I don't do much traveling outside of the US but in a few weeks I will be driving from NYC to Canada. I am not sure what the best method would be to convert USD to CAD.

Should I convert before I enter Canada? Hit up an ATM once I get there using my Chase card?

Any tips/suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  • 2
    Use your debit card to pay for purchases? Jul 14, 2016 at 5:19
  • Some Canadian vending machines (e.g. transit tickets in Montreal) accept only chip-and-pin cards (true as of 2014), while most US credit cards are chip and signature. Was a real nuisance for me at the moment. I would advice to have some cash on you either before arrival, or shortly thereafter e.g. by using your ATM card (but avoid airport exchanges)
    – mzu
    Jul 14, 2016 at 16:08

2 Answers 2


(disclaimer, Canadian here...)

US cash currency is usually well accepted in major cities in most "tourist" areas (with different exchange rate).

Use your credit card as you do normally. Use your ATM card as you do normally.

I tend to have a reasonable amount of local currency with me just to get started; so I hit my exchange shop (or bank) before leaving; Canadian banks usually have US currency on hand, maybe the other way around is not true for most US banks having canadian currencies.

If I cannot exchange local currency before leaving, I hit the ATM at the most convenient time at my destination.

For example, I am driving to the US in a couple of weeks, I will get 200, 300 $US cash before leaving and use my CC for most paiement and use an ATM if I need more cash.


I think it's preferable to use ATM at the airport. Or just use credit cards.

  • 1
    Care to explain why?
    – Mark Mayo
    Jul 14, 2016 at 8:26
  • The OP is driving, so no airport in play.
    – Max
    Jul 14, 2016 at 10:18

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