Guess what? You no longer have to get off your couch or leave your house to take control of your money. Opening a bank account online has never been easier -- even if you're a first-time customer.
While it used to be the case that you had to present yourself in person to a bank representative at a branch, it's now possible to open an account and deposit funds from the comfort of your own home.
If you meet the following criteria you can now open an account as a new customer online:
- At least 16 years old
- A Canadian resident or you're here to work or study
- Opening this account in your own name
- Ok with paperless document delivery
If you want to open an account for your child or add another person's name on the account, then head into a branch where a representative will be able to help you.
Otherwise, all you need is an internet connection and appropriate identification. There are no minimum balances required and you don't need to be employed. The whole process takes around five minutes.
What other information will you need to open the bank account?
To open a Scotia account you'll need to decide which banking package is best for your lifestyle.
Once you're set then have handy:
- your full name
- your address as it appears on your photo ID
- your date of birth
- your occupation or type of business if you have one
- your social insurance number (if you want to open an interest-bearing account)
If we are able to verify your identity with a credit bureau, you will be able to transfer money in your account as soon as the account is opened. If Scotia cannot verify your identity this way you may have to visit the branch for a quick, five minute, in-person visit.
Now, since the actual process of opening an account is so simple you want to start thinking deeper of what kind of account you want to open.
Single or joint account?
The first question you have to ask yourself is if you want a single or joint account. While you can only open a single account online for now, you may want to consider adding another person's name to the account later on.
Both accounts are identical except only one person has access to a single account whereas two or more people have access to a joint account.
A single account is best if you and only you want access to your funds.
A joint account is great if your finances are tied up with another person. It's perfect for married couples who want to share expenses or save up for a down payment together. Or maybe you own a cottage with your siblings and it's easier to track maintenance costs from one pot. Or perhaps you have an elderly parent and need access to their money to do the grocery shopping for them.
Before opening a joint account make sure your co-holder is trustworthy and you're fully comfortable with them having full and equal access to all the cash inside. Set agreed-upon rules for contributions and withdrawals.
Remember: you can always choose to have a single account for yourself and an additional joint account for shared expenses or savings, or add a name to a single account later one.
Do you want a chequing or savings bank account?
The next question you'll want to ask yourself is if you want a chequing, savings account or both.
During the online process of applying for a chequing account you will have the option to add a savings account. You can also decide to add one later on.
A chequing account is useful for day to day transactions, like getting paid from work, paying rent, utilities, groceries and clothes. You don't earn much interest on any balances held but you have a high transaction limit included.
A savings account is a great place to park money for short- to medium-term goals like a vacation or a down payment. You get higher interest on your balance but you have a limited number of allowed monthly transactions unless you pay a fee. It's also psychologically helpful to have a designated place to stash your money so you can see how you're doing.
Most Canadians will find having both accounts useful. Even if you don't have surplus funds to save now you likely will in the future.
How can you fund your account?
Really, the only time you need to head to an ABM or branch is if you have cash to deposit. Otherwise you can fund your account through various methods online:
- Deposit cheques through the app on your smartphone by taking a picture
- Sign up for direct deposit with your workplace and the CRA so any paycheques or government transfers and tax refunds go directly into your account
- Transfer money between savings and chequing account online with the click of a button
- Friends and family can send money to you using Interac e-Transfer†
- You can link to external bank accounts to deposit funds if your bank has this functionality
† Interac and Interac Flash are trademarks of Interac Corp. Used under license.
Legal Disclaimer: This article is provided for information purposes only. It is not to be relied upon as financial, tax or investment advice or guarantees about the future, nor should it be considered a recommendation to buy or sell. Information contained in this article, including information relating to interest rates, market conditions, tax rules, and other investment factors are subject to change without notice and The Bank of Nova Scotia is not responsible to update this information. All third party sources are believed to be accurate and reliable as of the date of publication and The Bank of Nova Scotia does not guarantee its accuracy or reliability. Readers should consult their own professional advisor for specific financial, investment and/or tax advice tailored to their needs to ensure that individual circumstances are considered properly and action is taken based on the latest available information.