Knowing your rights is fundamental to your financial health. This knowledge enables you to make informed decisions that are right for your situation, needs and overall well-being. But are you aware of what your rights are when you visit your local bank branch, open a bank account or shop for a mortgage?
It pays to know that in Canada, there are laws, voluntary codes of conduct and public commitments designed to protect financial consumers. The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) ensures that all federally regulated financial institutions comply with these regulations.
For example, you have the right to:
- free services like cashing a Government of Canada cheque for free at any bank as long as the cheque is for $1,500 or less
- dispute errors that you have spotted on your credit report that you believe are wrong
- file a complaint with your financial institution's complaint-handling process if you are not satisfied with the service that you have received
- know how much you would be charged if you were to break your mortgage contract
- refuse some services—federally regulated financial institutions must obtain your consent before charging you for a new optional product or service like additional insurance coverage, a loan or overdraft protection
- open a basic bank account, even if you don't have a job, if you don't have money to put in the account right away or if you have been bankrupt, as long as you have certain required pieces of identification.
More information on your rights as a financial consumer and on the obligations of federally regulated financial institutions is available online at itpaystoknow.gc.ca.
Source: Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC)