If you are ready to make the maple leaf your national symbol, you might already know which area you want to settle down in or even have a job offer from an employer.

There are a lot of steps to make immigrating to Canada a dream come true but establishing your finances should be your first move.

We are here to help take the overwhelm out of setting up your finances as a Canadian newcomer.

In this article

Open a bank account as a newcomer

It can be difficult to open up a new bank account in Canada if you are not legally enrolled in a Canadian school or legally employed in the country.

Whether you enter the country as a permanent residence, foreign worker, or international student, you can apply for the Scotiabank StartRight® Program1. Through this program designed just for newcomers, qualified customers can get no monthly account fees for the first year1, unlimited no-fee international money transfers2, and more. To apply, you will need to bring two forms of identification, such as:

  • Passport
  • Permanent Resident card
  • Citizenship and Immigration Canada Form
    (IMM 1000, IMM 1442, IMM 5688 or IMM 5292)

Here’s how to build your credit score for success

Even if you have a wonderful credit score, Canada uses its own credit system.

Having an established credit score is essential for getting approved for loans and buying a home. In Canada, credit scores may also be checked for apartment rental agreements, before moving forward with employment, and even to get better rates on utilities, such as your phone and internet.

One of the easiest ways to develop credit as a newcomer is to open a credit card account through your bank. A financial institution will often want individuals without a credit history to open up a secured credit card, a line of credit that is backed by the user’s personal collateral, such as money. Scotiabank allows newcomers access to several unsecured credit cards4 so users can instantly start building their credit history and score without worrying about secured card rules.

Use this card as you would a debit card and provided you pay off your debt on time each cycle, this can help build up your score in the first few months. Once your credit history is established enough to purchase a vehicle, loan or home, you can choose to use other credit cards with better perks or choose to use them sparingly.

Coming to Canada as a student

Studying in Canada allows you to get a great education at a competitive cost, build international connections in a diverse learning environment, work during and after your studies, and improve your chances of becoming eligible for Canadian permanent residence.

If you plan on earning a Canadian credential, you can manage your tuition and daily funds with a free student chequing account. The Student Banking Advantage® Plan – voted 2020 Best Student Bank Account by MoneySense – is available to full-time students enrolled in a post-secondary program in Canada. Additionally, as an international student, you can qualify for an unsecured credit card even with no credit history.5 Enjoy rewards on your spending, and easily keep track of your credit score. You already have enough on your school to-do list, and this student account will make managing your finances easier.

More resources for making Canada your home

Still have financial questions about your upcoming Canadian move? Our team of Scotiabank advisors are available to help you get your finances ready for your new home. You can do a live chat or call now or visit a financial expert at one of the 900 branches across Canada.

Don’t miss our resource center to learn more about life in Canada. Read our expert advice on everything from buying a new home in your favorite province to how to network and find a new job here.

Ready to get your finances on track for your future? Come in and speak to a Scotia advisor today