Bank or credit union? Banking package or transaction fees? It’s not really all that complicated. Here are the key things you need to know before opening a bank account.

Chequing account

This is an account for depositing and withdrawing money. You can pay bills, deposit cheques and your pay, withdraw cash (debit card), write cheques, and make pre-authorized (automatic) deposits and withdrawals.

Watch out for fees

You may be charged a fee for every transaction. Since these fees can really add up by the end of the month, it may make sense for you to choose a banking package. Packages include a certain number of transactions per month for a fixed fee.

Youth or student account

Some institutions may offer you a special no-fee or low-fee account. Make sure you’ll be able to carry out all the transactions you want, such as withdrawing cash from an ATM. Also, find out how much extra transactions cost.

Bank or credit union

In order to make a wise choice, check out the following:

  • ATM locations
  • access to in-branch services
  • products geared to students (credit cards, special accounts, etc.)

Open an account on-line or visit the institution of your choice with two pieces of ID. The main types of ID accepted are:

  • driver's licence
  • passport
  • birth certificate
  • social insurance card
  • health insurance card
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In the event of a problem

If a bank refuses to open an account for you, contact the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada This link will open in a new window, and in the case of a credit union, contact the AMF.

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