​Tips for Opening Your First Bank Account

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Opening a bank account could be a huge step in your future of success and prosper. It might sounds easy for opening a bank accout, but there are not easy for new immigrants because of the language barrier, cultural difference and diffent financial system. Here are a few things to consider before you go. So that's why you need some tips. As the saying goes: knowledge is power. Yes, it is. The more you know, the better. 

1. What document you should prepare for opening a bank account?

There are several categories: 

A. Official ID 

Passport, Canadian driver license, Canadian medical insurance card, landing paper  or permanent card

B. Proof of address

Lease, bank statement, hydro bill, phone bill, Internet bill or letters from Canadian government etc.

C. Social Insurance Number

To save your time, it will be better to go to Service Canada first to apply for your Social Insurance number before you go to the bank.

D. Visa

For temporary residents, generally study permit or work permit is required. For worker, we strongly suggest to bring a paystub or T4 statement. 

2. What types of accounts you want to have? 

There are different types of accounts: chequing and saving account. The main function of checquing acocunt is to consume (money out). If you are a person who wants to save money for rainy days, then it will be good to have a saving account to earn interest. If you have American dollars, you probably would like to open a US dollar account. If you want to do investment, you probably need to open a GIC (guaranteed investment certificate) account or other investment account for buying mutual funds, index funds etc. 

3. How much is the service fee?

There is no definite answer to this question. Different banks have differnt policies about the service fee. Some banks have a initial deposit requirement while others have a "minimum balance" requirement. Some banks offer bonus for new immigrants like HSBC or Tangerine ( Referral code: 49999238S1) while some banks offer free service fee if you have multiple financial products with them. You might need to check several banks before you take the action. 

Watch out for some fees like e-transfer fee, cheque fees, overdraft fees, minimum balance requirement fees, ATM fees, minimum usage fees, and monthly or annual fees for the account. 

4. Should I apply for a credit card? Which type I should choose?

Credit card is quite important and popular in Canada and we strongly suggest you to have one so that it will facilitate your life. The most common one are Master and Visa. Different banks offer different types of credit cards. Again you need to do some homework to find the one suits best for your need.

5. Can I open a bank account online if it takes too long to get an appointment in busy days?

Most banks have an online service, so you might open an account online. However, new arrivals, on most occasions, do not have a credit score, the bank might need to go through the documents needed, so it will be better to go the bank by person. 

6. Is it possible to have bonus for opening an account?

Yes, different banks may have different bonus for opening an account. Some banks have very good offer and the bonus could up to $600 or more. Contact us to know details. 

For new arrivals, if you need detailed information or you need someone to accompy you open a bank account, please contact us! We provide personalized service including consulting, procedures explanation, translation or accompany etc.