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Truro Colchester Welcome Network

Money and Banking

Moving to a new country can be stressful. Learning how financial matters work in your new country can add to that stress.

The debit card you used at home may work at Canadian Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) and in stores, but you may have to pay extra fees. You can avoid those fees by moving your money into a Canadian bank account.

Most banks have packages for people who are new to Canada. Type “newcomer bank offers” into a search engine like Google.

Opening a Bank Account

There are 2 kinds of bank accounts that most Canadians use: chequing and savings.

Chequing accounts are also called current accounts. This is where you keep the money you need to pay for everyday expenses. Banks often charge a monthly fee for these accounts. They may waive the fee if you keep a certain amount in the account at all times.

A savings account is where you keep money you want to save. If you keep it in the bank, it will earn interest.

What You Need to Open a Bank Account in Canada

To open a bank account in Canada, you need 2 pieces of identification. If you have no status in Canada yet, one of these must be your passport. These are the other pieces of identification banks will accept:

  • permanent resident card or a confirmation of a permanent residence
  • work permit
  • Social Insurance Number (SIN)
  • driver’s licence

Most banks will let you open a new account online. You may find it easier to visit the bank and open your account in person.

Once you have opened the account, the bank will give you a debit card. You can use this card to buy things or to deposit or withdraw money from an ATM

Most Canadian banks offer online banking. This lets you manage your accounts online or with an app on your phone.

Keep enough money in your account to pay your bills. If there is not enough money in your account to pay a bill, you will have to pay a fee.

Registered Education Savings Plans

A Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) helps you to save money for your child’s education after high school. You do not pay tax on money that you put in this plan. You can put money in an RESP if you are a parent, family member, or friend of the child named in the plan.

To find out more about RESPs, visit and type “RESP” in the search box.