Canadian Finance 101 – Accounts for your money

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Image by duckiemonster via Flickr

If you are moving or have moved recently to Canada you will need to consider where to keep your money. The UK does have a number of different types of account, with a standard Current Account being the usual bank account, and some savings accounts, holding bonds, ISA’s TESSA’s and Pensions.

In Canada there are two standard bank accounts, typically called:

  1. Chequing (Checking) Account: This is your day to day business account, usually where your salary is paid and direct debits set up. This is the direct equivalent of the UK Current Account, and is named because it is the type of account that you can have a Chequebook for. Note that cheques are issued according to request and must be ordered. Many banks also return your processed cheques to you in the mail so that you can file them, so do not be alarmed.
  2. Savings Account: Just as in the UK these accounts are designed to save money and depending on your banks rates may attract a higher percentage return than any Chequing account.

One key difference between the UK and Canada are fees. Whereas UK banks do not always charge fees, ALL Canadian banks will charge you a fee for both Chequeing and Savings accounts. The fee charged will vary from bank to bank. Many banks offer two types of account, one with no charge or a minimal charge which only allows a few transactions and withdrawals per month, and another which allows unlimited transactions which charges a higher account fee. Savings accounts might be free as long as a minimum balance is maintained.

Which bank you use depends on your requirements and on finding attractive rates or convenient branch access. It should be noted however that there are one or two key considerations as to choice dependant on your plans of where you wish to live and how often you wish to move within Canada.

Certain Banks and Brokerage Houses only operate in one particular province, and may have no international presence. Many UK Emigrants use HSBC because it is one of the few banks with branches in both the UK and Canada. Other banks such as TD are now widespread across North America, and some such as CIBC and ScotiaBank are Canada-wide. Provincial banks such as ATB only operate in the province of Alberta itself. This is an important consideration when moving to Canada.

If you have further questions feel free to email me at



Thank you- Courtesy of fellow Brit Simon Jackson at Edward Jones.

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