Banking basics

The World Economic Forum rates Canada's banking system as one of the safest in the world (see Banking in Canada).  


The banking system here is closely regulated by the government (OSFI), and consumers enjoy a very high level of protection.  As such, you don't have to worry about choosing "the wrong bank" - they are all equally safe, but simply have different consumer offerings.

The following is a list of banks within walking distance from McGill's downtown campus: 


Bank of Montreal

Scotiabank


 

National Bank of Canada

Royal Bank of Canada

TD Bank

CIBC

ING Direct

Please note that our office does not endorse any one bank. Some banks may have special offers for students, and as international students some may have agreements with other banks in your home country to allow for easier transfers (should there be an emergency).  They may also have special accounts for students and lines of credit available.More information about banks close to campus and student plans through McGill can be found here.

To open an account you will need two forms of ID and something which states your new Montreal address (ex: bill, copy of the lease, etc.) but you should check with each branch specifically to see what they require.

Here are some questions to ask yourself and the bank representative before opening an account.

  • What are my options?
  • What type of account do I need?
  • What happens if I bounce a check or overdraw my account?
  • What is in the fine print?
  • Do I need to maintain a minimum balance?
  • Is there a fee to transfer money to my account from out of the country? (or vice versa)
  • Do you offer free savings accounts with interest? What is the interest rate?
  • Do you offer free checking accounts?
  • Do you offer free checks and any kind of protection for bouncing a check? What is your fee for bouncing a check or having insufficient funds?
  • Where are you located and do you have other branches nearby? What are your hours?
  • Where are your closest ATMs and is there a fee to use them? Is there a fee to use other ATM's?
  • Do you offer a debit or credit card with checking accounts? Are there fees with those cards?
  • Do you offer free direct deposit?
Source: Credit.com