What to do with leftover foreign currency.

travel related

I recently returned from a trip to Montreal last weekend with a bit more in foreign currency (Canadian dollars) than I would have liked. Generally if it’s a small amount I’ll keep it as a souvenir or give it away. If you have plans to return the country anytime soon it would make sense to just hold onto it. With no plans to return to Canada anytime soon I researched a couple options to exchange my Canadian dollars back to US Dollars.

Try your bank. I bank at Bank of America and found they will take foreign currency at most local branches. You can lookup what exchange rate they’ll give you here. When I exchanged my Canadian dollars to US dollars the going rate was 1 US dollar to 1.30 Canadian. Bank of America offered to convert my Canadian money at a rate of 1.37 which is about a 5% fee. I went with this option due to the convenience and this being a decent rate compared to other available options. They specified they do not take coins.

Currency Exchange International. There are a lot of these locations in upscale malls and major cities. I called my nearby location and they quoted a 5% fee rate and a $5 fee. They do not take coins.

Travelex. I saw a booth at the airport and a couple in front of me was exchanging their Canadian dollars back at a rate of 1.45 which is a bit steep. You’re essentially paying for convenience. You can check rates on their website.

Starbucks drinkers. If you’re a avid fan of the chain and have a Starbucks card you can use foreign currency to load up your card when you’re abroad. There’s no fees and you’ll get a great rate. This can be really convenient if there’s a Starbucks inside your departure airport.

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