Currency exchange in downtown Vancouver, BC

First published on September 18, 2011

When you’re in Vancouver and you need to exchange Canadian dollars for foreign currency, and vice versa, you want to stay away from many of the currency exchange companies. However, the common alternatives (the banks and credit unions) still include quite a large spread in their buy and sell rates. When you’re in downtown Vancouver, the Vancouver Bullion and Currency Exchange (VBCE) at Pender and Howe is widely recommended as giving the best rates.

However, I’ve often run into long lines at the VBCE, especially at mid-day. Just over 1 block away — east on Pender and then north on Granville if you’re on foot — is a small shop called Benny Lee & Co that I can also recommend. The address is 470 Granville Street (formerly 619 West Hastings Street). The couple of times that I’ve gone there, I did not encounter a line, and the rates were comparable to those at the VBCE.

You can also exchange currency online at XE Trade if you have both Canadian dollar and US dollar bank accounts.


4 Responses to “Currency exchange in downtown Vancouver, BC”

  1. Mike Reeson says:

    When we went to Vancouver we just used American dollars. Most merchants were really good about accepting it.

  2. James says:

    I went to Benny Lee and got a better rate and service today. They are very courteous and friendly!

  3. Billy says:

    In contrast, don’t go to "EverForex" at 489 Richard St. just a block from VBCE. I was at EverForex recently to exchange for a mere US$500. They didn’t have that much cash and offered US$400 @ an agreed rate. I accepted but first they had to have my driver’s license, phone # and occupation. They scanned all that info onto an "agreement" where I had to sign a declaration that my source of funds was not from money laundering or some terrorist activities!

    All the information gathering and inputting into the computer took the better part of 15 minutes. I was then told that the rate had gone up slightly and I would have to pony up a few cents more for the exchange. I refused and after several minutes, they agreed to honor the first quoted rate. I was made to sign two more forms to confirm the handing over of cash. The US currency notes I received were far from the usually clean and crisp notes that VBCE gives out every single time I was there. Suffice it to say I don’t plan to re-visit EverForex any time soon.

  4. Billy says:

    I’d like to know if anyone else had the driver licence scanned as well. Thanks.

    Reply from Peter: They didn’t make me do it, but it might depend on the amount being exchanged. makes you do it just to open an account.

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