Did you know that the average premium chequing account costs about $30 monthly, with some banks charging upwards of $400 yearly?
That is why it may be more suitable to get a no-fee bank account, which can help you save hundreds of dollars in the long run.
There are various options to choose from, including Tangerine, Simplii Financial, and KOHO. The question is: Which one is best for you?
Read on to learn more about the best no-fee bank accounts in Canada this year.
Best Online No-Fee Chequing Accounts
Many no-fee bank accounts in Canada are digital, making it more convenient to conduct banking transactions wherever you are.
And you don’t need to be worried about their online-only presence, as most banks offering online accounts are members of the CDIC, which means that up to $100,000 of your deposits are insured and protected.
When selecting no monthly fee bank accounts, you’ll want to make sure that they provide immediate access to your funds, easy-to-use banking platform, and have a good reputation among other users.
Here are the best types of chequing accounts that offer such features:
1. Simplii Financial No Fee Chequing Account
Simplii Financial is owned by the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, reassuring customers that their money is safe with a reputable financial institution.
The online bank offers free transactions, Interac e-Transfers, and bill payments, along with free use of over 3,000 CIBC ATMs in the country.
When you open a free Simplii No-Fee Chequing Account, you receive a $400 welcome bonus if you set up a direct deposit that goes on for 3 consecutive months.
This account also pays you interest on your balance.
2. KOHO Account
The KOHO Easy Account has no annual or account fees, along with free unlimited transactions. The only exception would be having to pay for foreign transaction fees, which cost 1.5% per transaction.
The chequing account allows you to save more money in the long run, as you can earn 1% cashback on groceries and transportation. You can also earn up to 5% cash back when purchasing from select merchants. Besides that, you also earn 0.5% interest without having to meet a minimum balance requirement.
3. Tangerine No-Fee Daily Chequing Account
Tangerine is known for offering a wide range of features with low transaction fees, making it a popular no-fee bank account in Canada.
Members can access more than 3,500 Scotiabank ATMs across the country, making it easy to make deposits and withdrawals. No need to worry about paying for anything when making transactions, as you can make free unlimited transactions, including debit purchases, e-transfers, or bill payments.
Moreover, the bank has an overdraft protection program, limiting unexpecting overdrafts from your account. On top of these features, you get your first book with 50 cheques for free.
4. Motive Financial Cha-Ching Chequing Account
As a digital bank, Motive Financial has no physical branches, making it a disadvantage for those who prefer doing their bank transactions face-to-face. However, many perks also make it worth considering their Cha-Ching Chequing Account.
For starters, there aren’t any fees, and you can perform unlimited transactions. You will also get 50 free personalized cheques upon enrolling, along with 0.25% interest. If you’re looking for convenience and to save on expensive fees, Motive Finacial is a suitable option.
5. Motusbank No-Fee Chequing Account
Motusbank opened in 2018, offering a chequing account that comes with a debit card, a 25-count chequebook, and free unlimited transactions for debit purchases or Interac e-Transfers. Members get no-fee usage to surcharge-free ATMs with THE EXCHANGE Network.
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What makes Motusbank unique is its Price Drop feature, where you will submit monthly photocopies of your receipts with the possibility of receiving cashback. They also offer a 0.15% interest, which is a bit higher compared to other bank accounts.
6. PC Money Account
The PC Money Account is another advantageous no-fee bank account in Canada that operates similarly to credit card reward programs. You can earn points on your everyday purchases, which you can redeem and use in stores under PC Optimum’s network.
Other than that, the PC Money Account offers other features, including free unlimited transactions, along with an “Early Payday” feature where you can receive direct deposit funds two days earlier than your employer’s scheduled payment date.
7. Alterna Bank No-Fee E-Chequing Account
While Alterna Bank has a slightly lower interest rate compared to other bank accounts (0.05%), they offer some of the lowest overdraft fees ($2.50) and free unlimited email money transfer services.
Besides not having monthly banking fees and free unlimited transactions, Alterna Bank also offers various products, such as end-to-end digital mortgages. They are also very accessible, with their mobile app being easy to use and navigate when performing banking transactions.
8. Wealthsimple Cash Account
The Wealthsimple Cash Account is suitable for Canadians with a Wealthsimple Invest or Trade Account. While the account still lacks important features necessary for full-service banking, including cheque deposits, it is convenient when sending or saving money through its mobile app.
Beyond the unlimited debit purchases, withdrawals, and bill payments, you can easily add your Wealthsimple Visa Cash card included with your account to your Apple or Google Pay account. This makes purchases even easier to do!
Best Free Online Savings Accounts
Most savings accounts don’t have monthly fees, although there may be transaction fees, depending on the debit transactions you use them for. Because of that, you may want to consider getting any of these free online savings accounts:
9. EQ Bank Savings Plus Account
While all of EQ Bank’s accounts do not have monthly fees, the Savings Plus Account stands out. This account type is branded as an everyday banking account with great flexibility and a high-interest rate of up to 3.00% yearly.
You also won’t need to maintain a minimum balance either, making it a suitable choice for most Canadians.
10. Simplii Financial High-Interest Savings Account
If you’re more focused on an account with a higher interest rate, then you’ll like Simplii Financial, which has a starting interest rate of 0.40% and up to 5.25%, depending on your account balance.
Without minimum balance or monthly fees, you won’t have to hassle yourself to maintain a certain amount of money in your account.
While the perks are great, note that you will not be able to perform transaction options such as e-transfers, ATM transactions, and debit transactions. As such, this account is more suitable for existing Simplii Financial customers who need a safe place to keep money they don’t plan on spending.
For a limited time, you can open a Simplii high interest savings account and earn 6% interest for the first 5 months.
11. Neo Money Account
The Neo Money Account is a popular savings account in Canada because of its high-interest rates and no-fee transactions. It has a 2.25% interest rate per annum without minimum balance requirements.
It is marketed as a hybrid savings account as you also get the spending ability of a chequing account, giving you a place to save your money while still being able to use it for bill payments or shopping.
However, this type of account isn’t available in Quebec and does not offer paper cheques. Moreover, Neo doesn’t offer USD accounts, making it a disadvantage if you conduct cross-border transactions.
12. Tangerine Savings Account
The Tangerine Savings Account is another excellent choice for those looking to meet their savings and investment goals.
There are also no fees, service charges, and minimum balance requirements. You can start saving and earning immediately, regardless of how much you put into your account.
That said, they don’t have the highest available interest rate, nor are their interest rates stable, as Tangerine has changed them several times throughout the past months.
Also, there aren’t debit cards or e-transfers available with the Tangerine Savings account, though the solution is to get a Tangerine no-fee chequing account for easy access and use.
Best No-Fee Chequing Accounts For Students
Are you a student or parent planning to open a chequing account for your child? You may want to consider the following chequing accounts:
13. Scotiabank Student Banking Advantage Plan
The Scotiabank Student Banking Advantage Plan is one of the most popular no-fee chequing accounts for students in Canada.
As long as you’re enrolled full-time in a post-secondary school, you can enjoy no monthly account fees and transaction fees, along with access to debit cards where you can earn points to use for travel, dining, banking, and more rewards.
Take note that this account is only suitable for full-time students. Part-time students will need to consider other chequing accounts that suit their needs.
14. RBC No-Fee Student Advantage Chequing Account
The RBC no-fee account for students is called Advantage Banking for students, which offers free transactions on top of waived monthly fees.
It’s also straightforward to use and conduct transactions, as there is a dedicated mobile app for students under 22 years old. Full-time students at secondary or post-secondary schools qualify for this account, provided they submit their proof of enrollment from qualifying educational institutions.
Students can also begin thinking about their finances with the RBC no-fee chequing account, which provides free credit score checks, personalized financial insights, and a quick application process for the RBC Student credit card.
15. TD Student Chequing Account
There are unique benefits when students avail of a TD no-fee chequing account, such as saving on monthly bank fees, unlimited transactions, and overdraft protection, along with access to TD ATMs and branches across the country.
International students who just moved to Canada can easily open a TD international student bank account while receiving similar benefits.
Students can also join the Simply Save Program, allowing them to save money each time they pay using their TD Access Card.
16. CIBC Smart for Students
University, college, or CEGEP students are eligible to apply for the CIBC Smart for Students. Similar to other bank accounts for students, customers can enjoy fee-free banking and unlimited transactions, along with benefits exclusive to CIBC.
Even after graduating, you can still maintain your fee-free and unlimited banking benefits for up to six months before transitioning to a regular COBC Smart Account.
But until then, you get to take advantage of discounts on gas, free SPC+ memberships, and more.
17. BMO Student Bank Accounts
The BMO Student Bank Account is a bit limited as they only offer 25 free transactions monthly. However, they do have special perks, such as access to the BMO Premium Rate Savings Account, giving you a 0.01% interest rate.
This is slightly smaller compared to other bank accounts but can still be a good option for customers already enrolled with another BMO account.
There are also other benefits, including free transactions and e-transfers, along with credit card rebates.
The account will also stay fee-free for up to one year after graduation, which is a huge advantage compared to other banks that only stay fee-free for up to six months.
Best No-Fee Bank Accounts in Canada Compared
|Bank||Monthly Fee||Debit Transactions||Interest Rate||ATM Network|
|Simplii Financial No Fee Chequing Account||$0||Unlimited||Up to 0.10%||CIBC|
|Motive Financial Cha-Ching Chequing Account||$0||Unlimited||0.25%||THE EXCHANGE Network|
|KOHO Easy Account||$0||Unlimited e-Transfers||$0.50%||N/A (may be charged out-of-network-fee)|
|Tangerine No-Fee Daily Chequing Account||$0||Unlimited||0.10%||Scotiabank|
|Motusbank No-Fee Chequing Account||$0||Unlimited||0.15%||THE EXCHANGE Network|
Benefits of No-Fee Bank Accounts
- As the name suggests, there’s no need to worry about monthly fees, allowing you to save up to $400 yearly.
- Some bank accounts offer unlimited and free bank transactions, saving you even more money in the long run.
- Some chequing accounts earn interest.
- You are usually not required to maintain a minimum balance.
- Many no-monthly fee bank accounts come with a debit card you can use in transactions where major card brands are accepted or to add to your digital wallet. You can also use debit cards to withdraw cash from ATMs.
- You can avail of the bank’s promotional offers upon signing up for a bank account, such as high-interest rates in the first year or cash rewards.
Downsides of No-Fee Bank Accounts
- Most no-fee bank accounts are offered by digital banks. This means they have limited to no brick-and-mortar branches available.
- You may not have access to as many perks compared to a typical chequing account, such as safe deposit boxes.
- Not all bank accounts come with debit cards.
- Free Canadian bank accounts may still require you to pay for other transaction fees, including overdraft usage, foreign transactions, or non-network ATM usage.
How to Choose a Fee-Free Bank Account in Canada
Now that you know more about the best fee-free bank accounts in Canada, the next part is narrowing down your options. Here are the important factors to consider when selecting the most suitable bank account based on your needs:
- Review the bank account’s description and details. You might come across bank accounts that don’t contain monthly fees but have transaction fees. It’s important to read through every detail and get an account that offers unlimited free transactions.
- Some accounts will require you to meet certain criteria to skip monthly fees, such as signing up for their credit card or meeting their balance requirements. Check if the bank account you choose will have any requirements to remain fee-free.
- Besides the transaction fees, check for any transaction limits. Will you be able to write cheques, make ATM withdrawals, or send Interac e-transfers with your bank account at any given time, or do you need to pay a fee for excess transactions?
- Prioritize getting a bank account that offers a debit card and a large ATM network so you won’t need to pay ATM fees.
- Research the banks offering no-fee accounts. Big banks have the advantage of having more physical branches, but they might be lacking in digital offerings and customer service. Smaller banks or online banks may have more personalized services and usually offer no-fee accounts, but they may have limited options and branches.
- Check if the bank account you’re planning to get offers other benefits, including high-interest rates, cash back, or signup bonuses.
Who is the number 1 bank in Canada?
The Royal Bank of Canada takes the top spot of the Five Big Banks, with its reported total net assets being CA$1.957 trillion.
Which bank is best for foreigners in Canada?
The best bank for foreigners and newcomers to Canada is any of the institutions included in the Big Five bank category, including the Royal Bank of Canada.
What is the best online bank in Canada?
The best online bank in Canada is Tangerine, though there are other banks to consider, such as EQ Bank, Simplii, and KOHO.
Which Canadian bank has the best rates?
EQ Bank offers a Savings Plus Account, which offers 3.00% interest rates while you get the features of a chequing account for free.
What is the easiest bank account to open online in Canada?
EQ Bank Savings Plus Account, KOHO Account, and Simplii Financial No Fee Chequing Account are the easiest accounts to open online in Canada.
Related: Kid’s Bank Account