Canada's strong and reliable banking system is widely considered one of the safest in the world, ranking as the world’s soundest banking system for the past several years, according to the World Economic Forum. Opening a bank account is one of the first steps in successfully settling in Canada. In most cases, you will need a personal bank account to receive your salary as well as to pay your rent, utility bills and much more.

Who can open a bank account in Canada?

The procedure for opening a bank account in Canada is straightforward. Simply go to the bank of your choice in person and provide documents that prove your identity. You are likely to need two pieces of ID. You can also apply to open an account online on the bank’s website.

In Canada, you will be able to open a bank account even if you:

Are unemployed;
Are not planning to put any money into account at the time of opening;
Have a poor credit rating;
Were a bankrupt before.

Reasons for being denied a bank account:

Bank considers you will be using your account to break the law;

You have committed a crime against a bank during the previous seven years;
Bank considers you have provided unreliable information when applying for opening a bank account;

Bank considers that opening an account can potentially harm its clients and the staff;
You aren’t allowing a bank to check whether all the circumstances mentioned above  might be applied to you nor check your ID documentation;

You are unable to present relevant ID documentation;
You are an undesirable person in Canada.

If you have been denied a bank account on the basis of one of the reasons above, you can seek help in the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada.

If you aren’t a citizen of Canada, you will need the following documents to open an account:

Your valid passport;
Permanent residency card or immigration papers.

Different banks might have specific requirements, so we recommend to get in touch with the bank beforehand to ensure you have all the documentation they need. In most cases, banks accept one of the following immigration documents:

Temporary residence permit;

Work and study permit;

Application form for permanent residence (IMM 5292, IMM 5688, IMM 1441, IMM 100).


Opening a Canadian bank account remotely
Types of bank accounts


There are many types of bank accounts. Personal accounts are normally intended for everyday financial needs. They include:

  • Saving accounts – intended for keeping the funds. A bank will pay you interest on your deposit;
  • Current accounts – intended for general everyday bank transactions, such as paying for different services, using ATM and etc;
  • Combined accounts – intended for savings and everyday use.


Opening a Canadian bank account remotely


You can open a bank account before your arrival in Canada. To do so, you will need to apply for opening a bank account and get in touch with the bank by email or phone. You might be asked additional questions to confirm your identity and immigration status. Then bank representative will contact you, as a rule, during a few working days. You might need an additional two-three days to proceed with your application. To finish the process, you will have to visit a branch once you are in Canada. Canada’s major banks have special products for newly arrived immigrants. In addition, all the difficulties can be resolved in person.


International bank accounts


You can also avail from an international bank account. Several international banks have a network in Canada, among them are BNPParibas, Citibank и HSBC.

Monthly fees


Bank services are free for students and newcomers in Canada and there’s also a large discount for people over 60, but only for a certain period of time. As soon as that period expires, you can be faced with a monthly fee of up to 30 Canadian dollars. Many banks do not require this fee if you put a minimum amount on your account. In most cases, the minimum balance is about $3500 CAD.



ATM interest fees


Withdrawing cash from an ATM is free if you are using your bank ATM. Though it will cost you CAD $1.50 for each transaction when using another bank’s ATM. If you withdraw your cash in a foreign country, the interest fee might reach CAD $5 plus 2,5%.

Which bank is the best for opening a bank account?


It depends on many factors. You can address our center’s Support Service, where qualified specialists will advise you on a specific bank and bank account in Canada.

You can also use financial instruments to search for a bank on the official website of the Canadian government.