Opening a personal bank account: know your rights

You have the right to open a personal bank account at a bank under certain conditions. To do so, you must provide them with acceptable forms of identification.

Learn more about the types of identification you need to open an account.

A bank must obtain your express consent and enter into an agreement with you before opening your account. The bank’s communication with you must be clear, simple and not misleading.

Learn more about providing express consent for financial products and services.

Your right to information when opening a personal bank account

When you open a personal bank account with a federally regulated financial institution, they must disclose certain information to you in writing. This may be in paper or electronic format (if you consent to receive information this way).

The information includes:

Your right to information when opening a joint bank account

Banks that are members of the Canadian Bankers Association (CBA) have agreed through a public commitment to provide information to consumers opening joint bank accounts. These accounts are also known as joint deposit accounts.

Banks will make this information available in their branches and on their websites.

This applies when:

The commitment sets out the information made available to consumers. They’ll provide the information in language and present it in a manner that is clear, simple and not misleading.

Banks will also provide this commitment:

Learn more about the commitment on joint deposit accounts (PDF).

You may be dealing with a financial institution other than a bank. Check your account agreement or ask them for information on joint bank accounts.

Learn more about joint bank accounts.

Your right to receive electronic alerts

Your bank must send you electronic alerts in 2 situations:

Your bank will automatically set the electronic alerts to $100. You may ask your bank to set them to a different amount.

The alerts must tell you:

Your bank will send these alerts to you automatically. You don’t have to sign up, but you may opt out at any time by informing your bank in writing. This could be done by email.

The alerts don’t apply to accounts opened for business purposes.

Your bank will send the alerts via push notifications, text messages or emails. It will depend on your contact information with the bank, the preferences you’ve set-up and the systems your bank has in place.

You won’t receive the new alerts if you didn’t provide your bank with the necessary contact information. For example, you didn’t provide your mobile phone number or email address.

For more information on electronic alerts, contact your bank or visit their website.

Other financial institutions may choose to offer electronic alerts. Contact yours to find out if they offer them.

When a bank refuses to open a bank account for you

A bank may refuse to open a personal bank account for you if:

If a bank refuses to open a personal bank account for you, they must inform you in writing.

They must also disclose to you:

Learn more about opening a bank account.

Learn how to file a complaint with a financial institution.

Your right to information about increases in charges or new charges

Your bank may increase or introduce a new charge. If so, they must provide information about this change in writing to you if you receive account statements. They must do so at least 30 days before it takes effect. The written information may be in paper or electronic format (if you consent to receive information this way).

They must disclose this information by:

If you don’t receive a statement of account, they must also prominently display a notice at each of their automated teller machines (ATM). They must do so at least 60 days before the change takes effect.

Use the Account Comparison Tool to compare account features.

When these rights apply to you

These rights apply when you’re dealing with a federally regulated financial institution like a bank or federal credit union.

Find out if your financial institution is federally regulated.

Learn more about how your banking rights are protected.

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