The world is becoming more and more digital every day. We shop, learn, and even work online. Activities we used to have to go out for, like checking lottery tickets and renting movies, are happening online from the comfort of our own homes.
Banking in Canada is following the same trend and moving online too.
In recent years, the trend of online banking has started to become the norm in Canada. We already utilize banking apps and online portals, so why do you need a brick and mortar bank to be the go-between?
Most people cannot even remember the last time you went to the bank in person, outside of the occasional deposit. With the rise of the gig economy and the shift of working hours, most bank hours do not fit people’s ever-changing schedule.
For many Canadians, online banking is a great option, and we thought it was time we helped! We looked at some of the best banks around and went over their most popular accounts and offers.
Some banks on this list are online-only banks. The perks with these banks are that they usually offer higher interest rates on their savings account. Online-only banks have no actual location and provide a wide range of customer service using their online platforms.
Bank from your mobile phone with apps and use your camera to deposit cheques. This is a great feature offering help outside of the hours given by traditional banks.
For those not sure of banks like that, we also cover some top five banks with online offerings. With more focus on personal banking and online apps, they have great offers.
A bank like CIBC and TD have mobile apps and an online banking platform, with access to ATMs to deposit cheques when needed. These accounts are outstanding for those looking for online options and the peace of mind that comes with the top five.
Table of Contents
- Best Online Bank Account Canada
- Open an Account with an Online Bank
- What is an Online Account?
- How Do Online Accounts Work?
- Types of Online Accounts
- Why You Need an Online Account
- Which Type of Online Account is Right for Me?
- What is the Difference Between an Online Account and Chequing Account?
- Common Online Account Fees
- The Bottom Line
Best Online Bank Account Canada
In this review, we are looking at the best online bank accounts in Canada. A few banks on the list still have a brick and mortar building with online platforms for their services.
If you’re looking for a savings account, chequing account, or even a credit card, this list will help you pick the right account for your needs.
One of the best banks that operate only online is Tangerine. An arm of Scotiabank, Tangerine, gives you a great online experience and access to Scotiabank ATMs for a deposit when needed. They want to make sure you will always have access to your balance. Offering everything from a daily chequing account to a no-fee high-interest savings account and a cashback credit card.
Tangerine is a star when it comes to no fee and low fee chequing and savings accounts. They have expanded to offer investments and borrowing; all can be applied for online.
Another well-known name in the world of best online banks is Simplii. Newly renamed and rebranded, formally known as Presidents Choice Financial is a branch of CIBC. They offer chequing, savings, and even mortgages.
Simplii is a great choice for those who want an online experience and still enjoy the comfort of knowing one of the top five banks is involved.
The top fives have some tremendous online offerings too. Not as many accounts have no fees, but they do have rewards. The top five banks offer their customers many perks, along with easy-to-use websites and mobile apps.
BMO gives you the ability to apply for their accounts online as well. With sign up bonuses for their chequing accounts, they are another great choice for online banking.
Open An Account With An Online Bank
The financial institution below does not have locations. There are no tellers to meet with or a building for an appointment. All your services take place on the internet. A bank like these is often a great option for anyone looking for accounts with no fees, higher interest rates and other great features.
EQ Bank is one of the newer companies in the online bank world. Officially launching in January 2016, they have made quite the splash. Although without many account options, the bank has established itself with younger Canadians. With a hip and exciting advertising regimen, EQ Bank has started to gain clients at a steep rate.
EQ Bank makes the biggest splash with their savings account. The EQ Bank Savings Plus Account offers one of the best no-fee bank accounts with unlimited transactions. Their online savings account has no debit card, but the mobile app allows for unlimited transactions. Their 1.70% interest rate is impressive, and with no minimum balance, you earn interest on any amount of money.
Newly added is their Joint Account, which allows you to add three people quickly. This bank account offers a high-interest rate of 1.70% on every dollar. The process of opening an online bank account is quick and is a great option for sharing money with people you trust.
The bank offers its clients the ability to invest in GICs with only a $100 minimum. These accounts lock-in for three months to five years and are great for college students or new grads. The longer you allow yourself to be locked in, the higher interest you get on any deposit in the account, with ten years offering 2.70%.
EQ Bank is one of the fully online banks. The mobile app allows the customer to track the progress of their money. The app allows for unlimited transitions per month, with no monthly fees. Allowing you to easily pay bills, send e-transfers, transfer between accounts and make deposits.
EQ Bank is a great option for anyone looking for an online-only bank for their savings needs with their low number of fees. EQ Bank is worth a look.
Scotiabank is one of the traditional banks joining the trend of offering online bank services. Since they are one of the big brick and mortar banks, they offer a lot of services that can be applied for from their website. This includes credit cards, savings accounts, chequing accounts, and even mortgages. As one of the leading banks in Canada, they offer many of their services through their website platform.
With Scotiabank, their two most popular chequing accounts are the Scotiabank Ultimate Package Chequing Account and the Scotiabank Preferred Package Chequing Account. The ultimate package allows customers to get the best of the big banks offer while being able to bank using their websites. With unlimited debit transactions, no-fee international money transfers, and unlimited Interac-e transfers.
This account also comes with a physical debit card allowing you to access your money anywhere. The account has two options for rewards and the option to earn scene points or Scotia rewards. These rewards allow customers to earn points on everyday purchases and are known to be on the best reward systems out there.
The most popular chequing account is the Preferred Package. It has almost the same perks as the Ultimate Package, with a few differences.
All of these accounts offer access to the Scotiabank mobile app. You have everything you need from your phone. The platform allows customers to check their balance, pay bills, transfer between accounts, and pay credit card bills. It’s easy to use and removes the need to go into the bank.
Scotiabank is one of the bigger brick and mortar banks. So like all the big banks, up to $100,000 is covered by deposit insurance. They offer the best of the big banks, with their easy to use mobile app.
Tangerine has established itself as one of the top online banks in Canada. Their current set of accounts competes with the big five and offers some great perks for clients. They do not have big expensive branches, thus allowing them to pass the savings onto the customers. Tangerine was created with the mission of offering customers another option outside of the large bank.
The current list of accounts at Tangerine is strong. Their no-fee chequing account offers clients unlimited transactions, bill payments, and debit purchases. This chequing account also offers no fees on things like deposit or transactions and no minimum balance. It also has a variable interest rate of 0.15% to 0.65% giving you a high yield on your balance.
They also provide five savings accounts with a base 1.05% interest rate. Tangerine online savings account options are great for anyone looking to grow their money, no matter the amount. With no minimal balance, earn their 0.20% interest rate on every dollar. With no monthly fees or service charges, they are one of the better options for a savings account between traditional banks or credit unions.
As a promotional bonus, they are offering 2.75% for the first five months. Plus, the bank offers two competitive credit cards. This includes one of the best cashback no-fee cards on the market that offers an outstanding 3% cashback and three categories. It is not too bad for an online bank, with access to one of the country’s largest ATM networks.
Tangerine prides itself on what they call forward banking, ensuring their accounts are easy to use and fee-free. They want to be a one-stop-shop for their customers. This is why with their chequing account and savings accounts, they also offer investment funds and GIC’s helping grow your balance.
We also recommend reading our Tangerine vs Simplii comparison.
Rebranded as Simplii Financial, the ex-PC Financial has enjoyed loyal clients for years. The new rebranding has brought in some fresh blood, and this online bank is hitting its stride. As an operational bank, with all the banking services you would expect, Simplii is an excellent option. Backed by CIBC, their customer service goes above and beyond. Customers will not miss a brick and mortar location.
As an arm of CIBC, Simplii is a fully operational bank. This means that clients have access to services such as mortgages and investments, and chequing and savings accounts. Their chequing and savings accounts are some of the best and offer bonuses, sometimes in the form of a cash deposit.
Unlike some brick and mortar banks, the chequing account has no monthly fee, with no minimal account balance required. Most banks have some free banking, and Simplii is no exception. Their no-fee chequing accounts offer unlimited transaction debit purchases or bill payments.
Their options ensure you always have access to your money no matter where you are. The debit card allows access to all CIBC ATMs across Canada.
The high-interest savings account comes with no fees and unlimited transactions. It boasts a 1.05% interest rate, which is the same for the RRSP and TFSA accounts. All deposits are safe and secure thanks to Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation, also known as the CDIC.
You will enjoy up to a 0.50% interest rate for the chequing account, no fees and unlimited transactions. All in all, Simplii Financial is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a full-service online bank. With an easy-to-use website and a mobile app that allows you to deposit cheques with your phone, this online bank has it all figured out.
Motusbank is an online bank that is the banking wing of the Meridian Credit Union. Like EQ bank, Motusbank is one of the online-only banks. Motusbank was first launched in the Toronto area but has expanded to the rest of Canada. Although, we should note that residents of Quebec do not have access to Motusbank yet, but will soon.
A bank of online nature sometimes is not full service. Motusbank prides itself on being full service. Despite being an online bank, they are a wing of a credit union, giving their customers more options for their finances. Motusbank offers accounts and other banking services that the big five also provide. Motusbank has a high-rate, low-fee model that rewards clients.
Their chequing account offers no monthly fees and unlimited transactions. There is no minimum balance required for the chequing account, and access to all the perks are not linked to the balance in the account. Following the trend of many online banks, they offer an interest rate of 0.50% on balance within the checking account.
Their process of opening an account is simple, and their mobile app allows for 24/7 access to all online banking accounts. Their accounts come with a vertical debit card which has access to the Exchange Network, one of Canada’s largest ATM networks.
On the other side, the savings account is excellent. Their standard high-interest rate account has no fees and a 2.1% interest rate. While their TFSA account has a 2.35%, and the RRSP account has a 2.10% rate.
Motusbank is an excellent option for those looking for an online bank with services beyond chequing and savings accounts. Motusbank is one of the best banks for anyone looking to their personal finance banking needs, with the peace of mind of a credit union behind it.
With the digital world moving ahead, traditional banks are making sure they are not getting left out of the trend of digital banking. While these big banks still have brick and mortar locations, they offer the same services as some online banks.
RBC or Royal Bank of Canada is another one of the top five brick and mortar banks to offer digital bank options. Unlike some of the other banking options, customers with RBC can do almost the same things online as they can at a branch location.
Their mobile app connects customers to their accounts who can complete their banking online. You can now apply for their accounts online in only a matter of minutes—no need to go into the bank.
For those looking for a chequing account with the lowest bank fees, RBC has their Day to Day Banking account. With a monthly fee of $4.00, this account offers 12 debits a month and unlimited Interac e-Transfer.
A second popular option for daily access to your money is the Signature No limit banking account. Fees of $15.95 a month give customers access to unlimited debits in Canada, unlimited Interac e-transfers, and three refunded uses of non-RBC ATMs. With free personalized cheques and overdraft protection, it’s a great option for an account.
RBC has many other accounts they offer to their customers. Bundle two or more, and this removes the monthly fee for many accounts. Bundle a chequing account, savings, credit card or even a mortgage and save money.
For those looking to grow their money with online banks, RBC offers options for a savings account. Their Day to Day savings account offers no fees with no minimum balance. Like many of the big banks, they tier their interest rates meaning the higher the balance in the account, the higher the interest rates you receive.
Following the model of some of the best online banks, RBC allows you to sign up for most of their products online in as little as five minutes. With their mobile app, you can complete all your banking online wherever you are. They offer access to the customer service team through email, phone, or mobile app.
BMO (Bank of Montreal) is not one of the online-only banks. They have many branches, and they offer a wide range of services online. With their online services through their website and mobile app, they offer full-service banking.
For their chequing accounts, they offer three options, each with a bonus. The most popular account is their Performance Chequing account, which was voted Top chequing account by Money Sense in 2020. With monthly fees at $30.00, customers can get access to their balance as often as needed. They include unlimited Interac, e-transfers, and unlimited transactions per month.
Looking for something more comparable to what is offered with online-only banks, try their Practical Plan. The monthly fee is only $4.00. This is the best choice for anyone who doesn’t need a lot for their account. Unlike some online banks, this account doesn’t have many extra features.
Take a look at their bundles, consider adding a savings account and a cash back credit card for even more perks.
For a savings account, BMO offers a Smart Saver account with a rate of 0.050% and no monthly fees. This account has no monthly balance requirement, and one free transfer out of the account a month.
To take advantage of the offers when you bundle services, BMO has a Premium Rate Savings account. This account is one you can bundle with others. It offers a 0.010% rate to support growing your balance. As one of the larger banks on the list, BMO offers many services that can be accessed through the website.
TD (Toronto Dominion Bank) is another one of the traditional banks that made it onto our list for digital banking. As they are one of the more traditional banks, they can offer more products and accounts than an online bank.
The majority of these products can be applied for online. The process of opening a chequing or savings account can be completed in only a few minutes. TD offers mortgages, investments and tax-free savings accounts. All can be accessed and tracked using their website and mobile app.
If you are looking for a chequing account that does it all, TD offers an All-Inclusive Account. Monthly fees are on the high end at $29.95, with a discount for seniors. For that fee, you can enjoy unlimited transactions, no fee for the use of any ATMs, and a top-rated app for all your online bank needs.
For anyone looking for an account for their minimal needs, TD Bank has an account for you. This account has a fee of $3.95 and offers 12 free transactions, with a fee for anything beyond that. There are also small fees for Interac e-transfers and the use of ATMs.
As a bigger bank, TD offer savings accounts through their online bank platform. If you are looking to grow your money, TD offers accounts with high yield interest rates and cash back products too.
They offer an easy to use Everyday Savings Account, which has no monthly fees. This savings account offers high interest, based on the amount in the account, with interesting being earned on every dollar. If you are looking for a higher yield savings account, there is the High-Interest Savings Account, which offers a rate of 0.10% calculated daily.
As TD is a bank that offers both online and in-person service, you can apply for more than just a savings account. They offer bundles on things like accounts and cash back credit cards. If you need a new bank for personal finance needs, TD has a range of products.
What Is An Online Account?
More and more of what we do is happening online. This is also true in the world of finance. An online account is an account that you can access anywhere you have an internet connection.
It allows you to manage your money wherever you need it. Pay bills, send e-transfers and access cash back rewards all from an online platform. That includes their app for smartphones.
Many of the traditional banks have an online platform for you to access their services, while also providing a brick and mortar building. On the other hand, some credit unions and online banks do not have locations. So, through their websites and Apps, you have access to all of their services.
Digital banks give customers many ways of contacting customer service in replacement for the lack of a physical location. Speak to someone on the phone, through email or through the live chat on their website. Online banks have some of the best accounts with low fees and high interest. They are becoming more popular as the digital age continues.
Many online banks have also entered partnerships with bigger banks, allowing you access to their ATMs. You can then use your debit card to make a deposit.
How Do Online Accounts Work?
How an online account works would depend on the type of bank you are using. Brick and mortar banks offer services both online and at their locations. Meaning you can also complete daily tasks like checking your account balance and deposit cheques at one of their locations.
Apps from online banks allow you to access all their services from their apps. Banks like Tangerine allow you to use your phone camera to deposit cheques into your account. Online-only banks have partnerships with other banks and free use of a range of ATMs. You will always have access to your account.
Some of the best banks have some of the best apps which allow you to do all your banking from where you have internet. Online banking is not very different from a traditional account with all the services of the bank itself in the palm of your hand.
With an online bank account, you can sign up through their website. Have your ID in hand and follow a few simple steps. In a matter of minutes, you will have an account. The process is typically the same for savings accounts and credit cards. You are able to complete the process in a few minutes.
Types Of Online Accounts
For everyday transactions, two main accounts are the most common, a chequing account and a savings account. A chequing account is most commonly used for everyday transactions. This includes things like salary deposits, bill payments, and debit card transactions.
The second type of account is a savings account. This is where you grow your balance with high interest. In this account, the more money on deposit leads to a higher yield. Savings accounts are not used every day. Instead, your money is usually placed in the account, so it can increase due to interest.
Many of these accounts have no fees to maintain but might charge to remove money. The best online banks have high-interest rates that offer a high yield on the money you keep with them.
Another common account that can be applied for on the web is a credit card. This is offered through their website or app, and you will get a physical card in the mail.
As online-only banks grow in their popularity among Canadians, they begin to offer a wider range of options. Banks like Motusbank, the online branch of a credit union, offer GICs, investing products, and mortgages.
Why You Need An Online Account
While you might not think you need a digital account in today’s fast-moving world, this type of account gives you access to your balance anywhere you go. Online banks also offer many ways to make banking easier for you. Deposit money in the form of cheques into your account anytime you need to use the banks’ app.
These accounts also offer higher interest rates on savings, and sometimes their chequing account as well. A bank like EQ Bank or Simplii claims that their lack of brick and mortar location allows them to offer higher rates to their clients.
Unlike the big banks, many of the online-only banks even offer interest on the balance in your chequing account. If you are looking for more perks, great customer service, and an easy to access account, then you do need an account. These accounts have either low fees or none at all.
If you are not sure about a bank that is only digital, many of the top five have accounts you can open without going into a branch.
Overall, digital banks with accounts are gaining popularity. With their perks and easy to use mobile apps, they are a great choice for anyone on the go.
Which Type Of Online Account Is Right For Me?
Finding the right account depends on the type of banking you plan on doing. Whether you are looking for an everyday account or savings to grow your money, here are some things that might help you choose.
Unlimited banking is important to many people. In that case, Simplii, Tangerine and Motusbank are great choices. Digital banks have chequing accounts with no fees, unlimited transactions and Interac e-transfers.
If you are looking for an account that is going to help you grow your money, these accounts are also a great choice for you. Many of them, like Motusbank, also offer an interest rate on their chequing account.
If you are looking to save your money and watch it grow, online savings accounts are what you are looking for. Many of the online savings accounts offer no monthly fees and a sliding scale of interest, based on the balance in your account.
Are you concerned about the idea of your entire bank being digital? Then check out some bigger banks that are offering services over the internet as well.
What Is The Difference Between An Online Account And Chequing Account?
Online banking is much the same as it is through more traditional means. With an online account, you will not have access to a physical location. All you need to complete can be done either on their website, through their mobile app, or by calling customer service.
The best online bank offers a wide range of services that can be used through there website. The transactions completed on their websites are easy to use, to enhance the user’s experience. Since there are no locations, mobile apps for online banking allow you to use your phone’s camera to deposit cheques.
A bank like CIBC lets you sign up for digital access. This gives you access to all their services using their digital portals. Many of the big banks allow you to access their digital tools even though they have an actual location.
A credit union is not a typical bank, but they also offer online banking services. They are just catching on to offering their services online, so a credit union will not have the best digital platform.
Common Online Account Fees
A difference between online banking and a traditional bank is that banks online have some of the best high-interest rates and no fees.
Take Simplii financial, for example. Their claim to fame is their no-fee banking account. They offer an account for daily transactions with no fees. Along with that daily chequing account, you could get a cash bonus when you sign up for their high-interest savings account. Tangerine, Motusbank, and EQ also offer no-fee accounts for daily use.
Banks that operate on the internet have very little fees, passing the savings onto their customers. Motusbank and Simplii even have a savings account with no monthly fee.
The bigger banks still have fees for their accounts. The fees range depending on the account you are looking for. The fewer features the account has, the less the fees. RBC has a day-to-day account with a monthly fee of $4 a month. Scotiabank has its basic account with a monthly fee of $10.95 when you have a closing balance of at least $3000.
Fees are more common with the brick and mortar locations, where there are more factors when it comes to their operation. Credit unions like First Ontario and Meridian have lower fees than more traditional institutions.
The Bottom Line
For the best online-only bank, above all others, we prefer the EQ Bank – Savings Plus Account.
For the best traditional, brick and mortar online banking, we like the Scotiabank – Preferred Package Chequing Account above all the other big bank choices.
These days we have some of the best computers in our pockets, so why not do your banking with it? When it comes to online accounts, there are a lot of great options with a bank that is digital-only or a traditional bank.
Tangerine and Simplii, who operate only digital, have created some of the best apps to make your banking experience as easy as possible. Deposit cheques, pay bills, even pay with your phone.
Online accounts offer the best access to your balance 24/7. No more waiting in line or making an appointment. Not only that, but no fee accounts are also more common with digital banks.
Banks like Simplii offer one of the best chequing accounts with an interest rate, ensuring all of your money is working for you. Are you looking for unlimited banking options? Accounts from online banks allow for unlimited transactions and transfers.
There is a financial institution for everyone, even those not sure about online-only institutions. Many of the big banks have their services online as well, giving you the comfort of a large bank and the options to access your account balance 24/7. It is the best of both worlds.
Banks with no location are not the only option for these accounts. If you still want a location to visit, the top five are offering their accounts digitally as well.