One of the best opportunities recently for travellers was the CIBC AC Conversion Card. Since you can use credit cards to load these cards, it’s possible to earn a lot of points. The card supports more than 10 currencies, and can be one of many useful tools when it comes to spending abroad.
CIBC AC Conversion Card – Overview
Apply for the card here – it’s free. Initially, you have to load a minimum of 100 CAD equivalent in foreign currency. As soon as you complete the process, you should be able to load funds immediately, even before your receive the card. The online interface is straightforward, as well as the app. You can save your credit cards so you don’t even have to reenter anything every day.
The maximum amount in CAD you will be able to load is $100. You can load up to $2000 equivalent in any other currency. CIBC AC Conversion charges roughly a 2.5% premium over the normal Visa or MasterCard exchange rate, similar to a credit card. If you get the card today, you’ll still be able to get in at least 25 loads for free points. Be aware that Rogers and MBNA MasterCards code these transactions as cash advances.
With all purchases in foreign currencies, it makes more sense to use credit cards as there are some without foreign transaction fees. ATM withdrawals are free in Canada, and you receive one free transaction per month abroad with this card, which may be a good deal if you don’t have something to waive ATM foreign transaction fees.
Is the AC Conversion Card Useful after April 13th?
You are currently able to load $100 in CAD per day. This changes April 13th. You will no longer be able to load these funds directly at that time. However, the card may still be useful in certain scenarios. First, if you are able to float the money, you could technically load the card and have the funds sit until the exchange rate becomes more favourable. This works especially best with the USD/CAD currency pair, as historically the rates simply moved back and forth. Of course, historical returns are not an indicator of future figures.
However, I see that the primary use of this card is to convert money to USD. By itself, the rate doesn’t necessarily make sense. The current most convenient method to convert CAD to USD is Transferwise, which charges a 1% fee after your first conversion of up to $500 USD. However, since you can load the AC Conversion card for up to $2,000 per day with a credit card, you can easily rack up huge amounts in a short period of time. This is especially useful for credit cards with high minimum spend requirements.
The best place to use this card is on Venmo. There’s no fee to spend money to friends on the app with a debit card. If you have a US bank account, this means you can easily move CAD from USD without even heading toward the border, while being able to use a credit card. For a standard credit offering 25,000 points after spending $1,000, you’ll only need to load once to get the bonus points. For a $5,000 minimum spend, that’s only three loads. As long as you only use credit cards where you need to meet the minimum spend, keeping the AC Conversion Card long term isn’t a bad idea. It’s free, anyways.