How to open a bank account in Canada
Below you will find information about how to open a bank account in Canada. Whether you are a Canadian resident, have just immigrated to Canada or are a foreign student studying in Canada, it is relatively easy to open a Canadian bank account. Here you will find an explanation of types of bank accounts offered by Canadian banks, general policies about opening accounts and the documentation banks in Canada require to open an account.
There is no cost to open a bank account. To open an account at a Canadian credit union, you may have to pay a membership fee to become a member.
A Canadian bank may require you to make a deposit to cover the cost of purchasing cheques if you are setting up a new chequing account.
Bank accounts come with a wide range of features, but there are three basic types available in Canada.
1 – A Banking Account is designed to meet your everyday needs for withdrawals, transfers and paying for merchandise and services.
2 – A Savings Account is for extra money that you won’t need for day-to-day expenses. Your money is always accessible and you earn interest on it.
3 – A U.S. Account is designed to help clients that often make U.S. dollar transactions or travel to the U.S. or other countries where U.S. dollars are used.
Banks don’t always require a minimum deposit (for example Scotiabank requires no minimum deposit). Check with your financial institution on their policies.
What you need to open a bank account in Canada:
Opening your first bank account in Canada is very easy. You can visit any bank in person and complete the process on the spot, or you may be able to start your application online even from a foreign country.
In order to open your bank account in Canada, you’ll need to provide two pieces of identification (with at least one piece from Part A ), such as your: passport; Social Insurance Number (SIN) card ; IMM 1442 (Student Authorization; Employment Authorization; Visitor Record; Temporary Resident’s Permit) or IMM 5292 (Confirmation of Permanent Residence). At least one piece should have your photo. Only certain types of identification are acceptable.
Alternatively, you may present just one piece of identification from Part A, if your identity is confirmed by a client in good standing with the bank or by an individual of good standing in the community where the bank is located. These are the requirements to open a bank account in Canada as set out in the Access to Basic Banking Services Regulations under the Bank Act.
Here is a complete list
◾A drivers’ licence issued in Canada, as permitted to be used for identification purposes under provincial law
◾A Canadian passport
◾A Certificate of Canadian Citizenship or Certification of Naturalization, in the form of a paper document or card but not a commemorative issue
◾A Permanent Resident card or Citizenship and Immigration Canada Form IMM 1000 or IMM 1442
◾A birth certificate issued in Canada
◾A Social Insurance Number card issued by the Government of Canada
◾An Old Age Security card issued by the Government of Canada
◾A Certificate of Indian Status issued by the Government of Canada
◾A provincial health insurance card, as permitted to be used for identification purposes under provincial law
◾A document or card, bearing the individual’s photograph and signature, issued by any of the following authorities or their successors: ◾Insurance Corporation of British Columbia
◾Saskatchewan Government Insurance
◾Department of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations
◾Department of Transportation and Public Works of the Province of Prince Edward Island
◾Service New Brunswick
◾Department of Government Services and Lands of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador
◾Department of Transportation of the Northwest Territories
◾Department of Community Government and Transportation of the Territory of Nunavut
◾An employee identity card, issued by an employer that is well known in the community, bearing the individual’s photograph
◾A bank or automated banking machine or client card,issued by a member of the Canadian Payments Association in the name of, or bearing the name of, the individual and bearing the individual’s signature
◾A credit card, issued by a member of the Canadian Payments Association in the name of, or bearing the name of, the individual and bearing the individual’s signature
◾A Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) client card bearing the individual’s photograph and signature
◾A foreign passport
Other things you should know about opening a bank account in Canada (source Canadian Bankers Association)
◾Additional identification containing photograph and signature may be required if bank staff have reason to question your identity as presented.If the identification presented to open the account does not contain your name, date of birth, address and occupation, the bank may request and you must provide that information, except where you do not have an address or are not employed.
◾The Income Tax Act requires banks to ask you for your Social Insurance Number (SIN) when you open an interest-bearing account, so the bank can report your interest income to the government. Any account, however, can be opened without your SIN.
◾Banks may conduct, with your consent, a credit bureau check to help determine the conditions for the account, such as ABM withdrawal limits or hold policies on non-electronic deposits. Your positive credit history could allow the bank to offer you higher limits or other enhanced terms.
When would a bank not open an account when you have proper id?
A bank does not have to open a personal account for you if:
◾It believes that you plan to use the account for illegal or fraudulent purposes.
◾You have a history of illegal or fraudulent activity in relation to financial services providers within seven years prior to your request to open the account.
◾It believes that you knowingly made false statements in the information provided.
◾It believes that opening the account would subject other customers or employees to physical harm, harassment or other abuse.
◾You refuse to consent to the bank verifying the identification presented or whether any of the above conditions apply.
◾The request is made at a branch or point of service where the only accounts offered are linked to an account at another financial institution.
If the bank cannot open the account, it will advise you in writing and provide you with information on how to contact the regulator.