In the world of personal banking, the chequing account is arguably one of the most attractive and functional tools available to new immigrants.
This brief guide will provide you with a comprehensive overview of chequing accounts offered by Canadian banks today, as well as answering many of your questions about this financial product.
how it works
A chequing account is classified as a ‘deposit account,’ which allows for regular withdrawals and deposits in addition to bill payments, bank-to-bank transfers, and wire transfers among other features.
A chequing account lets you write cheques and use a debit card.
No minimum deposit is usually required to open up a checking account. However, once the account is opened and funds have been deposited, it can be withdrawn in the form of cash, personal check, money order, wire transfer, pre-authorized transfer, as well as through the use of Automated Teller/Banking Machines (ATM/ABM), using debit cards. It is important to note that ATM/ABMs, not owned by your bank may often impose a surcharge: “convenience fee.”
features & benefits
One of the essential features of chequing accounts is that they typically can be opened without a large initial deposit. This makes them ideal for students or working adults who are not currently earning a significant income. Unlike savings accounts, chequing accounts are suitable for everyday banking. Although they pay you little or no interest rate, many employers require a chequing account for direct deposits.
For $100+ checks deposited in your bank account, the first $100 is usually available. But, you may be forced to wait for up to 8 business days before gaining full access to the balance.
The ease with which you can withdraw and deposit money is one of the most attractive benefits of a chequing account. No matter where you may be, you can gain access to your funds using a debit card, a smartphone, a personal check, etc. Also, the automatic withdrawal/debit system included in chequing accounts today provides significant benefits to those who may be too busy to take the time to write cheques for their bills or pay them one-by-one online.
To open a chequing account today, you may often be required to choose from one of the several accounts offered by your bank. The primary differences between these accounts are the number of transactions they allow per month and the monthly usage fees attached to these accounts.
As a general rule, those of you who do require a large number of operations per month will typically be required to pay a more significant monthly usage fee than customers who are using their accounts multiple times on a daily basis. Although banks do offer no-fee, unlimited transaction accounts, they typically require customers to maintain substantial balances within the account itself. If the balance falls below the level dictated by the bank in a single day of the month, you will usually be forced to pay a monthly fee.
your rights and responsibilities:
In Canada, you have the right to open a personal checking account as long as you can meet the requirements set out in the Access to Basic Banking Service Regulations introduced by the Federal Government of Canada under the Bank Act. You will need to provide:
two pieces of identification from List A.
Provide one piece of identification from List A and another one from List B
Provide one piece of identification from List A and have a trusted person by the financial institution or in the community who can confirm your identity.
- valid Canadian driver’s license (as permitted by provincial law)
- current Canadian passport
- birth certificate issued in Canada
- Social Insurance Number (SIN) card issued by the Government of Canada
- Old Age Security card issued by the Government of Canada
- Certificate of Indian Status
- provincial or territorial health insurance card that can be used as ID under provincial or territorial law
- Certificate of Canadian Citizenship or Certification of Naturalization
- Permanent Resident card or an Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship form IMM 1000, IMM 1442, or IMM 5292
- employee ID card with your picture on it that has been issued by an employer well known in your area
- debit card or bank card with your name and signature on it
- Canadian credit card with your name and signature on it
- client card from the Canadian National Institute for the Blind with your picture and signature on it
- current foreign passport
Before you finally take the step to open a checking account, consider inquiring about the followings:
- is there any fee associated with your new account?
- Is there a minimum monthly balance to waive the monthly service charge?
- How many monthly transactions are you allowed to perform without incurring additional fees?
- Is there any holding period for deposits in the account?
- What are the closing fees, if any?
- Is there any interest payment on the account, how is it calculated?
In one hand, should you end up opening the account, your bank or credit union must give you a copy of the account agreement (within seven business days). Also, the following information must be provided to you: all fees in connection with the new account. How and when interest, if any is calculated. How you can be contacted regarding any change in fee, and the complaint process if you are not satisfied with the service/product.
On the other hand, if your application to open the account is declined, the financial institution must provide you with a written denial as well as contact details of the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada.