Can international students open two bank accounts in Canada?

There are many expenses that come with being a student, from paying schools fees to rents and daily expenditures. Staying atop all of these, especially for international students, usually requires having a bank account, but one might wonder if there’s a limit to the number of bank accounts that one can open. So, can international students open two bank accounts in Canada?

There is no rule against having two bank accounts. As an international student, you can have multiple accounts to organize your spending or save. But it’s important to research before opening an account. Choose the suitable account type for you and visit the bank with all the necessary documents.

However, if you’re opening accounts with different banks, make sure there’s a really good reason for that because that would mean paying multiple banking fees. This article discusses whether international students can have two ban accounts in Canada and the process for opening a bank account.

Why Have Multiple Bank Accounts

The idea of having two or more bank accounts might seem a bit unnecessary in some cases. but it could be beneficial for you as an international student if you have valid reasons for it, such as:

1.      Organize your spending

You can have different bank accounts to organize your spending. For example, having different chequing accounts for daily living expenses and another for school expenses can help you ensure you never spend what you’re keeping for school. It could also help with your budget and money management. In such cases, you can account for each of your major expenses and restrict your spending to what’s in that account. This can help you maintain the financial discipline necessary when studying in a foreign country.

2.      Savings

The best way to save is to ensure that you don’t have easy access to the money you’re saving. So, if you have the savings goal, you can have a savings account instead of keeping the money in your chequing account, where you’re very likely to spend it. There are several reasons you could be saving, maybe it’s for your school fees, buying a car, going on vacation, etc.

When opening multiple accounts, you can do it with just a bank where you already have a lead chequing account and can open more under it with different purposes. In this case, you’ll still have a debit card and pay one fee. So, if you need to make any purchase with your debit card, all you have to do is transfer money for the account tied to the expenses to your lead account, and you’re good to go. Another option is to have different bank accounts with different banks. This will most likely cost you more in terms of fees, but it can still be a good choice for you, given some considerations.

Opening A Bank Account as An International Student in Canada

International students need to have an account with a Canadian bank while studying. Fortunately, almost every bank in the country has several offers for international students. So, the ball is mostly in your court. Here’s how to open a bank account in Canada:

1.      Research Before Making a Choice

You have lots of options, so carefully consider what they have to offer before deciding. Banking options in the country include the Big 5 banks, credit unions, digital-first banks and lots more. You’ll need to consider what works for you before making a choice. Look for banks that offer students the best deals, such as monthly fee waivers, point systems, reward programs, etc. Carefully consider your options. While looking at perks, also consider accessibility. The bank charges you a fee anytime you withdraw at an ATM that’s not that of the bank. So, make sure you choose a bank that’s easy to find ATM for. Some digital banks won’t charge you for using other ATMs. In some cases, banks also have discounts specific to degree programs. See if you qualify.

2.      Select Your Account Type

There are multiple types of accounts in Canada, each with specific purposes. However, as an international student, three types of accounts are best for you. These are:

  • Chequing Account: You can deposit and withdraw funds from this account at your convenience. It may have a daily limit, the maximum amount to withdraw, and you’ll get a debit card after opening. Setting up a chequing account is fairly easy, and since you’ll need to pay for living expenses, this is an account you most likely can’t do without. You can also connect a credit card to the account.
  • Savings Account: If you’re planning to work during your study or want to put some funds aside, then you should consider opening a savings account. In most banks, you can have both chequing and savings account together. So, talk to your financial institution to know if they have this option before you even go ahead to open an account with them.
  • Foreign Currency Account: You may want to have some foreign currency set aside if you need it. Open a foreign currency account for this purpose. Of course, the rules guiding the opening are different from what applies to regular savings or chequing accounts.

3.      Have The Right Documents

It’s possible to open a Canadian bank account online or over the phone before you even get to Canada. But it’s much easier to open an account in person. This is the best way to avoid any complications and understand the bank’s terms and conditions for international students. To do this, you’ll need the right document, which includes a study permit or passport, letter of acceptance, Canadian driver’s licence, traveller’s cheque, Canadian government identification number, and temporary permit. You only need about two of these documents as applicable. Each financial institution may require different documents, so know your bank’s requirements.

4.      Complete The Process

Once you have an account, you’ll get the debit card and personal identification number to withdraw from ATM. Your bank officer will also explain how to use the bank’s online platforms and apps. In addition, you’ll get a cheque book for chequing accounts, which can be useful sometimes. If you’re interested in getting a credit card, you can also sign up for one. Student credit cards usually have lower interest rates and special rewards.

In Conclusion

International students can have two bank accounts or even more. Most times, you’ll need savings and chequing accounts. The process for opening is quite easy and stress-free, but it’s best to do it in person and read the fine prints in the terms and conditions before opening an account.

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