Setting up your financial foundation: Essential banking tips for newcomers

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. Here is a quick primer from Royal Bank of Canada on your options:

  • 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 put in your 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.

Find more information about banking in Canada at rbc.com/newcomers

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