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The best chequing accounts in Canada for 2022

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Chequing accounts might be the most common banking product in Canada. Yet, many Canadians aren’t fully aware of how many daily banking options are available—let alone the perks that they have to offer.

Many Canadians often choose chequing accounts at random, or, out of presumed convenience, without ensuring all of their daily and long-term banking needs are covered. This often leads to unnecessary fees and inevitable frustration.

Many banks and credit unions offer some of the best chequing accounts in Canada, which can maximize Canadians’  potential to saving money in the long run. Many include advantages like no monthly fees, unlimited transactions, and, in some cases, reward programs, finding the right chequing account for your financial needs and habits is something worth investing in.

You can learn more about chequing accounts and find the one best suited for you below.

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The Best Chequing Accounts in Canada for 2022

Now that you’ve considered all-of-the-above, you’re one step closer to finding your next chequing account. Each bank account offers its own advantages and disadvantages, so be sure to assess your requirements and choose the best personal chequing account for your lifestyle and financial habits.

Scotiabank Basic Banking Chequing Account

 

Scotiabank’s Basic Banking chequing account is one of the best chequing accounts in Canada.

With a minimum balance, it offers no monthly fees and unlimited transactions. It also offers several reward point options and is a member of an international ATM network.

Scotiabank Basic accounts come at no cost with a minimum account balance, with various options, depending on the flexibility of the account.

The Global ATM Network allows Scotiabank customers to access certain ATMs in different countries for free while granting access to special exchange rates. For example, Canadians travelling in the United States can use Bank of America machines at no additional cost from either bank.

To add icing on the cake, Scotiabank offers a rewards program for its chequing account, an option seldom offered by financial institutions. Customers have the option of earning SCENE Points, which can be redeemed for free movies or at participating restaurants. Other point options include travel, gift cards, and more.

  • Monthly fee: $3.95
  • # of transactions: 12 per month, of which 4 can be at a teller; additional transactions are $1.25
  • Interac e-Transfers: 2 free per month
  • Extras: Free paperless and paper statements; earn Scene rewards for entertainment purchases or Scotia Rewards for travel and merchandise; Apple and Android mobile banking apps
  • Service charges: Many, including $1.50 for each Interac withdrawals


 Alterna Bank No Fee eChequing Account

 

Alterna Bank is a digital bank offering one of the best free chequing accounts in Canada.

The account is entirely free to use. It comes with no monthly fees, no transaction limits, unlimited Interac e-transfers, and overdraft protection for the low price of $2.50 per month. Account deposits include insurance coverage through the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC).

Since there are no physical branches, customers can open a bank account online and access over 3,300 ATMs in the EXCHANGE Network. However, unlike most digital banks, Alterna Bank offers branch service at its parent, Alterna Savings credit union.

Alterna Bank is a digital bank founded and owned by Alterna Savings. Alterna Savings is one of Canada’s oldest credit unions, which has operated for over 100 years in Canada. It’s also the first one to open its doors in Ontario.

Alterna Bank is available in all of Canada, including Quebec.

  • Monthly fee: none
  • # of transactions: unlimited
  • Interac e-Transfers: unlimited
  • Extras: Access to over 3,300 ATMs in THE EXCHANGE® Network, eligible deposits are insured up to the maximum amount through the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC)
  • Service charges: Optional overdraft protection at $2.50/month


 Wealthsimple Cash

 

Wealthsimple’s latest product, a hybrid account known as Wealthsimple Cash, is the ultimate spending-saving account currently available in Canada.

Unlike most chequing accounts, Wealthsimple Cash offers interest, at a very generous rate of 2.40% with the privileges of an excellent chequing account that includes unlimited transactions and Interac e-Transfers.

Wealthsimple Cash is a digital bank account, meaning there are no physical branches. That said, Wealthsimple Cash offers ATM fee reimbursement up to a monthly limit, meaning customers can withdraw money from any ATM and receive a refund.

Additionally, customers can set up direct deposit, use mobile cheque deposit, and enjoy no foreign exchange rates.

Wealthsimple Cash is available to all Canadian citizens.

  • Monthly fee: none
  • # of transactions: unlimited
  • Interac e-Transfers: unlimited
  • Extras: ATM fee reimbursement up to a monthly limit, direct deposit, mobile cheque deposit, no FX fees
  • Service charges: none

 

Simplii Financial No-Fee Chequing Account

 

Simplii Financial™’s No-Fee Chequing Account is another no-fee bank account that comes with unlimited monthly transactions, unlimited self-serve transactions, and unlimited Interac e-transfers. Simplii Financial™ is a digital bank, which means in-person teller service or physical branches are not available. However, Simplii Financial™ customers bank online and through the Simplii Financial™ app, or use any CIBC ATM at no additional cost.

Simplii Financial™ customers can also send money to many places around the world at no additional cost. The bank also allows customers to order foreign currency, which can be picked up at designated Canada Post outlets.

Simplii Financial™ is not available to residents of Quebec.

  • Monthly fee: none
  • # of transactions: unlimited
  • Interac e-Transfers: unlimited
  • Extras: direct payroll and pension deposit, pre-authorized bill payments, optional overdraft protection, account-to-account transfers, digital gift cards
  • Service charges: none

 

Tangerine No-Fee Daily Chequing Account

 

Tangerine’s No-Fee Daily Chequing Account is another popular option for a free chequing account and considered one of the best chequing accounts in Canada.

Frugal Canadians seeking to reap the benefits of cost-free banking can enjoy Tangerine’s No-Fee Chequing Account for unlimited withdrawals and no monthly fees. Interac e-transfers are free. In addition, users of those account can collect daily interest on their balance up to a rate of 0.10%, paid out monthly.

Tangerine customers can enjoy the luxury of using Scotiabank ATMs at no additional cost. Customers living in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal can visit Tangerine’s physical branches.

Tangerine is available to all Canadian citizens.

  • Monthly fee: none
  • # of transactions: unlimited
  • Interac e-Transfers: unlimited
  • Extras: optional overdraft protection, interest per dollar paid out monthly
  • Service charges: none

 

Manulife Bank of Canada Advantage Account

 

Manulife Bank of Canada Advantage account combines the perks of a free chequing account with the benefits high-interest savings account.

As a high-interest chequing account, also known as a hybrid savings account offers its customers free and unlimited e-transfers, point-of-sale transactions, and cash withdrawals from ATMs at Manulife Bank branches. The account is entirely free to use with a monthly balance of $1,000.

No minimum balance, however, is required to take advantage of the 1.25% interest rate that Manulife offers its customers—a unique feature, considering the normally low-interest rates of chequing accounts.

The bank is also a member of the EXCHANGE Network, meaning customers can withdraw funds with no surcharge at partnering ATMs.

Manulife Bank of Canada’s Advantage Account is available to all Canadian citizens.

  • Monthly fee: none
  • # of transactions: unlimited (providing account balance is at least $1000)
  • Interac e-Transfers: unlimited (providing account balance is at least $1000. $1 per transfer otherwise)
  • Extras: interest rate of 1.00% on account balance, optional coverage through CDIC
  • Service charges: (if account balance is under $1000) ATM withdrawals in Canada: $1.50, ATM withdrawals outside of Canada: $3.00, debit card purchases in Canada: $1.00, bill payments: $1.00

 

CIBC Smart Account

 

CIBC is one of Canada’s most reputable and respected banks and offers various chequing account options, ranging from basic to premium. CIBC’s most standard account, the CIBC Smart Account is free with a minimum balance of $3,000, but $14.95 or $4.95 if you’re a senior.

CIBC offers access to over 4,000 ATMs in Canada, making them one of the most accessible banks.

CIBC is a CDIC insured bank and available to Canadian citizens living in all provinces and territories.

  • Monthly fee: $6.95 (for up to 12 transactions). No monthly fee if account balance is at least $4000
  • # of transactions: 20 ($6.95 monthly for first 12, $1.25 per transaction after that)
  • Interac e-Transfers: unlimited
  • Extras:
  • Service charges: $2.25/month for paper statements, $2 each for non-CIBC ATM withdrawals in Canada

 

BMO Performance Chequing Account

 

The BMO Performance Chequing Account is their most popular chequing account, featuring unlimited transactions per month for a reasonable monthly fee (or no monthly fee if you keep at least $4000 in your account).

BMO is Canada’s oldest bank, and available in various places across the country. In fact, BMO currently has around 900 branches available across Canada.

BMO is available to all Canadian citizens.

  • Monthly fee: $16.95 (no monthly fee if balance is at least $4000)
  • # of transactions: unlimited
  • Interac e-Transfers: unlimited
  • Extras: 1 free non-BMO Canadian ATM withdrawal per month, up to $40 of the annual fee on an eligible BMO credit card rebated every year
  • Service charges: $2.25/month for paper statements, $2 each for non-CIBC ATM withdrawals in Canada, optional overdraft protection, CDN/US savings accounts at no cost

 

RBC Advantage Banking Chequing Account

 

RBC is another major bank that offers various chequing account options, but the RBC Advantage Banking chequing account is our pick for flexible, everyday banking.

While the card does carry a standard monthly fee of $11.95, the charge is quite flexible. For instance, full-time students and newcomers to Canada can have the fee waived completely, whereas seniors who choose the account will only pay $7.95 per month. The account also boasts free Interac e-transfers and unlimited debit transactions within Canada.

All Canadian citizens can use RBC Royal Bank.

  • Monthly fee: $11.95 (free for full-time students/newcomers, $7.95 for seniors)
  • # of transactions: unlimited (within Canada)
  • Interac e-Transfers: unlimited
  • Extras: 1 RBC Rewards point for every $10 you spend in-store and online when enrolled in Value Program, 1 NSF fee rebated every calendar year, 1 book of 50 cheques free, no RBC fee to use another bank’s ATM in Canada
  • Service charges: cross-border debits: $1 each, bank drafts: $8.50 each

 

TD Unlimited Chequing Account

 

TD Bank is one of Canada’s biggest and most common banks, with over 1,000 branches in Canada and the United States, as well as more than 2,500 ATMs across Canada and certain US states.

While TD has a few different chequing options to choose from, our pick is the TD Unlimited Chequing Account, which features a monthly fee rebate for balances of $4000 or higher, unlimited transactions, and a first-year annual fee rebate for your choice of one of five select TD credit cards.

TD is available to all Canadian citizens.

  • Monthly fee: $16.95 ($6.95 for full-time students, $11.95 for seniors, free for balances of $4000 or higher)
  • # of transactions: unlimited
  • Interac e-Transfers: unlimited
  • Extras: TD Fraud Alerts, extra Starbucks rewards when linking your debit to your Starbucks loyalty card
  • Service charges: foreign ATM fee: $3.00 (for transactions in U.S. and Mexico) and $5.00 (all other countries), paper statements: $2.00/month

Looking for the perfect chequing account?

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What is a chequing account?

A chequing account is the most standard type of bank account. It is offered by most Canadian banks and credit unions.

Chequing accounts allow millions of Canadians to make daily financial transactions, such as sending and receiving money, depositing cheques, paying bills, and making purchases.

Chequing accounts also serve as a means of providing security and safe-keeping for finances, while granting access to different savings and investment accounts.

Chequing accounts also tend to come with a debit card (used for point-of-sale transactions and cash withdrawals) and a chequebook (used in absence of cash or a debit card, or to transfer large amounts of money).

 

Types of chequing accounts

There are many different types of chequing accounts, and, generally speaking, every chequing account operates in the same way. Often, chequing accounts differ mostly by their pricing, terms, and conditions. Below are some examples of the best chequing accounts in Canada.

 

Personal chequing account

A Personal Chequing Account is the most basic type of personal banking product available in Canada. It is meant for use by one person’s individual banking needs, such as paying bills or making purchases. It is the most basic type of chequing account.

 

No-fee chequing account

No-Fee Chequing Accounts are a modern wonder in the world of banking. They provide a cost-free approach to banking and investing which can benefit anyone using the account. No-fee chequing accounts come with no monthly or annual fees, and sometimes with unlimited Interac e-Transfers and transactions.

No-fee chequing accounts are usually provided by digital banks, which do not have branches and exist exclusively online—which means they do not have physical branches. Digital bank customers can usually access ATMs from a bank that is in the same ATM network.

 

Interest-earning chequing account

An Interest-Earning (Hybrid) Chequing Account, also known as a high-interest chequing account or a Hybrid Bank Account, is a chequing account that offers a return interest rate over 1.05%. While somewhat of a rarity, interest-earning chequing accounts combine the flexibility of a chequing account with high-interest rates.

Canadian banks rarely offer chequing accounts that earn interest over 0.5%, but a handful of options are available.

 

Joint chequing accounts

Joint Chequing Accounts are chequing accounts shared between two or more account holders. They allow several account holders to use the same account.

 

Small business chequing account

Small Business Chequing Accounts are chequing account designed for business owners. Since business owners have their own unique banking needs, a business chequing account allows them to manage their daily finances.

Small business accounts allow business owners to reap the benefits on their accounts as well as access banking tools tailored to the needs of business owners.

 

Student chequing account

A Student Chequing Account is suitable for anyone enrolled in post-secondary education. Student chequing accounts are usually entirely free and often offer unlimited transactions.

Usually, a student bank account comes with several student advantages, such as reward programs, discounts, and sign-up promotions.

The best student bank accounts for students vary depending on the institution, but generally, offer unlimited banking options for students, as well as significant benefits, perks, and promotions; be sure to keep this in mind when you’re looking for the best student bank account in Canada.

 

Senior Chequing account

A Senior Chequing Account is a personal bank account with unique advantages for senior citizens. Generally, these chequing accounts offer special rates to seniors. In many ways, a  senior bank account is similar to a student bank account or a youth bank account.

 

Youth chequing account

Youth Chequing Accounts are exceptional no-cost banking account that grants youth a little responsibility before fully stepping into the financial world. A youth chequing account typically comes at no cost to the young citizen who owns the account. It’s the perfect bank account for someone with little to no banking needs.

 

How to choose the right chequing account

Since everyone has distinct financial habits, specific living expenses, and different savings goals, finding the best chequing account for you might take some research and time. Below, you’ll find three major aspects to consider before you open a bank account online.

 

Monthly fees

While monthly fees can be expensive, your banking needs might require a paid account. You’ll want to consider whether paying a monthly fee for a chequing account is worth it.

There are many free chequing accounts available in Canada, each of which come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages.

No-fee chequing accounts do not come with monthly fees since they usually only operate online as digital banks. Major banks charge their customers a flat rate every month for using a chequing account, which comes with increased accessibility, flexibility, and customer services, such as bank teller and financial advisor access.

Often, chequing account fees are waivable if the customer maintains a minimum balance in the account.

 

Transactions limits

Chequing account transaction fees are a crucial part of the decision-making process when finding the best chequing account. Transactions can mean anything from depositing a cheque to making a point-of-sale purchase and are treated and charged differently from institution to institution.

That said, if you make a lot of transactions each month, an account with unlimited transactions might be something worth looking into.

If the account has transaction limits, make sure the amount allotted to you each month accommodates how many transactions you make, or you’ll have to pay for each transaction past your limit.

Ensuring your bank is within proximity to where you live makes a significant impact on your banking experience. Choosing a bank near your home, work, or any other places that you frequent can save you time and money if you need to withdraw liquid cash.

 

Customer service

Good customer service is the backbone of any corporation. This is especially true in the financial sector.

While some chequing accounts come at no cost, customer service options may be limited as a result. Other accounts that come with a monthly fee might have extensive customer service, such as teller access or 24/7 customer service. On the other hand, bank accounts that come with a monthly fee often offer additional products and accessibility options, such as in-branch service.

That said, if you have a low-maintenance approach to banking, consider whether the fees are worth the added luxury.

 

Overdraft protection

Overdraft protection is a small monthly price that you can pay to protect your account from getting charged a Non-Sufficient Funds (NSF) fee. NSF fees are incredibly frustrating, but using overdraft protection can save you money on an expensive fine for a fee that is a fraction of the price.

 

ATM network

An ATM Network is an interbank network that allows customers to use ATMs at no additional cost. Withdrawing money and making transfers can be done on different ATMs at no additional cost if your bank or credit union is apart of the same ATM network.

Choosing a chequing account with an ATM network close to places you frequent can serve as an excellent way of saving money if you find yourself withdrawing money often. If you deposit cash into your account often, you may want to find a bank or credit union near you in which you can deposit your funds.

 

What’s the difference between a chequing and a savings account?

A chequing account and a savings account differ primarily by one major factor: interest.

A chequing account is meant for daily banking, while savings accounts are purposed for saving. Chequing accounts typically do not offer interest, but savings accounts usually do. This is because money in a chequing account is meant for immediate purchases, while savings accounts usually hold money not meant to be spent.

There are many different savings accounts available in Canada, such as the Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSA), Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs), high-Interest savings accounts (HISA), and Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP), among others. All accounts have their individual benefits.

Most Canadian banks offer all of these investing tools and financial products, in addition to chequing accounts.

 

How to earn more interest with a chequing account

Did you know that you can link a chequing account with bank accounts from other institutions? Account linking is an excellent way of using two accounts at once.

For example, a free chequing account might come with a savings account that offers low interest. Linking accounts allows customers to take advantage of accounts with better interest rates—with a seamless means of transferring funds between accounts.

For example, EQ Bank’s Savings Plus Account is a high-interest savings account that works exactly like a chequing account—without a debit card or chequebook.

The account offers an exceptional interest rate of 2.30%, with free e-transfers, direct and mobile deposit, and account linking. You can also use it to pay bills and automate payments or transfers.

Finding a high-interest savings account with a good interest rate is a great way to beef up your chequing account while making your money work a little harder and earning more over a lifetime.

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