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Banking in Canada

Banking in Canada

Old Feb 7th 2012, 8:59 am
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Default Banking in Canada

Hi

Very confused with a few of the discussion forums regarding how the banking situation works in Canada. Can somebody be clear on whether the Visa Debit Cards works if I have no bank account set up in Alberta yet . Coming over from the UK in 4 weeks. Coming over on LMO

Which is the best bank to start with once I get there, not whilst I am here (I am aware of HSBC) any other options?

Thanks
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Old Feb 7th 2012, 9:37 am
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Default Re: Banking in Canada

Visa debit cards should work. Make sure you tell your bank in the Uk though as it's not uncommon for them to block foreign transactions.

As for which bank is best, it really depends on what services you need. Most banks charge a monthly fee to have a chequing account, but you'll find big banks have branches all over the place- RBC, Scotiabank, TD and CIBC. If you want that face to face service, they are your options. RBC seem very popular, and I've not had problems with them previously.

Depending on which Province you're going to, HSBC may not have any/many branches outside of the city centres.

There are also Credit Unions to consider, but from what little I know, they're expensive.

I now bank with PC Financial. They're the internet only arm of CIBC (but branded through Presidents Choice / Canadian Superstore. A bit like banking with Tesco I guess). Whilst there are no branches for me to visit, it's free to bank with them and online banking allows me to do pretty much everything I need from my bank.
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Old Feb 7th 2012, 9:45 am
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Default Re: Banking in Canada

Originally Posted by lipglosscrazy
Which is the best bank to start with once I get there, not whilst I am here (I am aware of HSBC) any other options?
The Wiki article on banking should give you some other options to check out.

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Old Feb 7th 2012, 9:49 am
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Default Re: Banking in Canada

Hi

Well done on the imminent move!

In terms of your Visa debit, check with your bank (I assume this is a UK bank), but there is no reason why it shouldn't work anywhere in Canada (and the rest of the world, for that matter) that accepts Visa. This includes cash withdrawals from ATMs that have the Visa sign. But be careful of bank fees every time you use your card, whether to pay for something or to get cash. It should be in your bank's / card's T&Cs.

In terms of which banks to choose once there - I am sure those who have already made the move will be in touch soon. I haven't yet (boo) so can't comment from experience on that. However just last week I started looking into it, and found out that both CIBC and RBC offer special chequing (=current) accounts that are specially tailored to people who have just arrived in Canada. It's worth having a look at their websites:
http://www.rbc.com/canada/banking-packages/index.html
https://www.cibc.com/ca/chequing-savings/newcomers.html
No idea if they are actually any good thoug, as I said, so hopefully someone will be along soon with some recommendations. There are bound to be other banks that offer similar services.

The other thing I found out that is that credit unions are a really good alternative to banks. I believe there is one in Alberta - again, just Google 'Alberta credit union' and you should find it...

Good luck with it all!
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Old Feb 7th 2012, 1:57 pm
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Default Re: Banking in Canada

we bank with TD - we were introduced to them through work when we arrived and have been fine (except the cost of banking but that's the way it is here for most banks)

Scotia Bank also do a newcomers package - I dont have any experience of this tho.

Don't forget that you will have no credit rating here (unless things have changed in the last 1.5 years) and the banks won't recognise your UK credit rating (although bizarrely, the mortgage company asked for an international credit rating for our mortgage application!!)
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Old Feb 7th 2012, 5:32 pm
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Default Re: Banking in Canada

Originally Posted by lipglosscrazy
Hi

Very confused with a few of the discussion forums regarding how the banking situation works in Canada. Can somebody be clear on whether the Visa Debit Cards works if I have no bank account set up in Alberta yet . Coming over from the UK in 4 weeks. Coming over on LMO

Which is the best bank to start with once I get there, not whilst I am here (I am aware of HSBC) any other options?

Thanks
I have experience with Scotia and RBC. Both good and bad.

If this is possible I would just go to the nearest branch to where you end up living as I have seen it all in Canada from mis-calculated interest on a credit card- to not being able to deposit checks from third parties. Banking here has become several hours of my month as opposed to being just an after thought in the UK.

If you've ever been to the third world you will have an idea of the experience awaiting you.

If you have a branch near your house they'll get to know you and you won't have to go out of your way to trouble shoot the problems dealing with these institutions will over time cause you.
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Old Feb 7th 2012, 6:40 pm
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Default Re: Banking in Canada

Thanks for your replies, really helpful and very clear
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Old Feb 7th 2012, 7:44 pm
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Default Re: Banking in Canada

We set up a HSBC account in the UK, which in turn helped us set up HSBC accounts in Canada - we had current accounts and Credit Cards for Canada before we landed. It can be done.
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Old Feb 24th 2012, 5:14 pm
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Default Re: Banking in Canada

Originally Posted by nerdherd
Hi

Well done on the imminent move!

In terms of your Visa debit, check with your bank (I assume this is a UK bank), but there is no reason why it shouldn't work anywhere in Canada (and the rest of the world, for that matter) that accepts Visa. This includes cash withdrawals from ATMs that have the Visa sign. But be careful of bank fees every time you use your card, whether to pay for something or to get cash. It should be in your bank's / card's T&Cs.

In terms of which banks to choose once there - I am sure those who have already made the move will be in touch soon. I haven't yet (boo) so can't comment from experience on that. However just last week I started looking into it, and found out that both CIBC and RBC offer special chequing (=current) accounts that are specially tailored to people who have just arrived in Canada. It's worth having a look at their websites:
http://www.rbc.com/canada/banking-packages/index.html
https://www.cibc.com/ca/chequing-savings/newcomers.html
No idea if they are actually any good thoug, as I said, so hopefully someone will be along soon with some recommendations. There are bound to be other banks that offer similar services.

The other thing I found out that is that credit unions are a really good alternative to banks. I believe there is one in Alberta - again, just Google 'Alberta credit union' and you should find it...

Good luck with it all!
Thanks for the links, very useful!
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Old Feb 27th 2012, 12:10 am
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Default Re: Banking in Canada

Hi
DON'T USE HSBC!!!!! Before we came over we took the trouble to open up premier HSBC accounts and from begginng to end they were incompetant, just avoid them.

We have BMO -bank of montreal accounts, we opened them instantly, they issued debit cards on the day we opened the accounts. We also opened Credit cards on the same day, we took out a monthly charge package of about $14.00 which covers all transactions monthly including our childrens accounts. Banking online is good with them. You cannot use your debit cards to purchase online, so need your credit cards. To open supplier accounts you need to use Void cheques and a fax. We also have a mortgage with them at very good rates.

Your debit and visa cards will work but the rate of exchange may not be the best.
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Old Feb 27th 2012, 5:39 pm
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Default Re: Banking in Canada

PC Financial is the best. Free banking all the way
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Old Feb 27th 2012, 6:09 pm
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Default Re: Banking in Canada

Originally Posted by beaujolais
You cannot use your debit cards to purchase online, so need your credit cards.
Sometimes you can.
http://www.interac.ca/interacOnline.php


Issuing bank cards on the day you open an account here I think is standard practice regardless of who you use.
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Old Feb 28th 2012, 1:11 am
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Default Re: Banking in Canada

Originally Posted by beaujolais
Hi
DON'T USE HSBC!!!!! Before we came over we took the trouble to open up premier HSBC accounts and from begginng to end they were incompetant, just avoid them.

We have BMO -bank of montreal accounts, we opened them instantly, they issued debit cards on the day we opened the accounts. We also opened Credit cards on the same day, we took out a monthly charge package of about $14.00 which covers all transactions monthly including our childrens accounts. Banking online is good with them. You cannot use your debit cards to purchase online, so need your credit cards. To open supplier accounts you need to use Void cheques and a fax. We also have a mortgage with them at very good rates.

Your debit and visa cards will work but the rate of exchange may not be the best.
Agree with the HSBC verdict, they were great in UK setting up the Premier account. Over here however I get the impression that the Premier idea has been foisted on them and they simply haven't got a clue.
We now bank with TD, if you have a minimum $5000 you can keep in your account then you recieve free banking.
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Old Feb 28th 2012, 4:48 pm
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Default Re: Banking in Canada

Originally Posted by GC44
Agree with the HSBC verdict, they were great in UK setting up the Premier account.
I'd have to disagree with the 2 comments on HSBC. I opened one specifically in the UK knowing I was coming over here. They had my HSBC account set-up in Canada within a week and also a credit card over here. It is also free banking with my HSBC Canada account (no $1.50 for an ATM withdrawal!)

It is also great for transferring money quickly and inexpensively back to the HSBC UK and onto other people/bills if required.

The comment on banks being backward compared to the UK are all correct though !
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Old Feb 28th 2012, 5:18 pm
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Default Re: Banking in Canada

Originally Posted by Animal
The comment on banks being backward compared to the UK are all correct though !
In what way? I can do all the banking I need on-line but if I have a problem I can go to my branch where there is someone dedicated to sorting out my problem.

Last time I was in the UK I went to a branch of HSBC where all I could find was a wall of machines and someone whose job appeared to be to make sure staff could do their jobs without interruptions from those annoying customers.

We went to Barclays to close my wife's account. It had been dormant for nine years with a balance of five pounds so we thought we were doing them a favour. The conversation went something like:

Wife: I'd like to close my current account please.
Teller: I can't do that.
Wife: Why not?
Teller: I don't know if it's your account or not.
Wife: Here is my passport and driver's license.
Teller: I still can't do it.
Wife: So how do I close my account?
Teller: You have to write to us.
Wife: So anyone can write in and ask you to close the account and you will do it without any identification?
Teller: Well, we'd check the signature.
Wife: Oh, so can I sign something now? Then you can check the signature with the one on my passport, the one on my driver's license, and the one in your records.
Teller: No, you have to write to us.

Very modern.
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