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How to open a bank account in Canada as an international student

Learn the details of opening a bank account in Canada as an international student.

In this article: 

Why should you open a bank account in the UK?

A bank account is one of the basic necessities to support yourself and manage your day to day finances. You can opt to use a bank account from your home country if they operate out of Canada. 

If not, it is always better to open a bank account in a Canadian bank because: 

  • It will be easier to send and receive money from classmates and friends.
  • It will be easier to get your part-time work paycheck.
  • It will be more convenient to withdraw money from ATMs nearby.
  • You can easily pay rent and other bills online.
  • You can avoid additional charges while shopping by using the debit/credit card you will receive while opening a Canadian bank account. 

What are the different types of bank accounts available for international students in Canada?

The two types of bank accounts available for international students in Canada are:

Checking account – While holding this type of account, you can deposit and withdraw money as often as you want. In most cases, a checking account will be more than enough for you to take care of your living expenses and other expenses. You will also receive a debit card that you can use to pay your bills and withdraw money from the ATM. If you are interested, you can apply for a credit card as well.

Saving account – This type of account is generally used to save money for the long term. If you are planning to work part-time to save money or if you intend to stay back in Canada after your education, you can choose this type of account.

Note that irrespective of the type of account you choose, many banks offer subsidies for international students.

How to open a new bank account in Canada?

Many banks allow you to open a bank account online through their website, but as an international student, it is better to do it in person to avoid verification complications. 

Research different banks and accounts while at home and go to the bank of your choice with all the required documents to start the process on arrival. 

What are the required documents?

  • Your passport
  • University acceptance letter
  • Study permit
  • Student ID card
  • Traveller’s cheques

Note that some banks might ask you to bring in additional documents while opening the account. Please check your bank’s website to put your documents together before going in person.

Top banks in Canada

Some of the top banks operating in Canada are National Bank, HSBC, TD Bank, Scotiabank, RBC, CIBC and BMO. Compare the pros and cons of each bank by going through their website before deciding.