Canadian Polymer Bills

Canadian Coins - Varying Denominations

The official currency of Canada (and the only one which must be accepted) is the Canadian Dollar. Canadian dollars are available in the following values:
Canadian Bills
 Value Appearance 


Unlike Canadian coins, Canadian bills do not have common nicknames. Currently all new bills are made out of a polymer which is water and tear resistant, however you may still encounter some older paper-like (cotton-based) material.


Canadian Coins
 Value Nickname  Appearance 
 5¢ Nickel
 10¢ Dime
 25¢ Quarter
 $1 Loonie
 $2 Toonie  


On the other side of all coins (known as the "Head" side), is a facsimile of the Queen Elizabeth II, the reigning monarch of Canada.

The Canadian dollar has a floating, not fixed, exchange rate with all other currencies. Check the exchange rate with your currency.

All merchants in Canada accept Canadian cash to pay for purchases, although cash may be refused above a certain amount (generally it is unusual to pay for purchases over $300 CAD with cash). It is a good idea to always carry some cash with you, as there is no guarantee that a credit card or debit card will be accepted.

Debit and Credit Cards

Canadian Credit Cards

Both credit and debit cards are used by Canadians to pay for their purchases at stores, restaurants, and most other service providers.

Debit Cards

  • Debit Cards are also known as bank cards or ATM cards
  • When you open an account with a bank in Canada you should be given (or sent) a debit card
  • When you use your debit card, the money is immediately withdrawn from your bank account; if you don't have sufficient money in your bank account, the transaction will be rejected
  • Debit cards are accepted at almost all merchants (stores, restaurants, and other service providers), although a minimum purchase (usually around $10) may be required
  • You can use your debit card at an ATM (automatic teller machine) to withdraw cash from your bank account, however you may be charged a fee (usually around $3) if you use a machine from a bank other than your own
  • Not all debit cards are not usable online, or  for other remote purchases

Credit Cards 

  • Credit cards allow you to pay for purchases on credit (money extended to you by your bank)
  • A credit card may be offered to you by you by your bank
  • Major credit cards (Visa and Mastercard) are almost universally accepted across Canada
  • These cards often have very high interest rates, so it's a good idea to pay off the balance (the amount you owe) monthly
  • All credit cards have a limit (the amount you can spend per month on the card), starting at $500 and increasing from there
  • There are many fees associated with credit cards, including fees for spending over your limit, fees for late payments, and fees for international purchases
  • Credit cards can also be used online, or for remote purchases (through phone or mail)