Best Euro Accounts in Canada 2024: Banks and Providers Compared
There aren’t as many options in Canada for EUR foreign currency accounts as you might expect. Most cross currency account services from banks focus on people dealing between CAD and USD, neglecting many other major currencies. Plus, when you can find one, euro accounts from Canadian banks tend to be cumbersome, slow, and, most of all, expensive. Specialist online providers like Wise can be a good alternative.
In this article, we'll cover what you need to know about opening a euro account, including the best euro account in Canada, the costs involved, and how to open one.
Best EUR accounts in Canada
We’ve mentioned that there are various different reasons someone might want a euro account. Because of this, different account types have emerged, with distinct features and benefits. We’ve picked out a few to compare - we’ve got a flexible multi-currency account and card from Wise, a non-bank provider, an HSBC account aimed at savers, and RBC’s business banking option for EUR. Let’s see how they measure up.
|Personal and business customers
|HSBC High Interest EUR account
*Information correct at the time of the writing - 22nd November 2023
Can a euro account be opened in Canada?
Yes. However, Canadian customers - particularly personal customers - aren’t very well served for foreign currency accounts from banks. Business owners may have better luck as many major banks have some foreign currency service for enterprise level organisations and some smaller companies. However, for personal customers, looking for a EUR account from a specialist non-bank provider may be a better bet.
This guide walks through what you need to do, including one option - Wise - which can suit both personal and business customers looking for low cost and flexible ways to manage their money across CAD and EUR.
What are the advantages of a euro account in Canada?
The features and target customers of different EUR accounts can vary enormously.
Euro accounts are popular with anyone who needs to send or receive payments in euros regularly, as they can cut down on the need to convert currencies and pay the associated fees. Some people want a EUR account to save, or to diversify an investment portfolio. Finally, frequent travellers may prefer a EUR account which comes with a debit card that can be used when travelling in the Eurozone.
Businesses which pay and get paid in euros can also benefit from a EUR account, as it’s then possible to hold a EUR balance as a hedge against exchange rate fluctuations, or for future payments. EUR accounts also allow businesses to reach more customers, and get paid in EUR by clients, marketplaces and PSPs like Stripe.
Euro account details
If you need to get paid by others in euros, you’ll want to find a EUR account which has its own local euro bank details for receiving local payments. To do this, you’ll need EUR account information including an IBAN and bank name, but once you have these details you can receive a payment in euros just like a local.
Both personal and business customers can open a Wise multi-currency account online or in the Wise app. Accounts can hold, send, spend and receive EUR and 40+ other currencies. You’ll get local bank account details for 9 different currencies including CAD and EUR, to get paid by local transfers conveniently, plus there’s an international debit card for spending and withdrawals.
Currency conversion always uses the mid-market exchange rate with low, transparent fees from 0.43%, making this a flexible option for people who travel a lot, shop online with overseas retailers, and for business owners and entrepreneurs who pay and get paid internationally.
Fees: Personal accounts are free to open, 42 CAD one time fee to open a business account. No monthly fee for either personal or business accounts Currency conversion: Hold and convert 40+ currencies with the mid-market exchange rate Other notable features: Receive payments with local bank details from 9 countries, send money to 160+ countries, spend with your linked debit card in 150+ countries.
HSBC High Interest EUR account
HSBC has interest earning accounts in several major currencies including euros. With a EUR account you can earn interest with no minimum balance requirements, but unfortunately there’s no way to withdraw your funds as cash. Transfers can only be made to other bank accounts, so if you need to withdraw to another account in your name which is not denominated in euros, there may be a fee to pay, including currency conversion costs. This account is aimed at people saving in euros, or sending payments to others in Europe regularly.
Fees: No monthly fee, no minimum balance, currency conversion costs may apply, 0.75 EUR withdrawal and debit fee
Currency conversion: Account supports EUR only
Other notable features: Interest earning, no debit card and no ATM service
RBC has business accounts in several major currencies, including one in euros aimed at business customers trading in Europe. It’s intended to help business customers make payments in EUR, and also to hedge against fluctuations in currency exchange rates by holding a euro balance. You’ll be able to buy euros when rates look good and hold them for future payments, without the risk that rates will deteriorate and you’ll be left with higher bills than expected for paying foreign suppliers.
Fees: 25 CAD/month
Currency conversion: Account supports EUR only
Other notable features: Business customers only
How to open a euro account in Canada
The process to open a euro account in Canada depends entirely on the provider you pick, and whether you’re choosing a personal or business account. If you use a non-bank specialist service like Wise you’ll be able to get your account entirely set up online. Banks may require you to visit a branch to show your paperwork and get verified - especially for business accounts.
In any case, the outline steps to open a euro account in Canada are pretty similar:
Choose the best provider for your needs
Register for your account online, through the provider app, or in a branch
Give your personal and contact information
Complete the required verification steps
Fund your account - and you’re ready to go
All financial service providers need to ask for some paperwork for verification - for personal accounts that’s usually:
Government-issued ID, such as a passport, driver's licence or Canadian Permanent Resident card
Proof of your address, such as a recent bank statement or utility bill
If you’re opening an account for a business you’ll need all of the above for any owners and directors, plus:
Details of your business, the work you do and who is involved
A business registration document, such as Articles of Incorporation, Certificate of Existence or Master Business Licence
Euro account with debit card
If what you want is a euro account which comes with a debit card to give you easy access to your money when you travel, and to allow you to shop online in euros seamlessly, you may struggle to find a good match from a bank. Non-bank specialists like Wise can help, and allow customers to hold a balance in multiple currencies and spend and make withdrawals all over the world.
Of course, you could always pick an alternative for your trip, such as a travel money card from a service like Canada Post or Wise. Travel cards can be handy, but they don’t usually have broad functionality to receive payments from others, or to send money internationally. Wise lets you do all this and more, with a selection of 40+ supported currencies. Plus, with a provider like Wise there’s no account dormant fee, which typically kicks in with travel cards when they’ve not been used for 6 or 12 months.
If you’re looking for euro account for travel use, which comes with a linked debit card, take some time to look at your options including non-bank services, to see which works best.
Conclusion: Euro accounts in Canada
Euro accounts can be helpful for both personal and business customers. However, Canadian banks don’t actually offer a great selection of products for people looking to manage their money flexibly across borders. Instead, accounts tend to be aimed at savers and businesses, rather than people who travel and need access to their money day to day. This is where non-bank services like Wise have emerged to fill the gaps. Use this guide to compare a few options based on your specific preferences and requirements, including looking at Wise for a flexible account and card you can use to hold 40+ currencies, spend in 150+ countries and get paid with local details for 9 currencies.
Can I open a euro account in Canada?
Yes. However, you may be surprised to learn that Canadian banks don’t offer many options for euro accounts for personal customers. Check out online non-bank providers like Wise, as an alternative which can be cheaper and more flexible too.
How does it cost to open a euro account?
Accounts are often free to open but may come with annual or monthly fees, plus transaction fees. For a more flexible option, look at online services which often have no minimum balance and lower transaction fees.