If you live in Toronto, just arrived, or intend to be living there in the near future, one thing that will become apparent is the convenience of having a bank account. Opening a bank account in Toronto is a fairly easy process provided you have all the required documentation that a bank of your choice will ask for.

Whether you have a job or not is not a requirement to open an account. So, if you have yet to find employment, you shouldn’t hold back from opening a bank account. If you have been bankrupt, you can still open an account.

You can also open an account with a bank in Toronto even though you may not have any money to deposit at the time of opening.

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What is the best bank in Toronto, Canada to have an account with?

This question is relative because, for the most part, individuals’ needs for a bank account may vary such that one person’s choice of a bank might not be the right fit for others based on their banking or financial needs.

To start you off on learning more about banking in Canada as a foreign national, let’s find out what the best banks in Toronto are and then, later on, look at what you’ll need to set up an account.

Best Banks in Toronto Canada

Some of the Toronto-based banks that would easily qualify as the best in the city based on reputation, customer service, and better interest rates, among other factors, include:

Bank of Montreal
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Bank of Montreal (BMO)

BMO has a branch in Toronto with diverse and unique banking services. One of the conveniences most immigrants are looking for is the possibility of opening an account with a Canadian bank while they are still in their country of origin as they anticipate arriving in Toronto.

For example, if you are coming from China and you qualify, you may be able to open an account while in China through a local BMO subsidiary in Beijing, Shanghai or Guangzhou before you arrive in Canada. You would, however, have to bring with you the relevant documents stipulated earlier to prove your eligibility.

Having an account with BMO allows you several options for sending money home. You can access western union from the convenience of your computer by opening your online banking account with BMO. This way, you can send money directly to your home country with ease.

You also have the option of sending money within Canada via the Interac e-transfer service as well as wiring the same through your local branch. These are only but a few highlights that newcomers stand to benefit by opening an account with BMO


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Those who qualify and desire to open an account before travelling to Canada can be able to do so with HSBC, provided you are in a position to produce the relevant documents as proof of eligibility.

HSBC has great offers for new arrivals to Canada, such as an HSBC master credit card with a limit of up to CAD$2000, despite not having a credit history in Canada. This is alongside opening an account with them.

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With HSBC, you can also enjoy complimentary banking that attracts no banking fees for 12 months if you open a checking account with them. These are but a few benefits of considering HSBC as a banking option.

Other benefits include:

  • Line of credit
  • You can access all your HSBC accounts with one login
  • Transfer your HSBC credit history to Canada
  • Instant transfer of funds between your global HSBC accounts
  • Checking and savings accounts
Toronto Dominion Bank (TD)
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Toronto Dominion Bank (TD)

TD offers a myriad of benefits to newcomers, and having an account with them can prove a step in the right direction in helping you to settle more comfortably in Toronto.

Some of the reasons you may want to bank with include:

  • A bonus interest rate on the first six months of opening a saving account
  • Your checking account will not attract fees for the first 6 months
  • Access to unsecured credit cards with a limit of up to CAD$5,000 with no credit history in Canada

This is only the tip of the iceberg as to the numerous benefits and packages TD bank has to offer. However, you will need to carry the relevant documents as outlined earlier, such as your permanent resident card or current passport.

Before Opening a Bank Account

Although individual banking needs may vary, the requirements for opening an account with a bank in Toronto are pretty much the same across the board. Irrespective of the banking institution you settle for, there are a few items you should put into consideration when opening a bank account in Toronto.

They include:

  • How do you intend to use the account? Making payments or savings?
  • What interest rate does the bank give?
  • Are there any charges or fees associated with running the account? Like a minimum balance and so forth?
  • Are your savings insured in the unlikely event that the bank fails?

Non-Canadian Citizens Bank Account Opening

If you are a non-Canadian citizen living outside Canada and looking to open an account, it would be best to get in touch with the bank you’ve selected first.

Here are a few things you’d want to inquire about:

  • Can I open an account remotely?
  • Does the bank have subsidiaries that are available to open the account in your own country?
  • What banking services do they offer to non-citizens? What are the limits and restrictions?

Note that you will need to have a valid passport, in addition to specific immigration papers such as a permanent residency card to be attended to by the bank when you finally travel to Canada. It’s likely that your bank will also accept other forms of identification such as:

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  • A birth certificate issued in Canada
  • If you already have a SIN (social security card), it may come in handy, especially if you are opening an interest-bearing account.
  • Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) card
  • A certificate of naturalization
  • Any other citizenship documents, from an Indian status certificate to IRCC form IMM-1000 (Record of Landing paper in Canada), IMM 1442 (Visitor Record) or IMM 5292 (Confirmation of Permanent Residence).

There are other forms that may be relevant and acceptable to banks, but we advise that you check with a bank of your choice if indeed, they would accept this form or any other Immigration form issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) as valid ID

In Conclusion

Today, banks in Toronto have some of the best welcome packages for immigrants that are geared to help you settle down even faster. Although you will find some of the best banks in Toronto to be very accommodating, you should make sure that assess the terms and conditions carefully to be sure that they meet your banking needs and that they are the best fit for you, your family, and your current situation.