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The Best Banks for Newcomers in Canada

Written by CNN Team

Now that you’re in Canada, are you interested in opening a bank account? These are your best options!

If you’re preparing to live abroad for the first time, then getting your finances in order is probably one of your biggest priorities. However, considering the sheer number of financial institutions (also known as banks) that exist, it can be difficult to find Canadian banks that suit your particular needs. 

Finding an affordable financial option is key, especially when you are new to Canada. You also have to consider language barriers if you are still learning English or French. Therefore, having access to services in your native language can be a big help. Also, consider how easily you are able to send money back home and process transactions in your home currency. 

Since every bank has their pros and cons, the following financial institutions are ideal for those of you who are new to Canada and are looking to open a bank account.


CIBC offers a Welcome to Canada Banking Package that newcomers who obtain their permanent resident status withinin the past 5 years can access. This includes:

  • Unlimited debit and Interac e-Transfer transactions
  • Free safety deposit box for 1 year
  • No monthly fees for 1 year
  • Access to credit cards, investment products, mortgage, and a personal loan


The BMO NewStart Program is available to newcomers who arrive in Canada within the last 5 years. They can receive 1 year of free banking under its Performance Plan. The benefits include: 

  • Unlimited debit and Interac e-Transfer transactions
  • No monthly account fees for 1 year
  • 1 free non-BMO ATM withdrawal per month in Canada
  • Free small safety deposit box for 1 year
  • Access to credit cards, investments, international money transfers, and mortgage loans


Scotiabank’s StartRight Program is available for newcomers who have been in Canada for 0-3 years. It offers access to a free chequing account for 12 months. By opening a Scotiabank Preferred Package Chequing account, you also receive: 

  • No monthly fees for 12 months
  • 1 free withdrawal a month from a non-Scotiabank ATM
  • Unlimited debit and Interac e-Transfer transactions
  • Access to high-interest savings account
  • Free credit scores
  • Rewards on every debit transaction 
  • Up to $139 fee waived on Scotiabank credit cards


Tangerine Bank is the most popular online bank in Canada that offers cafes/kiosks you can utilize in some of Canada’ biggest cities. Also, their No-Fee Daily Chequing Account offers newcomers: 

  • Unlimited debit and Interac e-Transfer transactions
  • No monthly account fees
  • Interest on your chequing account balance up to 0.15%
  • First cheque book (50 cheques) is free
  • 24/7 phone support
  • Free mobile cheque deposits
  • Access to 3,500+ Scotiabank ATMs in Canada


HSBC is an international bank that understands the challenges of moving to a new country. Therefore, they offer bank accounts and services that suit newcomers in Canada. This includes globally-accessible bank accounts, multi-currency savings accounts, and $0 wire transfers for under $10,000. 

The HSBC’s Newcomers Program for foreign workers and permanent residents can earn you up to $1,000 in cash back and rewards. It is available to immigrants who have been living in Canada for less than 5 years. Additional benefits of this program include: 

  • No monthly banking fees for the first 12 months
  • Unlimited account transactions
  • Free unlimited Interac e-Transfers
  • $0 Foreign Exchange Wire Transfer Fees under $10,000
  • Access to a credit card with limit of up to $5,000 (even with no credit history)
  • Up to $500 Overdraft Protection
  • Access to high-interest savings in multi-currency accounts


TD has a New to Canada Banking Program for permanent and temporary residents who have been residing in Canada for under 2 years. The benefits of this program include: 

  • Unlimited transactions
  • No TD fee on any ATMs in Canada
  • No monthly fees for 6 months 
  • $20 discount off select TD credit cards (first year)
  • 1 free international money transfer per month for 6 months
  • Access to credit cards, investments, savings accounts, and loan products

Bank of China

The Bank of China provides a comprehensive banking experience for overseas students, new immigrants, visitors, and permanent or temporary residents. They also allow you to set up your banking before you arrive to make the transition smoother. When the pre-open account application is approved, you can set up an account before arriving in Canada. This allows customers to transfer funds to the account directly, so the financial arrangement can be completed in advance. 

In the end, there are tons of banks for newcomers in Canada. Determine what your banking needs are and understand the terms of the bank account agreement before finalizing your decision. 


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*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Student Life Network or their partners.