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Opening a bank account in Canada

Opening a bank account is one of the first things any newcomer should do. You will need it to have easy access to your money and to pay for various goods and services. Also, most employers prefer to deposit salaries in chequing accounts.

Accessing funds at banks from your home country usually comes with significant transfer fees, not to mention that any malfunction can turn into a customer service nightmare. It is always best to keep your money where you can see it; that is, in a respectable local banking institution to which you have direct access.

Canadian banks offer:

– chequing

– savings, and

– combination accounts.

Different accounts come with various monthly fee plans and sometimes incentives. Some banks have special offers for newcomers (for example, no-fee chequing accounts or high-interest savings accounts), so take your time to see what gratuities you can get.

You can have more than one type of account simultaneously and you will be given several banking options. You can manage your accounts by going to the branch in person, using an Automated Teller Machine (ATM), over the internet, or over the phone.

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Online banking

It is a good idea to set up online banking if you have internet at home. It is preferable to access your online bank account only from your personal computer and only with a secure connection. The advantage is that you can check your balance, pay your bills, transfer money between accounts, and make certain changes to your account features without having to visit a branch.

This flexibility will come in handy when you have to juggle a job and a personal life and will allow you to handle your money without depending on a bank’s business hours.

Choosing banks

Some people choose to open accounts at more than one bank because they find each offers special advantages. While banking fees are fairly similar, particular features such as:

– extended business hours

– staff members that speak foreign languages, or

– convenient locations can make a big difference.

While there is nothing wrong with having accounts at more than one bank, keep in mind that you will have to pay more monthly fees.

How to open an account

To open a bank account, you need to go to a local branch in person and have two original pieces of identification. You will have an interview with a bank employee who will:

– discuss different banking options

– make suggestions based on your needs

– explain your rights and responsibilities, and

– help you fill in the paperwork.

Feel free to ask for an explanation if there is anything you don’t understand. The role of the bank employee is to provide quality customer service and any questions you may have. So you don’t need to worry about asking questions or taking up too much of their time.

Most importantly, ask for help when necessary and only sign a contract when you’re confident that you understand all of the terms correctly.