What newcomers need to know about Canadian banking system?

If you are planning to immigrate to Canada, you must be wondering how to open a bank account and do banking in the new country. Canada has a national system of banking with five large banks having branches across the country and many small and regional banks. The banking system in Canada is highly competitive and consumers have many options to choose from. Moreover, Canadian banks maintain a high level of security, meaning the money deposited in a Canadian bank will be safe and the customers need not have to worry about it.

Now here are a few things you need to know about the Canadian banking system as a newcomer:

1. Opening a bank account:

In Canada, anybody can open a bank account if they meet the identification requirements specified in the Access to Basic Banking Services Regulations under the Bank Act. You can open a bank account even if you don’t have a job, don’t have money to put in the account or have been bankrupt.

For identification purpose, you may produce documents including:

  • a Canadian driver’s license
  • a Certificate of Canadian Citizenship
  • a Certification of Naturalization
  • a Permanent Resident card or Citizenship and Immigration Canada Form IMM 1000 or IMM 1442.

2. Choosing the type of account

The Canadian banks, which are more than 20 in number, offer around a 100 types of consumer bank account packages to choose. Besides, the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada has a simple, free, online tool that helps the customers compare different types of accounts. There are certain packages that are specifically meant for newcomers in Canada. You can choose an account type that is competitive, affordable and suits your needs best.

3. Security for your deposit is guaranteed

All Canadian banks that take retail deposits are members of the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC). The banks in Canada are regulated and managed well. Even if a bank fails, which is highly unlikely in Canada, the savings and deposits of the customers will remain protected.

4. Sending money to home country

Some newcomers may have to send money to their family members or friends in other countries. Banks charge a fee for these transactions called remittances. Banks in Canada offer remittance services in a number of currencies. If the person you are sending money to does not have a bank account, you can choose services like Western Union, MoneyGram etc.

5. Help to start a business

Banks in Canada offer a range of services for small business owners. These include providing finance, information, advice, lines of credit, overdraft protection, telephone banking, online banking, venture loans, and payroll and cash management services. Banks also conduct seminars and workshops for small business owners and aspiring business people to help them start or manage their business better.

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