Tips for Using Debit & Bank Cards in Canada | Complete Guide to Tipping in Canada | Sales Tax in Canada
Canada has its own currency - the Canadian dollar (CAD), also referred to as "the Loonie," in reference to the depiction of a loon on the one-dollar coin.
Upon arrival to Canada, if you don't have any Canadian currency, you should exchange only a small amount at the airport or border crossing, where the exchange rate will not be very good, but you will be relieved to have some local money on you.
Once you get settled in, find yourself a bank or bank machine (what is commonly called an ATM, or automatic teller machine, that distributes cash in Canada) to exchange or withdraw a larger amount of money. Debit and credit cards issued by other countries can be used for purchases or to withdraw Canadian money in Canada, but currency exchange rates will vary by card. ATMs are commonly found in the lobbies of banks, in stores, at malls, or in bars and restaurants but will ding you for a user fee between $2 and $5.
If you use your bank card to withdraw money from an ATM, you will receive Canadian currency and your bank will do the conversion. It's a good idea to check with your bank before you leave on your trip to Canada to discuss the best card for travel.
Some ATM networks offer fee-free withdrawals to visitors.
The most dominant Canadian banks are RBC (Royal Bank of Canada), TD Canada Trust (Toronto-Dominion), Scotiabank (Bank of Nova Scotia), BMO(Bank of Montreal), and CIBC (Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce).Read more about using debit and credit cards in Canada and Can I use U.S. Money in Canada?
Goods and services are for the most part purchased using Canadian dollars; however, U.S. dollars may also be accepted, but mostly at border towns, duty free shops or major tourist attractions.