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Basic Finances for Youth, Part 5: How to Open a Chequing Account

Not just anyone can open a personal bank account, right? Wrong! It is your right to open a personal bank account. You can’t be denied this right even if you are unemployed or don’t have money to deposit into the account right away. The only exception to this has to do with committing a crime related to the bank. If you threaten or harass a bank employee, show false identification or even are suspected of committing a crime related to any bank, your request for opening an account can be denied. So if you don’t need actual money or a paying job to open an account, what do you need? Good question. Answer: ID To open an account, go down to the bank in person and present some identification (original, not photocopies). You need to have two pieces of ID. There are many different IDs you can use such as your birth certificate, passport (current), SIN number card, health card or Permanent Resident card. Note that if a bank refuses to open an account for you, they must provide you with a letter saying that they have refused your account request. The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada recommends that if you are not given this letter, that you ask for it. You should also call the FCAC (toll free: 1-866-461-3222) for more information about what to do. Keep in mind that a bank can refuse a request for an account if you have a bad credit rating.  However, if you believe that you were unfairly denied an account you can complain to that same bank and by law they must have a complaint-handling process in place that includes a third-party dispute resolution body. Another point to keep in mind is that if you open an account that will earn interest like an RRSP, the bank must ask for your SIN number for tax purposes. If the bank asks for your SIN number for another reason, you must give them your written consent. To read more about banks and your privacy click here: http://cba.ca/en/consumer-information/43-rights-responsibilities/66-banks-and-your-privacy To read about who can ask for your SIN number click here: http://www.priv.gc.ca/fs-fi/02_05_d_02_e.cfm For more info about chequing accounts stay tuned for the next two parts of this blog series or go to: http://www.fcac-acfc.gc.ca/eng/resources/publications/banking/TSOpenBankAcc-eng.asp

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