The Best Student Chequing Accounts in Canada for 2022
better choices made
to Canada’s top financial institutions
Student chequing accounts
Kids get a pretty good deal when it comes to banking. Like youth, students can also get special discounts on bank accounts when they are attending a post-secondary institution, and long past the age of 19. Keep reading to find out more.
What are student chequing accounts?
Student chequing accounts are bank accounts designed to help post-secondary students save money on fees, for as long as they're in school. While each bank has its own specific requirements to open a student account, you will always need to be enrolled (usually full-time) in a post-secondary program at a recognized educational institution such as a university, community college, or CEGEP, to open an account. You must also be within a defined age range, typically 18-25 years old, though this can vary.
What are the advantages of student chequing accounts?
On top of the fact that student chequing accounts typically come with no or low monthly fees, some of their other advantages include:
- Unlimited or numerous debit transactions per month
- Low (or no) minimum initial deposit or balance requirements
- A specified number of free email money transfers
- Rebates toward the annual fee of certain credit cards
What to look for in a student chequing account
While the student chequing account you choose will depend on your specific priorities and spending habits, there are some general features you'll want to look for.
Low or no annual fees
Being a student is expensive enough without having to pay extra fees on your bank account every year. Understanding this, most student chequing accounts offer no annual fee (or at the very least a small one), so avoid banks that will hit you with these kinds of charges.
Because a large amount of your account activity will be debit transactions and e-transfers, you'll want to look for chequing accounts that offer either unlimited transactions or, at the very least, a high number of free ones.
While most places use debit machines these days, there are still occasions where you'll need physical money, such as cash-only bars and takeout spots. That's why you'll want to make sure your chosen bank has ATMs close by.
Student credit cards
Used wisely, credit cards are a great way to build your credit and learn financial skills that will come in handy as you get older. When shopping around for the right student chequing account, it may be worth it to investigate a bank's student credit card options as well.
While most student chequing accounts don't offer a lot in the way of sign up incentives and benefits, some do feature small perks. These can sometimes be a small cash bonus, Air Miles, or a certain number of free transactions.
How to open a student chequing account
In general, opening any bank account is an easy process. The vast majority of financial institutions will let you sign up online, and your new account will be ready for you to use within minutes. That being said, there is documentation you'll want to have ready to help confirm your identity and student status. This can include:
- A driver's license or passport
- A copy of your renter's lease (if you're living in an apartment)
- A utility bill or other official mail with your current address listed
- A copy of your timetable or other proof of student status
What happens when you're no longer a student
When you submit your final exam and graduate from your program, your bank will, in most cases, automatically switch you over to a chequing account. If you read the fine print on your bank's website, you should find some language that says they will open an account consistent with your past transaction history.
What this means is that if you were constantly making debit transactions or email money transfers, the bank will open an account geared towards that activity. For instance, they might choose one that has unlimited debit transactions.
The obvious risk in this situation is that you get put in an account that has substantial fees you would like to avoid. One way to get around this potential issue is to tell the bank the specific account you would like, in advance of your student account automatically being closed.
When student accounts aren't the best deal
You might be a student, but that doesn't necessarily mean a student chequing account is the best fit for you. The “best” chequing account is the one that best meets your needs. For example, if you're looking for unlimited transactions on a student budget, you might want to open a no-fee chequing account, which has unlimited transactions and no monthly fee. However, because no fee chequing accounts are offered by smaller lenders and credit unions, you may have limited access to ATMs. If you use your debit card at ATMs not associated with your lender, you will be “dinged” with transaction fees. No-fee chequing accounts also tend to be no-frills and usually don't offer features such as e-transfers or overdraft protection.
If you're a student looking to open a chequing account, think realistically about your habits, the types of transactions you'll be making, and how often you'll do it.
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