Real-Time USD/CAD Conversion
USD/CAD is a currency pair that shows how many Canadian Dollars (CAD) are needed to buy one U.S. Dollar (USD). If the USD/CAD exchange rate goes up, then it means that the value of USD has gone up relative to CAD.
This currency converter calculates how much USD or CAD you would get from converting by using live USD/CAD rates. These current rates used by this currency tool are the "spot rate" on the market, which might not necessarily be the rate that you will be able to convert at as a retail customer.
To use this calculator, you will need to know which direction you want to exchange your funds. If you're looking to convert your U.S. Dollars into Canadian Dollars, then you'll be buying CAD and selling USD. This can be done by selling at the USD/CAD rate or buying at the CAD/USD rate. CAD/USD and USD/CAD are inverses of each other. If you’re looking to exchange other foreign currencies, you can estimate how much foreign currency your funds are equivalent to by using a currency converter.
Last updated August 2023
Canada's major banks all post their prediction of the USD/CAD rate. The FX poll estimates that the USD/CAD rate at the end of 2023 will be around 1.30 to 1.38. For the end of 2024, this forecast range changes slightly to 1.25 - 1.33. Banks are predicting that the USD/CAD rate is heading down to the end of next year.
End of 2023
1.30 - 1.38
End of 2024
1.25 - 1.33
If you're looking to convert USD to CAD, there are many places where you can convert your money, such as banks and even specialized forex companies. You'll likely be given a "retail" exchange rate, which is the rate offered to consumers, which is worse than what the live USD/CAD rate that you’ll see will be. Let's look at how to get the best rate when converting USD to CAD.
The first thing you need to do is find out what the current USD/CAD exchange rate is. You can then compare the rates offered by currency converters based on this rate. Now, it's time to compare rates from different sources. When comparing rates, make sure to take into account any fees that may apply. Some sources may have very good rates, even at the spot rate, but also high fees, which can eat into the amount of money you will receive.
The table below compares the buy and sell spreads of different platforms when converting USD to CAD.
Note: A snapshot of published USD/CAD exchange rates on August 21, 2023. For some providers, the rate given is to convert USD being sent to Canada, paid for with a bank account or debit card.
When you exchange USD to CAD, or CAD to USD, you’ll be paying a spread. The term “spread” refers to the difference in the bid and ask price of a currency pair, where bid is the price that you sell at and ask is the price that you buy at. You will usually see this in the form of two different exchange rates at a bank. For example, TD shows a "Client Buys" rate and a "Client Sales" rate. The Client Buys rate is what you will pay in CAD in order to receive USD. The Client Sells rate is what you will receive in CAD in exchange for your USD.
The spreads at major banks can be significant. This means that if you are buying USD, you’ll be buying USD at a much higher rate than what the current market exchange rate is, also known as the “spot” rate. This can have a major impact on the amount of money you have to spend when exchanging currencies, and it’s something that you need to be aware of before making any decisions.
The table below shows a snapshot of current USD/CAD exchange rates at Canada’s major banks that are available for retail customers to exchange at, either online through online banking or in a branch. Rates may differ for commercial banking clients, for larger volume purchases, and for non-cash transactions.
Note: A snapshot of published USD/CAD exchange rates on August 21, 2023
Factors that affect the USD/CAD rate include interest rates, oil prices, and the state of the economy. Below, we'll look at these key factors that have a significant impact on the USD/CAD exchange rate.
One of the most important factors that affects the USD/CAD exchange rate is interest rates. Interest rates are set by central banks and they influence the cost of borrowing money. However, what it also affects are investments.
Bank of Canada and U.S. Federal Reserve policies have an impact on the USD/CAD exchange rate. Comparatively higher interest rates attract foreign investors who want to get a higher return on their investment. When interest rates in Canada are higher than interest rates in the United States, then it becomes more attractive for Americans to invest their money in Canada. This leads to an increase in demand for CAD as investors purchase CAD to buy CAD-denominated investments or savings. Conversely, if interest rates in the United States are higher than interest rates in Canada, then it becomes more attractive for Canadians to invest their money in the U.S., leading to an increase in demand for USD.
Canada is one of the world's largest producers and exporters of oil, so changes in oil prices have a big impact on the Canadian economy. When oil prices go up, the Canadian dollar usually strengthens because Canada's export earnings increase. This results in a stronger Canadian Dollar and a higher USD/CAD exchange rate.
Another factor that affects the USD/CAD exchange rate is the overall relative strength of each economy. If the United States has a strong economy relative to Canada, then investors will tend to put more money into USD-denominated assets like stocks and bonds. This increased demand for USD will cause its value to rise against CAD, resulting in a higher USD/CAD exchange rate. A weak economy may result in a weaker currency.
USD is a reserve currency, and the most dominant one at that. A reserve currency is a currency that is held by other central banks and institutions in order to facilitate transactions and to pay debts, as well as build up foreign exchange reserves. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the USD is the most popular reserve currency, accounting for close to 60% of the world’s central bank reserves in 2023. In second place is the Euro, which makes up about 20% of global reserves. The Canadian Dollar only makes up 2.4% of the world's foreign exchange reserves.
|Currency||% of World’s Reserves|
Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF), as of Q1 2023
Other important reserve currencies include the Japanese yen and the British pound sterling. However, the USD remains the king of reserve currencies. This is partially due to the fact that the US economy is still the largest in the world, and also because many commodities are priced in USD. For example, oil prices are usually quoted in USD and are typically bought and sold using USD. This means that there is consistent demand for USD. It also makes USD a store of value.
The USD's status as a reserve currency gives it a number of advantages. Since USD is used for many purposes, it helps to keep demand for the currency high. It's also relatively stable compared to other currencies, giving USD status as a "hard currency" or a "safe-haven currency".
Many people who regularly conduct business internationally or who frequently travel between the United States and Canada often need to convert currency from USD to CAD, or vice versa. Thankfully, there are a number of different ways to do this.
Canada's major banks all offer currency exchange services. However, they often charge high fees in the form of a markup added onto the exchange rate. While exchanging currency at a bank is convenient, you likely won't be getting favourable rates.
There are many online currency converters that may charge lower fees than banks. That includes top currency exchange companies such as Wise (formerly TransferWise), XE, Remitly, WorldRemit, OFX, and even PayPal. For physical cash, you can purchase foreign currencies, including sending USD, with Canada Post Foreign Cash, MoneyGram, Money Mart, and Western Union.
If you have a self-directed account at a brokerage, you can use Norbert's Gambit to convert your CAD to USD or vice-versa at the spot rate while paying low trading commissions.
Here's how it works: You first need an account that allows you to trade both CAD and USD securities, and deposit CAD into your account. a dual currency ETF. The most common pair is DLR/DLR.U, where DLR is CAD-denominated and DLR.U is USD-denominated. You would purchase DLR with your CAD funds that you want to convert to USD.
After purchasing, you'll need to request for your shares to be journaled over to DLR.U. Once your shares have been moved over, you sell your DLR.U shares for USD. This effectively converts your CAD to USD while only paying the cost of trading commissions.
As a large exporter of commodities, the CAD is influenced by commodity prices. Because of this, the CAD is sometimes even referred to as a petrocurrency, in reference to the correlation between oil and gas prices with the value of the CAD.
In 2017, the Bank of Canada published an analytical note about the effect of commodity prices on the Canadian dollar. The correlation between commodity prices and the Canadian dollar is positive. This means that as commodity prices rise, namely oil, then the CAD rises too. Some countries have a negative correlation with oil prices. These are largely due to them being importers of oil, such as the EU.
The table below shows the sensitivity to oil prices of various foreign currencies, with the top 10 most affected in each direction. The higher the number, the larger effect oil prices will have on the currency.
|Brazilian real||+0.47||Czech koruna||-0.43|
|Mexican peso||+0.39||Hungarian forint||-0.34|
|South African rand||+0.37||Polish zloty||-0.33|
|New Zealand dollar||+0.32||Danish krone||-0.33|
|Australian dollar||+0.31||Chilean peso||-0.32|
|South Korean won||+0.28||Bulgarian lev||-0.3|
|Canadian dollar||+0.27||Romanian new leu||-0.27|
|Malaysian ringgit||+0.18||Icelandic króna||-0.21|
|Peruvian nuevo sol||+0.16||Swiss franc||-0.21|
Source: Bank of Canada