I'm travelling from Los Angeles to Canada. I need a few hundred Canadian dollars in cash. What is the best option (minimum rates + processing fees)? As I see it I have 3 options:

1) Get cash from the LA area. Sounds like the best option but I have a time constraint: it is hard to find a place that does this on Sunday. Any suggestions? Does Western Union do this?

2) Get cash at LAX or the Canadian airport during travel

3) Use the ATMs of Bank of America's affiliates in Canada (Scotiabank ABMs)

I have a Bank of America account. I would prefer avoiding option 3. Any help would be greatly appreciated.


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    Using an ATM is normally the cheapest way to go, unless you have an account with stunningly bad overseas fees/rates. Any reason why you don't therefore want to just use your ATM card abroad?
    – Gagravarr
    Commented Dec 7, 2014 at 7:10
  • Just security. The airport (YUL) I alight at seems to have no Scotiabank ATM. I'd like to have cash on hand in the transit from the airport to my place of stay. Commented Dec 7, 2014 at 7:12
  • 1
    Exchange just the bare minimum of cash for a 15 minute cab ride at the bad rates you'll find, and ask the taxi to swing by a Scotiabank ATM on the way to where you're staying?
    – Gagravarr
    Commented Dec 7, 2014 at 7:16
  • 3
  • 1
    I have always used ScotiaBank to get Canadian money. It's usually better to get as much as you can in one trip to save on fees, especially in a country that is mostly free of violent crime. Commented Mar 27, 2017 at 14:51

1 Answer 1


I work in a bank and from my experience the cheapest way to get cash:

  1. ATM (Debit Card) in Canada (best possible rate, unless you are dealing in large amounts).
  2. Change USD to CAD in Los Angeles.
  3. Change USD to CAD in LAX. (airport rates are higher)
  4. Change USD to CAD in Montreal.
  5. Change USD to CAD in YUL. (again, airport rates).
  6. ATM (Credit Card) in Canada. (credit card network surcharge + withdrawal fees make this the most expensive)

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