Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Canadians, Know Your Banking Rights

Living in Canada we have many rights and freedoms afforded to us. Below is some basic information to help you understand your rights in regards to banking.

For more information please visit the government website or Google "banking rights in (country)". I am sure that many countries around the world have similar rights though I cannot speak about them.

You have the right to open a personal bank account unless:
  • it is believed you might use the account for illegal/fraudulent purposes
  • you have a history of illegal/fraudulent activity with financial institutions (FIs) within the past 7 years
  • you lack the proper ID, refuse to share info, or are believed to have made false statements of your info
  • it is believed you may cause customers and/or employees physical/verbal abuse
  • you don't allow steps to verify your info
  • the FI does not offer the service you are inquiring about

Bankruptcy in your history? Bad credit score? No credit history? No employment? Doesn't matter, you have the right to open account.

What kind of info do FIs need to open an account?
  • your legal name
  • 2 pieces of valid ID
    • such as, but not limited to: driver's license, passport, healthcare card, birth certificate
  • Social Insurance Number
  • person info such as mailing address, physical address, occupation info
If the FI refuses to open your account for invalid reasons they must tell you in written format. If they don't offer one, ask for it as proof. This letter must include why the account has been refused and how to get more info should you wish to make a complaint.

Making a complaint:
  1. Stay calm and in control of yourself
  2. Ask to speak with the manager about the refusal
  3. Ask for info on who to contact above the manager 
  4. Get help from a third party (info here), which varies based on the FI
The FI has the right to put restrictions or limitations on your account. Should you not agree to the restrictions you have the right to refuse the account. Some restrictions might be a hold on cheques deposited, or no cheque-writing on the account. Some restrictions may be put on all new accounts, some on accounts to be watched more closely. Ask when a review will be conducted of the restrictions

You have responsibilities to the FI, such as:
  • to not use the account for illegal/fraudulent activities
  • to keep the account in good standing (not overdrawn, etc)
  • to review your activities/statements in a timely manner and report any potential issues
  • to keep your banking info, passwords, etc private
  • update the FI on changes, such as contact info
While there is much more info that I could share I hope that this has helped you learn (and encouraged you to learn more) about your rights and responsibilities. Please visit the links for more info.

(Each FI has slightly different rules and regulations but the basics are all the same.)