Having a functional bank account opens up opportunities and experiences in Canada. It is, in fact, one of the first priorities for a student, temporary visitor or permanent resident in the country.
While the task may seem daunting, setting up a new Canadian bank account is a breeze. Especially now that banks are directing their attention toward this growing segment.
The article will help you with your first steps into the Canadian financial system- one of the more stable and reliable systems ranked 9th globally in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2019. So, get ready to breathe easier as we take you through the basic requirements to set up your first Canadian bank account and some available offers for newcomers.
Requirements to open a new bank account in Canada
The documents required to open a bank account will vary slightly with the type of account and your status, whether that of a permanent resident, a temporary worker or a student.
Some basic requirements include the following:
- A valid passport
- Confirmation of Permanent Residence (CoPR) or Social Insurance Number (SIN)
International students will also require a:
- Study permit or Temporary Resident Visa (TRV)
- Proof of enrollment
Bank account offers for Newcomers in Canada
As part of its StartRight program for newcomers, Scotiabank allows you to open an International account before arriving in Canada. This account can be used to prove you have enough money to cover your expenses in Canada. Upon arrival, Scotia Bank can help you set up a chequing account to fulfil your basic needs like withdrawing cash and paying bills. As a newcomer, you can transfer all or part of your funds from the International account into the new chequing account once you come over.
Chequing accounts available under Scotiabank’s StartRight program and their features are detailed in the table below:
|Preferred Package||Basic Plus Bank Account||Student Banking Advantage Plan|
|Free for the first year and $16.95* monthly after a year.
*Monthly fees are waived if a minimum balance of $4000 is maintained
|$10.95 a month or $0 if a balance of $3000 is maintained||No monthly fees|
Scotiabank’s Welcome bonus
Scotiabank offers newcomers a $350 welcome bonus when opening a Preferred or Ultimate package account. The offer will remain valid until July 31, 2023.
To get the Welcome bonus, the account holder must fulfil any two of the following conditions:
- Set up an eligible automated recurring direct deposit (payroll, pension etc.) that recurs for 3 months in a row.
- Set up 2 eligible separate recurring pre-authorized transactions worth $50 or more for 3 months.
- Make a minimum eligible bill payment of $50 with online or mobile banking.
Once the conditions are fulfilled, the $350 welcome bonus will be directly deposited into the new account within 6 months.
HSBC offers newcomers the chance to earn rewards as part of their Newcomers program. Their Premier Chequing and Advance Chequing accounts have welcome bonuses of $500 and $400, respectively. The conditions to earn rewards with each of these are as follows:
|Get the first $300 by opening a Premier Chequing account, registering for online banking within 30 days and completing any 2 of the following tasks
||The first $300 is earned by opening and registering for online banking within 30 days and any 2 of the following tasks:
|Another $100 can be earned after opening the account online||The remaining $100 can be earned by opening the account online|
|The last $100 can be earned by depositing $25,000 within a month of the account’s opening and maintaining it for 6 months.|
BMO charges no monthly fees for newcomers opening a Performance Chequing Account for a year. Newcomers can also earn up to a $400 welcome bonus by following the given steps below:
- Open a new BMO Performance or Premium Chequing account with a deposit of any amount by April 30, 2023
- Receive the first $350 by completing any two of the following tasks:
- Setting up a recurring direct deposit
- Making two online bill payments of a minimum of $50 to different billers
- Set up two eligible pre-authorized debits of at least $50
- The last $50 bonus can be earned by Inviting a family member as part of a BMO Family bundle
Royal Bank of Canada
As one of Canada’s biggest banks with an international presence, RBC offers several products for newcomers under their RBC Newcomer Advantage program.
Their RBC Advantage Banking Account is tailormade for newcomers with benefits including
- No banking fees for a year. $11.95 monthly fee after a year.
- Unlimited debit transactions in Canada
- No RBC fees on using another bank’s ATM in Canada
- Free Interac e-Transfer transactions
- 1 book of 50 cheques free
- Account holders also get a free small safe deposit box for 2 years and
- 2 free international money transfers per month for 12 months
CIBC helps newcomers set up their Canadian bank account, credit card and resources to manage their finances. Their offers for newcomers and their features are as follows:
|CIBC Smart Account for Newcomers||CIBC Smart Start (for students under the age of 25)||CIBC Smart for Students (for students over 25)|
|$6.95 per month for up to 12 transactions
$1.25 each for additional transactions over 12, up to a total monthly fee of $16.95
Pay no monthly fee when you have a minimum end-of-day balance of $4,000 daily.
|No monthly fee until the account holder is 25 years old||No monthly fees as long as the holder is studying full-time.|
|Unlimited transactions, including free Interac e-Transfers||Free unlimited Interac e-Transfer transactions||Free unlimited Interac e-Transfer transactions|
|One non-CIBC ATM withdrawal per month in Canada. Non-CIBC ATM withdrawals cost $2.0 plus transaction fees if applicable.||One free non-CIBC ATM withdrawal in Canada per month||One free non-CIBC ATM withdrawal in Canada per month|
|Free unlimited debit and Visa debit transactions in Canada||Free unlimited debit and Visa debit transactions in Canada|
CIBC Welcome offer
CIBC offers newcomers the chance to get up to $400 when opening their first CIBC Smart account by following the steps below:
- Open your first CIBC Smart Account
- Get $350 by maintaining an ongoing direct deposit for a year and completing one of the following three transactions:
- 2 ongoing pre-authorized debits
- 2 visa debits
- 2 online bill payments of a minimum of $50
- The last $50 can be earned by transferring $200 from the CIBC Smart account to a CIBC eAdvantage Savings Account within 2 months of opening the Smart account.
|Unlimited Chequing account|
|$16.95 monthly fee after a year, with a fee rebate if a minimum monthly balance of $4000 is maintained|
|No TD fees on using ATMs in Canada|
|Free money transfers with Interac e-Transfer|
TD Bank Welcome bonus
TD Bank offers newcomers the chance to earn up to $400 when opening an Unlimited Chequing Account or their All-Inclusive Banking Plan. The offer is valid up to July 26, 2023.
To get the first $300 bonus, you must open their Unlimited chequing or an All-Inclusive Banking account and complete two of the following tasks:
- Set up a Recurring Direct Deposit from an employer, pension provider or Government
- Set up a Recurring Pre-Authorized Debit Payment of at least $50
- Make an Online Bill payment of at least $50 online or on the TD app
To earn an additional $50 bonus, you must add a TD Savings Account and complete one of the following tasks:
- Set up a pre-authorized Transfer service with the first transaction processed before the July 26, 2023, deadline
- Set up Simply Save with your first transaction processed before the deadline
The last $50 can be earned by adding a Monthly Overdraft Protection Plan or Pay As You Go Overdraft Protection Plan by May 31, 2023.
The article covers the offers of some of Canada’s most prominent banking houses. It should give you a brief idea of what to expect as a newcomer and how to set up an account before or after you immigrate here.