When you move to a new country, choosing from the Best Banks in Canada can be a crucial step in setting up your financial life. You’ll want your chequing account, savings accounts, credit cards, and mortgages with one institution, streamlining the process for you.
While the Big Five banks have a massive presence nationwide, there are other options with competitive savings interest rates and hassle-free interbank transfers. This article will explore some of the best options for newcomers to Canada.
Top Banks in Canada
As with many financial institutions, there are several big players that dominate the banking scene. TD Bank, RBC, CIBC, and Scotiabank all have presence in the country and offer a wide range of products.
But there are also a handful of smaller, up-and-coming challenger banks that are shaking up the traditional norms. One such is Capital One, which has been making waves in the USA and now operates in Canada as well.
The neobank offers a variety of banking options for individuals and businesses, including savings accounts that offer high rates without requiring a block. It also provides credit cards with low fees and a feature that automatically increases your credit score over time.
Other notable challengers include Manulife Bank (formerly ING Direct Canada), which has a little bit of everything, bundled into quirky offerings, like the Advantage Account that combines checking and savings with a modest interest rate, and EQ Bank, a branchless virtual bank that offers free chequing accounts and some of the best High-Interest Savings Account rates in the country. These and other newer banks are helping to make the Canadian banking scene more competitive than ever before.
Key Considerations for Canadian Bank Selection
Besides a physical presence in the country, most Canadian banks offer online, mobile and phone banking services. Some of them also provide a range of financial products and services including credit cards. Credit cards can be used to build a credit history in Canada, however, it is important to use them responsibly and pay on time to avoid high interest rates.
Choosing your bank in Canada may depend on the types of products and services you are looking for, as well as where you live. For example, some Canadian banks may have fewer ATMs in rural areas, while others might have a better reputation for customer service. You can compare banks’ fees and products by reading reviews, contacting friends in Canada and asking them about their experiences.
RBC is a large and established financial services company that provides commercial and personal banking, wealth management, insurance, capital markets, and investor services. Its corporate culture revolves around the values of integrity, teamwork and diversity. The company offers a variety of internships and graduate schemes, as well as entry-level jobs such as data clerk positions.
Comparing Account Types from the Best Banks in Canada
There are a number of different types of accounts that Canadian banks offer. Some have more perks than others. For example, student bank accounts – such as those offered by the Big Five RBC, BMO, TD and CIBC – provide 25 free transactions per month. However, the Scotiabank Student Advantage plan offers unlimited free transactions and a chance to earn rewards on debit purchases.
Savings accounts are a good place for money you won’t need daily access to, such as funds set aside for a down payment or tuition fees. Some savings accounts have high interest rates. Others are designed for long term investing, including RRSPs (registered retirement savings plans) and GICs (guaranteed investment certificates).
You should also look at the variety of services offered by each bank. For example, some have online and mobile banking options that allow you to check your balances and transactions in a snap. Some also have specialized accounts for kids, students and seniors. You might also be able to get a hybrid account, which combines chequing and savings functions.
Tips for a Smooth Experience
As you start researching your banking options, it’s important to consider your financial needs and what you want from a bank. Choosing the best bank for you will depend on a variety of factors, including transaction limits, fees, top rewards and more. It is a good idea to make yourself a comparison chart to help you narrow down your choices.
You may also wish to look at any awards or recognition a bank has received, as well as whether it is locally based or not. If you are looking for a complete banking solution that allows you to do everything at one place, then you’ll want to choose a bank with branches and affiliated ATMs in your area.
As a newcomer, you’ll likely want to select a big five bank that has a massive presence across Canada. Currently, Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD), Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank), and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) are the biggest banks by market capitalization. They are also considered some of the safest banks in the world.
Finding Your Financial Fit from the Best Banks in Canada
When choosing a bank, you should look for one that matches your financial goals. This could mean keeping all of your accounts together with the same institution, or it might mean picking and choosing products and services from various institutions. In any case, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of each choice to find a fit that’s best for you.
For example, if you want to get the most bang for your buck with your savings, it might be worth switching to a no-fee Canadian bank like Simplii Financial. They offer a full range of banking services including chequing and savings accounts, investments, mortgages, credit cards, and more. And with offers such as 4% cash back at restaurants and bars, 1.5% back on gas, grocery, and drugstore purchases, and no-fee Visa card, there’s a lot to love about Simplii.
Similarly, if you’re a senior and have different investing needs than other consumers, consider looking at banks that specialize in these types of products. For example, TD Bank has senior chequing and savings accounts as well as a variety of investment products such as mutual funds and Guaranteed Investment Certificates.