cibc bank sign sky clouds

OneCard vs. CIBC AC Conversion™ Visa* Prepaid Card

In Business and Currency, Continental Connection by Continental StaffLeave a Comment

Multi-currency cards allow you to store funds in different currencies all on the same card. They are an invaluable tool for anyone who travels or wants to lock-in rates and exchange currencies on the go. In this post we compare two of the best multi-currency cards on the Canadian market.

Read on for a detailed comparison of OneCard by Continental Currency Exchange™ and the CIBC AC Conversion™ Visa* Prepaid Card. By the end, you should have a pretty good idea of the best multi-currency card for you!

What Are the CIBC Exchange Rates?

exchange rates gbp eur usd jpy rmb

One of the biggest things to consider when signing-up for a multi-currency card (indeed, one of the key reasons for getting a multi-currency card in the first place) are the rates you are going to get with it. A major perk of a multi-currency card is the fact that you can lock in rates when they are favourable, and store money in that currency until you need it.

But when you’re travelling and spending money, you can burn through those funds pretty quick; and if you’re not getting better rates than you would otherwise get with your debit or credit card, why have a multi-currency card at all? Rates are always fluctuating, so it can be hard to state explicitly which card has them better. One thing we can look at though, are the foreign conversion fees.

Foreign conversion fees, also known as foreign transaction fees or foreign exchange fees, are charges made on any purchases where a foreign transaction is involved. For example, if on your CIBC AC Conversion™ Card you only have funds in your Canadian account, but are travelling in the US, any purchase you make with your card will require funds to be converted into US dollars. On top of whatever the rate from CAD to USD is at the time of your purchase, CIBC will charge an additional percentage as a fee for facilitating that conversion.

So what are these fees? Let’s take a look!

CIBC Foreign Exchange Fee vs OneCard
CAD to USDUSD to CADBetween All Other Currencies
CIBC AC Conversion™ Visa* Prepaid Card2.5%2.5%2.5%
OneCard by Continental Currency Exchange™1.49%1.99%2.25%

As you can see, the CIBC foreign conversion fee is consistent across the board at 2.5%, with OneCard a good 25% lower in most instances, and almost 45% lower in Canadian dollar to US dollar conversions. Pair that with Continental Currency Exchange’s best rate guarantee and strong record of offering better rates than the banks, and OneCard is definitely the superior product in the foreign exchange category.  

Clear Winner: OneCard by Continental Currency Exchange™

How Many Currency Accounts Can I Hold With CIBC?

phone woman dollar signs currency accounts

In terms of sheer quantity, the CIBC AC Conversion™ Visa* Prepaid Card holds the edge in this category, with ten currency accounts (CAD, USD, EUR, GBP, AUD, MXN, JPY, CHF, HKD, TRY) against OneCard’s four (CAD, USD, EUR, GBP). If you have the need to store currencies in more than just the major four that can be found on both cards, the CIBC AC Conversion™ Card may be the preferable option.

Clear Winner: CIBC AC Conversion™ Visa* Prepaid Card

How Much Does it Cost to Send Money With CIBC?

send money wire world globe phone

Storing currencies is not everything though, and before you make your decision, you should consider what you’re primarily going to be using your multi-currency card for. If sending money overseas (or receiving it), is a strong motivation, OneCard is probably the way to go.

The ability to make purchases in foreign currencies on global e-commerce is a selling point of both cards. However, CIBC hasn’t made the ability to send funds a priority with the release of their multi-currency travel card. Continental Currency Exchange, on the other hand, has made sending money a key component of OneCard’s capabilities. Take a look at the table below for the costs involved in sending/receiving money with each card.

Sending MoneyReceiving Money
CIBC AC Conversion™ Visa* Prepaid Card15-80.00 CAD15.00 CAD
OneCard by Continental Currency Exchange™Between OneCards: FREE

To other institutions: 10.00 CAD or less


Clear Winner: OneCard by Continental Currency Exchange™

CIBC Fees vs OneCard

percentage sign digital fees

When it comes to fees, on the surface the CIBC AC Conversion™ Card takes the cake: with no charge for activation or any regular monthly/annual fees. Dig deeper though, and the board evens out a bit.

Activation Fee
CIBC AC Conversion™ Visa* Prepaid Card0.00 CAD
OneCard by Continental Currency Exchange™3.00 CAD
Recurring Fees
CIBC AC Conversion™ Visa* Prepaid Card0.00 CAD
OneCard by Continental Currency Exchange™1.00 CAD/month
Replacement Fee
CIBC AC Conversion™ Visa* Prepaid Card25.00 CAD or equivalent
OneCard by Continental Currency Exchange™10.00 CAD

Take replacement fees. While ideally you won’t be losing your card too often, or at all; in the event that it does happen, there’s a significant disparity between the costs to replace each card. The cost to replace the CIBC AC Conversion™ Card is 150% more than that to replace a OneCard.

If you’re good at keeping track of things, this might not be something to worry too much about. But even losing your CIBC AC Conversion™ Card once would outweigh all the other initial savings you made with the lack of an activation charge or recurring fee. If you plan to use your card predominantly for travel, the risk of pickpockets and thieves, and the chance of losing or having your card stolen, should also factor into your consideration here.

CIBC ATM Fees vs OneCard
Within CanadaOutside of Canada
CIBC AC Conversion™ Visa* Prepaid CardFree3.50 CAD

2.95 USD

2.50 EUR

1.95 GBP

49.95 MXN

21.95 HKD

3.95 AUD

349.95 JPY

7.95 TRY

2.95 CHF

OneCard by Continental Currency Exchange™1.00 CADUS ATM: 1.50 USD

EU ATM: 1.50 EUR

UK ATM: 1.50 GBP

Other ATM: 1.50 CAD

ATM fees are another area where OneCard holds a slight edge over the CIBC AC Conversion™ Card. While not as significant a difference as the cost to get a replacement card, it is significant enough.

Now, if you plan on using your multi-currency card fairly frequently at ATMs in Canada, it might be wise to opt for the CIBC card. With no domestic ATM fees, it’s definitely superior to OneCard – although as far as ATM fees go $1.00 per cash withdrawal isn’t all that bad. If your primary intention in picking up a multi-currency card is to use it when travelling, however, the opposite is the case.

OneCard’s international ATM fees are competitive. At worst, they are 23% lower than those on  offer with the CIBC AC Conversion™ Card. At best, almost 60% lower. If you’re someone who tends to go through cash pretty quick while travelling, that difference could add up!

DRAW: CIBC’s lack of recurring fees are counterbalanced by OneCard’s significantly lower ATM and replacement fees

What Are CIBC’s Loading & Spending Limits?

old couple shopping bags spending sunset

Loading funds is an important aspect of a card’s functionality. Things to consider here are how easy it is to actually load funds to the card, how much you can load at once, and how much you can store in total. In terms of loading funds, both cards are fairly evenly matched. Each has a mobile app and website with which you can manage your accounts.

One thing you might find frustrating with CIBC, is that when first activating your card you cannot load directly in Canadian. You will need to purchase a different currency to load first. What’s more, despite not being able to load directly in Canadian, CIBC only allows you to purchase the currencies you do load with Canadian dollars. No such requirement exists with OneCard: you can load funds to your card in Canadian right off the bat, or directly in any of the four supported currencies. 

After the physical act of loading funds, we get to the issue of how much you can load.

CIBC Prepaid Visa Load Limits vs OneCard
Minimum Load (Single Transaction)Maximum Load (Single Transaction)Maximum Card Value
CIBC AC Conversion™ Visa* Prepaid Card100.00 CAD (or equivalent value)2,999.00 CAD (or equivalent value)19,999.00 CAD (or equivalent value)
OneCard by Continental Currency Exchange™10.00 CAD (or equivalent value)10,000.00 CAD (or equivalent value)10,000.00 CAD (or equivalent value)

The strengths and weaknesses of each card should immediately be evident. The CIBC AC Conversion™ Card holds twice the amount OneCard can, which is a big advantage. But when it comes to the minimum and maximum loads you can make in a single transaction, it is also significantly more restrictive.

But let’s turn now to spending limits.

CIBC Card Spending Limits vs OneCard
Maximum Daily (24hr) Purchase LimitMaximum Daily (24hr) ATM Withdrawal Limit
CIBC AC Conversion™ Visa* Prepaid Card2,999.00 CAD (or equivalent value)1,999.00 CAD (or equivalent value)
OneCard by Continental Currency Exchange™10,000.00 CAD (or equivalent value)1,000.00 CAD (or equivalent value)

Again, in general OneCard is far more liberal with its spending limits than the CIBC AC Conversion™ Card; barring the maximum daily withdrawal limit, in which CIBC allows an additional $999.00 to be withdrawn per day.  In regards to card limits, the CIBC AC Conversion™ Card definitely holds appeal. With a maximum card balance twice that of OneCard, you can store far more funds on the AC Conversion™ Card.

At the end of the day though, it all comes down to you and your spending limits. After all, you can always top up your card; and if you tend to spend a lot when you travel, you might prefer a card that will place fewer limits on it. What’s more important to you? The ability to store more money, or the freedom to spend it.

Close Winner: CIBC AC Conversion™ Visa* Prepaid Card with its larger value limit

Is CIBC AC Conversion™ Visa* Prepaid Card Secure?

key lock digital security

Another important thing to consider when selecting any debit or credit card is security. How secure is your hard-earned money going to be when stored on this card? When it comes to OneCard and the CIBC AC Conversion™ Card, both products incorporate standard advanced chip and PIN technologies. Both require you to go through a verification process in the event your card is lost before you can order a new one. Both transfer your old balance over to your new card once your identity has been verified.

The only thing that really separates the two when it comes to security is a feature on the OneCard app and online portal. If you lose your card, you can access a page on the app and lock your card. Your card is then frozen until you either find it again or have received a new one. If you find your card, it’s another easy click of the button to unlock the card. No more need to call your bank or credit card company while on vacation!

Winner: OneCard by Continental Currency Exchange™ with its card-lock feature

What Other Features Do I Get With My CIBC AC Conversion™ Visa* Prepaid Card?

woman carrot reward features

Before we conclude, there’s one more category worth considering: what other extra features can you get with your card? The CIBC AC Conversion™ Card certainly packs a heavy punch with its ten currency accounts, but when it comes to other card features, it comes out a bit lacking. OneCard, on top of sending money for free between other OneCards and the ability to lock/unlock your card with ease, offers one other major feature that lends a big boost to any person considering a multi-currency card.

Family Sharing, or the ability to link multiple cards to a single account, is a key feature of OneCard. If you’ve got a kid (or kids) going off on exchange, it will enable you to conveniently monitor their spending and send them money, when they need it, in one of four currencies. Even if you’re just taking a family vacation overseas, or staying at home, OneCard’s Family Sharing can be a great way to give your kids a bit more independence (while still keeping an eye on them). So far, the CIBC AC Conversion™ Card has nothing similar to offer.

See for yourself how the two cards stack up to each other on a wide range of features.

CIBC Prepaid Visa Card Features vs OneCard
OneCard by Continental Currency Exchange™CIBC Prepaid Visa Card
Multiple Currency Accounts

Best Rates

Send Money for Free

Family Sharing

Card-Lock Feature



Free Mobile App

Choose your design


Clear Winner: OneCard by Continental Currency Exchange™

Final Notes

When comparing the two side-by-side, both OneCard by Continental Currency Exchange™ and the CIBC AC Conversion™ Visa* Prepaid Card hold certain strengths and weaknesses that could affect their usability and practicality depending on the user. There’s no doubt that both are handy tools, representing two of the best options for multi-currency cards on the Canadian market.

With ten currency accounts, no recurring fees, and a maximum card value of 20,000 CAD or equivalent, the CIBC AC Conversion™ Card is a strong product. But with lower ATM and conversion fees, much better rates, and more features overall, the OneCard definitely makes up for its smaller card balance and account offerings. Ultimately, it depends on what specifically you’re looking for in a multi-currency card, and how you plan to use it. But with its greater versatility, we’ve got to give OneCard a slight edge over its competitor.

Overall Winner: OneCard by Continental Currency Exchange™

Looking for more detailed information? Check out the OneCard website!

Stay informed. Stay Current.