5 Best Banks in Canada for Newcomers



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Canada prides itself on having one of the safest financial systems in the world that are thriving. Canada has 86 banks operating on its shores, with 5 banks considered the largest and the best in their total assets and market value.

These 5 banks are actually our top picks for newcomers to Canada. They offer highly competitive benefits and provisions to make newcomers feel welcome and at home. 

This notwithstanding, as a newcomer in Canada, you shouldn’t choose a bank just because it is one of the big 5 banks; you should also consider the following when choosing what bank best suits your needs. 

These needs include:

Disclaimer: Rates and product offerings are always changing so this article might not reflect the current market situation. Please contact your financial advisor before making any financial decisions.

5 Best Banks in Canada by Assets

RankBankTotal Assets (C$b)Balance Sheet 
1TD Bank1,6097.3107/31/2020
3Nova Scotia, 1,169.8707/31/2020

The 5 Best Banks in Canada by Market Value

RankBankMarket Capitalization (US$b)
2TD Bank83.9B
3Nova Scotia50.6B

Brief Info on the Best Banks for Newcomers to Canada

1. Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)

This bank is considered to be the largest of the big five banks in Canada. It recorded net revenue of C$12.431 billion for the year ended on October 31, 2018.

RBC boasts 17 million clients worldwide attended to by over 84,000 full-time employees in over 1,200 branches, including the USA, Caribbean and other countries.

RBC was established in 1864 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. It was then known as the Merchant Bank of Halifax, which financed the lumber and timber industries.

2. Toronto Dominion Bank

When it comes to assets, TD Bank comes first. But if you’re referring to market value, TD Bank comes second place. 

TD Bank operates about 1,100 branches, which are under the care of about 87,000 staff. TD Bank attends to the needs of 22 million clients worldwide.

TD Bank was born due to a merger of the Bank of Toronto and the Dominion Bank in 1955.

3. Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotia Bank)

Scotia Bank has the most International presence of all Canadian banks. It operates in 55 countries. 

Scotia Bank is the third-largest bank in Canada by total assets, with about 100,000 employees distributed across 3,076 branches and offices. It services the needs of over 23 million customers worldwide.

It was founded in 1832 in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

4. Bank of Montreal (BMO)

BMO is regarded as the fourth-largest Canadian bank with assets worth C$973 billion as of July 31, 2020.

BMO has over 7 million clients in Canada with 939 branches. It has over 47,000 staff under its payroll.

Founded in 1817, BMO is the oldest bank in Canada. 

Through most of the crises that rocked the world in the 20th and 21st centuries, BMO has consistently met dividend payments.

5. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce 

CIBC is the fifth-largest bank in Canada that attends to the needs of about 11 million customers. It employs over 44,000 staff spread across 1,020 branches in Canada. 

It was formed in 1961 due to a merger between the Canadian Bank of Commerce and the Imperial Bank of Canada.

Best Bank For Immigrants

Canada has one of the world’s most multicultural settings. Immigrants from different parts of the world come to Canada to begin a new life and career. Others come to benefit from the educational programs available in Canada.

Canada is open to all and thrives on this diversity. Canada has one of the best banking systems in the world.

As a newcomer to Canada, you should put some factors into account before deciding which is the best bank in Canada for new immigrants. For example,

  • What is the bank’s interest rate? 

Suppose you want your money to make more money for you while it is cooling off in the bank; then, you need a bank to give you a good return for your funds.

Find out more about this here best bank in Canada for savings.

  • Is the bank accessible?

Even though many Canadian banks provide online and electronic transactions, having your bank close to you will save you the trouble of travelling a far distance to make financial transactions.

  • What is the cost of transaction fees?

Account-holders are expected to pay transactional fees apart from the monthly charges. Services such as ATM withdrawals, deposits, cheques etc., are some of the transactions that come with a fee. 

  • How much is the bank’s monthly fee?

Most banks will waive the monthly charges if you meet the minimum monthly balance. Are you comfortable with a bank’s monthly charges or not? This should inform your decision.

  • Does the bank meet your online and offline needs?

Will you be making huge transactions or small transactions? Is walking into the bank’s lobby comfortable for you, or you prefer online banking? Will you be making International transactions? Answering these questions will help you choose an ideal bank that works for you.

It would help if you considered these questions when deciding what bank is best for immigrants. 

You may also want to learn about smart ways to save money in Canada as an immigrant.

The big 5 best banks in Canada also cater to the financial needs of newcomers into Canada.

Disclaimer: Rates and product offerings are always changing, so this article might not reflect the current market situation. Please contact your financial advisor before making any financial decisions.

Types of Bank Account for Newcomers in Canada

There are two main types of bank accounts for newcomers in Canada. They are:

  • Chequing Account

This account will serve the demands of your daily transactions and purchases.

  • Savings Account

If you intend to save money over a long period with high interest, you can open a savings account.

Find out more on some of the savings account with the best rates in Canada.

Documents Requirements for Opening a Newcomer Bank Account in Canada

Note that documents required for permitted identification may vary by province.

To open a Canadian bank account, you will be required to bring the following documents

  • Your passport or Canadian driver’s license, or other valid photo ID 
  • Confirmation of Permanent Residence (PR card)
  • Social Insurance Number (SIN)

If you are an international student, you will also need to show your 

  • Student permit or Temporary Resident Visa (TRV)
  • Proof of enrolment (optional)

For international students, you should read this helpful article on the best bank in Canada for students.

Newcomer Accounts and Benefits

Royal Bank of Canada Newcomer Account

RBC newcomer account provides the following benefits

  • No monthly fees for your bank account for the first 9 months.
  • Your first credit card with the bank comes with no credit history required and no annual fees. However, this offer is for select cards.
  • Although it is safer to meet up with some financial eligibility metrics, your first mortgage requires no credit history.
  • RBC newcomers can enjoy International Money Transfer services.
  • With 3,500 specified car dealerships across Canada, RBC newcomers can get their first car loan with no credit history.
  • RBC newcomers can get $50 when they open their first business account with RBC.
  • As an RBC customer, you will have access to a small safety deposit box with no fees for up to 2 years.

To open a newcomer account with RBC, remember to take along with you your:

  • Landing papers or PR card
  • Foreign passport

Toronto Dominion Bank Newcomer Account

TD newcomers enjoy the following account benefits

  • No monthly fee for a chequing account for the first 6 months.
  • For the first 6 months, your savings account receives a bonus interest rate.
  • TD newcomers enjoy free International money transfer by Visa direct per month for the first 6 months.
  • TD newcomers have a high chance of profiting from a mortgage with no credit history.
  • Unsecured TD credit card with no credit history with a credit limit of up to $5,000.

When opening a TD newcomer account, come along with

  • PR card or one of form IMM 5292, IMM 1442, IMM 1208 or IMM 1202.
  • Passport or Canadian driver’s license or any valid photo ID.

Nova Scotia Bank Newcomer Account

Scotia bank newcomers have the following benefits to enjoy:

  • Scotia bank newcomers get a free small safety deposit box for 1 year.
  • $300 when a Scotia bank newcomer opens a chequing account.
  • Once a Scotia bank newcomer can maintain a daily balance, the monthly fee can be waived.
  • A car loan is possible.
  • Mortgage.

When opening a Scotia bank newcomer account, take along with you

  • PR card or one of form IMM 5202, 5688.
  • Valid passport or Canadian driver’s license.

Bank of Montreal Newcomer Account

BMO newcomers have the following benefits:

  • Unlimited transactions, including no fees for BMO newcomers chequing, account for the first year.
  • Free small safety deposit box or 25% off a larger safety deposit box.
  • International money transfers by Western Union or through the local bank’s Interac e-transfer once a BMO newcomer opens an online banking account.
  • Different credit cards that meet the demands of a BMO newcomer.

To open a BMO newcomer account, come along with your

  • PR card foreign passport or Canadian driver’s license or form IMM 1000, IMM 1442, IMM 5292 or IMM 5688.

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce Newcomer Account

The following are some benefits CIBC newcomers may enjoy

  • No fees for 1 year for chequing accounts.
  • Unlimited Interac e-transfers.
  • CIBC advantage debit card.
  • $55 cashback refund on a safety deposit box.

Now that you are well caught up on the best banks for newcomers to Canada, it should be a lot easier to make a decision. 

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Jude Uchella


Avid researcher, freelance writer, and personal finance enthusiast passionate about financial education and literacy.

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Kareena Maya

Personal Finance and Travel Rewards Expert Contributor



Kareena Maya is a freelance writer focused on the personal finance and travel spaces. He frequently writes about credit cards, banking, student loans, insurance, travel rewards and more. His work has been featured in publications such as Forbes Advisor, Bankrate, Credit Karma, Finance Buzz, The Ascent and Student Loan Planner.

Kareena Maya is a freelance writer focused on the personal finance and travel spaces. He frequently writes about credit cards, banking, student loans, insurance, travel rewards and more. His work has been featured in publications such as Forbes Advisor, Bankrate, Credit Karma, Finance Buzz, The Ascent and Student Loan Planner.