We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Do most stores in Vancouver accept U.S. Dollars??

New York City, New...
Level Contributor
31 posts
13 reviews
Save Topic
Do most stores in Vancouver accept U.S. Dollars??

How about tipping?

West Grey, Ontario
Destination Expert
for Toronto
Level Contributor
75,018 posts
94 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Do most stores in Vancouver accept U.S. Dollars??

Hi NYCFrank;

To be respectful to your host country, when in Rome...

Many businesses will accept American currency as a courtesy to American tourists. Businesses that choose to accept US dollars set their own exchange rate, so you may find the rate different from store to store, and the rate will NOT be in your favour. You will receive your change in Canadian funds. Coins, as a general rule, are accepted at face value…at par.

Automated equipment, i.e. vending machines, public transit machines, parking meters, etc - basically anything where you insert coins / bills... will only accept Canadian currency.

Most places will take credit cards, however there may be fees over and above the exchange rate charged by the credit card issuer. Some credit cards have a Foreign Usage Fee tacked on for usage outside of the issuing country. Check with your card issuer for exact details.

You could always use your bank card to withdraw money from an ATM. Check with your bank to find which Canadian banks they have an agreement with and then utilize that Canadian bank’s ATM for the fewest / cheapest fees & surcharges.

For some money saving tips, have a look at the traveller article “Canada – Banks & Money” here on TA.

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g153339-s601/Canada:B…

Best Regards

Ottawa, Canada
Level Contributor
13,856 posts
47 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Do most stores in Vancouver accept U.S. Dollars??

Hi NYCFrank,

Welcome to the VANCOUVER TRAVEL FORUM.

I have to agree with RESCUE TEAM... although some places / persons will probably take your US Money, it is a HUGE inconvenience to them. And merchants in particular will charge you for the convenience (a losing proposition for you the consumer). The *Banks & Money* article link covers that really well.

As for Tipping... what is a Waiter who works long hours supposed to do with American Money? He may go to school in the daytime, and works nights... he lives in the electronic age, and does his banking by Internet and with an ATM Machine... now he has US Money that he has to "make time" to exchange in person at a Bank. Nice tip!!

Canada is an independent country with our own stable currency... not some 3rd world country... be respectful to us who are "hosting you" and get some Canadian Currency for your incidentals... you can easily do so with an ATM.

Lol... to be truthful this Question never ceases to amaze me... can only imagine the look on a NYCity's Waiter's face if I tipped him in Canadian Currency.

Cheers!

Wine-4-2

Vancouver, B.C.
Level Contributor
1,989 posts
65 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Do most stores in Vancouver accept U.S. Dollars??

If you tipped in US dollars the waiter will accept it. They will probably spend it the next time they go down to the states for shopping or a trip.

Victoria, Canada
Level Contributor
22,180 posts
91 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Do most stores in Vancouver accept U.S. Dollars??

Tip in American if your dollar is stronger then ours,, they do NOT mind at all, its not a hassle, waiters love getting America tips, they just collect them up and take them to the bank. Just remember tip as if dollar is on par.

The place I work will take your dollars, ON PAR, which is a rip off for you,, but frankly we don't care since its inconvienent for us to have to check rates and adjust exchange all the time.,, so use Canadian money for most things.

Vancouver BC
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
Level Contributor
9,431 posts
189 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Do most stores in Vancouver accept U.S. Dollars??

Posts 3 and 4 saying US currency for tips (or anything else) is OK is just bad advice. Post 2 makes the logical point that whatever foreign currency anyone receives has to be exchanged. The exchange with be discounted between the buy and sell rate yielding less than intended. Will USD be accepted? Sure, better than nothing, but certainly not preferable to CAD.

Banks, Oregon
Level Contributor
3,808 posts
35 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Do most stores in Vancouver accept U.S. Dollars??

Greetings, NYCFrank!

Okay, ready for an American opinion? I heartily agree with RescueTeam and Wine-4-2. I especially liked the first phrase about being respectful to your host country------to me, that's paramount. Very well said. I think that's more important than the exchange rate issues. And, it is so easy to change your money---as soon as you get there, go to a bank or use an ATM machine or visit a booth at the Vancouver Airport. Voila! It's done and you're all set to have a splendid time in Canada. :) Enjoy your trip!

Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
1,480 posts
84 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Do most stores in Vancouver accept U.S. Dollars??

Let me ask you this...

Do most stores in the U.S. accept Canadian dollars? And what about tipping??

Ottawa, Canada
Level Contributor
13,856 posts
47 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Do most stores in Vancouver accept U.S. Dollars??

<< If you tipped in US dollars the waiter will accept it. They will probably spend it the next time they go down to the states for shopping or a trip. >>

Really?

Most servers I know are people working a bunch of part time jobs or going to school… their time off is limited. Their vacation money / time pretty much non existent (not like those with a full-time job with benefits).

Most servers I know infact are in their 20s and 30s are still living with roomies to make ends meet... as cities like Toronto and Vancouver have some of the most expensive rents / cost of living in the entire country. They live paycheque to paycheque... week to week.

It would suck to have a significant amount of "my hard earned money" unavailable to me... money tied up in US Funds that I cannot spend without a loss to me.

Do the RIGHT THING... the RESPECTFUL THING... the CURTEOUS & POLITE THING for those who work hard to serve you... and just get Canadian Dollars... for gosh sakes this isn't the 1970s anymore... now one can just put a piece of plastic in an ATM Machine... and voila Canadian Currency... honestly HOW HARD IS THAT ??

My 2 Cents (Canadian Plus HST).

Cheers!

Wine-4-2

Ottawa, Canada
Level Contributor
13,856 posts
47 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Do most stores in Vancouver accept U.S. Dollars??

BTW, this is a frequent enough topic across the CANADA TRAVEL FORUMS… so don’t feel bad, you aren’t the first one to ask. And there are countless stories about Travellers who realized their “convenience” of using US Currency was actually them getting ripped off by non-regulated Exchange Rates offered by Merchants (sadly oftentimes after the fact when then posted here to warn others).

Lets therefore return to the Economics Discussion.

Part of the misunderstanding on Exchange relates to this…

The Official Currency of Canada is Canadian Dollars... they are easy to get and easy to use (Plastic is the method of choice... be that Credit Cards for large purchases, and whatever you put into an AMT for Cash… these are where you’ll experience the least amount of issues with Currency Exchange Fees etc… as Banking Organizations such as Visa buy Foreign Currency in bulk… so much better rates than can be gotten any other way). Exchange & Fees go on in the background, and are very reasonable, they’ll be on your Statements when you return home.

You’ll also want to make sure to have some Canadian Change on hand (Twoonies, Loonies, Silver)… American Change doesn’t work in our Vending Machines, Meters, Tolls etc (Different weights & metal composition).

Some merchants will indeed take American Dollars but at YOUR LOSS (anywhere from 5 to 25% ABOVE Fair Exchange). As previously stated, as the ONLY Official Currency in Canada is the Canadian Dollar every thing else when it comes to rates is “as determined” by those willing to “trade” for it. So if merchants do take US Dollars, they themselves cannot spend them... they have to Convert them... they pass that "inconvenience" along to you in fees (NOTE Currency Exchange by Merchants is NOT Regulated... ONLY Banks are... so you will ultimately get ripped off).

So although you may see a sign at one merchants that says TODAY's US EXCHANGE RATE (and a posted rate) it is not regulated... a similar sign may appear at another merchant just next door with an entirely different rate posted. Most US Visitors don't catch on to this aspect right away... and by then they've already spent a good lot of US Currency.

Here are two great examples from the CANADA TRAVEL FORUMS this summer that US Travellers contributed as stories of their experiences.

Traveller A – Stopped at a self-serve to fill up his car with gas… the Traveller’s bill came to $ 38.50 and when he went to pay he was told he owed $ 41.00 if paying in US Dollars. As at the time, because the US Dollar was worth $ 1.04 CDN he was confused as to why he had to pay MORE than the price on the pumps. The Gas Station Attendant said it was because he had “more work to do” to exchange the US Money.

Infact… the $ 38.50 worth of Gas that the Traveller bought at FAIR EXCHANGE (Before any Fees) he should have been able to “ideally” buy for $ 36.95 a difference of $ 1.55 Instead the Traveller was charged $ 41.00 a difference of ($ 41.00 - $ 36.95) so instead of actually seeing a 4% Gain in his Currency, he actually saw an 11% Loss.

Traveller B – Took a Taxi, and at the end of the ride the Meter came to $ 20 CDN, the Passenger told he Driver he only had US Currency… the Driver said then the fee would be $ 25 US… and he didn’t take Plastic… ONLY CASH. The Passenger was frustrated by the mark-up, but thought what’s $ 5 he’d just think of it as “the tip”. It wasn’t until he was actually out of the cab that he realized that he’d infact been charged MORE THAN 25% Exchange for the convenience of using US Money… when infact that day the US Money was actually worth more than the Canadian Currency.

This is why we tell Travellers… Change to Canadian Currency (either by using a Credit Card or an ATM) and you won’t run the risk of getting ripped off !! Sure in addition to Exchange (Plus or Minus) you’ll also be subjected to some Conversion Fees (this is how the Financial Institutions make money on Currency Exchange) but even at the going rate of 2 or 3% the Traveller would in most cases be in a GAIN Situation vs leaving it up to each Merchant on a willy-nilly basis. Canadian Merchants typically make the “convenience” mark-up in the 5 to 25% range.

Hope this is helpful,

Cheers!

Wine-4-2

Vancouver
Level Contributor
5,615 posts
69 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Do most stores in Vancouver accept U.S. Dollars??

im really surprised by the responses... I was a waiter in my youth and most of my customers were from the US... it was more convenient for them to tip in US dollars... and it was worth more than our Canadian dollar...I loved it. And the post regarding US coins not working for vending / parking...was that a guess? that is so not true.. US coins DO work and yes all retailers will be happy to accept your US dollars in any store or restaurant. Having said that...change your money at the hotel or at an exchange...retailers will rip you off on the exchange.