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arlingtoncrush77

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Sep 1, 2010
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I know a lot of people have different opinions and reasons for them when it comes to accessing their US money while in Canada. I bring cash and exchange it in the destination city. Does anyone have advice on where in downtown Montreal I can get the best exchange rate from my US$ to Canadian?
 

rumpleforeskiin

It's a whole new ballgame
Jan 20, 2007
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Exchanging cash is probably the worst way to exchange. If you go to an exchange joint, you'll lose as much as 10% in the transaction vs. the actual exchange rate. If you exchange cash at a bank, you'll lose in the vicinity of 2% vs. the actual exchange rate. If you put your debit card into an ATM machine at a bank, you'll be charged a $1.50 fee, but you will get the actual exchange rate as posted at the Yahoo Finance page or elsewhere.

I live half-time in Montreal, though my business is in the US. I've wired large sums into my Canadian account at both Desjardins and RBC. I've lost 1.5% in these exchanges. I've deposited cash into my Canadian accounts. And I've used my ATM machine at various banks to draw cash.

If anybody tells you there's a better way to exchange US for Canadian dollars than an ATM, they are, simply put, wrong. Do not bring cash; bring your ATM card.
 
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thegreatwalooo

Well-Known Member
Dec 27, 2005
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NYC
I agree with the above. For me, the best way to get cash in Montreal is have a Bank of America account in the states and you can withdraw money at any Scotia Bank without penalty. I do the same thing with my TD account.
 

poonyman

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Nov 3, 2004
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I disagree with rumpleforeskiin.

At the ATM, in addition to ATM surcharge between $2-$4, there is also a conversion rate applied by your bank. This can be anywhere between 2-4%.

However if you go to the some currency exchanges, you can get away with 1-2% conversion rate and no fee. However you have to demand no fee and check the posted rates. Not all exchanges offer good rates so please check the rates first.

That being said, based on todays rate I would gladly take LilyForYou's offer, especially that georgeous service to match her personality.
 

arlingtoncrush77

New Member
Sep 1, 2010
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Thanks for the advice. I am aware of all of this. My ATM card has failed me on several occasions while in Montreal. I cannot afford to take that chance again. Also, we are talking a couple thousand dollars at a time at most once a year. While I would hate to lose 10% I'm sure there is somewhere I can exchange for a better rate. Also there are no TD's or BOA's in the area I live. I acknowledge it probably isn't the best way to convert my money but it is the most logical in my situation.

Lily- thanks for the offer but unfortunately our schedules won't match up

So if anyone can help with where to get the best rate it would be greatly appreciated.
 

rumpleforeskiin

It's a whole new ballgame
Jan 20, 2007
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Poonyman is, frankly, incorrect. Here's an example. Last month, I wired well over $100,000 to make a downpayment on a flat. I received .985 CDN per US Dollar. The same day, I went to the ATM and took out $500 CDN and received .996 per US Dollar. I know this because as soon as I got home, I checked my checking account. I was charged a $1.50 fee by the RBC. I also checked Yahoo Finance and for the current exchange rate. It was .996. I lost not one penny in the transaction beyond the $1.50 fee.

I do not use my credit card in Canada as the exchange rate costs me in the vicinity of 2.5%, certainly not worth the miles that the card gives me. Because I have a mortgage, electric, phone, and cable bills and because I like to hobby, eat in restaurants and the like, I exchange between $3,000 and $4,000 every month. I use cash for everything. I've made a study of it. I use the ATM on a regular basis and I check my conversion every time, comparing what I got charged by my bank against the official exchange rate. It doesn't matter whether I use RBC, BOM, Scotia, TD, or Desjardins. For some reason, my card doesn't work at the Laurentian ATMs. The ATM is the only way to go.

If you insist on bringing cash with you, a bank is the place to go. They will only cost you a couple of percent. It's the commercial exchange places like Cook's that will kill you.
 

lgna69xxx

New Member
Oct 4, 2008
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Arlington,

I know some guys from the states use Calforex when they come here, but I can't tell you if the rates are similar with the banks, I assume they are about the same but you can try calling them for current rates. There are 2 Calforex locations in the downtown Montreal area with a 3rd opening soon in the Eaton Centre if not already open. Good luck.

http://www.calforex.com/en/exchange-rates
 

lgna69xxx

New Member
Oct 4, 2008
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Sometimes this works as well, but not always... My buddy called them before and Calforex beat them by a percent or two, but it differs from time to time so just call around and pick whats best for you and your proximity.
go to montreal casino. they always give a better rate hoping you will spend all the money there.
 

sweetwater

New Member
Nov 6, 2009
753
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Western USA
I always use the ATM if I can. Some of them won't take my card, so I have to look for one that does. Generally speaking, the major Canadian bank ATM's in the airport work for me. There have been times that ATM's in convenience stores won't accept my card, and smaller airports (Val d' Or, North Bay) sometimes won't accept my card. Those times I have to hobby with US funds, and have had no problem with the lady accepting it, nearly all the time at par, like Lily stated earlier. :smile:
Sweetwater
 

rumpleforeskiin

It's a whole new ballgame
Jan 20, 2007
6,580
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Where I belong.
Sometimes this works as well, but not always... My buddy called them before and Calforex beat them by a percent or two, but it differs from time to time so just call around and pick whats best for you and your proximity.
Banks are in business to make money by investing their deposits, sometimes in securities, sometimes by making loans. They do not make money on currency exchanges. They do have to break even on them and, when accepting cash, they must cover themselves by charging a percent or two, allowing for the possibility that the rate may change by the time they redeem the US for Canadian.

Places like Calforex make their money by charging a commission on exchanges. You can usually figure on 5-7%. There is no worse place whatsoever to make the exchange than places like Calforex and Cook's. If you want to give your money away, they will be happy to take it.

I have exchanged cash at banks in Montreal, though not often and I can't remember where. Again, I prefer to use my ATM card as it is the ONLY way to get an honest rate. I do believe it is much easier to exchange at a bank in Montreal than it is in the US. Whether some require you to have an account or not, I can't say.
 

pyjama guy

Member
Jun 22, 2006
373
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16
globex exchange on greene avenue below sherbrooke, better exchange rate than you'll ever get at a bank.
 

rumpleforeskiin

It's a whole new ballgame
Jan 20, 2007
6,580
2
38
45
Where I belong.
globex exchange on greene avenue below sherbrooke, better exchange rate than you'll ever get at a bank.
I just checked the Globex website. They're saying that they give $100 CDN for $100.85 US. If that's true, that's almost as good a rate as I got at Desjardins this morning, 100.50. However, they are also posting other exchange rates and they claim that Desjardins is giving $100 for 102.57, which might be true for the exchange of cash.

Calforex doesn't post their exchange rates, but historically, again, these places make their money exchanging. They have to make a profit on their exchanges. That's how they survive. Banks do not. They make their money on loans and investments.

Living in Montreal as a foreigner, I exchange tens of thousands every year. I've investigated thoroughly. I only use ATMs.
 
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