The currency of Canada is the Canadian dollar. Most new students bring funds with them in the form of a bank draft and one of their first tasks is to choose a financial institution.
There are three major types of financial institutions in Canada:
- Chartered banks
- Credit unions
- Trust companies
All three types offer general banking services. When choosing a financial institute a student should compare:
- Services offered (chequing and savings accounts, automated tellers, etc.)
- Location (there are branches of all the major banks located near the school)
- Fees charged
- Rates of interest
Please note that there can be a delay between the time of depositing a bank draft into an account and the withdrawal of funds from that account. Ask the bank about the length of time it will take for them to clear your bank draft and allow you to withdraw money from your account.
Always keep your credit card with you. If it is lost immediately contact the financial institution which issued the card. All credit card companies have 24-hour call numbers which you will be able to find online.
Students usually use a chequing account to pay for their living expenses and keep the remainder of their money in a savings account. Most institutions require identification before they will cash a cheque. Bank policy usually states that a cheque can only be cashed at the bank of the payee (person to whom the cheque is payable) or the drawee (bank on which the cheque is drawn).
It is a criminal offence to knowingly write a cheque for which there are not sufficient funds. It is also a criminal offence to forge another person’s name on a cheque.
If you have a cheque book be sure to keep it in a secure place. If it is lost, you should contact your financial institution immediately and notify them of your account number and the cheque numbers that are missing.
You may arrange through any phone outlet to have your own mobile. There are a large number of stores situated downtown. It is very important that you understand that when the telephone service is in your name you are responsible for all long-distance calls made from your number even if someone else made the calls. Phone companies will usually require you to pay a security deposit before they install your new line.
You are encouraged to keep a budget to better manage your funds. If you keep a record of your income and expenses you will be able to plan your financial affairs and avoid running out of money. The counsellors can provide information on how to set up a budget.
Always ask for a receipt when you buy something. This proof of purchase is useful if:
- you wish to exchange it, or
- need to return your purchase.
Most large stores have an exchange policy whereby they will allow you to take back something you have bought and exchange it for something else within a certain amount of time (14-30 days).
A contract is a legally binding agreement. ALWAYS READ AND UNDERSTAND A CONTRACT BEFORE YOU SIGN IT, especially the small print. If you have any consumer problems, contact the Student Services Centre or your teacher for help.