Banking in Canada for Newcomers 💵

How to find the right bank for you

“The Big Five”

Traditional big banks, ranked in order of their size

  1. Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)

  2. Toronto-Dominion (TD)

  3. Bank of Nova Scotia

  4. Bank of Montreal

  5. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC)

“Online-only” Banks

Online banking arm of the Big Banks and the new upstarts. These usually have low or no fees but lack physical presence and don’t offer as wide range of financial products.

  1. Tangerine Bank (Owned by Bank of Nova Scotia)

  2. Simplii Financial Bank (Owned by CIBC)

  3. EQ Bank

  4. Alterna Bank

How to choose your bank?

2️⃣ Types of Bank Accounts

  • Chequing (is that correct, eh?)

  • Savings

💸 Fees

  • Monthly maintenance

  • Cheque (yes, that’s correct) book

  • Wire transfer - domestic and international

  • Non-bank ATM withdrawal

  • Interac transfers and Debit card

  • Safety deposit box

💰Interest Rates

  • Rates differ on Chequing vs Savings account

  • Online only banks offer higher savings interest rates, EQ bank offers as high as 2.30%

🤔 Other Considerations

  • Multi product benefits (auto loan discount, mortgage rates)

  • Credit card reward programs

  • Presence outside Canada (e.g. RBC, BMO have branches in the U.S.)

  • Ability to open an account from the U.S. before moving to Canada

⏱ Making a decision

  • Depending on your goals, first choose between a big bank or an online-only bank. Since you’ll be new to Canada, it’s likely that you’ll need access to other financial products which online-only banks may or may not be best suited to offer.

  • If you’re opening multiple accounts, consider opening one with the big bank and other with online-only to get best of both the worlds

  • Definitely choose at least one that offers you credit card so you can start building credit history