In this section, you will find the basics of what you need to know about money in Canada. Everything from what it looks like and how much it’s worth, to where to save it and how to access it.
Who’s Faces Appear On Canadian Dollar Bills?
What Symbols Appear On Canadian Coins?
All Canadian coins depict Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse (heads). The reverse (tails) has the following:
When you purchase goods or services in Canada, you will be charged two types of sales tax:
These sales taxes are not included in the retail price (i.e. they are added to the price of your purchases at the cash register when you pay). Some provinces charge an HST (Harmonized Sales Tax) which combines the GST with the PST.
Upon arriving in Canada, you will need to set up a bank account in order to deposit your pay. It is unwise to keep large sums of cash at your home. Your employer can either deposit your pay directly into your bank account or issue you a cheque.
How To Open A Bank Account
Most banks charge monthly service fees and/or charge for each transaction (i.e. bank card use or cheque processing). Service Fees vary from bank to bank.
Hours of operation vary from bank to bank. However, most banks are open:
Monday - Thursday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Some banks are open later in the evening on week nights, and for a few hours on Saturday as well.
Automated Banking Machines (ABM) / Automated Teller Machines (ATM)
Most banks will provide you with a card that allows you to deposit or withdraw money, pay bills and transfer money between accounts using a bank machine (ABM/ATM). While you do pay for the convenience with each transaction, the 24/7 access is more than worthwhile. Please note that automatic service charges apply whenever you use an ATM from a different banking institution other than your own.
Canadian banks have arrangements with U.S. banks (usually through the Cirrus network) allowing direct access to your Canadian bank account through most ATM’s in the United States. Most European, Australian and New Zealand ATM cards will work in Canada and in the United States too.
Transferring Money From Home
There are a number of ways you can transfer money from home:
U.S. coins are accepted on par with Canadian coins, however U.S. dollars are not. If you need to convert U.S. dollars into Canadian dollars, check with several different banks to get the best exchange rate.
Unlike in some European countries, a charge for service is not included in the final bill so you may be unfamiliar with the practice of tipping for a meal or a cab ride.
In Canada, it is customary to tip 15%:
It is appropriate to tip between 10% - 15% of the bill before taxes, more if the service was excellent. Use your discretion when deciding to tip if the service was poor. Do not tip sales staff in retail stores.
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