Using Your Bank Card
Before leaving your home country, ask your bank if you can use your bank card (debit card) to withdraw money in Canada. If a PLUS, Cirrus or Maestro symbol appears on the back of your card, you may withdraw money from bank machines (ATMs) with the same symbol(s). ATMs are convenient but keep in mind that you will be charged a transaction fee each time you withdraw money.
Choosing a Bank
When choosing a bank in London, we recommend that you:
- Ask your home bank if they have connections with any Canadian banks
- Choose a bank that accepts money transfers from your bank at home
- Find a bank that offers student rates
After you choose a bank, you can find the branch nearest to you. To see which banks are close to Western and learn more about the different options, view the Banks Close to Campus section below.
There are three basic types of bank accounts:
- Chequing: Pays little or no interest; may have small charges for services; provides monthly statements; has debit privileges; is a useful and convenient method for paying rent, fees, bills, etc.
- Savings: Provides better interest rate; has no chequing privileges; allows personal withdrawals only.
- Chequing/Savings: Combines the privileges of both a chequing and savings account.
Tips: You may want to open an account that provides you with cheques to pay for things like rent. If you do not have a chequing account, you can ask your landlord if he/she accepts email transfers (e-transfer) instead.
You need to bring two pieces of identification to open a bank account; bring your passport and another piece of photo identification, such as your WesternOne Student card.
Transferring Money to Canada
In order to transfer money from your home country, you must first open a bank account in Canada. You may want to bring bank drafts from home to allow you to open a bank account when you arrive in London. A bank may accept bank drafts, cheques or letters of credit. However, money will not be transferred until it is cleared by your home bank. This process may take a few days or a few months.
1. Determine what you need your bank account to do and ensure the bank you choose provides these services:
- Save money?
- Write cheques?
- Pay bills?
- Receive foreign cash transfers?
- Take out money from bank machines (ATMs)?
2. Ask upper-year international students about their banking experiences. Which bank do they use? Are they happy with the service? How quickly does their bank transfer funds?
3. Ask the bank the following questions:
- Is there a lower service charge for me as a Western student?
- Can I use my bank card to get money if I am out of town?
- Do you have Visa debit cards? (These can be used internationally where Visa is accepted.)
- Will I receive a monthly bank statement? Does this cost extra?
- How quickly will I receive my foreign cash transfers?
- How do I access banking online?
- Are there any extra costs/fees I should know about?
4. Visit the branch closest to you and ask to speak to someone who can suggest the right kind of account for you as an international student.
5. Make your needs clear.
6. Ask for the business card of your account manager or someone else who you can call if you have questions about your account.
Banks that allow for accounts to be fully opened and used while students are in quarantine are marked with an asterisk* below.
101 Fanshawe Park Rd. East (located next to McDonald’s) 519-667-6273
To open an account please visit the BMO's website; this account will be put on hold until you come into the branch in-person with identification.Document & ID requirements to open an account:
- For identification you must bring your passport (mandatory) and one piece of Canadian documentation from the following list: SIN, student visa, study permit, major Canadian credit card
- Required documents include your Canadian visa or study permit, Government photo ID such as a passport and driver's license, proof of school registration and expected graduation date
- If you already have a SIN and Canadian addess you can open an account online
During quarantine, you can only partially open your account; for the account to be active and for transactions to be approved, you must verify your ID in person first. This branch also does not provide pre-paid visas.Important links:
228 Oxford St. East (Oxford St. & Richmond St.) 519-661-8110
97 Fanshawe Park Road East (Masonville Place parking lot) 519-661-8182
During quarantine you can open a student package remotely through email which includes a chequing account, savings account, and credit card.
To set this up you will email a copy of your passport and study permit to a representative who will then coordinate remote signing through email. Once this is done, you will have access to your new bank accounts right away. If you have to make online purchases immediately your representative can provde you with your card number in advance while your card is being mailed to your address.
Once your quarantine is over you will then need to go into the branch to set up your PIN for both your debit and credit cards.Important links:
- General information for international students
- Appointment booking link
- Checklist for international students
383 Richmond St. (located near Dundas Street) 519-661-1180
Through Royal bank you can do online banking as well as make e-transfers, but you cannot make online or web purchases without a credit card. Royal Bank also does not provide pre-paid visas, these can only be purchased from grocery stores and Shoppers Drugmart. During your quarantine you can set up a bank account over the phone (1 800 769 2511). This number will direct you to an appropriate branch, and help you set up a consultation appointment, but it is highly recommended that you book an appointment first and talk to a representative before setting up your bank account. Once your account is open, a debit card will come in the mail in 5-10 business days; you must request a credit card separately if you require one.Document & ID requirements to open an account:
- passport (mandatory)
- student card with photo
- immigration form - IMM 1442, IMM 5292
- Canadian SIN
- student visa
109 Fanshawe Park Rd. East (at North Centre Rd.) 519-660-6902
Student accounts with Scotiabank have no montly fees and have unlimited transactions. You can open up a new account over the phone (1 888 882 3811), which will be put on hold until you visit the bank in person to verify your ID. Once you are at the bank you can pick up your debit card and apply for a credit card if you want one. You can try to do this before you arrive in Canada over the phone (416 288 3062), but your account will remain on hold until you have an opportunity to visit the bank to verify your ID before you can make transactions or transfers. Scotiabank does not provide pre-paid visas.Document & ID requirements to open an account:
- at least one piece of ID with a photo such as a passport
- one piece of ID does not require a photo such as study permit
- proof of enrolment
1137 Richmond St. (near the University gates on Richmond St.) 519-673-6021
You may set up your account online which will then be frozen until you come to a branch in person and verify ID. TD recommends that you visit a branch in person first as you will receive a newcomer discount when you set up your new account. TD does not provide pre-paid visas.Document & ID requirements to open an account:
- one piece of ID with a photo and signature is required such as passport, Canadian driver's license, or Canadian government ID
- temporary permit (IMM 1442, IMM 1208, IMM 1102)
- proof of enrolment
285 King St. (corner of Wellington Rd. across from Citi Plaza) 519-439-1631
For a complete list of all the banks in London look under the "Banks" section of the Yellow Pages in the London Telephone Directory or on their website.
Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) on Campus
- TD Canada Trust: UCC main floor (near Bento Sushi)
- CIBC: UCC lower level (by the Tim Horton’s)
- Bank of Montreal: UCC lower level
- Royal Bank of Canada: UCC lower level (by the Tim Horton's)
- Scotiabank: UCC lower level, Huron University College food court
- Residences with ATMs: Perth Hall, Essex Hall, Delaware Hall, Sydenham Hall, Elgin Hall and Saugeen Maitland Hall.
- Food Service Areas with ATMs: Althouse College, Spencer Engineering Building, Law School, Somerville House, Talbot College, Medical Sciences, Natural Sciences (Nucleus), UCC Centre Spot, Thompson Recreation Centre and the Social Sciences Building.