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How to open a bank account

5 steps to open a bank account

1. Decide what kind of account you need

Choose a savings account if you're looking for a place to save money over a short period of time, but still keep it readily accessible. Choose a chequing account to keep money that you plan to use for day-to-day spending or to pay bills over the short term. You'll earn less interest than with a savings account.

2. Look for an account with the services you'll use most

In particular, think about how you're likely to put money in and take it out:

  • branch – make deposits and withdrawals using a teller or ATM
  • debit card – buy something or get cash at a store
  • cheques – pay bills
  • direct debit – pay bills automatically from your account each month
  • direct deposit – have your pay put into your account
  • Internet or telephone banking – for a range of transactions

3. Shop around to compare rates and fees

Understand the service fees you can be charged before you open an account. Look for accounts that charge the lowest fees for the services you need. And compare interest rates. They will vary across financial institutions.

4. Choose a financial institution and location

Choose one that has branches or bank machines located close to where you live or work.

5. Open your account

You'll have to give personal information such as your address, date of birth, social insurance number, job title and phone numbers when you complete the account application. You'll also need to show 2 pieces of acceptable identification. One of them must be from the government. Then make your first deposit.


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