CIBC AC Conversion card: a full review in 2022

Fernando Figueiredo

AC Conversion is a prepaid travel card offered by CIBC and Air Canada, and any Canadian traveller might well want to take a closer look. The card’s full name is a bit of a mouthful – CIBC AC Conversion Visa Prepaid Card – but what’s useful is that you can load up to 10 different currencies onto it, to facilitate spending during a trip abroad.

But how do its features stack up, and does it compare well to the competition? In this review, we’ll take a look. You’ll also learn about the free Wise debit card, a low-cost and convenient option in case you’re planning to travel abroad.

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AC Conversion Card: the basics

The first thing to note is an important one: this is not a credit card. It’s a prepaid card.

That means that you’re not borrowing money from a bank. Instead, you have to top the card up with your own money in advance of spending it. So – good news! – you’re never going to accrue debt on this card.

And the second thing to mention is what this card is designed to do. In a nutshell: it’s for when you travel around the world, because it lets you pay in 10 different local currencies.

CIBC AC Conversion currencies

Which currencies, you ask? Here you go:¹

  • Canadian dollars
  • US dollars
  • Mexican pesos
  • British pounds
  • Euros
  • Swiss francs
  • Turkish lira
  • Japanese yen
  • Hong Kong dollars
  • Australian dollars

That’s 10 currencies, and – because of how widely the euro is used – around 30 countries.

CIBC AC Conversion fees and limits

What does it cost, and how much money can you put on it?

The key details are in the table below, but the good news is simple: there’s no fee to get the card, and no annual fee to pay either.¹

CIBC AC Conversion
Signup fee, annual fee $0
Conversion fee $0
Exchange rate Set by CIBC²
Cash back 1% (limited period)
Maximum amount on card CAD 20,000 across currencies
Maximum load amount per 24 hours CAD 3,000 equivalent
ATM withdrawals outside Canada One free per month, then CAD 3.50 or similar fixed fee²
Non-supported currency transactions 2.5%

Foreign exchange conversion fees

With a name like AC Conversion, this is a card you’d expect to deliver when it comes to foreign exchange conversion. And yes, it does indeed charge no extra conversion fee when you convert money between its currencies.

But that doesn’t mean there’s no cost at all: CIBC itself sets the exchange rates that it uses to convert your money, and it’s standard practice for banks to mark up the mid-market exchange rate so that the conversion works out in their favour rather than yours.

So don’t forget to compare the exchange rate you’re getting to the current mid-market rate, to ensure you’re getting as good a deal as it looks like.

Also, do watch out for any spending in non-supported currencies. If the currency you’re spending in isn’t on that list of 10, there’s a 2.5% fee.

AC Conversion app

How do you actually put funds onto your card? Via either the AC Conversion website or the app.¹

What are the apps like? Reviews on Google Play and the App Store paint a mixed picture, with some reviewers complaining about login issues. Others are satisfied.³

CIBC cash back offer

Until April 30, 2022, there’s an additional reason to consider the AC Conversion card. You get 1% cash back on all purchases: a figure comparable to many a credit card.

That could be a useful way to soften the blow a little while you’re travelling, when costs often mount up.

CIBC AC Conversion Visa pros and cons

So, is this card worth it? There are many points in its favour: firstly the absence of costly fees, including foreign exchange fees, means that it should be cost-effective. Having 10 currencies available gives you a decent range of options – although of course it really depends where you’re going to be travelling. (Are you really going to make use of all 10?) And right now, the 1% cash back offer is tempting as well.

The fact that it’s a prepaid card rather than a credit card might be either a pro or a con, depending on what you’re after. Prepaid cards mean far less chance of overspending – a particular concern when we’re talking about foreign travel. And you’ll likely still be able to get one if you have credit history issues.

But on the other hand, you will need to remember to have your card loaded with the correct amount at all times. Plus, of course, you’re not building up a good credit rating by using this card.

As for the cons: for what it is, there aren’t too many, so long as the app works well. The main disadvantage comes in comparison to some other options, which could potentially go even further in offering you a rewarding holiday,

AC Conversion competitors

On its own terms, CIBC’s Air Canada AC Conversion Visa is a handy prepaid option for frequent travellers. But it’s not the only such card out there.

If you want to hunt out other prepaid cards in Canada, there are options including the BMO Prepaid Mastercard and Stack Mastercard that are both designed with travellers in mind – Stack offers no foreign transaction fees, so even though it only holds Canadian dollars it could still prove cost-effective.

And if you’re considering going for a good old-fashioned credit card instead, best travel credit card in Canada is a hotly contested field. Cards like the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite, Scotiabank Gold Amex, and HSBC World Elite have no foreign exchange fee. There are numerous specific traveller rewards cards including the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite and American Express Aeroplan. And some others, like the MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus, even offer their features without an annual fee.

All in all, it’s a crowded market out there when it comes to travel cards, whether they’re prepaid cards or credit cards. The AC Conversion Card is certainly worth considering – but whether it’s the perfect card for you will come down to how much you’re planning to invest in the card, where you’re going, and what rewards you want to get out of it.

Want to save in foreign exchange fees? Meet Wise.

If you’re planning to travel and spend in a different currency, have a look at what Wise has to offer. The Wise card is 4x cheaper than banks for spending abroad..

Always get the mid-market exchange rate

You won’t have any hidden foreign transaction fees - your money gets converted with the real mid-market rate in over 200 countries. The only cost you’ll have is a very low and transparent conversion fee, in case you need to convert your Canadian dollars. Unlike many other cards, there are no monthly or annual charges, nor any minimum balance requirements.

Get other perks, like local account details

The Wise card is part of the Wise account, which means that you can add, hold, and convert over 40 currencies instantly. You can get your own bank details for 10 different currencies (including CAD, USD, GBP, EUR, and more) to receive money from those places.

Get your Wise Card online, start saving


  1. AC Conversion Visa Prepaid Card
  2. CIBC Air Canada AC Conversion Visa Prepaid Card Terms and conditions
  3. Google Play: AC conversion reviews; App Store: AC conversion

*Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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