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Currency Conversion Programs & Experiences

Where I've found the best rates

When arrived in Montreal airport on Saturday I was going to only change a small amount at the airport “money changers” and get more downtown or via my bank card.  But I was told it was a Canadian holiday weekend, so the banks downtown would be closed until Tuesday.   Therefore I exchanged more at the airport.

As I recall from my trips to Thailand, Philippines and Vancouver, getting cash from an ATM machine using my bank card was always the best exchange rate deal.  But I wanted to test the differences here.  When I got downtown, while the banks were closed, the many moneychanger booths every few blocks on St. Catherine’s Street were open. There was also a large bank on St Catherine’s street near Crescent St. with a huge lobby with ATM’s, which was open even though the bank was closed.

As a test I exchanged $US for $CAN on the same day from three sources.  Here are the results.

Airport booth $1.38 US $100 = CAN $138
Downtown booths: $1.46 US $100 = CAN $146 It was the same at about six booths I checked
ATM Bank Card $1.46 US $100 = CAN $146 Plus since the bank charged me $2 since a different banks’ ATM.

Official Interbank Rate $1.48. This is the rate most often quoted in financial publications.  But it reflects the exchange rates between banks usually for transactions of US $1 million or more.  Since I wasn’t spending that kind of money, it isn’t that relevant! 

This is the Currency Converter I find so useful.  You can personalize it to always show the currencies you want.  I use it to monitor the Thai baht and Canadian dollar which I think is what the link will show you also.
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