Complete Guide to Bank Accounts for Newcomers to Canada

November 22, 2021

bank accounts for newcomers to canada

Best bank accounts for Newcomers to Canada

You have made it to Canada and are excited to start your new life. Taking the first step to building a successful life in a new country is crucial and that includes financial decisions. No matter what profession we belong to or which business we run, we all need a bank account.

How Do You Choose a Bank?

It is crucial to choose the bank as it will handle all of your transactions. To choose a bank, you must first think about what you need from your bank. Do you need a checking account, savings account, or credit card? Do you prefer electronic banking or do you want to go into a physical location? Do there have to be branches in your area?

What are the benefits of this bank? Does it offer competitive rates on loans and mortgages? What types of investments does the bank offer (stocks, bonds, etc.)?

You also want to consider what type of services are offered by this institution. Look for anything that may fit your needs. As a newcomer you may have plans to transfer funds between your account in Canada and your country of origin, therefore, bank fees would be an important factor to consider.

best bank accounts for newcomers to canada

Canada has five major banks:

Toronto Dominion Bank (TD)

TD offers New to Canada Banking Package for Permanent Residents or Temporary Permit holders who have been in Canada for 5 years or less.

Here are the offer details.

  • TD Unlimited Chequing Account (monthly fee of $16.95 waived for 12 months and waived after 12 months if daily balance of $4,000 is maintained).
  • $300 cash offer for opening a new TD Unlimited Checking Account.
  • $79 Amazon Prime membership for the first year.

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC)

CIBC is offering Smart Account for Newcomers for Permanent Residents who have been in Canada for 5 years or less. This account is also available for Temporary Resident workers with at least a 12 month term permit.

Here are the details.

  • Smart Account (monthly fee of $16.95 waived for 12 months and waived after 12 months if daily balance of $4,000 is maintained).
  • $300 cash offer for opening a new Smart Account.
  • Credit card annual fee rebate of $99 for the first year

Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotia Bank)

Like other major banks, Scotia Bank is also offering special banking offers for newcomers (StartRight program). Newcomer banking offer is for Permanent Residents who have been in Canada for 3 years or less. It is available for Permanent Residents, Temporary Residents, and International Students.

Here are the details.

  • Preferred Package Chequing Account (monthly fee of $16.95 waived for 12 months and waived after 12 months if daily balance of $4,000 is maintained).
  • Unlimited international transfers at no-fee.
  • Free safety deposit box for a year.
  • Earn SCENE points through Scotia Rewards Program.
  • Credit card fees of upto $139 waived on certain cards for the first year. 

Bank of Montreal (BMO)

BMO has a Performance Chequing Account for newcomers who have been in Canada for 5 years or less. This offer is for Permanent Residents and Temporary Residents.

Here are the details.

  • Premium Chequing Account (monthly fee of $16.95 waived for 12 months and waived after 12 months if daily balance of $4,000 is maintained).
  • Unlimited transactions per month
  • Unlimited interac e-transfers
  • 3GB bonus data through Chatr Mobile
  • Free safety deposit box for a year

Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)

RBC is offering Advantage Banking Account for newcomers. This account is for Permanent Residents, Temporary Residents, and International Students who have been in Canada for 5 years or less.

Here are the details.

  • Monthly fee waived for the first 12 months
  • No fees for using other bank ATMs
  • Unlimited interac e-transfers
  • No annual fee for credit cards
  • Free safety deposit box for 2 years
  • Two free international money transfers every month for a year

All of these banks offer bank accounts for newcomers to Canada however, to qualify you must meet the eligibility requirements. These requirements usually state up to long after your arrival in Canada you can qualify as a newcomer. For example, BMO, CIBC, RBC and TD will consider you a newcomer if you have landed in Canada within the last 5 years. Scotiabank, on the other hand, would consider you a newcomer if you have been a permanent resident from 0 to 3 years. 

Each bank has a unique offering for newcomers and you have to determine which bank best meets your needs. 

An important factor to remember is that while these banks do offer no monthly fee bank accounts initially they start charging fees 12 months from the date of opening an account.

There are banks that offer no fee banking. Some of these banks are:

  1. PC Financial
  2. Simplii Bank
  3. Tangerine Bank
  4. KOHO

This is a short list of main banks, there are other options as well. There are plenty of banking options.

7 Tips For Choosing A Bank as a Newcomer

Here are 10 tips for choosing a new bank as a newcomer:

1) Research all potential banks before making a decision

2) Check banking fees (monthly, money transfers, cheques, atm fees, overdraft fees, etc). Main banks do have monthly balance requirements. 

3) Look at your needs and see which banks can provide you with what you need

4) Consider your long-term needs, as a newcomer you will be looking to build your credit score. If you are not willing to pay monthly banking fees then you may want to consider online banks that offer no-fee banking from the start.

5) Accessibility of the bank. Internet banks offer no-fee banking but do not have brick and mortar locations. You don’t have the convenience of walking into a branch for your banking needs. Consider your needs before choosing an internet bank over a brick and mortar location bank.

6) Mortgage, interest, and savings rates offered by the bank. You are likely planning on purchasing a house at some point and these rates will matter.

7) Consider credit unions. Credit unions are not-for-profit entities and offer lower fees and higher savings rates. The downside is that they have fewer branches and ATMs.

How To Find The Best Savings Account For You

The best savings account for you is the one that offers the best terms and conditions to suit your needs.

There are many different types of accounts out there to choose from. The best savings account for you will depend on what your current financial situation is and what type of account you’re looking for.

Some features and benefits you should always look for include: high interest rates, no monthly fees, and no minimum balance requirements.

Why Picking The Right Bank Matters To Your Financial Health

Picking the right bank can be a stressful decision.

We all want to know we’re making the right choice when we’re making a major decision in our life which is why we need to consider different things before picking a bank.

The first thing you should think about is how much you want to be charged for banking and what type of account holder you are.

With planning and research there is an account to meet everyone’s needs. As a newcomer there are bank accounts for newcomers to Canada with no-fees and additional benefits and you should take advantage of these accounts.

There is no clear winner as to which are the best bank accounts for newcomers to Canada. It all depends on what you are looking but you can be certain to receive amazing deals from any of the banks mentioned in this article.

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