Open a Bank Account in Canada

Updated on Wednesday 11th March 2020

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Moving to Canada as a simple citizen or as an investor is not very complicated, considering the programs enabled by the government in order to attract foreigners in search of work or, even better, those interested in opening companies here. However, once moved here there are other aspects such as finding a place to stay and even open a bank account in order to be able to complete easy tasks like paying utility bills or buying goods online. For Canadian companies having a corporate bank account is crucial, as all the transactions must go through the account.

Our company formation consultants in Canada can assist foreign investors who want to start businesses here. Our services include corporate bank account opening also.
 

What to consider when setting up a bank account in Canada


It is possible to open various types of bank accounts in Canada and link various services to them, this is why it is important to consider several aspects when deciding to set it up. First of all, one must determine how he or she will use the account: for savings or payments. In the case of Canadian companies, making payments and transfers should always be considered. Also, the fees and charges attached to the account and the transactions are also important when selecting the bank to work with and the type of bank account.

It is also important to have insurance when opening a bank account in Canada. This is a common practice here. Our company formation agents in Canada can explain all the aspects to consider when setting up a bank account. We can also offer tips on the best way to choose the bank to work with.
 

The main types of financial institutions in Canada


Foreign citizens and investors, including representatives of foreign companies, should note that not only Canadian banks can offer bank account opening services, as they can set up accounts with other financial institutions, among which credit unions and trust companies.

No matter the institution they decide to work with, clients will be issued the following after the creation of the account:
 
  • the fees and charges attached to the account;
  • the contract attached to the services provided and the bank account information;
  • information about interests applicable to savings, mortgages or other financing options.

The opening of a bank account in Canada takes an average of 7 business days, no matter if it is a personal account or one opened by a company. The timeframe can change depending on the information required by the bank and the availability of the applicant.

Other deadlines to be considered when opening a Canadian bank account are related to closing the account – the owner of the account must notify the bank 14 days prior to the closing. Also, any changes brought by the bank to fees, charges and interests must be brought to the attention of clients at least 30 days before they enter into effect.

The opening of bank accounts in Canada is not a complicated process for foreign citizens and companies, however, the expertise of our company registration advisors can be of use when in need of quick setup procedures.
 

Setting up a bank account as a foreign citizen in Canada

 

Foreign citizens can open bank accounts in Canada, just like local inhabitants. According to the Access to Basic Banking Services Regulation, any individual can open a Canadian bank account if:

  •           they don’t have jobs;
  •           they have been bankrupt;
  •           they cannot deposit any money in the account right after opening it.


Foreign citizens seeking to set up bank accounts in Canada must submit valid identification papers. The following documents are accepted by Canadian banks or other financial companies:

  •           a valid passport;
  •           a permanent residence permit;
  •           a temporary residency card.


The identification paper must be accompanied by an application form issued by the bank. Our company registration agents in Canada can offer more information on the documents related to creating a bank account. Foreign citizens opening bank accounts in Canada need to obtain Social Insurance Numbers (SIN). This number is issued when they obtain their residence permits.


Please watch our video on how to create a bank account in Canada:

Types of bank accounts which can be opened in Canada

While companies can open corporate and merchant bank accounts, foreign citizens have several options with respect to the types of accounts they can set up. Among these are:

  •           current accounts;
  •           savings accounts;
  •           international accounts.


It is very important to know that the bank account can only be opened if the person requesting it goes personally to the bank. The same applies to a corporate bank account: a company representative must file the documents in person.
 

Opening a corporate bank account in Canada


The opening of a company bank account is required in the following cases:

  •           when setting up a new company in Canada and the share capital must be deposited;
  •           the opening of a branch office or subsidiary company in Canada also requires a new bank account;
  •           when opening sole proprietorships and partnerships in Canada, corporate bank accounts are mandatory;
  •           second company bank accounts can be opened in Canada in certain cases.


Our company formation agents in Canada can explain the requirements related to opening corporate bank accounts.


Opening international bank accounts in Canada


Many banks in Europe operate through branches in Canada which makes it easier for foreign citizens and companies to open international bank accounts with the same bank. The procedure is completed faster as the banks can offer the needed information to each other.

Even if in most cases one needs to be a Canadian resident to set up a bank account, just like in the case of non-resident companies, it is possible to set up bank accounts as non-residents.
If you are interested in setting up a company as a non-resident in Canada, our local agents can help you.
 

Documents needed when opening Canadian corporate bank accounts


The following list of documents must be completed when opening a corporate bank account in Canada:

  1.           two types of identification papers of the company’s representatives, such as passports and resident visas;
  2.           the company’s statutory documents, partnership agreement or trade name registration, depending on the type of structure;
  3.           the certificates of existence and compliance, in the case of Canadian corporations;
  4.           the business registration number and the business or other types of license, depending on the structure;
  5.           other information that can be requested by the Canadian bank.

 

Fees and charges associated with bank accounts in Canada


As mentioned above each bank has fees and charges, however, their values will be quite different which is why it is important to check these aspects before entering any agreement. Here are the main charges to consider when opening a Canadian bank account:
 

  • the monthly fees which are related to the administration of the account;
  • the transaction fees after a certain number of transactions has been reached;
  • the ATM fees incurred when withdrawing money (these fees can also depend on the amount of money withdrawn);
  • international transfer fees which are usually charged on companies making such transactions.

For more information on how to choose the bank to work with, do not hesitate to ask our company registration representatives in Canada. We can also assist those interested in starting a business in Canada.
 

The banking industry in Canada


According to the Canadian Bankers Association, banking is one of the top industries of the country’s economy. A recent report indicates that:
 
  • the banking sector alone represents 3.3% of the Canadian Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which is the equivalent of more than 60 billion CAD;
  • another 6.6% of the GDP goes to the financial and insurance sector;
  • banks in Canada are employers for more than 275,000 residents;
  • around 34% of the income generated by Canadian banks was obtained outside the country in 2017;
  • local banks have financed around 57% of small and medium-sized enterprises in Canada in 2017.


For assistance in opening bank accounts in Canada, please contact us. We can also help those interested in starting a company in Canada.