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Finding the best chequing accounts is challenging as it requires you to navigate the diverse Canadian banking landscape. Well, fear not, because we’ve curated a list of your best options. 

This comprehensive guide dives into the best chequing accounts available in Canada, examining their unique features, benefits, and potential drawbacks. If you’re seeking high-interest rates, zero fees, digital convenience, or a combination, our analysis will help you make an informed decision. Continue reading to ensure your banking experience is tailored to your needs.

Bank AccountMonthly FeeExtra Features
Neo Everyday account$0 (base plan)$4.99 (premium plan)– 4.00% interest rate
– Earn up to 15% cashback
Simplii FinancialNo Fee–  0.01% – 0.10% interest rate
– Free access to CIBC ATMs
– Free Global money transfers
– $400 welcome bonus
BMO Performance Plan$16.95 (waivable)– Up to 5.50% interest rate
– $40 annual credit card rebate
– $400 welcome bonus
Coast CapitalNo Fee– 4000+ free ATMs
– Full-service institution for no fee
EQ BankNo Fee– Up to 4% interest rate
– Earn 0.5% cashback
– No foreign transaction fees
WealthsimpleNo Fee– Up to 5% Interest rate
– Earn 1% cash back, stock, or crypto
– No foreign transaction fees
WiseNo Fee – One platform to open multiple multi-currency accounts
– low exchange rates 
neo mortgage

Neo Everyday Account

The Neo Everyday account is a hybrid account that allows you to make transactions like a debit card, earn cash back like a credit card and earn savings like a savings account. This Neo Everyday account shines as one of the best chequing accounts in Canada due to its high cash back and savings interest rate. With the card, you could earn up to 15% cashback and a lucrative 4.00% on your entire account balance.

Customers enjoy no-fee transactions like Interac e-transfers, bill payments, and debit card purchases. The account also doesn’t have monthly fees or minimum balance requirements. Users can also upgrade their Neo Money Card for boosted cashback and other perks.

However, as an online institution, Neo offers no in-branch service. The Neo Everyday account is an excellent option for maximizing earnings without fees.

Overview

  • Monthly Fees: None, or $4.99 for premium card
  • Transactions: Unlimited free everyday transactions 
  • e-Transfer: No fees
  • Interest Rate: 4.00%
  • Extra Features:
    • Earn 1% cash back on gas and groceries and up to 5% cash back on purchases with Neo partners. 
    • As a welcome bonus, you can earn up to 15% on first-time purchases with Neo partners. 
    • If you upgrade to the premium plan, you’ll earn extra cash back on purchases and gain access to perks such as credit score monitoring, purchase protection and group life insurance.

Simplii Financial

Simplii Financial™ No-Fee Chequing Account

Simplii Financial is an established online bank. They offer a traditional No-Fee Chequing account with unlimited transactions but a lower interest rate (up to 0.10%) than alternatives. Cash-heavy users will appreciate free access to over 3,400 CIBC ATMs across Canada, relieving a common complaint of online banks.

Beyond that, Simplii offers a global money transfer service with no transfer fees. Its long tenure as an online bank also means you can leverage many banking products. For example, Simplii’s credit card is a great no-fee option, while they also offer mortgage and investment products. Overall, it’s a standard option from an online bank. It’s best for those who want to centralize banking at an established online institution with many services.

Welcome Offer

Earn $400 when you open a No-Fee Chequing Account by October 31, 2024. Add an eligible direct deposit of at least $100 a month for 3 consecutive months.

Overview

  • Monthly Fees: None
  • Transactions: Unlimited
  • e-Transfer: No fees
  • Interest Rate: 0.01% – 0.10% (depending on balance)
  • Extra Features:
    • As a partner of CIBC, you’ll have free access to all 3,400 CIBC ATMs.
    • Free global money transfers.
    • If you want overdraft protection, you can add it to your account for $4.97 a month.
    • If you refer-a-friend, you’ll get $125 for each one that opens a no-fee chequing account. Moreover, your friend will receive $50.

BMO chequing account

BMO Performance Chequing Account

For those wanting a chequing account with a Big Five bank, turn to the BMO Performance Chequing Account. Aside from standard banking features, this option comes with big bank incentives. For example, you’ll receive a $40 credit card rebate, a 5.50% promotional savings interest rate, and bonus GIC interest rates. You can receive all these benefits and waive the $16.96 monthly fee by maintaining a $4,000 balance.

As for the account itself, you’ll have unlimited transactions, e-transfers, and BMO ATM withdrawals. This account is a great choice if you want to centralize banking with a Big Five bank and can maintain the minimum balance. The current welcome bonus sweetens the deal.

Bonus Sign-up Offer

Get up to a $600* cash bonus with BMO when you open a performance chequing and a Savings Amplifier Account (expires July 2, 2024).

Overview

  • Monthly Fees: $16.95 (waived with $4,000 balance)
  • Transactions: Unlimited
  • e-Transfer: Unlimited
  • Interest Rate: 5.50% promotional rate (drops to 1.90% after the promotional period)
  • Extra Features:
    • This card gives you an annual $40 credit that you can use towards certain BMO credit cards. 
    • BMO ATM withdrawals are free. You get 1 free non-BMO ATM withdrawal each month, after that, it’s $2 for each withdrawal. 

Coast Capital

Coast Capital Free Chequing, Free Debit, and More Account

Coast Capital is a BC-based credit union. Residents of the province can benefit from a no-fee account at a full-service financial institution with branch access. In addition to the Free Chequing, Free Debit, and More Account, customers receive a complete range of products, including auto loans, wealth management, and more. 

While the no-fee model is standard for online banks, Coast Capital uniquely offers these extras as a brick-and-mortar provider. For BC residents, Coast Capital is a premier chequing account choice, offering the best of online and in-branch banking.

Special Offer

From March 13-June 30, 2024, new members get $150* when they open a Free Chequing, Free Debit and More Account. *Conditions apply.

Overview

  • Monthly Fees: None
  • Transactions: Unlimited
  • e-Transfer: $1.50 for sending, none for receiving
  • Interest Rate: N/A
  • Extra Features:
    • Overdraft protection available.
    • Free monthly eStatements.
    • Free bill payments in-branch, online or phone.
    • Free withdrawals and deposits at 4000+ ATMs across Canada.

eq bank

EQ Bank Savings Plus Account

“Acts like chequing earns like saving,” as EQ Bank touts. Despite its name being a “savings account,” you’ll have unlimited free transactions, e-transfers, and even rebated ATM withdrawals. This means EQ bank doesn’t charge ATM fees from their end, and reimburses charges from the ATM provider. 

Furthermore, the Savings Plus Account includes a 4.00% interest rate (2.50% base rate plus set up direct deposit for your paycheque and earn another 1.50% interest), lack of FX fees, and 0.5% cashback. This cements it as one of the best chequing accounts in Canada. It’s worth noting that EQ Bank is online-only so you won’t have branch access.

Overview

  • Monthly Fees: None
  • Transactions: Unlimited
  • e-Transfer: No fees
  • Interest Rate: up to 4.00% (2.5% on everyday banking, and 1.5% if you set up direct deposit for your pay)
  • Extra Features:
    • Any transactions you make in a foreign currency won’t incur any FX fees.
    • Earn 0.5% cashback on both domestic and international purchases.
    • Account tools are available to help categorize your money and spending. 

wealthsimple crypto

Wealthsimple Cash Account

The Wealthsimple Cash account is a lucrative chequing account. Depending on your balance, you’ll earn up to an industry-leading 5% on deposits. This is amplified by a 1% cash back on spending, which you can earn as crypto, stocks, or regular cash – a unique spin on traditionally bland cash back.

Furthermore, travellers will enjoy the absence of foreign exchange fees. Despite the lack of fees, you’ll still receive unlimited transactions, e-transfers, and ATM withdrawals. This is a great chequing account for those who want to maximize income from an online institution.

Overview

  • Monthly Fees: None
  • Transactions: Unlimited
  • e-Transfer: No-fees
  • Interest Rate: Up to 5% interest rate 
  • Extra Features:
    • Earn 1% cash back, stock, or crypto when you spend using the Wealthsimple card.
    • Get access to your paycheque a day earlier when you set up direct deposit with your employer. 
    • There are no foreign transaction fees and no overdraft penalties. 
    • You’ll have increased CDIC Coverage ($300k). 

wise

Wise (Formerly TransferWise)

Wise is a multi-currency chequing account that offers rock-bottom exchange rates. You can access global currencies and account details worldwide with one card. Simply open new currency accounts with the click of a button and exchange funds between them. Card spending is deducted from the applicable account or automatically exchanged from other balances at the best rate.

A key feature is receiving domestic account details on certain currencies. For example, the Euro account includes an IBAN, which is essential for regional payments. Rather than the headache of opening a foreign bank account, you can manage it with a button. This chequing account is best for frequent travellers, exchange students, or newcomers sending money back home.

Overview

  • Monthly Fees: None
  • Transactions: Unlimited debit transactions, two free monthly ATM withdrawals, fees for sending money 
  • e-Transfer: No-fees
  • Interest Rate: N/A
  • Extra Features:
    • One platform to open multiple multi-currency accounts.
    • Low exchange rates. 

Where To Get The Chequing Account In Canada?

  • Online Institutions: Online banks generally offer no monthly fees, unlimited transactions, and high interest rates. While they offer fewer products than full-service institutions, their choices are market-leading. You may have to bank with multiple institutions for a complete package. The lack of physical branches also means no in-person support.
  • Credit Unions: Credit unions combine the best of online institutions and big banks. They often have a full-service suite of great products, complemented by in-person branch support. The drawback is they’re generally location-constrained, only operating in one province. It’s worth looking into credit unions near you since they often have low fees and high interest rates. 
  • Big Banks: The biggest banks offer convenience but higher fees. They have full-service suites of banking products ranging from insurance, mortgages, wealth management, and more. While these products aren’t market-leading individually, you can often receive discounts by consolidating your banking. Beyond the simplicity, these banks offer widespread ATM and branch networks. 
TypeProsCons
Online Institutions– No monthly fees
– Unlimited transactions
– High interest potential
– No in-person support
– Fewer products
– Limited ATM networks
Credit Unions– High interest rates with low fees
– Full-service suite of products
– In-person branch support
– Limited locations
– Smaller ATM network
– Potentially less advanced digital platforms
Major Banks– National availability
– Many locations & ATMs
– Broad product range
– Cross-product discounts
– Convenience
– High monthly fees
– Low interest rates
– Generally not best products

Types Of Chequing Accounts

No-Fee Chequing Accounts

A traditional no-fee chequing account offers basic banking without monthly fees. Typically, they have transaction limits, although this is fading away with online banks like Simplii Financial and Tangerine. These institutions offer unlimited daily transactions like deposits, transfers, and debit payments without extra charges. 

However, these accounts typically have low interest rates and lack additional features. For example, they generally don’t offer discounts on other banking services. 

Premium Chequing Accounts

Premium chequing accounts provide advanced functionality and features for a monthly fee. Usually, the fee is between $20 to $30, but you can waive it with a minimum balance. The big banks usually offer premium chequing accounts, granting access to their robust branch and ATM networks. 

Beyond that, you’ll often earn a welcome bonus and promotional incentives on ancillary products. For example, the BMO Performance Chequing Account offers enhanced GIC rates and a $40 credit card discount. As such, they’re if you can exceed minimum balance requirements and want convenient banking. 

Hybrid Savings

This is a new type of account offered by disruptors like EQ Bank and Neo Financial. Hybrid accounts function as high-rate savings vehicles and daily spending accounts. You can earn significantly higher interest than traditional banks (upwards of 4%) while enjoying unlimited free bank transfers, bill payments, and debit transactions. Top hybrid accounts bundle prepaid debit cards for purchases, rounding out a strong banking package.

How To Open A Chequing Account

While application methods vary, most banks need several documents to open a new chequing account. They’ll want to see: 

  1. One document with your name and address
  2. Another document with your name and date of birth 

These two documents must come from the following list 

  • Canadian government-issued identification
  • Canadian government notice of tax assessment 
  • Canadian government statement of benefits
  • Bank account, or credit card statement 
  • Canadian utility bills
  • Foreign passport

Online banks ease the demands via mobile upload and data integration, but the essential details remain unchanged. Proper paperwork facilitates quick approval and simple access to a new chequing account’s capabilities.

Final Thoughts

Choosing the best chequing account in Canada depends on individual financial priorities and preferences. Accounts like Neo Money and EQ Bank Savings Plus stand out for high interest rates, while Coast Capital and Simplii Financial offer no-fee options with extensive features. For those seeking more comprehensive services, accounts like the BMO Performance Plan provide a range of perks, though often at a cost.

Best Chequing Accounts FAQs

What is the best chequing account in Canada?

High interest seekers may prefer the Neo Money Account and EQ Bank Savings Plus Account, while those avoiding fees might opt for Coast Capital or Simplii Financial’s options. Premium accounts like the BMO Performance Plan offer comprehensive services with a revokeable monthly fee. 

Are online banks of big banks better? 

Online banks generally provide better products and lower fees. However, they’re less convenient than big banks offering a range of products and robust ATM networks. 

Can You Open A Bank Account As A Newcomer?

Canadian newcomers can open bank accounts through special newcomer programs. These programs streamline the process by letting you open an account before arrival. The big banks generally offer them, so you’ll have a 1-3 year no-fee period. 

What is CDIC Insurance? 

CDIC insurance protects your deposits up to $100,000 in the event of bank failure. The coverage applies per institution per account type. While most institutions offer CDIC insurance, double-check if they’re on the list of members

What is the difference between a chequing and a savings account?

Chequing accounts are tailored for daily transactions, offering unlimited activities and easy fund access, but typically earn little interest. Savings accounts are meant for long-term deposits, providing higher interest rates but with potential transaction limits and less accessibility. Hybrid accounts combine these features, offering the practicality of chequing accounts with the interest benefits of savings accounts.

*See full terms and conditions at coastcapitalsavings.com/switch

Daniel Schoester avatar on Loans Canada
Daniel Schoester

Daniel is an expert on travel and finance. He received an Honours BBA (Finance) from Wilfrid Laurier University, then started his career with WOWA. Daniel is now the founder and lead financial writer of Croton Content. Aside from Loans Canada, notable clients include Forbes Advisor, WealthRocket, and Hardbacon. Daniel loves to travel when not working. Although based out of Lisbon, Portugal, some of his most adventurous destinations include Rio, Cairo, and Istanbul.

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