How to open a business bank account in Canada

If you are starting a new business, one of the first steps is to open a business banking account. It will help establish credibility for your business, while managing cash flow in and out. It will also help you build credit history.

Enjoy the benefits an account offers

  • Business credibility and credit history
  • Access to other banking products and services
  • Higher credit score
  • Easy payment options
  • Cash flow management

How do I open a business banking account online? 

Opening an account is easy and can be done online at your convenience from your home or place of business. All you need is an internet connection and appropriate identification. The whole process can take less than 10 minutes. Alternatively, you can also visit a branch and get the help of your local Small Business Advisor.
To get started, you will need personal information for all owners* as well as key details about the business. This includes personal ID, a document proving your company's business name, and your Canada Revenue Agency registration number, if you have one.

As a new customer, you can open an account online if you are:

  1. At least 16 years old,
  2. A Canadian resident or you are here to work or study,
  3. Opening an account in your own name,
  4. Okay with paperless document delivery.

It works a bit differently if you’re a non-Canadian without a work or study permit, or a non-resident. In this scenario, you will need to work with a branch representative to help you.
Before you start an online application or make an appointment, be sure to gather all your documents together. If you are unsure of what type of account is best for your business, we can help determine that based on your business needs. Our accounts do not require a minimum balance and you don't need to be employed.

Apply now

Enjoy the benefits an account offers

  • Business credibility and credit history
  • Easy payment options
  • Access to other banking products and services
  • Cash flow management
  • Higher credit score

What bank fees can I expect?

Our accounts have varying monthly fees depending on the features of each account and the number of transactions included. Some may have additional fees per transaction. Also, some of our business accounts will waive the monthly fee if you maintain a certain minimum monthly balance.

What is the best type of business account to open? 

We offer several different business operating and savings accounts to choose from based on your business needs. These include:

The Right Size Account for business – A simple, budget friendly account for those who  have a limited number of transactions.

The Select Account for business – An account you can customize to your business needs depending on the volume of your transactions.

The ScotiaOne Account Plan for agriculture – A business account designed to meet the needs of farmers and others in the agriculture industry.

The Scotia Professional Plan Plus Account- Perfect for professionals with a high number of transactions.

The Scotia Community Action Plan – A reduced fee account exclusively for non-profits and community organizations.

The Basic Business Account – An operating account where fees are tailored to your monthly transactions.

Tips for choosing a bank account for your business

Not sure which account is best for your business? A good rule of thumb is to look at your recent transaction history, or for a new venture, estimate the number of transactions you may make. Consider the following:

  • The number of transactions you expect to make every month at a branch or ATM
  • If you need access foreign currency frequently
  • The number of cheques to deposits and Interac e-transfers per month
  • Anticipated amount of monthly balance that could help to qualify for some of Scotiabank's fee-waived accounts

Once you know, you can choose an account type that will benefit you and save money in service and transaction fees. You can evaluate your account usage after a few months and adjust your plan.

Documents required to open a business bank account 

You will need ID, such as a driver’s licence, a passport or a landed immigrant card. You will also need your work or study visa if that applies to you. Applying online will require your:

  1. Full name
  2. Address as it appears on your photo ID
  3. Date of birth.
  4. Social insurance number

Other documents you will need depend on the structure of your business. These links describe the different business structures: a sole proprietorship, a partnership, a corporation or a non-profit organization or association. If you’re still thinking about what structure is best for you, here are some tips.

Unless you’re running a sole proprietorship under your own name, you’ll need documents showing your company's legal name. You could use a business license, a trade name registration certificate, or your incorporation documents.

If your company is incorporated, here’s a list of required documents:

  1. Articles of incorporation/association.
  2. Trade name registration, if applicable.
  3. One piece of original, valid and current government-issued photo ID.
  4. Name, address and occupation of all those owning at least 25% of your business.

If your organization receives donations from the public, you’ll need your Canada Revenue Agency registration number.

If you’ve been in business for more than 12 months, one of the following original documents is required:

  • A certificate of incorporation, certificate of continuation or letters patent (depending on where the business was incorporated)
  • Certificate of compliance
  • Corporate profile report
  • Annual government filing
  • Latest financial statements
  • Latest business Notice of Assessment
  • Current liquor license
  • Health and safety certificates
  • Business license or vendor’s permit
  • Other current and valid government-issued document

Make payments easy for your customers

A business account makes it easy for your customers to pay, and for you to pay your bills and employees. One way is with an electronic funds transfer (EFT). Your customers can deposit money directly into your account. You can set up automatic processing of payments from customers' debit cards, which are a form of EFT. You can also send money by EFT to your suppliers and staff. For more information about EFT’s, visit our FAQs.

Get easy access to loans and credit with a business account

Some small businesses may need to borrow money to get started, to buy inventory, rent space or pay staff. Established businesses may need money as they wait for customers to pay them, or to expand their operations. With a Scotiabank business account in place, it can ease some of the paperwork required for applying for a line of credit or a loan. You can apply online for a Scotia line of credit or loan, or by setting up an appointment with your local Small Business Advisor.

Ensure cash flow with overdraft protection

Scotiabank offers overdraft protection on our business accounts to help you manage your cash flow on day-to-day operations. Your business can qualify for amounts from $500 to $10,000. Anything you borrow will function as a revolving credit line you can pay back when you are able to. With an interest rate of Prime +5%, it's a great way to manage fluctuations in your cash flow.

Plan your start-up costs

If you are just starting, a business account is one step on your small business journey. You will have to make many decisions in the beginning on items such as equipment, inventory, office space, insurance and branding. You’ll probably want to find a mentor in your industry and a Scotiabank Small Business Advisor to help you prepare. They can help guide you and avoid costly surprises. We have some great resources to help you get started.

How can we help?


Prefer to talk to us

In person

Contact us