As a newcomer to Canada, one of the essential things you need to do is open a bank account. A bank account can help you manage your finances, pay bills, receive salaries, and access financial services such as loans and credit cards. However, choosing the right bank can be challenging, especially when you are not familiar with the banking system in Canada. In this blog post, we will discuss some of the best banks for newcomers to Canada, including their offers.
Top Newcomer Bank Accounts
The top banks in Canada have various offerings for newcomers. Let’s look at some of them below:
- TD Canada Trust
- Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)
- Bank of Montreal (BMO)
- HSBC Canada
Disclaimer: Rates and product offerings are always changing, so this post might not reflect the current situation. Please contact your financial advisor before making any financial decisions.
- TD Canada Trust New To Canada Banking Package
TD Canada Trust is another popular bank in Canada, known for its flexible banking options and customer service. It has a variety of products and services, including checking and savings accounts, credit cards, and loans. TD also has a New to Canada package, which includes a checking account, credit card, and access to a financial advisor. The package is available to newcomers to Canada for up to six months after arrival.
The TD New to Canada package is a great offer for newcomers as it provides them with a checking account and credit card without a credit history. This helps them establish a credit history in Canada, which is essential for accessing financial services such as loans and mortgages. The package also provides access to a financial advisor, who can help newcomers understand the Canadian banking system and provide advice on managing their finances.
This package is available to temporary and permanent residents who arrived in Canada less than two years. The package includes the following:
- Zero withdrawal fee on TD ATMs across Canada
- TD credit card with no credit history requirement. The card has a limit of $5000 CAD
- Unlimited Interac e-transfers and debit transactions per month
- The bonus interest rate on Savings Account for six months
- Zero monthly fees for six months and C$15.95 afterwards.
- One monthly international money transfer for six months
- RBC Newcomer Advantage
RBC is the largest bank in Canada and is known for its excellent customer service. It has a wide range of products and services, including checking and savings accounts, credit cards, and loans. RBC also offers a Newcomer Advantage program, which is designed to help newcomers to Canada establish themselves financially. The program provides free banking for up to one year, a credit card with no credit history required, and access to a financial advisor who can help you navigate the Canadian banking system.
The RBC Newcomer Advantage program is a great offer for newcomers to Canada as it helps them save money on banking fees and provides them with a credit card, which is important for establishing a credit history in Canada. The program also offers access to a financial advisor, who can help newcomers understand the Canadian banking system and provide advice on managing their finances.
RBC is one bank you’ll find that has a lot of physical branch locations. Its Newcomer Advantage package is available to international students and permanent residents. To get access to the package, you’ll be required to sign up for the RBC No Limit Banking Account or RBC VIP Banking account. The package includes the following:
- Zero monthly fees for 12 months
- Unlimited debits and free transfers courtesy of Interac
- 2 free international transfers per month for 12 months
- RBC credit card with no credit history requirement.
- Zero monthly maintenance fee for nine months
- Two free international money transfers monthly or six consecutive months
- CIBC Welcome to Canada Package
CIBC is another of Canada’s largest banks, with a wide range of financial products and services. It offers checking and savings accounts, credit cards, and loans, among other things. CIBC also has a Newcomer to Canada Program that offers a range of benefits, including free banking for up to one year, a credit card with no credit history required, and access to a financial advisor who can help you navigate the Canadian banking system.
The CIBC Newcomer to Canada Program is a great offer for newcomers to Canada as it provides them with free banking for up to one year and a credit card without requiring a credit history. This helps them establish a credit history in Canada, which is essential for accessing financial services such as loans and mortgages. The program also offers access to a financial advisor, who can help newcomers understand the Canadian banking system and provide advice on managing their finances.
This package is available for newcomers who obtained their PR status in the past five years. It has the following offerings:
- Zero monthly fees for 12 months
- Unlimited Interac e-transfers and debit transactions per month
- CIBC Advantage Debit Card
- $55 CAD cash back refund on Safety Deposit Box.
- Scotiabank Startright Program
This program is available to newcomers arriving in Canada in the past three years. It includes:
- Zero monthly fees for one year
- Unlimited Interac e-transfers and debit transactions
- One free withdrawal monthly on non-Scotiabank ATMs
- Free credit score check
- Access to a small safety deposit box free of charge for one year
- Free unlimited international transfers
- Free credit score check
- Bank of Montreal New Start Program
This program is available to newcomers who reside in Canada for the past five years. It includes:
- Unlimited transactions and zero charges for the first year on the Performance Plan Chequing Account
- One free withdrawal monthly via non-BMO ATMs
- Zero fees small-size deposit box or a 25% discount on the large safety deposit box
- International transfers to over 200 countries and territories through the Western Union Money Transfer service, directly from BMO Online Banking
- HSBC New to Canada Program
This program is available for newcomers who reside in Canada for less than five years. Its benefits include:
- Zero maintenance fee for one year
- Unlimited account transactions
- Overdraft protection up to C$500 without credit history requirement
- Credit card withdrawal limit of C$5000 without credit history requirement
National Bank of Canada
National Bank of Canada is the sixth largest bank in Canada, with over 500 branches across the country. It offers a range of products and services, including checking and savings accounts, credit cards, and loans. National Bank also has a Newcomers package, which is designed to help newcomers to Canada establish themselves financially. The package includes a checking account, credit card, and other financial services, as well as access to a financial advisor.
The National Bank of Canada Newcomers package is a great offer for newcomers as it provides them with a range of financial services, including a checking account and credit card, without requiring a credit history. The package also offers access to a financial advisor, who can help newcomers understand the Canadian banking system and provide advice on managing their finances.
Online Banks in Canada
In addition to the banks we have described above, Canada also has some banks for newcomers in Canada whose operations are done digitally or online. Not only newcomers can bank with them, but they are also open to the public. They include:
- EQ bank
- Tangerine bank
- Simplii Financial
- EQ Bank:
This is the online banking branch of Equitable Bank. Its savings account functions as a chequing account that allows a customer to transact at zero fees and also get some interest. It has the following benefits:
- Unlimited free transactions
- No minimum balance
- No monthly fees
- International Transfers: Low Fee via TransferWise
In addition to its banking solution, EQ bank offers TFSA and RRSP products.
2. Tangerine Bank:
Tangerine Bank is an online bank, a subsidiary of Scotiabank. It has the following offers:
- No monthly fees (but there are fees for other services, like drafts)
- Unlimited free daily transactions
- Five different savings accounts
- Free cheques (First 50 cheques are free; additional chequebooks are $50 each)
In addition to its banking solution, Tangerine bank offers TFSA and RRSP products., including retirement-friendly products like RRSPs and TFSAs.
3. Simplii Financial:
One of the products of this bank is its no-fee chequing account. It has the following benefits:
- No fees and no minimum balance
- Unlimited debit purchases, bill payments, and withdrawals
- Debit card to access 3,400+ ATMS owned by CIBC
- Two ways cheques deposit (Via CIBC-owned ATMs and via the Simplii Financial App.
- International money transfer service
Types of Bank Accounts in Canada
For many newcomers, the types of accounts that they are familiar with are savings accounts and the current account. In Canada, the account types might seem different from what you are used to. Below, we will explain the most common types of accounts available in Canada:
- What is a Chequing Account?
This account is designed for everyday banking. Most people use this account for their daily transactions, purchases, and other monthly expenses. Its features include:
- Regular account management and tracking
- Debit card transactions
- Money transfers and withdrawals
- Pre-authorized payments
Some banks might charge a monthly maintenance fee for this account, for others, this fee might be waived for a newcomer.
2. What is a Savings Account?
This is where most people put their short-term savings or even savings for an emergency fund. Most savings accounts offer some kind of interest. The features of this account include:
- Online services for account management
- You might have service fee charges if your balance is below the average monthly balance of funds
3. What are Student Accounts?
Typically for students, they offer some benefits for those in post-secondary institutions such as no-fee accounts and sign-up bonuses.
Common Payment Instruments in Canadian Banks
- Debit Card: For many chequing and savings accounts, the bank provides a debit card and a PIN to you. You can use this card to make transactions at some stores, ATM points and restaurants.
- Credit Card: This is great for newcomers as it helps them to build their credit history in Canada. With this card, the cardholder can pay for items on “credit” rather than cash. One can also set up pre-authorized payments on this card,
How do I choose the best bank in Canada for me?
Now that you know the various newcomer offers that various Canadian banks provide including the types of accounts available, let’s look at some things to consider before choosing banks for newcomers in Canada:
- Your Banking needs: You might consider this a first step in determining the type of account you want to open. Would you prefer to make your transactions physically at a branch or you’d prefer online banking? Would you be making international bank transfers? What also will be the volume of your transactions per month? You can add to these questions & consider them when making your choice
- Monthly Fees: Some of the big banks in Canada offer one year of zero monthly fees on their newcomers’ plans. However, after one year, they may or may not start to charge monthly fees.
- Transaction fees: Keep in mind that apart from the monthly fees discussed above, some banks might require that you pay fees for services like automated bill payments, cheques, etc.
How do I open a bank account for new immigrants in Canada?
For many newcomer accounts, your bank will ask you to provide some of these identification documents:
- Permanent Resident card or Confirmation of Permanent Residency
- Foreign passport
- Social Insurance Number (SIN)
Note: Identification documents may vary by province.
In conclusion, choosing the right bank is important when you are a newcomer to Canada. The banks mentioned in this blog post are some of the best banks for newcomers, as they offer programs and services that are specifically designed to help newcomers establish themselves financially in Canada. The offers provided by these banks, including free banking for up to one year and credit cards without a credit history requirement, can help newcomers save money and build their credit history. However, it’s important to do your research and choose a bank that meets your specific needs and requirements.
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