Canada’s currency is the Canadian dollar. There are 100 cents in a dollar. The currency is a mix of coins and banknotes. Coin denominations include the nickel (5 cents), the dime (10 cents), the quarter (25 cents), the one-dollar coin (known as the “loonie”), and the two-dollar coin (known as a “toonie”).

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he government has phased out the one-cent copper penny, so all cash transactions are rounded to the nearest 5 cents. This does not apply to transactions paid by debit and credit card. New polymer bank notes replaced the older paper bills. They come in denominations of $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100. Each has a distinct colour. Canadians rely heavily, however, on the convenience of electronic payment methods, using bank cards, and e-mail or online transfers.

Generally, Canadians keep their money in bank accounts, which are used to write cheques, apply for credit, earn interest and pay bills. The same kinds of services are offered by credit unions, caissespopulaires and trust companies. Banks are heavily regulated by the Canadian government and are considered among the safest in the world. Each offers a variety of accounts, loans and services, so it is advisable to do some research before committing to an institution or account, since fees and transactions differ. Post office savings accounts do not exist in Canada.

All financial institutions that accept deposits, except caissespopulaires and credit unions, must be members of the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC). Caissespopulaires and credit unions are regulated by provincial agencies, which insure their deposits. Credit unions are locally-controlled organizations in which each customer is also a shareholder with a vote on how the institution is run. Sometimes a certain group of people with a shared interest or employment will set up their own credit union.

The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) is an independent body that works to protect consumers and inform them about financial products and services. For information on money management, such as suitable credit cards, interest charges, consumer’s rights and responsibilities, and security issues, such as unauthorized credit card transactions, visit www.fcac-acfc.gc.ca.