Here’s what you need to know about banking in Canada

Whether you’re immigrating to Canada to start a new life, a new job or to study, arriving in a new country often feels overwhelming. There are many factors to consider including where to live, how to find housing, securing employment and how to navigate your new city. And for some newcomers, navigating a new financial system may be the most challenging part.

“Your new life in Canada is filled with opportunities as well as more than just a few unknowns,” said Frank Psoras, Senior Vice President, Money-In Solutions at TD.  “But as you adjust to your new home it’s important to remember that you’re not alone – there are a number of tools and resources to help you feel more confident as you settle into your life in Canada. We’re ready to help you get there.”

Building a trusted network to help you navigate and understand common questions — including questions on banking — may help you get established faster. While starting your Canadian financial journey may seem overwhelming, here are a few tips to help get you started:


  1. What are the basics of banking in Canada?

Here are a few common terms to familiarize yourself with:

  • Chequing account: A chequing account is a spending account that you can use every day to pay bills or for day to day purchases.
  • Savings account: This bank account generally pays interest on the money you deposit in it.
  • Interace-Transfer®: Once you have a Canadian bank account, Interac e-Transfer® allows you to send money within Canada to a person or a business. All you need is an email address, or a valid Canadian mobile number – and an eligible bank account with a participating Canadian financial institution.
  • Debit card: A card that gives you access to your deposit (chequing or savings) account. It’s used to withdraw money directly from your bank account and/or pay for purchases you make at a retailer.
  • Credit card: A credit card is a type of loan that you’re required to apply for. If you’re approved, you’ll receive a credit limit. The limit is different for every individual. When you use your credit card, you must repay at least a minimum amount every month.
  • Cheque: A cheque lets you take out money from your chequing account if you want to make a payment to a person or company.


  1. How do I choose the right financial institution?

An important early step when establishing yourself in your new country is familiarizing yourself with how key processes work, including the local banking system by taking time to learn about different financial institutions, the services they offer and how they may meet your needs.


Things you might consider are whether or not they provide service in your native language, offer convenient hours such as evenings and weekends, have a physical branch that’s close to you and offer a user-friendly digital banking experience.


“Every new Canadian has their own set of needs when it comes to what they’re looking for from their financial institution. Many will start by doing their research online,” adds Psoras. “Whether you’re planning on moving to Canada, have just arrived or are settling in, the TD Banking for Newcomers in Canada website is a simple and convenient way to help new Canadians feel more confident as they go through one of the biggest milestones of their life.”


  1. How do I get started building my credit history in Canada?

Building and eventually maintaining a strong credit history in Canada is a way to help ensure a healthy financial outlook, so it’s important to practice good financial habits from the beginning of your move. You can start building a credit history by applying for a Canadian credit card through your bank and by paying your bills on-time and in full each month. Using credit responsibly helps you establish a strong credit score and is a powerful way to help ensure you meet your financial goals.

  1. How can I still support my family back home when I’m in Canada?

Starting a new life in a new country while maintaining financial ties to loved one’s back home is important for many new Canadians. You can support your family back home by sending money through  TD Global TransferTM. TD Global TransferTM provides you the choice of three simple and convenient ways to send money safely and securely digitally through EasyWeb or the TD app:

  • Send money directly to a recipient’s bank account in more than 150 countries and territories: Staying within the comfort and safety of home might be a top priority for your family and friends abroad right now, so sending money directly to their bank account might be an important and convenient way to do so.
  • Send money directly to a loved one’s eligible Visa Card with Visa Direct[1]: With Visa Direct, you can send money to your loved ones’ eligible Visa Debit Card2, Visa Credit Card2 or Reloadable Prepaid Visa Card2 in over 170 countries and territories.
  • Send money for cash pick up at a Western Union®agent location: You can send money directly from your eligible TD account for cash pick up3 at more than 500,000 Western Union® agent locations in over 200 destination countries and territories, that way your loved ones can pick up your international money transfer conveniently, and typically in as little as 2-4 hours.4


  1. I want to open a bank account – what should I bring with me to the bank?

Anyone can open a bank account in Canada if they meet the identification requirements. Check the list below to know what you’ll need at TD.

  1. One of the following pieces of residency information:
    • Permanent Resident Card
    • Confirmation of permanent residence (e.g., IMM Form 5292)
    • Temporary Permit (e.g., IMM Form 1442, 1208, 1102)


  1. One of the following documents:
    • A valid passport
    • Canadian Driver’s License
    • Government of Canada identification card

International Students are also required to provide Proof of Enrollment in a post-secondary program. The document provided must have been issued by the school and contain the following information: Student Name, Name of University or College, Program and current year of study.

TD has special offers for Newcomers on the products needed to help you get settled and we’re ready to help you move forward as you start to build your new life in Canada. To get started, book an appointment with a banking specialist to learn more.



1Certain restrictions apply in the U.S. and other regions. See TD Global Transfer Terms of Use for further details.

2Most Visa credit, debit and reloadable prepaid cards around the world are eligible. However, certain countries and financial institutions may choose not to accept these transactions due to local regulatory or other restrictions. Also, certain reloadable prepaid products may be restricted from receiving Visa Direct payments such as reloadable youth prepaid cards, government disbursement cards and Visa travel cards.

3 Western Union® Agent locations may also make alternative pick-up options available to the recipient

4 Service timing and funds availability depends on certain factors including the Service selected, the selection of delayed delivery options, special terms applicable to each Service, amount sent, destination country, currency availability, regulatory issues, consumer protection issues, identification requirements, delivery restrictions, agent location hours, and differences in time zones.



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