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Paying in local currency outside of Canada

Whether you’re paying for a bus tour in London, or a meal in Madrid, you may be asked if you want to pay in Canadian dollars or the local currency.

It might be tempting to pay in dollars, as it’s the currency you know, but it may cost you more.

Read our guide to help you weigh up the pros and cons.

Dynamic currency conversion explained

If you choose to pay in your home currency rather than the local currency, the conversion takes place at the point of the sale. This is dynamic currency conversion, also known as DCC.

Paying in Canadian dollars

Paying in Canadian dollars can give you a more accurate idea of how much things are costing you as you pay.

But, as the merchant is allowed to set its own exchange rate to convert the amount you’re spending, it can be more expensive.

Some retailers are given an incentive to use DCC to earn more. This may be through a favourable exchange rate, or extra conversion fees.

Paying in the local currency

Visa or Mastercard will set the exchange rate when you choose to pay in the currency of the country or territory you’re visiting. There may also be a fee to carry out the transaction from your bank. The rate used by your card provider when paying in local currency will in most cases be lower than that of the merchant, or foreign bank, when paying in dollars.

Always double check the amount before paying, as some retailers might automatically assume you want to pay in Canadian dollars.

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