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How do I open a bank account?

To open an account, you have to go to the bank in person and show acceptable identification.

You must use original, valid identification (ID). Photocopies will not be accepted.

Acceptable Identification

You have 3 choices:

  • Show 2 pieces of ID from List A; or
  • Show 1 piece of ID from List A and 1 piece from List B; or
  • Show 1 piece of ID from List A and have someone, who the bank knows, confirm that you are who you say you are.

List A

  • A drivers’ licence issued in Canada;
  • A Canadian passport;
  • A Certificate of Canadian Citizenship or Certification of Naturalization;
  • A Permanent Resident Card;
  • Citizenship and Immigration Canada Form IMM 1000 or IMM 1442*;
  • A birth certificate issued in Canada;
  • A Social Insurance Number (SIN) card issued by the Government of Canada;
  • An Old Age Security card issued by the Government of Canada;
  • A Certificate of Indian Status issued by the Government of Canada;
  • A provincial health insurance card; or
  • A document or card with your signature and photograph from:
    • The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia;
    • Alberta Registries;
    • Saskatchewan Government Insurance;
    • The Department of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations;
    • The Department of Transportation and Public Works of the Province of Prince Edward Island;
    • Service New Brunswick;
    • The Department of Government Services and Lands of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador;
    • The Department of Transportation of the Northwest Territories; or
    • The Department of Community Government and Transportation of the Territory of Nunavut.
    • Service Ontario

* Some banks may accept the Confirmation of Permanent Residence (IMM 5292) document as acceptable identification. Since this document is not a permissible form of identification under federal law, it is the bank's decision if they will accept it.

List B

  • An employee identity card with a photograph from an employer well known in the community;
  • A signed automated banking machine (ABM) card or client card issued by a member of the Canadian Payments Association;
  • A signed credit card issued by a member of the Canadian Payments Association;
  • A signed Canadian Institute for the Blind (CNIB) client card with a photograph; or
  • A foreign passport.

You may be able to show other types of ID, call the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada at 1-866-461-3222 for more information.

For More Information

  • Your Rights and Responsibilities: Accounts - This guide has information about who can open a bank account and what to do if a bank refuses to open an account for you. From the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada.
  • Newcomers to Canada - Banking information for newcomers from the Canadian Bankers Association.
  • Ontario Photo Card - This card is an identification document for non-drivers in Ontario. You can get one if you are 16 or over and do not have a driver’s licence.
  • English for Financial Literacy - This financial literacy tool includes visual interactive lessons that can help people learn vocabulary related to banking, budgeting, taxes and more. These activities are divided by CLB levels. From the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB).
Last Updated: April 12, 2013
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