After you’ve decided which bank is right for you (taking into account branch locations, opening hours, fees, and other factors that personally apply to you), you will then want to go ahead and open a chequing account and, most likely, a savings account as well. Opening a bank account will need two pieces of government-issued ID: BC driver’s license, CareCard, and passport all qualify. You will also need to show proof of residence, such as a utility bill in your name.
As a non-Canadian, you may also be asked for a letter of reference from your employer or university (if you are coming to Canada to study), or from your former bank (in any case it is a good idea to obtain such a letter before leaving your home country or your country of residence). Because each bank’s requirements for opening new accounts varies slightly (although the basic requirement for ID and address verification is the same), the best way to go about finding out what documents you will need is to go directly to the bank’s website, and/or call the bank and speak with a representative.
To open a new account, simply visit a branch of the bank you have chosen (keep in mind that the branch you open your account at will be the branch handling your business, so choose a branch that is conveniently located), and inquire about opening a new account. An account specialist will meet with you and explain the various options and types of accounts and also verify your information. Canadian banks tend to charge more fees than some banks in other countries, so don’t be surprised to find out your new chequing account is costing you money every month. Some banks have a “multi-product” rebate, where the monthly account fees are waived if you have at least 3 different types of accounts with the same bank (chequing/savings, credit card, investment account, mortgage, etc.).
Banks and Types of Accounts
RBC — http://www.rbc.com/
- RBC VIP Banking—$30/month, $22.50 after multi-product rebate, unlimited debits, free overdraft protection.
- RBC Signature No Limit Banking—$13.95/month, $9,95 after rebate, unlimited debits, fee overdraft protection.
- RBC No Limit Banking—$10.95/month, free after rebate, unlimited debits, $3/month overdraft protection.
- RBC Day To Day Banking—$4/month, free after rebate, 15 free debits/month, $3/month overdraft protection.
- RBC No Limit Banking for Students—$10.95/month, free after rebate, unlimited debits, $3/month overdraft protection.
- RBC Student Banking—free account, 25 free debits/month, $3/month overdraft protection.
- RBC Leo’s Young Savers Account—free account, 15 free debits/month.
- Savings Accounts
- RBC High Interest eSavings—rate=1.250%, unlimited online transfers to RBC accounts with same name, all other transactions $5.
- RBC Enhanced Savings—rate=tiered, $1/self serve transaction, $1.50/assisted transaction
- RBC Day To Day Savings—rate=tiered, $1/self serve transaction, $1.50/assisted transaction
U.S. Dollar Accounts
- U.S. Personal Banking—$2 US/month, 6 free debits/month, $3 US/month overdraft protection.
- RBC US High Interest eSavings—rate=0.150%, unlimited online transfers to RBC accounts with same name, all other transactions $3 US/debit, 1 free debit per monthly cycle, $3 thereafter.
For more information on RBC U.S. accounts, please go to RBC Access U.S.A.: http://www.rbcroyalbank.com/RBC:Th94CawWAA8ACmFMJv8/usbanking/access-usa-details.html.
For information on investment accounts from RBC, please go to Investing at RBC: http://www.rbc.com/investing/personal.html.
Information on RBC credit cards can be found here: http://www.rbcroyalbank.com/credit-cards/.
Information on RBC loans and lines of credit can be found here: http://www.rbcroyalbank.com/products/personalloans/.
Scotiabank — http://www.scotiabank.com/
- Basic Banking Account—$3.95/month, covers 12 transactions, including up to 4 teller-assisted.
- Scotia One Account–$11.95/month, covers unlimited debit transactions (including cheques). Monthly fee waived with $3,000 minimum daily balance.
- Scotia Value Account–$14.95/month, covers 50 debit transactions (including cheques). A variety of no-charge and discounted everyday banking services are also included.
- PowerChequing Account–$3.95/month, covers 12 debit transactions (including cheques). Monthly fee waived with $1,000 minimum daily balance.
- Scotia Plus (age 59 and over)—no monthly fee, unlimited free teller-assisted or self-service transactions, plus a variety of no-charge and discounted banking services available on request.
- Student Banking Advantage—$1.25/month, covers unlimited teller-assisted or self-service transactions (including cheques).
- Getting There Savings Program for Youth—no monthly fee, covers 20 transactions (teller-assisted or self-service).
- Scotia Power Savings Account—no monthly fee, online account, unlimited free transfers using Scotia OnLine, TeleScotia® ABM or wireless banking (all other debit transactions are $5.00 each).
- Money Master Savings Account—no monthly fee, unlimited free transfers using Scotia OnLine, TeleScotia® ABM or wireless banking (all other debit transactions are $5.00 each).
- Scotia Gain Plan (investment account)—no monthly fee, includes 2 free transactions, additional transactions are $1.25 each.
- Daily Interest Savings—no monthly fee, each transaction 85¢
- Scotia Euro Daily Interest Savings Account—no fees with €200 minimum monthly balance, otherwise, €1.00/month covers 2 debit transactions.
U.S. Dollar Accounts
- Scotia U.S. Dollar Daily Interest Account—if you travel frequently to the U.S., or make and receive payments in U.S. Dollars, avoid foreign exchange costs with the Scotia U.S. Dollar Daily Interest Account.
Information on credit cards, mortgages, lines of credit and investing with Scotiabank can be found here: http://www.scotiabank.com/cda/eventdetail/0,1005,LIDen_SID3042,00.html.
TD Canada Trust — http://www.tdcanadatrust.com/
- Select Service Account—premier account with unlimited transactions, $24.95/month (monthly fee waived with a minimum daily balance of $5,000).
- Infinity Account—unlimited transactions, $12.95/month (monthly fee waived with a minimum daily balance of $3,000).
- Value Plus Account—25 free debits/month, $8.95/month (monthly fee waived with minimum daily balance of $2,000), free for students.
- Value Account—10 free debits/month, $3.95/month (monthly fee waived with minimum daily balance of $1,000).
- Plan 60 Account—free account for those 60 and over, unlimited transactions.
- Companion Account—ideal for daily account balances of less than $5,000, earns daily interest.
- Tier Savings Account—ideal if you keep a daily account balance of $5,000 or more and need easy access.
- Guaranteed Investment Account—enjoy higher interest rates when you keep a daily account balance of $5,000 or more.
- Youth Account—daily interest account for those starting out.
U.S. Dollar Accounts
- U.S. Dollar Daily Interest Chequing—deposits maintained in U.S. dollars, this account makes traveling to or investing in the U.S. easier.
- Borderless Plan—wide range of benefits for customers who frequently travel to the U.S.
Information on investments with TD Canada Trust can be found here: http://www.tdcanadatrust.com/invest/index.jsp.
Information on TD Canada Trust credit cards, loans and lines of credit, and mortgages can be found here: http://www.tdcanadatrust.com/lending/index.jsp.
BMO Bank of Montreal — http://www4.bmo.com/personal/0,4344,35649_36583,00.html
BMO offers Banking Plans, under which any additional accounts besides your main or lead account are free. To open a new account with BMO, first choose a Banking Plan to suite your needs, and then you can choose your accounts.
- Performance Plan—offers unlimited transactions through multiple channels and free banking with minimum monthly balance of $3,000
- Premium Plan—offers unlimited transactions through multiple channels, free banking2 with minimum monthly balance of $5,000, additional services for travel needs, and discounted banking for Seniors.
- Plus Plan—offers basic banking, free banking with minimum monthly balance of $2,000, plus free banking for: youths, young adults, and students or recent graduates.
- Practical Plan—offers basic banking, free banking with minimum monthly balance of $1,000.
- Senior Plan—offers unlimited transactions through multiple channels, basic banking, and additional services for travel needs.
- Senior Plan with Air Miles—offers unlimited transactions through multiple channels, basic banking, additional services for travel needs, banking at a discounted fee, and the ability to earn AIR MILES reward miles for $5.45/month.
Chequing and Savings Accounts
- Primary Chequing Account—the Primary Chequing account is ideal for day-to-day banking needs like withdrawals, bill payments, transfers, account history inquiries and more. Your Primary Chequing account can be one of multiple accounts attached to your Everyday Banking Plan.
- Premium Rate Savings Account—a true savings account, the Premium Rate Savings account earns a rate of interest higher than most other accounts. It makes an excellent addition to your Everyday Banking Plan.
- Smart Saver Account—earn more money on your money with the Smart Saver Account.
- Tax-free Savings Account—a true savings account, this product earns a competitive rate of interest under a Tax-Free Savings Account plan with the flexibility of accessing your funds at any time.
U.S. Dollar Accounts
- At BMO, any of your accounts can be maintained in U.S. dollars. For more information, please see U.S. Dollar Accounts: http://www.bmo.com/home/personal/banking/everyday/chequing-savings/us-dollar.
- CIBC Unlimited Chequing Account—unlimited day to day banking for a flat monthly fee.
- CIBC Everyday Chequing Account—up to 10 transactions for one low fee.
- CIBC Advantage for Students—special fee discounts for full-time college, CEGEP (in Quebec only), and university students.
- CIBC eAdvantage Savings Account—maximize your savings with high interest on balances over $5,000.
- CIBC Bonus Savings Account—earn competitive interest when your account balance is $3,000 or more.
- CIBC Premium Growth Account—a day to day savings account that pays competitive interest on every dollar saved.
- CIBC Advantage for Youth—customers 18 years and younger receive additional benefits.
- U.S. Dollar Accounts
- CIBC U.S. Personal Account—ideal for those who frequently travel to the U.S. and/or frequently receive U.S. funds.
- CIBC PremierService Account—a comprehensive solution for your banking, investing, and credit needs.
- CIBC 60 Plus Advantage—customers 60 years of age and older can receive special benefits on the following accounts: CIBC Everyday Chequing Account, CIBC Premium Growth Account, and CIBC US Dollar Personal Account