How to open a bank account in Canada

How to open a bank account in Canada

Canadians enjoy one of the highest standards of living in the world and no wonder it is home to a thriving and super diverse expat community most of them packed in large population centres such as Toronto and Vancouver. Canada is an amazing country. Natural wonders, excellent education, cultural diversity and of course world renowned as home of friendly exceptionally open people who live to live life.

If you are thinking about moving there as a student, worker, investor or retiree, you will need a bank account to start out. Here is our guide on how to open a bank account in Canada.

Documents needed to open a bank account in Canada

It is not too difficult to open a bank account in Canada and if you are not a citizen here are the basic documentation requirements:

  • Passport
  • Immigration papers (or residence card) or any other form of documentation that definitively prove your legal residence status

Different banks may have different requirements and these will depend on what is your immigration status is and where you come from. For example, if you are American, you won't need much since both countries has a close relationship.

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 where you come from. For Europeans and Americans, chances are the process may be super simple. Some banks will have special international accounts for foreigners. Also, on such accounts there will be limits on transactions as any transaction above 10 thousand dollars has to be reported to the authorities.

Best banks in Canada

There are plenty of banking institutions in Canada covering all the needs you could have. However, there are five major institutions that dominate the retail market with a wide reaching presence around the nation with thousands of ATMs and branches some of them nearly present in every town in certain provinces.

  • Royal Bank of Canada: with customer service in 200 languages, talk about a bank that will accommodate to your needs. One of the coolest perks about Royal Bank of Canada is the fact they have 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 also have a newcomer's product offer called the "New to Canada" package which is free for 6 months to start with and it also comes with a credit card so you can start building your credit history in the country. They also have student packages with free cards and no fees at all. For businesses, the options are varied as well.  Here is a list of their locations.
  • Scotiabank: with a lot of coverage thanks to over 4000 ATMs and plenty of accounts to choose from, a lot of people swear by Scotiabank. You get perks such as a points system that you can redeem on a variety of stores including cinemas and 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 student, workers and new businesses which can be customized accordingly and includes a debit card, no fees for a year and cashback on transactions. See where their services are offered by visiting this page.
  • Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce: their newcomer's packages are for both permanent and temporary residents and it also features free perks, no fees for a year and cashback. They also have an interesting student account that helps students with no fees as long as you are registered as a student. Of course, they also have plenty of options for business accounts including access to credit lines.  For a list of ATMs and branches, click here.

Opening an account in Canada may be a convenient option for you, yet it is important to investigate on the costs associated with opening a bank account in Canada since a bank's fee structure vary quite a bit. We reckon it is best to choose a bank that is both convenient and affordable according to your needs. Choose a bank that has plenty of options for ATMs around the area you intend to spend most of your time so you avoid paying unnecessary out of network fees for example.

The virtual bank account alternative

It is costly to move money abroad using a bank

When moving money abroad from Canada, chances are you will contact your bank to perform the transaction and pay too much for it in the process. Say you move 10 thousand dollars to India. You will be surprised to find out that only about 9000 euros worth of rupees get to India thanks to high currency conversion fees depending on the bank you use.

With B2B Pay, you would get 9900 euros worth of rupees in India, saving 900 euros and getting a free European IBAN that you can use anytime you want to send and receive money in the EU and send money 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.


  • Barclays
  • Techstars
  • Nestholma
  • Nordea
  • Tekes
b2b payments

Contact us for custom solutions:

Contact Us

Join the 10 thousand plus businesses already with B2B Pay.

You will be added to a waiting list. We apologize for the inconvenience! We are switching suppliers with the goal of starting onboarding new clients in October.