It can be difficult for a newcomer to navigate their way to obtaining financial services in an entirely new banking system. Not only can the procedures be different, but information can also be difficult to find. It’s important to note that banks don’t always provide the best international money transfer options. When you want to send money overseas, there are better options than banks, as they charge a hefty fee and take several days to send money. TransferWise, Western Union, MoneyGram, Paypal, OFX and are more efficient popular methods. To find the one that costs you the least, there are tools like Finder.
In addition, you’ll need a “credit” payment option. Since immigrants arrive in Canada without a credit history, getting a credit card can be complicated. To remedy this, a good practice would be to start building your credit now. You can begin with a credit card specially designed for this purpose. Check out ways to find the best cards for building credit. While waiting to obtain your credit card, use a debit-credit card available at most institutions. Otherwise, you can still use a prepaid credit card.
Using the chequing account comparison tool, we’ve compiled the 5 best bank accounts for newcomers.
National Bank of Canada
If you arrive in Quebec, the National Bank’s offer for new immigrants is very attractive. Quebec has its peculiarities, and the National Bank has understood this. In addition to offering an exceptional 3-year offer free of charge for your checking account, instead of 12 months like most other banks, they also provide a telephone support service during your first year to help you navigate the many procedures.
During the first year, you get a banking package without fixed fee that includes a chequing account, unlimited electronic transactions, access to financing for automobiles and mortgages, credit cards, a book of free checks and a small safety deposit box. For the second and third year, if you sign up for a National Bank credit card, online bank statements and salary deposit (or electronic payment of two bills per month), you’ll continue to save on fixed costs, which are usually $14.95 per month.
The support line is open 7 days a week to assist you in your integration into Quebec as well as
guide you to the institutions that can better respond to you when necessary. When discovering a new culture, it’s a great advantage to have someone on the phone to help you when you need it.
Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)
This is the most common bank in Canada. No matter the city, RBC probably has a branch there. Thanks to RBC, most financial services like credit cards, mortgages and car loans don’t require you to have a credit history. This is an undeniable advantage when you have just arrived in the country.
With the RBC Newcomer Advantage, you get a $100 opening bonus and branch service offered in the most languages in the country. You also get up to 6000 RBC Rewards points with an RBC Rewards Visa credit card, a free security deposit box for 24 months and 2 free international transfers per month for 12 months.
To take advantage of their offer, you start by signing up for an RBC No Limit Banking account, where you pay no fees for one year, get unlimited debit transactions in Canada, and unlimited Interac e-Transfer transactions. Then you add a no-annual-fee credit card (even if you have no history) and get 2500 bonus points. You have the option to add 3500 if you go digital within 60 days of card approval.
Desjardins (also called Caisse populaire)
In Quebec, you will see the green hexagon of the Desjardins logo everywhere. Unlike other institutions, Desjardins is a cooperative, but it offers essentially the same services as a bank.
It, therefore, belongs to its members (a member at Desjardins is the same as a customer in a bank). When there are surpluses, they will be distributed to members in the form of a dividend. Credit unions are committed to and invest in the enrichment of their communities and their members.
Their offer for newcomers includes several products. First, a bank account including a free transaction plan and unlimited transactions for one year. You also get a credit card with no annual fee that does not require a credit history or a security deposit. For an auto insurance
quote, Desjardins takes into account your years of driving experience in your home country. You get a basic safety deposit box for one year to store your documents and valuables. Lastly, you’ll get a preferential rate for non-redeemable term savings to enable you to grow your savings.
Scotiabank allows you to open an account online and transfer money to Canada before you arrive. Scotiabank’s StartRight program can help you get started on the right foot, giving you access to credit, savings, free international money transfers, and advice. Their chequing account for newcomers offers several advantages:
- No monthly fees for the chequing account for one year
- Unlimited Interac transactions and transfers
- Access to a small safety deposit box free of charge for one year
In addition, Scotiabank is enhancing its offer by giving you access to several adapted financial products. You have free unlimited international transfers and a specialized mortgage loan for newcomers. You can get a loan for your new vehicle with a 10% down payment. If you open a Scotia iTRADE account, you get 10 free transactions for one year.
BMO offers the NewStart program. You can begin by opening a chequing account with no monthly fees for one year. You also get unlimited electronic transactions, unlimited Interac e-transfers, and a free safety deposit box for one year.
BMO is complementing its offer for newcomers with several adapted financial products. For example, you can sign up for the BMO No Annual Fee Cash Back Mastercard with which you get a cash back rate of up to 5% in the first three months and an interest rate of 1.99% on balance transfers for nine months. For your savings you get an interest subsidy of 0.25% on qualifying one-year guaranteed investment certificates (GICs). If you want to buy a home, we can help you buy your new home in Canada by providing mortgages that do not require a Canadian credit history. You can make international transfers to over 200 countries and territories through the Western Union Money Transfer service, directly from BMO Online Banking.
In Canada, you have the right to open a bank account at any institution if you show identification. That is, you can open a bank account even if you have no job or no money to deposit immediately. If you wish to open an account from your home country, contact the bank or check their website to see if you can open your account entirely online.
This article was compiled by Hardbacon, which has designed a chequing account comparator tool listing fifty Canadian savings accounts Hardbacon also helps you save on credit card, saving accounts, online brokers, robo-advisors, life insurance, mortgages and personal loans. If you want to go one step further and take control of your finances, you should download Hardbacon’s mobile app, which links to your bank and investing accounts, helps you plan for your financial goals, create a budget and invest better.