How To Open A Bank Account In Canada Easily
One of the easiest things you can do is to open a bank account in Canada.
After lengthy visa processes, struggle to find accommodation, job search, considering how to open a bank account in Canada, there is just too much to think of at once.
Thankfully, there is a simple way to open a bank account in Canada even if you are non-citizen.
In this article, we cover the not just how to open a bank account in Canada but also what are the best bank accounts to choose from based on our personal experience.
International money transfers to your new account:
Before you even open a bank account in Canada you will need to send money from your old account to your new one.
Currencyfair or OFX are our two recommended companies. We have used both from Australia – Canada and Ireland to Canada.
Sign up with this link and get your first five free transfers for free with Currencyfair
Sign up with this link and get free transfers for life over $1000 with OFX
Both are great and you will save a fortune versus just sending money via bank to bank.
Now onto the best banks to choose from in Canada.
What documents you will need to open a bank account in Canada
You will be required to provide few documents to open a bank account in Canada.
If you are a non-Canadian citizen, a bank representative will ask you for the following:
- a valid passport
- immigration documents such as:
- work permit or
- permanent residency card
Some banks will also require a current address in Canada and Canadian phone number.
Scotia Bank, for example, will require the following:
What bank is best to open a bank account in Canada
The major banks in Canada include:
CIBC offers special discounts for newcomers. The ‘Welcome to Canada‘ banking package offers no monthly fees account for the first year.
If you are moving to Canada as a student, the banking deal is pretty much the same and will remain fee-free as long as you are enrolled as a full-time student.
They also do a variety of business accounts, depending on the size of your business you can choose from the available options.
Scotiabank allows you to open a bank account in Canada from abroad. The ‘Scotiabank Start Right’ program offers you a range of products and services.
You can open a basic bank account with $10.95 monthly fees, and if you keep over $3000 in your account, the fee will be waived.
The student account has no monthly fees and unlimited transactions, and you can get more details about the plan here.
The bank also offers business banking starting at $6 for a small business everyday account.
The TD bank offers a fee-free account for the first six months with unlimited transactions. The ‘New to Canada’ account offers a range of products and services depending on your needs.
Whether you are a professional or international student, the Toronto Dominion bank has packages explicitly designed for students. To get the most up to date details on available packages and fees, please visit their website here.
If you are new in Canada and looking to kick-start your business, the tailored Business Chequing Account Service Plan might be just right for you. Just decide how many transactions you make, how often and how much do you deposit and they will come up with the best options for you.
Royal Bank of Canada is one of the biggest banks in Canada and offers excellent benefits to newcomers. If you are looking to open ‘No Limit’ bank account with them, expect to pay no fees for the first nine months.
For $10.95 you can open a ‘No Limit Banking’ for students with an unlimited banking account.
If you are an entrepreneur and looking to start your first business in Canada, you will get $50 when opening any eligible business account.
Bank of Montreal offers for newcomers to Canada no fee account for the first year with the ‘New Start’ program. With the account, you will also receive unlimited electronic transactions, e-transfers and free small safety deposit box rental for the first year.
The ‘International Student’ option gives you all the above as well as free banking for 12 months after your graduation.
BMO also offers a range of accounts suitable for any business model. Whether your business is solely online or have very high banking needs, they have a plan for you.
What costs you should expect when opening a bank account in Canada
Although you are more likely signing up with a bank that has ‘no fees’ account for the first year, you will be faced with charges eventually.
With TD for example, after six months you can expect to pay $20-30 in fees depending on how heavily you use the account.
Many banks will, however, waive the monthly fee as long as you keep minimum amount required in the account.
The amount varies from bank to bank, and it can be anything from $2500 + depending on which institution you choose.
Most banks will only give you a limited amount of transactions without fees, and once you exceed this amount, they will charge you additionally per transaction.
Cibc ‘Smart Account’ has the below option available to you.
Money withdrawal from your bank’s ATM is free, but the second you need to take out any money from different bank ATM, you will be charged a withdrawal fee.
Depending on the ATM and bank, it can be anything from $1 to $5 for a single withdrawal!
International transfer fees
Many banks offer free international transfers with newcomers accounts, but the exchange fee is usually much lower than if you would use a different company like CurrencyFair.
In many cases with a newcomers account, the banks would ask you to pay a transfer fee and refund it at a later stage.
Additional terms and conditions may apply most of the times, so make sure to read carefully before you make a mistake and lose your hard earned money to the bank.
How to avoid international transfer fees after you open a bank account in Canada
Most international money transfers are anywhere from $2 500 to $5 000+, and transfer costs can come up to $50 or even $250 which you will have to give away to the bank!
There is, however, a simple way to avoid these ridiculous fees – CurrencyFair.
Bank will give you not only lower exchange rate but also will take a high 3-4+% fee on top. With CurrencyFair your transfer is at flat $5 fee, and you also get the best possible exchange rate.
We also have a deal for you where you get your first three transfers free with CurrencyFair as a new customer via this link.
Popular money transfer companies you should use
The best, most reliable and fastest way to transfer your money safely from your home account to Canada.
With CurrencyFair you are getting much better exchange rates than you would get via your bank.
CurrencyFair is excellent for both personal and business needs.
Your back up if you need to exchange large lump sum.
Whether you are an individual client or run a business, they will look after you.
With a dedicated broker, OFX offers you more personal experience.
Send money with real exchange rate unlike like with banks who typically set their exchange rates to make more money.
With Transferwise (similar to CurrencyFair), your transfer is secure, fast and you know exactly what you are charged in fees.
Use this link to sign up with Transferwise today. It really is that simple.
For more detailed money transfer options, make sure to read our ‘money transfer guide‘.
If you are moving to Canada on working holiday visa, make sure to grab our ‘Moving to Canada E-book‘ here.