Banking in Canada is fairly straightforward. Banks offer pretty much the same services as in other countries like online banking and ATM or ABM cards (ABM = Automatic Banking Machine - where you get cash from). You will need to open a bank account if you plan on working in order to receive payment from your employer. Opening an account is also helpful for paying rent and expenses.

Choosing a bank

To choose a bank, think about how far it is from the closest bank office to where you live/work, and be sure to ask about account opening fees or ABM withdrawal fees so you know the extra fees that can occur from managing your money. Also, i highly recommend seeing if your bank in your home country has any agreements with banks in Canada as that can save you money on ATM fees and cashing travelers checks or transferring funds.

The biggest Canadian banks are:

  • Royal Bank of Canada
  • TD Canada Trust
  • Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce
  • Bank of Montreal

Opening a Bank Account

The most practical account to set up while on a working holiday is a checking account, from which you should receive a debit card to access your money. Some checking accounts made for students offer free online banking and other services. You may have to pay fees if not a student. Fees for a basic checking account are usually between CAD$2 and CAD$10 per month. If you want, you can also open a savings account but these are not as practical as having a checking account since you will only be in Canada for a short time.

Here is a list of what you will need to bring with you to open a bank account
1. Proof that you are you, i.e. Passport, work permit, credit cards. 2. Some money to put in your account when you open it. (Maybe $100) 3. Your SIN or “Acknowledgement of Application Letter” 4. Permanent address in Canada – use your hostel if you don’t have a place yet. You can change it later.

Banking Hours
Normal banking hours in Canada are Monday to Friday from 9:30 until 16:30. Some banks and may be open later or open on Saturdays.

Canadian currency comes in notes and coin form.
The notes come in $5, $10, $20, $50, $100.
Coins are in 1¢, 5¢, 10¢, 25¢, 50¢, $1, and $2 -- and the $1 is affectionatley known as the "Loonie"

Disclaimer - Everything changes over time and so can the information mentioned within. Always consult official sources regarding visa requirements and travel to another country. This is not an official source.