To keep your money safe, earn interest on your savings, cash your paycheques, write cheques, apply for credit, borrow money, and pay daily living expenses, you’ll need a financial institution – a bank, trust company, or a credit union. As a resident, you can open an account at any local branch of a chartered bank.

Any of these financial institutions will be able to offer you advice on the kind of accounts that will benefit you. Service fees, interest rates (costs for lending), the range of products and services, and accessibility will vary from institution to institution.

You’ll find a list of financial institutions near you in your local telephone directory and you can find out more information on banking products and services at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.


Before you come to New Brunswick, you should exchange a small amount of your currency for Canadian money. Once you’ve arrived, you can exchange money at a financial institution.

The main unit of currency is the Canadian dollar, and there are 100 cents in one dollar. There are coins for 5 cents (nickel), 10 cents (dime), 25 cents (quarter), one dollar (nicknamed “loonie” because of its loon picture) and two dollars (nicknamed “toonies” because it’s equivalent to two loonies). Each coin has its value written on the front. Paper money (bills) is used for higher amounts of 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 dollars. These also have their value written clearly on the front.

You may exchange most foreign currency for Canadian money at major Canadian banks.

Opening a Bank Account

Canadians have the right to open bank accounts, and banks are required to provide them. You may open an account at any local branch of a chartered bank.

You will need to have proper identification to open a bank account. A list of acceptable forms of identification can be found here:

Talk to different banks and ask about what they offer. If you’re making a large deposit ($10,000 or more), you’ll need to tell the bank from where it came from.

Types of Bank Accounts


These accounts are for everyday banking such as cashing and depositing cheques, depositing cash, and paying by cheque. Chequing accounts usually have a monthly fee, so make sure you know what it is before you open the account.

  • You may buy overdraft protection. That means you can have a negative balance in your account. This protects you from running out of money. Overdraft protection usually has a monthly fee. A high interest rate will be charged on the amount you have overdrawn.


If you open a savings account, you may earn interest; that is, a small percentage of the money you leave in the account. Interest rates vary from bank to bank.

Business Accounts

These are special accounts set up under the name of a business.

  • These accounts allow the business owner to receive and write cheques under the company’s name rather than their own. They are useful to keep personal funds separate from business funds.
  • Business accounts have features and fees that differ from personal accounts.

Chequing, savings, and business accounts are called by different names at different banks.

Make sure you understand what kind of account you have and what it will cost. Be sure that you understand from which account you’re taking money from or using for debit card purchases. Some savings accounts charge a user fee every time you use a debit card.

Debit Cards and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs)

All major banks offer their customers debit cards. You may use them to do banking at machines known as automated teller machines (ATMs) or to buy things at stores. Each bank has its own brand of ATMs. If you use a machine that is not at a branch of your bank, you’ll be charged a small fee.

Bank cards come with a personal identification number (PIN) that you need to enter into the ATM whenever you use your debit card. This is a number that you choose. It’s extremely important not to tell anyone your PIN.


If you make a deposit at an ATM, the bank must confirm, after the fact, that the deposit is accurately entered and is legitimate. As a result, banks maintain the right to limit your withdrawals from ATMs based on deposits that are immediately made at ATMs. This practice, called a “hold,” is important to remember if you intend to pay a bill based on a deposit you have immediately made at an ATM.


It’s common in Canada to borrow money for items that you can’t afford immediately. There are three ways that banks lend money to people: credit cards, lines of credit, and loans. It is a good idea not to borrow unless you need to do so. Most banks will not lend money if your monthly payments for debt and housing are more than 40% of your income.

Credit Cards
  • There’s a limit on how much you can spend using your credit card.
  • You’re expected to pay part or all of what you owe every month.
  • If you make regular payments on your credit card, you may keep using it over and over. This is called “revolving credit.”
  • Credit cards are generally easier to qualify for than loans, but they charge a higher rate of interest (often 19%).
  • Many stores also offer special credit cards. These usually come with rewards for using them to buy from that store. Be careful: these cards often have even higher interest rates (often 29%).
Lines of Credit
  • Lines of credit usually have higher limits and lower interest rates than credit cards, but they are more difficult to qualify for.
  • You’re able to write cheques and use your debit card to draw on your line of credit.
  • The bank is required to send you a statement or bill every month if you owe money.


Your credit is very important. It’s a measure of how likely you are to pay lenders when you owe them money. This is done by taking certain information about your financial history and making a credit report. You’re given a credit rating based on this report. Credit reports may also be obtained by banks when opening certain types of bank accounts, or by utility companies when setting up accounts.

Even if you had credit in your home country, you may not have credit in Canada, so it’s a good idea to establish good credit here:

  • Show you can handle debt. This means you need to borrow money to show that you can pay it back. Make sure you have at least one revolving credit product such as a credit card or line of credit.
  • Keep the balances low on your credit cards and lines of credit. You should have a balance of less than 75% of your limit.
  • Pay on time. Paying your utilities and debts late may hurt your credit.
  • Don’t let people check your credit too often. All companies must ask your permission before they can check your credit report. Every check will affect your rating. If there are several checks in a short period of time, this may be a sign that you may be trying to borrow too much. Limit yourself to having your credit checked only when necessary.

For more information on credit or to obtain a copy of your credit report, you may contact either Equifax or TransUnion. These companies keep and update your reports and calculate your rating. They are commonly referred to as credit bureaus.


Toll-free: 1-800-465-7166



Toll-free: 1-800-663-9980


Moving Money

There are several ways to transfer funds between countries or to different accounts within Canada. Contact your bank to find out what services are available and if there are any costs for the service.

Wire Transfers
  • This means moving money electronically from one bank account to another one located almost anywhere in the world.
  • You’ll need to know details about the account into which you’re transferring the funds. Contact your bank to get the information you need.
  • There are usually fees for wiring money and for converting between currencies. It’s often a percentage of the amount of money being transferred.
  • There may be restrictions and extra security if you’re transferring large amounts or transferring money to certain countries.
Western Union

Western Union is a private company that moves money all over the world.

  • The transfer may be done in person or over the telephone.
  • This method allows the other person to get their funds right away.

For more information:

Toll-free: 1-800-325-0000


Email Money Transfers

Email money transfer is a way to move money between people at different banks within Canada and internationally:

  • This kind of transfer is usually cheaper and faster than a wire transfer.
  • This transfer sends money directly from your account by email.

The person receiving the money must accept the transfer.

Money Orders

Money orders may be purchased at the bank or the post office. It is a safe way to send money through the mail. Money orders may be easily cashed by the person receiving them.


In New Brunswick, you will be able to find branches for most of Canada’s major banks. These major banks offer services specifically designed to meet the banking needs of newcomers.

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC)
Toll-free: 1-866-525-8622

Bank of Montreal (BMO)
Toll-free: 1-877-225-5266

Royal Bank (RBC)
Toll-free: 1-800-769-2520

Bank of Nova Scotia
Toll-free: 1-866-800-5159

Toll-free: 1-877-247-2265

National Bank
Toll-free: 1-877 394-8988

Toll-free: 1-888-310-HSBC (4722)

Other banks and banking services include Credit Unions

For advice on other ways to invest, talk to a certified financial planner. Your bank may have certified financial planners who may work with you for free, or they may be able to refer you to certified financial planner.

International Benefits

If you lived or worked in another country or if you were married to or a common-law partner with someone who did, you may be eligible for a pension or other benefits in Canada. New Brunswick has agreements with several other countries that make this possible. To learn more, contact Service Canada:

Toll-free: 1-800-622-6232



A person may declare bankruptcy when he or she can no longer make his or her debt payments. When a person goes bankrupt, a trustee is appointed. Together they sell all of the bankrupted person’s assets to pay off any outstanding debts. After a certain period, up to nine months in the first instance, and when all remaining debts are cancelled or cleared, a person may start to build a credit rating again, but this is difficult. A first bankruptcy remains on a person’s credit report for seven years after it has been discharged (resolved); a second bankruptcy, in addition to the first, remains on a person’s record for 14 years. Some banks will not lend to persons with more than one bankruptcy. For more information, contact the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy:

Tel: 1-902-426-2900


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