Student Banking Clients

BMO understands that as a student, your banking needs are different.  You need free banking, convenience and as many rewards as possible.

BMO is the only bank to offer free banking during school and for 12 months after graduation. 
BMO’s Student Package:

  • Free Student Banking
  • BMO Student MasterCard
  • Bank the way you like
  • Premium Rate Savings Account
  • AIR MILES reward miles

Go here to learn more about Student Banking.

FAQ for Students

1. Some basic costs of living in Canada:

A: Here are some typical costs for living in Canada:

  • Bus Fare One Way (local) $2.50 - $4.00
  • Average Restaurant Meal $10.00 - $25.00 per person
  • Student Cell Phone Plans $30 - $50
  • Movie $8.50 - $12.00
  • Letter within Canada $0.55
  • International Postage (letter) $1.60


Almost all provinces apply a provincial tax levy to goods and services. All provinces must apply the federal Goods & Services Tax (GST) of 5 percent to most purchases. As a visitor, a portion of the GST may be refunded to you upon your departure from Canada. There are restrictions that apply and you must provide original receipts. Contact Revenue Canada or your school for further information. GST refund forms can be obtained at the information counters at airports and at most shopping malls.

2. Tell me about the currency and how we can access money and pay bills:

A: Money and Measurements

Canada uses the metric system of measurement. The unit of currency is the Canadian dollar, which equals 100 cents. The most common paper currency in Canada comes in $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 denominations. Coins appear in 1 cent (pennies), 5 cents (nickels), 10 cents (dimes), 25 cents (quarters), $1 (loonies) and $2 (toonies) denominations. The $1 and $2 coins have been introduced over the last 10 years, and there are still Canadian $1 and $2 bills in circulation that are considered legal tender (they have also become collector's items). Canadian bills are clearly marked and each denomination has a distinctive colour.

Banks and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs)

Students can easily access the many banks and affiliated ATMs in Canada. They are especially easy to find in large cities, and are more convenient than credit cards and traveller's cheques. You can usually use a regular bank card or a major credit card at ATMs to withdraw cash. When you open an account at a Bank they will provide you with an ATM card.

ATM cards, also known as Debit Cards, can be used to make purchases at most stores in Canada to pay for items such as groceries, clothing, entertainment and meals. Many Canadians only carry small amounts of cash (less then $50. CDN) due to the wide spread use of Debit Cards for making purchases.

Banks offer a variety of services to their customers including currency exchange, safety deposit boxes for storage of passports, and savings accounts.

3. Tell me about accommodations

A: Accommodation - Short Term


A wide range of hotels is available for temporary stays upon arrival in Canada. A Canadian hotel is defined as having inside access, private rooms, and daily cleaning service. It is always best to make reservations in advance, and during the peak tourist season, it is essential. From May until August, hotels are booked most heavily (90 per cent full), and finding a reasonable place to stay without a reservation can be challenging. Most reservations can be made with a week's notice.

Hotel services, price and quality vary. Rooms in larger cities will generally be more expensive. In general, however, you will find hotels in Canada to be clean, comfortable and reasonably priced. Most hotels accept major credit cards, and reservations can be made either directly or by a travel agent. Here are some general estimates for the cost of hotel accommodation per night. Please note that prices vary according to occupancy rates, location and season.

Low price range: $55 - $95 CDN (It is advised to carefully check accommodation in this price range, as good quality hotels at these prices can be difficult to find, particularly in large cities.)

Moderate price range: $85-$135 CDN
Expensive price range: $135 - $250 CDN
Five-Star Hotel price range: $250 CDN & upwards


Another temporary accommodation option is the bed-and-breakfast. Rooms are located in private homes or locally-run establishments, and the cost includes your own room and a generous breakfast. Many rooms do not have private toilets and baths. Bed-and-breakfast accommodation comes in a variety of forms - it can be in a heritage home, modern townhouse, rural farmhouse, or seaside home. Most establishments are registered with a professional association, and are a great way to meet local people.

Average cost of a room in a bed-and-breakfast: $75 to $125 CDN per night.

Accommodation - Long Term

School Provided Accommodation

Home stays

Many Canadian families welcome international students. This may be an effective way for you to improve your English or French, learn about daily life in Canada, and meet new, friendly people. Homestays also offer a more stable and secure environment for younger people coming to study in Canada. Typically, a homestay consists of a Canadian family hosting a student in their home while the student attends classes in Canada. Meals and a private, furnished room are provided in the home, and the host family welcomes and encourages participation in family and community activities.

Home stays are arranged by the school and students are matched with families who share similar interests. Amenities and location vary from home to home, but preferences can and should be indicated to the school so that a suitable match may be found. Many schools can arrange for a school representative or home stay family to meet you at the airport when you arrive.

For more information, contact the school you will be attending.

Average cost of home stay accommodation: $400 - $800 CDN per month.


Many schools have accommodation conveniently located on or near their campus. Rooms can vary in size and in quality, and many dormitories have shared kitchens, toilets, showers and laundry facilities. There is usually an option of having either a shared or private room, and dormitories are usually separated by gender. In some cases, there are cafeterias and meal plans that can be included in the cost of the room. Most dormitories come furnished, and are an ideal way to become involved in campus activities and meet other students.

Average cost of residence/dormitory rooms: $5,000 - $8,500 CDN per school year. For more information, contact the school you will be attending.

Off-Campus Housing


Renting is an option open to students, but price, quality and availability vary greatly. Rents are often quite high in the major cities, and places are not always available. Many students share accommodation to keep costs down and usually find places to meet their needs and preferences. Many schools offer an off-campus housing service, which can provide affordable listings that are near the campus. At this service centre, those seeking shared accommodations can also find roommates. Once on campus, you will often find a variety of postings throughout the campus advertising nearby housing, but it is always best to make arrangements before coming to Canada.

There are different types of places you can rent as an international student. A house is usually too expensive for one student to rent, but many students share or rent suites (a self-contained unit with a kitchen, toilet, bath and bedroom) within a larger home. Apartments are another option, where one has a kitchen, toilet, bath, and one or two bedrooms. Most rental apartments do not include furniture or meals. Some, however, include the cost of heat and/or electricity in the rent.

Listings of available apartments or homes are published in local newspapers. It is the responsibility of the student to determine suitability as schools do not inspect these places nor can they make any other arrangements. Most landlords require a damage deposit and rent is paid on a monthly basis in cash or by cheque. Agreements with landlords should be made with care. Carefully examine and know the terms of any lease before you sign it. Carefully examine the apartment or suite before signing a lease to determine whether anything needs to be repaired by the landlord before you move in. If you experience problems with your rental accommodation, you should contact a provincial residential tenancy office.

Average cost of shared accommodations in Canada: $400 - $700 CDN monthly.

Average cost of a suite or apartment: $700 - $1,500 CDN monthly.

4. How do I apply for a MasterCard?

A:To apply for a MasterCard you must have an address you can be reached at in Canada, be of legal age (either 18 or 19 – will vary by Province in Canada – ask your BMO contact in China) and attend college or university. Students typically are permitted to have a $1,000 Cdn MasterCard limit, although a larger limit may be applied for. Ask your BMO branch contact in China for more details.

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