If you are staying more than three months in Canada, you will probably need a Canadian bank account. Read some of our resources and experience and learn how to open accounts, get credit cards, transfer money in Canada and abroad and change currencies.

Managing your finances will be easier with our step-by-step guide.

Opening a bank account

Banking in Canada is straightforward. Banks offer similar quality services such as online banking and automatic banking machines (ABMs – ATMs in the USA) to make life easier for customers. Shop around for the best deal or ask people to recommend a bank to you.

Choosing a bank

Having chosen which bank you wish to use, make your way to one of their branches and tell them which kind of account you would like to open. You should be able to provide two government issued pieces of identification (e.g. a passport, driver’s license, Provincial Health Card, Social Insurance Card) and proof of address (usually requested in the form of a utility bill). As a foreign resident you will usually also be asked to provide a reference from your employer/host university or educational institution or your previous bank.

When choosing a bank, take into consideration how far it is the branch to the place where you live/work, or any special package that your employer/university may have in order to minimize your banking fees.

The biggest Canadian banks are:

All the banks listed above have offices in most Canadian cities. There are also many regional banks, credit unions, and international banks such as HSBC, Citibank, ING Bank, UBS, etc.

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