Canadian banking made simple

Accounts, deposits, transfers, credit, debit, ATMs and withdrawals … banking in a new country can be pretty confusing! But rest assured, the Canadian banking system is simpler than you think. Read on to learn all you need to know about banking in Canada so you can make the most of all your new city has to offer!
The lowdown on debit cards Blue, green, orange, red, grey … debit cards in Canada come in a whole spectrum of colours. Similar to the blue card (or immediate debit card) in France, the Canadian version allows you to withdraw funds directly from your chequing account. It’s perfect for everyday shopping and purchases, and lets you withdraw cash from any bank across the country. Be aware, though, that taking out funds from a financial institution other than your own will result in bank charges. 

Impressed by the number of plan options to choose from? Don’t miss this offer from Desjardins, specially designed for newcomers to Canada. It will help you get off to a great start thanks to a bank account that includes unlimited free transactions for one year (with certain conditions) and a host of other benefits.
All you need to know about credit cards Similar to the French deferred payment debit card, Canadian credit cards allow you to borrow a predetermined amount of money from your bank, to be paid back within a set timeframe. A credit card gives you the freedom to make purchases online, an option that isn’t possible with a debit card. Since this credit is a loan offered by your bank, be aware that your credit limit isn’t automatically renewed. And if you don’t pay your balance in full every month, you will incur interest fees, so be sure to pay it back in full and on time! 
Five tips to manage your credit card balance
  1. Set a realistic credit limit on your card (an amount you’ll be able to repay within 30 days)
  2. Opt for a card with no annual fees
  3. Always pay 100% of the amount owing every month
  4. Set up automatic monthly payments
  5. Never use your card to withdraw money 
If you choose to bank with Desjardins, you can get a credit card with no annual fees, without having to provide a security deposit or proof of your financial history.
Pay in one easy click with Interac
Thanks to modern technology, you can transfer funds while you are on the metro, on the go or from the comfort of your own home! Across Canada, Interac transfers are a popular alternative to cash and cheques. Quick and convenient, they allow you to send money directly and electronically to a third party. Similar to PayPal, you can pay your rent or pay your share of the bill after dinner with friends in one easy click.
How to build a credit history to achieve your future goals Whether you’re a foodie, fashionista, techie or traveller, managing your expenses matters! Whatever your passion in life, using a credit card—and paying your balance in full and on time—is the best way to build a strong credit history. 

As soon as you borrow money or open an account with a company (for your cell phone, Internet, electricity, etc.) for the first time, a credit report will automatically be created in your name. This report records your financial history and behaviour, and is used as a reference by lenders to make decisions on requests for financial support.
What’s the deal with the credit score? A credit score or rating is used to track your repayment habits with different financial institutions or companies. The maximum credit score is 900, and the better your financial behaviour, the higher your rating will be. Some of the factors that influence your credit score include how much debt you have right now, how long it takes to repay credit or loans, the term of your credit, and the number of loan applications you make. Boosting your credit score is well worth the effort, since a strong credit score will make it much easier for you to make larger purchases like a home or car.
The cashier’s cheque, a thing of the past Why waste paper when you can do all your banking online? While cheques are still used in Canada, they’re definitely on the decline thanks to more eco-friendly and efficient options like Interac transfers.
Access your bank account anytime, anywhere
Move over Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat … save some space on your cell phone for banking! In addition to offering efficient and comprehensive online services, most banking institutions today have mobile apps to make managing your finances easier than ever. You can even use them to make an appointment with your advisor.
Now that you have a better understanding of how the Canadian banking system works, it’s time to get started by setting up an account. 

Check out this article on opening your first bank account and you’re in business!
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