where is the best place to exchange currency in Canada

best place to exchange currency
In Canada, you can exchange currency at banks, credit unions, currency exchange services, or at international airports. Banks and credit unions usually offer competitive exchange rates, especially for account holders. Currency exchange services such as Continental Currency Exchange and Knightsbridge Foreign Exchange are also popular options for exchanging currency. It’s always a good idea to compare rates and fees at different places before making your exchange to get the best deal.

Where to Exchange Currency in Canada: Getting the Best Rates and Avoiding Hidden Fees

Exchanging currency can be a daunting task, especially when visiting a new country like Canada. Understanding your options and knowing where to find the best rates can save you significant money on your trip. This comprehensive guide will explore all the places you can exchange currency in Canada, compare their exchange rates and fees, and offer tips to help you get the most out of your exchange.

Understanding Exchange Rates and Fees

Understanding Exchange Rates and Fees

Before diving into specific locations, let’s clarify some key terms:

Exchange Rate: This is the rate at which one currency is converted into another. For instance, a rate of 1.25 CAD per USD means you receive 1.25 Canadian dollars for every 1 US dollar you exchange. 

Markup: This is the difference between the wholesale exchange rate (the rate banks trade currencies among themselves) and the rate offered to customers. Some institutions may add a markup to their exchange rates, resulting in a less favourable rate for you. 

Commission Fee: This is a flat fee charged on top of the exchange rate for exchanging your currency.

Knowing these terms empowers you to compare exchange rates and fees accurately.

Where to Exchange Currency in Canada

Here’s a breakdown of the various places you can exchange currency in Canada:

1. Banks and Credit Unions 

  • Pros: Banks and credit unions generally offer competitive exchange rates, especially for account holders who may benefit from waived fees or preferential rates. They also provide a secure and familiar environment for transactions. 
  • Cons: Bank hours can be inconvenient for travellers, and wait times can be long. Some banks may impose minimum exchange amounts or additional service fees. 

Tips: If you already bank with a Canadian institution, consider exchanging your currency before your trip or upon arrival. Check their website or call beforehand to confirm exchange rates and applicable fees.

2. Currency Exchange Services 

  • Pros: These specialized businesses offer convenient locations and often have extended hours compared to banks. They typically handle a wider variety of currencies than banks. 
  • Cons: Exchange rates at currency exchange services vary significantly, so comparing rates is crucial. Some may charge commission fees on top of the markup applied to the exchange rate. 

Tips: Research reputable currency exchange services in your area. Look for companies with transparent pricing structures that display their exchange rates and fees prominently. 

Popular Currency Exchange Services in Canada:

  • Meta Exchange
  • Continental Currency Exchange 
  • Knightsbridge Foreign Exchange 
  • American Express Currency Exchange 

These are just a few examples, and many other currency exchange services operate across Canada.

3. International Airports 

  • Pros: Airport currency exchange counters offer the ultimate convenience, especially upon arrival. They are typically open 24/7 to accommodate travellers. 
  • Cons: Convenience comes at a cost. Airport exchange rates are often the least favourable, with significant markups and potential commission fees. Avoid exchanging large amounts at airports unless necessary. 

Tips: If you need a small amount of Canadian currency upon arrival for immediate needs like taxi fare, airport exchange counters might suffice. However, plan to exchange the bulk of your currency elsewhere for a better deal. 

4. Online Currency Exchange Services 

  • Pros: Online currency exchange services offer competitive rates and the convenience of exchanging from the comfort of your home. Some services even offer home delivery of Canadian currency. 
  • Cons: There might be a delay in receiving your Canadian currency, depending on the service and chosen delivery method. Some online services may have transfer fees or minimum exchange amounts.

Tips: Research reputable online currency exchange services with strong customer reviews. Ensure they are secure and licensed before transferring any funds. 

Popular Online Currency Exchange Services in Canada:

  • XE Currency Exchange (H6)
  • TransferWise (H6)
  • OFX
  • Meta Exchange

These are just a few examples, and many other online currency exchange services cater to Canadian customers.

OptionProsConsBest For
Banks/Credit UnionsCompetitive Rates (account holders)Inconvenient hours, feesSecure environment, existing customers
Currency Exchange ServicesConvenient locations, extended hoursVariable rates, feesQuick exchange, various currencies
Airports24/7 availabilityWorst rates, feesSmall amounts upon arrival
Online ServicesCompetitive rates, home exchangeDelays, feesConvenience, planning ahead

Meta Exchange


Meta Exchange is a currency exchange service located in Toronto.

Address : 14993Yong St, Aurora, ON L4G1M5

Tell: 647-822-2272


By understanding your options, comparing exchange rates and fees, and following these tips, you can confidently exchange your currency in Canada and get the most value for your money. Remember, planning and research are key to ensuring a smooth and cost-effective currency exchange experience. Enjoy your trip to Canada!

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