Do I have the right to open a bank account?

If you have acceptable identification, a bank must open a bank account for you. However, there are certain cases in which a bank can refuse to open an account for you.

You have the right to a personal bank account, even if:

  • You don't have a job;
  • You don't have money to put in the account right away; or
  • You have been bankrupt in the past.

When a Bank Can Refuse to Open an Account

A bank can legitimately refuse to open an account if:

  • The bank thinks you will use the account to break the law;
  • You committed a crime against a bank in the past 7 years;
  • The bank thinks you gave false information when applying for the account;
  • The bank thinks that opening the account might bring harm to its customers or staff;
  • You do not agree to let the bank verify if the circumstances above apply to you and to verify your pieces of identification; or
  • You can't show acceptable identification.

If this happens to you, you can contact the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada for more information and help.

For More Information

  • Your Rights and Responsibilities: Accounts - This guide has information about who can open a bank account and what to do if a bank refuses to open an account for you. From the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada.
  • Newcomers to Canada - Banking information for newcomers from the Canadian Bankers Association.
  • Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) - FSCO regulates the insurance sector; pension plans; loan and trust companies; credit unions and caisses populaires; the mortgage brokering sector; co-operative corporations in Ontario.
Last updated: December 10, 2015 4000635