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As a student, opening your first bank account is not just a routine procedure, it signifies a major stride towards achieving financial independence. Navigating the complexities of limited credit history, variable income from part-time employment, and the ever-growing list of living expenses can be difficult for a student. In this scenario, selecting the right bank becomes not just a matter of convenience but a strategic decision that can aid in saving money and cultivating important money management skills.

Numerous Canadian banks provide student-focused accounts, featuring perks like no monthly fees, unlimited transactions, mobile banking, and cash bonuses. However, with so many choices available, selecting the ideal account that aligns with your financial needs and budget can be a complex task.

Best Student Bank Accounts In Canada 2024 Overview

Monthly FeesInterest RateWelcome BonusKey Features
BMO Performance Chequing Account$00%$100 cash bonus and six months of Domino’s pizza ($95)Credit card rebate, free for up to 12 months after graduation, one-time complimentary fee reversal, BMO ATM network
Neo Money Account$0, or  $4.99 for premium card2.25%$0Debit cashback with promotional offers, automate bill payments, enhanced cashback and credit monitoring with premium card  
Tangerine No-Fee Daily Chequing Account$00.10%Up to $400Scotiabank ATM access, Global ATM Alliance, Digital sign-up, good no-fee credit card
Simplii Financial™ No-Fee Chequing Account$0Up to 0.10%Up to $400CIBC ATM access, $125 friend referrals, good no-fee credit card
TD Student Chequing Account$00.01%Up to $10050% more Starbucks Stars, complimentary overdraft protection, access to TD MySpend, automatic savings with Simply Save 
RBC Advantage Banking For Students$00%$100 and $100 charity donation of choiceCredit card rebates, Avion rewards, NOMI spending tracking
CIBC Smart™ For Students$0N/A$100SPC+ membership, Journie rewards membership, free stock and ETF trading (under 25)
Scotiabank Student Banking Advantage Plan$00%$100Scene+ Points, discounted stock trading, Scotiabank Student Hub
BMO chequing account

BMO Performance Chequing Account

The BMO Performance Chequing Account offers big bank benefits. You’ll receive unlimited transactions for no monthly fee. Beyond that, BMO’s student bank account includes a $100 cash bonus and six months of free Domino’s Pizza. 

Additional benefits include a $40 annual credit card rebate and complimentary identity theft protection. You’ll maintain the no-fee status for 12 months after graduation. Afterward, the account costs $16.95 monthly, which is waivable with a $4,000 minimum balance. 

BMO Performance Chequing Account: Main Features

  • Monthly Fees: $0
  • Interest Rate: 0%
  • Welcome Bonus: $100 cash bonus and 1 free Domino’s pizza per month for 6 months. 
  • Extra Features:
    • Get $40 off eligible BMO credit cards each year. 
    • After graduation, you’ll get to keep the no-fee status for 12 months.
    • If you accidentally incur an NSF fee or any other fee, you can have the charge reversed with their one-time complimentary fee reversal. 
    • BMO ATM withdrawals are free. You’ll get 1 free non-BMO ATM withdrawal. After that, each ATM withdrawal is $2 or $5 (for withdrawals outside of Canada). 

neo mortgage

Neo Money Account

Neo is known for its innovative products and rock-bottom fees. The Neo Money Account is no exception, offering up to 15% cashback. The account functions as a hybrid chequing and savings suite. It includes a prepaid mastercard you can use to make purchases and earn cash back. Of course, the account includes unlimited transactions for no monthly fees. 

The account also offers an interest rate of 2.25% on your account balance. Plus, you‘ll enjoy powerful tools to track your finances, automate your payments, send and move money, and more. The Neo Money Account is easy to open online or via the app. The account is free, regardless of your graduation status. However, you can opt for the premium account to earn more cashback. 

Neo Money Account: Main Features

  • Monthly Fees: None, or $4.99 for premium card
  • Interest Rate: 2.25%
  • Welcome Bonus: You can earn up to 15% on first-time purchases with Neo partners. 
  • Extra Features:
    • Earn 1% cash back on gas and groceries and up to 5% cash back on 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.

Tangerine chequing account

Tangerine No-Fee Daily Chequing Account

Tangerine offers student-friendly, no-fee banking services. Their No-Fee Daily Chequing Account features unlimited free transactions, such as debit purchases, bill payments, and Interac e-Transfers. Their welcome bonus is strong compared to other student bank accounts. You can earn up to $400 cash back by signing up for the chequing account. Then if you open an eligible Tangerine Savings Account, you’ll earn an additional $100 bonus and a promotional 6% interest rate.

While the ongoing 0.10% interest rate is low, it’s better than most chequing accounts. You’ll also have access to 3,500 Scotiabank ATMs in Canada and 44,000 globally through the Global ATM Alliance. This unique benefit lets you access cash without surcharges while abroad. 

Tangerine No-Fee Daily Chequing Account: Main Features

  • Monthly Fees: $0
  • Interest Rate: Up to 0.10%
  • Welcome Bonus: Up to $400 for just the chequing account
  • Extra Features:
    • Scotiabank ATM access and Global ATM Alliance
    • Overdraft protection available
    • Tangerine also offers a good no-fee credit card

Simplii Financial

Simplii Financial™ No-Fee Chequing Account

Simplii Financial is another leading online bank in Canada. The lack of monthly fees makes it a great option for students. Their No Fee Chequing account is notable, offering unlimited transactions and a $400 welcome offer.

Other perks include free access to CIBC ATMs and a strong suite of banking services. Simplii also provides an exceptional no-fee credit card and an international student GIC program. Simplii aims to provide affordable and accessible banking, helping students evade fees, optimize returns, and learn financial management.

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.

Simplii Financial No Fee Chequing Account: Main Features

  • Monthly Fees: $0
  • Interest Rate: up to 0.10% depending on your account balance. 
  • Welcome Bonus: Earn $400 when you open a No-Fee Chequing Account by February 29, 2024. Add an eligible direct deposit of at least $100 a month for 3 consecutive months. 
  • Extra Features:
    • Since Simplii Financial is a division of CIBC, you can use any CIBC ATM to withdraw cash.
    • When you refer a friend, you’ll get $125 through Simplii’s Refer-A-Friend program. Moreover, your friend will also get a bonus of $50.

TD chequing account

TD Student Chequing Account

TD is Canada’s second-largest bank. Their Student Chequing Account is similar to alternatives but appeals to Starbucks enthusiasts. This is because you’ll earn 50% more Stars after linking your TD debit card. Otherwise, the main draw for students is unlimited transactions for no monthly fees. 

A notable benefit is the inclusion of overdraft protection. This protects you from fees if accidentally spend more than your account balance. Most banks charge extra for this. You’ll benefit from no monthly fees until you turn 23, or maintain post-secondary enrolment. 

TD Student Chequing Account: Main Features

  • Monthly Fees: $0
  • Interest Rate: 0.01%
  • Welcome Bonus: Up to $100
  • Extra Features:
    • 50% more Starbucks Stars
    • Complimentary overdraft protection
    • Access to TD MySpend
    • Automatic savings with Simply Save 

rbc chequing account1

RBC Advantage Banking For Students

RBC is Canada’s largest bank. They offer students a competitive bank account through their Advantage Banking for Students package. You’ll have unlimited free transactions, a credit card rebate, and Avion rewards on debit purchases for no monthly cost. Moreover, it offers up to $48 in credit card rebates each year.

RBC invests heavily in digital conveniences. The account provides personalized spending insights, Siri e-Transfers, and a special student banking app. Recent graduates keep their student status for one year after school. 

RBC Advantage Banking For Students: Main Features

  • Monthly Fees: $0 
  • Interest Rate: 0%
  • Bonus: When you open an account, you’ll not only get $100, but RBC will donate another $100 to a charity of your choice.
  • Extra Features:
    • Students with this account can receive an annual rebate for four RBC cards: RBC ION+ Visa ($48), WestJet RBC MasterCard ($39), Signature RBC Rewards Visa ($39), and Visa Cash Back Card ($19).
    • You can earn Avion points on your purchases which you can later redeem for gift cards and other merchandise. You can earn 1 point per $10 spent on debit, up to a maximum of 150 points per month. 
    • You can download the RBC mobile app and use the built-in intelligence of NOMI to track spending, send alerts, and gain better insights into money management. 

CIBC logo

CIBC Smart™ For Students

CIBC Smart for Students offers an extended no-fee period. You’ll maintain a free account until 25, or six months after graduation, whichever is later. This includes no monthly fees and unlimited transactions. It also includes a $100 sign-up bonus and additional perks such as free SPC+ membership for exclusive deals and discounts. 

The free SPC+ membership unlocks exclusive student deals and discounts of up to 30% from over 450 top brands across fashion, technology, food, and more. Students can save instantly in-store or online by simply showing their digital SPC+ membership

CIBC Smart For Student: Main Features

  • Monthly Fees: $0 
  • Interest Rate: N/A
  • Welcome Bonus: $100, and $50 per friend referral 
  • Extra Features:
    • SPC+ membership
    • Journie rewards membership
    • Free stock and ETF trading (under 25)
    • Refer a friend and earn $50 (up to 10 referrals)
    • Buddle a CIBC Dividend® credit card with your CIBC Smart™ Start account and earn up to $150 cash back.

Scotia logo

Scotiabank Student Banking Advantage Plan

Scotiabank offers a standard student bank account, with an enhanced ability to earn Scene+ Points. The Student Banking Advantage Plan has unlimited transactions for no monthly fees. Furthermore, you’ll get a discount on stock trading with Scotia iTRADE. Unfortunately, there are no credit card rebates, as other banks provide. However, Scotiabank has competitive travel credit cards for students who can stomach the fee.

International students can also utilize the StartRight program for transitioning to Canada. The account remains free until December 1st of the year you graduate. While Scotiabank offers a complimentary first year after graduation, switching to an online bank is best during this window. 

Scotiabank Student Banking Advantage Plan: Main Features

  • Monthly Fees: $0 
  • Interest Rate: 0%
  • Welcome Bonus: You be eligible to receive a $100 welcome bonus if you set up a direct deposit and pre-authorized transaction valuing $25 or more for at least 3 consecutive months. 
  • Extra Features:
    • Earn 1 Scene+ Points for every $5 spent on purchases and 1 Scene+ Point per $1 spent at Cineplex.
    • Get 50% off the standard Scotia iTRADE commissions and 20 free stock or ETF trades.
    • Scotiabank Student Hub

What Do You Need To Open An Account As A Student

Opening a bank account as a student in Canada is a straightforward process. You’ll need to provide a valid photo ID such as a driver’s license, passport, or residence confirmation. 

Many banks will also want to verify you’re enrolled as a full-time student. To prove this, you can usually show a student ID card, acceptance letter, class schedule or tuition receipt. You can open a student bank account online, over the phone, or by visiting a bank branch in person. 

Main Requirements:

  • Photo ID (driver’s license, passport, residence permit)
  • Proof of enrollment (student ID, acceptance letter, tuition receipt)

Can You Open A Bank Account In Canada As An International Student?

Yes, international students can also open Canadian bank accounts. Many banks offer international student accounts through newcomer programs. These accounts have no monthly fees during a designated window, and can be opened from abroad. Oftentimes, you’ll also receive free or discounted international money transfers and foreign exchange, complimentary financial advice, and access to credit cards or loans. 

However, you’ll need to have the right documentation. While the requirements vary by bank, you’ll usually need ID, and a valid study permit. A letter of acceptance or confirmation of enrollment may also be required. 

Main Requirements:

  • Passport
  • Study permit or temporary resident visa
  • Letter of acceptance from school, or another proof of enrollment
  • A Social Insurance Number (SIN) is good to have

Pros And Cons Of The Best Student Bank Accounts In Canada

ProsCons
No monthly feesProof of enrollment required
Unlimited transactionsNo-fee status may change post-graduation
Potential promotions on ancillary products (credit cards, GICs, loans)
Welcome bonuses

Types Of Student Bank Accounts

Student Bank Accounts

Chequing Account

A chequing account is a basic bank account that allows you to deposit, withdraw, and transfer money conveniently. It also enables you to seamlessly pay bills, make debit purchases, and receive payments or direct deposits. Chequing accounts tailored for students typically have low or no monthly fees. 

Savings Account

A savings account allows you to earn interest on the account balance, enabling your money to grow over time. Savings accounts designed for students often have no monthly fees. However, they may require a minimum balance or restrict the number of withdrawals. This account is ideal for safely accumulating savings for short-term goals.

Hybrid Account

Hybrid bank accounts such as Neo’s combine useful features of both chequing and savings accounts. They usually offer unlimited transactions, high-interest rates on savings, and cash-back rewards on purchases. Beyond that, they tend to have no monthly fees. 

Final Thoughts

Selecting the right student bank account is key to achieving financial independence and mastering money management during your studies. Canadian banks offer student-specific options, but assessing their pros, cons, and features is important to make an informed choice. 

Online banks like Tangerine, Simplii, and Neo provide a smooth digital experience, while traditional banks such as BMO or RBC offer in-branch services but usually introduce fees post-graduation. 

Student Bank Account FAQs

Can you get a student bank account if you’re under 18?

Yes, you can get a student bank account if you’re under 18, most banks will require you to have a joint account with your parent or guardian if you are under 14.

Can you get a student account if you’re a part-time student?

Banks that offer specific student accounts require you to be a full-time student enrolled in a recognized post-secondary institution in Canada. Many banks consider “full-time” as being enrolled in at least 60% of the usual course load of the program you are enrolled in.

What is a student chequing account?

A student chequing account is a type of bank account that is designed for students who want to manage their money easily and affordably. They often have no monthly fees, and unlimited transactions during your study period. Upon graduation, you’ll generally have a no-fee window, but then you’ll need to switch to a general chequing account. 
Lucas Elliott avatar on Loans Canada
Lucas Elliott

Lucas, a Toronto native, holds an Honours BBA (Finance) degree obtained from Wilfrid Laurier University. His career has spanned venture capital and blockchain startups. Aside from writing at Loans Canada, Lucas is a Hardbacon contributor, and content specialist at Croton Content. Additionally, his passion for exploring the world has taken him to an impressive 28 countries across Europe, North America, Asia, and Central America.

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