Chequing Accounts in Canada

November 17, 2020 | Editorial Team

Chequing Account

Finding the right chequing account for your banking needs can be tough. At Income.ca, we looked at the best banks in Canada for you, and found some great options!

With our financial expertise, we have handpicked a variety of accounts for you. The goal is to find something for everyone. We have compared important features like interest rates, ease of use, bonuses, fees and branch availability.

Read on to see how Income.ca can help you choose the best chequing account for you.

Best Chequing Accounts in Canada

When looking for a chequing account, there are a number of financial institutions you can look at. Below we have looked at some big banks to see who offers you the best options. We’ve also handpicked some online banks that might offer something a little different.

Scotiabank has been a big bank in Canada for a long time, with good reason. They have one of the best chequing accounts out there. Scotiabank offers extra rewards when you get a combination of different banking solutions and credit cards. These reward points come from the transactions you completed. Some transactions even give more points.

Scotiabank accounts have partnered with Scene. Together they offer rewards based on debit purchases and transactions. These rewards can be redeemed for movies, meals at popular restaurants, and gift cards. The Preferred package boasts a waved fee for the first year, and extra interest if you open a savings account. With unlimited debit transactions, unlimited Interac e transfers, and Scene points, this is one of the best out there.

CIBC Banking has always known what its customers want, and their chequing accounts are no different. Being a bigger bank, they offer bundles that can include credit cards and a savings account. The CIBC smart account offers customers a flexible monthly payment that starts at $4.95 and tops out at $14.95. This is based on the number of transactions completed monthly. If you are paying the higher fee, you get unlimited transactions.

Accounts with Low Fees

BMO is another big bank that has been working hard in the last few years to focus on its personal banking offerings. Their Performance Plan offers clients unlimited transactions and free Interac e-transfers every month. If you carry more than $4000 in your account, they will waive their annual fees. 

BMO also famously offers amazing sign-up bonuses like $300 when you open the Performance account. Their website and App for Apple and Android allow their customers to have access to their accounts 24/7. Since BMO is one of the bigger banks, they offer bundles on saving accounts and credit cards. 

Another great option for anyone looking for an option with a low fee is a TD Chequing Account. The most popular TD chequing account is their Convenience Checking. This account waves their fee if you have $100 in the account, much lower than other banks require to remove monthly fees. Since they also offer products like credit cards, you can get a TD credit card as a bundle.

When it comes to student accounts, TD is one of the better options. TD chequing accounts wave their monthly fee and the fee for overdraft protection for the chequing account TD. These offers can change without notice. 

The Best Free Chequing Accounts in Canada

One of the best free chequing accounts is Simplii Financial, formally known as Presidents Choice Financial. Offering both savings and chequing, what sets them apart is their no-fee account. They offer no monthly fees, no annual fee and unlimited Interac e transfers. Since they are a member of CIBC customers, have access to CIBC ATMs allowing more access to their customers. 

Simplii has also perfected their App, making it simple and easy to use. They have figured out how to make banking so easy the customer does not even miss the traditional bank building when using the simple website. 

Tangerine No-Fee Chequing is another great option and it would be our winner. As a leading online bank, the account offers no monthly fees and unlimited transactions. Plus, Tangerine is also offering the only account with an interest rate depending on your balance. Much like Simplii Financial with Tangerine, you have access to the Scotiabank ATM network. On top of their unique money-making account, Tangerine also has award-winning customer service. 

FAQ’s

Can You Be Denied a Bank Account in Canada?

In Canada, it is your right to open a bank account either at a bank or with a federally regulated credit union. Canadian law lists the forms of ID that are acceptable when opening an account. The list includes a valid Canadian driver’s licence, a Canadian passport, or Permanent Resident Card, and more.

There are still reasons you may be denied opening an account. The first reason is not having the proper ID. If you are not able to provide the proper IDs that include your name, picture, and signature, then you will be denied.

You will also need your social insurance number. The bank requires this information when you are opening one for the Canada Revenue Agency.

If the financial institution believes any of the below to be true, they can deny you also.

  • If they believe you might use it for illegal purposes.
  • If you have had a history of illegal or fraudulent activity. Limited to the past seven years.
  • The bank believes you knowingly gave false information.
  • The bank believes you might cause physical harm to harass or abuse other customers or its employees.

Can I Open a Bank Account Online Without Going to the Bank in Canada?

Gone are the days of planning a visit to the bank. In today’s digital age, you can open an account from the comfort of your own home. The banks we have spoken about above all have the option to open accounts online, and it shouldn’t take longer than ten minutes. 

If you are a new customer and opening an account for debit purchases or a credit card for the first time, there are a few things you are going to need. First, you are going to need some form of identification; you will also need to have your SIN number on hand. 

Second, you are going to need to provide some personal information. This may include home address, email address, and others. Depending on the type of account you are trying to open either a savings account or a credit card account, they may ask for additional information.

Some if not all financial institutions will allow you to open accounts without making a deposit. There are the occasions there the institution will require you to make a small deposit.

If the account you signed up for comes with a card, they will send it by mail. They will also send a confirmation email with the arrival date.

Can I Open a Bank Account in Canada Without a SIN Number?

According to the Government of Canada website, it is possible to open an account without a SIN number, but there are some limits. There are two lists of accepted forms of ID for opening accounts with financial institutions across Canada. If you have an acceptable ID that fits their criteria, then you do not have to give them a SIN card for certain accounts.

If you are trying to open a savings account or any other account that has an interest rate, then you are required to have a SIN number. This is because, under Canadian law, the bank must report the interest earned to the Canada Revenue Agency. Note that you will also need s SIN card to get credit cards since they need to check your crediting rating before issuing the credit card.

How Long Does it Take to Open a Bank Account in Canada?

The amount of time it takes to open any kind of account, be it a credit card, chequing or a savings account can depend on many things. If you are opening more than one account, then it may take more time with the extra information you will need to provide.

Do some research beforehand if you are going into the bank to open an account. Have a good idea of what you are looking for. Head to the website of the banks and look at their products. Websites list all the information for their accounts. You will find information on any fee you might get charged per month and limits on transactions. Alternatively, use our guide where we share with you all the data you need. Everything from interest rates to fees for different transactions.

If you are opening an account using a financial institution website, most say you can open the account within ten minutes. Make sure you have everything you need in front of you, if you are already a customer, have your existing account number ready. Have all ID and your email address ready before you begin the process.

If you prefer to go into a branch location to open your accounts, then the process will take more time. The representative is going to answer all your questions and cover all the important information. Meaning the process can take anywhere from half an hour to a full hour, maybe longer if you are looking at bundling different accounts.

How Do Banks Work in Canada?

In Canada, there are two types of banks; they are the central bank and the commercial banks or chartered banks as they are called. They are both different in the way they operate. For a central bank, they operate as an arm of the federal government. A chartered bank accepts its deposits transactions from the public. They also offer commercial and personal loans.

How Does a Chequing Account Work?

A chequing account is used by most Canadians for their day to day banking transactions. That includes Interac e- transfers (using an email address) and purchase transactions. 

It is an excellent tool to use for transactions that are reoccurring like credit card payments or a paycheque.

By linking your email address you can access any bank’s online tools, giving you access to your money 24/7. A chequing account gives you the ability to make debit transactions using your debit card. You can also complete Interac e-transfers using online banking, and take out money using an ATM.

What is the Difference Between a Chequing and Savings Account?

Banking in Canada might seem confusing for anyone new and trying to understand fees and account limitations. Let us help you break down the different banking available in Canada so you can find the right one for you.

In Canada, the two most common are a chequing and a savings account. A chequing account is used for:

  •  Day-to-day transactions.
  •  Debit purchases.
  •  Interac e transfers.
  • Credit card payments. 

These rarely earn any interest on the money and commonly have a monthly fee based on the number of transactions you need. The monthly fee decreases or is removed when you increase the amount you keep in your account or the number of transactions you do per month.

The second account is a Savings Account. A savings account does just what the name says it is where you can save money and earn a percentage of interest per month. These rarely have a monthly fee, but a savings account with a high-interest rate may have a balance you have to maintain per month to avoid a monthly fee. 

A Savings account is not usually used for transactions. You wouldn’t normally make bill payments, but you can easily transfer money to different accounts.

Many of the leading banks will offer deals for customers looking to bundle these accounts together. You can have products like credit cards, or a high-interest savings account connected to your chequing account.

The Bottom Line

Having a chequing account is almost essential for most people in Canada. But the question becomes, which account best fits your needs.

We’ve put our heads together to create a list of the best chequing accounts in Canada. Everything from online to local, free to premium accounts with low fees. See our review of the best chequing accounts so you can make the best choice to suit your specific needs.