Monito.com
Canadian Canada Nature Forest

Can I Open a Bank Account in Canada Online?

Jarrod Suda

Guide

Jul 20, 2023
Advertiser disclosure

Opening a bank account online in Canada is not only possible but also quite straightforward. Banks and financial institutions have embraced digital transformation, making it easier than ever for customers to manage their finances online.

Let's explore the step-by-step process of opening an online bank account in Canada. We will cover some of Canada's high-street banks, saavy fintech apps like Koho, and multi-currency accounts like Wise.

recommendation icon

We highly recommend Koho, a Canadian fintech platform that offers a free chequing account with unlimited free e-Transfers, zero-interest overdraft protection, and a user-friendly mobile app to track your spending. The account earns you interest and also comes with a credit card that offers cash back and a tool to help you build a strong credit history.

What to Consider Before Opening a Bank Account in Canada

Before you start the application process, we are here to help you research various banks and their offerings. Look for a financial institution that aligns with your needs, offers competitive interest rates, low fees, high security, and excellent customer service.

  • User-Friendly: Choose an online banking platform that allows you to access your account 24/7, tracks your spending, offers instant notifications, the ability to freeze your cards, and other tools that help you manage your money.
  • Cost-Effective: If you go with a high-street bank, try to avoid accounts that charge monthly maintenance fees. Many neo-banks in Canada offer the same chequing services as brick-and-mortar banks but for no monthly fee.
  • Enhanced Security: Make sure that your bank employs advanced security measures, such as two-factor authentication, to protect your account from unauthorised access.

What You Need to Open a Bank Account

To open a bank account online in Canada, you must be a legal resident with a residential address and you need to be 18 years of age or older. In general you will need to provide the following documents to the bank, which must validate your name, date of birth, and residential address:

Valid Identification:

  • identification issued by the Government of Canada or a province;
  • foreign passports.

Proof of Canadian Address:

  • tax documents issued by the Government of Canada, a province, or municipality;
  • statements of benefits from the Government of Canada or a province;
  • Canadian public utility bills;
  • Canadian voter's card;
  • bank account or credit card statements.

Canadian High-Street Banks

Most traditional Canadian banks have online portals to open chequing accounts online. Traditional high street banks are ideal for customers who want to finance large purchases or access debt. This may include auto loans, mortgages, university funds, investment accounts, business accounts, or wealth management services.

We’ve listed some bank requirements and contact details below for the major Canadian banks:

1 — Royal Bank of Canada

As one of Canada's largest and most reputable banks, the Royal Bank of Canada offers a wide range of online accounts, including chequing, savings, and various other financial services.

  • RBC Day to Day Banking: $4.00 per month

2 — Scotiabank

With a strong presence across Canada and international markets, Scotiabank provides online accounts for chequing, savings, and an array of financial products and services.

  • Basic Banking Account: $3.95 per month

3 — Bank of Montreal

The Bank of Montreal, commonly known as BMO, is a prominent Canadian bank that offers online accounts for chequing, savings, and a diverse range of financial solutions.

  • Practical Account: $4.00 per month

4 — TD Bank

TD Bank, a major player in the Canadian banking industry, offers convenient online accounts for chequing, savings, and a wide variety of banking options.

  • TD Minimum Chequing Account: $3.95 per month

5 — Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), one of Canada's leading banks, delivers online accounts for chequing, savings, and an extensive selection of financial services to meet customers' needs.

  • CIBC Everyday Chequing Account: $4.00 per month

Canadian Digital Banks

Digital Canadian accounts are managed fully online and often charge zero monthly fees because they operate no brick-and-mortar locations. Some virtual banks like Tangerine are licensed banks while other Canadian fintech platforms like Koho are not banks, and instead partner with licensed banks to offer their tech-saavy solutions to you.

You can apply for these accounts online through their websites. Let's explore them in greater detail:

Koho

Koho offers free interest-earning chequing accounts with direct deposit setup and a credit card providing up to 2% cash back on select categories. Utilize their optional credit builder tool to improve your credit history, and as of July 2023, earn 0.5% to 4% interest on your balance based on your chosen plan.

The smartphone app tracks your spending and offers a RoundUp feature to move your spare change into your interest-bearing savings account. Koho offers overdraft protection at no interest and their paid plans offer one free international ABM withdrawal per month.

  • Total cost: $0 per month.
  • Noteworthy features: Up to 2% cash back, up to 4% savings rate, credit card.

Tangerine

Tangerine is a subsidiary of Scotiabank and offers chequing and savings accounts with zero monthly maintenance fees. Their chequing account has no monthly fees, overdraft protection, free ATM access, and a mobile app to manage your spending.

Tangerine has also partnered with Canadian international money tranfer company Interac e-Transfer to provide international money transfers (although we recommend you compare fees before using Interac).

  • Total cost: $0 per month.
  • Noteworthy features: Up to 2% cash back, 1% savings rate, credit card.
  • More info: See our full Tangerine review.

Bank-Like Alternatives in Canada

Wise operates as an electronic money institution and collaborates with federally insured banks, offering the Wise Multi-Currency Account. This account facilitates holding 50+ foreign currencies, including CAD, accessible through the Wise debit card or their digital app, making it an excellent choice for travel and foreign transactions.

Wise Account

Apart from providing affordable international transfers to and from Canada, Wise also enables access to Canadian bank account details and accounts from 9 other countries. This means that you can use those Canadian bank details to receive your paycheck from your Canadian employer.

Whether you need an Interac e-Transfer alternative or plan to spend money abroad, the Wise Multi-Currency Account is highly recommended for holidaymakers, online shoppers, and Canadian expats alike. Note that you will not receive interest on your CAD holdings nor will you get access to credit cards or access to lines of credit.

How to Open a Bank Account Online in Canada

  • Step 01

    Choose the Account Type

    Different banks offer various types of accounts, such as savings accounts, checking accounts, or even specialized accounts like student or senior accounts. Select the one that suits your requirements.

  • Step 02

    Provide Personal Information

    The next step involves entering your personal details, including your full name, address, date of birth, and contact information. Ensure that all information is accurate and up-to-date.

  • Step 03

    Identity Verification

    Verify your identity using government-issued ID. Most banks accept ID pictures taken with your phone for near-instantaneous verification.

    However, some may require in-person verification. After applying online, expect an email with documentation and, in some cases, immediate access to your new account.

  • Step 04

    Agree to Terms and Conditions

    Read and agree to the bank's terms and conditions for opening and operating the account. Take the time to understand the fees, transaction limits, and other important details.

  • Final step

    Initial Deposit

    Some banks may require an initial deposit to activate your account. The amount varies depending on the type of account you choose.

    Compare best virtual accounts in Canada

Opening a Bank Account If You’re Not a Canadian Citizen

If you are a legal Canadian resident, you are eligible to apply for a bank account. If you are a temporary resident with a valid visa, you may be eligible to apply for an online bank account, such as a student account. For non-residents, bank-like alternatives like Wise will be one of the more likely ways to access Canadian bank details.

The process and requirements may differ from bank to bank, but there are viable options for international individuals seeking to manage their finances digitally in Canada. Read our guide on how to open a Canadian bank account without residency to learn more about your options.

FAQ About Opening a Bank Account Online in Canada

Why Trust Monito?

You’re probably all too familiar with the often outrageous cost of sending money abroad. After facing this frustration themselves back in 2013, co-founders François, Laurent, and Pascal launched a real-time comparison engine to compare the best money transfer services across the globe. Today, Monito’s award-winning comparisons, reviews, and guides are trusted by around 8 million people each year and our recommendations are backed by millions of pricing data points and dozens of expert tests — all allowing you to make the savviest decisions with confidence.

Learn More About Monito
  • Monito is trusted by 15+ million users across the globe.

  • Monito's experts spend hours researching and testing services so that you don't have to.

  • Our recommendations are always unbiased and independent.

Monito.com

Global Impact Finance Ltd
Rue du Pont 22
1003 Lausanne
Switzerland

Affiliate Disclosure
Instead of banner ads and paywalls, Monito makes money through affiliate links to the various payment service providers featured on our website. While we work hard to scout the market for the best deals, we're unable to consider every possible product available to you. Our extensive range of trusted affiliate partners enables us to make detailed, unbiased, and solution-driven recommendations for all types of consumer questions and problems. This allows us to match our users with the right providers to suit their needs and, in doing so, match our providers with new customers, creating a win-win for everybody involved. However, while some links on Monito may indeed earn us a commission, this fact never impacts the independence and integrity of our opinions, recommendations, and evaluations.