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 will need a financial institution – a bank, trust company or a credit union. As a resident, you may open an account at any local branch of a chartered bank.
Any of these financial institutions will be able to offer 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 will find a list of financial institutions near you in your local telephone directory.
For more information on banking products and services, refer to, 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 have 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 five 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 five, 10, 20, 50 and 100 dollars. These also have their value written clearly on the front.
It is common in Canada to borrow money for items that you cannot 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 per cent of your income.
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 will be charged a small fee.
Bank cards come with a personal identification number (PIN) that you need to enter into an ATM whenever you use your debit card. This is a number that you choose. It is extremely important not to tell anyone your PIN.
There are a number of ways to transfer funds between countries or to different accounts within Canada. Contact your bank to find out how and if there is a cost for service.
- wire transfers move money electronically from one bank account to another;
- Western Union is a private company that moves money all over the world;
- e-mail money transfer is a system for moving money between people at different banks within Canada; and
- money orders are a secure way of sending money through the mail.
Canada has several social security agreements with other countries and you may qualify for a pension or other benefits from Canada or another country. To find out more, visit Service Canada.