Foreign Exchange Resource Centre
Q.What is the Market Exchange Rate?
A.The Market Exchange Rate (sometimes called the Spot Rate) is the reference rate in the foreign exchange market and is constantly changing depending on market conditions impacting supply and demand for a particular currency. This rate measures the relative value of two currencies. You can find the Market Exchange Rate for various currencies quoted on our home page. You can also find it on various sources on the internet including Yahoo Finance. The Bank of Canada provides daily updates but not live rates.
Q.What are the rates that appear next to each institution and why are they different than one another?
A.Exchange rate service providers take the exchange rate determined by the market at any time and add (or subtract if they are buying) a margin before offering the rate to their clients. These institutions compete against one another by trying to attract clients by offering rates that are closest to the market reference rates. That is why, it is important for you to be educated before making an exchange. You should know the reference rate, as well as the rate being offered at various institutions.
Q.Should I use my own institution or the institution that offers the best rate?
A.Ultimately, that is up to you. Using your own institution is probably most convenient but if they are not offering the best rate and the differences are material, you might want to contact one of the other institutions. Some banks will only do conversions for their own clients. Foreign exchange specialists are a good option if the size of the transaction is large enough to justify the potential inconvenience involved of having to deal with a new company.
Q.How accurate is your methodology for determining the exchange rates offered by each institution?
A.The estimated exchange rates are based on our proprietary model. This model incorporates information provided by the institutions either directly to us, on their websites, on their telephone systems, at their branches and through other sources.
Q.Does the size of the transaction matter in the exchange rate?
A.Yes. Most institutions offer better rates for larger transactions. Our model takes this into account in the rates provided.
Q.Does it make a difference if my exchange is a bank transfer or a cash transfer?
A.Yes. Non-cash rates are generally better than cash rates at most institutions.