Can You Open A Bank Account Online In Canada?

Can You Open A Bank Account Online In Canada?

Written by Caroline Macdonald
Fact-checked by Caitlin Wood
Last Updated June 30, 2022

EMT, eStatement, Apple Pay. All these words tie to the digitization of money and spending. In this day and age; people no longer need to go in person to their banks, they can handle everything online.  Over the last few years, online banking has become quite popular due to its low fees and easy accessibility. Moreover, it is as simple as ever to open a bank account online in Canada.

Can You Open A Bank Account Online In Canada?

In Canada, opening a bank account is as easy as opening your browser and going to your bank’s website. Through online banking, you can open a chequings or savings account; you can even open a TFSA or an investing account.

Benefits Of Opening A Bank Account Without Having To Visit A Branch

  • Save Time – You don’t need to make a trip to your branch; you can skip the hassle and save time.
  • 24/7 Access – You can make changes to your account outside of your branch’s hours of operation, which are typically Monday to Friday 9AM to 5PM. Moreover, you have the freedom and flexibility to bank when you want and how you want. .
  • Easy Online Process – It usually only takes around 5 minutes to open a bank account and get started. The application forms are all available online and are easy and convenient to use.

Which Banks Can You Open A Bank Account Online?

Bank of MontrealYes
Toronto – DominionYes
Royal Bank of CanadaYes, for your existing branch
ScotiabankYes
TangerineYes, or on an app
KOHOYes
Neo FinancialYes, only through app
EQ Bank (Equitable Bank)Yes, or on an app
Simplii Financial BankYes

How To Open A Bank Account Online In Canada?

5 Step Process To Open A Bank Account Online

1. Choose A Bank Account

Decide what sort of account best suits your needs, whether that’s an investment account, a savings account, or a chequings account. It is normal to “shop around” from bank to bank and figure out what you want. For example, if you want an app to access your bank account, what fees you are willing to pay, and so on.

2. Apply

Fill out the online application form. In order to do this you will need your personal information on hand, including your Social Insurance Number, birth date, and address. Shortly after completing this information, a verification email will be sent to your email address.

3. Verify Your Identity

In order to verify your identity to get an online banking account, you will need a piece of government issued identification. How you can submit your personal ID depends on what bank you are with. Some banks allow you to submit a photo of your driver’s license as proof of identity and some require you to verify your identity in person. It is possible to bypass this process if you’re applying to a bank you’re already the customer of.

4. Activate Your Card

After you’ve completed the application process, a card (debit or credit) will be sent to you in the mail. The pin and the card are sent separately for security purposes and once you receive both you need to activate your card either online or over the phone.

5. Ready To Use

You’re ready to start making purchases, withdrawals, and deposits now, along with any other perks to your new banking account. You are also free to set up online banking where you can send e-transfers through your bank’s website or a mobile banking app. You may also switch your direct deposits and automatic withdrawals to your new account.

What Do You Need To Open A Bank Account Online?

In order to open up a bank account online, there are a few documents you will need in order to verify your identification and get the ball rolling.

Personal Information

You have to tell the bank who you are. You’ll need your Social Insurance Number and other personal information about yourself including your address.

Identification

Proof of identification will be required to validate your identity as a security measure for fraud prevention. You may be required to provide two pieces of identification which can be taken from the list below, reach out to your bank if you have any questions:

  • Current Canadian Passport
  • Driver’s License
  • Canadian Birth Certificate
  • Provincial/Territorial Health Card
  • Permanent Resident Status Card

Contact Information

You will need to provide your bank with your up-to-date contact information so they can get in contact with you concerning your account.

What Are The Minimum Requirements To Open A Bank Account Online?

In order to open up a bank account online, there are a few eligibility requirements that must be met:

  • You must be at least 18, or the age of majority in the province or territory you reside in. In some cases, however, minors can open up a bank account with a guardian’s support.
  • You must be a Canadian resident with an address in Canada.
  • As detailed above, you must supply a government-issued ID and may have to scan it and send a copy of it to your bank.

Do You Need Money To Open A Bank Account Online?

It is not necessary for you to have cash in order to open a bank account online. Most Canadian banks do NOT require an initial deposit to get your account started. It is, however, advisable to put money into your account shortly after opening if your account is charged a monthly usage fee. If your account is charged and there are no funds in it to cover the cost, you may be charged NSF (non-sufficient fund) fees.

Signatures And Opening A Bank Account Online

Depending on what bank you end up signing on with, you may need to provide a physical copy of your signature or an e-signature may suffice. If your bank is okay with e-signatures, you can start banking almost immediately, however, if you need to provide a physical signature, it may lengthen the process. It is best to contact your bank ahead of time and figure out what their procedure is.

Opening A Bank Account Online As A Newcomer To Canada

If you’re new to Canada, you might have a bit of a longer process, depending on what point you are at in your move. If you have yet to move and are in the process of moving, you can potentially open a bank account within 75 days before your impending arrival. This will require two forms to be filled out and then signed by a lawyer and sent to the bank you intend to open an account with:

  • A Letter of Direction
  • A Certificate of Identity

If you are currently in Canada, whether you just arrived or have been here for a while, you will need to apply for a Social Insurance Number before you can open up a bank account. Once you receive your SIN you will need another piece of ID to open up an account (preferably a passport); it is likely that in this case, you will need to physically go to your branch in order to open your account.

How To Use An Online Bank Account

Once you have set up your bank account, it is time to start using it and making transactions. Through online banking, you can send and receive email transfers (EMT), pay off your credit card, and check on your balance, all from the comfort of your home There are multiple things you can do with your new bank account.

  • Set up Payroll Deposits: If you are currently employed, you can set up direct deposit with your employer so that your paycheques go right into your account and you don’t need to manually deposit a cheque.
  • Set up Recurring Bill Payments: For any bills you pay frequently (i.e. monthly), you can set up automatic withdrawals so you never have to worry about forgetting. You can do this for your cell phone and internet providers, as an example.

Features Of An Online Bank Account

  • With an online banking account, there are several features you can use as long as you have an internet connection:
    • Paying for bills
    • Send online money transfers
    • Locate the nearest ATM to you in your bank’s network
    • Use currency converters and other helpful tools
    • Deposit cheques by taking a photo of them
    • Manage your investing accounts

Do Banks Have Mobile Deposits? 

Yes, they do, but it is always best to check with your bank to figure out the exact process. Typically, through your mobile banking app, you can make deposits by following these steps:

  • Sign the back of the cheque you are looking to deposit.
  • Using your bank’s mobile app, enter how much the cheque is for and which account you would like it to go to.
  • Follow the app’s lead and take photos of the front and back of the cheque.

Things To Consider When Opening A Bank Account Online In Canada

Are You A Non-Resident?

Non-residents can, of course, still open a bank account. There are just often extra steps involved.

Do You Have A Thin Credit Profile?

When verifying your information, it is commonplace for the bank to check your credit and if you have little or no credit history they may require you to come into the branch.

Are You A Minor?

People under the age of 18 cannot open their own bank account and need a guardian to do so.

Do You Own A Business?

Some institutions do not allow you to open a business account online and you will have to do it in person.

Is This The Right Account For You?

Before you start the process of opening a new account, it is essential to consider how you’ll use the account, what fees you may be subject to, the amount of interest you can earn, and if you will be protected by deposit insurance. You must have a solid understanding of the terms and conditions of your new account before you make it; it is advisable to retain a copy of your account agreement for your records.

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FAQs On Opening Bank Accounts Online

Can I open a bank account online without going to the bank? 

Yes, you can remotely open a bank account in Canada. This of course will depend on the bank you choose to work with, some may not offer this option.

Can I open a checking account online instantly in Canada?

Maybe not instantly, but you can open one in just a few minutes online.

Are there any free online bank accounts in Canada?

Yes, depending on your status (e.g. student) there are free online bank accounts available.

Can I open a bank account without an I.D. in Canada?

In order to open a bank account in Canada, both residents and non-residents must absolutely show original copies of your proof of identification in person at your bank of choice.

How old do I have to be to open a bank account online in Canada? 

You have to be at least 18 years of age and have proper identification to open a bank account online in Canada. If you are 17 and under, you will require a legal guardian to open an account with you. We advise that you check with your bank about any age limitations they have in place and what they might offer for minors, like a junior or youth account. Although, it is important to note that any youth accounts become a regular account when the individual turns 18.

Final Thoughts

All in all, opening a bank account online in Canada is very simple provided you have the necessary documentation and information. Having online banking access is very handy when dealing with your finances on a day-to-day basis.

Caroline is a 4th year commerce student at Memorial University of Newfoundland pursuing a focus in finance. She is a member of Memorial University’s student managed investment fund and acts as a sector manager in the industrial and financial sectors. Caroline joined the Loans Canada team in 2021 and rediscovered her passion for writing and media creation. In her free time she enjoys spending time with friends and family and reading.

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