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Euros for Italy - Where is the best place(s) to get it.


Porkpi
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As a first-time Canadian traveler overseas to Italy, I'm wondering about how best to get Euros.

Should I exchange it here or in Italy through an ATM?  A number of Youtubes on navigating the FCO airport have pointed out

there are many ATMs there and throughout Rome.    

I have an account with RBC, and the branch staff told me that if I use my credit card in Italy, there will be two conversions- Euros to USD to CAD,

with those associated exchange costs.  (?)    

 

Any insight is much appreciated!    

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You can get Euros from an ATM in Italy when you get there, make sure you use an ATM at a bank not one of those free standing ones that charge extra fees.

If you want to have a few Euros in your pocket when you arrive so you don't have to search for an ATM, you could buy some Euros from your bank or a Currency Exchange.

My husband and I have been to Europe a few times and plan on returning.  I have a Euro account at ScotiaBank (not sure if RBC has them).  If I have a few extra bucks some months, I buy some Euros and deposit them in the account.  By the time the trip comes around I just withdraw the Euros.

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No need to overthink it. Compare the current price for Euros between your local bank and the nearest Currency Exchange ( if there's one within a reasonable distance). Get enough to get you through the first day or so in Europe.  Then use your ATM card ( NOT YOUR CREDIT CARD) at a bancomat  ( an ATM at a bank) in Europe to withdraw any additional cash. Most Canadian ATM cards will charge a fee for each transaction made at a machine outside their network, so a few larger transactions are better than a bunch of small ones. The maximum allowable withdrawal will be the lower of your account limit OR that set by the bank you are withdrawing from.

 

Learn and understand what Dynamic Currency Conversion is, and always refuse it when it is offered as a choice, for both cash withdrawals and on credit card charges.

 

As for how credit card  currency conversions are handled, if you have a Canadian  currency card, the credit card company converts charges made in euros to Canadian dollars at their current rate on the day the charge was posted.  It isn't converted to USD first. You need to realize that your average local bank teller probably knows next to nothing about international currency transactions - other than what they may have done on a shopping trip to the mall in Buffalo. 

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13 minutes ago, mom says said:

Then use your ATM card ( NOT YOUR CREDIT CARD) at a bancomat  ( an ATM at a bank) in Europe to withdraw any additional cash.

Then how do you know what the exchange rate is...and if it is not as good as your local bank then what?

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16 minutes ago, CaptainBazz said:

Then how do you know what the exchange rate is...and if it is not as good as your local bank then what?

In my experience, you will normally get a better exchange rate from a bank in the country you are visiting than you will for that currency if acquired from your bank in Canada.

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Agree with Fouremco. That has been our experience as well in many different countries over too many years to admit to. Most respected travel forums will also recommend getting the bulk of your foreign cash in that country, and at a bank rather than a commercial ATM.

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15 minutes ago, Fouremco said:

In my experience, you will normally get a better exchange rate from a bank in the country you are visiting than you will for that currency if acquired from your bank in Canada.

Sure, but it may be marginal.  I have a chequing account with Tangerine and they charge 2.5% on top of the current exchange rate.  Right now it would cost me 400 CAD to purchase 300 EUR at a bank in Italy and maybe 3 CAD as a service fee.  I can purchase the same 300 EUR at the Ultimate Currency Exchange at the Gloucester Centre for 404 CAD.  I guess it's more an issue of convenience.

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2 hours ago, CaptainBazz said:

Then how do you know what the exchange rate is...and if it is not as good as your local bank then what?

if you are using an ATM in a Foreign country it is too late to worry about the exchange rates 😄

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My bank is charging 1.3555 CDN for 1 Euro this morning so 1,000 Euros would cost me $1,355.50CDN. 

I find https://continentalcurrency.ca/ has better rates but not by a huge amount. So if Continental was changing, let's say 1.3255, 3 pennies less, 1,000 Euros would only cost me $1325.50, so I'd save $30 bucks on buying 1 thousand Euros. For me, not's not even worth the drive to Continental if it wasn't at a mall that I pass by on a regular basis. And quite frankly, a European trip and cruise which would likely be costing me at least $10,000 CDN saving $30 bucks is a rounding error. And this is all based on buying 1,000 Euros. Now if I needed 10,000 Euros for walking around money it would be a different story. 

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4 hours ago, DirtyDawg said:

My bank is charging 1.3555 CDN for 1 Euro this morning so 1,000 Euros would cost me $1,355.50CDN. 

What do you think it would cost you to take the 1,000 EUR out of a bank machine in Rome?

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11 minutes ago, Magicat said:

Maybe a little off topic but I wouldn't be carrying 1,000 Euros around in Rome.  Unless you are very very careful guarding against pick pockets and thieves.

Well, the 1,000 EUR is to pay off the carabinieri who will be guarding him while he carries out the foreign currency withdrawal.

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1 hour ago, d9704011 said:

What do you think it would cost you to take the 1,000 EUR out of a bank machine in Rome?

The rate on the BOC website was 1.31 this morning which I assume is the wholesale rate (for BIG purchases) so probably 1 or 2 cents above that for the best retail anywhere. Those poor banks, either Canadian or Italian have to make their spread  to keep the pasta on the table. 😉 

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If we buy euros in Canada we do not buy from a bank or the auto club (same rate as a bank).

 

We typically get them at an FX store.  Lots of them around depending on where you live. They also have a much better supply of various denominations.

 

Last time we were at the FX store where we live the was a lady from our bank branch across the street in line. I asked her why.  She said that even with her staff discount the FX rates were better and she could get the bill denominations that she wanted.  No idea what or how much she was buying though.

 

It does not make a lot of difference if you are only buying a little.   We exchanged $5K USA.   Got a bank quote.  Went across the street to the FX store and got $140. or so more than the bank would pay.  $140 just for crossing the street! 

Edited by iancal
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If it’s just for travel money (tips, souvenirs) I usually get foreign currency at local CAA.  They can order in any non-standard currencies, but always have USD, Pesos, and Euros.  Our branch has a bank machine with those currencies.

I would rather have money for travel up front, rather than searching for the “right” ATM when I arrive somewhere (then have to phone my bank, because they’ve locked my card - BTDT).

 

(And I’ve found the rate to be much better than the bank, or a tiny mall type FX. You will always do better at a real FX store, but not available everywhere and often not interested in small amounts of money)

Edited by blizzard44ca
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On 7/13/2022 at 5:17 PM, CaptainBazz said:

Then how do you know what the exchange rate is...and if it is not as good as your local bank then what?

 

It is going to be wholesale conversion rate + a fixed percentage that the bank is using as its markup.   Those markups are almost always through process that do not involve human interaction such as an ATM machine.  

 

Canadian credit cards usually add 2-3% margin on top of the wholesale rate when you pay for something using your credit card in foreign currency.  There are very few credit cards in Canada that don't have these hidden fees.  

 

Those exchange places, especially the ones in tourist locations can be hit and miss.  Some are good other have service fees and other things they hid in the transaction.

 

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  • 1 year later...
7 minutes ago, CanadianCruiser123 said:

I'll be getting most of my euros from my bank in Canada. Much more convenient and no worries about someone watching you take money from an ATM, where scams and pickpockets can be present.

I would never use a bank for currency exchange. I use Calforex, which has stores across Canada. In Toronto, they are in the CF Eaton Centre. 

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1 hour ago, gnome12 said:

I would never use a bank for currency exchange. I use Calforex, which has stores across Canada. In Toronto, they are in the CF Eaton Centre. 

But that means you would have go to Hog Town 😉🤣

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Posted (edited)
15 minutes ago, Ex-Airbalancer said:

But that means you would have go to Hog Town 😉🤣

(Of course, I live in Hogtown.) PS I sent the other from my phone; you don't see the location information there.

 

https://www.calforex.com/en/order-cash-online/

They will also send to you. It's worth getting a quote.

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33 minutes ago, CDNPolar said:

 

Hmmmm.... was going to compare to my bank but got this?

 

image.thumb.png.cd9c81bd7d5ef2bc48da550cce47bb95.png

Sorry, I didn't take it farther than what I posted.

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