Why pay fees when you can get the same quality service (sometimes even better) for free?
That’s precisely what no-fee bank accounts are for.
According to CBC News, Canadians pay an average of $216 yearly in bank fees. This is mostly because the Big Banks charge high monthly fees. However, you can totally avoid this.
Whether you are opening a chequing or a savings account, you have the option to get these services for free. To top this, no-fee bank accounts also offer unlimited transactions, easy and free Interac e- transfers, no minimum balance, free access to ATMs, deposits insured by CDIC, and a lot more.
- A Quick Glance: Top 8 Best No-Fee Accounts in Canada
- In-Depth Review: Best No-Fee Bank Accounts, Canada
- 1. Tangerine No Fee Chequing Account ($200 Bonus)
- 2. Simplii Financial No Fee Chequing Account ($450 Bonus)
- 3. WealthSimple No-Fee Cash Account
- 4. MotusBank No Fee Chequing Account
- 5. Alterna Bank No Fee e-Chequing Account
- 6. Motive Financial Chequing Accounts
- 7. Manulife Combined Savings and Chequing Advantage Account
- 8. Duca No Fee Chequing Account
- Honourable Mention: No-Fee Credit Union Chequing Accounts
- How You Can Get a Free, No Fee Bank Account with the Big 5 Banks
- Key Points: How You Can Get a No Fee Chequing Account with the 5 Big Banks
- What You Should Look For in a Free Bank Account
- FAQs: Best No-Fee Bank Accounts in Canada
- Final Words: Best No-Fee Bank Account in Canada
- 2023 Tangerine Orange Key and Promotion: Get up to $200 Bonus Offer
- 2023 Simplii Financial (Bank) Promotion: Get $450 Bonus Offer
Agreed, many of the Big 5 banks offer no-fee chequing accounts, but not without some conditions attached.
There are many options of no-fee bank accounts to choose from, and we’ve taken the time to review them and come up with the best 8 no-fee accounts in Canada.
So if you are looking to take advantage of no monthly fee banking and incredible interest rates, you’ll be interested in our review of:
- Comparison – 8 Best No Fee Bank Accounts Canada.
- What you’ll benefit from these bank accounts with a free chequing account.
- Pros and Cons of each of these banks.
- How you can get a no-fee account with the big banks.
A Quick Glance: Top 8 Best No-Fee Accounts in Canada
This is a brief overview of some of these banks’ features before we go into their detailed profile one after the other.
|No-Fee Bank Accounts||Some Notable Features||Sign-up Bonus|
|Tangerine, No Fee Chequing Account||Zero fees, free e-transfers, no minimum balance, mobile cheque deposits, earn interest from 0.15%-0.65%.||$200|
|Simplii Financial, No-Fee Chequing Account||No fees, mobile cheque deposits, free transfers, unlimited transactions, earn interest up to 0.15%.||$400|
|WealthSimple, No-Fee Cash Account||No monthly fees, no low account balance fees, free ATM withdrawals, no minimum balance, and an interest rate of 2.40%.||N/A|
|Motus Bank, No fee Chequing Account||No fees, unlimited free e-transfers, mobile cheque deposit, earn interest up to 0.25%.||N/A|
|Alterna Bank, No-Fee eChequing Account||No fees, unlimited e-transfers, and overdraft protection at $2.50 per month.||N/A|
|Motive Financial Cha-Ching Chequing Account / Motive Chequing Account||No monthly fee, free transactions, free chequebook with 50 cheques.||N/A|
|Manulife Combined Savings and Chequing Advantage Account||Unlimited transactions, free Interac e-transfers, earn up to 1.25% interest, and 24/7 customer support.||N/A|
|Duca No Fee Chequing Account||No monthly fee, and no minimum balance.||N/A|
In-Depth Review: Best No-Fee Bank Accounts, Canada
1. Tangerine No Fee Chequing Account ($200 Bonus)
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First on our list of best no-fee bank accounts in Canada is the Tangerine No Fee Chequing Account. Tangerine is an online-only bank that is owned by Scotiabank. It was previously called ING Direct. Tangerine offers a free chequing account and a high-interest savings account with five months promotional rate at 2.50%.
Furthermore, Tangerine’s no-fee chequing account provides account holders with a lot of value, such as tiered interest rates (from 0.15% to 0.65% interest rate depending on account balance) and free unlimited daily transactions. This is how the tiered rate works: 0.15% rate on account balance from $0 – $49,999; 0.55% on $49,999 – $100k; and 0.65% on $100k and above.
Although there are no physical branches, you can bank online or over the phone. Tangerine account holders can also get Apple Pay and contactless payments with their debit card, together with free use of Scotiabank ATMs worldwide.
In addition, the Tangerine No-Fee Chequing Account also offers free Interac email money transfers (e-Transfers). If you like, you could also apply for the Tangerine credit card, as it’s one of the best cash-back credit cards in Canada:
Promo: Earn an extra 15% cashback for a limited time with the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card.
- No monthly fees.
- They offer free, unlimited daily transactions, email money transfers, and Interac e-Transfers.
- You get up to 0.15%-0.65% interest payments depending on your account balance on the chequing account and 0.10% on every dollar for the savings account.
- Customers get free access to 3,500 Scotiabank ATMs across Canada and 44,000 worldwide with a Tangerine no-fee chequing account.
- You’ll get a free chequebook with 50 cheques when you open an account.
- Telephone support is available round the clock.
- They have a flexible mobile app that allows instant digital cheque deposits.
- Compared to other no-fee banking competitors, tangerine has the largest ATM network.
- You are entitled to one free debit card replacement annually.
- Online, telephone, and mobile banking support is present.
- They categorize and track your spending to assist you in saving every month.
- They have a tremendous dedication to personal finance knowledge, and they show this on their website by teaming up with Canadian financial experts like Preet Banerjee.
- There is no physical/brick-and-mortar branch available, which can be a downside for people that prefer to bank face-to-face.
- Your account will be deemed inactive if you do not make any transactions for a full year.
- They have a $10/year inactive account fee.
Tangerine bank has attractive-looking cafes in Montreal, Vancouver, and Toronto called Tangerine Cafes, and you can stop by them. If you live elsewhere in the country, look out for their innovative pop-up locations. They are all made from sea cans!
RELATED >> Tangerine vs EQ Bank
2. Simplii Financial No Fee Chequing Account ($450 Bonus)
2023 Simplii Financial (Bank) Promotion: Get $450 Bonus Offer
Join Simplii Financial (Bank) by using this unique link to open and use an eligible account; and Get up to $450 deposited directly into your account.
To ensure you get the Bonus payment, follow all the instructions to set up your new Simplii account and complete the eligible activities by the specified time period. Have questions about getting your Bonus? Check out Simplii’s FAQ.
Our second pick for the best no-fee bank account Canada has is Simplii Financial. Simplii Financial is an online-only bank owned by CIBC (one of Canada’s five Big Banks). It was previously called PC Financial. They offer a free chequing account, high-interest savings account, unlimited free online transactions, Interac e- Transfers, telephone banking, and so on.
Simplii Financial No Fee Chequing Account holders also get a tiered interest rate. It starts at 0.05% for account holders banking up to $1,000, 0.10% for account holders banking between $1,000.01 to $5,000, and 0.15% for those banking from $5,000.01 and above. This is a wonderful option for cost-conscious students, as they can keep things simple.
Although this is an online-only bank with no physical branch, you can bank online and through the Simplii Financial mobile app. Simplii Financial is linked with the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC). Therefore, you can access your funds through CIBC’s over 3400 ATMs across Canada.
- Simplii Financial Chequing account charges zero monthly fees and offers a free, unlimited number of transactions (comprising pre-authorized bill payments and debit purchases).
- You’ll also get free chequebooks.
- No minimum balance.
- Free Interac e-Transfers.
- Mobile app banking, online banking, and telephone banking are available.
- They have a user-friendly website and flexible app.
- You’ll get interest payments of up to 0.15%, depending on your account balance.
- They offer free access to 3,400+ CIBC ABM Networks across Canada.
- Simplii Financial is not accessible to Quebec residents.
- You have to pay $20 per year as an inactive account fee if you do not perform any transaction for two years or more.
- The online platform and the app could use an update.
RELATED >> Simplii vs Tangerine
3. WealthSimple No-Fee Cash Account
Wealthsimple‘s new cash account perfectly combines all the best savings and chequing (spending) account features. Therefore, this account is excellent for both chequing and savings. It’s presently the ultimate spending-saving account existing in Canada.
Compared to most chequing accounts in Canada, they offer one of the best interest rates you’ll find at 2.40%, together with unlimited daily banking transactions and Interac e- Transfers. The best part is all these superb features come with no monthly fees.
Wealthsimple No-Fee Cash is an online bank account, so there are no mortar-and-brick branches (physical branches). Account-holders can establish direct deposits and use mobile cheque deposits at no foreign exchange rate.
Additionally, you can withdraw funds from any ATM with your metal cash card (tungsten visa card) and get a refund because Wealthsimple Cash offers ATM fee reimbursement for a certain number every month.
They are still growing and rolling out new features to the account.
- Zero monthly fees.
- Unlimited fund withdrawals, bill payments, and e-Transfers.
- There are no exchange fees on foreign transactions. This easily saves you 2.5%.
- ATM withdrawals at no charge.
- High-interest rate.
- No minimum account balance.
- Your tungsten visa card can work like a prepaid or debit card.
- Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF) protection on deposits.
- Wealthsimple Cash allows Apple and Google Pay.
- No low account balance fees.
- There’s no physical branch, which can be a problem if you prefer to bank face-to-face.
4. MotusBank No Fee Chequing Account
Motusbank is the new kid on the block. It is Canada’s most recent online-only bank, owned by the famous Meridian Credit Union. Motusbank offers a free chequing account, personal loans & investments, high-interest savings and so on.
They also offer some excellent mortgage rates. However, they’re not all that competitive when compared to Canada’s present best Mortgage rates.
- No monthly account fees.
- You’ll get up to 0.25% interest payments on your account balance.
- They’ll give you a free chequebook (with 25 cheques) when you open an account.
- Unlimited and free Interac e-Transfers.
- You’ll also get unlimited free daily transactions such as bill payments, withdrawals, and debit purchases.
- The first chequebook you’ll get is free (it’ll come with 25 cheques).
- Their mobile app allows you to make cheque deposits quickly and generally conduct general transactions efficiently.
- You get free access to over 3,700 ATMs across Canada.
- Customer support over the phone is available from 8:00 am to 12:00 am (EST), Monday to Sunday.
- Motusbank is a member of CDIC, which means your Savings, FSA, RRSP, and Chequing deposits have a $100,000 protection per category.
- The absence of a physical branch can be a problem for customers that prefer to bank face-to-face.
- You’ll have to pay their $30 inactive account fee if you fail to use your account in 12 months.
5. Alterna Bank No Fee e-Chequing Account
Alterna Bank is an online bank and a subsidiary of Alterna Savings. Although unlike the majority of online/digital banks, Alterna Bank provides branch service at the parent Alterna Savings credit union.
Alterna Savings has been in operation for over a century in Canada and is one of Canada’s oldest credit unions. It is also the first credit union in Ontario’s history. Presently, Alterna Bank offers one of the best no fee chequing accounts in Canada, and it is available throughout the country, including in Quebec.
The account is entirely free to use, with zero monthly account fees and no transaction limits. It also comes with unlimited free Interac e-transfers and overdraft protection for just $2.50 per month.
Since the bank is a digital bank with no physical branches, after opening a bank account online, account holders can access more than 3,300 ATMs in the EXCHANGE Network.
- The account comes with no monthly charges, unlimited e-transfers, and monthly transactions.
- The Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC) provides insurance coverage on all account deposits.
- Options for online, telephone, and mobile banking are available to account holders.
- Customers can access both the Alterna Savings and the EXCHANGE ATM Network.
- Alterna Bank offers branch service at Alterna Savings, a plus if you prefer to bank face to face.
- They have a high-interest savings account.
- Alterna Bank eChequing account pays 0.05% interest which, compared to other no-fee chequing accounts, is not great.
- If you include overdraft protection, the Alterna Bank eChequing account will charge you $2.50 for overdraft protection per month, even in months where you have no overdraft.
6. Motive Financial Chequing Accounts
Motive Financial was previously called Canadian Direct Financial and is a subsidiary of the Canadian Western Bank. They have two free chequing accounts- Motive Chequing Account and Motive Cha-Ching Chequing Account. They also offer savings accounts, investments, etc.
Motive Chequing Account
- Unlimited free transactions and zero monthly fees.
- Account-holders get free access to Canada’s second largest ATM network.
- They offer a competitive interest rate of 0.60% on your account balance.
- They have a mobile app.
- You’ll get unlimited monthly withdrawals and zero EXCHANGE Network ATM withdrawal charge.
- Your first chequebook is free, and it includes 50 personalized cheques.
- You’ll be charged a $1 fee per Interac e-Transfer and a $20 inactive account charge if you make no transactions for two years.
- Another fee is $1.50 on each Non-EXCHANGE Network ATM withdrawal.
Motive Cha-Ching Chequing Account
- You’ll get unlimited free transactions, free Interac e-Transfers, and no monthly fee.
- They give you 50 free personalized cheques.
- You can earn a 0.25% interest on each dollar in your account balance with a $0 minimum.
- They offer zero EXCHANGE Network ATM withdrawal fees.
- One unique pro feature is you’ll get two free non-Exchange Network ATM withdrawals.
- After the two free non-Exchange Network ATM withdrawals, additional withdrawals will cost $1.50 each.
- No mobile cheque deposits, so you may run into a couple of challenges if you need to deposit money through cheque.
Generally, the significant differences between the Motive Chequing account and the Motive CHA-Ching Chequing Account are the interest rates and the charge on Interac e-Transfers.
7. Manulife Combined Savings and Chequing Advantage Account
Manulife Bank of Canada Advantage account is a unique account that combines all the benefits of a chequing account with the perks of a high-interest savings account.
As a hybrid savings account (also called a high-interest chequing account), it gives its customers free unlimited e-transfers, cash withdrawals from Manulife Bank branches ATMs, and POS transactions. With a monthly balance of $1,000, you can completely use your account for free.
Manulife offers customers a 1.25% interest rate, which is a unique feature compared to other chequing accounts’ usual low-interest rates. Account-holders can also withdraw from EXCHANGE Network ATMs at no charge. All Canadian citizens can access the Manulife Advantage Account.
- The bank offers customers free unlimited transactions and unlimited free Interac e-Transfers with a $1,000 account balance minimum.
- You’ll get high-interest rates(1.25%) on your deposits.
- Their mobile app supports e-Transfers, cheque deposits, and a lot more.
- You’ll get free access to over 3,000 EXCHANGE Network ATMs across Canada.
- Their customer support is 24/7.
- They’ll charge you an inactivity fee of $20 if you don’t conduct any transaction in 2 years.
8. Duca No Fee Chequing Account
Duca is a no-fee bank that offers you everyday banking transactions at no charge. They offer free chequing accounts with no attached conditions. The Canadian Insurance Deposit Corporation (CIDC) also covers your deposits.
There are no physical branches, but you can take advantage of their 24/7 online customer support. You can also get support through mobile phone, telephone, and mail. The good thing is they transfer savings made from the cost of maintaining physical branches to account holders by offering higher interest rates and lower service costs.
- They charge zero monthly fees and don’t require a minimum balance.
- You’ll get unlimited direct deposits, withdrawals, and pre-authorized bill payments.
- There’s no limit on withdrawals when you are using DUCA and THE EXCHANGE Network ATMs.
- According to DUCA, whatever your present circumstances are, there’s a no-fee chequing bundle that’ll fit into your needs.
- The absence of a physical branch can be a challenge if you prefer to conduct banking transactions in person.
Honourable Mention: No-Fee Credit Union Chequing Accounts
Many credit unions also offer an incredible no-fee chequing account and they protect your deposits under the provincial deposit insurance.
9. Cornerstone Credit Union No-Fee Chequing Account
Cornerstone Credit Union is situated in Saskatchewan. They offer a no-fee chequing account with unlimited transactions, Interac e-Transfers, free access to use thousands of ATMs throughout Canada. They also require no minimum balance.
10. First Calgary Financial No-Fee Chequing Account
First Calgary Financial is based in Alberta. They offer customers a no-fee chequing account with unlimited transactions, no minimum balance, and an interest rate between 0.025% and 0.05%.
11. Cambrian Credit Union No-Fee Chequing Account
Cambrian Credit Union is situated in Manitoba. They offer a no-fee chequing account after you institute a minimum of one recurring direct deposit, such as your payroll, to your account.
How You Can Get a Free, No Fee Bank Account with the Big 5 Banks
The list up there did not include any of the five biggest banks that dominate the Canadian banking industry known as the big five (BMO, Scotia Bank, CIBC, RBC, and TD). While these banks offer some of the best chequing accounts, they come with monthly fees of between $5 to $35.
However, it is possible to get a free or affordable chequing account with these big banks if you wish to keep your account with them. Before we get into this, let’s have a quick rundown of these five banks to get you further familiar with them:
12. BMO (Bank of Montreal)
BMO has five chequing accounts options, and their monthly fees range from $4 to $30. All of these accounts offer unlimited Interac transfers, and three of them can take out the monthly fee as long as you maintain a minimum average account balance.
Children under 13 years of age, youths between 13 to 18 years old, seniors, students, new immigrants, and Canadian Defence Community members get special discounts on rates and even free chequing accounts.
BMO’s Performance Plan account is a good option for the five chequing options. It offers unlimited daily transactions, Interac e- transfers, and one free non-BMO ABM transaction each month. To top these, you can waive the $15.95 monthly fee as long as you maintain a $4,000 minimum balance.
There’s however a $5 monthly standard overdraft protection charge.
13. RBC (Royal Bank of Canada)
RBC has four different chequing accounts. They also have a youth account, and they offer a discount to seniors. Their monthly fees range between $4 to $30. They provide account holders with credit cards, debit cards, a mobile app, and low-cost overdraft protection.
RBC’s Day to Day Banking chequing account charges a monthly fee of $4. Seniors, Registered Disability Savings Plan beneficiaries, or people who have two or more eligible RBC products in the same region can get either a deduction or complete removal of the monthly fee.
They also have one standard High-Interest Savings Account and this account has no monthly fee or minimum account balance.
14. TD Bank
TD has a student account, a youth account and four personal chequing accounts. Their monthly fees range from $3.95 for their Basic account to $29.95 for their All-Inclusive Banking Plan.
However, you can get a discount on both if you have a $2,000 or $5,000 minimum account balance respectively and maintain that balance. There’s no monthly fee on the student and youth accounts.
TD also has two US dollar chequing accounts: the premium Borderless plan and the TD US Daily Interest Chequing Account. The Daily Interest Chequing Account has no monthly fee and allows easy bill payments, cross-border banking, exchanges between US and Canadian dollars. $1.25 is charged for each transaction; however, transaction fees can be waived if you maintain a $1500 minimum balance.
Scotiabank offers six different chequing accounts. These six include a student and a youth chequing account. Scotiabank chequing accounts charge monthly fees ranging from $0–$30.95, but they can waive these charges if you maintain a daily minimum account balance of $5,000.
You’ll also get unlimited free debits, free Interac e-Transfer transactions, and Scotia International Money Transfers. They also offer two no-fee savings accounts with a competitive interest rate.
16. CIBC (Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce)
CIBC has several chequing account options, from essential to premium accounts. CIBC’s most standard account is the CIBC Smart Account. It is free as long as you maintain a minimum balance of $3,000. On the plus side, if you are a senior, the minimum balance is $14.95 or $4.95.
They are one of the most accessible banks as they offer account holders access to over 4,000 ATMs in Canada. CIBC is available to all Canadian citizens, and your deposits are insured under CDIC.
CIBC also offers three no-fee savings accounts. However, two of these accounts pay very little interest and the only high interest savings account (1.20% rate) requires a minimum balance of $5,000.
Key Points: How You Can Get a No Fee Chequing Account with the 5 Big Banks
- Maintain a minimum account balance ranging from $1,000 to $6,000. These banks state a minimum amount you must always have in your account to have your monthly fees waived. However, this can be tricky because if you fall below this amount at any time during the month, the fee will apply. Also, your account balance will not earn any interest while your funds are just sitting there.
- Open multiple accounts. For example, if you have credit cards, investments, mortgage, etc. with the same bank. However, this method is not always the best because your bank might not offer you the best rates for some of those options.
If you want the “no monthly fee perks” of a digital bank, but you find moving your accounts to a digital bank challenging or you’d rather bank face to face, then you can follow these two options.
What You Should Look For in a Free Bank Account
Generally, the best no fee bank account Canada has for you depends on your needs and situation.
However, you want to make sure the account has:
- No monthly fees or minimum account balance requirement.
- Unlimited free transactions. These free transactions should include including debits, transfers, pre-authorized bill payments, and more.
- CDIC insurance coverage up to $100,000 per deposit category.
- Easy access to free national and international ATMs.
- Top-notch customer support.
- A flexible mobile app that gives customers the chance to make mobile cheque deposits.
- A website for online banking that is user-friendly.
- Free electronic account statement.
FAQs: Best No-Fee Bank Accounts in Canada
Final Words: Best No-Fee Bank Account in Canada
If you want to stop paying monthly fees, there are many options you can go for, as outlined in this article. All you have to do is look for the one that is best tailored to your needs.
People who prefer face-to-face transactions or conduct many business transactions,(such as bank drafts or international bank transfers), may not enjoy banking with online banks.
However, these conditions don’t apply to the average Canadian’s everyday needs. Are you anything like the average Canadian? Then you have no need for concern. With your no-fee bank account, you get to save a whopping $200+ each year!
Read Also -> Best Online Banks in Canada
More on Banking in Canada:
- Neo Financial Review
- Neo Money™️ Account Review
- Simplii vs Tangerine
- EQ Bank vs Tangerine
- Best Business Bank Account
- Best Online Banks, Canada
- Best US Bank Account for Canadian Residents
- Best No-Fee Bank Account, Canada (Free Chequing Accounts)
Charity (Charee) Oisamoje is the founder of TheFinanceKey - TFK. She leads the editorial team, which is comprised of subject-matter experts.
Her professional competencies and expertise make her qualified on this topic. She is an expert at collecting details, verifying facts, and making complex subjects easy to understand.
Backed by Solid Credentials: MBA in Finance Canadian Investment Funds (IFIC) Graduate Masters Degree in International Business Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) Candidate ✔️Chartered Insurance Professional (CIP) ✔️BSc Accounting
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