", quite often less advantageous to the Customer (not because they are BAD but rather because they have to then deal with the Bank Fees, too - see #1).
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Old 08-04-2015, 02:12 PM   #5
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Many places in Canada would take US dollars "at par", meaning they kept the difference between the value of the US dollar and the Canadian dollar. This was not necessarily fleecing you, since they would have to take the US dollars to their bank and would loose cost of the bank's transaction fee. The exchange rate varies daily, so that's also a consideration for them.
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Old 08-04-2015, 02:14 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RamblerGuy View Post
Many places in Canada would take US dollars "at par"...
Don't expect, and DON'T ALLOW, that to happen any more... The Exchange Rates are far too Lopsided...
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Old 08-05-2015, 01:09 PM   #7
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Exchange your currency at a bank or at the border. I am Canadian and visit the Niagra region often. I have witnessed first hand how the exchange rate at retail locations is manipulated to the retailers advantage. Being a tourist town Niagara is famous for ripping tourists off. I went there one time with a couple from England and when the waitress at the restraunt heard the accent charged us for 55 coffee instead of 5. $50.00 was I assume going to her pocket. Check your receipts carefully and look for "cash back" on your receipts as well. Some cashiers will add cash back to your debit or credit charge and pocket the money. Also fill up with gas before crossing the border. Today gas in port Huron Mi is 66 cents a liter and across the bridge here in Sarnia Ont it is $1.15 a liter. One U.S. Gal is equivalent to 3.8 litres. Welcome to Canada EH!
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Old 08-05-2015, 01:30 PM   #8
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We always use our Citibank Visa card when traveling out of the country. They don't charge a foreign service fee.
Check with your credit card company before leaving.
Have a safe fun trip.
BTW, Niagara on the Lake is a wonderful little town. Eat outside and enjoy the locals.
We don't visit Niagara Falls on the Canadian side. A pure tourist trap. If you really want the excitement of the falls go over to the American side and take their tram over to the island. You can walk down right up to the water and touch it. Quite exciting.
Have fun.
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Old 08-05-2015, 02:15 PM   #9
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We just got back on 7/28 from our trip to the falls on the Canadian side. Having some Canadian cash is helpful, especially when dealing with small items. Everything else already said is good advice. We have a card issued from a NY bank which doesn't get hit with the Foreign Exchange Fee. But, we had to let them know we were in Ontario before we left. Crossing at the Peace Bridge was a peice of cake. $6 American to get into Canada.
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Old 08-05-2015, 03:30 PM   #10
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Another word of advice - from a Canuck. Stores here will treat your US coins as CDN coins. We don't do exchange rates on those. Only paper. I travel a lot between both countries on business, and I find it best to use your VISA, MC or AMEX. You will get close to the best rate of the day, each day. Keep in mind you will lose at retail when you use US cash in CDA and again when you use CDN cash back in the US. Bring about $20 CDN cash so you can buy your Tim Hortons (our famous coffee house for those unaware), but you really don't need much cash. We CDNs LOVE to use our debit cards, even for small purchases. I don't know of a CDN retailer that doesnt take Debit or Credit. Also know your PIN numbers for your credit cards. we use the CHIP technology for almost all credit card transactions - so your card always stays with you. It really never leaves your hands.
Enjoy your visit to our fine country!
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