Opening a Bank Account in 3 easy steps

There is a ton of information on the web about money.  It seems like everyone has an opinion on which bank is the best or why you should open 10 bank accounts, what works for one person may not work for another.

At the end of the day, the important thing to remember is that you are not stuck with your bank.  If you aren’t satisfied with the fees, or the service you can change banks.

piggy bank broken

Step 1: Choose a bank

I know what your thinking, how do I choose a bank? Well here are some simple tips:

  • Choose the bank your parents are using
  • Find a bank that is close to where you live
  • Which bank offers the lowest or cheapest fees for the services you want
  • For the really anti-social types, find a bank that you don’t have to actually visit

When choosing a bank it’s important to remember that they all charge fees in some capacity.  I once had a bank account that would charge me $0.15 every time I used my debit card or $5.00 every time I took money out of my Savings account.  Seriously?!  No wonder I couldn’t afford anything – some months I was paying upwards of $50 in fees, not to mention if a cheque bounced because I was short $0.02, yep 2 cents, you read that right.  I had to pay $45 in NSF (non-sufficient funds) fees for 2 pennies.  So, my advice to you – find a bank with minimal fees!

Step 2: Register at your bank

Choosing a bank is the hardest part, of this entire process.

To register or open an account, take your Photo ID and Social Insurance Card and go to your nearest branch, a teller will be able to set up an account for you.

If you have chosen a bank that is virtual, like Tangerine, go to their website and register.
Pro Tip: If you want to register with Tangerine, find a friend who is already registered because if you use their “Orange Key” to register you both get $25.

Personal Thoughts
I have had accounts with all the big banks over the years – the best bank I have come across is Tangerine.  I don’t have to go to a teller when I want to deposit a cheque, I get great interest rates, barely any fees and if I want to get money out I just have to find the nearest ATM. 

Step 3: Opening accounts – what type of accounts do I really need?

I am a firm believer that if you want to succeed in life you need to keep it simple.  You really only need 2 accounts to get started: A Chequing account and a Savings account. Not a Tax-Free Savings Account (We can focus on that later), just something that has a great interest rate and doesn’t charge you every time you move your money in or out.

What is a chequing account?

The chequing account is where all of your money goes in and out, your paycheques, your bills, your debit transactions etc.

What is a savings account?

The savings account is for a rainy day or an emergency or can even be used to set aside money for when the rent is due (We will talk more about this later).


That’s it!  Simple and easy!  Our next money session will focus on the art of paying bills and how to get the most out of your chequing and savings accounts.

One thought on “Opening a Bank Account in 3 easy steps

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