Travelling to Canada with Cash, Credit Cards and Cheques


Travelling to Canada with cash is possible. However, it is risky to travel with cash these days. Therefore, it is better that you find a way to come into Canada with just a little cash.

 Also, with the technology innovation, it has become relatively easy to travel without cash once you get to your destination. Therefore, the risks of travelling with cash have been reduced.

However, even with your withdrawal cards, there is still a danger of getting into the hands of scammers. As such, you must be careful about the way you handle both your cash and cards.

By the way, there is no need of travelling with cash these days. This is because you can easily withdraw using an ATM once you arrive in Canada. Moreso, if you want to exchange your local currency into Canadian currency, you also do that with ease at any airport in Canada.  

This is why this article will focus on how to travel to Canada with cash at low risks. Thus, avoiding financial problems that may ruin your trip. 

Types of money to travel to Canada with

Generally, there are three ways to travel to Canada in terms of money. However, the method you choose depends on the situation and reasons for your travel.

Therefore, before you set off on your journey, make sure that you check well to know whether to travel with cash or not. This, in turn, will help you to avoid the risk of both losing your money and falling into the hands of thieves and scammers. 


The number one option is to travel to Canada with cash. This means carrying your money with you. However, you must make sure that you are allowed to import as well as export the currency of the host country. 

Perhaps, you are allowed to import and export Canadian currency, you can decide to come in with a little cash which you can use for a couple of days.

Normally, you are advised to keep your money in different pockets and wallets to avoid running short of funds in case of robbery. However, if you decide to come without cash, you can withdraw some cash on arrival using the ATM.

Cards (Credit, debit and pre-paid)

Basically, there are three types of cards you can use in Canada. They include credit, debit and prepaid cards.b

Credit cards

Instead of cash, you can use your credit card. Generally, it is safer to use a credit card since it allows you to make reservations. Fortunately, you can use your international credit card for your big purchases like your aeroplane tickets, hotel bills and restaurant tabs.

Then, once you make a reservation with your card, it is reserved for you. Therefore, you can relax knowing that your reservation is guaranteed.  

One good thing is that credit card issuers charge fees for international transactions. Most times, they give the best exchange rate and offer fees lower than those associated with exchanging cash.

However, when it comes to withdrawing from an ATM, there is a higher charge when you use your credit card. Therefore, whenever possible do not withdraw from an ATM with your credit card.  

Debit cards

Another card is the debit card. Your debit card is better when withdrawing from an ATM. Therefore, you can use your debit card in Canada. Normally, bank-affiliated debit cards are the best. Therefore, if you have a bank-affiliated debit card, you can use it in Canada. 

Moreover, you may check to know if your financial institution has international branches or partners in Canada. This way, you will have reduced costs in your withdrawal. Once you use your credit card to withdraw money from an  ATM, there will be charges.

However, you can reduce costs by withdrawing large amounts. Thus, you can avoid travelling to Canada with cash, rather, you use your card to withdraw upon arrival.

Furthermore, you are allowed to use ATMs during business hours inside a bank, supermarket, or large commercial building.

Pre-paid cards

Another form of travelling to Canada with cash is to use your pre-paid cards. Sometimes, your financial institutions may offer you a pre-paid travel card in foreign currencies. If such is the case, you can use such cards to purchase items. However, pre-paid cards attract higher fees.

Therefore, you must know the terms and conditions before using credit cards. One good thing about prepaid cards is that they are replaceable. Therefore, whenever you lose your prepaid card, it can be replaced just like a traveller’s cheque.  

However, some hotels and car rental companies do not accept prepaid cards. In addition, sometimes, it may be hard to use pre-paid cards at some foreign ATMs.  

Travellers’ cheques

You can use your traveller’s cheque in Canada. Though, this is not widely accepted. Still, it is an alternative to debit cards and credit cards. Therefore, you can use it as cash while travelling to Canada.

How to change money upon landing or take off

Generally, you will use the currency exchange rate to know how much your money is worth in Canada. Therefore, you have to exchange your local currency into Canadian currency to know the actual amount of your money’s worth in Canada. 

Hence, you can use the Bank of Canada’s online currency converter to determine the official exchange rate.  

Moreso, there are several ways you can exchange your currency. Therefore, it depends on you to know the best method to use. However, you can use any of the methods below:


You can use your bank to exchange your local currency into Canadian dollars,  especially if you want to travel into Canada with cash. Therefore, you can either do this over the phone or online. However, you can still decide to walk inside the bank to this.

Once you have successfully placed your order, you can pick it up within days. One of the benefits is that the exchange rate at banks is slightly lower than elsewhere. 

Moreover, you can still exchange your currency once you enter Canada using Canadian banks.

Exchange desks

In case you need money for emergencies, there are exchange desks all over the airports and hotels. Therefore, you can use them to exchange your local currency for Canadian currency.

However, you must be ready to pay a little bit higher than what the banks charge. This will help to know if you need to travel to Canada with cash since you will easily exchange your local currency for Canadian currency at the airport.  

Black market

Alternately, you can still use the black market for your foreign exchange. This is becoming an integral part of the exchange. Generally, transactions are in cash here making it very risky. Therefore, whenever you use a black market, you must be very careful. 

However, this is an illegal way of foreign exchange. Therefore, whenever you use it, you are breaking the country’s law and may face arrest and imprisonment.  

Travelling with CAN$10,000 or more

Normally, before you cross any Canadian border, you must declare the amount of money you have, especially if it is up to CAD 10,000 or more. This amount includes Canadian or foreign currency or a combination of both. This is generally known as large money.

The monetary instruments include stocks, bonds, bank drafts, cheques and traveller’s cheques and other forms of money. However, there are no restrictions on the amount of money you can bring into or take out of Canada, nor is it illegal to do so. Although, you will be punished if you don’t declare your money. 

Entering Canada

If you are entering Canada with CAD 10,000 or more in your possession, you must report it on the CBSA Declaration Card (if one was provided to you), on an Automated Border Clearance kiosk or a Primary Inspection Kiosk, or in the verbal declaration made to a border services officer. You must do this to avoid being arrested. 

Leaving Canada

Also, if you are planning to leave Canada by air with CAD 10,000 or more in your possession, you must still report to the CBSA office within the airport, before clearing security. If on the other hand, you plan to leave by land, boat, or rail, you must report to the CBSA office nearest to you.

How to report for cash more than CAD 10,000

There are various ways to report for cash of CAD 10,000 or more. They include: 

  • Reporting in person
  • Reporting by mail
  • Reporting by courier

Role of CBSA

The Canada Border Services Agency is the body responsible for border activities in Canada. Therefore, it is their responsibility to administer and enforce Part 2 of the PCMLTFA to help the Government of Canada to:

  • Detect and deter money laundering and terrorist financing activities;
  • Facilitate the investigation and prosecution of related offences;
  • Respond to the threat posed by organized crime; and
  • Fulfil international commitments to fight transnational crime.

Therefore, if you are travelling to Canada with cash of CAD 10,000 or more, make sure you declare them before entering Canada.


If you are planning to live in Canada for a long time, you may still have to pay taxes, especially if you plan to work abroad.

Therefore, you should inform the  Canada Revenue Agency of your intentions. The CRA will use the report you give them to determine your residency status. That is, whether you are leaving Canada permanently or temporarily. 

Departure tax

Sometimes, you may need to pay a departure tax. However, this depends on the country of departure. Therefore, you have to keep some money in your local currency for this purpose.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I need to report currency when crossing the border?

By reporting currency of CAD 10,000 or more. You help to fight money laundering and terrorist financing.

Who can declare an amount of CAD 10,000 or more?

All travellers from and to Canada, all couriers or even if you are carrying money for another person.  



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