Online Shopping: Foreign Currencies

In the News

Whether you’re buying goods or services from Quebec or abroad, sellers can charge you in foreign currencies. How are you protected?

Seller must tell you what currency they charge

If not, you usually have 7 days from when you receive the receipt or became aware of the charge through your credit card statement to cancel your purchase.

If the seller doesn’t send a receipt within 15 days after your purchase, you have 30 days from the date of purchase to cancel.

Fees must be clear

If you use your credit card to buy something in a foreign currency, your bank will convert the charge to Canadian dollars, according to its own exchange rate. For example, here are the Visa and Mastercard exchange rate calculators.

Banks often charge an additional currency conversion fee, usually 2.5% of what you paid once it’s converted to Canadian dollars. The bank must clearly disclose this fee to their customers.

E-commerce platforms may also include conversion fees in their prices when the website offers to convert something to Canadian dollars before you buy.

Watch for currency fluctuations

If you sign a contract for a service with monthly fees, the amount you pay may fluctuate with currency conversion rates. You may be able to negotiate a one-time payment to avoid fluctuations.

If you buy something in a foreign currency and return it later, you might not get back the same amount if the conversion rate has changed.