Managing your finances can be intimidating. Once you jump into the financial sphere, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep up with your spending. One of the most important things you’ll have to do for your financial security is to keep your money in a secure place. Sure, keeping it in the cupboard might do the trick for now, but we can all agree on the fact that it won’t be possible to stack it there once you start earning a decent sum of money. And if you have already started earning, we strongly suggest you open a chequing account (even if you already have a savings account). You might be wondering why you need a chequing account – but rest assured, there are several reasons why spending money and paying your bills using a chequing account would be beneficial for you.
What is a Chequing Account?
A chequing account is a type of deposit account that you can open at any bank or a credit union. With the help of a chequing account, you can pay your bills, make day-to-day transactions, send money via wire transfer, or deposit money into your account.
A chequing account is slightly different from a savings account. A savings account, as the name suggests, is better suited for saving money. They are designed to hold money for the long term, and they will help you achieve your financial goals. However, you get higher interest rates on a savings account.
On the other hand, a chequing account will help you manage your everyday banking. For example, you won’t take out a chunk of money from your savings account every time your car needs a gas refill – you will use a chequing account.
What Should You Look For in a Chequing Account?
There are several financial institutions offering chequing accounts in Canada. All of them offer a wide range of services and perks. Since there is no one-size-fits-all account that we can suggest to you right away, you’ll have to choose the chequing account yourself after taking a look at what they have to offer. However, there are some things you should keep in mind when you are looking for a chequing account.
Monthly Maintenance Fees
Like the majority of financial services, chequing accounts also charge a monthly fee. However, many banks offer premium services without any charges, i.e., they have zero monthly fees. If a chequing account has zero monthly fees, the chances are that they lack on some other front. High-end banks usually charge a hefty monthly fee, but they also offer robust bank accounts with several features. It is up to you to choose a combination that suits your needs.
One of the major perks offered by reputable banks is that CDIC Insurance protects your deposits. Although the chances of a bank failure are minimal, CDIC insurance will protect your deposits in case of bank closure or any other calamity that befalls the banking authority. Nearly all chequing accounts offered by major banks in Canada have this feature.
Number of Free Transactions
The most important thing to keep in mind is the number of transactions the chequing account offers. Most chequing accounts have a set limit of transactions that you can do per month. Once you surpass that limit, you will be charged extra for every transaction you make. That is why it is essential to choose a chequing account that offers many free transactions for everyday purchases. On the other hand, if you make several transactions per day, it is better to go for a chequing account that offers unlimited free transactions.
Mobile App and Online Banking
We live in a digital age. A chequing account with a versatile app for e-banking and the ability to make online cheque deposits has become a necessity. Choosing a chequing account with a user-intuitive mobile app will lessen a lot of your woes.
Best Chequing accounts in Canada 2021
Finding the best chequing account can leave you in a lurch. To make things easy for you, we have studied the Canadian financial landscape, and we have brought you a list of the top 5 chequing accounts in Canada.
Scotiabank Preferred Package
Scotiabank is Canada’s third-largest bank and boasts a broad range of checking accounts. The Preferred Package is their most popular and basic chequing account. It is a notch down from their premium chequing accounts, the Ultimate package, but it still offers various great features that are sufficient for your day-to-day banking needs.
The Scotiabank Preferred Package offers unlimited debit and Interac e-Transfer transactions. You can get an additional interest of 0.005% on your Momentum Saving Account, and you also get $300 added to your chequing account balance as a sign-up bonus. In addition, the account allows you to set up automatic bill payments, and you don’t have to pay any type of interest on deposits.
The chequing account package also comes with a lucrative reward system. For every $5 you spend using this account, you will get 1 Scotia Reward Point. You can redeem these points for travel costs, such as flights, cruises, car rentals, gift cards, or more.
One of the downsides to this popular chequing account is the $16.95 monthly account fee. Although this fee is not very high, it is still tempting to go for other no-fee chequing accounts, especially if they offer similar features. You can avail of an annual fee waiver by keeping a daily balance of $4000 or more for a whole month. Tying up a minimum account balance of $4000 to your chequing account is not a very good idea, especially when you could put them in a savings account to take advantage of much more lucrative deals.
Another drawback of using this chequing account is that you will be charged a withdrawal fee every time you use a non-affiliated ATM to draw money (although you get 1 free withdrawal per month in Canada).
BMO Performance Plan
BMO offers a wide range of banking services and accounts across Canada. However, the one that stands out from the rest is the BMO Performance Plan. This chequing account option is perfect for families. With the BMO Performance chequing account, you will only have to pay one monthly fee for your entire household – even when every family member has their own chequing account.
The monthly fee on this account is a reasonable $15.95, but BMO will waive it off as long as you maintain a minimum balance of $4,000 every month. The BMO account also comes with a BMO Mobile Banking App that will allow you to stay on top of subscription charges, daily transactions, recurring payments, etc. The company also offers a cash bonus of $350 when you open a CAD Primary chequing account at any BMO branch and add a family member as part of the Family Bundle Offer.
With a BMO Performance plan chequing account, here are some of the additional perks you will get:
- Free unlimited transactions per month
- For Non-BMO ATMs, you get 1 free withdrawal per month
- An exclusive interest rate of 1.25% when you add a Smart Saver Account
- Accounts for all family members without paying an additional fee
- Unlimited Interac e-transfers
Simplii Financial No Fee Chequing Account
Recently, the Canadian chequing account market has been captured by the Simplii bank accounts. Simplii is one of the few exclusive online banks operating in Canada. They have a great and diverse set of accounts with premium features that have the potential to replace your current brick-and-mortar bank account.
CIBC owns Simplii Financial, and CIBC offers the banking products and services of Simplii. The best chequing account of CIBC is their no-fee chequing account that comes with several benefits. As the name suggests, the no-fee chequing account comes with zero monthly fees. In addition, it offers high interest on basic savings, free unlimited transactions, free chequebooks, among several others. In addition, Simplii Financial No Fee Chequing Account users can withdraw their money using CIBC ATMs across Canada for free.
With a Simplii Financial no-fee chequing account, you will be getting these features:
- The chequing account has no monthly fees and no minimum balance limit. In addition, this account offers you free daily banking facilities.
- With a Simplii Financial no-fee chequing account, you’ll also get free unlimited transactions. This is one of the main selling points of Simplii Financial. This feature can be a clincher for all of those who have to make several transactions per day. What’s more? You could also make potentially unlimited bill payments or debit transactions.
- Unlimited Interac e-Transfers is another premium feature available in this account without any extra charges.
- Since Simplii Financial is a direct subsidiary of CIBC, you also get to use more than 3400 CIBC ATMs across Canada.
- Unlike other chequing accounts, Simplii also offers interest rates on your account balance. The interest rates are variable but fall in the range of 0.05-0.15%.
- The Simplii Financial mobile app is available on Android and IOS and has a decent rating of 3.9/5 on the Google Play Store.
- Another prominent feature of having a Simplii Financial account is that they offer free personalized chequebooks.
When you open a Simplii Financial no-fee chequing account and set up a direct deposit worth $100 or more for three months, you will also get a $200 welcome bonus.
RBC Day-To-Day Banking Account
If you are not looking for anything fancy, this chequing account is the perfect option for you. RBC day to day banking account is the basic account offered by Royal Bank of Canada. It has all of the essentials typically found in a chequing account. At a small monthly fee of $4 (or even less with rebates), this is one of the cheapest options provided by one of the biggest banks in Canada.
Tangerine No-Fee Chequing AccountAnother no-fee chequing account worth mentioning in this list is the Tangerine No-fee chequing account, owned by Scotiabank. This is an exclusively online bank that offers only one type of account, the no-fee chequing account.
Tangerine’s free chequing account comes with the following perks:
- Since this is not a brick-and-mortar bank, you won’t be offered in-person customer support. However, this online bank offers top-quality online support tools.
- You can withdraw your money from any Scotiabank ATM across the globe.
- The account has a zero-monthly fee.
- You can get interest rates ranging from 0.10%-2.5% (if you are a new customer).
- This chequing account has one of the best online banking systems that offer free e-transfers.
- You will get a free first chequebook with 50 leaves.
Types of Chequing Accounts
There are a variety of chequing accounts, and all of them come with different perks and benefits. If you are new to the financial world, the sheer variety of chequing accounts might confuse you. Here are the most common types of chequing accounts that you will come across during your search for an ideal one.
No-Fee Chequing Account
No-fee chequing accounts are exactly what their name suggests; they come with zero monthly fees. They are becoming popular as a burgeoning number of banks are providing this type of account. These banks come at the lowest cost, but they also provide a limited number of services. For example, they don’t offer branch access since they are completely online. The majority of these accounts share similar chequing account features such as unlimited debit transactions, interest rates on savings, free cheque books, and unlimited e-transfers. This way, you can grow your finances without paying any additional cost. These banks are perfect for small business owners or for Canadians who are on a budget.
Personal Chequing Account
A personal chequing account is the standard type of chequing account offered by all of the banks. However, the features in this type of account vary: some of the personal chequing account, such as CIBC Smart Account, offer unlimited monthly transactions but comes at $8.70 per month. Other chequing accounts, such as Wealthsimple Personal Chequing Account, have unlimited transactions and no monthly fee but have limited personal finance tools. In addition, some of these accounts also offer rebates based on demographics or education status.
Youth Chequing Account
To be eligible for this type of account, you must be below the age of majority (in your province). Some banks offer a youth chequing account to youth aged 16 or above, but this age limit varies from bank to bank. These banks typically offer both interest rates and unlimited transactions, but your financial autonomy will be limited. In many banks, one parent must be a joint owner until the child comes of age.
Unlimited Chequing Account
Unlimited chequing accounts are focused on one important feature: the number of debit transactions. As the name suggests, an unlimited chequing account allows its holders to make as many debit transactions as they like every month without having to worry about some hidden charges. Although it depends on the type of account you choose, unlimited chequing accounts usually do not come with free e-transfers. This is one of the major downsides to this type of account. They also have a high monthly fee if it is one of the premium accounts. Several online banks offer unlimited chequing accounts at a zero-monthly fee, but they have limited features.
US Dollar Chequing Account
If you are a Canadian businessman who regularly travels to the USA, the US dollar account will come in handy. You can withdraw US dollars directly from the ATM itself, and you won’t have to open another account for foreign currency (USD in this case) transactions; it can all be done from your US dollar chequing account.
Seniors’ Chequing Account
With the rapidly increasing number of senior citizens in Canada, several banks have offered seniors’ chequing accounts. As the name suggests, these accounts are specifically targeted towards senior citizens. However, these accounts are also accessible to all Canadians aged 60 or older, although this criterion varies from one provider to another.
Seniors’ chequing accounts come with a variety of perks. Depending on the provider, these benefits range from unlimited free transactions to high interest rates. Some seniors’ chequing accounts also come with perks, including free safety deposit boxes, personalized cheques, and other benefits. The CIBC Smart bank for seniors is a good option if you plan to open a seniors’ chequing account. It has a zero-monthly fee, and you will get 12 free transactions per month.
Who Needs a Chequing Account?
In this digital age fueled by currency and online transactions, it is challenging for anyone to live without a chequing account. Nearly everyone either has a chequing account or will need one in the future. However, keeping a hefty sum of cash on you every time is not a good idea; a much better and safer option is to open a chequing account that will facilitate you in your day-to-day transactions.
Contrary to popular belief, opening a chequing account is not difficult. Regardless of your age or financial status, you will most likely be eligible for a chequing account. There are a variety of chequing options for different people; the best chequing account for you is the one that caters to your financial needs. Before opting for any chequing account, you need to do your research and choose the best for you.
What is the Best Chequing Account for Travelers?
Travelling to Europe or outside of North America can be expensive. Without the right type of banking account under your belt, you will be liable to hefty ATM withdrawal fees, transaction fees, and several other charges that will put a financial strain on you. Therefore, it is much better to open a chequing account suited for your lifestyle if you travel regularly.
Here are the top 3 chequing accounts for Canadians who need to travel often.
These are free debit accounts that have garnered rave reviews from their customers over time.
Which Chequing Account Offers the Best Interest Rates?
Although financial advisors suggest opting for a savings account for the best interest rates, a few chequing accounts offer huge returns on the deposited cash. However, using only high interest rates as a metric is not the best strategy when choosing a chequing account. Several other parameters should be considered, such as service fees, monthly fees, transaction limit, and others. Nevertheless, these are some of the high-interest chequing accounts in Canada.
Which Chequing Account is Best for Students in Canada?
Managing your expenses can be difficult, especially for students. If you are a student living in Canada, here are the best student chequing accounts for you.
There is a variety of chequing accounts in the financial market. Choose one that best fits your needs. Scotiabank is an overall good option that offers premium features at a reasonable price. However, if you are looking for the most economical chequing account, the Tangerine no-fee chequing account would work for you.
Best Chequing Accounts Canada
How to pay for college at the biggest bank and may not have a reputation for having a low-cost account, but Chase Bank’s Total Checking account comes pretty close. Sources: 10
Canada’s big five banks all offer attractive checking accounts, and today the big five have several online accounts – accounts only, but there has always been a solid choice. Canada’s largest bank, Royal Bank of Canada (the country’s largest), actually offers four different checking accounts. The Total Cheque Account is the most popular and cheapest account type. Like the US checking account we have covered, this is spiced up to cover the checking account’s last type. Sources: 7, 9, 12
The Scotiabank cheque account can earn you SCENE points (Scotia Rewards (r), and you can even use your smartphone to use your ATM network for free!). The current account also offers a decent interest rate on balances, helping to ensure you pay off your balance faster than almost any other bank. The tangerine is also offered in various colours, such as orange, blue, red, green, yellow, orange-ish, and even tangerines are available on their website. Sources: 5, 9
It is also worth considering the Scotiabank Preferred Package if you do not need as many benefits of a checking account. If you are still depositing with one of the five major Canadian banks, you should consider switching your checking account to one of the 7 mentioned here. You can save up to $300 on your first deposit of $1,000 or $2,500 per month with a single deposit, without a monthly fee. Sources: 2, 11
Want to learn more about the types of checking accounts EQ offers and what kind of fees and benefits they offer? Sources: 7
Consider EQ Bank Savings Accounts, which are among the best high-interest savings accounts in Canada. These fee-free current accounts do not incur monthly fees, but there are several different types of accounts to choose from, from traditional current accounts to savings accounts. There are hybrid accounts from Wealthsimple, and there are a host of other options offered by other banks and credit unions. EQ bank savings accounts are available in two types: a standard and a hybrid account with a monthly fee. Sources: 1, 6, 7
Some selected checking accounts in Canada earn a small amount of interest. However, the interest level will not be nearly as high as the interest earned on a high-interest savings account. Interest and fee on a checking account are not the same as the two-hybrid savings accounts we discussed. Sources: 7, 9
If you agree, most banks offer low-fee checking accounts, and most banks also offer cross-border bank plans that integrate Canadian and USD checking accounts. If online banking is preferred, you can have a fee-free checking account with any bank in Canada, as long as you prefer. Sources: 4, 7
On the other hand, if you want to bundle several financial products with one provider and not manage accounts with different banks simultaneously, a checking account with a major bank may be a better option. If you open a Canadian account while travelling through the country, the Wise Multi-Currency Account allows you to create a virtual account that you can use as a regular bank account. You can still use this account as a fee-free checking account, but you will get access to all the benefits of a traditional checking account, such as the ability to open it at any bank in Canada, as well as cross-border bank plans. Some institutions offer interest rates on current accounts, and you can also get a hybrid account with some of these institutions. Sources: 0, 7, 8
If you prefer online banking and want to pay daily with your checking account, Tangerine is a good choice. If you’re worried about being showered with fees on too many direct debits, this is a free checking account. Maybe this is the perfect account for you. From simple accounts to unlimited options, our list of the best checking accounts in Canada should help you choose the best accounts for your personal financial goals. It’s basically up to you to choose the checking accounts to win the title of the best current account in Canada in 2021. Sources: 1, 3, 6, 12
As you can see from the comparison above, Scotiabank is a good choice for premium current accounts. In fact, we would go so far as to say that this is the best checking account in Canada, with a welcome bonus that is valid only for a limited period (until the end of the year). Make sure you don’t compare them to paid Canadian checking accounts, but compare apples to apples and check accounts across Canada. Sources: 6
BMO Performance Plan is one of the most recommended BMO accounts for billing in Canada, and it is also the second most expensive. Add to that the annual bonus of $5,000, And you’ll see why Scotiabank is currently the best choice for its premium checking account and for opening a new checking account across Canada. Sources: 6, 9
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