CIBC AC Conversion Card Review | Get $20 for free

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Are you looking for a CIBC AC Conversion Card review from someone who’s actually had the card in hand? To simply put it, this card is one of the most convenient ways to manage your money abroad since you can load 10 different currencies onto it. Not only will this make your wallet lighter, but it’ll also reduce the fees you’ll pay. Plus, when you use my exclusive referral link, you’ll get $20 for free.

With more Canadians getting vaccinated and restrictions starting to lift around the world, many people are starting to plan their travels. While dreaming about future trips is exciting, you also need to consider how you’re going to pay for things when you’re abroad. Read my CIBC AC Conversion Card review now and find out how this card could work for you.

CIBC AC Conversion Card benefits

  • No annual fee
  • No load or conversion fees
  • Load up to 10 currencies
  • 1% cash back on all eligible purchases
  • $20 for free when using my exclusive referral link
  • Reloadable prepaid card

In case you didn’t know, unless you have a credit card without foreign transaction fees, you’re going to be charged a fee of 2.5% whenever you make a purchase that’s not in Canadian dollars. With the CIBC AC Conversion Card, the only fee you pay is the exchange rate when you load your funds. There are no annual or load fees, so it’s easy to see why this card is appealing to travellers.

As a frequent traveller, I can tell you that managing my money abroad is a pain point. For example, one year I went to Europe and visited Istanbul, Amsterdam, and London. That’s three different currencies I had to deal with. Even though I had a blast, I was stressed out because I was constantly worried about having too little or too much of the local currency. The CIBC AC Conversion Card would have solved that problem since I could have loaded the following 10 currencies to the card.

  • Canadian Dollars – CAD
  • United States Dollars – USD
  • Euros – EUR
  • Great British Pounds – GBP
  • Mexican Peso – MXN
  • Hong Kong Dollars – HKD
  • Australian Dollars – AUD
  • Japanese Yen – JPY
  • Turkish Lira – TRY
  • Swiss Franc – CHF

Those 10 currencies will cover you in 45 countries, so anyone using the CIBC AC Conversion card can easily manage their funds. If you’re in a country that doesn’t use one of the listed currencies, you’d pay a foreign transaction fee of 2.5%.

It’s important to note that the CIBC AC Conversion Card is not a credit card; it’s a prepaid Visa. What that means is that you load funds in advance, which you can then spend later. This can work in your favour since you’ll know the exact exchange rate when you load your card. Since the CIBC AC Conversion Card is a digital solution and doesn’t require a bricks and mortar store to operate. As a result, the exchange rates are usually better than what’s offered at financial institutions.

Many people reading my CIBC AC Conversion Card review may be surprised to learn that this card gives you 1% cash back on all purchases made. That’s unheard of for a multi-currency prepaid card. In addition, if you sign up for the prepaid card with my exclusive referral link, you get $20 for free. Note that once you have the card, you can refer friends, and you’ll each get $10.

Another added benefit of the CIBC AC Conversion Card is the ability to withdraw cash from local ATMs. There are no fees for ATM withdrawals within Canada. However, you only get one free foreign ATM withdrawal each month. After that, you’ll pay about $3.50 – $5 each time. Note that this fee is just to use the ATM, and there’s no additional fee to withdraw funds from a compatible currency. For reference, if you used your regular debit card, you’d likely have to pay a withdrawal fee AND a foreign transaction fee.

The card does not come with CDIC Insurance, but you get emergency card replacement, emergency cash, and protection from unauthorized use of your card. If you lose your card, there is a $25 replacement fee.

How to load funds, use your card, and check your balance

Loading funds is easy since you can do it via the mobile app and your account at acconversion.cibc.com. The exchange rates are clearly displayed, so you’ll know exactly what you’re paying when loading funds. There are a few transaction limits that you need to be aware of.

  • No minimum load amount
  • Maximum load amount (single transaction): $2,999.99 CAD equivalent
  • Maximum balance: $20,000 CAD equivalent
  • Daily (24-hour) maximum point of sale purchase limit: $2,999.99 CAD equivalent
  • Daily (24-hour) maximum ATM withdrawal limit: $2,000 CAD equivalent

Using your card for purchases is no different from any other credit card. Since the CIBC AC Conversion Card is a Visa card, you can use it wherever Visa is accepted. For purchases under $250, you can tap your card. Alternatively, since your card has a chip, you can insert your card into the terminal and enter your PIN to complete the transaction.

This multi-currency prepaid card will automatically know to use the local supported currency, so there’s nothing for you to do. That said, if you’re given a choice between paying in the local currency or Canadian dollars, always choose the local currency. This is known as dynamic currency conversion, and the credit card processor (not CIBC) will charge you a transaction fee if you choose Canadian dollars.

If you’re wondering what your balance is, you can refer to the mobile app or your account at acconversion.cibc.com.

CIBC AC Conversion Card pros and cons

The CIBC AC Conversion Card is one of the best currency exchange options for travellers, but that doesn’t mean you should apply right away. It’s always a good idea to look at the pros and cons to help you decide if it’s a good fit for you.

Pros

  • Multi-currency prepaid card – Hold up to 10 currencies that can be used in 45 countries.
  • Earn cash back – You’ll get 1% cash back on all your purchases.
  • No fees There are no annual, load, or conversion fees.
  • Referral bonus – Get $20 when you sign up with my exclusive referral link.

Cons

  • May not be the cheapest option – Credit cards with no foreign transaction fees could have lower exchange rates.
  • Lack of free ATM withdrawals – You only get one free ATM withdrawal outside of Canada a month
  • Limited benefits – There are no additional perks or benefits beyond the 1% cash back.
  • Does not build credit – As a prepaid credit card, you do not build your credit score.

How the CIBC AC Conversion Card compares to others

When comparing the CIBC AC Conversion Card to others on the market, you need to think about your goals. If you’re looking for a multi-currency prepaid card, then the CIBC AC Conversion Card is the best since it holds 10 currencies and gives you cash back. The closest comparison would be the Canada Post Cash Passport Card, but it only has 7 currencies, and it has quite a few fees, including load fees.

For those looking for the lowest fees possible, the CIBC AC Conversion Card has reasonable rates, but one of the best no foreign transaction fee credit cards might be better. The “catch” is, when you make a purchase with a credit card without foreign transaction fees, you’re paying the exchange rate at the time of the transaction. With the CIBC AC Conversion Card, your rate is locked in whenever you load the card, so you know what you’re paying in advance.

Overall, I’d recommend the CIBC AC Conversion Card if you want something that can hold multiple currencies. If ATM withdrawals are important to you, then the STACK Mastercard is likely a better choice. The Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card could be a good choice for those who want an all-in-one travel credit card since it comes with lounge access, no foreign transaction fees, and good travel insurance.

Final thoughts

Anyone that wants a multi-currency prepaid card will find my CIBC AC Conversion Card review positive. Loading currencies is easy, and you can use your card in 45 countries. Plus, you’ll earn 1% cash back on all purchases. This is definitely an excellent card to have when you travel, but if you prefer something with more benefits, there are better options. If you’re ready to sign up for the CIBC AC Conversion Card, use my exclusive referral link and get $20 for free.

CIBC AC Conversion Card Review | Get $20 for free

About Barry Choi

Barry Choi is a Toronto-based personal finance and travel expert who frequently makes media appearances. His blog Money We Have is one of Canada’s most trusted sources when it comes to money and travel. You can find him on Twitter:@barrychoi

35 Comments

  1. Cristina on September 6, 2017 at 5:38 PM

    I think that’s a fair review. Transaction fees are no fun. I get a lot of benefit from my Amazon Chase Visa which I’m glad to see it’s listed in your other post. It seems to be a better option bc it has no foreign transaction fees, just straight currency exchange. And most places these days take credit now

    • Barry Choi on September 6, 2017 at 6:23 PM

      Cristina,

      With this card, some of the exchange rates can be 5% + which is obviously significantly better 0% that credit cards with no foreign transaction fees offer. Like you, I just charge everything to my Amazon card. The only downside is that the Amazon card is no longer accepting new applications.

  2. Jeff Barnett on September 15, 2017 at 12:11 PM

    This card is a huge disappointment. I just came back from a trip to Ireland and I found this card very frustrating for 54reasons.:1) It really has nothing to do with CIBC because you cannot transfer founds from you CIBC account 2) The ability to transfer funds via Interac is limited – no CIBC and I could not use my local credit union as well. THe only way to load was using a credit card and I got dinged a $7.50 cash advance fee when I used my TD Mastercard 3) THe website is not great because if you try to load money from another credit your name is pre-filled and you cannot change this – on some cards I am Jeff while on others I am Jeffrey 4) I had l left over funds and I thought I could transfer them to CDN dollars on the card to pay for a cab ride form the airport. THe card was declined .
    I would have to say unless they get rid of some of these issues I would recommend staying away from this

    • Barry Choi on September 15, 2017 at 8:31 PM

      JEff,

      Those are interesting and fair points. I can see what that would be very frustrating.

      • Elle on December 7, 2018 at 9:40 PM

        Yes, I also got dinged $7.5 for loading the card with money, which defeats the whole damn purpose of having the card. I can just use my interac card with lower fees. You should also mention this fee in the post.

  3. Wayne Hollingshead on October 20, 2017 at 9:52 AM

    Ordered this card prior to a south east asian trip. Paid for express shipping(3 days) but after 1 week still had not received the card. I called and asked for the card to be cancelled and refund my money because I was leaving in 24 hrs, which I was assured would happen . I haven returned from my 3+ week trip yet no refund yet – it has been over 1 month since they took my money. Multiple emails and calls to CIBC and still no refund. Quick to take your money but dont want to refund it . Typical BIG BANK they dont care about customers

  4. Ryan on March 12, 2018 at 10:12 AM

    I’m going to trips in Europe and the US this year. For those trips, do you see any big differences between getting this AC card and getting 2 of the CIBC Smart Prepaid Travel Visa Cards (one EURO and one USD)? Those cost $5.95 each but are integrated into CIBC online banking. Other than that, I haven’t been able to spot much of a difference between the two options.

    • Barry Choi on March 12, 2018 at 10:18 AM

      Hi Ryan

      My only concern would be where CIBC pulls their exchange rates for the prepaid travel visa cards. With the AC Conversion card, they have their own rates which is lower compared to what you get if you walked into the branch. Assuming they also use the lower rates, then it probably doesn’t make a difference. That being said, it’s still cheaper to use a credit card with no foreign transaction fees.

  5. Steve W on April 7, 2018 at 8:25 PM

    This is a terrible card!!!!! They fail to let you know that you are only allowed to withdraw 60% of the total amount from what you put in or the card will be locked. Then you will need to have two pieces of ID to prove your identity before they will unlock your account. This is after you contact customer service and provide your security identification. It could take up to 5 business days before your card is unlocked. YAH, they are so helpful and if I put whatever amount onto the card I should be able to withdraw any amount I desire if there is sufficient amount in the account. I find it super ridiculous.

    • Marty VAN Gastel on October 5, 2018 at 11:02 AM

      Hi Steve
      I feel your Frustration to use the word TERRIBLE is a gross underestimation of this card.
      As a matter of fact I don’t believe there is a word a sentence or a statement that can describe it.
      I too experienced the same experience as you can you only after waiting 3 weeks having reissued for a $25.00 fee
      to waiting to reset my pass code Via a short 36 numeric, alphabetic, special character pass code to tring it just over 20 times.
      Spending numerous hours on the line with them after having the card locked.
      I could go on and on with my ramble as i’ve only started.
      Could you imagine traveling with this fraudulent card in your wallet. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like in a foreign prison after trying to pass this card off for legal currency.
      This card should be banned at any cost and should be reviewed by the powers to be.

  6. Joyce on May 16, 2018 at 1:02 PM

    Hi Barry,

    I have been reading a lot of reviews but still confused over the small details… can you elaborate on why it would be cheaper to use a credit card with no foreign transaction fees? I’m unclear on how the exchange rates on the AC card could be more competitive when you say that the foreign transaction fee is already built into the card’s exchange rate.

    And to be clear I would only be paying the 2.5% foreign transaction fee if I use a non-supported currency on the card?

    Thank you so much!

    • Barry Choi on May 16, 2018 at 2:36 PM

      Hi Joyce,

      So with the AC conversion card, you load funds onto your card online. However, you pay CIBC’s exchange rates at that time which may be more or less than 2.5%.

      If you were to use a credit card with no foreign transaction fees, then you just pay the spot rate (as in, no markup).

      And yes, you would pay the 2.5% fee for non supported currencies

      • joyce on May 24, 2018 at 8:17 PM

        Thanks Barry. Do you know if I have to open a CIBC chequing account to use this card?

        • Barry Choi on May 24, 2018 at 9:19 PM

          Hi Joyce,

          As far as I know, you don’t need a CIBC chequing account to use the card.

  7. Gwen Nielsen on May 21, 2018 at 11:41 AM

    I find the best bet to get cash when travelling is having a Tangerine or Scotia bank account to access your funds via their international ATM network..which is VERY large..for free transactions. So no nasty multiple international ATM withdrawal fees!!

    • Barry Choi on May 21, 2018 at 12:40 PM

      Gwen,

      Yes, I prefer to just withdraw cash from local ATMs also.

  8. Laura Fedirchuk on July 9, 2018 at 7:35 AM

    Really wish I had read these reviews before I ordered this card. After two weeks and paying for express shipping my daughter is overseas without the card and no one knows where the card is. So disappointing.

    • Marty Van Gastel on October 8, 2018 at 2:35 AM

      Are you serious This Card is a Scam
      I loaded my card Aug22/18 The first one got lost I tried to use it several times was declined even tho adequate funds there
      Have made several calls and visits to branch still waiting for a call back
      Next email will be to the president of CIBC as Well as Air Canada and other Government agencies reporting this card

  9. Peter Muir on August 14, 2018 at 12:01 PM

    Be very careful using TD Credit Cards as they consider loading charges a Cash Advances. You will be charged $3.50 per transaction plus interest. There is no information of AC Conversion site.

  10. Luis on October 11, 2018 at 10:24 AM

    Has anyone tried to link this card3wirh Stipe? Just wondering if they keep the original currency

  11. Choo on December 28, 2018 at 3:01 PM

    I wish I had read this article before loading my card with US $100 and AUD $1000. I’ll be traveling soon and I hope I’ll be able to use it with no problems. I had difficulty at the very beginning with the activation of the card. Had to contact them several times. Anyway, thanks for writing this article. I will use my Scotia and RBC debit card for emergency cash instead of this, if this one fails to work. Definitely do not plan to load more funds on this!

  12. Fred on January 19, 2019 at 12:41 PM

    Hi Barry !
    Are you 100% sure that they charge the 2.5% conversion fee when you load up the card in the 1st place ??? If so, I think it blows up all the card’ pros …
    Thanks for your answer.

    • Barry Choi on January 19, 2019 at 1:59 PM

      Fred,

      The CIBC AC Conversion card uses rates posted on the AC Conversion card website. In some cases is higher than 2.5 while in others it’s slightly below.

  13. Sal on March 5, 2019 at 10:06 PM

    If you load cash using CIBC credit card, you will not get charged for cash advance.

  14. Dan on May 10, 2019 at 11:49 AM

    Two quick questions:
    1. Is there any way to load funds onto this card without incurring the ~2.5% exchange fee from CIBC?
    2. If you will be hit with the ~2.5% exchange fee anyways when you load your funds onto the card, is there any advantage of this card over using any standard credit card (besides “locking in” the exchange rate when you load the card) to make purchases in a foreign country?

  15. B on August 20, 2019 at 6:49 PM

    I tried and gave up. I do not bank with CIBC, and the only options to load the card via the site are TD and RBC, and a few obscure small credit unions. Neither TD nor RBC support interac online (confirmed via phone to them), so was unable to load any money on to the card. The idea of the card seems great, but it has been incredible frustrating to set up. Will leave it at home for the trip.

    • Barry Choi on August 20, 2019 at 8:34 PM

      B,

      I recommend using the STACK Mastercard instead.

  16. Rick on August 22, 2019 at 1:36 PM

    Can this card be used to secure and pay for hotels and/or rental cars?

  17. Scott Elliott on November 3, 2019 at 4:19 PM

    They deactivated my AC Conversion card 2 weeks before I am going on a trip to Mexico and was going to use it. There is no way to reactivate it, I have to pay to get a new one, except my email address is associated to the old card and their system won’t let me change/delete my email. I tried signing up for a new card and their form says my date of birth doesn’t match my card or something? No more AC Conversion card for me. Not worth the hassle.

  18. Margaret on January 1, 2020 at 7:18 PM

    I’m planning to go for vacations to Florida. I would need to take around $2,000US for my stay. I did open CIBC US account and I’m planning to buy US dollars online into this CIBC US account. Then I need to transfer these US dollars from my US account to my AC Conversion visa either with the teller or as bill payment directly from my US account (if I can ) I wonder if I transfer US $ from my US account to AC Conversion visa they show directly as US $ or will convert to Canadian $ and they show as CAN$ ?

    • Barry Choi on January 2, 2020 at 8:11 AM

      Hi Margaret,

      I’m not sure if you get charged additional fees if funding your AC conversion card with USD. You’d have to contact customer service.

      Where do you plan on using your card?

  19. we did 46 hat on November 15, 2020 at 10:56 AM

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts

  20. Bruno Corriveau on January 26, 2021 at 12:13 PM

    I am very displeased with the card. I accept the fees for the convenience but the customers service is poor. There was a number of erroneous transactions on my card i.e. funds being withdrawn from the wrong wallet which incurred an unnecessary conversion cost and, even though my grievance is well documented and supported, I have yet to receive a resolution from CIBC. I liked the idea of the card but, because of poor customer service, it is going straight to the rubbish bin once I get my money back.

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