Managing Your Money

To find out more about financing your studies and managing your budget, visit the Bureau des bourses et de l’aide financière website (BBAF).

Financing your studies in Canada: Get prepared! is offered at the beginning of each fall and winter semester, to help you prepare for the cost of life in Canada before you arrive in Quebec.

Cost of living

The cost of living in Québec and Canada is very high. In addition to your annual expenses (tuition, housing, telephone, electricity, etc.), you’ll need to plan for one-time expenses that can be substantial (winter clothing, moving or furnishing costs, immigration documents, etc.).

Make sure you have enough money to cover all these expenses. Scholarships or part-time job income are generally not enough to meet your needs.

To get an estimate of the cost of living in Quebec during your studies, please consult the example of student budget available on the website of Student Awards and Financial Aid Office (Bureau des bourses et de l’aide financière, BBAF).

To help you evaluate the average cost of everyday goods and services, use the NUMBEO cost-of-living comparator, and compare the cost of living in your city of residence with the cost of living in Quebec City.

Debit and credit cards

You can use a debit card for purchases at most retailers. The amount of your purchase is deducted directly from your bank account. You can also use your card any time to access your account at an automatic teller machine (ATM), on your institution’s website or on the mobile application, where you can perform most routine banking transactions (deposits, withdrawals, transfers, bill payments, etc.).

Credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, etc.) can be used to shop online and at stores. At the end of each month, you receive a statement with a detailed list of your purchases. You must then pay your balance within about 21 days or you will be subject to interest charges that often exceed 20%

Prepaid cards are a handy way to make online and in-store purchases. They provide the same flexibility and security as credit cards, the only difference being that you must deposit your money into the account before you can use them.

To obtain a debit, credit, or prepaid card, apply at your bank.

Find out about the terms and conditions, since fees are often associated with their use.

Bank account

If you plan to work in Canada or to transfer money while you are here, we suggest you open an account with a Canadian bank or credit union.

Find out which services are offered by banks and caisses populaires (credit unions) before deciding which institution offers the account that best corresponds to your needs, gives you the best return on your money, and charges the lowest service fees.

Opening a bank account

All financial institutions offer a range of services: debit card, foreign currency exchange, money transfer, safety deposit box, etc.

To open a bank account, make an appointment at the branch of your choice and bring two pieces of ID. A deposit is not usually required to open an account in Québec, although the Caisse populaire Desjardins will ask for a $5 qualifying share (membership share). Caisse populaire Desjardins has an on-campus branch.

You might also check with your home financial institution to see if it has an agreement with a Canadian institution. This could save you money.

Main financial institutions

Overview of services available from main financial institutions.

Studients registered for two or more semesters Students registered for one semester Transaction fees and students plans Standard credit card Prepaid credit card or Visa debit card
With study permit Without study permit
Banque of Montréal (BMO)

 x  x  x No fees – 30 transactions per month Possible with a guaranteed deposit, based on file review Prepaid credit card

Annual fee of $6.95

National Bank

 x  x  x No fees – unlimited transactions for one year. Then, various plan available Free Access to a standard credit card
Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)

 x  x  x No fees – 25 transactions a month Possible, based on file review Visa debit card with bank account, no fees
Scotia Bank

 x  x  x No fees – unlimited transactions Free
Only for students registered for two or more semesters
Access to a standard credit card
TD Canada Trust, Laurentian Bank

 x  x Plan for students 18 to 25: no fees – 20 transactions a month

Other plans available for students over 25

Not available  

Not available

Caisse Desjardins de l’Université Laval


$5 share

No fees – unlimited transactions x Prepaid credit card

Free for students 25 and under, $6.95 for others


 x  x No fees – unlimited transactions Free Prepaid credit card


Transfer money

You can transfer money via, for example, your bank or Western Union, MoneyGram or Paypal. Fees will apply.

For questions about tuition fees, visit the Université Laval Website (French only).

For tax-related information in Canada, visit our income tax page, the Université Laval web page on tax forms, or attend conferences offered by Revenu Canada and Revenu Québec.