Best Canadian Dollar to US Dollar Exchange Rates

Looking to make a trip to the USA?

Travel (cheaper) internationally from the US? Flights there are usually a lot cheaper than in Canada. 

Buy a car in the US?

Going to University/College in the USA? Or need UK Pounds to g o to school in England?

Buy a vacation home in Florida? US Stocks?

For all of these things, you'll need US Dollars/American dollars to make the purchases.

Kijiji Post: Have Canadian Dollars. Need US Dollars

You need to be careful with how you exchange your Canadian Dollars to American Dollars. Losing a couple percent here can lead to big losses overall. Your US investment will have to do that much better to make up for it (and it may not), and your car purchase may become several hundred dollars more expensive. Mortgages could be vastly more expensive if you consistently lose a bit of each payment that you could avoid losing!

There are many ways to go about this.

Forget Credit Cards for US Dollars

Most Canadian credit cards charge a 2.5% commission on top of currency transactions, but Desjardins' charges 1.8%, which is nice, but not a huge savings. You'd be better off, if making purchases, to get the MBNA Smart Cash credit card, or the Citi Enrich and get 1% cash back on every purchase.

US Dollar Visas and Mastercards are available, but there are no longer any that are fee-free. 

Canadian banks will give you a similar exchange rate to credit cards, at around 2.5%. Most of the banks give around the same exchange rates, though Scotia for a while was giving a really bad rate for exchanges in one direction. Their rates may vary greatly if you're exchanging A LOT of money, so be aware that you can negotiate for larger amounts (ie: $10k+). They should throw in a free US$ bank draft for these amounts if you don't have a US$ Account at the bank. 

US Dollar Bank Accounts at Canadian Banks

I've already written a guide on getting an American Dollar Account for Canadians. They're not a bad idea if you plan on acquiring US$ over time, or need a place to stash your acquired American Dollars. 

Get Better Canadian Dollar to American Dollar Exchange Rates

Forget about your bank, forget about your credit card. Go to a currency exchanger. 

Currency exchangers do currency conversions as their chief business, so the business is competitive and you end up getting better rates. 

XETrade has been used by many, runs over Custom House (a big Canadian currency exchanger) and lets you do everything online. They can even transfer your converted funds into a US-based bank account, which can solve the problem for many of getting your US$ into the United States. 

Peerfx is another option, but I haven't heard enough about them to think about using them for large amounts. 

Custom House can also be dealt with directly, take a look at their listing of locations

You can look at what's available in your Yellow Pages as well. Be careful though, an unreputable exchanger could go bankrupt after cashing your certified cheque, but before you get a chance to actually cash their's. So, of course, do your research!

I don't personally guarantee any method of conversion, nor any of company on this site. 

Or be the Canadian to US$ currency exchanger yourself!

Another method involves buying and selling stocks. Some stocks are sold on two exchanges, in CAD$ in Toronto, and US$ in New York. For example, the big Canadian banks, RIM, Bell, Telus, Rogers, etc. Basically, you can buy a stock in Toronto, and sell it in New York. The currency exchange rate will be very close to the actual rate, you'll only be out brokerage commissions. Read the story on Finiki. It may be the cheapest strategy, but you do have to factor in the cost of your time and potential aggravation from uncapable brokerage systems. 





I almost tried the norbit but its so confusing and I didnt want to make a big mistake. I compared some of the places people have mentioned online and I ended up going with and bought about $50,000 US dollars . The rates were better than other places and I saw some newspaper articles about them. Don't use the banks because they are expensive and greedy.

Norbert's Gambit vs. KnightsbridgeFX vs. XEtrade

Hey Alex, what did you find confusing about Norbert's Gambit? Which places did you compare them to? What were the rates like compared to XEtrade, who seems to be a bigger competitor? What were you buying, stocks?

Postback: versus KnightsbrigeFx

Just wanted to post a link back to this analysis of versus KnightsbrigeFx.

Not an endorsement for either, just some more info.

Nick, I fully approve of your

Nick, I fully approve of your link here. Keep us updated as we discussed!

Thanks for your helpful

Thanks for your helpful reply.

Norbert's Gambit

Would it also work for converting Canadian dollars to UK pounds? If not, would you tell me what is the best way to convert Canadian dollars to UK pounds? Thanks.

Norbert's Gambit CDN<->UKP

I don't see why it wouldn't be possible, exchanges are merely mediums (media?) for buying and selling shares. If the same shares sell on different exchanges, it should be possible. Having said that, I'm not sure that anyone has tried. I guess BP plc ADR and whatever exchange it trades on in London would work, but you'd have to find a stock brokerage that can do the transaction.

The exchange commissions would probably be higher as it's a niche transaction and the probability of it getting screwed up are far higher.

I'd suggest using XEtrade or the like. Also, try phoning up various currency exchangers, if your monetary transfers are big enough, they should give you competitive rates. They often give crappy rates for lower-valued transfers because they honestly don't want that kind of business, but will take your money if you really want to deal with them.

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