Travel Money Guide: Canada

Compare prepaid travel cards, debit and credit cards to find the right travel money option for your trip to Canada.

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Heading to Canada? As you'll be making transactions in Canadian dollars, there are some fees and charges you'll need to look out for. In this guide we help you compare the different travel money products available, and strategies you can use to get the most out of your money in Canada while avoiding fees.

Compare travel cards for Canada

Name Product Available Currencies ATM Withdrawal Fee Initial Load Fee Reload fee
Cash Passport Platinum Mastercard
USD $2.50, EUR €2.50, GBP £2.00, NZD $3.50, THB ฿80.00, CAD $3.50, HKD $18.00, JPY ¥260.00, SGD $3.50, AUD $3.50, AED 10.00
Up to 11 currencies on 1 card locked in exchange rates and no load fees.

Compare up to 4 providers

Name Product Foreign currency conversion fee Interest-free period Purchase rate Annual fee
Bankwest Zero Platinum Mastercard
Up to 55 days on purchases
14.99% p.a.
Get 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 34 months (with a 2% BT fee), ​an ongoing $0 annual fee and 0% foreign transaction fees.
Bankwest Breeze Platinum Mastercard
Up to 55 days on purchases
0% p.a. for 15 months, reverts to 9.9% p.a.
$0 annual fee for the first year ($69 p.a. thereafter)
Get 0% interest on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, a $0 first-year annual fee and no foreign transaction fees.
NAB StraightUp Card
0% p.a.
Save with 0% interest charges and 0% foreign transaction fees. Plus, $0 monthly fees when you don't use the card or carry a balance.

Compare up to 4 providers

Name Product Card access ATM Withdrawal Fee Monthly Account Fee Internatonal ATM Fee Foreign transaction fee
HSBC Everyday Global Account
Special offer: $100 cash bonus for new HSBC customers.
Earn 2% cashback on tap and pay purchases, and transfer money overseas online to family or friends and pay $0 International Transfer Fee (save $8). T&Cs apply on all offers.
Enjoy no minimum ongoing balance or transaction requirements and the flexibility to hold up to 10 currencies. Apple Pay and Google Pay available.

Great Southern Bank Everyday Edge Account
Refund of international ATM withdrawal fees and international card transaction fees (conditions apply).
$0 monthly account fee. Unlimited fee-free everyday transactions.
Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay available. Savings Top Up tool automatically transfers to linked savings account.
Citi Global Currency Account
Earn up to 0.45% p.a. interest on your AUD balance.
$0 monthly account fee.
Enjoy one linked debit card to hold up to 10 currencies and receive foreign currencies for free.

Compare up to 4 providers

Name Product Minimum Order Amount Maximum Order Amount Delivery/Pickup Method Commission Fee
Foreign Xchange Travel Money
In Store,Home Delivery
Order multiple currencies in one transaction and have it delivered directly to your door anywhere in Australia. No delivery fee for orders over $1,000. A $10 flat fee applies to orders less than $1,000.

Compare up to 4 providers

How many dollars do I need to bring to Canada?

Canada and Australia are similar countries when it comes to daily prices and holiday expenses. Like all places around the world, prices jump up significantly in ski resorts such as Whistler. So, you're going to need more cash if you head to the slopes.

accomodations-in-greeceMotel (Whistler)
AU$90 per night
Hostel (Winnipeg)
AU$30 per night
3 star hotel (Whistler)
AU$200 - AU$300 per night
3 star hotel (Winnipeg)
AU$100 per night
5 star hotel (Whistler)
AU$400 - AU$500 per night
4 Star hotel (Winnipeg)
$150 per night
eatWhistler's best burgers
AU$10 - AU$15
Drive in fast food (Winnipeg)
AU$4 - AU$8
Mexican food (Whistler)
Pub food (Winnipeg)
AU$10 - AU$20
Araxi restaurant 10 oz. steak (Whistler)
Angus Sirloin (Winnipeg)
seeSnowshoe walking tour (Whistler)
AU$80 per person
Manitoba Museum (Winnipeg)
$7 per person
10 days skiing (Whistler)
WWII Historical Walking Tour (Westminster)
AU$80 per person
Sea to Sky Exotic Driving (Whistler)
White water rafting (Winnipeg)

*Prices are approximate and subject to change.

Exchange rate history

The Australian and Canadian dollar have been pretty much on par the past few years, which makes it pretty easy when you're trying to figure out the real cost of spending in Canadian dollars. Canada is a stable economy like Australia and you shouldn't need to worry too much about the movements between the currency pair on your travels.

YearAverage exchange rate

*Exchange rates are accurate as of 3 September 2017

Today's exchange rate AUD to CAD

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Travel card, debit card or credit card?

Don't stress about using your card to make purchases and to withdraw cash — card acceptance and ATM availability are similar to Australia. Canadian merchants accept Visa and Mastercard, and American Express credit cards are accepted in more places than in Australia. Canada uses an EFTPOS system similar to our own called (Interac Direct Payment) IDP, and it's available all across the nation. You can use this system to get cash out over the counter if you're paying with your debit or travel card. Travel cards, debit cards and credit cards are all worth comparing before you leave Australia.

Travel money options for Canada at a glance

Travel money optionsProsConsiderations
Travel prepaid cards
  • Multiple currencies
  • Avoid currency conversion fees
  • Supplementary card
  • Look out for ATM fees
  • Reloading time
Debit cards (Transaction accounts)
  • No currency conversion fee
  • No international ATM fee
  • $0 account keeping fees when you deposit at least $2,000 into your account each month
  • Unlimited free withdrawals at selected banks
  • International transaction fees may apply
Credit cards
  • Complimentary travel and purchase insurance
  • Interest-free days on purchases
  • Accepted worldwide
  • Protected by PIN & chip
  • Emergency card replacement
  • Benefits including rewards points on spending, 0% purchases, frequent flyer perks, complimentary travel insurance
  • Cash advance rates and fees
  • ATM withdrawal fees
  • Higher spending limit (depends on your approved credit limit)
Traveller's cheques
  • Secure and can be easily replaced if lost or stolen
  • Can only be cashed at banks and selected merchants
  • Need to pay commission on buying traveller's cheques
  • Payment flexibility
  • Convenience
  • Foreign exchange fee or commission may apply on foreign currency orders
  • Higher risk of theft

This table is a general summary of the travel money products in the market. Features and benefits can vary between cards.

How travel cards, credit cards and debit cards work in Canada

Using a prepaid travel card

Travel cards let you spend Canadian dollars in Canada. This avoids the fee for currency conversion. A travel card lets you hold multiple foreign currencies at a time, which may be helpful if you're visiting neighbouring United States. If you've transferred your funds to Canadian dollars, you can avoid currency conversion fees when spending in Canada. Travel cards also come with a supplementary card, which can come in handy if your primary card is lost, damaged or stolen. While you can avoid currency conversion fees, there are some other costs you'll need to look out for. For example, look for international ATM fee waivers to save on cash withdrawal costs.

  • Tip: You might be able to give ATM fees a miss by taking cash out over the counter when you make a purchase.

Using a debit card

It's hard to look past the Citibank Plus Transaction Account. It's the product of the moment for travellers: no charges for currency conversion, no international ATM fee (operator fees of a couple of dollars apply) and no monthly or account keeping fees make this account from Citibank a traveller's best friend. If you just want to take your everyday debit card with you, you'll most likely pay $5 for international ATM withdrawals (plus the ATM operator fee) and a 3% currency conversion fee.

  • Tip: Citibank do not have any standalone ATMs in Canada. The only Citibank ATMs are attached to branches in Canada's major cities.

Using a credit card

A credit card can give you interest free days on your purchases, complimentary travel, purchase insurance, worldwide acceptance and additional financial security. If you have a credit card, and you plan on using the complimentary international travel insurance feature, double check your planned activities are covered by the policy. For example, some winter sports like snowboarding require additional cover. Credit cards are a good way to make purchases; however, you should supplement your credit card use with a debit card when you want to make ATM withdrawals. Cash advance fees and interest can compound and give you a nasty surprise when you arrive back in Australia. Some of these charges can be avoided (have a look at the FAQs section of our travel money page for information about credit cards with a positive balance and cash advance changes), but it's better just to keep your credit card for purchases and emergencies.

  • Tip: Some merchants may question Australian issued credit cards. Make sure you have photo identification to show just in case.

Using a traveller's cheques

Traveller's cheques have been made redundant by the other forms of travel money compared on this page for the following reasons:

  • Your bank will give you your money back if you're the victim of card fraud.
  • You can use your card in a wide number of places in Canada. Meanwhile, traveller's cheques can only be cashed at banks and a select number of merchants.
  • You'll pay a commission to buy traveller's cheques.

Paying with cash in Canada

While card payments are common, there are always going to be times when you need to pay with cash, especially if you're buying something small — some merchants won't accept a card for a small payment due to surcharge fees. If you're wondering the best way to exchange Aussie dollars for Canadian dollars, you have these options:

  • Before you leave. Exchange cash in Australia using a foreign exchange service (information provided on this page).
  • When you arrive. Visit a bank or a dedicated foreign exchange office, avoid exchanging cash at the airport as you can easily find a better rate elsewhere.
  • Withdraw from a Canadian ATM. The simplest way to get CAD is to make an ATM withdrawal when you arrive. There are multiple ATMs at Canadian airports which offer a true rate, just be conscious of ATM withdrawal fees.

Did you know?

The Canadian dollar is one of the most traded currencies in the world. It's colloquially referred to as the 'buck'. This can be traced back to the origins of Canada's history, where the Hudson's Bay Company created a coin worth the pelt of one male beaver, otherwise known as a buck.


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Michael's season in Whistler, a.k.a. 'Little Australia'

Michael did a season skiing Canada's famous peaks: Whistler and Blackcomb. The season lasts for approximately 6 months starting in November and ending around May.

What cards did you take with you?

Why did you take these cards to Canada?

Michael says that the ANZ Low Rate was his day to day credit card and he knew he was going to be in Canada for a while so opened a local bank account instead of taking a travel friendly debit or credit card.

Any tips on how to go about getting a Canadian bank account?

He says that in order to get a Canadian bank account, you have to get a Social Insurance Number (SIN), which is the equivalent to our Tax File Number (TFN). Once you have that you can apply for a bank account/keycard. You can get these forms from any Canadian bank, it's a matter of going through the process and filling out the forms. Michael says it's something he definitely recommends for someone who is going to be doing a season in Whistler.

Were there any places where you had trouble using any of your cards?

He says more or less, 'no'. Michael told us of one instance where ANZ flagged a possible fraudulent purchase because of the location, apart from that everything was fine. He says make sure you tell your bank about your travel plans to avoid this situation.

Michael's tips for managing travel money in Canada

Michael has some good advice about making international payments to Canada. He says he had savings in his Australian bank account, and he needed to transfer this money to his new Canadian account. He made a lump sum transfer every month or two. He recommends the services of OFX, a foreign exchange and international payments company.

  • International payments. He says it was very easy to create an account and make a BPAY payment to OFX. It only took a couple of days for the funds to clear in his Canadian account. A transfer fee of $25 was charged by OFX for each transaction.
  • Travel safety. He also says give money belts a chance. While they may not be the most fashion forward choice of apparel, it's savvy nonetheless. Michael's words: "A travel money belt is probably a good idea for people who are prone to losing things."

If you're planning on hitting the slopes while you're in Canada, you will need to make sure that you have additional Winter Sports insurance. So, if you are heading to Canada, make sure your trip is protected. Compare travel insurance policies today.

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Buying currency in Australia

Canadian dollars are a common currency and can be purchased from any number of foreign exchange companies, including your bank. For example Westpac and Australia Post give you the same rate buying Canadian dollars, the difference is the commission. Westpac charge $4 for online foreign currency orders. Foreign exchange providers such as Australia Post and Travelex also have outlets at major Australian airports where you can collect your bucks before you hop on the plane. You can bring as many Canadian dollars into the country as you like. You must make a customs declaration if you're carrying more than $10,000. These institutions also offer foreign cash:

Find out more about buying Canadian dollars online before your trip

Withdrawing from Canadian ATMs

There have been reports of Canadian ATMs not accepting foreign cards. Look for the Visa or Visa PLUS logo on the front of the machine to see whether you can use your card to get cash. The same with Mastercard. A local ATM operator fee applies each time you withdraw cash (excluding Global Alliance Partners — ScotiaBank for Westpac cardholders). This fee is comparable to Australia where you'll pay $2 - $3 each time your withdraw in addition to international ATM charges and currency conversion charges (if applicable).

  • Tip: Look for participating ATMs in the Global ATM Alliance. Westpac cardholders can avoid the international ATM operator fee by using ScotiaBank ATMs. ScotiaBank have ATMs inside 7/11 stores as well as on the street.

Find banks, cash and ATM in Canada

Why you'll need a combination of travel money options

Whether it's a credit card and a debit card or a travel card, you'll need to use a combination of options. While you can get away with making card payment a lot of the time, there are still instances when you'll need cash. Furthermore, what happens if you lose your debit card and you have to wait half a week for a replacement? Take a combination of the travel money products we've listed on this page and use the right card for the right situation so you can save on international transaction charges. The Northern Lights, some of the best skiing in the world and a people warm in heart and spirit, it's no surprise that every month tens of thousands of Aussies travel to Canada. Do your research before you leave and you can enjoy your trip to Canada with the peace of mind you're spending your money your way, and not giving your hard earned to your bank. If you have any questions about using travel money in Canada, ask us a question using the form at the bottom of the page.

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8 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    anuSeptember 9, 2016

    recently shifted to canada. Having axis bank cad traveller card
    i want to transfer money into recently opened bank account
    can i transfer .if yes what is the procedure to transfer amount .
    i am having internet banking facilities also

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      SallySeptember 13, 2016Staff

      Hi Anu,

      Thanks for your question.

      As a financial comparison service based in Australia, you might be best getting in contact with your provider directly to confirm whether you can transfer your funds into your new bank account.



    Default Gravatar
    RaeSeptember 8, 2015

    I am planning a small trip to Vancouver Canada for a week or so how much Canadian money do you think I will need

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      SallySeptember 8, 2015Staff

      Hi Rae,

      Thank you for your question.

      We can’t actually confirm how much money you will need for your trip without knowing your trip schedule, spending habits and financial situation. I would suggest preparing enough money to cover your necessary expenses, extra spending money and some emergency funds in case you run into an emergency.

      Many travel money cards available on the Australian market support Canadian Dollars, so you may want to consider one of these during your comparison. You can compare travel money cards and a comprehensive guide to Canada travel money. Please ensure to read through the relevant product disclosure statement and terms and conditions to ensure that you got everything covered before you travel.

      I hope this has helped.


    Default Gravatar
    CommonwealthSeptember 2, 2015

    I have a commonwealth travel money card and am in Canada. Which is the best partner bank for me to use for withdrawals?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      SallySeptember 2, 2015Staff

      Hi Phil,

      Thank you for your question.

      You can use your Commonwealth Bank Travel Money card at any ATM that supports MasterCard Cirrus or Visa Plus.

      However, please keep in mind that there is an ATM withdrawal fee of CAD$3.00 per cash withdrawal.

      I hope this has helped.



    Default Gravatar
    JaanoApril 23, 2015

    Hi. I am moving to Canada permanently. What would be the best way to take my money with me (your suggestions on Bank draft(s) in CAD?). Currently I do not have any bank account in Canada but will open on reaching there.

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      ElizabethApril 23, 2015Staff

      Hi Jaano,

      Thanks for your question.

      As you can see from the page above there are quite a few options for taking travel money to Canada. Unfortunately, I’m unable to recommend a specific travel money option to you, but you can take a look at the options available and compare them based on fees, convenience, etc. If you opt for a travel money card some good things to check are fees for loading money onto the card, fees for inactivity on the account, the cross currency conversion fees, etc. If you plan on opening an account you might also want to see if you can have the money from your card transferred to your account when you open it, as this is an option with some issuers.

      I hope this has helped.



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