How to buy Canadian dollars with a credit card

By   |   Verified by Andrew Boyd   |   Updated 22nd March 2022

Need to get Canadian dollars (CAD) to take with you when travelling to Canada?

It's possible to use a credit card to purchase Canadian dollars in Australia or while you’re in Canada. But, there are a few important things to keep in mind since it can get expensive. Find out how it works below.

Before travelling

Buying Canadian dollars with a credit card in Australia

There are several options for using your credit card to purchase Canadian dollars in Australia. Here’s what to be aware of if you haven’t used your credit card for this type of purchase before, or just aren’t clear on what the fees are.

What cards you can use

  • American Express, Mastercard, and Visa. You can buy Canadian dollars using any Australian credit card. However, buying foreign currency will be classed as a cash equivalent which will incur the interest rate for cash advances and the cash advance fee in addition.

Where you can buy Canadian dollars with a credit card

  • Your bank's local branch. Using your bank may be one of the easiest ways to get Canadian dollars, but their exchange rates probably won’t be the most favourable. It can work out to be expensive in the long run.
  • Currency exchangers. Travelex, Travel Money Oz, and other exchangers sell Canadian dollars and other currencies. They have offices in most cities and large suburbs.
  • Money transfer services. You can use an international money transfer service to send Canadian dollars to a person or a business in Canada. Their rates are typically very competitive, making them the cheapest option.

While overseas

Buying Canadian dollars with a credit card while in Canada

If you’re already in Canada, there are a few things to consider before using your card to get Canadian dollars.

  • At a bureau de change. Finding an exchange bureau where you can buy Canadian dollars is not difficult. However, credit card purchases at a bureau de change will be classified as a cash equivalent and incur interest at the cash advance rate. A cash advance fee will also apply, plus a foreign currency fee if your card charges one.
  • Withdrawing from an ATM. Using an ATM may be the most convenient option available, but it is an extremely expensive way to get Canadian dollars and is best avoided. Not only will you be charged interest at the cash advance rate and a cash advance fee, but you’ll also incur a fee for using an overseas ATM. There's also the possibility of an additional fee for transactions in foreign currencies.

What it might cost

Fees

Type of feeIncurred in Australia?Incurred overseas?Cost
Cash advance interestYesYesAround 20% (daily, no interest-free period)
Cash advance feeYesYes2 - 3% (one-off)
Foreign currency feeYesYes2 - 3% (one-off)
Overseas ATM withdrawal feeNoYes2 - 3% (one-off)

Using a frequent flyer credit card can help make overseas travel more rewarding.

Want more help?

FAQs

Can you earn credit card points when buying Canadian dollars?

No. Buying Canadian dollars or any other foreign currency such as Indonesian Rupiah or Japanese Yen will be classed as a cash equivalent and won't earn any points.

Can you get cashback when buying Canadian dollars?

No. It will be regarded as an equivalent to cash and won’t earn cashback.