9 Best Banks For Newcomers and Immigrants to Canada

Updated on:
November 16, 2021
9 Best Banks For Newcomers and Immigrants to Canada

Owning a house, car or saving for your child’s high school graduation are just three examples of owning a bank account. But what about if you are a new immigrant to Canada. What are the best banks and credit unions to serve newcomers?

Requirements Before You Open An Account

Most of Canada’s mainstream banks all have newcomer programs. The problem for immigrants is knowing how to navigate financial services. However, in order to get started there are common requirements or documents all immigrants need to have before they make that first step to opening up a bank account.

  • Permanent resident card of confirmation of permanent residence(IMM5292 or IMM5688).
  • Work permit (for foreign workers, IMM1422).
  • Social Insurance Number
  • One to two pieces of government issued ID such as a passport or driver’s license. 

Canada’s Top 6 Banks For Newcomers

HSBC Canada Newcomers Program

  • Has a newcomers program for those who reside in Canada for less than five years.
  • Immigrants can apply for a bank account before they come to Canada.
  • Unlimited account transactions 
  • Zero charge maintenance fee for one year
  • Seamless transfer of credit history from country of origin
  • Instant fund transfer from one international account to another 
  • Overdraft protection up to C$500 without credit history requirement 
  • Credit Card Limit of $5,000 without credit history requirement. 

There is a catch though. All newcomers need to have a minimum personal deposit of $25,000 or a mortgage balance worth $150,000 with HSBC within six months of landing in Canada. 

RBC’s Newcomer Advantage 

  • International Students and Permanent Residents can sign up for a Royal Bank of Canada(RBC) VIP Banking Account or a No Limit Banking Account without paying a monthly fee for 12 months.
  • Unlimited debits and free transfers
  • Access to mortgage, car loans, business bank accounts, credit cards, and other products necessary to start a new life in Canada.
  • Your first mortgage will not have any history requirements or annual fee depending on the credit card. The same is true for your first credit card.
  • No monthly maintenance fee for nine months. 
  • First car loan requires no credit history at 3500 designated auto dealerships across Canada.
  • Preferred exchange rates on international transactions for one year after registration 

Scotiabank’s Startright Program

  • Only newcomers who have arrived in Canada in the past three years are eligible.
  • One free monthly withdrawal 
  • Unlimited interac e-transfers and debit transactions 
  • Up to $139 waivable in the first year on Scotiabank credit cards
  • Free credit score check
  • Earnings via SCENE or Scotia Rewards Program
  • Small safety box free for 12 months

CIBC’s Welcome to Canada Package

  • Zero monthly fees for 12 months
  • Unlimited Interac e-transfers and debit transactions per month 
  • $55 cash back on Safety Deposit Box
  • CIBC Advantage Debit Card
  • Newcomers can also sign up for financial products and services like personal loans, mortgages and car loans.

TD New To Canada Banking Package

  • Offers financial offers to temporary and permanent Residents who arrived in Canada in two years or less
  • Zero monthly fees for six months
  • Unlimited interac e-transfers and debit transactions per month 
  • Zero fees for ATM withdrawals throughout Canada
  • One monthly international money transfer for six months
  • Bonus interest rate on Savings Account for six months
  • TD credit card with no credit history requirement and credit limit of $5,000
  • A portfolio of program options for savings, mortgages, personal loans and car loans. 

BMO’s NewStart Program

  • No monthly fees for one year
  • Unlimited electronic transactions, interac  e-transfers and a free safety deposit box for one year
  • No annual fees on BMO’s cashback Mastercard. Newcomers can get a cash back rate of up to 5 percent in the first three months and an interest rate of 1.99 percent on balance transfers for nine months.
  • Mortgages don’t require a credit history 
  • You can make international transfers to over 200 countries with BMO’s Western Unions Transfer Service.

3 Best Digital Banks in Canada

EQ Bank

  • Currently offers one of the best savings rates in Canada.
  • You can use it to hold onto your savings and send international money transfers.
  • Zero monthly account fees.
  • Hybrid savings and chequing accounts with unlimited debits and interac e-transfers.
  • Free mobile cheque deposits

Simplii Financial

  • Is affiliated with CIBC
  • No monthly fees
  • Unlimited debit and e-transfers
  • Access to CIBC ATMs nationwide
  • International money transfers

Tangerine Bank

  • One of the most popular online banks in Canada and affiliated with Scotiabank 
  • No fee daily chequing account
  • No monthly account fees
  • Free mobile cheque deposits
  • 24/7 Support
  • Access to all Scotiabank ATMs nationwide. 

9 Best Banks For Newcomers and Immigrants to Canada
James Tarrant
ImmiSearch Content Contributor
November 16, 2021