If you are going to study in Canada for a long time, you should get a bank account as soon as you can. It is not safe to keep large amounts of cash at home or on your person. Also, you pay service charges every time you change money. Plus, you can get a bank card (debit card) which you can use to take money from bank machines or to buy things in stores.

It is easy to open an account in Canadian banks, but you need your passport or a social insurance number, your Concordia letter of acceptance or registration contract or student ID card, and your Student Visa. Go to the “New Accounts” desk in the bank. They will explain the different kinds of accounts. Most banks in Canada make you pay service charges when you do a transaction (taking money out or putting money in). To avoid paying every time you use your card, most people pay one fee for the month: between $4 to $10 for a number of free transactions. Ask about all these details at the bank.

» Special Bank Vocabulary

ATM ATM (Automatic Teller Machine) means bank machine. In French is a [guichet automatique]
balance the total in your account (how much you have in the account, or how much you have to pay
debit this means take out from the account, like a withdrawal, a service charge, or a bill payment
debit card a bank card you can use at an ATM or in a store using the Interac system
deposit put money into the account
service charge a fee you pay when you use a bank machine, write a cheque or other transactions with your account. Often, your bank account has one fee for each month to cover all the small service charges
statement a list of all the transactions (debits and deposits) in your account. You may get a statement every month, or you can look at it on the bank website
transaction anything you do with your bank account: deposit, withdraw, pay a bill, write a cheque, and so on.
withdraw take money out of your account

You can get details at the the banks’ websites. These big banks have branches and bank machines all over Canada:

BMO (Bank of Montreal)

CIBC (Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce)

RBC (Royal Bank of Canada)

Scotiabank (Bank of Nova Scotia)

TD Canada Trust (Toronto Dominion)

These banks are mainly found in Quebec:

Caisse Populaire Desjardins (Credit Union)

Laurentian Bank [Banque Laurentienne]

National Bank [Banque Nationale]

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