The best chequing accounts in Canada for 2020

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by Ratehub.ca January 3, 2020 / No Comments

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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.

The Best Chequing Accounts in Canada for 2020

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.

Account Monthly cost
EQ Bank Savings Plus Hybrid Account $0.00 get this account
Wealthsimple Cash Hybrid Account $0.00 get this account
Scotiabank Basic Bank Account $6.45 get this account
Scotiabank Basic Plus Bank Account $10.95 get this account
Scotiabank Preferred Package $15.95 get this account
Scotiabank Ultimate Package $30.95 get this account
 

Scotiabank Basic Banking Chequing Account

  • 25 free debit transactions + 10 free e-transfers per month
  • Earn SCENE Points or Scotia Rewards Points on everyday purchases.
  • No monthly fees (with a minimum account balance of $3,000) or $10.95 per month.
  • Global ATM Alliance Network affiliation.

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.
 

Alterna Bank No Fee eChequing Account



  • No monthly fees, unlimited monthly transactions, and unlimited e-transfers.
  • Access to the EXCHANGE Network and Alterna Savings ATM Network.
  • Telephone, online, and mobile banking options available.

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.
 

Wealthsimple Cash

  • No monthly fees, balance requirements, or transaction limits
  • 2.40% deposit interest
  • Unlimited Interac e-Transfers with no exchange fees

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.
 

Simplii Financial eChequing Account

More information about Simplii Financial eChequing Account
  • No monthly fees with unlimited e-transfers and transactions.
  • Free access to CIBC ABM network.
  • Mobile app, telephone banking, and online banking available.

Simplii Financial™’s Personal 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.

 

Tangerine No-Fee Chequing Account

More information about the Tangerine No-Fee Chequing Account
  • No monthly fees and free Interac e-transfers
  • Free access to Scotiabank ATM Network and the Global ATM Alliance.
  • Telephone, online, and mobile banking support available.

Tangerine’s No-Fee 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.

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.

 

Manulife Bank of Canada Advantage Account

More information about Manulife Bank of Canada Advantage Account
  • 1.25% interest rate on deposits
  • Unlimited e-transfers, self-serve transactions, and ATM withdrawals with a minimum balance of $1,000.
  • Free access to the EXCHANGE Network.

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.

 

CIBC Smart Account

More information about the CIBC Smart Account
  • Earn a $300 bonus and pay no monthly fees for up to 12 months (must set up either a recurring direct deposit or 2 recurring pre-authorized debits within your first three months)
  • Free account options with a minimum account balance of $3,000.
  • Mobile, telephone, online and in-branch services are available.

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.

 

BMO Chequing Account

More information about the BMO Chequing Account
  • Mobile, branch, online, and telephone banking available.
  • BMO AIR MILES Rewards Program chequing account available.

Like most major banks, BMO offers various chequing account options, ranging from the Practical (which offers basic banking functions) to Premium (which offers the most features out of any BMO chequing account.)

BMO is also one of the few major banks that offer a chequing account with a rewards option. The BMO AIR MILES chequing account, which allows customers to rack up points for travel or other purchases.

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.

 

RBC Chequing Account

More information about RBC Chequing Account
  • 4,200 RBC ATMs available in Canada
  • Telephone, mobile, online and in-branch banking options available.

RBC is another major bank that offers various chequing account options, with branch access and 4,200 ATMs available across Canada. An RBC chequing account comes in all shapes and sizes. The minimal Day-to-Day account comes costs $4.00 a month and comes with 12 debit transactions.

For the maximizer seeking the most flexibility out of an RBC chequing account, RBC VIP banking option provides unlimited debit transactions in Canada and the United States, with additional promotions such as a credit card rebates.

All Canadian citizens can use RBC Royal Bank.

 

TD Chequing Account

More information about TD Chequing Account
  • Over 2,500 ATMs across Canada and the United States.
  • Online banking, mobile banking, branch access, and telephone banking available.

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.

TD Chequing accounts all come with their own specific options and terms. TD offers various chequing account options, as any other major bank does, ranging from discount to luxury banking options.

TD is available to all Canadian citizens.

 

Luminus Financial FiveStar Chequing Account

More information about Luminus Financial FiveStar Chequing Account
  • Member of the EXCHANGE ATM Network.
  • Online and telephone banking available.

Luminus Financial’s FiveStar Chequing Account comes with several outstanding perks for a chequing account, such as unlimited point of sale transactions or ATM transactions at their Toronto-based branches or at participating EXCHANGE Network ATMs.

Additional services that come with a Luminus Financial FiveStar Chequing Account includes free in-branch deposits and withdrawals, as well as Interac direct payments, pre-authorized deposits, and withdrawals. Also included are free transfers and bill payments.

Customers can also utilize the FiveStar Chequing Account for its overdraft limit of $500 by registering their payroll deposit.

Luminus is a credit union based in Ontario and available to all Canadian citizens, though an in-branch visit may be required to verify one’s identity.

 

DUCA No-Fee Chequing Account

More information about the DUCA No-Fee Chequing Account
  • Member of the EXCHANGE Network.
  • Unlimited Interac e-transfers, bill payments, point-of-sale transactions, and withdrawals from participating ATMs.

DUCA’s No Fee Chequing Account offers unlimited monthly transactions, unlimited self-serve transactions, and unlimited cheque transactions. Customers banking with the Ontario-based credit union can use all ATMs partnered with the EXCHANGE Network.

Additionally, DUCA customers can bank with the credit union at no monthly cost.

DUCA Credit Union is an Ontario-based financial institution and available to all Canadians.

 

motusbank No-Fee Chequing Account

More information about motusbank No-Fee Chequing Account
  • Member of the EXCHANGE Network
  • Unlimited Interac e-transfers, transactions, and withdrawals.
  • Mobile app and online banking available.

motusbank, the direct banking division of Meridian, offers an entirely limitless chequing account, making it one of the most popular chequing accounts available.

A motusbank chequing account offers unlimited transactions and unlimited Interac e-transfers. It also offers a variety of personal banking products and a mobile banking application.

The bank operates entirely online, meaning there are no designated motusbank locations.

 
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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).

Want to compare all of the best chequing accounts in Canada? Compare Best Chequing Accounts

 

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.

Want to compare all of the best chequing accounts in Canada? Compare Best Chequing Accounts

 

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