Once you have your SIN and your Manitoba Health card applications underway, the next step is to open a bank account and get a bank card in Canada.
In addition to your SIN, your employer will ask you to provide your banking information so they can pay your salary.
The five largest banks in Canada are:
- Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) - rbcroyalbank.com/personal.html
- Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD Bank) - td.com/ca/en/personal-banking/
- Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank) - scotiabank.com/ca/en/personal.html
- Bank of Montreal (BMO) - bmo.com/main/personal
- Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) - cibc.com/en/personal-banking.html
Some credit unions are:
- Steinbach Credit Union - scu.mb.ca
- Assiniboine Credit Union - assiniboine.mb.ca
- Cambrian Credit Union - cambrian.mb.ca
Most banks offer services to newcomers so it is a good idea to do some research on each of them before you arrive. Make a list of what each bank offers and what the costs are for those services. For example, some might charge a monthly fee, or the interest rates would be higher than other banks.
Once you have compared all the banks, schedule an appointment with an advisor at each bank, or the one you decide to use, to go over their services. It is highly recommended that you schedule an appointment in advance rather than going to the bank to ensure your appointment is booked with a suitable advisor. When you call, ask if the appointment can be made with someone who speaks your native language. Most banks have advisors who speak different languages, and this could make this first appointment easier for you.
Some key questions to ask your financial advisor are:
- How does direct deposit work? Are there any hidden fees?
- How do you start developing a credit history in Canada?
- What fees should I be aware of with a chequing account?
- What is deducted from each of my paycheques (e.g., Canada Pension Plan, Employment Insurance, taxes)?
- What are the best options available to open a savings account?
- What are Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSP) and Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSA)?
What you need to bring to your first appointment
Generally banks will require two pieces of identification. Make sure at least one of the pieces of identification has your photo (such as your passport and work permit). When you call to book an appointment, ask if there are any additional documents you need to bring with you.