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How to open a bank account in Canada

When moving to Canada, one of your first preoccupations is going to be money. And if you want to keep and save your money, you will need to open a bank account in Canada.

Whether you come from Europe, the USA, Africa or Asia; keeping your bank account in your country will soon become very costly. Indeed, if you want to avoid bank charges and other expensive fees, you will have to open a bank account in Canada as soon as you get all the needed papers.

Several banks will offer you to open a bank account in Canada, it’s never easy to choose one when we don’t know the system. The choice of a bank will mainly depend on you. Everybody has a different opinion on banks and, just like telephone companies; everybody has a little story to tell on how to choose a bank or to avoid one like the plague! (To name the main ones: RBC, BMO, HSBC, Scotia Bank, TD, Banque Nationale, CIBC, Caisse Desjardins, Banque Laurentienne)

A few things are good to know when you open a bank account in Canada:

  • If you come from Europe, you might be surprised as, the banking system is different. Indeed, only debit cards are directly linked to your bank account; while credit cards grant you a credit.
  • ATMs (cash points) are very useful as you can find them in stores, restaurants, on the street…but can cost you a lot of money as you will be charged between 1.5 and 3 dollars for each withdrawal
  • Cheques and transactions are not free

Here is a list of documents required to open a bank account in Canada:

  • NAS
  • Passport
  • Visa / work permit
  • Letter from your employer

About the Author:

Living in Montreal since 2005 after France and the United States, I want to share with you how much I love Canada and my advice to successfully immigrate to Canada!

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