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Best Chequing Accounts in Canada 2020

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Best Chequing Accounts in Canada 2020

Written by Priyanka Correia
Fact-checked by Caitlin Wood

Best Chequing Accounts in Canada 2020

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Banking Chequing Account

As you grow older and begin to earn an income, the need for a bank account becomes essential for everyday living. From the convenience it provides to the purpose it serves, chequing accounts are used by almost all Canadians. In fact, according to the Canadian Bankers Association (CBA), 99% of Canadians own a bank account.  

When Should You Get a Chequing Account? 

A chequing account is a basic bank account in which you can receive money through e-transfers, payroll, direct deposit, or by depositing a cheque. Similarly, you can also use it to withdraw money for purchases or bills or send money through Interact e-transfers.  

Moreover, due to the high liquidity of the funds in a chequing account, you’re free to withdraw your money whenever you want without penalty. Certain savings and investment accounts like a TFSA can take up to 6 days before you can receive your money. 

If you have a regular source of income and need a place to store it safely, a chequing account is a useful tool for safekeeping and money management. 

Best Chequing Accounts in Canada

There are many different chequing accounts available in Canada. Each account has its own traits and caters to a specific lifestyle. Below we’ve listed some of the best chequing accounts on the market: 

  • Tangerine No-Fee Daily Chequing Account
  • TD Unlimited Chequing Account
  • BMO Performance Plan
  • Simplii Financial No Fee Chequing Account
  • RBC Day to Day Banking
Monthly FeeMinimum Balance Transaction LimitsOverdraft Protection 
Tangerine No-Fee Daily Chequing AccountFreeNoneUnlimitedYes
TD Unlimited Chequing Account$16.95$4,0000UnlimitedYes
BMO Performance Plan$15.95$4,000UnlimitedYes
Simplii Financial No Fee Chequing AccountFreeUnlimitedYes
RBC Day to Day Banking$4.00None12Yes

Tangerine No-Fee Daily Chequing Account

Tangerine

Tangerine is a subsidiary of Scotiabank and was first founded as ING Direct in 1997. Since then it has re-branded as Tangerine and now offers a variety of banking services such as chequing accounts, savings accounts, mortgages, HELOCs, and even investment products. Among those is the No-Fee Daily Chequing Account. 

This chequing account can earn you up to 0.10% interest on your account balance and comes with unlimited transactions and e-transfers. It also provides a free cheque book with 50 cheques. The main fees associated with this account are the NSF fees ($45), the non-Scotiabank ATM fees ($1.50) and the foreign currency conversion fee (2.5%). If you prefer banking online and want a chequing account with low fees and no minimum balance, then Tangerine is a great choice. 

TD Unlimited Chequing Account

TD Bank Mobile Banking App

TD is Canada’s second-largest bank with more than 1,100 branches and 2,600 ATMs. They cater to every banking need there is, anything from day-to-day banking, saving, investing, borrowing and insuring. Their TD Unlimited Chequing Account is designed to provide you with the ultimate freedom to send money, pay bills, make purchases, and overall manage your money. 

For a monthly fee of $16.95 (waived if you have a minimum balance of $4,000), you’ll be able to make unlimited transactions and e-transfers for free. You’ll also be able to withdraw money from any TD and non-TD ATM for free. The TD Unlimited Chequing Account also comes with overdraft protection, a savings program, mobile deposit, and fraud alerts

BMO Performance Plan

BMO

BMO is one of the oldest banks in Canada.  It was founded in 1817, and since has grown to be the fourth-largest bank in the country. It offers a range of financial products including chequing accounts. They currently have 5 different chequing accounts, amongst them is the Bmo Performance Plan. 

The Bmo Performance Plan is an unlimited transaction chequing account and by far their most popular account. It has a fee of $15.95, but it can be waived if you maintain a minimum monthly balance of $4,000. With the BMO Performance Plan, you’ll be able to manage your money, pay bills, and send and receive e-transfers. You’ll also have access to overdraft protection, identity theft protection and a free US dollar savings account. 

Simplii Financial No Fee Chequing Account

Whether you want to spend, save, invest or borrow, Simplii Financial has a variety of products to meet your needs. It is an online financial institution that offers a range of financial products and services including everyday chequing accounts. 

In particular, Simplii Financial offers a no-fee chequing account. It works just like a regular chequing account, except it has no monthly fee. Moreover, like a savings account, you’ll be able to earn up to 0.15% in interest on your balance. You’ll also be able to make unlimited transactions, e-transfers and withdrawals free of charge. While it may be an online bank, it is associated with CIBC and as such, you’ll still have access to CIBC’s ATMs if you ever need to withdraw cash. 

RBC Day to Day Banking

RBC

RBC is the largest bank in Canada with over 1.43 trillion dollars in assets. It is very accessible with 1,300 physical branches and over 4,200 ATMs available across Canada. Like the other major banks, they offer a wide variety of banking services and products including chequing accounts. They currently offer 4 different chequing accounts each with its own unique traits. 

The RBC Day to Day Banking chequing account is their most affordable option with a monthly fee of $4.00. It comes with 12 free transactions after which each transaction will cost you $1.25. It also has unlimited e-transfers and extra benefits like overdraft protection, fuel discounts, and access to RBC cash saving offers.  

How to Choose a Chequing Account

With the plethora of chequing accounts available in today’s market, choosing a chequing account can be stressful. Numerous banks and financial institutions fight for your business through promotional offers and persistent ads that follow you around. To help you break through this “fog of war”, we’ve broken down the main aspects of choosing a chequing account. 

Types of Chequing Accounts

There are several different types of chequing accounts available in Canada. Depending on your needs and the features you’re looking for in your chequing account, one of the following will suit your needs more.

Personal chequing account – The personal chequing account is the most basic of chequing accounts. It can be used to receive or withdraw funds, deposit cheques, pay bills and makes purchases for a small monthly fee. 

Online chequing account – Online chequing accounts are offered by online-only banks like Tangerine. They offer the same features as a personal chequing account except it can only be accessed online. 

No-fee chequing account –  The no-fee chequing account works just like a personal chequing account, except it has no monthly fee. This account is usually offered by online banks and often offers additional perks such as unlimited transactions, no minimum balance requirements, and more.  

Youth chequing account – Youth accounts are reserved for parents who wish to provide their child with a bank account, often to teach them about financial literacy. These accounts usually have no fees and sometimes earn interest. 

Student chequing account – Student chequing accounts are usually available to full-time post-secondary students. These accounts often have no fees but have limited transactions. 

Seniors chequing account – As the name suggests, this account is for individuals above the age of 60. It tends to offer lower bank fees, lower minimum balance requirements, discounts, and free paper statements and cheques. Like the youth account, some earn you interest. 

Hybrid chequing account – Some financial institutions offer chequing accounts that also act as a savings account. The main perk of this account is that you’ll be able to earn interest on your funds, which is not a typical trait of a chequing account. Moreover, you won’t have to open a savings account to save and grow your money, you can do it all through one account. 

USD chequing account –  If you happen to make a lot of USD transactions, a USD chequing account can help you save on exchange fees, as it allows you to withdraw and deposit USD funds without charging you exchange fees. 

Chequing Account Fees

Another aspect to consider when choosing a chequing account is the fees. In addition to the monthly fee, there are a number of other bank fees that can affect the cost of owning a bank account.

  • Transaction Fees – Many chequing accounts have limitations on how many transactions you can do for free. After that, it can easily cost $1.25 per transaction. Depending on your banking needs, you may want to opt for an unlimited transaction chequing account.  
  • ATM Fees – If you often use the ATM, understanding the cost of withdrawing money from your bank’s ATM and a third-party ATM can help you save money. 
  • Interac e-Transfer Fees – If you plan on using e-transfers a lot, finding a bank that offers unlimited e-transfers or a few free ones can help save you a few dollars each month.  
  • Overdraft Fees – Do you often find yourself going into overdraft? It may be worth considering a chequing account that has overdraft protection. 
  • Non-Sufficient Fund Fees (NSF) –  When your bank account falls below zero it can lead to an NSF charge. Depending on the bank it can easily cost up to $40.  

Additional Chequing Account Features

Once you figure out the price and type of chequing account you need, you can narrow your options based on additional features

  • Accessibility –  How do you bank? Do you enjoy banking in-person? Do you use ATMs? Do you prefer banking online or via a mobile app? Depending on your preference, some banks will excel in one area more than another. For example, if you prefer banking in-person, the number of branches your bank has in your area will be a focal point for your decision. 
  • Customer Service – Always check the reviews regarding a bank’s customer service. Good customer service can go a long way and change your entire banking experience.  
  • Product Variety – If you plan on investing, saving, getting insurance or taking out a loan, it may be worth choosing a bank that offers these products. When you use multiple products from the same bank you could potentially get better rates, bundle discounts and more. 
  • Minimum Balance – Some banks waive the monthly fee if you can meet their minimum balance. This is a great way to access better features while saving money on fees. 
  • Promotions – Many banks offer different promotions throughout the year to win your business. They often offer cash bonuses or free giveaways like an iPad when you sign up. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I get a chequing account with a online-only bank?

Generally, it is much easier to sign-up with an online-only bank as they typically require less paperwork than a regular bank. Moreover, they usually charge much lower fees or none at all. However, if you prefer the luxury of banking in person and online, opening a chequing account with a regular bank will be ideal.

Do I need a chequing account to open a savings account?

Simply put, no, you do not need to open a chequing account to open a savings account. To open one, simple apply with your prefered financial institution and provide some personal identification information. Once you’ve submitted your details and signed/e-signed your agreement, you’ll be able to transfer funds into your savings account.

What’s the difference between a chequing and savings account?

A chequing account is a basic bank account that you use to conduct day-to-day transactions and purchases including paying bills, receiving payroll, sending e-transfers, depositing cheques and more. On the other hand, a savings account is an account that augments your savings by accumulating interest.  

Bottom Line 

A chequing account is a convenient product that can help you make purchases, pay bills, send and receive money and overall manage and keep track of your money. While there are several choices available, be sure to evaluate your financial situation when making a decision. Depending on your banking needs, one chequing account will play more to your favour than the others. 


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