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Opening a bank account in Canada
Savings, checking and borderless accounts are at your service in the Great White North.
Updated . What changed?
Whether you’re planning your move, visiting on a work permit or living in the country as a permanent resident, here’s how to open a bank account in Canada from the US.
1. Choose which type of account you’ll open
There are four main types of bank accounts you can open in Canada. How you’ll open your account depends on which type you choose.
Use this table to decide which account is right for you:
|Account type||Best for||Features||Drawbacks|
|Canadian bank account||Those who want a traditional bank account|
|International bank account||Those who send, receive and spend money in different countries||Some banks require:|
|Foreign currency account||Those who want their account to hold multiple currencies|
|Digital bank account||Those who want a tech-forward account that’s easily accessible|
If you’re interested in a foreign currency account alternative, a borderless account may help. Check out money transfer specialists like TransferWise, which allow you to hold and convert currencies and receive money from other 50 countries with minimal fees.
2. Find your new bank
Now that you know which type of account you want to open, it’s time to find your new financial institution. Decide which bank to go with by looking at their product offerings to see if it offers the type of bank account you need, whether that’s a checking account, savings account or CD. Some popular international banks in Canada include:
Scotiabank offers international bank accounts that require age and residency requirements:
- At least 13 years old
- Permanent resident, international student or foreign worker
- A move to Canada within 18 months of applying
CIBC Smart for Foreign Workers
CIBC offers international bank accounts that have age, work permit and residency requirements:
- You’re a temporary resident in Canada with a valid work permit (IMM 1442)
- You can provide valid identification
- You’ve reached the age of majority in your province or territory
TD Canada Trust
TD Bank allows bank accounts to be opened before you move to Canada, requirements include:
- Provide proof of your status through your Permanent Resident Card or Temporary Permit
- At least 18 years old
3. Gather your documents
Before you apply, you’ll need to gather some documentation. This table shows which documents are typically required for each bank type, although it may vary by institution:
|Account type||Required documents|
|Canadian bank account||One or two pieces of Canadian identification, such as:|
|International bank account|
|Foreign currency account|
|Digital bank account|
4. Open your account
With your documentation on hand, it’s time to apply for you account. Some banks may require you to visit a branch location to apply, while others may let you open online or over the phone. Look on your bank’s website to see what your options are. Then, start the application process.
5. Fund your account
Once you’ve set up your account, it’s time to fund it. You may have the option to send a check or link a bank account, but most individuals fund their new account with a money wire transfer.
As far as international money transfers go, a digital money transfer specialist likely offers lower transaction fees and more competitive exchange rates than your local bank.
If you plan to send money to Canada, consider a service like WorldRemit or MoneyGram to meet your money transfer needs.
Compare money transfer services
Canadian banks have plenty of banking options to offer permanent residents and visitors alike. Beyond the Big Five, you may find stronger exchange rates and easier tools to manage international payments with digital money transfer specialists. Depending on your situation, you may want to first create a digital account. Then, once you are more established, open a bank account in Canada in person to continue your banking in Canadian dollars.
Frequently asked questions
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