Opening a Business Bank Account in Canada

As a foreign business owner, opening a business bank account in Canada can have some major advantages. Not only can it help you reach a larger customer base but it can also help you unlock lower foreign exchange fees and tap into some hidden (and profitable) opportunities. More on these advantages below. But first, let’s answer the question of whether you can open a business bank account in Canada if you’re a foreign non-resident.

Opening a Business Bank Account in Canada:

Yes, business bank accounts in Canada can be opened by foreign non-resident business owners. Normal account opening considerations apply, though there are no residency requirements. To open a business bank account in Canada you will need to provide proper documentation for the business, shareholders, and directors while also navigating the account opening challenges below.

Naturally, if you don’t have the right information, opening a business bank account in Canada as a foreign non-resident can be frustrating and time-consuming. That’s why our team of banking experts has analyzed all of the banks that allow non-residents to open business bank accounts.

In this article, we’ll share the information you need to know when choosing which banks to apply to for your business. We’ll also share some helpful tips on how to get started. So, if you’re a non-resident and opening a business bank account in Canada is something you’re interested in, keep reading!

But, before diving in, if this is your first time visiting GlobalBanks, don’t forget to download your free Business Banking Starter Guide. It’s designed to help business owners open accounts in top banking hubs around the world.

​​Benefits of Opening a Business Bank Account in Canada

As mentioned at the start of the article, opening a business bank account in Canada offers foreign non-resident business owners a number of benefits. This is especially true if you have clients in Canada. However, if your business is primarily focused on bigger markets (such as the USA), a business bank account in Canada could be even more beneficial. Here’s why…

When you open a business bank account in Canada, you are able to tap into Canadian payment processing. This is interesting for a very specific reason: US dollars. Unlike many jurisdictions, when you open a payment processing account in Canada, you’re able to unlock both the local currency (CAD) and US dollars (USD). This is a huge advantage for anyone that wants to sell to US customers but doesn’t have (or doesn’t want to have) a US company, US bank accounts, and USD payment processing.

Additionally, unlike many other top banking hubs, opening a business bank account in Canada does not come with residency requirements. So, if you’re a foreign non-resident living and working outside of Canada, you will still be able to open an account for your business.

Here’s a look at some of the other benefits that you’ll be able to capture as a non-resident looking to open a business bank account in Canada:

  1. No residency requirements
  2. Access to Canadian customers
  3. Access to low-cost USD payment processing
  4. Deposit insurance on your accounts
  5. Access to a stable banking sector
  6. Option to open accounts remotely
  7. Enhanced credibility through a strong jurisdiction

Importantly, if you’re looking to capture these benefits when you open a business bank account in Canada, you shouldn’t open an account with just any Canadian bank. We stress this because it’s important to understand which bank is best matched to your client profile and which bank will actually accept you as a client.

In short, choosing the wrong bank could result in you paying unnecessary fees, constant account freezes, account closures, and wasted time and money in the application process.

To make sure this doesn’t happen, keep reading to find out more about what type of businesses can open accounts, what types of accounts are available, and how you can navigate the common account opening challenges successfully.

What Type of Businesses Can Bank In Canada?

Business Bank Account in Canada Types
There’s a lot of confusion surrounding the types of businesses that can open bank accounts in Canada. But, like in other countries, the key variables in determining which businesses can open include:

  1. The industry that you operate in
  2. Where your business is registered
  3. Where your business operates
  4. What the account will be used for
  5. Where your customers are located
  6. How much you’re willing to pay for the account
  7. Each bank’s internal policies

There are, of course, other variables to consider as well. But, these initial variables will ultimately shape which banks will accept you. Of course, in addition to the type of businesses that can open accounts, you also need to ensure that suitable accounts actually exist.

With this in mind, it’s important to understand the specific type of business account you not only may have access to, but also which account will best suit your business needs.

To this end, here are some of the business bank accounts a non-resident business owner may have access to when opening a business bank account in Canada.

Available Business Bank Accounts in Canada (Figures in CAD):

Account Type Name Monthly Fee Monthly Transaction Limit Minimum Balance Requirement
Basic Business Operating Account $6 Fees for each individual transaction No limit
Basic Business Account $10 Charges fees for each transaction $8,000 with no fees charged
Professional Plan Plus $38 110 transactions per month No minimum balance required
Business Investment Account $0 Individual transaction fees $25,000
Select Account Unlimited $120.00 unless you have a balance of $65,000 Unlimited $65,000
Everyday Business Operating Account $20 – self-service $25 – full service 30 transaction per month $15,000
Basic Business Savings Account Transaction fees instead of monthly fee 2 debit transactions per month No minimum balance required
Unlimited Business Plan $125 Unlimited transactions and deposits $65,000 with no fees charged
Basic Business Plan $5 5 transactions and 5 deposits No minimum balance required
All-Inclusive Account Package $100 Can be waived with a balance of $75,000 100 transactions per month No minimum balance required

 

It’s worth noting, these types of business bank accounts and the associated fees and limits can all vary from bank to bank. The information outlined above is to simply give you an idea of what types of accounts could be available to non-residents interested in opening a business bank account in Canada.

Challenges When Opening a Business Bank Account in Canada

Business Bank Account in Canada Challenges
While Canada’s five traditional banks (also known as the “Big Five”) control the vast majority of the business banking market in Canada, they all have one thing in common: they can be extremely difficult to open bank accounts with for businesses owned by non-residents.

So, if you’re considering opening a business bank account in Canada as a non-resident, you need to know the pitfalls and challenges that you’re going to run into. In this section, that’s exactly what we’ll be covering, including some pressing obstacles that arise when opening a business bank account.

Here’s a look at the top challenges business owners face when opening a business bank account in Canada:

  1. Personal visit is often required
  2. Intense application process due to the number of required documents
  3. Business banking fees can be high for non-resident entities
  4. Minimum balance requirements can be high
  5. Potential limitations on transactions per month
  6. Difficulty maintaining accounts from abroad

Of course, these challenges may vary depending on the bank you engage with and the type of business bank account you choose to open. And, not surprisingly, some banks do make it more difficult for a non-resident to open a business bank account in Canada than other banks. So, make sure you prepare by understanding the different challenges each bank and each type of account presents before applying.

In fact, even the application process can be very overwhelming, especially if you are not able to visit a bank in person. We’ll discuss this further along with the required documents in the next section.

How to Open a Business Bank Account in Canada as a Non-Resident

Open a Business Bank Account Canada
As mentioned, opening a business bank account in Canada as a non-resident comes with its challenges and can be overwhelming. This is primarily due to the long list of required documents and bureaucratic hoops you’ll need to jump through when opening.

That said, it can still be a profitable banking solution if you can successfully open an account. With this in mind, let’s take a look at how you can actually get started with account opening right now.

First and foremost, it is important to note that the required documents can vary not only based on the type of business you are operating but also by which bank you choose to open an account with.

However, when opening a business bank account in Canada most banks will request the following documents:

  • Your business license
  • Certificates of business name
  • If multiple owners, the partnership agreement
  • Personal identification (up to two forms)

The next step is to confirm the bank the type of business ownership you have. Why? Because as mentioned earlier, the documents may vary depending on the type of business. So, with that said, below we put together a list of the documents the bank may request based on the type of business:

Sole Proprietorship:

  • 2 valid forms of ID for the business owner
  • Master business license
  • Trade name registration

Corporations:

  • Business Number & License
  • Certificate of Status/ Profile Report / Existence / Compliance
  • Articles of Incorporation/ Association
  • Corporate Annual Government Filing
  • Notice of Assessment for Income Tax
  • 2 pieces of ID of the corporation’s signing authorities

Partnerships:

  • 2 valid forms of ID for the business owner
  • Registered declaration of partnership
  • Copy of partnership agreement
  • Trade name registration

Not surprisingly, documents and regulations can differ from bank to bank so don’t be alarmed if a bank requests further verification of the documents you provide. They do this to ensure the documents are authentic and to make sure you’re opening a business bank account for the right reasons.

In addition, it’s important to note that your business will also need to meet requirements set out in Canada’s Access to Basic Banking Services Regulations under the Bank Act. 

While some banks require you to present these documents in person, others may allow you to complete the opening process remotely. However, this may come with greater challenges in itself as the bank typically requires additional proof of identification and it may also result in account restrictions. We’re not saying opening a business bank account remotely in Canada as a non-resident can’t be done, we’re saying more challenges may present themselves if you’re not prepared.

Bottom Line: With the right information and knowing which banks best suit your business needs, opening a business bank account in Canada as a non-resident can be done without too much trouble.

Ready to Start Opening Accounts?

To start opening a business bank account in Canada today, you can obviously get started with the information outlined in this article.

Or, you can access one of our membership services and get the help you need to find and unlock the best banking option for you and your banking needs.

Each of our premium services are designed to help non-resident individuals, foreigners, and their businesses open international bank accounts around the world.

So, whether you want to know which banks will accept you, which account opening strategies to use, or you just don’t know where to begin, we can help.

Here’s a quick overview of our available services:

You can start with GlobalBanks IQ, our international banking intelligence service.

You’ll get step-by-step instructions and all the tools you need to find and open accounts with top international banks. In short, you’ll unlock our international intelligence reports, premium account opening strategies, international bank database, and much more.

We also offer a dedicated US account opening service called GlobalBanks USA. GlobalBanks USA helps non-residents, foreigners, and even foreign and offshore companies open US bank accounts. Most importantly, it includes direct, one-on-one support from our team of experts. And, it also includes access to our US banking intelligence reports, US-specific account opening strategies, and US bank database.

And, of course, there’s our flagship service, GlobalBanks Insider:

With GlobalBanks Insider, you’ll get access to everything we offer. In short, this includes all of the benefits in GlobalBanks IQ and GlobalBanks USA. In addition, you’ll unlock our entire library of premium reports and the entire GlobalBanks Database. And, you also receive dedicated one-on-one support from our team of international banking experts.

So, no matter where you’re looking to bank in the world, you’re only a few clicks away from getting started.

You can view all of the account opening solutions offered by GlobalBanks on our products page.

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