5 Best places to exchange currency in Montreal - 2023
Looking for easy, cheap ways to exchange currency in Montreal? Maybe you’ve just landed in Canada for a holiday - or maybe you’re a Canadian headed overseas. In either case this guide has you covered.
We’ll highlight some popular Montreal currency exchange services, including their contact details and ratings - plus we’ve thrown in some extra tips on smart ways to find the best deals on currency exchange, at home or abroad.
Things to consider before exchanging money in Montreal
Here are a few things to think about before you buy foreign currency for your trip.
Get a travel money card to cut costs
Whether you want to tap and pay in stores, or make cash withdrawals on the go, a prepaid travel money card can be a good option. You can order or collect a card before you leave and add money in your home currency to spend overseas - and because your card isn’t linked to your bank account, it’s pretty safe, too.
If you’re looking for a travel card in Canada, the Wise card, or the Cash Passport from Canada Post are both good options to consider. You’ll get convenient multi-currency spending and withdrawals, and could avoid foreign transaction fees levied by banks.
Wise offers a digital account to hold and exchange 40+ currencies. All you need to do is add money in one of the 20 or so supported currencies for top ups, and you can then spend and make withdrawals conveniently with mid-market rates and low fees.
Canada Post’s Cash Passport supports 7 currencies and is a good last minute option as you can walk in and get one at a Canada Post office conveniently. Some fees apply and exchange rates may include a markup.
Here’s a quick overview of some of the pros and cons of Wise vs the Cash Passport, to give you an idea of which may work for you.
✅ Free to open an account
✅ Hold 40+ currencies
✅ Use your Wise card in 150+ countries
✅ No fee to spend currencies you hold
✅ Mid-market rate currency conversion with low fees from 0.43%
❌ Some transaction fees apply
❌ Some ATM fees apply once your monthly free withdrawal allowance is exhausted
❌ No branch network
✅ Convenient to collect in a Post Office branch
✅ No fee to spend currencies you hold
✅ Secure way to spend and make withdrawals
✅ 24/7 emergency support
✅ Extra Mastercard perks and travel benefits available
❌ 15 CAD fee to get a card
❌ 3.25% fee if you spend an unsupported currency, or if you don’t have enough of a supported currency in your wallet
❌ Limited range of only 7 supported currencies
❌ Exchange rates include a markup
Avoid airport currency exchanges
With 7 different currency exchange kiosks, Montreal international airport is certainly a convenient place for currency exchange. However, you might pay for this convenience in the form of poor exchange rates compared to what you may get elsewhere. Although there are lots of options they’re all part of the same group, which means no real competition, and no need to cut their prices.
For lots of travellers it makes more sense to make an ATM withdrawal at the airport on arrival in your destination. It’s still convenient, you’ll have money in your pocket before you need to hail a ride, and you should get a fair rate that’s been set by your card.
Before you decide to rely on cash withdrawals do double check if any international ATM costs apply. If they do, you may be better off with a travel prepaid card from a service like Wise which offers some fee-free international ATM withdrawals every month, and uses the mid-market rate. More on that later.
Check the mid-market rate
As we’ve already mentioned, the exchange rate is extremely important when it comes to travel money. But as rates change all the time it can be hard to check you're getting a good deal.
Your best option here is to get to know the mid-market exchange rate for the currency you need. This is easy to find on Google or with a currency conversion app. The mid-market rate may be the one you find with a Google search - but it’s not usually the one customers end up with. Instead, many services roll up their fees into the rate used to convert to or from CAD. This is hard to spot but can mean you pay more than you expected for your travel money. Picking a service which has the mid market rate, or as close as possible to it for your currency will usually mean you get the best available deal.
Beware of ATM rates
ATMs are convenient and safe to use. However, you’ll need to keep an eye out for dynamic currency conversion (DCC), which can be a costly headache for travellers all over the world.
DCC is when you’re asked if you’d rather pay for your foreign cash withdrawal in your home currency instead. It’s sold as a service because it means you don’t need to do the math yourself to work out how much your cash is costing - but as the ATM operator sets the exchange rate and fees, it’s usually more expensive than letting your card do the calculation instead. Avoid DCC by choosing to pay in the local currency when you make a withdrawal - or when you pay in a store - overseas.
Best place to exchange currency in Montreal?
The best place to exchange currency in Montreal will depend on where you are and which currency you need. Call ahead if you’re looking for a more exotic currency, or a higher value amount, to make sure the branch has what you need.
Below we’ve picked out a few of the top rated travel money options in Montreal - the table shows their contact information and Google rating, plus the CAD - USD exchange rate at the time of research, as an example for comparison.
|Name||Address||Phone number||CAD - USD rate||Google Rating|
|NOUR FX||3339 Bd des Sources suite J, Dollard-des-Ormeaux, QC H9B 1Z8||+1 514 744 5475||1 CAD = 0.73937 USD||4.9|
|Bisti Bureau de Change||3981 Boul. Saint-Laurent Unit GR-35, Montreal, QC H2W 1Y4||+1 514 284 3030||1 CAD = 0.74074 USD||4.8|
|Bureau de Change Lucky Chan||6652 A Plaza St-Hubert, Montreal, QC H2S 2M3||+1 514 379 1323||1 CAD = 0.74074 USD||4.8|
|Seven Money Exchange||1917 Sainte-Catherine, Montreal QC, H3H 1M3||+1 438 728 0002||1 CAD = 0.74349 USD||4.7|
1230 Rue Peel Street
|+1 514 392 9100||Not available online||4.4|
|Bureau de Change Super|
2087 Rue Guy, Montreal, QC H3H 2L9
|+1 514 932 2223||Not available online||4.4|
Correct at time of writing, 27 September 2023
How we rated the best places to exchange money
Montreal is really well served for currency exchange options, so it’s worth comparing a few if you need to change money. In our comparison we’ve picked the top rated exchange stores from Google, with a view to finding convenient locations and decent exchange rates.
As ratings are dynamic, and service reliability can change over time, you’ll want to double check what’s best for your specific needs before you head out to get your travel money.
Factors to consider when choosing an exchange provider in Montreal
Safety is foremost when exchanging money. It’s good to know that all of the services we’ve picked out above are established and have good Google ratings, often from hundreds of customers. Double check the most recent reviews on Google or Yelp to help you choose.
You’ll also want to check out the fees and exchange rates available. Many of the more established currency exchange offices also have websites with their rates for easy comparison - although it’s worth calling ahead in case these aren’t completely up to date. If a service states it offers fee free, or zero commission currency exchange, check that the provider hasn't just rolled its fees into the exchange rates they use. That’s common - but it’s not transparent and can push up prices.
You can also save time on research by picking a provider which always uses mid-market rate currency conversion with low, transparent fees, like Wise.
Tips for finding the best currency exchange rates in Montreal
Before we finish up, here are a few more handy tips for exchanging foreign currency in Montreal, or once you’ve reached your destination:
Ordering a travel card from a provider like Wise or Canada Post could save you money and save time later
Compare currency exchange options on fees and rates, online or in person, to pick the best for you
Look for a provider offering the mid-market rate for your currency - or as close as possible to it
Avoid currency exchange at the airport if you can - and if you can’t avoid it, order in advance to get the best possible rate
Use the Exiap currency conversion tools to stay updated on current exchange rates
Where to get foreign currency outside Canada
If you’ve not planned your travel spending in advance, your most common options are to use your card in an ATM once you arrive wherever you’re headed, or to exchange any CAD you have with you.
ATMs are easy to find in most urban destinations, and can be cheap and secure. Just keep an eye out for DCC - which we mentioned earlier - and international ATM fees, which inflate overall costs.
If you have CAD in cash you can also look out for a currency exchange store on arrival. As we’ve already mentioned, airport currency exchange desks often have pretty high overall costs. Finding a money changer in a busier area can mean better deals thanks to competition driving down prices.
If you don’t want to spend too much time arranging your travel money before you leave, getting a travel money card from a service like Wise, or a Cash Passport from Canada Post can help you manage your money across currencies without needing to hunt out exchange services on arrival.
Travel prepaid cards usually have fairly low overall costs and can support a good selection of currencies, covering many popular destinations from Canada. Check out options like the Wise card, or the Cash Passport, to see if either suit your specific needs.
How do I exchange currency after a trip?
If you’ve bought too much travel money you can usually sell your foreign currency back to a currency exchange service if you want to - but there may be costs involved.
Buy and sell rates are typically different, and either way you may find the rates have changed between you buying and selling your foreign currency - which can mean you get back less than you originally spent.
If you don’t want to have to plan to the last cent, and you don’t want to lose out when you sell unwanted foreign currency after your trip, you may be better off with a digital multi-currency account from Wise, or a Canada Post Cash Passport.
Prepaid travel cards let you add just as much money as you need, and top up if you run out while you’re away, rather than trying to guess your budget before you go. And with Wise there’s no need to convert all your funds to foreign currency in advance as the card can convert for you with the best available fees and the mid-market exchange rate.
FAQs - best places to exchange currency in Montreal
What is the cheapest way to get foreign currency in Montreal?
Montreal has a lot of foreign exchange services, but each service will have their own rates and fees, which may vary widely. Compare a few online or in person, and use the tools and reviews on Exiap, to help you find a good provider for your specific needs.
Should I exchange money before I travel?
You can exchange your money before you travel, but depending on the service you use, you won’t always get the very best rates. It’s worth knowing that you don’t necessarily have to exchange before you leave. You could get a multi-currency account and card from Wise, or a Canada Post Cash Passport instead. Both are convenient for spending and withdrawals overseas.
Does it matter where you exchange currency?
Yes. Currency exchange services set their own rates and fees - so which one you pick can make a huge difference to how much you have to spend on your trip. It’s worth investing some time in researching the best options for your needs, including exchanging cash and using a specialist travel money card instead.