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How to open a bank account in Canada. (2023 guide)
Canada is a popular destination for Nigerians looking to relocate to the diaspora for work or study-related reasons, alongside countries like the United Kingdom and the United States. In fact, Nigeria is noted as one of the main source countries of Canada's immigrant population.
If you are seriously considering moving to Canada from Nigeria, or already plan to do so, one of the essentials you'll need to have in place to set up a life there is a bank account. This guide walks you through opening a bank account in Canada and what you need to know to decide which bank to choose.
What you need to open a bank account in Canada.
As with opening a bank account anywhere else, you will be required to provide a couple of documents that verify your identity. The documents necessary to open a bank account in Canada are usually the following:
A valid passport.
A permanent resident card or immigration form: Many banks will accept a work/study permit or a temporary residence permit instead.
A social insurance number issued by the government of Canada: You can apply for a social insurance number with your work/study permit and your passport.
Proof of address.
Types of bank accounts in Canada.
There are mainly two types of bank accounts in Canada:
Chequing Account: A chequing account is essentially a current account typically used for daily transactions and purchases.
Savings Account: This allows you to save money over time and earn interest on your savings. There are usually restrictions on how you can withdraw money from a savings account.
Both account types will offer you a routing number that identifies your bank and an account number that identifies your account with said bank.
Bank Options in Canada.
When opening an account in Canada as a newcomer, your best bet is to choose from among the five largest banks in Canada, also known as the "big five" in banking, because they tend to offer newcomer banking packages that cater specifically to immigrants.
The "Big Five" are:
Given that the above banks have dedicated international account teams for newcomers to the country or people planning to move to Canada, we'd recommend that you reach out to any of these banks to start the process of setting up a bank account before leaving Nigeria and complete it once you arrive there.
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