Personal Banking in Canada

Financial planning Scotiabank is Canada’s most international bank, with operations in more than 55 countries (including India). We have been servicing customers for 180 years. Our 75,000 employees worldwide speak a wide range of languages. In Canada, Scotiabank has over 1,000 branches and 3,000 Automated Bank Machines (ABMs).

At Scotiabank, we know that planning and the right advice can build a strong foundation for your immigration journey and that is why we genuinely support the Canadian Immigrant Integration Program (CIIP) and applaud your efforts to participate in the Know Before You Go pre-immigration webinar.

Download the Know Before You Go workbook today to learn how you can best prepare for your future in Canada.

Download the free Know Before You Go Workbook

The Scotiabank StartRight ® Program for Newcomers has been created specially to help make settling in Canada easier. By registering for a Know Before You Go webinar, we can keep in-touch with you.

While Canada welcomes you to a new country, Scotiabank welcomes you home!

The Scotiabank StartRight Program has products and services to help permanent residents/landed immigrants, foreign workers, and international students get started in Canada, including:

  • $100 when you open an eligible chequing account2,
  • a credit card3 that meets your needs as a newcomer and helps you build your credit history,
  • a free small safety deposit box for one year4

And, more complex products to help you plan for your dreams. The Scotiabank StartRight Program can help you enjoy each milestone in your new country. To learn more, visit Scotiabank StartRight   and, for those of you in India, visit a Kotak Mahindra Bank representative who can assist you with our Scotiabank StartRight International Account Opening Program.

1 – The Scotiabank StartRight Program, created for Canadian Landed Immigrants from 0-3 years in Canada, International Students and Foreign Workers. The Scotiabank StartRight Mortgage Program, created for Canadian Landed Immigrants and Foreign Workers from 0-5 years in Canada.

2 – Offer available when you open a new Scotia® MoneybackTM Account, Scotia OneTM Account or Basic Banking Plan (each an “Eligible Account”) with Scotiabank. Employees of The Bank of Nova Scotia (“Scotiabank”) and individuals who are currently holders or joint holders of an Eligible Account, are not eligible. Maximum one offer per customer.The Eligible Account must be opened and be in good standing until time of payout. Eligible Account is not in “good standing” if (i) it has a negative balance exceeding the authorized overdraft limit, (ii) it is closed to service charges or (iii) it has an unauthorized overdraft written off status. The $100 bonus will be deposited into the Eligible Account within 120 days of the account opening. This offer is non-transferable and cannot be duplicated or combined with any other offer. Scotiabank may withdraw or change this offer at any time without notice. Please see the Day-to-Day Banking Companion Booklet for further details about these accounts and fees.

3 – Subject to meeting Scotiabank’s credit criteria and security requirements. An unsecured credit card may be available up to certain credit limits; a secured credit card requires security equal to 100% of approved credit limit for Foreign Workers and Permanent Residents and 120% of approved credit limit for International Students. VISA card security can be cash security, Canada Savings Bonds or Guaranteed Investment Certificate. In addition, to be eligible for a personal borrowing product, you must be a Canadian resident and have reached the age of majority.

4 – Subject to availability and signing the Safety Deposit Box lease.

5 – Currently the Auto Finance Program is available through the following car dealerships in Canada: Kia, Chrysler, General Motors, Hyundai, Jaguar/Land Rover, Mazda, Mitsubishi and Volvo. This program is only available for Landed Immigrants and Foreign Workers. Subject to Scotiabank financing terms and conditions. Down payment required.

6 – Applicable to residential mortgages only and subject to Scotiabank lending criteria for residential properties. CMHC/Genworth Financial Canada mortgage default insurance may be required for Loan to Value ratios (LVRs) greater than 50% to a maximum of 95%. Maximum LVRs available may be less than 95%

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¥ Ranked by renowned International Consulting Firm, Oliver Wyman, 2009.

Learn the basics of banking in Canada

Banking in CanadaWhile it can be fun to think about our dreams for the future, especially when moving to a new country, it’s also wise to keep in mind the practical, day-to-day considerations about money. This is particularly important for newcomers to Canada who face questions such as, “How can I protect my money?” and “Where and how can I access my funds easily?”

Whether you are accustomed to banking in your home country, or you have never used a bank before, this article helps you understand the Canadian banking system and ways to manage your money.

Before you come to Canada

We are able to assist newcomers open a Canadian bank account and apply for credit card even before landing in Canada. As Canadian immigration authorities require proof of funds at the time of landing, newcomers can send money and access the funds on arrival. You may open a Canadian bank account by contacting the bank in your home country. Then, visit the nearest branch of that bank when you land in Canada to complete the process.

Download the Know Before You Go workbook today to learn how you can best prepare for your future in Canada.

Download the free Know Before You Go Workbook

To choose among banks, visit their websites to compare services and fees. While many banks have national branch and automatic banking machine (ABM) networks, you should select a bank with branches in the community where you will live.

Establishing a bank account is invaluable, since most Canadians rely on their banking system to receive their paycheques and pay bills. Also, when you receive a statement from your Canadian bank account with your new mailing address, it can be used to help you apply for government services, your provincial health card or driver’s license.

Choosing the right account and features

The range of accounts can be overwhelming, but keep in mind that most newcomers will require at least a chequing account, to deposit funds, write cheques and pay bills. You will also get a debit card to deposit and withdraw funds from an ABM or branch. A higher-interest savings account and credit card are also often useful.

Banks may offer banking service packages at low-cost monthly fees. For example, The Scotiabank StartRight  ® Program for Newcomers offers a number of banking options, including a chequing account with free day-to-day bank account for one year. To help you decide, multilingual branch and customer contact centre employees are glad to explain your options.

How to open your first account

A Canadian bank can provide the details, but in general a landed immigrant requires a current valid passport and confirmation of immigration status to Canada. In addition to their valid passport, international students also require a letter of acceptance from a Canadian educational institution and a study permit. In the case of foreign workers, a current valid passport and a valid work permit will get them started banking in Canada.

By taking time to consider these matters now, you’ll be ready to manage your financial needs and begin building your dreams in Canada.

Some helpful links:

  •    Learn about the Scotiabank StartRight Program for Newcomers, and details on international account opening options:,,4362,00.html

  •    Review a glossary of typical banking terms:,,4311,00.html

  •    The Canadian Bankers Association offers tips for newcomers and links to Canadian bank websites:

  •    Learn about the Canada Deposit insurance Corporation at:

Building a Canadian credit history

Financial StepsIt is a lesson that many immigrants learn once they arrive in Canada: they need credit – to pay large expenses, buy a car or purchase a home – but they usually can’t borrow without a Canadian credit history.

Canadian lenders typically check each applicant’s credit files at one of the main credit reporting agencies (EquifaxCanada and TransUnion). This file is like a financial report card that tracks how much you borrow and how quickly you pay it back, to calculate your credit rating and credit score.

Without a credit history, newcomers may be told they need a loan co-signer with a Canadian credit rating, considerable assets as collateral, or they must demonstrate a history of stable income in Canada to receive a loan.

Fortunately, you can establish a Canadian credit history and start building a credit record shortly after arriving to Canada.

Getting started

Download the Know Before You Go workbook today to learn how you can best prepare for your future in Canada. Download the free Know Before You Go Workbook

Your credit history or credit rating starts the first time you get a credit card or loan in your name from a Canadian bank. You can begin by applying for – and responsibly using – a credit card.

Even if you don’t have immediate plans to buy a house or vehicle, it can be a good idea to establish a credit history, since banks may give special consideration to recent newcomers. For example, The Scotiabank StartRight  ® Program for Newcomers has many credit card options, suited for new Canadians who do not already have a Canadian credit history to help them start right.

In some cases, newcomers may be offered a ‘secured’ credit card that requires you to set aside money or other assets as a security deposit. Such special offers may be more difficult to obtain later, especially if your income does not grow as fast as you had hoped. A credit card is also useful for larger purchases and as a secondary piece of identification.

Use credit carefully

Once you receive credit, use it wisely to build a good credit history:

  • Do use your new credit card to create a credit history. Make purchases with the card, but pay your bills in full and on time.
  • Be aware of the interest rate charges if you do not pay the balance in full each month.
  • Don’t go over the credit card limit.
  • If you can’t pay the full balance on your credit card, at least pay the minimum balance and make regular payments, with the goal of paying off debts as quickly as possible.
  • Don’t apply for credit too often since too many credit cards can hurt your credit rating.

Helpful links:

  1. The Scotiabank StartRight Program, created for Canadian Landed Immigrants from 0-3 years in Canada, International Students and Foreign Workers. The Scotiabank StartRight Mortgage Program, created for Canadian Landed Immigrants and Foreign Workers from 0-5 years in Canada.

® Registered trademarks of The Bank of Nova Scotia.