If you decided to study in Canada, one of the most important things you’ll need to sort out before you arrive is a bank account. Maybe this is one of the last things you checked before going abroad but a bank account is necessary to , make payments, avoid high commissions because of the exchange rate, do some legal and immigration paperwork, etc.
If you are coming for only one semester we highly recommend you getting an international bank account or using an app such as TransferWise to pay your rent and other services. However, if you are planning to stay in Canada for one year or more, we recommend you to open a bank account.
The first thing you should consider for opening a bank account is the bank itself, which bank you are going to choose. Consider that some banks may offer offers or rewards to students for opening an account with them. Furthermore, it is important to choose a bank that has many ATM’s near your home or school in order to avoid paying commissions for withdrawing money from a different bank institution.
Once you have chosen your bank you should choose which kind of bank account you will open: a checking or a savings account.
A checking account allows you to deposit and withdraw money as often as you like. Usually, when you open it, you’ll receive a debit card. Normally, if you are only planning to use this account for paying bills maybe this is a good option because you won’t need credit.
On the other hand, a savings account is used to collect money in the long term, as its name says, it is for savings. So, if you want to save money for traveling it may be better to open this type of account to avoid spending money in things that are not worth it. You can also check opening a high-interest saving account, which offers better interest than a regular savings account.
Check all the requirements and rewards that banks in Canada offer to students. We get this table from timeshighereducation.com that show you the plans and the fees.
|Bank||Account name||Monthly fee||Extras|
|BMO||Student bank account||Plus plan – $0
Premium plan – discounted monthly fees
|Student budget calculator, mobile banking, BMO alerts|
|CIBC||CIBC Smart for Students||$0||Receive $60 when opening a new account based on criteria, unlimited transactions, bonus savings for graduates, thousands of ATMs and branches, special bank account for medical or dental students|
|RBC||RBC Student Banking||$0||25 free debits per month, receive $60 when opening a new account based on criteria, receive a rebate on RBC Royal bank credit cards, no minimum balance|
|Scotiabank||Student Banking Advantage Plan||$0||Unlimited transactions, earn rewards on debit transactions, SCENE rewards, Scotia rewards, online and mobile banking|
|TD Bank||TD Student Checking Account||$0||25 transactions per month, online and mobile banking|
|HSBC||HSBC Canada Newcomers Programme||$0||$100 student joining bonus based on criteria|
|National Bank||Student Bank Account||$0||Discounts depending on field of study, credit cards and a personal line of credit|
As an advice, remember to check the banks that have a partnership or an agreement with your Canadian university because you’ll possibly get more benefits.
Finally, the requirements to open a bank account may change depending on the bank or the plan; however, if you decided to open it once you arrive to Canada don’t forget to bring these papers:
- Letter of acceptance
- Study permit
- Temporary permit (IMM Form 1442, 1208, 1102)
- Canadian or USA driver’s license
- Canadian government identification card (if any)
- Proof of address in Canada
We also recommend you to open an online banking account. It is useful if you don’t have the requirements needed from the Canadian bank. One of our students used N26, you can get a free debit card that will be shipped to you.
For more tips or information about our accommodation services look for us on Facebook and Instagram as @mshomestays.