Moving to Canada? Here’s how to prepare for financial success

Published on July 20th, 2021 at 07:44am EDT Updated on July 20th, 2021 at 07:45am EDT

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.

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.

About Scotiabank

Scotiabank is one of the top Canadian banks and a leading bank in the Americas. Guided by our purpose “for every future”, we help our customers, their families and their communities achieve success through a broad range of advice, products and services.

Launched in 2008, the Scotiabank StartRight Program is designed to simplify banking for Canadian Permanent residents, International Students and Foreign Workers who have recently landed in Canada. We can help ease your transition to Canada by getting you started with a Scotiabank International Account that allows you to transfer up to $50,000 before you arrive to help you feel more prepared knowing you have proof of funds ready. We can even help fast track your study permit with the Scotiabank Student GIC Program.

Our Scotiabank StartRight program can also help you start banking in Canada with 12 months of free banking, access to credit with no credit history, unlimited no-fee international money transfers, and expert help from Financial Advisors.

We also launched ScotiaRISE – our new, 10-year, $500 million community investment program designed to help promote economic resilience among disadvantaged people and communities. In particular, the program is centred on using funding and partnerships to increase graduation rates and postsecondary enrolment, help newcomers feel at home faster and secure meaningful employment and senior opportunities for underrepresented groups. It’s all part of why Scotiabank is the bank for newcomers.

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.

1 Scotiabank StartRight Program, created for Canadian Permanent residents from 0–3 years in Canada, International Students and Foreign Workers.

2 The 1-Year No Monthly Account Fee Offer (the “Offer”) is available to eligible clients who open a new Preferred Package account under the StartRight® Program (the “Account”). Employees of The Bank of Nova Scotia (“Scotiabank”) and individuals who are currently or were previously holders/ joint holders of a Scotiabank chequing account within the last 2 years are not eligible for this Offer. If you are eligible for the Offer, during the first 12 months, your monthly Account fee will be waived and will not appear as a charge on your Account. The Account must be open and in good standing at the time of the waiver. All applicable service charges on the Account will continue to be applied monthly. After the first 12 months, you will begin to see the monthly Account fee charged to your Account unless you maintain a minimum daily closing balance of $4,000, in which case the monthly Account fee will be waived per the Account terms and conditions. This Offer is non-transferable and cannot be combined with any other offers. Maximum one Offer per customer. All rates, fees, features and benefits are subject to change. Offer may be changed, cancelled, or extended at any time without notice.

3 For customers onboarded as a part of the Scotiabank StartRight® Program we do not charge a service fee for the transfer, however, foreign currency exchange rates apply. A transfer needs to be made from an eligible Scotiabank Chequing or Savings account.

4 Subject to credit approval. To be eligible, you must be a participant in the Scotiabank StartRight Program.

5 Qualifying students are full-time students enrolled at a Canadian university, community college, Collège d’enseignement général et professionnel (CEGEP) or other recognized post-secondary institution.

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