Author Topic: Canada+USA: Biggest accepted bill?  (Read 3451 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline BikeFreak

Canada+USA: Biggest accepted bill?
« on: May 29, 2017, 02:27:04 am »
Hi,

I need to change money in advance for my next trip to Canada and USA and I would like to carry the biggest bills possible in order to reduce volume. So, in terms of small grocery stores and rural gas stations, what are the biggest bills being accepted in:

a) Canada
b) USA

Lucas

Offline ggwbikemt

Re: Canada+USA: Biggest accepted bill?
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2017, 05:21:46 am »
For both Canada and USA, it depends on the store and in some cases time of day. $20 bills are accepted almost everywhere even for small transactions day and night. For security reasons, some stores do not keep enough cash in the registers to make change for a $50 or $100 bill. I would make sure that some $20 bills are included in your cash.     

Offline DaveB

Re: Canada+USA: Biggest accepted bill?
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2017, 08:09:44 am »
I agree that $20 bills are the largest that won't cause problems or suspicion in small stores.  If you want to carry a lot of $50 or $100 bills to reduce volume, plan on stopping at a bank periodically to break them into $10 and $20 bills as needed.

Also, why carry a lot of cash?  A credit card or debit card is more secure and, obviously much less bulky. 

indyfabz

  • Guest
Re: Canada+USA: Biggest accepted bill?
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2017, 08:25:00 am »
This came up several years ago. Having $20s as opposed to $100s adds little in way of bulk (U.S. bills are 0.0043" thick.) unless you are carrying an amount of cash that I cannot imagine anyone carrying legal activities.


Offline John Nelson

Re: Canada+USA: Biggest accepted bill?
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2017, 10:52:15 am »
You can carry a mixture of $20s and $100s. When you get low on $20s, break a $100 at a place that deals in a lot of cash such as a grocery store.

Offline DaveB

Re: Canada+USA: Biggest accepted bill?
« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2017, 11:17:02 am »
This came up several years ago. Having $20s as opposed to $100s adds little in way of bulk (U.S. bills are 0.0043" thick.) unless you are carrying an amount of cash that I cannot imagine anyone carrying legal activities.
It's not the legality of carrying a large amount of cash that's the problem.  It the chance of loss or theft that would worry me.  A credit card is more secure and accepted nearly anywhere for any amount. 

Offline staehpj1

Re: Canada+USA: Biggest accepted bill?
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2017, 11:42:15 am »
A credit card is more secure and accepted nearly anywhere for any amount.
Many small town general stores frown on plastic especially for small purchases, so carrying some cash is essential IMO.  I tend to carry a limited amount of cash at any given time, sometimes it might get down to as little as $50 and I typically never carry more than a couple hundred.  I typically have it mostly in tens and twentys.

Sometimes I have stayed in campsites with honor boxes that allow no provision for making change so either having some small bills to make exact change or a checkbook is a good idea.  I pretty much never use checks in normal life, but on tour they can come in handy.  Some small town general stores actually prefer them to plastic, but I usually use cash there.

I really see no need to carry enough cash that bulk is a big issue even if it was in fives and tens and with tens and twentys I definitely can't imagine myself carrying enough that bulk or weight was a big problem.  In bigger towns you can either hit an ATM or get cash back with a credit/debit card purchase, so I never feel the need to carry enough cash for long periods.

Offline adventurepdx

  • World Traveler
  • *****
  • Posts: 496
  • Riding bikes in and around Portland, Oregon
Re: Canada+USA: Biggest accepted bill?
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2017, 01:10:52 pm »
Many small town general stores frown on plastic especially for small purchases, so carrying some cash is essential IMO...Sometimes I have stayed in campsites with honor boxes that allow no provision for making change so either having some small bills to make exact change or a checkbook is a good idea.  I pretty much never use checks in normal life, but on tour they can come in handy.  Some small town general stores actually prefer them to plastic, but I usually use cash there.

Yeah. While you can charge a LOT while on tour, there are still places where cash is handy, esp. when you are out there. Smaller bills are more helpful. It won't do you a lot of good to show up at one of those campsites with an honor box and only have a $100.

Offline DaveB

Re: Canada+USA: Biggest accepted bill?
« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2017, 05:55:14 pm »
A credit card is more secure and accepted nearly anywhere for any amount.
Many small town general stores frown on plastic especially for small purchases, so carrying some cash is essential IMO.  I tend to carry a limited amount of cash at any given time, sometimes it might get down to as little as $50 and I typically never carry more than a couple hundred.  I typically have it mostly in tens and twentys.
I wasn't recommending carrying no cash at all.  You are right some smaller stores don't like credit cards and some places aren't even equipped to handle them so some cash is essential.  However, the OP was apparently proposing to carry a huge bundle of cash and that's not a good idea or necessary.

Offline BikeFreak

Re: Canada+USA: Biggest accepted bill?
« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2017, 06:37:31 pm »
Thanks for all your replies so far. I have completed long distance bike trips in 2 different ways:

a) Rely on debit card and withdraw 250 USD (my max daily limit using my European debit card) from an ATM machine every time cash gets low. Withdrawal fee about 5 USD every single time.

b) Start trip with 1000 USD in 20 dollar bills and a debit card as a backup.

Looking back I prefer b): I never get stressed trying to find an ATM in a rural area. Usually I prefer to focus finding something to eat and a place to sleep - not looking for ATM machines - and believe me - it can get very rural in the US. I never felt unsafe carrying 1000 USD in cash, the only drawback is that 50 20 dollar bills are bulky in the purse/wallet - of course they become less and less every day :-P.

Lucas

Offline John Nelson

Re: Canada+USA: Biggest accepted bill?
« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2017, 09:03:58 pm »
I don't see much downside to carrying a lot of cash if you are a careful person who doesn't lose things. Keep the cash with you at all times and the chances of theft are extremely small. I also don't like the hassle of looking for ATM machines, especially in rural areas.

indyfabz

  • Guest

Offline geegee

Re: Canada+USA: Biggest accepted bill?
« Reply #12 on: May 30, 2017, 11:05:15 am »
Gas station stores rarely have problems with breaking $50s and $100s. Ever since Canada went with polymer bills which are easier to check for counterfeit with due diligence and training, the comfort level in accepting larger bills has improved.

Offline kd5nrh

Re: Canada+USA: Biggest accepted bill?
« Reply #13 on: May 30, 2017, 06:00:34 pm »
I don't see much downside to carrying a lot of cash if you are a careful person who doesn't lose things. Keep the cash with you at all times and the chances of theft are extremely small. I also don't like the hassle of looking for ATM machines, especially in rural areas.

Remember, though, that wet cash can be an issue.  Personally, I'd look at carrying $200 as 1x$100, 4x$20, 1x$10, 10x$1, and maybe keep the $100 bill tucked in a drybag.  Use plastic wherever possible, and use cash back at bigger stores that don't charge for it rather than searching out ATMs to replenish the cash.

Offline BikeFreak

Re: Canada+USA: Biggest accepted bill?
« Reply #14 on: May 31, 2017, 01:27:44 pm »
How do you know/see if a store offers cash-back?