Today (29th October 2004) I
decided it was time to open a personal bank account and get myself a visa
card. As I hadn't heard back from the RBC bank to the email enquiry
I sent them I decided they were a no no. I then remembered seeing a
Scotia bank branch about five minutes walk down the road from where I am
staying on Broadview. So I walked down to see if I could open an
account. On the whole got a pretty poor welcome and just told to
phone a number and they would issue an appointment for me to come in.
So... I decided not to bother with them.
As the CIBC bank had given
that talk at the Immigration meeting I decided to try their web site and
got a contact number. So I phoned them and got a very nice girl that
explained she could take all my details online and process the
application. She explained that in around 5 days time the local
branch to where I live would phone me to ask me to come in where I could
both verify my details in person and get my account. So as that all
sounded nice and easy I went ahead. So hopefully I will hear from
them Friday of next week when I'll report back on how I get on.
The Banks I checked out
RBC Financial Group and
I have my application in
for a rental in Elliot Lake but not sure when I will hear from them.
Likely need to phone to ask that but will try emailing them and see if
I will probably make some
email enquiries to a few more realtors about rental accommodation so if I
get turned down at Elliot Lake I'll at least be making progress elsewhere.
Larry Hynes at the Immigration office suggested a lunch meeting next week
where we could go over alternative places to try so will take up that
I do want to get a mobile
phone so I'm contactable but figured I would wait until I get my bank
account and credit card then I'll have some Canadian identification.
I will be looking at the various options in Canada for communication
bundles. As far as I am aware there are three main companies,
Bell Canada and
Telus. As a person that does need the option to use the phone in the
USA and UK as well as Canada it's not that easy to figure out the best
options. Mind you I do wish different countries would all standardise on
the same phone system as it would make worldwide communication much
easier. It seems to me it's the USA that is the major problem as they want
their own standard and that is just not working.
I rarely use a mobile phone
myself and it can be quite complex deciding on what phone to purchase and
what plan to go for. There seems to be a never ending list of plans
to choose from. Do I just want to use my phone in Canada? Should I
have the option to use it in the USA or the UK? How often might I
actually go to the USA or the UK and need to use it? Sheesh...
decisions decisions :-)
One thing I've already
noticed is that most company web sites don't actually make it very easy
for you to ask a question by email and where they do the response is
either a standard reply which mostly doesn't answer the question you asked
or you get no response at all.
Overall my stay in Canada
has been great and enjoying staying with Nola, Harold and their extended
family. Weather hasn't been great and the leaves are surely flooding
off the trees as you walk around. And as I walk around I am seeing lots of
houses with Halloween decorations up. Must get around to taking a
I've emailed the Mayor of
Elliot Lake as he does run a couple of car dealerships. Thought I'd
ask him about gettting finance for a car purchase as I don't have any
credit history in Canada. Getting some finance will definately make
a difference on what car to get. I did purchase a copy of Phil
Edmonston's Lemon-Aid publication which is a New Driver's Guide for 2005.
It does give you a whole host of tips on how to buy a car, options on new
versus second hand, buying tips, secret warranties, and lots of other
things. It also includes details of new and used cars along with
service records for each. There are actually lots of interesting wee
snippets in this publication which also makes it very readable.
Spoke too soon on the banking issue. It
transpires that CIBC will not give a newly arrived person a credit card
despite what their representatives said at the Business Immigration
seminar. Not even if you offer to secure it with a deposit. I
received a letter refusing me one and did phone their credit card office
and went through to a Supervisor but no chance of a credit card until I
have been here for 18 months.
And so I decided to phone the banks again and
eventually found that Scotia Bank would offer a credit card if secured by
a deposit equal to 120% of the credit limit. This security has to be
held for 2 years and if you have looked after the account you then get it
the account at CIBC and have now applied for one at Scotia Bank. I
will add that the telephone representative did advise that I should open a
PowerChecking account for my normal account and a MoneyMarket account
which will pay 2% interest. I can thus transfer money between the
two accounts for zero cost although to avoid monthly bank charges I need
to hold a minimum of $2000 in the checking account. I was also
advised to open a US account as that meant if I needed money from my
American bank then I can just wire the money to the US account and then
transfer the funds from that to my checking account in Canada at no
further cost. All accounts can be managed online. So this way
I save on the fees charged by my American bank.
Once again this will take up to 5 days to
process and I need to visit the branch to finalise the process which seems
to be a normal requirement.
And so... I'll let you know how I get on.