Best Online-Only Chequing Accounts

Best Online-Only Chequing Accounts

Written by Lisa Rennie
Fact-checked by Caitlin Wood
Last Updated September 15, 2021

Most Canadians depend on their chequing accounts for paycheque deposits and cash withdrawals. But you don’t have to rely on your brick-and-mortar bank to provide you with such widely-used accounts. Instead, there are several online-only banks in Canada that offer e-chequing accounts that offer competitive interest rates and no monthly fees. 

We’ve assessed the various online chequing accounts available to Canadians and hand-picked a few that stand out. 

Tangerine No-Fee Chequing Account 

Previously known as ING Direct, Tangerine is an online-only subsidiary of Scotiabank and offers plenty of banking options and products, much like you would get with a traditional brick-and-mortar bank. That said, Tangerine’s more popular product is the no-fee chequing account, which pays out a decent interest rate on funds deposited. 

There are no monthly or transaction fees, which is a big plus considering many other no-fee chequing accounts come with a finite number of free transactions. No minimum balance is required either, so you won’t get slapped with pesky fees to keep your account open. 

  • $200 bonus when you switch to a daily bank account
  • No monthly fee
  • No daily transaction fees
  • Unlimited transactions included
  • Free Interac e-transfers
  • Free access to 3,500 bank machines across Canada
  • Overdraft protection
  • First 50 cheques are free
  • Mobile app
  • Account alerts via email or text
  • Interest rate: up to 0.10%

motusbank Chequing Account

One of the newer players on the online-only banking scene is motusbank, which is owned by Meridian Credit Union and is a member of CDIC, so your deposits will always be insured for security. motusbank’s low overhead banking model allows the bank to pass its savings onto clients in the form of higher interest rates. There are no monthly or transaction fees that are typical of the average bank, and you’ll have around 3,700 bank machines across Canada to withdraw cash from for free.  

  • No monthly fee
  • No daily transaction fees
  • First 25 cheques are free
  • Unlimited number of transactions
  • Unlimited Interac e-transfers
  • Unlimited debit purchases and bill payments 
  • Mobile cheque deposits
  • Mobile app 
  • Interest rate: up to 0.25% 

Simplii Financial Chequing Account

Simplii Financial offers a number of financial products, including its popular no-fee chequing account. The online banking arm of CIBC has become a widely-used online-only banking option for a growing number of Canadians, and it’s high-interest rate accounts are a big reason. You’ll get unlimited free paper cheques, free Interac e-transfers, and unlimited debit purchases and bill payments, all at no fee and without minimum balance requirements. Plus, you’ll have access to 3,400 ATMs across Canada for free. 

  • New clients can earn up to $200 with a chequing account 
  • No monthly fee
  • No daily transaction fees
  • Unlimited free cheques 
  • Unlimited number of transactions
  • No minimum balance
  • Direct payroll and pension deposit
  • Overdraft protection
  • Account-to-account transfers
  • Free Interac e-transfers
  • Unlimited debit purchases and bill payments 
  • Mobile cheque deposits
  • Mobile app 
  • Interest rate: up to 0.15% 

Alterna Bank No Fee eChequing Account

The most popular financial product offered by Alterna Bank is its no-fee chequing account. It’s entirely free to use and comes with a number of attractive perks, such as no transaction limits and no monthly fees. You’ll have access to over 3,300 ATMs within the EXCHANGE Network, and your deposits will also be fully insured by the CDIC. While the bank is entirely online, it does offer in-person service at its parent, Alterna Savings Credit Union. Your deposits will also be fully insured by the CDIC.

  • No monthly fees
  • Free, unlimited daily transactions
  • Free, unlimited Interac e-transfers
  • No minimum balance
  • Overdraft protection
  • Deposits insured by the CDIC
  • Interest rate: 0.05%

Motive Financial Chequing Account

Motive Financial’s chequing account offers one of the highest interest rates going. At 0.25% for all balances, that’s a pretty competitive rate and one that attracts many Canadian consumers. You’ll also have the freedom of unlimited transactions and deposits, no monthly fees, and free withdrawals with the second largest ATM network in Canada. 

  • No monthly fee
  • Unlimited transactions
  • Unlimited deposits
  • Interac e-transfers are free to receive ($1 each to send)
  • 50 free cheques
  • Free cash withdrawals from ATMs in the EXCHANGE Network
  • Interest rate: 0.25%

Online Chequing Accounts Recap

Tangerinemotusbank Simplii FinancialAlterna BankMotive Financial
Minimum Balance$0$0$0$0$0
Interest rateUp to 0.10%Up to 0.25%Up to 0.15%0.05%0.25%
# TransactionsUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
Interac e-TransfersFree, unlimitedFree, unlimitedFree, unlimitedFree, unlimitedFree to receive; $1 to send
Paper chequesFirst 50 cheques freeFirst 25 cheques freeFree, unlimitedN/AFirst 50 cheques free
Overdraft Protection$5 per itemN/A$4.97 per item$2.50/month$5 per item
AccessibilityOnline, app, ATMs Online, app, ATMsOnline, app, ATMsOnline, app, ATMsOnline, app, ATMs

Why Would A Consumer Need An Online-Only Chequing Account?

While savings accounts are meant to help you grow your money safely with a very modest interest rate, chequing accounts are the backbone of your banking. They’re meant to deposit your paycheques, access funds from an ATM or through your debit card, and pay your bills, among other things. Basically, chequing accounts act as transaction accounts. 

The funds you have deposited in these accounts can grow with the right online bank, while still serving as direct access to your money at any time without penalty. Thanks to the liquidity of the money in these accounts, they traditionally do not come with very high-interest rates. But there are some checking accounts that give savings accounts a run for their money when it comes to interest, including some of those mentioned above. 

And while most traditional big banks tend to charge a fee for these accounts, the online chequing accounts listed here do not, making them an even more attractive financial product to add to your repertoire.

When it comes to online-only chequing accounts, you’ll have the opportunity to access your account completely online, making banking as convenient as possible. If you’re digitally savvy and prefer to do all your banking remotely from wherever you happen to be, then an online-only chequing account may be a perfect option for you.

How Do I Choose An Online-Only Chequing Account That Suits Me?

When choosing an online-only chequing account, there are certain things to take into consideration, including the following:

  • Fees. The less you have to pay for your chequing account, the better, so look for accounts that do not come with any pesky monthly or transaction fees. 
  • Everyday transactions. Look for chequing accounts that come with everything you need, such as bill payments, e-transfers, and point-of-sale purchases. Further, look for chequing accounts that allow unlimited transactions with no fees to help extend your savings.  
  • Overdraft protection.  Most chequing accounts offer overdraft protection, which covers you in case your account is temporarily overdrawn. If you tend to overdraft on a regular basis, you may want to look for a chequing account with low overdraft fees. 

Are Online Chequing Accounts Safe? 

Some consumers might worry about taking their banking entirely online and interacting with their chequing accounts virtually rather than the traditional way of physically visiting a bank. Given the sensitivity of the information you’re dealing with, it’s understandable to be a bit skeptical. But the truth is banking online is completely safe. 

If you bank with a reputable online bank, your funds are safe, as is your personal information. Online banks use robust encryption to keep your personal information safe, though it’s still advised to use a strong password to minimize the risk of hacking. Further, online banks such as the ones listed here insure deposits through the CDIC in the event that the bank collapses, so you won’t be left empty-handed. 

Final Thoughts

Chequing accounts aren’t known for their high-interest rates, but some offer higher-than-average rates that can help take your money a little further. And with online-only chequing accounts, you can take advantage of the ultimate in convenience by doing all your bill payments, cheque deposits, and other transactions for the comfort of your home or wherever else you happen to be. 

Rating of 5/5 based on 1 vote.

Lisa has been working as a writer for more than a decade, creating unique content that helps to educate Canadian consumers in the realms of real estate, mortgages, investing and financial health. For years, she held her real estate license in Toronto, Ontario before giving it up to pursue writing within this realm and related niches. Lisa is very serious about smart money management and helping others do the same. She's used a variety of financial tools over the years and is currently growing her money with Wealthsimple, while stashing some capital in a liquid high-interest savings account so that she always has a financial cushion to fall back on. She's also been avidly using her Aeroplan TD credit card to collect as many Aeroplan points as possible to put towards her travels!

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