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How to open a bank account without photo ID in Canada
You need ID to open a bank account in Canada, but banks accept more forms of ID than you might think.
If you don’t have a Canadian passport or driver’s license, you might think it’s impossible to open a bank account without photo ID. But banks may accept other, less commonly used forms of ID.
Can I open a bank account without photo ID in Canada?
The short answer is no. Banks need to verify your identity before you can open an account. That’s anti-fraud policy 101, and it protects you. You wouldn’t want a random person to be able to open a bank account in your name.
This also applies to digital banks. Even if you try to open an account online or through an app, you’ll usually be asked to submit a copy of your ID or a video of yourself.
But if you don’t have a valid Canadian passport or driver’s license, banks might accept other forms of ID.
What ID do I need to open a bank account in Canada?
Banks will look for ID that has an identification number and shows your name, signature and picture. Canadian passports and driver’s licenses issued in a Canadian province or territory are always acceptable (unless expired).
If you don’t have these, here’s a list of alternative IDs that banks might accept. If you don’t have photo ID, you may need to provide multiple alternatives types of ID.
- Permanent Resident card
- Health Card (not acceptable in all provinces)
- Provincial or territorial identity card
- Tax Notice of Assessment
- Secure Certificate of Indian Status
- Canadian Forces Card
- Canadian citizenship card (issued before 2012)
- Federally issued firearms license
- Foreign passport
- US permanent resident card
- US driver’s license
ID requirements for major Canadian banks
How about credit checks?
You may be able to open a bank account without providing multiple types of ID if your bank allows digital identity verification by conducting a soft credit check, which won’t affect your credit score. However, some banks require hard credit checks if you open an account online. This will affect your credit score.
Why is it sometimes difficult to provide ID to open a bank account?
There are a number of scenarios in which someone might be struggling to provide ID, and there are different options they can take.
Just moved to Canada
If you’ve recently arrived in Canada, you might not yet have a residence, making it tough to provide proof of residency. In this case, many banks accept foreign-issued passports as well as your Canadian-issued visa or other immigration documents.
If you’re planning to study in Canada, you might want to open a Canadian bank account for everyday spending and money transfers. Luckily, most major banks have accounts designed for students and newcomers to Canada with provisions for those who can’t provide the usual Canadian ID.
With more and more people working remotely, travelling the world while working has become much easier. If you’re living the nomadic life, you may want to get a Canadian mailing address from an online address service provider. Note that there is a cost for this service, which varies depending on the provider you choose and whether you pay for add-ons like mail/package forwarding.
Should you find yourself without a home, there are ways to get an address without buying or renting property. Similar to digital nomads, you can get a virtual address or proxy address where your mail can be sent.
Open a bank account
The bottom line
To prevent fraud, you can’t open a bank account in Canada without ID. Although passports and driver’s licenses are the most commonly used forms of ID, banks typically accept a much wider range of documents to verify your identity. You may also be able to verify your ID by consenting to a credit check.
Frequently asked questions
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