A Guide On How To Open A Student Bank Account In Canada - Fakaza Jobs

A Guide On How To Open A Student Bank Account In Canada

As an international student in Canada, one of the first and essential things you’ll need is a bank account because it will still serve as an important tool for you over the next few years. Therefore, it’s expedient for you to choose one that offers you the best range of services. 

The basic things you should know about student bank accounts in Canada

Interestingly, most Canadian banks provide free basic banking to full-time students. This implies no fees attached for chequing accounts. However, there may be limits or conditions. This is why we advise you to carefully read through all the fine print before opening an account.

Before you proceed with your search, think about the best banking services you may need. If you just need a basic chequing account that permits you to withdraw and deposit money and is suitable for daily expenditures, or if what you need is a savings account to save some money different from your major account.

Moreover, most student banking plans in Canada provide you with the option of opening a chequing alongside a savings account, which you can access with the use of a debit card.

All about student banking and the GIC requirement for SDS study permits

As part of your study permit application when applying for a study permit via the Student Direct Stream, you need to present a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC), and even if you’re applying via the normal application process, you can make use of a GIC to show your proof of funds for study in Canada.

Here, we advise that you check out guides that compare various GIC banks for Canadian study permits, as this will assist you in determining the best option for inexpensive and efficient student banking in Canada.

All you need to know about credit cards and student bank accounts in Canada

While you are in Canada, a credit card could be helpful, but you should carefully think before you obtain one. One may think that having a bit of additional cash could seem helpful, but be careful not to build up credit card debt.

In Canada, credit rating is very important, and having a poor credit score may affect you in the future. Nevertheless, if you are convinced that you can use a credit card responsibly — meaning that you will remain within your overdraft limit and pay the minimum amount monthly, then your years as a student could serve as a good time to commence building up a good credit score.

All you need to do is consider a credit card that provides air miles or points towards other expenditures.

Furthermore, banks are there to offer a student line of credit for international students who need extra money for the cost of their studies. With this, you can access larger limits than a credit card, with fewer interest rates and incentivized repayment choices. Nonetheless, we advise you to explore all your loan options before treating a bank’s line of credit as a student loan because interest can build very fast.

Many Canadians do not move about with much cash, partly because debit cards are very convenient and partly because banks demand fees for cash withdrawals at ATMs that belong to other banks or private operators.

This is why most cafes, shops, and restaurants take cards, although some of them may not accept credit cards, and smaller outlets may operate cash-only.

You may have heard of Interac, which is known to be Canada’s online money transfer system and with it, you can transfer money from your account to any other participating Canadian account. All you need is the phone number or email address of the recipient.

During your stay in Canada, you will most likely encounter Interac — it’s most suitable for paying your friends back or sharing bills, and sometimes, landlords may ask you to pay rent this way.

Bank accounts for students in Canada

Interestingly, all of Canada’s biggest banks — CIBC, HSBC, BMO, RBC, Scotiabank, TD  provide options for student banking. All of them provide a wide range of bonuses yearly to attract students. Still, there are other available options for student banking in Canada.

Another thing you should look out for is monthly transaction limits – you could be charged about $1 each time you make use of your debit card once you exceed your limit. Major banks in Canada have online banking services and mobile apps that make banking easier and secure.

Please note that Canadian banks usually demand fees for cash withdrawals at other banks’ (or private) ATMs; as we earlier stated, therefore you should consider choosing a bank with an ATM on campus or closest to your residence to avoid a fee of up to $4 or $5 each time you withdraw cash.


CIBC’s student account does not demand a monthly fee. It provides limitless free monthly debit card transactions, making it one of the most less expensive banking options for international students in Canada. In addition to this, they offer a variety of perks and resources for international students, a whopping bonus of $60 just for signing up, inclusive

Suppose you fall under the category of those applying for a study permit via the Student Direct Stream. In that case, CIBC is known to have one of the most competitive options on the market regarding the Guaranteed Investment Certificate.


Aside from no monthly fees, Scotiabank’s student account provides limitless debit card transactions and a Virtual Visa Debit card, thereby enabling you to shop online without a credit card. This back is widely known for., Its SCENE rewards program allows you to build up points towards free movie tickets.


Depending on the type of account you open and the amounts you deposit, HSBC’s Newcomers Program for International Students provides unique packages for new account holders, including bonuses. You are also given extra bonuses when you open a new Mutual Fund account or set up a recurring payroll while studying for those who are qualified to work. Furthermore, for 12 months, you do not have to pay for banking fees on the chequing account, and you can build credit with HSBC Mastercard.

National Bank

As for the national bank, they do not have a specific program for international students. Their Student Bank Account offer is extended to a full-time Canadian student instead. The said offer contains a Canadian or US dollar account without a monthly fee attached, limitless e-transfers and overdraft protection, a platinum credit card with no yearly fees for the initial two years, and vehicle and travel insurance. 


This bank provides students with a Student Banking account without a monthly fee during their studies and the year after graduation. Nevertheless, a limit is placed on the number of free transactions you get per month. Also, they teamed up with a discount program, SPC to provide students with more discounts on famous brands.


Irrespective of the fact that there is a limit attached to the monthly number of free card transactions, RBC’s Student Bank Account for Newcomers does not require a monthly fee. Also, they have a Virtual Visa Debit, thereby allowing you, to shop online without a credit card. Furthermore, you can decide to pay a monthly fee for your account and have limitless transactions in return.


This is yet another bank that provides International students a banking package with no monthly fee and no minimum balance requirement attached. Interestingly, if you are qualified, you are free to open a credit card, a savings account, and a student line of credit. Also, you should look out for the transaction limit on the chequing account. Once exceeded, you have to pay a fee for every debit card transaction you perform.


Due to the lack of physical branches, Tangerine account holders can use the Scotiabank ATM network for FREE cash withdrawals. Also, they do not offer an account specifically for students, although the standard chequing account provides a comparable range of bonuses to the main banks’ student accounts.

Simplii Financial

This is yet another major player in Canada’s online banking game, and it is operated by CIBC, therefore account holders are entitled to their ATMs. Similar to Tangerine, they do not have a different student account, however, there are no monthly fees attached to their standard chequing account and they offer a comparable range of services.

In conclusion, selecting a bank is a necessary step towards beginning your new life in Canada, and you have to do this carefully. That being said, don’t be reluctant to ask questions about anything you don’t understand or are not comfortable with when introduced to student bank accounts in Canada. Nevertheless, you can see that there is sincerely no real “wrong” decision because most of the student offerings are comparable across the main banks.

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