Are U.S. dollars working for Canadians? RBC poll asks
Most Canadians ignore possible savings
TORONTO, April 24, 2008 — Nearly half (45 per
cent) of all Canadians who travel across the border purchase
U.S. dollars whenever they need them, regardless of the exchange
rate, according to the 2008 RBC Account Habits Poll.
"With the strong Canadian dollar, people are shopping
south of the border, taking more time to travel abroad and
not really thinking about the cost of buying foreign currency,
especially U.S. dollars," said Max Thompson, head of
GICs and Savings. "Instead of planning ahead, many Canadians
get caught by fluctuating currency rates and can lose money
by exchanging funds at inopportune times."
The RBC poll asked Canadians how they manage their U.S. dollars,
and despite the significant number of Canadians who travel
abroad and use U.S. dollars, only three in ten Canadians regularly
save them in an account for travel purposes. Among those Canadians
who do save U.S. funds, 64 per cent keep their U.S. cash at
home. In fact, just one in three (32 per cent) Canadians who
use U.S. dollars abroad monitor exchange rates and wait to
purchase U.S. dollars when it is favourable.
Interestingly, Canadians age 54 and older are more likely
to keep their travel funds in a U.S. dollar bank account (43
per cent), compared to those age 35 to 54 (32 per cent and
those age 18 to 34 (29 per cent). In addition, men (43 per
cent are more likely than women (30 per cent) to keep their
money in a U.S. dollar bank account, while women (59 per cent)
are more likely than men (45 per cent to keep it at home in
In looking at travel habits and U.S. dollar usage among Canadians,
almost 720,000 (three per cent) travel across the border or
to another country that accepts U.S. dollars at least once
a month, while one fifth (17 per cent) of respondents travel
abroad to countries that accept U.S. dollars a few times a
year. About 20 per cent of Canadians travel outside of the
country about once a year where they accept U.S. dollars.
In thinking about the last five places respondents have travelled,
two thirds (62 per cent) purchased and used U.S. dollars when
they travelled outside of Canada, compared with Euros at six
per cent and Pesos at five per cent.
"Considering the number of Canadians who travel abroad
and need U.S. dollars, purchasing them when exchange rates
are favourable and placing them in an account to capitalize
on interest is better than waiting until the last minute or
having cash sit in a drawer at home collecting dust or getting
lost," said Mr. Thompson.
The poll also looked at what Canadians do with their U.S.
dollars once they return home from a trip or vacation abroad.
Most Canadians who use U.S. dollars are not putting their
leftover cash into their bank accounts when they return home.
One half (50 per cent) leave it at home in a safe place, possibly
for their next trip while 29 per cent exchange it for Canadian
funds and eight per cent make sure to spend it all. Only 16
per cent put the leftover money in their U.S. bank account.
These are some of the findings of an RBC poll conducted
by Ipsos Reid between March 13 and March 18, 2008. This online
survey of 2,020 adult Canadian bank account holders was conducted
via the Ipsos I-Say Online Panel, Ipsos Reid's national online
panel. The results are based on a sample where quota sampling
and weighting are employed to balance demographics and ensure
that the sample's composition reflects that of the actual
Canadian population according to Census data. With a representative
sample of this size, the results are considered accurate to
within ±2.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20,
of what they would have been had the entire adult Canadian
population of bank-account holders been polled.
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For more information, contact:
Jackie Braden, RBC, Media Relations, 416-974-2124
For full tabular results, please see the Ipsos Reid website