The most important tip to remember when looking to convert your Canadian dollars to Euros is that location matters. There are some places that you should avoid transacting with, because they charge very large transaction fees and/or do not offer very competitive rates.
Some places to avoid exchanging at include airports, train stations, malls, and hotels. All of these locations charge mark-ups that are fairly substantial. Oftentimes they charge commissions and or service fees to exchange your money. The reason that they are able to charge such high fees is that they are located in such convenient locations, and when people do not plan their currency exchange transactions in advance they use these services. Firms located in airports, train stations, or malls all have high rent and subsequently high overhead costs, which they pass on to you in the form of higher exchange rates.
Another option is to use your local bank. Your local bank will be very convenient for you, as it is likely located close to your home, and you are already familiar with their services. Your bank will likely charge you a rate that is better than the rate you will find at hotels and airports, but remember they still charge a mark-up that is sizeable.
When doing large Euro purchases ($5,000+ CAD), you are best served by an online currency exchange provider, such as Knightsbridge Foreign Exchange. Online currency providers have very low overhead costs, and can therefore offer very competitive exchange rates that can be up to 2% better than your banks.
To get a better sense of the mark-ups that different firms are charging for their services, you can download a currency converter app on your smartphone. This provides you with a simple way of checking the exchange rate so you can more accurately determine what kind of mark-ups and fees are being built into your exchange rate quote.
If you are looking to purchase Euro’s from the bank with you Canadian dollars, you should try to do so from a multi-national bank if possible. In Canada, HSBC offers exchange rates that are 0.5% better than the major Canadian banks, so they are a great option if you are looking to exchange at the bank.
Lastly, remember that commissions and mark-ups always add up. This is especially true when doing exchange transactions that have service charges on a per transaction basis, like ATM withdrawals. Try to consolidate your Euro conversions, doing larger amounts in fewer transactions if possible. You’ll save money in the long run if you do this.
If you follow the aforementioned tips, your conversion of Canadian dollars to Euros will be both smooth and conducted at a great exchange rate.