canada newcomer banking services

Canadian banks are competing for Canada newcomer banking services

Canadian banks are competing to help immigrants with Canada newcomer banking services.

Imagine moving to a new country as a permanent resident (PR). Perhaps, you are an international student. Or, you may even be a temporary worker.

Moreover, you are in a country where you have no credit history, no banking history and no long-term assets.


Getting a financial start is one of the challenges newcomers face when they first move to Canada. Banking in Canada may be different from what you’re used to. Certainly, you may seem overwhelming in its requirements and procedures.

And when you arrive, it’s important to start building a Canadian credit history. A credit card is an essential part of life in Canada. It’s important for newcomers to Canada to establish a credit history as soon as possible to help with employment, mortgages, loans and insurance.


You may pre-qualify for a Canada immigration program.

Fortunately, all of Canada’s top five major banks have competitive newcomer banking packages.


These Canada newcomer banking services specifically cater to permanent residents and international students. Thus they are ready to assist newcomers to acquire a strong financial head start.

The largest banks with Canada newcomer banking services

The five largest banks in Canada are often referred to as the “big five” in banking. Each has its own unique Canada newcomer banking services. They are: 

BankMarket Capitalization, 2019 (Billion CAD)Number of ATMs, Canada, 2019Number of Branches, Canada, 2019
Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)$1524,2401,201
Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD)$1363,5091,091
Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank)$923,650950
Bank of Montreal (BMO)$623,300900
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC)$503,0751,024
Note: All figures have been rounded off to the nearest whole number.

What Canada newcomer banking services do they offer?

The following newcomer banking and financial packages are available from the top five banks in the order listed above. Other banks also have their own newcomer services and products.

Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)

The RBC Newcomer Advantage offers everything you need for a great financial start in Canada: banking, credit and investment solutions created specifically with newcomers in mind. The package includes:

  • Limited-time offer: Get $100 cash when you open an RBC No Limit Banking account. Conditions apply.   
  • Open your first Canadian bank account with no monthly fees for 12 months.
  • International Students: Get $60 cash when you open an RBC student bank account. Important note, this is a limited-time offer. And, conditions apply.
  • Send two no-fee international money transfers per month for your first 12 months on select accounts.
  • Get your first Canadian credit card with no credit history.
  • Receive 2,500 welcome RBC Rewards points when you are approved for a personal or student RBC Rewards+ Visa card.
  • Receive a $50 credit when you open an eligible business bank account for your first business in Canada.
  • Buy your first car in Canada with an RBC Royal Bank car loan—no credit history required.
  • Buy your first home in Canada with an RBC Royal Bank mortgage—no credit history required.

Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD)

TD’s New to Canada banking package is available if you:

  • Have been a Permanent Resident or Temporary Resident of Canada for 5 years or less
  • Provide proof of your status through your Permanent Resident Card or Temporary Permit
  • Have never opened or held a TD chequing account
  • Are the age of majority in your province or territory of residence

The package includes:

  • If you open a TD Unlimited Chequing Account you are also eligible for a $150 cash offer.
  • Special welcome offer on the TD Cash Back Card or the TD Rewards Visa Card with no annual fee for newcomers to Canada.
  • An unsecured  TD Credit Card can help you build your Canadian credit. If you are a Canadian Permanent Resident, you are eligible for a credit limit of up to $5,000, even if you have no credit history.
  • Finance your first home in Canada, even if you have no credit history. Newcomers may qualify for a TD mortgage or TD Home Equity FlexLine if:
  • You are a permanent resident or have applied to become a permanent resident in Canada
  • You have been in Canada for 5 years or less

Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank)

Scotiabank’s StartRight® Program offers special newcomer banking solutions that include:

  • Zero monthly account fees for one year – a value of $203.40
  • Unsecured credit card with a limit of up to $5,000
  • Unsecured credit card for international students with a limit of up to $1,000
  • No-fee international money transfers
  • Specialized mortgage for newcomers to Canada, and also
  • New vehicle loan with only 10% down

Bank of Montreal (BMO)

BMO’s NewStart Program includes special offers on accounts and services to help newcomers save money and, also, establish your financial future. The package includes:

  • Performance Plan chequing account online with no monthly fees
  • BMO CashBack Mastercard credit card
  • Special “no credit history” mortgage for newcomers
  • Free small safety deposit box for 12 months – that’s more than $240 in savings!
  • For a limited time earn a $300 cash bonus with the BMO NewStart discounted banking program when you open a Performance Plan Chequing Account online, make a deposit of any amount by March 1st, 2021, and complete two of the following by April 30th, 2021: (a) Set up a recurring direct deposit which will recur for a least two consecutive months (b) Make a bill payment of at least $50 (through online banking or the BMO Mobile app) which will recur for at least two consecutive months, or (c) Set up a pre-authorized debit payment of at least $50 which will recur for at least two consecutive months
  • Earn a $50 cash bonus by inviting your family to open their own separate Chequing accounts under your Plan with BMO Family Bundle86.

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC)

CIBC Smart™ Account for Newcomers include:

  • Chequing account with no monthly fee for one year and $300 cash
  • CIBC Dividend Platinum® Visa Card with first-year annual fee rebate
  • Newcomer to Canada Program Mortgage with no Canadian credit history
  • Car loan with no Canadian credit history
  • Send money globally with a $0 transfer fee

Documents required to open a Canadian newcomer bank account

In general to open a newcomer bank account, you will require the following immigration documents at a minimum:

  • Your passport
  • Confirmation of Permanent Residence (CoPR) and/or Social Insurance Number (SIN)

International students will also need:

  • Student permit (IMM 1442) or Temporary Resident Visa (TRV)
  • Proof of enrollment (optional, good-to-have)

Temporary foreign workers must also present their work permit documents

Important: Permitted identification documents may vary by bank and by province.

Finally, see of interest: Settlement services for Canadian newcomers.

You may pre-qualify for a Canada immigration program.