Best No Fee Chequing Accounts

November 17, 2020 | Editorial Team

No-Fee Chequing Accounts

Are exploring no-fee chequing accounts in Canada? On a mission to find the best accounts available? You have come to the right place.

At INCOME.ca, we have reviewed all the no-fee chequing accounts in Canada available. We analyzed the small print and the fee pages of all bank accounts offered by the big five banks, plus all respectable online banks and regional banks. We started by identifying which banks are genuinely no-fee accounts. We then reviewed other benefits and perks.

We created a list of the top three bank accounts we feel are worth your consideration. They all are designed for daily banking and bill payments. They all offer free transfers, free withdrawals and some even offer interest on your balance.

Best No-Fee Chequing Accounts Canada

Tangerine No-Fee Chequing Account

Tangerine Bank is an online bank, and also an arm of Scotiabank. It has longevity, it has been around for some time, being formerly known as ING Direct.

As the name of this account so aptly describes, this is a no-fee chequing account. And, there is plenty to get excited about.

The Tangerine No-fee Chequing Account has no monthly fees. You are not required to keep a specific amount in the bank or make a specific number of transactions to qualify for no fees, it comes as standard.

Additionally, being part of Scotiabank means you have access to the 4000 ATMs situated in Canada. They are also part of a network that has 44,000 ATMs worldwide.

We love their online app, which even allows for instant cheque deposits. You can also get unlimited email money transfers.

The first cheque book is free (50 cheques), and you are given free unlimited Interac e-Transfers.

If you qualify, you could even get a $200 cash bonus when you open your free chequing account.

Cons

There are suspiciously no cons that we could unearth for this chequing account. Sure, it only offers up to 0.15% interest on the account balance. It is a chequing account with no fees, so that’s hardly surprising. You would be required to pay $10 if the account is inactive for 12 months. The bank defines inactive as no transactions for 12 months, so that is pretty easy to avoid. One transaction a year will stop you from being charged $10.

Summary

Tangerine Bank is an online bank. However, in one sense, it’s also a traditional bank. It’s owned by Scotiabank, which allows you to access their entire network of ATMs across Canada and the world.

Typically, no fee means no monthly or annual costs for running the account. However, the Tangerine Bank account goes one step further. They offer free unlimited Interac e-Transfers and email money transfers too.

If that wasn’t enough, they give you a $200 cash bonus when you start. The only real downside to opening a no-fee chequing account with Tangerine bank is that they offer very little interest. Additionally, if we are being picky, there is an inactive account fee after 12 months of non-usage.

If you are looking for a no-fee chequing account with no monthly fees, this is comfortably one of the best chequing accounts in Canada right now. It is a great choice for student banking too.

Scotiabank Preferred Package Account

As you can probably imagine, Scotiabank offers a variety of different chequing accounts. They all come with a monthly fee, including the Preferred Package Account, which has made our list of best no-fee chequing accounts. When you maintain a minimum balance of $4000 in your account, the monthly fee is waived and it becomes a no-fee account.

Scotiabank is our favourite of the top five banks in Canada. They tend to offer the best combination of benefits, price and accessibility. The Preferred Package Account is no different. If you are in a position to maintain $4000 in your chequing account, this chequing account has to be a consideration. It’s frankly awesome.

Pros

This chequing account comes with unlimited debit transactions and unlimited Interac e-Transfers. This makes using this account cost-effective.

Scotiabank has an amazing rewards program. They have two for you to choose between. There is the Scene program, ideal for entertainment and movie lovers. Alternatively, there is Scotia Rewards, which can be used towards travel. You get to pick the reward program that best suits you.

As a welcome bonus, you can earn as much as $300 in cash when you open your new preferred package account. If you were torn between the Preferred Package Account and Tangerine’s No-fee Daily Chequing Account, maybe the $300 sways it for you.

Just a reminder that they have over 4000 ATMs across Canada and are part of a network of 44,000 ATMs worldwide. Getting access to your money is never going to be a problem.

Cons

There is only one major drawback with the Preferred Package Account. You are required to keep a minimum balance of $4000 or more for the monthly fee to be waived. If you’re not able to keep a minimum balance of $4000 in your account, you will be asked to pay $15.95 each month in monthly fees.

$15.95 in monthly fees is reasonable for a bank account with the features of the Preferred Package Account. However, it’s completely a no-fee account like Tangerine Bank offers.

Summary

This isn’t just one of the best no-fee chequing accounts in Canada; it is one of the best bank accounts from any category. They have a fantastic rewards program, objectively better than any other bank. Most everyday transactions are free and unlimited, plus you have access to ATMs all across Canada and the world. It is never going to cost you to do and interact e-Transfer.

However, it is not 100% no-fee. To be eligible for no fees, you are required to maintain a balance of $4000 in your bank account. Not everyone is in a financial position to be able to do that. If you are, then this is one serious chequing account balance of worth looking into in more detail.

EQ Bank Savings Plus Account

EQ Bank is an online bank and is part of the Equitable Bank. This recommendation is a bit out of left-field because it is not a chequing account in the traditional sense. The savings plus account is what is now more commonly known as a hybrid account.

In many ways, it functions as a chequing account. You can pay bills and transfer money instantly. However, it is also a type of savings account and comes with a 1.7% interest rate. It is rare for a chequing account to have such a high-interest rate.

There are some limitations. For example, you don’t get a debit account, so you can’t withdraw cash from an ATM. Also, there is a limit of $200,000. But it is definitely an interesting option.

Pros

This is a no-fee bank account. It also has no everyday banking fees such as for Interac e-Transfers or standard money transfers. This makes it affordable to use.

It comes with an incredible 1.7% interest rate, as we’ve already mentioned. Many banks suggest that they would like you to keep your money in their bank. However, they would much rather you spend money so they can charge fees for each transaction. With such a high-interest rate for keeping money in your account, EQ bank definitely puts their money where their mouth is.

Cons

Unfortunately, this is the classic chequing account. That means it doesn’t come with a debit card, and you can’t withdraw cash out of an ATM. Most people take advantage of the free transfers and use the savings plus account in combination with a traditional chequing account.

Summary

In this ever-changing world, it was only a matter of time before banks were going to move with the times and offer new and improved banking solutions. In many ways, that is what the EQ Bank Savings Plus Account represents. The future.

You get many of the features you would normally expect with a traditional chequing account. Plus, the benefits of keeping your cash in a savings account. The only real downside is you don’t get a debit card. On the flip side, it is quick and easy to transfer cash between accounts. If you have a standard chequing account with a debit card, it really isn’t a big deal.

How to Choose a Chequing Account?

Almost everyone in Canada has or needs a chequing account. It doesn’t matter what your income level or financial goals are. You need to find a chequing account that meets your needs.

In this article, we have handpicked our top three chequing accounts. We feel that overall they are the best chequing account in Canada. However, we fully understand that when it comes to chequing accounts, there is not a one size fits all account that is perfect for everyone. For example, if you make regular Interac e-Transfers, it makes sense that you are looking for a chequing account that gives you unlimited free transfers.

At INCOME.ca, we have put our heads together to come up with a list of features you should consider when picking out the best bank account for you.

Fees

Bank accounts traditionally charge a monthly fee. However, as we’ve seen in this article, that is not always the case. If not paying a monthly fee is important to you, there are some very good options. But the monthly fee only just touches the surface. There are various fees for different types of transactions, from writing cheques to withdrawing cash from an ATM. However, with Internet banking, you no longer need to conduct transactions in-branch. They can all be done online and are automated. This lowers the cost and allows banks to reduce or remove fees for many transactions. However, in today’s economic climate, it is always good to check that you’re not going to be charged for using the bank account on a daily basis.

Features

Interac e-Transfers allow you to send money to anyone in Canada if you have the email address. As you have read in this article, there are chequing accounts that offer free and unlimited Interac e-Transfers.

Rewards. It started out with air miles. Now, there is an abundance of different rewards or points programs offered by banks to entice you to use their banking solutions. It is a great way to make your money work for you, so you should definitely look into it. We especially recommend looking at the Scotiabank points program.

Accessibility

Choosing a bank account with a bank that has more ATMs will ensure you have easy access to your cash. In many cases, using an ATM outside your bank’s network can result in additional fees. So it is always important to bear that in mind when picking the right chequing account for you.

Many Banks are moving online to compete with online banks so they can reduce costs and offer better service. Depending on how you intend to use your bank being able to access a branch may be very important to you. With that in mind, always check to see the bank’s available branches that offer the chequing account you’re looking at.

Summary

There are several things to consider when selecting the right chequing account for you. Firstly it comes down to the money you are going to be charged for using the chequing account. You will want to ensure that the fees match your intended use of the chequing account. If you plan to write a lot of checks to ensure there are little or no fees when writing checks. Never underestimate accessibility. There is nothing more frustrating than needing to get cash and having to drive halfway across the city to get it.

The Bottom Line

Are you looking for a chequing account to do some daily banking, maybe make bill payments, but you don’t want to pay a monthly fee? The good news is, you have some options. The no-fee chequing accounts in Canada that made this list require no monthly fees. However, the Scotiabank offer does require a minimum balance of $4000. 

They all allow for unlimited free transfers, free withdrawals, in many cases, unlimited transactions and even interest. Unless you have $4000 as a minimum balance, we suggest you pick the Tangerine account; that’s a great account. However, for some, the decision is not so straight forward. If you can keep a minimum $4000 balance, Scotiabank waives the monthly fee. Plus, they offer free withdrawals and unlimited transactions. The cherry on the top is there award-winning rewards program. So, in that case, they are a serious contender.

If you are looking to earn interest on your balance, the EQ Bank is the way forward. However, we suggest you use it with another chequing account. It doesn’t offer a debit card, so you can’t make withdrawals from ATMs. However, it offers considerably more interest on your balance, with no minimum balance required, than any other bank on the market.