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Published May 10, 2024

Best Banks for Newcomers in Canada for 2024

Compare leading Canadian banks that have special accounts, plans and financial services with welcome offers for newcomers to choose the best bank for your needs.

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As a newcomer to Canada, finding the right bank and setting up your first bank account is an essential step to getting settled.

There are many established financial institutions that have special offers on newcomer bank accounts. The best banks also provide a vast branch and ATM network, options for mobile and online banking, and a choice of banking solutions with low or no fees.  

To help with your search, we have selected the best banks for newcomers to Canada. Use this list to find essential banking products and services to meet your day-to-day needs. 

Best banks for newcomers in Canada

BankIntro OfferProductsWays to Bank
Best cash-back offer.
BMOOver $2,100.BMO NewStart Program:
  • Performance Plan Chequing Account
  • Savings Amplifier Account
  • BMO CashBack Mastercard.
Online, ATM, phone and branch banking.
Best banking perks and credit card options.
CIBC$400 Costco Shop Card.CIBC Smart Account for Newcomers:
  • CIBC Smart Account
  • Cash-back & travel credit card options.
Online, ATM, phone and branch banking.
Best chequing account rebates.
National Bank of CanadaUp to $670.National Bank Offer for Newcomers:
  • The Connected Chequing Account
  • Mastercard credit card options.
Online, ATM, phone and branch banking.
Best banking perks.
RBCOver $140.RBC Newcomer Advantage:
  • RBC Advantage Banking
  • RBC High Interest eSavings account
  • Mastercard & Visa credit card options.
Online, ATM, phone and branch banking.
Best overall newcomer bank.
ScotiabankUp to $1,800.StartRight Program offer for newcomers:
  • Preferred Package chequing account
  • Ultimate Package chequing account
  • MomentumPLUS Savings Account
  • Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card.
Online, ATM, phone and branch banking.
Best banking package.
TD BankUp to $1,785.TD New to Canada Banking Package:
  • TD Unlimited Chequing Account
  • TD ePremium Savings Account
  • TD Every Day Savings Account
  • TD Aeroplan Visa Platinum Credit Card.
Online, ATM, phone and branch banking.
Best online banking offer.
Simplii FinancialUp to $1,300.New to Canada Banking Program:
  • Simplii Financial No Fee Chequing Account
  • Simplii Financial Cash Back Visa Card.
Online, ATM and phone banking.


NerdWallet selects the best banks for newcomers in Canada based on several criteria, including welcome offers, monthly fees, number of included free transactions, and more. The banks considered for this list serve newcomers in more than one Canadian province.

    What should newcomers know about banks in Canada?

    Canada has numerous Schedule I and II banks that are governed under the Bank Act and regulated by the federal government.

    Types of Financial Institutions

    Canadian financial institutions serve a variety of customers with different needs and banking preferences. Each bank serves its account holders differently — whether it’s through online banking or in-branch services, or both. The three main types of financial institutions are:

    Big Six banks

    Over the years, these major banks have established themselves as the top six leading financial institutions in the country. The Big Six banks include: 

    These big banks have vast networks of branches and ATMs across most provinces. Their national presence, product offerings and online banking capabilities have made them a popular choice for individuals and businesses alike. 

    Credit unions

    Credit unions or caisses populaires in Canada often provide the same financial products and services as banks. However, unlike banks, credit unions are owned and managed by their customers, often called members. Credit unions may be governed at either the provincial or federal level. Some of the top credit unions include: 

    While credit unions often have substantial surcharge-free ATM networks, their branch networks may be confined to the founding city or part of the province. Additionally, many of them provide mobile and online banking services. Credit unions also stand out when it comes to interest rate offerings on savings, offering some of the highest rates.

    Online banks

    Online banks are financial institutions that do not have branch offices. They may offer phone banking and ATM services, but mainly utilize a digital banking model to serve their customers. 

    Virtual banks can be an online division of credit unions or traditional banks, such as Tangerine Bank, which is a subsidiary of Scotiabank. However, some of them are independent financial institutions, such as NEO bank.

    Although online-only banks typically have a modest catalog of products and services, these often come with low fees and offer higher interest rates than traditional banks.

    Types of banking products

    As a newcomer, you may need a bank to fulfill your daily financial needs, save for the future, and build your credit history in the new country. Knowing how Canadian banking products work can help find the right solutions for your banking, financing and investment needs. 

    Canadian bank accounts

    Newcomers usually get fee rebates as part of the banks’ welcome offers for new customers. When the offer ends, standard transaction limits and fees kick in. Here’s what to expect from some of the common bank accounts:

    Chequing accounts: You can use a chequing account to pay bills, send and receive e-transfers, make debit card purchases, or set up auto-deposit for your salary.

    These everyday banking accounts may limit the number of transactions you can complete per month, or charge a fee to have unlimited transactions. Some financial institutions offer no-fee chequing accounts, but some need you to maintain a minimum account balance to waive monthly fees. 

    Savings accounts: If you’re trying to set aside some money for an upcoming expense or planned investment, a savings account may be a great option for you. These accounts offer limited withdrawals and earn a modest interest rate. In most cases, you don’t have to worry about paying monthly fees or maintaining a minimum balance. 

    High-interest savings accounts: As the name suggests, the high-interest savings account (HISA) yields a more substantial rate of interest than a standard savings account. Banks occasionally offer bonus interest rate promotions to new HISA customers. HISAs don’t typically have account fees, minimum balance requirements or withdrawal limitations. You can use a high-interest savings account to hold emergency funds or short-term savings for big purchases. 

    Hybrid accounts: These accounts combine chequing and savings features in one low to no-fee online bank account. Hybrid accounts usually offer higher interest rates than traditional savings accounts. These accounts are generally offered by online-only banks. That’s why new customers need to have an active account with another bank to open and fund their new hybrid account.

    Joint accounts, bundles and packages: A joint account is shared by two or more people to conduct chequing or savings activities depending on the type of account. 

    Bundles are banking packages that combine chequing, savings and investment accounts into one offer. Banks may also have bundles that tie multiple bank accounts for family members into one family bundle. These plans or bundles usually include rebates and promotions, providing great value through saving on account fees.  

    Ways to build credit

    In addition to deposit accounts, newcomer bank bundles may include credit cards, lines of credit or loan options that can help you build a credit history in Canada. 

    Credit cards: A credit card is a type of revolving credit. Credit cards can be used to pay bills and make purchases within the credit limit assigned to your card. Credit card debt must be paid off within a certain period of time, or it accrues interest.

    Lines of credit: A line of credit is another type of revolving debt. There are various different lines of credit people use towards planned and unplanned personal expenses. Interest rates on lines of credit can be fixed or variable. 

    Personal loans: Personal loans are a type of installment debt that allow you to borrow funds at a fixed or variable rate of interest. You may spend personal loan funds on anything you like, but home renovations and debt consolidation are common uses.

    Nerdy Tip: Credit cards, lines of credit and loans are all types of debt, and debt can negatively impact your financial health if not managed responsibly. Whenever you’re borrowing money, make sure you have a plan to pay it off on time. This way you can ensure that the debt has a positive impact on your credit score — which may affect your ability to get approved for a lease, insurance or future loans.

    Canadian investments

    Newcomers can choose from several different investment options to help plan for the future. Make sure you have your Social Insurance Number (SIN) before you attempt to open an investment account. 

    Guaranteed investment certificates: Guaranteed investment certificates (GICs), earn a set rate of interest that is paid at the end of your term, and you typically cannot lose your initial investment. You can choose from various types of GICs to invest in depending on the strategy and timeline of your goals. 

    Other investment options: There are plenty of other investment options with earnings tied to the market performance. These include bonds, mutual funds, stocks and more. 

    If you’re not a seasoned investor, these kinds of investments may seem difficult to understand. Your bank’s financial advisor or a registered investment professional can help you weigh your options and understand the various risks involved.

    Registered plans: These government-registered plans use tax incentives to encourage Canadians to save for retirement and other milestones. These accounts can hold a variety of investment products, such as GICs and bonds. To apply, you will have to meet the age and deposit requirements. These accounts can be opened at most financial institutions and include:

    Newcomer bank offers vs standard bank packages

    Banking packages for Newcomers include everyday bank accounts, credit card options and other banking features for a great value compared to regular bank plans. These packages may have lower overall costs and offer credit building benefits.

    Newcomer bank offersRegular bank plans
    Introductory offers.
    Substantial fee rebates on everyday banking products. Plus, bonus rewards, cashbacks or welcome gifts.Attractive bonus rewards, cashbacks or welcome gifts but fewer product rebates.
    Additional services.
    Fee rebates on services like money transfers and safety deposit boxes.Often do not include such extra perks that may be useful for new Canadian residents.
    Credit cards for newcomers.
    Often include credit card and other financing products for those with little to no credit history.May have credit score requirements that newcomers can’t meet.

    How to compare the best banks for newcomers in Canada

    Our list of best banks for newcomers in Canada is a good starting point to weigh the best features offered by various banks. However, it’s important to compare which of these bank offers are ideal for your specific lifestyle needs. Some of the essential criteria to consider include:

    Offer value: Special newcomer offers include rebates and gifts, bonus rewards or cashbacks. These offers are attractive, but often come with qualifying requirements. Make sure you review the fine print to see if the conditions make sense to you. Check if the offer provides enough overall value for you before you commit to the bank for the foreseeable future. Compare other aspects like transaction fees, banking network and other essential features.

    Every banking needs: Make sure your banking package includes everything you’ll need to manage your finances. This could include chequing accounts for you and your family members, a high-interest savings account, a personal credit card and more. Also check if your package comes with any must-have features or types of transactions — such as money transfer services or e-transfers so you don’t have to pay for add-on services.

    Fees and limits: Some newcomer bank offers are for mid- to premium-tier accounts. They include monthly fee rebates, higher transaction limits, and special perks like free money transfer services and safety deposit box rentals. When the offer ends, you will be faced with new monthly costs that increase your household budget. Make sure you’re aware of the bank’s standard cost or have a plan to switch bank accounts.

    Ways to bank: If you prefer in-person banking services, compare the branch and ATM networks for your preferred financial institutions in your area. If you prefer to bank on the go, check if your bank has an online banking platform and mobile banking app with reliable customer support.

    Deposit protection: Many major banks are Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC) members. If a member bank were to fail, eligible customer deposits up to $100,000 are protected. Credit unions also extend provincial insurance on customer deposits. Make sure your bank has federal or provincial deposit coverage.

    Other feature benefits: Newcomer plans include several other features that can benefit individuals and their families. Based on your needs or spending lifestyle, you could choose offers with complimentary banking services or those offering bonus rewards and perks on loyalty programs. 

    For example, a banking package may come with a small safety deposit box at little to no fee for the duration of the offer. Other bank plans may have a rewards program which earns you points on daily debit transactions. These points can be redeemed towards bill payments, store purchases, trips and more.

    How to open a newcomer bank account in Canada

    Newcomers can often apply for a new bank account over the phone, in person at a branch or via online banking. But you may be required to book an appointment to get your account set up. For those applying from outside of Canada, banks may need you to complete your account opening formalities after you arrive in the country.

    Typically the financial institutions will ask you to provide: 

    Alternatives to newcomer bank accounts

    Many of the features common to newcomer bank accounts can be found in other kinds of bank accounts. These accounts include:

    Tangerine No-Fee Daily Chequing Account

    Tangerine No-Fee Daily Chequing Account
    • Bonus Offer
    • Monthly Fee
    • Number of Transactions
    Our Take
    • Tangerine’s No-Fee Daily Chequing Account offers free access to 44,000 ABMs worldwide, overdraft protection, financial monitoring tools and a secure way to shop both online and in person.
    • Tangerine is a subsidiary of Scotiabank and offers chequing and savings accounts, GICS, registered accounts, credit cards, mortgages, loans and investment products. Read our review of Tangerine for more information.
    Product Details
    • Switch your payroll deposits and you could get $250.
    • No monthly fee.
    • Interest rate: up to 0.1%.
    • Free online daily banking, including debit purchases, bill payments, pre-authorized payments, Interac e-Transfers and ABM transactions that use Scotiabank’s ABM network.
    • ABM withdrawals with other banks in Canada: $1.50.
    • ABM withdrawals on other networks worldwide: $3.00.
    • Free first cheque book (50 cheques). $50 for each additional cheque book.
    • Tangerine Client Card with Visa Debit can be used anywhere Visa is accepted, and can be added to Apply Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay.
    • Card is covered by Interac and Visa Debit Zero Liability protection, so you won’t have to pay for unauthorized purchases.
    • Access to tools and alerts that help monitor spending activity.
    • CDIC protection for all eligible deposits.

    Motusbank Chequing Account

    Motusbank Chequing Account
    • Bonus Offer
    • Monthly Fee
    • Number of Transactions
    Our Take
    • Motusbank isn’t the only financial institution offering a chequing account with no monthly fee and unlimited debit payments, but it ups the ante with a stylish vertical debit card, the ability to deposit cheques by taking a picture and a few other useful perks.
    • motusbank is an online division of Meridian Credit Union and offers chequing and savings accounts, mortgages, registered plans, GICs, investing, and a home equity line of credit loan.
    Product Details
    • Earn interest at a 0.15% rate.
    • $0 monthly fee.
    • No minimum balance required.
    • Free, unlimited Interac e-Transfers®.
    • Unlimited debit purchases, bill payments and withdrawals, including transfers between accounts, Interac Direct Payment purchases, pre-authorized debit, ATM withdrawals and cheques.
    • No-fee access to THE EXCHANGE Network of ATMs in Canada and the Allpoint Network in the U.S.
    • Deposit Anywhere: deposit a cheque by taking a photo.
    • First order of 25 cheques is free.
    • Free, unlimited use of Motusbank’s Price Drop feature, which hunts for cheaper prices when online shopping.
    • Foreign debit transaction surcharge: $2.50.
    • Paper statement fee per month: $2.
    • ATM international transaction fee: $5.
    • ATM US transaction fee (non-Allpoint Network): $3.
    • Deposits protected by Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation, up to a maximum of $100,000.

    EQ Bank Personal Account

    EQ Bank Personal Account
    • Bonus Offer
    • Monthly Fee
    • Number of Transactions
      Dollar limits apply*
    Our Take
    Why we like it

    • EQ Bank’s Personal Account is the digital-first bank’s flexible hybrid chequing and savings account. It features a high interest rate, no monthly fees, and free and unlimited transfers.
    • The bank also offers joint accounts, US dollar accounts, TFSAs, RRSPs, and GICs.
    Product Details
    • Customers who set up direct deposit on their EQ Bank account will also get a bonus interest on recurring pre-authorized debits.
    • Here’s how to get the bonus interest: (a) Set up $500/month or more in either direct deposit for your pay or recurring pre-authorized debits. (b) Applies to your Personal Account, Joint Account and EQ Bank Card¹ balance. (c) Once set it up, they’ll be eligible for the increased rate of 4.00%* for 12 months! (d) Those who already set up the above automatically qualify for bonus interest!
    • 4.00% interest rate*.
    • No monthly fee.
    • This hybrid account gives you the benefits of savings with the flexibility of chequing.
    • Mobile Cheque Deposit is available through the EQ Bank mobile app.
    • Zero monthly banking fees.
    • No transaction or service fees. EQ Bank does not charge account fees, fees for sending or receiving Interac e-Transfers®, fees for bill payments, overdraft fees, or dormant account fees.
    • No minimum balance, but a $200,000 maximum balance.
    • Access your money immediately through the mobile app and online banking website, where you can deposit or transfer funds using Interac e-Transfers® or Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) to linked accounts.
    • Eligible for CDIC deposit insurance.
    • As of December 2022, EQ Bank is available to Québec residents.
    • *Interest is calculated daily on the total closing balance and paid monthly. Rates are per annum and subject to change without notice.

    The PC Money™ Account

    The PC Money™ Account
    • Bonus Offer
      Up to 125,000 Points ($400 value)
    • Monthly Fee
    • Number of Transactions
    Our Take
    • The PC Money Account from President’s Choice Financial is not just another no-fee chequing account. It’s a rewards program, too. Every time you spend money using your PC Money Account card, you’ll earn PC Optimum points that can be put toward future purchases.
    • President’s Choice Financial is part of Loblaw Companies Limited with millions of account holders across Canada that save bank fees and earn rewards through the PC Optimum points system.
    Product Details
    • Enjoy up to 125,000 points in welcome offers when you open a no monthly fee PC Money™ Account. Here’s how: (1) Earn 75,000 points when you set up a minimum of $1,500 in payroll or pension direct deposit for 3 consecutive months, starting within 60 days of opening your account. (2) Earn 50,000 points: That’s 10,000 points for each of your first 5 bill payments of $50+ within 60 days of opening your account.
    • Earn 10 PC Optimum points (five regular, five bonus) for every dollar spent.
    • Earn up to 25 PC Optimum points per dollar spent at Shoppers Drug Mart.
    • Earn up to 5,000 points per month when making bill payments with your account.
    • No monthly fee.
    • No minimum balance required.
    • Free unlimited everyday transactions online and in-store, including electronic fund transfers, withdrawals at PC Financial bank machines, self-serve bill payments and purchases in Canadian dollars.
    • Free Interac e-Transfer® services.
    • The PC Money Account card, provided by Mastercard, is compatible with Apple Pay and Google Pay digital wallets and can be used anywhere Mastercard is accepted.
    • PC Financial provides Mastercard Zero Liability Promise for unauthorized purchases.
    • Free access to PC Financial ATMs.
    • CDIC protection on eligible deposits worth up to $100,000.

    Wealthsimple Card

    Wealthsimple Card
    • Annual Fee
    • Interest Rates
    • Minimum Deposit
    • Maximum Deposit
    Our Take
    Why we like it

    Beginner investors interested in learning more about building wealth will feel right at home with the Wealthsimple Card, a no-fee prepaid Mastercard that earns 1% cash back on purchases. Use the rewards to support your TFSA, invest in stocks, ETFs and crypto, or fund your linked spending (Cash) account, where you can send, spend and receive money instantly with the Wealthsimple Cash app.

    • Use a Visa or Mastercard debit card to instantly deposit up to $3,500 per day (up to a maximum of $35,000 per month).
    • Effortlessly build an investment portfolio by transforming cash back rewards into stocks, ETFs or cryptocurrency deposited directly into a trading account.

    • There’s no brick-and-mortar location for Wealthsimple customers, so you need to be comfortable managing your money with an online-only company.
    • $5,000 per day spending limit; ATM withdrawals are limited to $500 per transaction/$1,000 per day.
    • Cash rewards invested into cryptocurrency are subject to Wealthsimple Crypto’s 1.5-2% fee.
    Product Details
    • General fees and features: Wealthsimple does not charge any fees to use the Wealthsimple Card.
    • Currency conversion fee: Mastercard will determine the applicable exchange rate from the range of rates available in wholesale currency markets for the applicable processing date, which may vary from the rate Mastercard itself receives.
    • ATM withdrawals: Wealthsimple does not charge any fees for withdrawing cash, but you may see a standard ATM withdrawal fee (usually about $3.00) when you make a withdrawal at an ATM. ATM Withdrawal limits are $500 per transaction and $1,000 per day.
    • Reload methods: Add funds to your card by making a deposit via a linked bank account, a wire transfer, your Visa or Mastercard debit card, or an institutional transfer to move an account from another institution.
    • Rewards: Earn 1% cash back on eligible purchases. Cash back rewards can go directly into your Spend account, be added to the cash balance of a stock trading or crypto trading account, or be used to auto-purchase the cryptocurrency of your choice in your crypto trading account. Use the card anywhere Mastercard is accepted — in-store, in apps, or online. Pay bills, use direct deposit, and e-Transfer.
    • The Wealthsimple Card is available as part of the everyday spending account, which comes with both a digital and physical card that you can manage right from the Wealthsimple app.
    • Use the app to manage your rewards and spending preferences, or lock your card if something happens to it. Your balances are all updated in real-time, too — even if you’re using the physical card
    • Add your Wealthsimple Card to Apple, Samsung or Google Pay digital wallet.
    • Use the Wealthsimple Cash app to send and receive payments to anyone else who uses the Cash app without paying fees. You can also send money to people who don’t have the Cash app yet. They will receive a prompt to download the app and claim the money you sent them.
    • Your money is protected for up to $100,000 through CDIC.
    • To be eligible, you must be a Canadian resident with a Social Insurance Number of the age of majority in the province or territory where you live.

    KOHO Spending and Savings Account

    KOHO Spending and Savings Account
    • Bonus Offer
      30-day free trial
    • Monthly Fee
    • Number of Transactions
      Dollar limits apply*
    Our Take
    Why we like it

    • This hybrid chequing-savings account earns up to 5.00% interest on savings and up to 5.00% cash back on purchases depending on the subscription plan selected.
    • KOHO is a virtual bank that also offers cash back prepaid Mastercards cards
    Product Details
    • Interest Rate varies by selected subscription plan. Essential Plan: 5%, Extra Plan: 5%, Everything Plan: 5%.
    • Monthly Fee varies by selected subscription plan. Essential Plan: $4, Extra Plan: $9, Everything Plan: $19.
    • The account comes with the KOHO prepaid Mastercard that earns up to 5% instant cash back on spending (depending on the selected subscription plan).
    • The mobile app comes with spending pattern analysis, budgeting, automated savings and a RoundUp! feature that helps you save money on every purchase.
    • No minimum balance.
    • Immediate access to your money through free withdrawals, e-Transfers, and more.
    • Eligible for up to $100k CDIC deposit insurance.

    Neo Money™ Account

    Neo Money™ Account
    • Bonus Offer
    • Monthly Fee
    • Number of Transactions
      Dollar limits apply*
    Our Take
    Why we like it

    • Neo offers a digital-first banking experience and a fee-free account with one of the highest interest rates available in Canada.
    • Comes with a prepaid Neo Money™ Card that earns an average 5%+ unlimited cash back at thousands of local and national Neo partners.
    Product Details
    • One account to spend, save and earn 4.00% interest.
    • No fees, 4.00% interest rate as of December 4, 2023 (not a promotional rate; Savings interest rate is calculated daily on the closing balance and paid monthly).
    • Earn up to 225x more than at traditional banks (0.05% is the rate at most banks for high interest savings accounts, with 0% on most daily everyday chequing accounts – unlimited transaction accounts are typically $29.99 per month, whereas Neo is free).
    • Make bill payments, send and receive Interac e-Transfers®, and make bank to bank transfers to and from existing bank account – all with no monthly fees or minimum balances and unlimited free transactions.
    • Available Canada-wide (with the exception of Quebec, coming soon).
    • Manage everything from the phone app, whenever and wherever. Desktop/web banking is also available.
    • Much like any bank account at a traditional bank, the Neo Money™ Account is eligible for CDIC deposit protection, and provided by Concentra Bank, a CDIC member institution. Deposits held in Neo Money™ Accounts are combined with eligible deposits held at Concentra Bank, for up to $100,000 of deposit protection, per category, per depositor.

    Frequently asked questions about newcomer bank offers in Canada

    Which Canadian bank has the best offers for immigrants?

    The best newcomers’ offer for you depends on your banking preferences and needs. To find your ideal bank with the best promotion, decide how you would use the offer value and whether you’d be able to qualify to receive it.

    Which bank is the best for newcomers in Canada?

    Our list of best banks for newcomers in Canada is a good place to start weighing the benefits offered by various banks. However, narrowing your search based on your specific lifestyle needs is important. Make sure you consider your banking habits, the value of the newcomer offer, fees and limitations, security, and other feature benefits to find your first bank in Canada.


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