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Best Bank Accounts for Newcomers to Canada

    Canada is known for its friendly people, high standard of living, and robust banking system. The country has many banks that offer different services, products, and account options to newcomers. As a newcomer to Canada, choosing the right bank account can be overwhelming, especially when you are not familiar with the banking system in Canada. This article will provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision on the best bank accounts for newcomers to Canada.

    Best Bank Accounts for Newcomers:

    TD BankTD Every Day Chequing AccountNo monthly fee with a minimum balance, access to ATMs and online banking, overdraft protection availableLimited free transactions per month, limited free foreign transactions per month
    ScotiabankStartRight ProgramDedicated program for newcomers, no monthly fee, overdraft protection availableLimited free transactions per month, foreign transaction fee
    RBC Royal BankRBC No Limit Banking AccountNo monthly fee, unlimited transactions, overdraft protection availableForeign transaction fee
    CIBCCIBC Smart AccountNo monthly fee, overdraft protection available, free foreign transactionsLimited free transactions per month
    BMO Bank of MontrealBMO Plus Checking AccountNo monthly fee, unlimited transactions, overdraft protection available, free foreign transactionsHigher minimum balance required

    Let’s take TD Bank’s TD Every Day Chequing Account as an example. If you maintain a minimum balance of $2,500, you can enjoy unlimited transactions without any fees. If your balance falls below $2,500, you’ll be charged $5.95 per month. Based on this information, if you make 10 transactions a month and your balance falls below $2,500, the total cost would be $5.95 + ($1.25 x 10) = $18.45.

    • In Canada, every bank must provide its customers with a free chequing account, regardless of their financial situation.
    • Some banks offer special programs for newcomers, such as Scotiabank’s StartRight Program, which provides financial advice and support to newcomers.
    • You can also open a joint account with a family member or friend, which can be useful for managing household finances.

    The first banks in Canada were established in the late 1700s, with the first chartered bank, Bank of Montreal, being founded in 1817. Over time, the banking sector has evolved and grown to become one of the most important industries in Canada. Today, Canada’s banking sector is highly regulated and overseen by the Canadian government to ensure the safety and stability of the financial system.

    1. Canada has a highly sophisticated banking system, with some of the world’s largest banks operating in the country. (Source: World Bank)
    2. In 2020, Canada ranked third in the world for the ease of accessing credit. (Source: World Economic Forum)
    3. Canada has one of the lowest banking fees in the world, with an average monthly fee of $3.36 compared to the global average of $6.72. (Source: Global Finance Magazine)

    In recent years, many banks in Canada have started offering mobile-only banking services, which allow customers to perform most banking transactions through their smartphones. This has made banking more convenient and accessible for many Canadians, especially for those who live in rural areas where traditional brick-and-mortar branches may not be available.

    Let’s consider an example to see how the different bank accounts compare. Suppose you are a newcomer to Canada, and you make 10 transactions a month, including 5 foreign transactions. In this scenario, the TD Every Day Chequing Account would be the best option, as it offers unlimited transactions and access to ATMs and online banking. The Scotiabank StartRight Program would also be a good choice, as it offers a dedicated program for newcomers and no monthly fee, but it charges a foreign transaction fee. On the other hand, the RBC No Limit Banking Account and the CIBC Smart Account would be more expensive, as they charge a foreign transaction fee.

    Pros and Cons:

    Each of the bank accounts has its own pros and cons. Some of the pros of these bank accounts include:

    • No monthly fee with a minimum balance
    • Unlimited transactions
    • Access to ATMs and online banking
    • Overdraft protection available
    • Free foreign transactions

    However, there are also some cons to consider, such as:

    • Limited free transactions per month
    • Foreign transaction fee
    • Higher minimum balance required
    • Limited support for newcomers

    The banking industry in Canada is constantly evolving, and it is likely that new banking products and services will be introduced in the future. In addition, with the growing popularity of mobile banking and the increasing use of digital technologies, it is expected that traditional brick-and-mortar branches will continue to be replaced by digital alternatives. As a newcomer to Canada, it is important to stay informed about the latest developments in the banking industry and to choose a bank account that meets your needs and financial goals.

    Choosing the right bank account as a newcomer to Canada is an important decision. The best bank account for you will depend on your financial situation and needs, including the number of transactions you make, the amount of money you have, and whether you need overdraft protection. By considering the pros and cons of each bank account and conducting a thorough comparison, you can make an informed decision on the best bank account for you.


    Christopher - BSc, MBA

    With over two decades of combined Big 5 Banking and Agency experience, Christopher launched Underbanked® to cut through the noise and complexity of financial information. Christopher has an MBA degree from McMaster University and BSc. from Western University in Canada.

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