Newcomers’ guide to banking services



Building a life in a new country is a brave decision for anyone to make. It can be exciting and filled with anticipation about the future, but also overwhelming and stressful.

The challenges include navigating a new system, culture, and perhaps even a new language.

Some of the immediate needs include finding a place to live, getting a job, and opening a bank account.

“Canada’s banking system can differ from other countries, and it’s valuable to understand the various types of financial institutions, bank accounts and services available,” said a spokesperson for RBC cultural markets.

Before making any decisions, she recommends consideration of the following things:

Type of account. The main options include savings, chequing or US dollar, with more options within each type. Do you need a personal account only, or are you also looking to start a business?

Services required. Will you need to send money overseas, convert currency or use a safety deposit box or lock-box? You should know what the options are for making bill payments, and how many transactions you think you’ll make every month.

Fees and interest rates. Depending on the banking account you choose you will get different features and benefits – along with different fees. For newcomers, some banks will waive the monthly fees for a limited time or offer discounts to help you get started.

Accessing your money. Having convenient access to your money is important. Do you prefer to bank in-branch, by telephone, online or via a mobile app? Will you have easy access to automated bank machines (ABMs)?

Additional information about opening a bank account is available at


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