Personal Finance

Simplii will not open an account for someone who does not speak English

  • Last Updated:
  • Apr 20th, 2019 7:56 pm
[OP]
Newbie
May 20, 2017
14 posts
6 upvotes

Simplii will not open an account for someone who does not speak English

I just had an interesting conversation with my friend who tried to open a Simplii account (chequing) for her 70 yo mother who does not speak any English. Basically, after doing everything that was required of them (signature card, identity verification at a Canada Post office), while trying to activate the bank card over the phone, Simplii told them that my friend's mother has to be able to speak with them in English without anybody's help (so my friend was not allowed to translate).

So, they are refusing to activate the card for that woman until she is able to carry a phone conversation with them without anybody helping her!

My question is: is this even legal in Canada?

According to https://www.canada.ca/en/financial-cons ... count.html it seems that it isn't.. or is it?
55 replies
Member
Dec 12, 2016
256 posts
203 upvotes
rfder2017 wrote:
Apr 15th, 2019 10:14 pm
I just had an interesting conversation with my friend who tried to open a Simplii account (chequing) for her 70 yo mother who does not speak any English. Basically, after doing everything that was required of them (signature card, identity verification at a Canada Post office), while trying to activate the bank card over the phone, Simplii told them that my friend's mother has to be able to speak with them in English without anybody's help (so my friend was not allowed to translate).

So, they are refusing to activate the card for that woman until she is able to carry a phone conversation with them without anybody helping her!

My question is: is this even legal in Canada?

According to https://www.canada.ca/en/financial-cons ... count.html it seems that it isn't.. or is it?
How can Simplii trust that what your friend is translating is actually what their mother was saying? I’m sure Simplii has a protocol in place to deal with these situations, by possibly referring the customer to a CIBC branch.
Newbie
Aug 2, 2018
94 posts
71 upvotes
They should find out your mother's native language and transfer you to an agent that speaks the language.
Deal Expert
User avatar
Oct 26, 2003
30665 posts
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Winnipeg
The official standard for translation is to have notary to do it, or lawyer, or embassy. banks need to do stuff by the book, and that is what the rules are. Generally they want the translation to be true and complete and rely on traceable record from people who have been registered with the government to do official translation work. banks do offer the 2 official language in Canada, and some banks even offer other languages when they are not required to, so look for those banks who can handle the language of your choice. I can imagine if you were to open a bank account in another country that speak another language, you would face the same problem. I would be concerned if a bank would just open an account willy nilly.
Deal Addict
Dec 22, 2008
2068 posts
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Victoria
Banks have a responsibility to the government to do due diligence on clients to ensure against fraud and such.
Deal Addict
Nov 8, 2017
1021 posts
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There's only two official languages in Canada.

English
French


That's it
Deal Fanatic
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Mar 23, 2008
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Edmonton
User455957 wrote:
Apr 15th, 2019 11:53 pm
There's only two official languages in Canada.

English
French


That's it
That may be true, but a lot of companies understand the customer service benefit in providing alternatives for our multicultural country.

C
Deal Addict
Dec 16, 2017
2523 posts
1014 upvotes
CND Brain & Hear…
it's Canada so never too hard to find an operator with some kind of language background (given Simplii only has 1 call center in Toronto?)

Having worked in a call center in the past, I never had problem finding speakers in various languages, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Thai, Tagalog, etc. etc.
even sometimes Russian, Romanian, Spanish and as rare as some central african dialects.
I am being targeted over Internet Relay Chat. Please help me.
Member
Jul 25, 2008
379 posts
254 upvotes
ottawa
Most full service banks will help you out. Unfortunately your friend's mother does not sound like a client suited for a discount online bank.
Jr. Member
Aug 25, 2015
168 posts
238 upvotes
Victoria, BC
There are so many financial products that one can open without any human interaction (Tangerine for instance), it's unfortunate in your case that Simplii is not one of them. Maybe that provides better fraud protection, but I'm not sure. A fraudster would just pretend to be the actual person instead of "fake translating".
[OP]
Newbie
May 20, 2017
14 posts
6 upvotes
Thank you all for commenting.. but I am surprised that 90% of responders did not even bother carefully reading what I wrote and/or completely missed the point that I was making.

Here2day2 wrote:
Apr 15th, 2019 10:34 pm

How can Simplii trust that what your friend is translating is actually what their mother was saying? I’m sure Simplii has a protocol in place to deal with these situations, by possibly referring the customer to a CIBC branch.
Think about what you wrote here. We are talking about the final verification step. The only thing they do during this step is checking that the bank card reached its intended destination, and they do it by asking questions that only the applicant would be able to answer. Why should it matter at this stage if a person is speaking to them through an interpreter or not?

As for going to a CIBC branch, I actually had my own problem with Simplii a while back. That's when I found out that CIBC absolutely will not do anything on behalf of Simplii.. So, I am not sure if that option was discussed, but I'd not expect this to be feasible.
goingaround1 wrote:
Apr 15th, 2019 11:00 pm
They should find out your mother's native language and transfer you to an agent that speaks the language.
From what I understand, they refused to do it. However, I'll be the first to say that no bank has any obligation to do so. No bank can/should be forced to do its business in any language other than English and French.
divx wrote:
Apr 15th, 2019 11:17 pm
The official standard for translation is to have notary to do it, or lawyer, or embassy. banks need to do stuff by the book, and that is what the rules are. Generally they want the translation to be true and complete and rely on traceable record from people who have been registered with the government to do official translation work. banks do offer the 2 official language in Canada, and some banks even offer other languages when they are not required to, so look for those banks who can handle the language of your choice. I can imagine if you were to open a bank account in another country that speak another language, you would face the same problem. I would be concerned if a bank would just open an account willy nilly.
Not sure what your point here is. Nobody was submitting any official documents anywhere.. the problem occurred during the final verification step, and nobody was expecting that Simplii would be looking for a person speaking my friend mother's language. Again, all this was AFTER all steps with identity verification, so this is as far from "willy nilly" as one can get.
plgqnn wrote:
Apr 16th, 2019 2:29 am
There are so many financial products that one can open without any human interaction (Tangerine for instance), it's unfortunate in your case that Simplii is not one of them. Maybe that provides better fraud protection, but I'm not sure. A fraudster would just pretend to be the actual person instead of "fake translating".
Exactly. Why would anybody even try to do "fake translating"? It's much easier to pretend to be someone else. Thank you for not missing my point.
[OP]
Newbie
May 20, 2017
14 posts
6 upvotes
And back to my question that nobody actually answered/commented on: is it legal for a bank to refuse to open an account for someone who is not able to communicate with them in English/French without anybody else's help?

Here is a quote from https://www.canada.ca/en/financial-cons ... .html#toc6 :

When a financial institution refuses to open an account for you

A financial institution doesn’t have to open a personal account for you if:
  • it believes you plan to use the account for illegal or fraudulent purposes
  • you have a history of illegal or fraudulent activity with financial service providers during the past seven years
  • it believes you knowingly made false statements in the information you gave
  • it believes you might cause physical harm to, harass or abuse other customers or its employees
  • you don’t already have an account and it only offers accounts which must be linked to an existing account with another financial institution
  • you don’t allow it to take steps to verify that the identification you presented is valid

The only item that may apply here is the last one, but then it's silly to require that the only way to verify someone's identity is by speaking with them directly without an interpreter.
Sr. Member
User avatar
Jul 25, 2018
661 posts
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Milton, ON
rfder2017 wrote:
Apr 16th, 2019 3:26 pm
And back to my question that nobody actually answered/commented on: is it legal for a bank to refuse to open an account for someone who is not able to communicate with them in English/French without anybody else's help?

Here is a quote from https://www.canada.ca/en/financial-cons ... .html#toc6 :

When a financial institution refuses to open an account for you

A financial institution doesn’t have to open a personal account for you if:
  • it believes you plan to use the account for illegal or fraudulent purposes
  • you have a history of illegal or fraudulent activity with financial service providers during the past seven years
  • it believes you knowingly made false statements in the information you gave
  • it believes you might cause physical harm to, harass or abuse other customers or its employees
  • you don’t already have an account and it only offers accounts which must be linked to an existing account with another financial institution
  • you don’t allow it to take steps to verify that the identification you presented is valid

The only item that may apply here is the last one, but then it's silly to require that the only way to verify someone's identity is by speaking with them directly without an interpreter.
You're blowing this way out of proportion. I've said this on other posts, the best way to get back at a business is to no longer give them yours..
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Apr 23, 2009
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rfder2017 wrote:
Apr 15th, 2019 10:14 pm
I just had an interesting conversation with my friend who tried to open a Simplii account (chequing) for her 70 yo mother who does not speak any English. Basically, after doing everything that was required of them (signature card, identity verification at a Canada Post office), while trying to activate the bank card over the phone, Simplii told them that my friend's mother has to be able to speak with them in English without anybody's help (so my friend was not allowed to translate).

So, they are refusing to activate the card for that woman until she is able to carry a phone conversation with them without anybody helping her!

My question is: is this even legal in Canada?

According to https://www.canada.ca/en/financial-cons ... count.html it seems that it isn't.. or is it?
Whether it is legal or not, count yourself lucky that they are refusing upfront to open an account. All their business is online or over phone and it will be extremely frustrating to get anything done. Basically, your money will be stuck and it will be very expensive to get it out. I know someone who had to get a lawyer to do a power of attorney.

It is best to open account with a brick and mortar bank like TD, BMO etc. Most bank would waive monthly fee if the account holder is a minor or a senior. Only other option is having a joint account with someone who speaks English.

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