6 Best places to exchange currency in Vancouver - 2024

With the second busiest airport in the country, Vancouver is a popular place to start an overseas trip, as well as being a destination in its own right.

Claire Millard
Ileana Ionescu
Last updated
October 30, 2023

If you’re about to get on or off an international flight, you might need easy, cheap ways to exchange currency to or from CAD.

This guide has you covered. We’ll look at some well rated Vancouver currency exchange services, including where to find them and how to get in touch - plus a few important things to bear in mind when looking for currency exchange, at home or abroad.

Things to consider before exchanging money

1. Get a travel money card to cut costs

Using a prepaid travel money card when you’re away from home can be a safe and convenient option, and can also keep your costs down.

There are plenty of prepaid travel cards out there which all have their own features, but picking one which lets you hold a balance in the currency you need in your destination will usually give you the most flexibility. Depending on where you’re heading, the Wise card, or the Cash Passport from Canada Post are both good options to consider.

Get a Wise travel card

Using a prepaid travel money card when you’re away from home can be a safe and convenient option, and can also keep your costs down.

There are plenty of prepaid travel cards out there which all have their own features, but picking one which lets you hold a balance in the currency you need in your destination will usually give you the most flexibility. Depending on where you’re heading, the Wise card, or the Cash Passport from Canada Post are both good options to consider.

Wise cards are linked to a digital account which supports 40+ currencies for holding or exchange. 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. One big difference between the 2 cards is that the Wise card will let you leave your balance in CAD and automatically convert for you at the point of payment with no foreign transaction fee. The Cash Passport on the other hand will charge you a 3.25% fee if you don’t have the currency you need in your account, or if your balance in that currency isn’t high enough.

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 

Cash Passport


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

2. Check the mid-market rate 

Knowledge is power - and in the case of currency exchange, that means knowing the mid-market rate for the currency you need.

The mid-market exchange rate is the one you’ll find on a currency converter tool or with a Google search. However, it’s not often passed on to customers as banks and exchange services commonly roll up their fees in their retail exchange rates. That’s not transparent and can push up costs.

Getting familiar with the mid market rate, and looking out for providers which offer this or as close as possible to it for your currency will usually mean you get the best available deal.

3. Beware of ATM rates

We mentioned that waiting to make an ATM withdrawal at your destination might be a good option if you’ve got as far as the airport with no travel cash. However, there’s one common pitfall when using ATMs overseas - dynamic currency conversion (DCC).

DCC can show up at ATMs and when using a card to pay in a store - it’s when you’re offered the option to pay in your home currency rather than the local currency where you are. While it may sound harmless - or even helpful - it actually means that you lose control of the exchange rate being used. The ATM operator or merchant decides the rate and fees for your transaction, which will usually mean a higher cost overall compared to letting your bank or card issuer do the conversion for you.

If you’re asked if you want to pay in your home currency just say no, to avoid the extra costs associated with DCC.

Read more:

Where to get foreign currency outside Canada

Once you’re in your destination you’ll want to have a little local cash on you for small purchases, tipping and those times your card can’t be used. Generally that means finding an ATM or - if you’re carrying cash in CAD - visiting an exchange office wherever you are.

Using an ATM can be cheap and secure as long as you avoid DCC, and if your card has low or no international ATM fees. Exchanging CAD in cash is usually convenient enough in cities and tourist areas, but can be trickier once you’re off the beaten path. Bear in mind that using an exchange desk in your hotel can mean pretty poor exchange rates, so heading into a busier area and shopping around a bit will usually be a better value choice.

An alternative which offers convenience and low overall costs is to get a travel money card from a service like Wise, or a Cash Passport from Canada Post. You won’t need to get your travel money sorted out before you go, and you can often access competitive exchange rates and low overall costs.

Best place to exchange currency in Vancouver?

Vancouver is pretty well served for currency exchange, with lots of options in the city center and smaller numbers scattered throughout other districts. Which is best for you will ultimately depend on where you are and which currency you need.

Our table shows a few of the top rated travel money options in Vancouver, including their Google rating, so you can see what other customers think of the services they offer. Where available we’ve also highlighted an example exchange rate - but bear in mind rates change all the time, so you’ll need to check online or in person to get the latest information before you arrange your exchange.

Find more currency exchange services in Vancouver here.

NameAddressPhone numberCAD - USD exchange rateGoogle Rating
Gastown Currency Exchange525 W Pender St, Vancouver, BC V6B 1V5+1 604 647 22741 CAD = 0.73073 USD5 star
Vancouver Currency Exchange147 16th St W 101, North Vancouver, BC  V7M 1T3+1 604 861 5150Not available online4.9 star
Money Mart8606 Granville St, Vancouver, BC V6P 5A1+1 604 606 9655Not available online4.8 star
Olympia Currency and Global Payments925 W Georgia St 1900, Vancouver, BC V6C 3L2+1 408 7774Not available online4.8 star
Vanex Currency Exchange1105 Robson St, Unit 110, Vancouver, BC V6E 1B5+1 604  967 32601 CAD = 0.7284 USD4.5 star
Money Way Financial1452 Lonsdale Ave, North Vancouver, BC V7M 2J1+1 604 923 8001 CAD = 0.7268 USD4 star
  • Correct at time of writing, 10 October 2023

How we rated the best places to exchange money

We’ve picked out Vancouver currency exchange options which have high ratings on Google, with a good number of reviews posted. While ratings are dynamic, and service quality can change over time, this can be a reliable enough way to find a good service for your exchange. Call ahead to check opening hours and currency availability, and to get the latest available rates.

Factors to consider when choosing an exchange provider in Vancouver

The most important thing when exchanging currency is to pick a reputable service with decent exchange rates.  Google or Yelp ratings are a good place to start - or you can take recommendations from friends if you’d prefer.

Remember when you’re choosing your Vancouver currency exchange service, that you’ll need to look at both the fees and the rates on offer. That’s because the exchange rates used to convert your currency often include a fee already built in. This means the provider can state that they have no conversion fee while still covering their costs and generating a profit. It’s common practice - but it does make it harder to work out what you’re really paying for your foreign currency.

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 Vancouver

Before we finish up, here are a few more handy tips for exchanging foreign currency in Vancouver, or once you’ve reached your destination:

  • Travel cards from a provider like Wise or Canada Post let you set your budget in advance, and also offer safety benefits compared to using your bank card abroad

  • Before you pick your Vancouver currency exchange store check the mid-market rate for your currency, and call or look up live rates available to help you find a good deal

  • It’s usually best to avoid airport currency exchange desks - make an ATM withdrawal on arrival at your destination instead if you need cash instantly

  • Use the Exiap currency conversion tools to stay updated on current exchange rates

How do I exchange currency after a trip?

If you have left over travel money you can usually sell it back to a currency exchange service when you get home - but because exchange rates are likely to have changed between you buying and selling your foreign currency you might get back less than you originally spent.

Prepaid travel cards like the Wise card or Canada Post Cash Passport can be a good alternative, as you can add money conveniently, and top up if you run out while you’re away if you want. 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 Vancouver

What is the cheapest way to get foreign currency in Vancouver?

There’s no single best way to get foreign currency - in Vancouver or on arrival in your destination. Each currency exchange service will have its own rates and fees, which may vary widely. Compare a few different providers online, or to use the tools and reviews on Exiap, to narrow down your search.

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.