An International Student’s Guide to Banking in Canada

An International Student’s Guide to Banking in Canada

An International Student’s Guide to Banking in Canada

Choosing a Canadian bank is vital as an international student. In fact, it must be in your top priorities even before flying to the country.

Opening a bank account in Canada offers many benefits. First, you can trust that your funds are in the right hands. Second, it enables you to have more control over your money. 

Different Canadian banks offer different financial services. With this in mind, you must select a great bank that offers the best value for you.

Before packing up your bags, make sure you’re equipped with information about Canadian banking. Here’s a guide to banking in Canada for foreign students:

Banking Requirements 

Most Canadian banks offer online services to students who want to open a bank account. However, it’s best to apply in person to avoid nuisances.

Some of the general requirements to open a bank are:

  • Valid passport
  • Study permit
  • Letter of acceptance 
  • Identification cards

You’ll have to complete bank forms during your account opening application. You’ll also have to choose one or more accounts to open. Your options are:

  • Savings Account – To store funds for a long period.
  • Chequing Account – For basic withdrawals and deposits.
  • Foreign Currency Account – To keep money in a different currency.

Cash Machines

Most banks have Automatic Teller Machines or ATMs located in various places like bank offices and hotels. Banks typically charge fees for ATM transactions like making withdrawals.

Most Canadian services accept debit card and contactless transactions. This is an alternative option to carrying cash.

Credit Card

Having a good credit history is valued in Canada. A good credit score can help you in the future as an international student. 

A credit card can help you make purchases as long as you stay within the credit limit. Overspending and not paying on time can lead to credit card debt. 

Online Money Transfer

In Canada, you can send money through Interac, an online transfer system. This makes money transfers more convenient and faster.

As long as you’re sending money to a participating Canadian bank, all you need is the recipient’s phone number and email address. 

Banks for International Students

Below is a list of bank accounts that offer student banking options and various benefits:

  • HSBC – The HSBC group offers a Newcomer’s Program for International Students. Through this program, students can receive exclusive offers for new accounts. They also offer additional incentives depending on the account and initial deposit.
  • RBC – RBC has the Student Bank Account for Newcomers for foreign students. This account has no monthly fee and offers a Virtual Visa Debit for online purchases.
  • CIBC – CIBC offers a student account with no monthly limit and no monthly fees. Some of the perks include a $60 signing bonus.

Online Banking Options

International students can also opt to open an online bank. Having an online bank is great for certain transactions. However, you may find it inconvenient if you need to withdraw frequently.

Some online baking options for foreign students include Simplii Financial and Tangerine. 

It’s important for international students to learn banking matters in Canada before flying to the country. Read our articles here at MSM Unify to learn more about life in Canada as a foreign student. 


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