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
1. EQ Bank Savings Plus Account
EQ Bank is an online bank and is part of the Equitable Bank. Founded more than 50 years ago, Equitable Bank now has more than $37 billion in assets. EQ Bank was launched in 2016 as Canada’s first digital bank. They launched with the aim to bring smarter banking solutions to Canadians.
As an online bank, EQ Bank can offer you fewer fees and higher interest rates. This is because the absence of physical branches results in fewer overhead costs. The money they save can then be used to reduce costs for their customers.
This savings account recommendation is an alternative option. This is 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.
EQ Bank claims you can earn up to 125 times more compared to traditional banks. They offer simplified banking with no fees and charges and a higher interest rate.
There are some limitations. For example, you don’t get a debit account, so you can’t withdraw cash from an ATM. However, the free Interac e-Transfers means you can transfer your money to connected bank accounts free of charge. However, the high interest you earn with this account means you are earning more money in the long term. You can then transfer the funds to another bank free of charge or use the account to pay your bills.
To open a Savings Plus account with EQ Bank, you need to be a Canadian resident and must meet the age of majority in your province. You must also have a Social Insurance Number (SIN).
Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of the Savings Plus Account.
- 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.
- There are no fees bill payments.
- There is no minimum account balance requirement.
- It comes with an impressive interest rate of 1.25% for every customer.
- The mobile cheque deposit system means your cheques are deposited almost instantly.
- Earn 1% interest on every US$.
- Your money is protected under the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC), up to $100,000.
- International money transfers are up to 8 times cheaper than other banks.
- Day-to-day transactions are free.
- You can track your savings goals to help improve your long-term finances.
- Joint Savings Plus accounts are available. This offers you all the perks of the Savings Plus account with up to three other account holders. The maximum deposit amount for this account increases to $500,000.
- EQ Bank employs stringent security measures.
- You can also open a Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) and earn 1.25% in tax-free interest. EQ Bank also offers Retirement Savings Plans (RSPs) and Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs).
- 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.
- There is a $200,000 account limit.
- EQ Bank is not available in Quebec.
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 that you do not 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.
2. Scotiabank Preferred Package Account
Scotiabank is one of the top five universal banks in all their core markets. They are a trusted and reliable banking option for many Canadians.
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.
The Preferred Package Account is a new and improved version of the Momentum Chequing Account. Accounts can be opened in any Scotiabank branch, over the phone, online or via the mobile app. Your account will also be available via Apple Pay, Samsung Pay or Google Pay. This offers hassle-free payments across Canada.
When you maintain a minimum balance of $4,000 in your account, the monthly fee is waived, and it becomes a no-fee account. If you do not maintain this balance, your monthly fee will be $16.95.
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 $4,000 in your chequing account, this chequing account has to be a consideration.
Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of the Preferred Package Account.
- This chequing account comes with unlimited debit transactions and unlimited Interac e-Transfers. This makes using this account cost-effective.
- Receive unlimited debit transactions at Scotia ATMs and in stores.
- Fees will be waived on one none Scotiabank ATM withdrawal per month.
- Receive unlimited Interac e-Transfers.
- 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. You can also earn up to 1.75% interest for a limited time.
- Scotiabank has over 4000 ATMs across Canada and is part of a network of 44,000 ATMs worldwide. Getting access to your money is never going to be a problem.
- The mobile app allows you to move money between accounts, make Interac e-Transfers, and see your rewards. It is easy to use.
- The mobile cheque deposit feature means cheques are deposited almost instantly.
- Scotiabank offers free access to your credit score with TransUnion.
- The Security Guarantee promises to reimburse you if there is any fraud on your account.
- Deposits are protected by the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC), up to $100,000.
- You will be offered preferred rates on select GICs.
- You can receive the first-year annual fee waived on select Scotiabank credit cards – up to $139.
- You are required to keep a minimum balance of $4,000 or more for the monthly fee to be waived. If you’re not able to keep a minimum balance of $4,000 in your account, you will be asked to pay $16.95 each month in monthly fees.
- International money transfers cost $1.99 per transaction.
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. Scotiabank has a fantastic rewards program, objectively better than any other bank. Most everyday transactions are free and unlimited, plus you have access to ATMs across Canada and the world. It is never going to cost you to do an Interac e-Transfer.
However, it is not 100% no-fee. To be eligible for no fees, you are required to maintain a balance of $4,000 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 worth looking into in more detail.
3. Tangerine No-Fee Chequing Account
Tangerine Bank is an online-only bank, and also an arm of Scotiabank. It has longevity, it has been around since 1997, being formerly known as ING Direct. They aim to pass the savings they earn by not having big overhead costs to their customers. This results in higher interest rates and lower fees.
As the name of this account so aptly describes, this is a no-fee chequing account. And there is plenty to get excited about. Tangerine offers all the features of a traditional chequing account, without the fees.
The No-Fee Chequing Account is easy to set up and easy to use. You make purchases online or in-store free of charge.
Tangerine offers tiered interest rates, based on the balance of your account:
- $0-$49,999 – 0.01%
- $50,000 – $99,999 – 0.05%
- $100,000+ – 0.10%
Tangerine is available in all Canadian provinces. To apply for an account, you must be a Canadian resident and the age of majority in your province.
Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of Tangerine’s No-fee Chequing Account.
- 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.
- There is no minimum balance requirement.
- Receive unlimited free money transfers and unlimited Interac e-Transfers. Tangerine email money transfers are also free.
- There are no daily chequing fees.
- Additionally, being part of Scotiabank means you have access to the 3,500 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).
- If you qualify, you could even get a $200 cash bonus when you open your free chequing account.
- Tangerine’s call centre is open 24 hours a day. This means you can always contact them if you have any problems or questions.
- You can track, organize, and categorize your spending. This allows you to keep on top of your spending and better manage your finances.
- Overdraft protection is available.
- Receive one free stop payment per year and one free replacement card per year.
- You would be required to pay $10 if the account is inactive for 12 months.
- The interest rate is tiered based on your account balance. You will need to have an account balance above $100,000 in order to earn the top interest rate of 0.10%.
- You will be charged a 2.50% foreign currency conversion fee.
Tangerine Bank is an online bank. However, in some senses, it is also a traditional bank. It is owned by Scotiabank, which allows you to access its 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. There is one main downside to opening a no-fee chequing account with Tangerine Bank. That is that they offer low interest rates compared to their competitors. There are also other fees to consider, such as high fees for using non-affiliated ATMs.
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.
4. Simplii Financial No Fee Chequing Account
Simplii Financial opened its doors in 2017 and now has more than 2 million customers across Canada. They are backed by CIBC, one of Canada’s most well-known and trusted banks.
In only four short years, they have already won multiple awards. This includes one of Forbes’ World Best Banks and two Ipsos Financial Services Excellence awards.
Simplii Financial operates as an online-only bank. This means there are no physical branches. However, their customer services are available 24/7.
If you open a chequing account with Simplii Financial, you will receive a free debit card and a free chequebook. You will also have access to Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Google Pay. Simplii’s mobile banking app is excellent. It offers a variety of features with a great interface and is very user-friendly.
Interest rates are 0.05%, regardless of your account balance.
Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of Simplii Financial’s No Fee Chequing Account.
- There are no monthly fees.
- Receive free daily banking, including unlimited debit transactions, and unlimited bill payments.
- Receive unlimited free Interac e-Transfers.
- No fees when you transfer money internationally. Simplii’s Global Money Transfer Service allows you to send money to more than 60 countries free of charge. You can send up to $30,000 per day.
- Access free unlimited withdrawals at over 2,400 CIBC ATMs across Canada.
- There is no minimum balance requirement.
- You can choose to add overdraft protection up to $5,000 to your account.
- Set up pre-authorized bill payments so you never have to worry about missing a payment.
- Receive a $200 welcome bonus when you open the No Fee Chequing Account.
- Refer a friend and both earn $50.
- Get free delivery to your home or a branch of Canada post when you order foreign currency.
- Simplii Financial is a member of the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC). This means your deposits are insured up to $100,000.
- There are a wide variety of other financial products available. This includes mortgages, credit cards and mutual funds.
- Interest rates are lower than many of Simplii Financial’s competitors.
- Other fees such as NSF Fees and CIBC ATM withdrawal fees can be quite high.
Simplii Financial’s No Fee Chequing Account is a great option for those looking for no-fee accounts. You can save an impressive amount of money on global transfers, daily banking, and bank transfers.
For those who are worried about making the transition to an online bank, the backing of CIBC, one of Canada’s biggest banks, will be a huge advantage. Simplii also offers their customers easy access to help and advice and a great mobile app.
Their interest rates are not as high as some of their competitors. If you are looking to earn more interest or be part of a rewards program, this account may not be the best option for you.
However, if you are more concerned with having a no-fee chequing account with great opportunities to save money elsewhere, this could be a fantastic option.
Visit Simplii Financial’s website today for more information.
5. Wealthsimple Cash
Wealthsimple Cash is an alternative option to traditional no-fee chequing accounts. It is a peer-to-peer payment platform that you can use to instantly send money to anyone on your contact list.
The Wealthsimple Cash account was only launched very recently. Because of this, not all features are currently available. Some of the features below are already available. Wealthsimple expects the remaining features to be available very shortly:
- Cash Card
- Digital Card
- Bill Payments
- Direct Deposits
- Pre-Authorized Debits
- ATM Cash Withdrawals
- Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Google Pay
The newly launched Cash Card that links with your Wealthsimple account allows you to use your account like a normal chequing account. The Cash Card will act like a pre-paid or debit card. You can use it for everyday purchases, online and in-store. Wealthsimple Cash can also be linked with Apply Pay, Samsung Pay, and Google Pay.
There are no monthly account fees and no fees for deposits and withdrawals. Sending and receiving money is also completely free.
To use Wealthsimple Cash, you simply need to download the mobile app. You can set up your account quickly and easily. You will be asked to create a unique Dollar $ign symbol, which will act as your account handle. Your Cash Account can then be linked with your phone contacts. You can then transfer funds into your account and begin using your account.
Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of the Wealthsimple Cash Account.
- There are no monthly account fees and no minimum deposit amount.
- There are no foreign transaction fees.
- The Wealthsimple Cash Card acts as a debit card. You can also earn cashback on specific purchases.
- ATM withdrawals across Canada are free of charge. Wealthsimple will refund ATM fees, up to a specific limit.
- The peer-to-peer payment system means you can send cash in seconds with no charges. You also do not need to worry about security questions and passwords when sending money.
- Account balances are insured up to $100,000 by the CDIC.
- Spending caps are higher than traditional chequing accounts. There is no transaction limit, although the maximum spending limit is $10,000 per transaction. ATM withdrawals are capped at $500 per transaction or $1,000 per day.
- Transfer limits are also higher than traditional chequing accounts. You can transfer up to $5,000 per day, $10,000 per week and $20,000 per month.
- Refer a friend to Wealthsimple Cash and you will both receive a bonus.
- You can choose to send money anonymously.
- The mobile app is easy to use and has some impressive features.
- Not all the features of the Wealthsimple Cash Account are currently available. Wealthsimple has also not specified a date when they will become available.
The interest you earn may be lower than other no-fee chequing accounts.
The Wealthsimple Cash Account has a lot of potential. Wealthsimple seems to have grand plans for this new account type, and we’ve got to admit, the Cash Account sounds like an interesting offering.
The no monthly fees and no transfer fees are very attractive. The cashback feature could also be a major selling point for many Canadians.
However, this account is still very new, with many of the features in beta testing or not yet launched. For those who are looking for a no-fee chequing account that is ready to use, this may not be the best option.
If you are intrigued by what Wealthsimple is offering here, visit their website for more information.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 straightforward. 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 their 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.