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US $$$ for tipping


dbrown84
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I've read here on CC that US dollars are generally not accepted in Canada and that I should use my credit card.  I'm taking some ship excursions and I usually tip the excursion guides.  Is it ok to tip them in US dollars, or is that frowned upon?

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6 hours ago, dbrown84 said:

I've read here on CC that US dollars are generally not accepted in Canada and that I should use my credit card.  I'm taking some ship excursions and I usually tip the excursion guides.  Is it ok to tip them in US dollars, or is that frowned upon?

 

We use US currency 

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I agree with the above.  We got Canadian currency at Guest Services on a quiet day before our ports, and we always have a variety of bills, loonies, and toonies we can use ashore. Then at the end it's easier to bring home just the bills for future cruises.

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Especially in 'tourist towns', USD will likely be acceptable for tips of that nature, although CAD is generally preferable. 

 

You just don't want to be buying things with USD cash - the exchange rate you get will be abysmal (some places even take it at par, which, given the current exchange rate, is practically highway robbery), hence the recommendation to use your card or CAD cash for general purchases. 

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All the large banks, and a couple of the smaller ones (less known) have USD accounts available to their account holders so it's almost never a problem if you tip in USD, especially if the recipient is an employee of a tourist oriented business.  Cheaper for you if you tip Canadian tho, especially for general purchases. 😉

We have both a Euro account and a USD account at our bank that we use to top up for our different travels when the rates are favourable; I'm sure a lot of other Canadians who work in the tourism/travel industries also have these type of accounts.  We are also on a C/NE cruise from end of Sept -  early Oct but will be workin' it the other exchange way... withdrawing from our USD account for the US portion of the trip. 😊

Edited by canadjineh
added a thought
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3 hours ago, LHT28 said:

I wonder if US  guides  take CAD  for tips ?

We have Canada/N/E cruise coming up

 

 

I doubt it, lol.  I've found that unless you are in a border town (and even then, not so much), US guides/stores/etc wince when you offer even equiv. $USD value in CAD and won't accept any CAD.  On the Eastern Seaboard you may find that they don't even know where your province is.  Okay, lol, maybe an overstatement.

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YES, we Canadians are MUCH more likely to enjoy your USD tips than someone in the USA is to enjoy your CAD tips.  If you tip $10 in Canadian Money, the Canadians get $10, but if you tip them $10 USD then we are really getting a $13.60 tip!  Yes, we'll happily accept it (no matter what exchange rate we end up with, it's not going to be a 36% charge).  

 

If you tip CAD $10 to someone in the USA, they are only receiving a $7.40 tip less exchange fees.  They will wonder what they did to piss you off.

Edited by CaribbeanBound
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53 minutes ago, canadjineh said:

On the Eastern Seaboard you may find that they don't even know where your province is.  Okay, lol, maybe an overstatement.

Not much of an overstatement. The closest province to New York City is Québec, and the state directly borders the province. I would expect much less than a majority in New York City to know anything about Québec.

 

Canadian dollars do circulate in American border communities, at least to some extent. (A few American border communities may use Canadian dollars more so than American dollars. See, e.g., Estcourt Station, Maine, and Hyder, Alaska.) At times American businesses have even advertised to accept Canadian dollars at par as a promotional gimmick. Gratuities given in Canadian dollars in these border communities will likely be accepted, though in many cases it will pose a burden on the recipient if he or she does not regularly cross the border themselves. No serious commerce is conducted within the United States in Canadian dollars, and American banks do not generally have Canadian-denominated accounts. In sum, Americans are much less accepting of Canadian dollars than Canadians are accepting of American dollars.

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2 minutes ago, GTJ said:

(A few American border communities may use Canadian dollars more so than American dollars. See, e.g., Estcourt Station, Maine, and Hyder, Alaska.) At times American businesses have even advertised to accept Canadian dollars at par as a promotional gimmick.

Yes, indeedy!  Very common in Washington state where some communities are extremely dependent on cross border shoppers, especially for gas, groceries, and start-of-school kids' clothing promos.

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I went to my bank today to order some Canadian currency.  They do it, and had the paperwork all set, but then they told me it would be 2-4 business days to be ready.  I thought I had read 24-48 hours.  Since I'm leaving on Thursday to board in Boston on Friday, I declined to proceed without a guarantee that it would be available by COB Thursday.  Guess I'll be paying the 3% fee for any card purchases and tipping in US $$$.  I honestly never even thought about this until reading some posts last night.  This will be my first cruise outside of the Caribbean, where using US currency has never been a problem.  Oh well, bring on the Labatts :)

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11 hours ago, dbrown84 said:

I went to my bank today to order some Canadian currency.  They do it, and had the paperwork all set, but then they told me it would be 2-4 business days to be ready.  I thought I had read 24-48 hours.  Since I'm leaving on Thursday to board in Boston on Friday, I declined to proceed without a guarantee that it would be available by COB Thursday.  Guess I'll be paying the 3% fee for any card purchases and tipping in US $$$.  I honestly never even thought about this until reading some posts last night.  This will be my first cruise outside of the Caribbean, where using US currency has never been a problem.  Oh well, bring on the Labatts 🙂

You can go to Guest Services onboard and get C$ on the spot.

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21 hours ago, LHT28 said:

I wonder if US  guides  take CAD  for tips ?

We have Canada/N/E cruise coming up

 

 

I'd be shocked if anyone turned it down, especially in a border area where I'm sure it happens regularly.


OK, maybe if you gave them CAD in Orlando they might think you were passing funny money, but then again they have Mickey Bucks there, so maybe they would think it's Disney's latest?

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1 hour ago, Nitemare said:

I'd be shocked if anyone turned it down, especially in a border area where I'm sure it happens regularly.

 

I am not seeing any border towns on the East coast cruises

In any case  we tip in local currency

 

My point  is why does the guide  need to go through having to change currency   if people are too lazy to do

 

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1 minute ago, LHT28 said:

I am not seeing any border towns on the East coast cruises

In any case  we tip in local currency

 

My point  is why does the guide  need to go through having to change currency   if people are too lazy to do

 

Bar Harbor is pretty close to the Canada border, but I could easily see a passenger use "leftover" CAD on any cruise that hit Canadian ports like Halifax, St. Johns and Saint John.  So it could happen in Boston, Portland, Newport, and NYC, and I'm sure most folks would accept it as a tip and figure out how to deal with it later.

 

And I doubt it happens nearly as often as it does the other way around

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I do not understand the reluctance of Americans to  convert some $ to CAD

 

 We Canadians have always  converted to USD when going  to the USA

 

One year was trying to use up my US coins   & was short  5 Cents  I offered  a Canadian nickel & was refused 😲

 

 

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19 hours ago, dbrown84 said:

I went to my bank today to order some Canadian currency.  They do it, and had the paperwork all set, but then they told me it would be 2-4 business days to be ready.  I thought I had read 24-48 hours.  Since I'm leaving on Thursday to board in Boston on Friday, I declined to proceed without a guarantee that it would be available by COB Thursday.  Guess I'll be paying the 3% fee for any card purchases and tipping in US $$$.  I honestly never even thought about this until reading some posts last night.  This will be my first cruise outside of the Caribbean, where using US currency has never been a problem.  Oh well, bring on the Labatts 🙂

 

You can almost certainly hit an ATM in your first Canadian port and get some Canadian currency without paying the fee for multiple small purchases. 

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On 8/23/2023 at 1:14 PM, LHT28 said:

I do not understand the reluctance of Americans to  convert some $ to CAD

 

 We Canadians have always  converted to USD when going  to the USA

 

One year was trying to use up my US coins   & was short  5 Cents  I offered  a Canadian nickel & was refused 😲

 

 

Had this happen in a mall in Massena, NY, a 10 min drive from where I live in Cornwall Ontario.

I had US dollars but no change and they wouldn't take a Canadian dime.

 

I'm doing a Canada / New England cruise at the end of Sep and I will go to my bank for USD before I go. They ask what denominations, hand me the money and take the cost from my account. No fees, just the current exchange rate, takes less than 5 mins. Have done this a few times already this year. Do the same for Euros when I go to Europe.

 

Getting foreign currency at a US bank does seem to be a bit of an ordeal though. 

I lived in Colorado for a few years and when planning a trip to Europe I went to my bank and asked for a few hundred euros. The teller says "we don't do that". I'm like, what do you mean you don't do that, you're a bank! Had to go to a different bank (only one did foreign exchange), fill out forms, pay a fee and it took several days to get it.

Also couldn't get a chip and pin credit card from my US bank. they only had chip and signature.

Ended up getting a US dollar chip and pin CC from my Canadian bank to go to Europe.

US banking is very much behind the rest of the world.

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On 8/23/2023 at 1:14 PM, LHT28 said:

I do not understand the reluctance of Americans to convert some $ to CAD  We Canadians have always  converted to USD when going  to the USA

The reason is that United States dollars are an international currency, recognized worldwide. Everyone wants United States dollars. Some countries use United States dollars as their national currency (e.g., El Salvador, Panamá). On the other hand, Canadian dollars are used only domestically in Canada and not recognized anywhere else. No one wants Canadian dollars (besides Canadians). Thus, there is reason for Canadians to have United States dollars (and most Canadian banks offer accounts denominated in United States dollars), and United States dollars can be easily obtained by Canadians at Canadian banks with little or no service charge. On the other hand, there is little reason for Americans to ever have Canadian dollars, and it is generally cumbersome for Americans to obtain Canadian dollars at American banks, usually with substantial service charges. It might be nice to wish that all countries were all on the same level, but the fact is that the United States is a much more desirable country with respect to its currency.

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1 hour ago, GTJ said:

The reason is that United States dollars are an international currency, recognized worldwide. Everyone wants United States dollars. Some countries use United States dollars as their national currency (e.g., El Salvador, Panamá). On the other hand, Canadian dollars are used only domestically in Canada and not recognized anywhere else. No one wants Canadian dollars (besides Canadians). Thus, there is reason for Canadians to have United States dollars (and most Canadian banks offer accounts denominated in United States dollars), and United States dollars can be easily obtained by Canadians at Canadian banks with little or no service charge. On the other hand, there is little reason for Americans to ever have Canadian dollars, and it is generally cumbersome for Americans to obtain Canadian dollars at American banks, usually with substantial service charges. It might be nice to wish that all countries were all on the same level, but the fact is that the United States is a much more desirable country with respect to its currency.

That's not a reason; it''s more a discussion of the USD as a reserve currency.  I think many Americans don't bother purchasing some local currency on the belief that the USD is almighty and the locals will be happy to have them and figure out a way to convert them into local currency to make them useful for their day-to-day living needs.

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16 hours ago, electro said:

Also couldn't get a chip and pin credit card from my US bank. they only had chip and signature.

Ended up getting a US dollar chip and pin CC from my Canadian bank to go to Europe.

US banking is very much behind the rest of the world.

 

It still blows my mind every time I have to hand over my credit card to have it taken away to run in a restaurant in the States. Especially since I can't remember the last time I actually signed the back of my cards - with chip & pin, signatures are effectively useless. 

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