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You are the boss, so you get to pick the best bank for you! For your protection, we recommend that before you file a consumer proposal or bankruptcy you open a new bank account at a new bank. We explain why in our articles Why Do I Need to Switch Banks? I Love My Bank and Opening a New Bank Account When Filing a Bankruptcy or Consumer Proposal
Which bank should you pick?
DISCLAIMER: We do not recommend any bank. We do not receive referral fees from any bank. The information on this page is based on our research, and is for your information only (so do your own research).
All banks are not the same; they have different features, so you should pick the bank that’s right for you, based on what you need:
Do you get a paper paycheque?
If you get a paper paycheque, you deposit it at the bank, either at a bank machine, or using the bank’s mobile app on your phone, or directly with a teller. Here’s the catch: most banks and credit unions put a “hold” on all cheques deposited by new customers. They don’t have a history with you, so they don’t know if your cheque will clear, so they often put a 5 or 10 day hold on the cheque before they will release the funds. That’s a problem if you need the money from your paycheque to pay the rent tomorrow.
The solution? Don’t deposit your cheque at the bank machine or using the app. Instead, take the cheque directly to a bank teller, and when you make the deposit ask them if they can remove the automatic hold on the cheque, or at least release some of the money (say the first $500) of your cheque for immediate access. The bank teller has the power to do this (if you ask nicely); you can’t ask a machine to remove a hold.
BONUS TIP: If you bank at the same bank your employer banks at, the teller can clear the cheque immediately because they can see that the money is available in your employer’s bank account, so pick the same back your employer uses (unless you owe money to that bank).
If you get a paper cheque, use a “bricks and mortar” bank to increase the chances of getting your cheque cleared immediately. In most cases, after a few months of good history you can ask the bank to remove the hold, so you can deposit your cheque using the machine or banking app.
Do you get paid electronically?
If your income is deposited electronically (paycheque, pension, child tax benefit, etc.), do you need a physical bank? If you often get money orders (some landlords only accept money orders or bank drafts), or need US or foreign cash, a physical bank may be necessary (although many banks now have bank machines that dispense US dollars, and you can get a money order from the post office for up to $999.99). If you do all of your banking electronically, a “virtual bank” may be your best option. The two largest “virtual” banks in Ontario are Simplii Financial and Tangerine ; see below for details.
NOTE: Banks change their prices regularly, so please refer to the bank’s websites or visit the branch for current terms and pricing.