Opening Your First Bank Account

By: Haeley DiRisio

Learning about opening a bank account is an important step into entering the adult world. However, the task can be daunting for many young people. Below, Youth Mind has outlined some steps and advice on what to know before you open your first bank account.


To open a bank account, must be at least 18 years old, have a permanent address, have confirmation of permanent residency and have two pieces of identification. Canadian residents over the age of 12 can open a bank account as long as it is opened by a parent or guardian. 

Types of ID can include:

    Driver’s license

    Canadian passport

    Birth certificate

    Health Insurance card

    Canadian Citizenship or Permanent Resident card

Deciding which bank is right for you

When deciding which bank is right for you, consider the bank’s reputation, its proximity to you and the fees associated with the account. 

CIBC offers accounts such as the CIBC Smart Account, which features a “$4.95 monthly fee for up to 12 transactions including unlimited Interac e-Transfer service.”

Scotiabank offers “a worry-free account matched for student life” that features rewards on debit transactions and no monthly account fees.

TD Bank’s student account has a $0 monthly fee and 25 free transactions.

Visit the bank

Visiting different Canadian banks and speaking with associates can help your decision on which bank is right for you, as well as which type of account. Choosing a bank close to home is helpful, should anything need to be changed.


Do I need money to open a chequing account?

No, it is not required to make an initial deposit when opening a chequing account. However, make sure you have money to cover the monthly fee (if your account has one).

How can I open an account if I am new to Canada?

First, you will need to apply for a social insurance number. Once you have done so, you need at least one other piece of ID to open a bank account. 

How long is the application approval time?

After the application and terms of agreement are signed, your bank account should be approved immediately. If you apply in person, you will receive your debit card right away, but if you apply online, you’ll have to wait for your debit card to arrive in the mail.

Once the account is open, you can set up direct deposit with your employer by providing them with your account details. After that, you’re ready to start saving. Remember to always ask questions and keep track of your finances through your bank’s mobile apps. 

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