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Opening a bank account

Whether you need to cash your paycheque or pay a bill, having a basic personal bank account is essential.

The Government of Canada has enacted the Access to Basic Banking Services Regulations which means all Canadians have the right to have a bank account. The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada is responsible for enforcing these regulations.

For example, a bank cannot refuse to open a basic personal bank account just because:

  • You don't have a job

  • You are or have been bankrupt; or

  • You are not depositing money into the account

A bank must also cash most Government of Canada cheques for non-customers at no charge.

The regulations apply to personal bank accounts that you request in person at a bank branch or point of service. These regulations do not apply to accounts you open by telephone or Internet or to business or commercial accounts.

The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada website has information to guide you in an opening a personal banking account including what information and identification you will require. Other topic areas include: credit cards, mortgages and budgeting. The site also details your financial rights and responsibilities.

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