Tips for newcomers on accessing the banking system

Building a life in a new country can be overwhelming and stressful for newcomers, but exciting at the same time. While it is certainly a limitless opportunity, the challenges include navigating a new system, culture, and perhaps even a new language, as well as learning the subtle differences of working and living in a new country. Some of the most immediate necessities include finding a place to live, getting a job, and opening a bank account.

“Opening a Canadian bank account will give you a safe place to deposit and access your money whenever you need it,” says Christine Shisler, the director of cultural markets at RBC. “Canada’s banking system can differ from other countries, and it’s valuable to understand the various types of financial institutions, bank accounts and services available.”

Before making any decisions, Christine recommends consideration of the following things:
• Type of account: The main options include savings, checking or U.S. dollar, though there are more options within each type. Do you need a personal account only, or are you also looking to start a business?
• Services required: Will you need to send money overseas, convert currency or use a safety deposit box or lock-box? You should know what the options are for making bill payments, and how many transactions you think you’ll make every month.
• Fees and interest rates: Depending on the banking account you choose you will get different features and benefits – along with different fees. For newcomers, some banks will waive the monthly fees for a limited time or offer discounts to help you get started.
• Accessing your money: Having convenient access to your money is important. Do you prefer to bank in-branch, by telephone, online or via a mobile app? Will you have easy access to automated bank machines (ABMs)? – CINEWS

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