Alberta’s capital is a hub for culture and arts. Edmonton’s growing subculture is powered by the recent influx of creative types and unique festivals such as The Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival. The mainstream is also prevalent here, as the city is home to the largest shopping mall in North America.
Edmonton is also the staging point for oil sands and diamond mining operations in the north of Canada. If you’re invested in one of these projects, you’ve likely prospered from it. If not, start saving money while in Edmonton by finding the best currency exchange rates.
This is our guide to the best places to exchange your currency in Edmonton.
Know the actual exchange rate
An exchange rate shows how much your own currency is worth in terms of another currency. Currencies rise or fall against one another. You’ll see different rates offered by currency exchange services, but don’t be fooled. There is only one real rate which is known as the interbank or mid-market exchange rate. This is the midpoint between selling and buying rates of currencies.
Calculate the difference between real rate and an offered tourist rate by using an online currency converter. The difference will highlight any extra commission being hidden in a rate.
Factors that affect exchange rates range from predictable to unpredictable. Public debt, inflation and trade agreements influence exchange rates, as does any political instability. You can keep updated on movements in the exchange rate by signing up to our rate tracker tool.
It’s worth checking with your home bank whether they operate in partnership with any banks in Edmonton. If they do, you may be able to use the partner’s ATMs and have some of the fees waived. If using a different ATM, be sure it’s operated by a bank or trusted provider.
Withdrawing cash directly from an ATM is a good way to access your money while overseas. Remember one rule, which is always choose to be charged in the local currency. In Edmonton, make sure you choose Canadian dollars (CAD), not US dollars (USD), and not your home currency. Otherwise, the ATM’s bank will apply their markups on the exchange rate.
Unless it’s an emergency, avoid changing money at airport kiosks and hotels. Many offer bad exchange rates and have both visible and hidden fees. Change cash at a service located in a more central location, or withdraw money from an ATM.
Avoid having extra Canadian dollars leftover at the end of your trip. Changing CAD into other currencies while outside of Canada will in most cases mean high fees and loss. Instead of worrying about finding the best foreign exchange rate once having left Canada, make sure to take out only as much cash as you need while there.
If you choose to change money at an in-person currency store, know how to spot hidden fees. You can use the mid-market rate as a benchmark to compare against the tourist rates offered, and determine the true cost of your conversion. Below are some currency exchange bureaus in Edmonton to start you on your search.
|Currency Bureau||Address||Contact Information|
|Calforex||1762, 8882 – 170th Street, Edmonton, AB T5T 4J2||+1 780-484-3868|
|UAE Exchange||West Edmonton Mall, 8882 170 St NW #1339, Edmonton, AB T5T||+1 780-484-0022|
|International Currency Exchange||10025 102A Ave NW, Edmonton, AB T5J 2Z2||+ 1 780 425 5426|
Changing your money at a currency exchange office can be a convenient option, but you’ll usually end up with a poor exchange rate and pay high commission for it. Using the ATM of a partner bank, or a trusted ATM operator will give you access to a fairer exchange rate. Be sure to be charged in Canadian dollars, and don’t allow the ATM to perform the conversion for you.
Better yet, if either you or a friend have access to a CAD bank account in Edmonton, use TransferWise and make the transfer ahead of time. Not only does TransferWise use the real mid-market exchange rate to convert your money (which almost always beat the banks), but since your currency is received and sent via local banking systems in both your home country and Canada, all those nasty international bank fees magically disappear.