What you need to know about opening a bank account

Canadians have certain rights when it comes to dealing with banks, and opening a bank account is one of them. You can open a bank account at any federally regulated bank even if you don’t have a job or don’t have money to put in the account right away.

The bank must, however, be able to confirm your identity through proper identification. If you’re not a Canadian citizen, you may still be able to open a bank account with the proper identification.

But banks do have the right to refuse to open an account in certain situations. For example, if they can’t verify the validity of identification, or they have reasonable grounds to believe that the account will be used in committing fraud or other illegal actions.

When you open an account, the bank must provide you with information about existing fees, any fee increases and new fees. When a bank increases a fee after you’ve opened an account, they must give you written information about the change. If you were not made aware of the change before it came into effect, you can make a complaint. You can also contact the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada to learn more about your rights.

Banks must also send electronic alerts when the balance of your chequing or savings account falls below a certain amount. The default amount is $100 but you can choose a different number. These alerts may help you manage your day-to-day finances and avoid overdraft penalties. Your bank will send these alerts to you automatically and you may opt out at any time.

Find more information about banking rights at canada.ca/money

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