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Tips on How to Open a Bank Account in Canada as a Newcomer

Peter Fey



Tips on How to Open a Bank Account in Canada as a Newcomer

When someone plans to move to a new country as a permanent resident or even as an international student, the first thing that crosses everyone’s mind is how to open a bank account as a newcomer? Undoubtedly, starting a new life in a new land is intertwined with your financial journey, making it all the more essential to understand the basics of banking.

Canada’s financial scenario includes banks, credit unions, trusts, insurance companies, and financial institutions. It is considered one of the economically safest and strongest countries in the world. According to World Economic Forum, Canada ranked 9th globally for its financial system. So, if you’re a newcomer and thinking about how to open a bank account in Canada then here’s your go-to guide.

First, we start with the list of the five largest banks in Canada, which are also known as the ‘Big Five’.

  1. Royal Bank of Canada
  2. Toronto – Dominion Bank
  3. Bank of Nova Scotia
  4. Bank of Montreal
  5. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce

As a newcomer, you can choose any one of them. However, it is very helpful to know that the big five banks offer newcomer banking packages that particularly deal in to cater permanent residents and international students.

Types of bank accounts for newcomers in Canada

There are two main types of bank accounts in Canada:

  • Chequing account: An essential basic account for daily transactions and purchases.
  • Savings account: A high-interest account to save money over a longer term.

Based on your needs and status (PR, international student, etc.) in Canada, Big Five banks offer a few different types of newcomer bank accounts for you to choose from.

Important Documents required to open a bank account in Canada as a newcomer

One can easily start the process to open a bank account while you’re still in pre-arrival. Simply book an appointment to speak with the bank advisor, and they will guide you with detailed steps.

To open a newcomer bank account, you will require the following documents:

  • Your passport
  • Confirmation of Permanent Residence (CoPR) and/or Social Insurance Number (SIN)

International students will also need:

  • Student permit (IMM 1442) or Temporary Resident Visa (TRV)
  • Proof of enrollment (optional, good-to-have)

Also, note that Permitted identification documents may vary by province.

As a newcomer in Canada, we would suggest you start building up your credit history to own a credit card. Having a decent credit rating is essential in Canada, it is the way any financial institution will evaluate your ability to repay loans. A good credit score will help stay eligible for better interest rates on mortgages and other loans down the line. To start your journey of building a credit history, one would require a credit card.

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