and other financial institutions
Canadians keep their money in the bank. A bank account is a safe
place to keep your money. Banks let you write cheques, earn
interest, apply for credit, and pay your bills. These kinds of
financial services are also offered by credit unions, caisses
populaires and trust companies.
banks have various kinds of accounts, and you can discuss which kind
you need with them. To open one, you should be prepared to provide
certain kinds of personal information, as well as various forms of
identification, such as your passport, or your Social Insurance
Number. The bank will need your Social Insurance Number for income
tax purposes. This is the same for anyone, at any bank. If you have
not received your SIN card when you go to open your account, you
should present proof that you have applied for one.
Post Office savings accounts do not exist in Canada.
Canadians now use Automated Banking Machines, known as ATMs, to do
most of their banking. It's like a self-service bank, one that's
"open" 24 hours a day, seven days a week. With a bank
card, you can use these machines to get cash from your accounts, to
pay bills, to deposit cheques, and so on. You will likely pay a
small fee for this service.
can apply for a card at your bank. You will need to create a
Personal Identification Number (PIN) for yourself to access your
accounts. Don't lend your bank card to anyone, or tell anyone your
PIN. Don't even let anyone see your PIN number when you enter it in
the banking machine. This will keep your account (and your money)
cards can also be used to buy things at many stores. The money is
taken directly from your account when you use your card. This is
known as Interac Direct Payment.
all of these services are useful, keeping track of all your bank
transactions can get complicated. Remember to record everything and
take note of your balance and the fees charged by your financial
deposit has become very popular with Canadians. It means that money
owed to you, such as a paycheque or a government payment, is put
electronically into your account. You have access to the money
immediately, and you don't have to wait for the cheque to come in
the mail or line up at the bank to deposit it. You can request this
service if you expect to receive regular payments. Most government
departments offer this service, as well as many companies.
you send money outside Canada, don't send cash. Use a certified
cheque or money order. Ask your bank about these options. You can
also buy a money order at the post office or wire money through
private money order/transfer services (which are listed in the
yellow pages of the telephone book).
credit means that you borrow money to buy something now and pay it
back later, with interest. Interest is the fee charged for using the
money. Interest rates can be quite high, so you should be very
careful how you use credit.
comes in many forms -- credit cards, lines of credit, mortgages,
loans. You can apply for credit cards at banks and trust companies.
These cards allow you to buy items on credit and be billed for them
within a month. If you pay the full amount back by the due date, you
won't be charged any interest.
you borrow any money on credit, make sure you understand exactly
when you have to pay it back and how much it will cost. This
includes monthly payments if you are borrowing money on an
department stores now advertise special sales which claim that you
can buy something now and pay for it in a year, or in six months
with no interest, and so on. Make sure you understand exactly what
you must pay and when, before you sign anything. If any information
is hard to understand, ask someone you trust for a clear
may get calls from people who are trying to sell you something. They
may be honest; but then again, they might be dishonest. The best way
to protect yourself is never to give out any personal or financial
information to anyone over the telephone. If you feel uneasy about
the caller, just hang up.
find out more...
is a great deal of free information available to you from your bank,
including financial advice. The Canadian Bankers Association also
offers a free series of publications, ranging from how to open an
account, how to manage your money, how to use bank machines, and how
to save for your children's education. You can call their toll-free
number to obtain copies: 1-800-263-0231 or you can visit their
website at www.cba.ca