The Best Bank Accounts for Students in Canada for 2019

Ratehub.ca
by Ratehub.ca August 13, 2019 / No Comments

At a glance, finding the right bank account as a student seems dull and monotonous, but it’s still one of the most vital aspects of ensuring your success as a student outside of the classroom.

Believe it or not, there are quite a few perks that come with student bank accounts that should be taken advantage of during your time on campus. Some of these benefits include no monthly account fees, student-tailored promotions, and unlimited point-of-sale transactions, to name a few.

Here’s a Quick List of the Best Student Bank Accounts in 2019

 

Best Brick-and-mortar Student Bank Accounts 2019

Best Digital Bank Accounts in Canada 2019

Best Accounts to Boost Your Chequing Account

The average bank account can cost you around $15 each month or $180 per year. That’s why a student bank account can save you a lot of money and is worth looking into. Whether you’re part-time or full-time, a college freshman or university grad, finding a bank account doesn’t need to be a difficult process.

Below are Ratehub.ca’s picks for the best student bank accounts in Canada, which include options from brick-and-mortar and digital-only Canadian banks. Depending on how often you withdraw cash, whether you prefer to earn points on your debit purchases or want unlimited transactions and Interac e-transfers, the list of accounts below should have an option for you. We’ve also added a few savings and investment options that can set you up for a better financial future early on.

Quick Chequing Account Features Table

 

Bank Account Transactions Included Sign-up Bonus Interac e-Transfers ATM Network

Scotiabank Student Banking Advantage Plan

Unlimited 5,000 SCENE Points Free Scotiabank ATM Network, Global ATM Alliance
CIBC Smart for Students Chequing Account Unlimited $60 Free CIBC ATM Network
BMO Plus Student Chequing Account 30 Chance to win $10,500 scholarship $5 BMO ATM Network
RBC Student Chequing Account 25 $60 Free RBC ATM Network
TD Student Chequing Account 25 None Free TD Bank Network
National Bank Student Chequing Account Unlimited Up to $200 for qualifying programs until October 31, 2019 Free The EXCHANGE Network
Tangerine No Fee Daily Chequing Account Unlimited None $1.00  Scotiabank ATM Network, Global ATM Alliance
Simplii Financial Chequing Account Unlimited $200 until October 31, 2019 Free CIBC ATM Network
Alterna Bank No Fee eChequing Account Unlimited None Free The EXCHANGE Network

 

The Best Student Brick-and-Mortar Bank Accounts in Canada 2019

The majority of Canada’s financial market is dominated by six big banks, all of which offer accounts with special benefits for students. Below, you’ll be able to find the best bank account with options catered for a student’s financial needs. In most cases, you can open a bank account online from the comfort of your own home.

1. Scotiabank Student Banking Advantage Plan

About Scotiabank: Chances are you’ve already heard of Scotiabank. If not, Scotiabank is one of Canada’s most reputable banks, operating in Canada for nearly 200 years, with a strong presence in South America as well.

  • Fees: None
  • Sign-Up Promo: 5,000 Bonus SCENE Points
  • Monthly transactions: Unlimited
  • Interac e-Transfers: Unlimited

Why We Love It: Are you a movie lover? What about a foodie? Why not both! The Scotiabank Student Banking Advantage Plan rewards you for regular use. Using a Scotiabank Student account, you can enjoy a sign-up promotion of 5,000 SCENE points, redeemable at various restaurants and movie theatres.

In addition to those perks, the student bank account comes with no monthly fees or usage limitations while you’re an enrolled student. That means unlimited debit transactions, Interac e-transfers, bill payments, and much more.

You can also use over 3,400 Scotiabank ATMs at no additional charge. If you find yourself travelling abroad, you can use your Scotiabank debit card to avoid some ATM fees by using the Global ATM Alliance, which is available in several countries across the globe.

As part of the Global ATM Alliance, Scotiabank clients have access to fee-free cash withdrawals at more than 44,000 cash machines in over 40 countries around the world, making it the best student bank account for a semester abroad.

 

2. CIBC Smart for Students Chequing Account

About CIBC: The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) is another major Canadian bank. Founded in Toronto, CIBC has been operating since 1961, after the amalgamation of two financial institutions with roots dating back to the late 1800s.

  • Fees: None
  • Sign-Up Promo: $60
  • Monthly transactions: Unlimited
  • Interac e-Transfers: Unlimited

Why We Love It: The CIBC Smart for Students Chequing Account is another student bank account that offers no fees or minimum balance requirements. That means no registration fees or monthly fees for being a cardholder. The account also offers unlimited Interac e-transfers. You can also any of the 3,800 CIBC ATMs currently available in Canada.

Graduating soon? No worries. You can continue enjoying the no-cost benefits of this account for an additional six months after your studies have ended.

Did we mention that you also get $60, just for opening an account? Simply open the bank account online, register, and make five debit transactions.

3. BMO Plus Student Chequing Account

About BMO: The Bank of Montreal (BMO) first opened its doors in 1817, making it Canada’s oldest bank. The major financial institution has conducted business in Canada for over 200 years.

  • Fees: $5
  • Sign-Up Promo: Chance to win a $10,500 scholarship
  • Monthly transactions: Unlimited
  • Interac e-Transfers: Unlimited

Why We Love It: The BMO Plus Students Plan comes with a chance to win $10,500 that goes towards one lucky student’s tuition.

Even non-winners can still win big. The BMO Plus Student Chequing Account comes with no monthly fees, 30 monthly point-of-sale transactions every month, and unlimited Interac e-transfers.

4. RBC Student Chequing Account

About RBC: The Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) is the second bank to open its doors in Canada.

  • Fees: None
  • Sign-Up Promo: $60
  • Monthly transactions: 25 transactions per month
  • Interac e-Transfers: Unlimited

Why We Love It: The RBC Student Banking Account comes with $60 when you, the student, opens an account. It also comes with 25 free transactions each month, unlimited Interac e-transfers, and access to over 4,600 ATMs.

5. TD Student Chequing Account

About TD Bank: TD Bank is one of Canada’s largest banks. It was founded in Toronto is very prominent in the mid-eastern parts of the United States.

  • Fees: None
  • Sign-Up Promo: None
  • Monthly transactions: 25 per month
  • Interac e-Transfers: Unlimited

Why We Love It: TD Bank’s Student Chequing Account is another chequing account offered by one of Canada’s most prominent banks. The account offers no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements and comes with unlimited Interac e-transfers, and 25 free point-of-sale transactions per month.

6. National Bank Student Chequing Account

About National Bank: National Bank is the largest bank in Quebec and the second-largest financial institution in Quebec.

  • Fees: None
  • Sign-Up Promo: Up to $200 for qualifying students
  • Monthly transactions: Unlimited
  • Interac e-Transfers: Unlimited

Why We Love It: Students can access over 2,000 National Bank ATMs across Canada, as well as any ATM affiliated with the EXCHANGE Network. National Bank only offers its student chequing account to students studying specific majors, including law students, medical, and more.

That said, students enrolled in designated majors can earn up to $200 for opening a new account. This offer is active until October 31, 2019.

National Bank is a great option for students, especially ones living in Quebec, who value accessibility and convenience.

 

The Best Digital Bank Accounts for Students (and Non Students Too)

Do you remember the last time you stepped into a bank branch? Online banks are a growing trend in the financial industry, which is why there’s no better time to maximize your student bank account options by looking into online banks.

1. Alterna Bank No Fee eChequing Account

About Alterna Bank: Alterna Bank is the online bank operated by Alterna Savings. Alterna Savings is the first and oldest credit union in Ontario, operating since 1908.

  • Fees: None
  • Sign-Up Promo: None
  • Monthly transactions: Unlimited
  • Interac e-Transfers: Unlimited

Why We Love It: Alterna Bank’s chequing account is entirely free to use, whether you’re a student or not. This online bank account comes with free transactions, unlimited Interac e-transfers, and no cost accessibility to over 3,300 ATMs affiliated with the EXCHANGE Network. Many Alterna Savings branches are located on university and college campuses. Additionally, Alterna Bank was the winner of the Personal Finance Awards of 2018, for the chequing accounts category.

 

2. Simplii Financial Chequing Account

About Simplii Financial: Formerly known as President’s Choice Financial, Simplii Financial came into existence after a business relationship between President’s Choice and CIBC came to an end. Today, Simplii Financial offers many of the same perks its predecessor offered its customers.

 

  • Fees: None
  • Sign-Up Promo: $200, with direct deposit registration
  • Monthly transactions: Unlimited
  • Interac e-Transfers: Unlimited

Why We Love It: Simplii Financial is one of the most popular online banks in Canada. The bank account is perfect for students: free Interac e-transfers, unlimited point-of-sale transactions, no minimum balance requirements, and no monthly fees. Cardholders can also access over 3,400 CIBC ATMs at––you guessed it––no additional charge.

If you’re an international student, e-transfers across borders are free as well, meaning you can send and receive money without additional charges.

3. Tangerine No Fee Daily Chequing Account

About Tangerine: Formerly known as ING Direct, Tangerine is an online bank, now owned entirely by Scotiabank.

Why We Love It: A Tangerine chequing account isn’t a student account per se, but beneficial to students nonetheless. The bank account comes with no monthly fees and tons of perks that make banking as a student that much easier.

  • Fees: None
  • Sign-Up Promo: None
  • Monthly transactions: Unlimited
  • Interac e-Transfers: $1.00

The chequing account offers free Tangerine email money transfers. These money transfers can take up to two or three days to arrive. If you’re in a rush, regular Interac e-transfers cost $1.00 each, and reach your sender almost instantly.

Cardholders can also use any of the 3,600 Scotiabank ATMs available across Canada, or visit Tangerine Cafes, located in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal.

Boost your Chequing Account with a Saving and/or Investment Account

An excellent chequing account is essential, whether you’re a student or not; but using the right saving and investing account with your chequing account can help you stretch your dollar much further. In many cases, it can even earn you money.

Below are two great financial products that can give your new chequing account the extra oomph it needs to ensure your financial independence keeps growing, well beyond your days on campus.

1. EQ Bank Hybrid Savings Account

About EQ Bank: EQ Bank is a digital bank owned by Equitable Bank, one of Canada’s largest independent banks.

  • Fees: None
  • Sign-Up Promo: None
  • Monthly transactions: Unlimited
  • Interac e-Transfers: Unlimited

Why We Love ItThe EQ Bank Hybrid Savings Plus Account works precisely like any chequing account on this list. There is one exception: the account does not include a debit card or cheques. 

Nonetheless, EQ Bank’s high-interest savings account can help you earn some interest on your savings.

EQ Bank is a digital bank that offers high-interest savings account at a rate of 2.30% on deposits. It also allows you to make unlimited e-transfers and bill payments, as well as direct deposit and mobile cheque deposits. The best part? It’s entirely free to use and requires no minimum balance. 

That said, you can use this high-interest savings account with any of the free accounts listed above.

2. Wealthsimple Robo-Advisor

About Wealthsimple: Wealthsimple is a robo-advisor. A robo-advisor might sound like something out of a science fiction novel, but it’s an automated platform that manages investments using a Nobel Peace Prize-winning algorithm. It’s like a human financial advisor, but without the high fees. 

  • Fees: None during the first year
  • Sign-Up Promo: Up to $10,000 managed for free for the first year

Why We Love Wealthsimple Robo-AdvisorWealthsimple manages investment portfolios according to their risk capacityAs one of Canada’s leading robo-advisors, Wealthsimple invests your money for a remarkably small fee. Wealthsimple manages Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) for clients at a very fair and affordable price.

ETFs combine various investments into one neat package, making it especially easy for investors to diversify their investment portfolio without needing to do extensive research about their investments, or how to trade stocks. 

  • Get up to $10,000 managed for free for one year.
  • Choose between Conservative, Balanced, and Growth Risk Profiles.
  • Halal investing options available.

 

Didn’t find a chequing account that warms your heart? Compare Best Chequing Accounts

 

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