Foreign exchange does not come cheap in Canada especially if you have no proper exchange plan in place.
Although, there are some fees you cannot avoid when it comes to currency conversion, you can try to reduce them.
This you can achieve by doing some research on different ways to exchange your money, while comparing one service to the other.
For instance, if you are in Ottawa, Canada you can search on the different currency exchange services Ottawa to find some viable options that can save you money.
Here are ways to save money with foreign exchange in Canada.
1. Get a credit card with no foreign transaction fees
Credit cards often apply a certain percentage spread on top of the exchange rate, when you make a purchase in foreign currency. Therefore, it would be wise to sign up for one with zero foreign transaction fees.
This way you totally avoid these exorbitant fees and end up saving some cash.
2. Avoid Canadian banks when you want to convert currency
Converting your currency in a Canadian bank is a bad idea and is likely to cost you a lot.
This is because Canadian banks often charge a small spread on top of the spot exchange rates, especially when they are dealing with common world currencies like the Euro and USD.
However, if you have to transact with a Canadian bank, you can do some research on them to see which ones have the best costs overall, before opting for one for your money conversion.
3. Forget about traveller’s cheques
Hardly anyone uses traveller’s cheques anymore. So avoid them at all cost when it comes to exchanging your currency. No one will accept them, especially outside tourist locations.
Besides, you are likely to face a big commission on these cheques, on top of the currency conversion rate.
4. Avoid currency exchange kiosks located in tourist locations
Currency exchange kiosks located in airports, hotels, at the border, cruises, in remote areas as well as in tourist locations, should be avoided at all cost.
This is because they often know they have a captive audience, who are busy or want to get on with their trip.
Thus they will have no time to compare different currency exchange points.
Therefore, they often get away with charging high transaction fees for some bad rates. You should try to avoid transacting with them, as they are worse than banks and ATMs.
5. Make use of your ATM card
Nowadays one of the cheapest ways to save money on currency conversion is using an ATM or debit card.
It does not matter if you are using an in-network ATM or out-of network ATM. However, you will save loads of money with an in-network ATM.
There are also debit cards that do not charge any fees for foreign transactions. They can help you save some money during your trip. You can use online ATM locators to find those closest to you, for convenience sake.
6. Use apps for advance payments
Some online services are much cheaper when it comes to prepaying some travel expenses. Therefore, it would not be a bad idea to check them out for advance travel payments, as they tend to have lower fees than banks.
Some top common ones are TransferWise, xe.com, OFX, CurencyFair and Curexe among others.
7. Use Forex Bureaus in towns
You can do your research on the location points of some of the most reputable foreign exchange businesses in Canada.
Then compare their conversion rates and service fees before selecting one for your transactions.
You can look for those with an exchange spread of less than 2.5%, with no additional fee charges.
In conclusion, you just have to learn on how to save money with foreign exchange.
Otherwise, you might end up spending unnecessary money here, money that can help you somewhere along your trip.