Review: CIBC Air Canada AC conversion Visa Prepaid Card

by Barry Choi March 9, 2018 / 6 Comments

Whenever people travel, one of the most basic questions that comes up is how should I pay for things? Cash is the obvious choice since it’s accepted everywhere, but then you need to either get enough before you depart or withdraw it as needed from local ATMs. You could also use a credit card, but then you need to worry about fees unless you have a credit card with no foreign transaction fees.

There’s now another solution which may appeal to frequent travellers. The CIBC Air Canada AC conversion Visa Prepaid Card allows you to carry up to 10 currencies on a single card. This gives you the ability to pay like a local in 45 countries. Some of you are probably already wondering what the catch is, so let’s look at the details of the card.

How the CIBC Air Canada AC Conversion Visa Prepaid Card works

As the name implies, the CIBC Air Canada AC Conversion Visa Prepaid Card is a prepaid card. You manage your funds through the website or mobile app. Once your funds are loaded, you can start spending it anywhere VISA is accepted which includes online, at stores, and at restaurants. In addition, you can withdraw cash from your card by using a local ATM.

The currencies available are:

  • US Dollars
  • Euros
  • British Pounds
  • Australian Dollars
  • Japanese Yen
  • Hong Kong Dollars
  • Turkish Lira
  • Swiss Franc
  • Mexican Pesos
  • Canadian Dollars

CIBC Air Canada AC Conversion Visa Prepaid Card

CIBC Air Canada AC conversion Visa Prepaid Card

ac-conversion-card

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  • No foreign transaction fees for supported currencies
  • Carry up to 10 currencies on one card
  • Pay like a local in 45 countries
  • Manage your card from your smartphone or tablet using the AC Conversion app
  • 1 free ATM withdrawal per month outside of Canada, unlimited free ATM withdrawals within Canada

Note that as of April 13th, 2018, you will no longer be able to load Canadian Dollars directly onto the card. However, you can still spend your Canadian dollars on your card after this date. You can still make purchases in Canadian dollars if you have funds available in other currencies, but the exchange rate offered by CIBC to convert your money would apply.

What are the fees

Ordering the card is free, however there is an optional $15 courier fee if you’re in a rush to get the card. Replacement cards do cost you $25 and the fee for ATM withdrawals outside of Canada vary, but average about $3.50 CAD. If you use your card to make a transaction in non-supported currencies, then a 2.5% foreign transaction fee would apply.

As for the exchange rates, those change daily and are based on CIBC’s rates. These rates can be checked at any time on their website or the mobile app. It should be noted that the exchange rates offered are much lower compared to what CIBC offers in-branch, so be sure you’re referring to the CIBC Air Canada AC conversion Visa Prepaid Card page when looking up the daily rates.

Admittedly, having a credit card with no foreign transaction fees will cost you less in fees in the long run, but there’s no denying the convenience of the CIBC AC conversion card. To simply put it, there are no other cards like it on the market. The prepaid aspect of the card will be appealing for some since you’re money won’t be lost even if you physically lose the card.

The final word

If you’re looking for convenience, then this card may suit your needs. However, if minimizing fees is your goal, you may want to take a look at the Home Trust Preferred Visa which has no foreign transaction fees.

Home Trust Preferred Visa


  • No annual fee
  • No foreign exchange fee charged on purchases abroad
  • Earn 1% cash back on all purchases, with no limit on the amount you can earn
  • Not available to residents of Quebec

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  • Amit Desai

    When you say user wont be able to load Canadian Dollars onto the card, do you mean after the initial load?

    • Ratehub

      Hi Amit,
      You set the currency of your AC Conversion Card, and when you transfer funds to the card they are automatically converted to the currency of the card. So, if you set the card to Japanese Yen, any funds you transfer to the card will be turned into Japanese Yen.

      • Amit Desai

        Taking your example, I set the currency to JPY. I transfer funds from my local (CAD) checking acct to the card. Funds get loaded in JPY. So this initial transfer is at the Visa rate (i.e no 2.5% fee)? Also, once I get the card, I am not able to do any more loads in any currency, is that right? This card has so little information on their webpage.

        • Ratehub

          Hi Amit,
          The foreign exchange fee applies in different cases (ie. spending in non-supported currencies). we found a better terms and conditions sheet with more information for you here: http://ow.ly/G3wC30ksQjy

          Thank you

  • Playapapa

    The card worked well for me for almost three years. Now, for some reason, it was declined three times on, 11 November. I checked my account when I returned to the hotel and found that the transactions had gone though and the money deducted. Now the crap I have to go through to get the money back is a joke. I am afraid to use the card again.

  • Is it now possible to reload the AC Conversion Visa using a Mastercard credit card if the issuing bank does not support Mastercard SecureCode? The AC Conversion Visa customer support staff was unaware of the change to require SecureCode earlier this year so understanding the problem with my card required a lot of troubleshooting. I haven’t tried reloading in many months since they discontinued loading in CAD.