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October 19, 2021

Cross-border shoppers search for better deals

With the Canadian dollar up sharply, cross-border shopping is once again on the rise – despite concerns that that new U.S. passport restrictions could limit how many Canadians actually cross the border.

"Every time that getting across the border gets tighter, we see the relationship between exchange rate and cross-border trips deteriorate further," says Philip Cross, Statistics Canada's chief economic analyst. 

If you regularly load up the van to visit U.S. outlet malls, at least consider getting a Nexus card. It expedites border clearance for low-risk travellers who've submitted to a background check.

Of course, there's nothing to say that you actually have to get in a car to begin with. As they see our currency gaining ground, more and more people are clicking on their favourite American stores online.

If you want to do actual price comparisons between stores in the U.S. and in Canada, have a look at Wishabi. Its comparison tool lets you see all costs upfront – including brokerage fees, duties, exchange rates, shipping and customs fees – to ensure that you're getting the deal you think you are.

They'll also help you follow changes to prices for items on your wish list, as well as whether they think the prices are expected to move up or down. 

Unfortunately, some U.S. retailers still don't ship to Canadian addresses. But if you live near a border town, you can list the mailing address of a U.S. package receiving company and then drive down to pick it up, suggests the Globe and Mail. Better still, rather than see shipping costs cut into your savings, develop a better relationship with the U.S. Postal Service.

Tell us: What's your preferred method when cross-border shopping?  

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

James HaversJames Havers

James is the senior editor of MSN Money living in Toronto. He has worked for the Nikkei Shimbun (Tokyo),,, Canadian Business and other publications. Havers turned to journalism after teaching overseas.

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...