How to open a bank account in Canada

How to open a bank account in Canada

Canada is a welcoming country for immigrants, who make it a vibrant, diverse place. Despite harsh weather, the scenery is famously breathtaking and dramatic, while if you consider pragmatic aspects of living, one can’t forget great quality universal health care and other family and care benefits. Workers get many holidays a year, mothers and fathers are supported by the state in their parenthood, education is more affordable than in the US, the list goes on. Since the Canadian economy is faring rather well on a global scale, thousands of migrants come here every year to start a new life. 
 
Whatever your reason, when you’re going to Canada, you will need a bank account there. We’re here to show you how to open one, step by step.

 

What documents do you need to a bank account in Canada
Opening an account in Canada is easy, even if you’re not a resident. Depending on the bank, the documents requested might differ, but the rules are rather simple. All you need is to bring with you two documents - originals, not copies. These documents can be:
  • Current foreign passport
  • Employee ID card with your picture on it that has been issued by an employer well known in your area
  • Debit card or bank card with your name and signature on it
  • Canadian credit card with your name and signature on it
  • Client card from the Canadian National Institute for the Blind with your picture and signature on it
  • Document issued by someone in good standing with the financial institution or in the community confirming your identity. 
These requirements might also slightly differ depending on citizenship, your status, and the bank. The official website of the government of Canada lists all possible scenarios for you. Keep in mind is that in most cases banks are not expected to ask for your Social Insurance Number unless the account you’re opening will earn interest for tax purposes. If you’re asked for the number for other reasons, you need to sign a consent form before sharing it with the institution.

Can I open a bank account in Canada as a non-resident?

Yes, it is possible to open a bank account in Canada as a non-resident, but how difficult it will be will depend on your nationality. For the citizens of the United Kingdom, Europeans and Americans the process tends to be fast and simple, and oftentimes you can open the account before coming to Canada. Some banks will have special international accounts for foreigners. It is worth contacting a bank of your preference before your arrival and asking about the possibility of getting an account, especially if you’re moving there for work. If you quite easily open it while on a visit to Canada. Some banks have relations with their Canadian counterparts - you could ask your branch if they offer such assistance. 

Best banks in Canada

There are several institutions with which you can open your account: bank, credit union, caisse populaire and trust companies. It’s best to first think of the purpose of the account, and then check various offers - fees and charges, the types of offered accounts, interest on your savings or if there is insurance on your deposit. 

Among banks, there are five major institutions with a country-wide presence: 

  • Royal Bank of Canada: one of the best picks before you get your Social Insurance Number. The bank offers customer service in 200 languages, a "Newscomer's Package" with special features and discounts to help with your transition to Canada. Here is a list of locations for RBC.
  • TD Bank: The have a newcomer's service "New to Canada", which is free of charge for the first 6 months. There are also student packages with free cards and no fees and options for businesses. Here is a list of their locations.
  • Scotiabank has over 4000 ATMs a wide range of account options and perks, such as a points system that you can redeem in shops and cinemas. Their basic account is free if you keep a certain balance.For a list of their locations, click here.
  • Bank of Montreal: this is the nation's oldest bank and as such has a long history serving Canada. They have a newcomer's package for students, workers and businesses. See where you can find a branch by visiting this page.
  • Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce their Foreign Workers package offers an account with no fees for a year and free, unlimited transactions. For their list of branches and ATMs and branches, click here.

     

The virtual bank account alternative

It is costly to move money abroad using a bank

If you use your Canadian bank to send your money outside of Canada, the fees can be steep. Let’s take an example of a transfer of 10.000 USD to India - the fees and charges on such a transaction might reach up to 1000 USD. 
 
With B2B Pay, an equivalent transaction would cost you up to 100 USD. You’re saving money with us and getting a European IBAN account that you can use anytime to send and receive the money within the EU and anywhere in the world in 33 currencies.
 

 

How to open a bank account in Europe

We have a few guides to guide you through the process of opening a bank account in multiple European countries and explaining why a virtual bank account with B2B Pay may be a better alternative if you are transferring money outside of Europe and taking advantage of a better rate.



How to open a bank account overseas

We have a few guides to guide you through the process of opening a bank account in multiple countries all over the world and explaining why a virtual bank account with B2B Pay may be a better alternative if you are transferring money outside of Europe and taking advantage of a better rate.


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