Advertiser Disclosure

The content on this website includes links to our partners and we may receive compensation when you sign up, at no cost to you. This may impact which products or services we write about and where and how they appear on the site. It does not affect the objectivity of our evaluations or reviews. Read our disclosure.

Essential Banking Tips for Newcomers: How To Set Up Your Financial Foundation


When you first arrive in Canada, you have to find a place to live, start a job, and learn about your new community. It’s a lot to get organized. Getting your money matters in order often starts with opening a Canadian bank account.

Canadian banks offer several products and services, including basic ones like chequing and savings accounts, credit cards, international money transfers, investments, mortgages, insurance, and more.

We recently connected with the Royal Bank of Canada as they offer one of the best newcomer banking packages available to new immigrants.

According to Amit Brahme, senior director of newcomer and cultural client segment at Royal Bank of Canada, the Canadian banking system is likely different from what you have in your home country. Whether the differences are small or significant, there are new things to learn.

Mr. Brahme offers the following primer for anyone new to banking in Canada:

Chequing account: People use chequing accounts to hold their funds for monthly and everyday expenses and often ask their employers to deposit their paycheques directly into these accounts. These accounts can sometimes come with monthly fees, but they may feature unlimited transactions in return.

Savings account: This account allows you to set aside extra money to build an emergency fund or save for a larger purchase, while also earning a small amount of interest on the balance. Keeping this money in a separate account from chequing is helpful so you don’t accidentally spend it. With limited monthly transactions, a savings account works in tandem with a chequing account.

Debit card: You can access your chequing and savings accounts at a bank or use your debit card at an automatic teller machine (known as an ATM). While this card looks similar to a credit card, and you can use it to buy directly from some stores, it’s not credit. When you pay with debit, the money comes directly from your account. Debit cards typically can’t be used for online purchases.

E-transfer: When you want to send money to someone with a Canadian bank account, you can use an Interac e-transfer. Find this service by logging into your mobile or web banking. It’s free with some bank accounts, while others charge a small fee for each transfer.

Pre-authorized debit: This is a useful feature for people who may forget to pay their bills on time. When you set up a pre-authorized debit, you give your bank permission to pay a certain amount to a certain account on a certain date. So, for example, you could set up a pre-authorized debit to pay your cellphone provider every month.

Canadian chequing accounts often come with monthly fees that vary depending on the package and perks you sign up for. That said, many newcomer packages like the RBC Newcomer Advantage waive this monthly fee for 12 months. These packages also include other discounts and offers to help you settle down financially.

Find more information about banking in Canada at

This article was sponsored by the Royal Bank of Canada.

Top Banking Offers in September

Get a top-rated chequing account and up to a $400 bonus

Get up to a $400 cash bonus when you meet minimum requirements.

Unlimited transactions, including debits and Interac e-Transfer transactions.

Monthly account fee is waived if eligible (and 5 ATM fees rebated monthly).

Access to a high-interest savings account.

Stop paying monthly fees with a free chequing account + $400 bonus

Easy $400 cash bonus when you direct deposit $100 for three months.

Unlimited debits, online bill payments and Interac e-Transfer transactions.

No monthly account or transaction fees.

Get a high-interest rate on your savings (6.00% interest rate offer).

Get a $100 bonus with the top no-fee cashback credit card

Get a $100 welcome bonus with $1,000 spending in first 2 months.

Earn 2% unlimited cash back in 3 spending categories - no annual fees!

0.5% unlimited cash back on all other purchases.

1.95% low-interest balance transfer rate and free insurance coverage.

Retirement 101 eBook - 3D


Gravatar for Enoch Omololu, MSc (Econ)
Enoch Omololu, MSc (Econ)

Enoch Omololu is a personal finance expert and a veterinarian. He has a master’s degree in Finance and Investment Management from the University of Aberdeen Business School (Scotland) and has completed several courses and certificates in finance, including the Canadian Securities Course. He also has an MSc. in Agricultural Economics from the University of Manitoba and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Ibadan. Enoch is passionate about helping others win with their finances and has been writing about money matters for over a decade. He has been featured or quoted in Forbes, The Globe and Mail, Business Insider, Winnipeg Free Press, Wealthsimple, CBC News, Financial Post, Toronto Star, CTV News, Canadian Securities Exchange, Credit Canada, and many other personal finance publications. You can learn more about him on the About Page.

His top investment tools include Wealthsimple and Questrade. He earns cash back on purchases using KOHO, monitors his credit score for free using Borrowell, and earns interest on savings through EQ Bank.

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.