• Newcomers

Open Your First Bank Account in Canada

Open Your First Bank Account in Canada

Open Your First Bank Account in Canada

When you arrive in Canada one of the first things you’ll need to do is open a Canadian banking account.

Opening a Canadian bank account as soon as you arrive is very important. It gives you:

  • A safe place to deposit your money
  • 24/7 access to your money, whenever you need it
Open Your First Bank Account in Canada
Choosing the right account

We know the importance of having the right banking account, especially when you’re first settling in. An RBC® advisor can help you select the account that’s right for you.

When deciding on a bank account, make sure you look at all of the features of each account – from the monthly and number of transactions included with that monthly fee, to any additional account benefits such as interest.

Types of banking accounts in Canada

There are plenty of options when it comes to choosing a banking account that meets your daily needs. The account you choose should provide the services you need on a daily and ongoing basis. The 3 most popular types of accounts are:

Chequing account

This is for everyday banking, and allows you to deposit and withdraw money whenever you need to. This is the first account you’ll want to set up. Typically balances in a chequing account do not earn interest and many banks charge a monthly fee to have one.

Savings account

This is for the money you don't need for day-to-day expenses. The key benefit of a savings account is that money you put in this account will earn interest which is typically calculated daily and paid to you monthly. It offers quick access to your funds if needed. Options include a high interest savings account that is available in Canadian and U.S. dollars.

U.S. dollar account

This account is useful if you are interested in keeping U.S. funds or if you travel frequently to the U.S.A. or other countries where U.S. dollars are used.

Managing your money

No matter which account you choose there are many safe and secure ways to access and manage your money.

Online, telephone and mobile banking.1
This makes it easy for you to check your account balances, transfer funds and pay bills anytime, anywhere.

ATM (automated teller machine/bank machine).
Use your RBC Royal Bank® Client Card to make transactions wherever there's an ATM – at shopping malls, airports, gas stations, and many other places.

Interac e-Transfer.
Send money to anyone in Canada with an email address or mobile phone number and a Canadian bank account. It’s also easy to transfer money to your Facebook friends using your iPhone, iPad or Android device.

In branch.
Visit an RBC Royal Bank branch during business hours and use your Client Card to make withdrawals, pay bills and transfer funds.

RBC International Money Transfer.
Use RBC Royal Bank Online Banking to send money to family and friends overseas anytime2. Whether your family is in Europe, Asia or the Americas we have you covered. You can send money to more than 120 countries including the U.S.

Personal cheques.
This is a convenient way to make a payment from your account when cash, debit, or a credit card isn’t an option. (For example, you may be asked to pay your rent by cheque.)

RBC Virtual Visa Debit.
Access funds from your bank account3 to pay for online or telephone purchases4. With unlimited transactions5, Zero Liability6, and no annual fee, it's a convenient payment option if you do not have a credit card, or simply prefer to pay by debit.

Pay your bills automatically from your banking account
For regular expenses, such as utility, phone or cable bills, you can arrange automatic withdrawals from your banking account. Or, you can pay them on your own through RBC Online or Mobile Banking. If your employer offers automatic payroll deposit, make sure you get this set up to your RBC account so you can access your money as soon as it’s deposited.

You can also make one-time payments or set up recurring payments at accepting merchants using RBC Virtual Visa Debit. RBC Virtual Visa Debit transactions are unlimited regardless of your bank account package, so they do not count towards your monthly allowable free debits3. This means you can pay your bills using RBC Virtual Visa Debit and not worry about any extra service fees.4

Keeping track of your account
Every month, you will receive your account statement electronically through RBC Online Banking1. Be sure to check it against your own records for accuracy. You can view, print or file statements for up to seven years through Online Banking. And you have 90 days to view your cheques online.

The RBC Royal Bank Client Card

Your RBC Royal Bank Client Card acts as a “key” to your accounts. It allows you to conveniently and securely access your money from a variety of locations, including RBC branches, at ATMs and through RBC Online, Mobile and Telephone Banking1.

Daily withdrawal limits on your account

You can always access your money at an RBC Royal Bank branch. You will have a daily limit for withdrawals (debits) from ATMs, purchases at retailers and transactions through RBC Online Banking. We set this limit to protect your funds.

Your Client Card is protected by a Personal Identification Number (PIN). Your PIN is the password to your account and should always be kept confidential.

  • Choose a PIN that you can easily remember, but that is hard for others to guess.
  • Never reveal your PIN to anyone, including bank employees and law enforcement agencies.
  • When making a purchase, make sure your card is swiped in front of you, and only once per transaction.
  • For smaller purchases, most terminals allow you to “tap” your card for quicker processing.
  • If you suspect that someone knows your PIN, change it immediately.
  • Check your statements regularly and notify your branch if you see any mistakes.
  • Report a lost or stolen Client Card immediately.
  • Another name for your Client Card, often used by retailers, is “debit card”.

Cheques in Canada

Did You Know? The account statements you receive online or in the mail and personal cheques can sometimes be used as identification and proof of your address, which can be useful when you’re setting up utilities and other services.

In Canada, we still use cheques when we can’t pay by Interac e-Transfer, cash, debit, or when a credit card isn’t convenient. You may be asked to provide your phone number and photo identification, such as a passport or driver’s licence, when you cash a cheque.

You can order cheques online or at your branch, and many account packages include them for free.

Cheques in Canada
What does a "hold" on your cheque mean?

When you deposit a cheque at any bank in Canada, a hold may be placed on it; meaning you can’t access your money right away. This is to ensure that the person who wrote the cheque has enough funds to cover the payment. The funds will appear in your account, but you won’t be able to access them until the hold is lifted. The length of the hold depends on the type of cheque.

Type of cheque and Length of the hold
Cheque from an account at a Canadian branch from any Canadian financial institution. Up to 4 business days
Cheque payable from a U.S. bank account. Up to 15 business days
Cheque payable from a bank account outside Canada and the U.S. Up to 25 business days

We make banking easy for newcomers
Choosing the right banking package is important – especially for newcomers who are just settling in Canada. That’s why we’ve created the RBC Newcomer Advantage7. It includes everything you need to get started financially in Canada:

  • First bank account: This all-inclusive account provides unlimited debit transactions9. Plus, with all RBC personal chequing accounts you always enjoy unlimited free Interac e-Transfer transactions.
  • First credit card – no credit history required10 and no annual fee11 on select cards.
  • First car with an RBC Royal Bank car loan, no credit history required12, at over 3,500 dealerships.
  • First home in Canada with no credit history required13
  • Preferred interest rates on select Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs)15
  • A small safe deposit box (lock box) with fees waived for up to two years16
  • A cost-effective way to send money overseas with RBC International Money Transfer2
  • First business in Canada: – get a $50 credit when you open any eligible new business bank account17

Open your account today at any RBC Royal Bank branch

Visit any branch or call us at 1-800-769-2511 to book an appointment. Bring the following documents to any RBC Royal Bank branch:

  • Your passport and
  • Your landing papers or permanent residence card
Find a branch near you