After you get your SIN Card, the other important task you will need to take care of is to set up your banking. If you have already opened your banking account before you came, you need just need to activate it and deposit your funds. If you have not opened your banking account, then you need to do that as soon as possible. You will need a banking account to store your savings and to do all your transactions – e.g. pay rent of your apartment.
In addition to a banking account, you should also get yourself a credit card. Even if you are a person that does not like to take credit, you should still consider taking a credit card. This is because a credit card is a very good product to help you build your Canadian credit history quickly. And a credit history in Canada is very, very important. Many companies will decide to offer you their product and services based on credit history.
When you open you banking or chequing account, you should also think about getting other products. Like a savings account that offer a reasonable interest rate on the amount you have there. Or a TFSA (tax-free savings account) where the earnings will be tax-free. But there are limits to how much you can put into a TFSA account. Some other products you may want to consider taking advantage of are Safe Deposit Box. And then a GIC (Guaranteed Investment Certificate) which is like a Fixed Deposit earning a higher rate of interest, but the money is locked-in for a certain time.
So which bank do you open you bank account at? Before you open your chequing account at the nearest bank branch or at the bank your family/friends bank with, do your research. Check which bank is giving you the best offer. There are 5 big banks in Canada – TD Bank, RBC Royal Bank, CIBC, BMO and Scotiabank. Besides these 5 big banks, there are second tier banks like Tangerine, National Bank, PC Financial, Desjardins. And then you also have credit unions that are like a cooperative bank. You should choose the one you want to do your banking with based on 2 criteria. First, what is the offer they have for newcomers. And second is convenience.
Newcomer Banking Offers. Many of these financial institutions have special packages for newcomer and offer them discounts! Banks in Canada charge you a monthly banking fee depending on the type of chequing account you choose. If you opt for these newcomer packages, you can save on these banking fees. Plus, you will also be eligible to get a credit card without credit history, offers on loans and special interest rate offers. Look at all the newcomer banking packages being offered by searching for them online and then make your decision.
Convenience. Make sure that the bank you are choosing is convenient for you. If you do most of your banking online, you won’t need to go to a branch very often. But their ATM locations are important when you need to withdraw cash. And there will be times when you need to speak to a banking adviser in person or over the phone.