Moving to Canada? Here Are My TOP 5 Tips On How To Get Your New Life Started!

By amin | Comments: 0 | September 11, 2016
Disclaimer: This series was sponsored by TD, but all views/opinions are my own.

Canada welcomes over 200,000 immigrants every year, especially from India and Pakistan. While coming to a great country like Canada can be a very exciting time, we all know that moving to a new place (let alone a new country) can be overwhelming and stressful. Packing up your life and moving to a new place is hard enough but what happens when you arrive with no job, no money, and no credit history? Today I’m teaming up with TD to give you my take on what newcomers can do to make that transition to Canada easier.

Now that you are in Canada, one of the very first things you’re going to want to look at is your banking needs. This is so important because you’re going to need to be careful about your finances. From securing your cash and valuables to borrowing money, you need to find a bank that can help you with all of your financial needs. So here are some of the most common questions and concerns I have heard from newcomers.

1. Can I open a bank account?

The answer is YES! Even if you don’t have a job, credit history, or any money to put in the account, you can open up an account. To open an account you would typically need two pieces of identification.

So now you know you can open up an account, the real question is which bank do you go with? You want to find a bank that suits your needs. Here are some things to look for:

-Is the bank convenient and easy to use? Look at their locations. Which branch is the closest to you and is it within walking distance? If you don’t have access to easy transportation then the closer the location is to you, the better!

You never know when you will need a credit card!

You never know when you will need a credit card!

-Does the bank offer extended and weekend hours? Look for a bank that has at least a few days where they are open outside business hours (9 am -5 pm) and on weekends. Life gets busy, especially when you start working, so you want to be able to bank without worrying about the branch being closed.

-What kind of products/services do they offer? Pick a bank that is going to suit your needs for the long term. You may eventually need to get a credit card, chequing and savings accounts, RRSPs, a mortgage, credit lines, loans, etc. Create a relationship with a bank that can be your one stop shop for all your financial needs.

-Do they offer safety deposit boxes? This is a big one for newcomers. You may be renting or staying with friends and family and you don’t want your valuables to be left unsecure. To make sure your valuables are safe, get a safety deposit box.

It's important to put your valuables in a secure spot!

It’s important to put your valuables in a secure spot!

-What languages are available? Yup, if you’re more comfortable speaking in your mother tongue (for example Hindi or Punjabi) you can find a bank that offers you services in your language!

2. Credit History and Credit Cards!
Your credit history is going to be very important in Canada. If you’re not familiar with it, a credit history is a record of your repayment of debt. In simple terms, companies use this to determine if you have a history of paying your bills regularly and on time.

When you sign up for a service, like buying a cell phone plan or even cable, you need credit history. When you want to lease a car or buy a home you need credit history. Even to apply for a credit card, you need credit history. There will be MANY instances where you will need credit history to qualify for something. That’s why it’s important to start building credit history up right away. Look for a bank that offers you credit cards that you can qualify for without credit history and also offers you credit cards that offer you perks like cash-back or travel reward points.

3. Fees
Look at how much they charge in fees. What monthly fee will they charge you for a chequing account? How many transactions are you allowed per month? What incentives do they offer for you to save? You want to find a bank that offers you low chequing account fees, unlimited transactions, and offers you a competitive rate on your savings account.

4. Borrowing Money
There are going to be times where you may need some major cash to help finance your goals. It could be saving up for a wedding. Perhaps you decide to start your own business? What about when you want to buy a home? One of the things you will want to look at is a bank that offers you a mortgage even with no credit history.

5. Sending money back home.
Look for a bank that allows you to send money back home and also look out to see how much they charge for their money transfer fee. For example, at TD you can send money abroad with their Visa Direct service.

Now that you know the TOP 5 things you need to do to make your move to Canada easier, the good news is that it’s easy to get everything you need in one place. To address the specific needs of newcomers, TD has a “New to Canada” banking package. To find out more click here.

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