You will definitely need a bank account for your day-to-day transactions. Find out about the different services offered by banks, caisses populaires (credit unions) and trust companies before deciding which one offers an account that is best suited to your needs, offers the best rate of return and has the lowest service fees.
Wait until you have settled in to your new life before closing your bank account in your country of origin, since opening a new account in Québec may take some time.
To open a bank account, simply visit the branch of your choice. You will usually be asked to provide two documents proving your identity. In some cases, institutions will also accept sponsorship by a customer they know. You can open a personal account even if you do not have a job. Furthermore, you are not required to deposit money in a new account. All financial institutions offer a range of convenient services: debit card, safety deposit box rental, traveller’s cheques, foreign currency exchange, various forms of loans, money transfers, various investment options, direct deposit of your salary, certified cheques, safety deposit boxes, etc.
Several types of credit are available in Québec: credit cards, instalment purchase plans offered by stores, a line of credit at the bank, etc.
The ease of obtaining credit makes it necessary to be very careful when making purchases. Although it facilitates buying all sorts of items immediately, very high interest rates make it an expensive solution. Before buying an expensive item on credit, make sure you will be able to meet the monthly payments without difficulty. Take all your other financial obligations into account when making your calculations.
In the event of a death, loss of income because of disability or serious illness, or loss of property due to theft or fire, you will not be sorry to have planned ahead and taken out insurance. Contact a private insurance company or broker, as government and job-related plans rarely cover all possible situations.
Income tax and other taxes
The money collected from income tax and other taxes is used to finance public services. Therefore, every individual is responsible for filing an income tax return.
Municipal and school taxes
Municipal and school taxes are collected by cities, urban communities and local school boards within their respective territories. Generally, only homeowners are required to pay these taxes, and the amount varies in accordance with the value of their property. Like income tax, these taxes must be paid every year, but payment may be made in several instalments.
For more information concerning municipal and school taxes, contact your municipality, the Bureau de révision de l'évaluation foncière (property assessment review service) in Montréal or Québec City, or your local school board.