What Currency Does Canada Use? Canadian Banking 101

In this article, weโ€™re answering โ€œWhat currency does Canada use?โ€ But, instead of keeping you waiting, the answer is the Canadian dollar.

Below, weโ€™re going to share everything foreigners need to know about spending Canadian dollars, including how to exchange your currency for Canadian dollars.

We will also be answering common questions we receive from our members on the topic.

This article is part of our free series on international deposits, foreign currency accounts, international banking, and more.

Feel free to use the table of contents to jump ahead to the sections most relevant to you.

Table of Contents

  1. What Currency Does Canada Use?
  2. Does Canada Accept Foreign Currency?
  3. Best Way to Exchange USD to Canadian Dollar?
  4. Frequently Asked Questions
  5. Do You Want Help Opening Bank Accounts?

What Currency Does Canada Use?

Canada uses the Canadian dollar with the currency symbol $ and ISO 4217 code CAD. The Canadian dollar is available in banknotes and coins, and has been legal tender in Canada since the unification of the monetary system after the establishment of the Dominion of Canada in 1867.

The Canadian dollar is issued by the Bank of Canada, which is the nationโ€™s central bank. The Bank of Canada is also responsible for currency stability, which impacts the Canadian dollar exchange rate (foreign exchange) in global markets.

Not surprisingly, currency conversion and acceptance are important considerations for a large resource based economy that engages in international trade.

Does Canada Accept Foreign Currency?

Yes, Canada accepts foreign currency in certain instances. However, this is usually only an option at retailers and service providers in large tourism destinations. In particular, locations that are close in proximity to the United States or are more likely to accept foreign currency. Likewise, locations that have large numbers of foreign tourists will be more likely to accept foreign currency than elsewhere in Canada.

That said, when using foreign currency in Canada, you will be faced with high exchange rates. This is especially true if you are using foreign currencies other than US dollars, which is more widely accepted.

With this in mind, it is often best to exchange foreign currencies like USD to Canadian dollars either before traveling or at an official foreign exchange provider.

Best Way to Exchange USD to Canadian Dollar?

The two best ways to exchange USD to Canadian dollars is first by visiting a financial institution prior to traveling and second to note exchange any money at all.

First, if youโ€™re certain that you will need physical cash while traveling, you should visit your local bank and request Canadian dollars for your trip.

On the other hand, if you are traveling from another major jurisdiction like the United States, you could consider obtaining a credit card that does not charge foreign transaction fees prior to your travel. This would enable you to spend on your US credit card at most retailers in Canada without requiring any foreign currency exchange at all.

Alternatively, you can also use a currency exchange service after arriving in Canada. However, itโ€™s important to note that the exchange rate offered will vary widely across providers. So, it is always best to compare rates across multiple providers before deciding where to convert your USD or other foreign currency.

This is true whether you are looking to exchange large amounts of money or if you are considering exchanging foreign currency to Canadian coins. Though in most cases, you will want to change banknotes first and then receive change through transactions.

Exchanging Currency to Canadian Coins

If you are specifically looking to exchange foreign currency to Canadian coins, then you will almost always need to visit a foreign currency shop in Canada. This is because most foreign banks only carry banknotes.

On the other hand, if you are traveling to Canada and plan to exchange banknotes, you can also obtain change in Canada as a result of paying for transactions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are three of the most common questions that we receive from people looking into what currency Canada uses. If you have further questions you would like answered, donโ€™t hesitate to get in touch with us directly.

Does Canada Accept U.S. Dollars?

In certain parts of Canada, you will find retailers and tourism operators that do accept U.S. dollars. However, as a rule, U.S. dollars are not accepted across the country. Instead, U.S. dollars are typically accepted in regions (or cities) that experience large numbers of US tourists, which typically involves locations along the U.S. border and coastal cities and towns.

How Much is $100 US to Canadian?

Over the last five years, the value of $100 US dollars in Canada has ranged from a low of CAD 119.98 to a high of CAD 141.99. That said, in recent years, the value of $100 United States dollar in Canada typically ranges between CAD 130.00 and CAD 135.00.

Does Canada Use Pounds or Dollars?

Canada does not use pounds or U.S. dollars, instead Canada uses the Canadian dollar. The Canadian dollar has been the official currency of Canada since 1867, the same year that the Dominion of Canada was officially formed. Prior to the Dominion of Canada, British pounds and other colonial currencies were widely used across the territories of Canada.

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GlobalBanks Team
GlobalBanks Team

The GlobalBanks editorial team comprises a group of subject-matter experts from across the banking world, including former bankers, analysts, investors, and entrepreneurs. All have in-depth knowledge and experience in various aspects of international banking. In particular, they have expertise in banking for foreigners, non-residents, and both foreign and offshore companies.

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