Skip to main content
Ratehub logo
Ratehub logo

The Personal Finance Awards of 2020’s annual Personal Finance Awards honours the top banking and investing products available in Canada.

This year’s winners proved their popularity among finance-savvy Canadians seeking better personal finance products.

Below, you’ll find the Personal Finance Award winners of 2020, in the top chequing, savings, and investment account categories.

The top chequing accounts in Canada for 2020

We all love paying fees, right? If you answered no, you might be surprised.

Many Canadians continue to pay millions in unnecessary chequing account fees each year.

In fact, discovered that the average Canadian spent around $160 on bank fees back in 2018.

This year, Canada’s top personal, senior, and student chequing accounts all put customers first and come with no monthly fees.

1. The top personal chequing account – Alterna Bank eChequing Account

Alterna Bank’s eChequing Account wins this year’s Top Personal Chequing Account award.

Alterna Bank is the digital banking branch of Canada’s second-oldest credit union, Alterna Savings.

As an online bank, operating entirely online allows Alterna Bank to keeps its overhead costs low. The eChequing Account provides a no-frills, cost-free approach to daily banking.

Alterna Bank customers can withdraw money from the EXCHANGE Network. They can also withdraw funds from the ACCEL Network in the United States.

The account offers unlimited transactions, free and unlimited Interac e-transfers, no minimum balance requirements, and—best of all—no monthly or annual fees.

The digital bank also offers additional saving and investing products, all of which come with great rates. It’s a suitable, one-size-fits-all-option for Canadians who like keeping all of your banking needs under one hood.

This account is also suitable for Canadians who value a no-frill and no-fee chequing account option.

Alterna Bank customers can also utilize certain in-branch services at Alterna Savings locations.

Need more convincing? Personal finance journalist Rob Carrick of The Globe and Mail wrote that it was an excellent banking option for millennials, too.

Some of Alterna Bank’s No-Fee Chequing Account perks include:

  • Unlimited transactions and transfers with no monthly fees
  • Free access to 3,500+ EXCHANGE Network ATMs in Canada and 500,000 ACCEL Network ATMs in the USA
  • Alterna offers branch service at its parent, Alterna Savings and Credit Union

2. The top chequing account for seniors – Alterna Bank eChequing Account

The award for the Top Senior Chequing Account in Canada also goes to Alterna Bank’s eChequing Account.

If you didn’t get a chance to read the section above, Alterna Bank offers a virtually limitless chequing account.

It’s ideal for seniors who don’t want to spend money each month on pointless fees and have very minor banking needs.

While personal finance writer Rob Carrick recommended this account for millennials, it is a suitable choice for anyone who values cost-free unlimited banking.

Though Alterna Bank does not have physical branches, customers can receive service at Alterna Savings branches.

It’s also a proud member of the EXCHANGE Network, which grants access to over 3,500 ATMs on Canadian soil, including National Bank, Manulife Bank, and HSBC for free cash withdrawl or deposit.

ATM access for Alterna Bank extends itself south of the border, with 500,000 accessible ATMs in the United States of America.

All Alterna Bank accounts are insured up to $100,000 by the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC).

This chequing account is suitable for seniors who value a simple, free, online banking option. Some of Alterna Bank’s No-Fee Chequing Account perks include:

  • No monthly or annual fees, unlimited transactions
  • Access to over 3,500 ATMs with the EXCHANGE Network, including National Bank, Manulife Bank, and HSBC, as well as 500,000 ATMs in the United States
  • Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC) coverage

3. The top chequing accounts for students – Scotiabank Student Banking Advantage Plan

There’s no life chapter quite as frugal as your days in college or university, which is why the Scotiabank Student Banking Advantage Plan takes this year’s award for the Top Student Chequing Account.

The account comes with unlimited banking, no minimum balance requirements and no monthly account fees.

While the Scotiabank Student Advantage Plan offers no-fee banking to all Canadian post-secondary students, it also comes with the option to earn SCENE Rewards or Scotia Rewards, one of the only chequing accounts in Canada to offer a rewards program.

Guess what? It actually gets better! Since Scotiabank is one of the most prominent banks in Canada, there are over 3,600 ATMs available from coast to Canadian coast, including one in every 7-Eleven.

But ATM access for Scotiabank customers isn’t just localized to Canada.

Scotiabank is part of the Global ATM Alliance, which provides free ATM access in countries all over the world, including the United States and England, as well as (most of) Europe, South America, Africa, Asia, and more. That means you can save money on ATM fees and get one of the best exchange rates on your Canadian money without the avalanche of fees.

This chequing account is best suited for Canadian post-secondary students.

Here are some of the best benefits of being a Scotiabank Student Banking Plan customer:

  • No monthly fee, unlimited transactions
  • Earns rewards on debit transactions
  • BONUS: 5,000 SCENE or Scotia Rewards Points with upon sign-up


The top savings accounts in Canada for 2020

Below, you’ll find the best savings accounts in Canada and the winners of the best high-interest savings accounts (HISAs), the best Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs), and the best Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs).

1. The top high-interest savings accounts in Canada – EQ Bank Savings Plus Account

It’s not really surprising that EQ Bank’s Savings Plus Account claims the reward for the Top High-Interest Savings Account in Canada for the third year in a row.

What is surprising, however, is how EQ Bank managed to make Canada’s most flexible high-interest savings account even more flexible.

With an EQ Bank account, customers can make unlimited bill payments, money transfers, and send Interac e-transfers, while harnessing their funds with an incredible interest rate of 2.45%.

EQ Bank also introduced affordable international money transfers through TransferWise, which is up to eight times cheaper than other methods of sending money around the world.

In other words, if you overlook the fact that this high-interest savings account doesn’t offer a debit card or chequebook, EQ Bank’s Savings Plus Account is the most flexible high-interest savings account in Canada and operates exactly like a chequing account, or, a hybrid bank account.

This account is best suited for Canadians who value no monthly fees and high-interest. Some of the features of the EQ Bank eSavings Account include:

  • No monthly fees or minimum balance requirements
  • Unlimited account transfers, Interac e-Transfers, bill payments, deposits, and withdrawals
  • International Money Transfers Powered by Transferwise
  • Insured by the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC)


  1. 4.00%$200 first year return based on$5,000 balance
    Monthly fee
    Transaction fees

2. The top TFSA savings accounts in Canada – Alterna Bank TFSA Savings Account

Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs) serve one of the most useful Canadian inventions. After all, nothing promotes personal wealth like tax-free growth. That’s why Alterna Bank’s TFSA Savings Account makes saving easy and offers one of the Top TFSA Savings Accounts in Canada.

While most TFSAs don’t differ much from each other, the Alterna Bank TFSA Savings Account is unique among many options for tax-free savings. Its savings rate beats inflation and has limited restrictions. It still offers unlimited internal transfers and requires no minimum account contributions or balance requirements.

Some of Alterna Bank’s TFSA Savings Accounts perks include:

  • Unlimited internal transfers, no minimum balance or monthly deposit requirements
  • Interest calculated daily and paid monthly
  • Insured by the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC)

3. The top RRSP savings account in Canada – Alterna Bank RRSP eSavings Account

The Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) is a vehicle many will contribute to over an entire lifetime. Getting the Top RRSP Savings Account in Canada makes a massive difference in the long run, but with an interest rate like Alterna Bank’s RRSP eSavings account, you can make a huge impact on the rate of growth of your investments.

If you’ve been paying attention, Alterna Bank’s made numerous appearances on this list so far, and generally, it’s been always for the same reason: ease of use and attractive interest rates.

Since money in an RRSP isn’t meant for withdrawal (and if you do withdraw from an RRSP account, you have to pay withholding tax, which is pretty steep). But with a high-interest rate, money in an Alterna Bank RRSP eSavings Account doesn’t just sit there; it grows with you.

This RRSP Savings Account is best suited for Canadians seeking long-term financial growth. Some of Alterna Bank’s RRSP Savings Accounts perks include:

  • Interest calculated daily and paid monthly
  • No minimum balance or contribution required
  • Insured by the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC)


The top investing accounts in Canada for 2020

Investing is becoming more commonplace each day in the lives of many Canadians. It provides a world of opportunity for Canadians who want to increase their wealth, regardless of their knowledge or aptitude for risk.

Below, the Personal Finance Award winners include Canada’s top Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs), the top Robo-Advisors, and the top online brokerageaccounts in Canada.

1. The top one-year GIC rate in Canada – Oaken Financial one-year GIC

Oaken Financial offers incredible interest rates and registered products, as well as no registered products. As a bank-owned and operated by Home Trust, Oaken Financial serves Canadians in all provinces and territories with the best GIC rates in Canada and claims this year’s Top One-Year GIC award.

GICs are known as a safe and conservative investing option, but they shouldn’t play it safe when it comes to offering excellent interest, which, more often than not, is surprisingly scarce among Canadian GIC rates.

As a division of Home Trust, Oaken Financial offers one of the top one-year GIC Rates in Canada. It offers an incredibly easy sign-up process so that Canadians everywhere can make the most of their investment.

This One-Year GIC is best suited for Canadians with short-term savings or investing goals. Some of the Oaken Financial GIC perks include:

  • Interest calculated daily and paid monthly
  • Insured by the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC)
  1. Featured

    5.35%$268 total return based on$5,000 investment
    1 Year
    Minimum investment

2. The top five-year GIC rate in Canada – Oaken Financial five-year GIC

You guessed it—Oaken Financial once again wins the Top Five-Year GIC rate in Canada.

Oaken Financial GIC rates remain consistent throughout the years.

This five-year non-registered GIC is best suited for Canadians with long-term savings or investing goals. Some of the Oaken Financial GIC perks include:

  • Interest calculated daily and paid monthly
  • Insured by the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC)

3. The top robo-advisor in Canada for 2020 – Wealthsimple Invest

Canada’s favourite robo-advising service, Wealthsimple Invest, wins the first Personal Finance Award for Top Robo-Advisor.

Since its launch back in 2014, Wealthsimple has helped bring millennials and investing together, while providing an excellent and affordable means to wealth management.

Wealthsimple provides registered accounts, such as a Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) and a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP), which offers exceptional options for those looking to maximize and leverage their tax-sheltering opportunities.

Wealthsimple offers a myriad of additional account products, such as Wealthsimple Cash and Wealthsimple Trade.

This robo-advisor is best suited for Canadians little-to-no investing knowledge. Some of Wealthsimple Invest perks include:

  • $10,000 managed for free for the first year through!
  • Low, medium, and high-risk investing profiles available
  • Various investing options available


$50 bonus when you open and fund your first Wealthsimple Invest account* (min. $500 initial deposit)

Various investing options and savings accounts available

4. The top Online Brokeage Account in Canada for 2020 – Questrade

And, for the first Top Online Brokerage Account in Canada awards, Questrade inevitably wins the esteemed title.

As Canada’s leading discount brokerage, Questrade provides low fees, registered accounts, and even robo-advisor services known as Questwealth Portfolios.

While Questrade offers plenty of flexible investing options, Questrade wins primarily for its affordable investment options, with some of the lowest fees and the highest flexibility of any investing platform currently operating in Canada.

This online brokerage account is best suited for Canadians with investing experience.

Some of Questrade’s perks include:

  • Some of the lowest trade commission fees in the industry
  • Registered and non-registered account options available, including a robo-advisor option through Questwealth Portfolios
  • Protected by CIPF and IIROC Insurance


No opening or closing fees. Free account transfer. Registered account options available.