Your To-Do List Before Going to Canada

Chapter 4: Make an appointment at your local bank

Published: 03-03-2020



Make an appointment at your local bank

It’s time to stop by a branch of your bank and book an appointment with an advisor. You should:

  • Notify the bank of your travel plans: financial institutions track unusual withdrawing patterns and your card may be blocked if it’s suddenly used in a foreign ATM without notice, especially if you withdraw a larger-than-usual amount (and you may need that much right after you land in Canada!). Let the bank know you’ll be using your debit/credit card abroad. Remember, you can keep your bank account open at home even if you’re out of the country for a year or two.
  • Add overdraft protection to your account: You may not use the service but if your balance is low and a payment won’t clear, you’ll be happy to be able to cover a purchase. Remember that overdraft fees can be shockingly high, so review the terms and conditions of the service before you use it. You may want to apply for a higher limit on your credit card as well, rates can be lower than the overdraft protection service fees.
  • Ask for a higher ATM withdrawal limit: typically, there is a daily limit and a weekly limit for ATM withdrawals and online purchases. Remember that you may need to buy furniture, plan tickets, an insurance policy or cover first and last month’s rent—you’re probably going to spend more than usual before returning to your normal spending habits. And don’t forget to check if you can use your current card to make payments online!
  • Make sure your credit card works abroad: you will need a PIN code, if you don’t already have one.
  • Set up online banking: if you don’t already pay your bills and see your statements online, now is the time to register for online banking. From an online banking account, you can—and should!—check your balance, make money transfers and more. Consider giving a trusted person (e.g. parents, siblings, etc.) access to your bank account and the right to operate it. Occasionally, your bank may send you a verification code to your cellphone or by mail to your home address and you may have issues getting it. You can also ask your representative if another communication option is available for customers who will be abroad for a long period of time.
  • Update the two-factor authentication process: Visa, MasterCard or other credit card providers sometime add an additional layer of security to online payments and you have to confirm your identity by entering a code sent by text message. If you use a different cellphone in Canada, you won’t be able to receive the code!
  • Review your banking package: if you have a student banking package or if you signed up for a special offer that expires when you turn 25 or 30, chose another option before your trip. Otherwise, you may end up with the default basic solution with higher fees and limited services.

Create a budget plan and find a way to access your funds

Chapter 4 of 10


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