Canadian banks are one of the most resilient and stable banking institutions in the world and it is quite common to ask how to open Canadian Bank accounts as an American. Americans and even other nationals regard Canadian banking industry as very stable with stringent Canadian government policy that maintains the industry as minimally competitive as possible by restraining foreign banks to enter into their market. This makes Canadian banking system more centralized as compared in America although the banking services in Canada and America are relatively the same. One need not have to become a Canadian citizen or live in Canada in order to open a Canadian bank account.
- There are five major banks where Americans can ideally open a Canadian bank account. These are the Toronto Dominion Bank, Royal Bank of Canada, Bank of Montreal, Bank of Nova Scotia, and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. These banks control about 90% of the retail banking system in Canada. These Canadian banks also offer US dollar and Euro accounts.
- In order to open a Canadian bank account, the applicant is required to visit the banking institution personally. This is a requirement together with the presentation of pertinent documents to support the application to open the account. Common requirements are passport and some form of identification such as a driver’s license or a national ID card. Foreign depositors are usually required with a reference provided by employers or other banks before the grant to open a new account.
- Applicants should ask the extent of the insurance coverage for their deposit. The Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation or the CDIC is the federal corporation responsible for insuring bank deposits in Canadian banks. It usually insures bank deposits of up to $60,000 per depositor per bank. You can talk to the branch manager of the bank you may want to open a bank account with to discuss the insurance benefits that you can possibly get from opening an account with them.
- Explore your options on how you want to manage your Canadian bank account. Most Canadian banks offer an online banking service and one may be able to access their account in Canada through any ABM machine which is the counterpart of the Automated Teller Machine (ATM) in the United States.
- Ask the bank about their monthly fees for maintaining a Canadian bank account. Most banks in Canada do not charge a monthly fee for account deposits of not less than $1000. If you fall below this minimum deposit requirement, the banks usually charge a fee between $3.95 and $24.95 depending on the type of the depositor’s account.