Best No Fee Bank Accounts in Canada

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Having a bank account is essential for day-to-day life. You’ll need it to hold your money, deposit your cheques, withdraw from for any bill payments, or when you need access to cash. But one of the most frustrating things about bank accounts is that they often come with monthly fees. Which seems silly, really. After all, isn’t a bank account meant to help you save money? More and more banks are starting to agree with this idea and offering no-fee bank accounts.

Whether you are looking for online only bank options, options with credit unions, accounts with the biggest and most well-known banks in Canada, or some alternative choices that allow you to earn rewards, here’s a list of my top 12 picks for the best no-fee bank accounts in Canada. 

Tangerine Savings

  • $0 monthly fees
  • No minimum balance 
  • Earn 1% interest

Tangerine is an online bank that is actually owned by Scotiabank. Being an online bank, Tangerine accounts are known for their lack of fees thanks to a lack of overhead costs. The Tangerine Savings account is a great example of this. Not only are there $0 monthly fees but there are no unfair fees or service charges. Tangerine believes that you shouldn’t need to pay in order to save. 

Another great perk about this no-fee bank account is that there is no minimum deposit requirement. As for interest earned, 1% is not a huge amount but it’s pretty decent considering this is a free bank account.

The Tangerine savings account is a solid choice when it comes to free bank accounts in Canada and is best for individuals who are happy to do all of their banking online. If you are someone who likes to visit a branch in person and speak to a representative, then this online bank isn’t the best option for you. 

EQ Bank

  • $20 referral bonus (must fund account with $100 within 30 days)
  • 2.5%* Interest rate
  • No everyday banking fees
  • Unlimited day-to-day transactions
  • No minimum balance required
  • Unlimited free Interac e-transfers®
  • Free electronic fund transfers
  • CDIC Member

EQ Bank is another popular online bank in Canada and their Savings Plus Account is a regular feature on many best no-fee bank account lists. This is because not only is it a free account with unlimited transactions, but EQ Bank also offers one of the best interest rates in the country. EQ Bank doesn’t use promotional rates. Instead, they focus on the high-interest rates offered in their savings accounts. It may not be the highest rate, but it’s consistent.

While the EQ Bank Savings Plus Account is a great option with a very competitive interest rate, it’s worth noting that banking with this online bank can be slow. It can take several days to transfer money to/from your EQ bank account to another account or financial institution which is not ideal if you find yourself in a position in which you need to withdraw the money quickly. 

Simplii Financial

  • 5.25% Promotional interest rate
  • $50 weclome bonus
  • No everyday banking fees
  • Unlimited day-to-day transactions
  • No minimum balance required
  • CDIC Member

Simplii Financial used to be part PC Financial but separated and rebranded in 2017. This online bank is backed by CIBC and is another great contender when it comes to no-fee bank accounts in Canada. The Simplii Financial no fee chequing account is free with unlimited transactions and no minimum balance. One of the features that we love the most about this bank account is that it also allows you to earn interest, even though it’s a chequing account. Granted, the interest is very minimal. However, since most chequing accounts don’t offer any interest earning potential, it’s a handy perk.

Right now, Simplii Financial typically has a welcome offer worth a few hundred dollars when you become a new client and open a no-fee chequing account. All you have to do is open the account and add an eligible direct deposit of at least $100 per month for three consecutive months. What’s also appealing is their Global Money Transfer option.

Alterna Bank No-Fee eChequing Account

  • No monthly fees
  • No minimum balance requirement
  • Earn high interest

Alterna Bank is a popular Canadian online bank that offers several different financial products including a No-Fee eChequing account. This account has no monthly fees, no minimum balance requirement, free day-to-day transactions, and free unlimited interac e-transfers. Added perks include access to over 3,300 ATMs in the EXCHANGE Network within Canada and access to 40,000 surcharge-dree ATMS through the Allpoint Network in the USA making it a decent account to use if you like to travel across the border.

The top feature of this account, however, is its ability to earn interest. Again, this isn’t very common to see in a chequing account. The interest rate is low, but that’s extra savings that you wouldn’t get elsewhere!

Motive Financial Cha-Ching Chequing Account 

  • No monthly fee
  • Free personalized cheques
  • Unlimited transactions & free Interac e-transfers 
  • Earn high interest

Another great option for no-fee chequing accounts in Canada is the Cha-Ching Chequing Account from Motive Financial. This account is truly free and offers unlimited transactions and free Interac e-transfers. The account also includes 50 personalized cheques, which is a nice perk, as well as access to the second largest ATM network in Canada which makes it easy to grab cash when you need it. We also love that this account allows you to earn interest. That said, the interest paid is lower compared to others on this list.

Motus Bank No-Fee Chequing Account

  • Zero monthly fees
  • Unlimited transactions and etransfers
  • Earn high interest 

Motus Bank also comes through with a strong pick for for a no fee daily chequing account in Canada with their No-Fee Chequing Account. There is no minimum account balance requirement for this account and clients will benefit from unlimited transactions including unlimited e-transfers. Perks with the account include a free order of 25 cheques and no-fee access to more than 43,000 ATMs in North America via THE EXCHANGE network in Canada and the Allpoint Network in the United States. Like some of the other accounts on this list, Motus Bank’s No-Fee Chequing account does earn interest! Account balances will earn 0.15% interest on every dollar. 

KOHO

  • No annual fee
  • $20 for free when signing up with a referral link
  • Earn up to 5% cash-back
  • 1% cash back on groceries and transportation
  • 0.5% interest on your spending and savings accounts with direct deposit set up

Koho is a unique pick for this list of the best no-fee bank accounts in Canada because it’s a hybrid. Koho describes itself as a free spending and savings account and offers some pretty impressive perks and features. Many listicles describe KOHO as a pre-paid credit card, which is an accurate description. However, thanks to the unique way in which KOHO works, you can also look at it as a debit card for a free bank account.

KOHO clients will earn interest on any money in their spending or savings account. KOHO also offers cash back on essential ‘must-haves’ which include grocery shopping, internet bills, and delivery services. Plus, if you shop with KOHO partners, you can earn up to 5% cash back on eligible purchases. 

Again, this isn’t a traditional free bank account but it might be worth considering. 

PC Money Account

  • No fees
  • Earn points when you shop
  • Unlimited debit transactions and etransfers
  • Welcome offer of up to 200,000 bonus PC Optimum points

The PC Money account is another hybrid-type no fee bank account in Canada. Like KOHO, it can be described as a prepaid credit card but also still qualify as a chequing account.

The account is free with no minimum balance requirement and unlimited transactions. This includes making debit purchases, paying bills, setting up pre-authorized withdrawals, and transferring money between accounts. Account holders will also have free Interac e-transfers and free ATM withdrawals. 

The big draw to this specific account is the ability to earn PC Optimum Points which can be a pretty big perk to those who shop at the associated grocery and drug stores. Cardholders will earn up 10 PC Optimum points for every $1 spent either online or in store at grocery stores, up to 25 points per $1 spent at Shoppers Drugmart, and 5 points per $1 spent everywhere else. Plus, right now there is a limited time offer where new accounts can earn up to 20,000 points in welcome offers. 

The PC Money account is not a traditional bank account but most traditional bank accounts don’t allow you to earn points. So, if you are a regular shopper at Loblaws, Shopper Drug Mart, or other businesses affiliated with PC, then it could be a lucrative option.

TD Bank Unlimited Chequing Account 

  • Unlimited transactions
  • Free monthly rebate if you have a balance of $4000+ at the end of each day in the month. 
  • Special offers available

TD is one of the most well-known banks in Canada and has a wide range of products including several different types of chequing and savings accounts. As one of the big brick-and-mortar banks of the country, TD products typically come with fees. However, there are loopholes around paying those fees which is the case with the TD Unlimited Chequing account.

The TD Unlimited Chequing Account comes with a monthly fee of $16.95 but those fees are waived as long as you have an account balance of $4,000 or more on the final day of each month. It’s not as good  a deal as the zero-fee accounts offered by the online banks listed above. However, TD has many physical branches across the country which you can visit and access in person which many Canadians still prefer over online banking.

The TD Unlimited Chequing Account offers unlimited transactions per month, free interac e-transfers, and offers a first-year annual rebate on select TD credit cards (up to $139). Plus, this account often comes with a welcome bonus as long as you meet the conditions.

TD Bank All-Inclusive Account

  • Unlimited transactions
  • Free premium perks
  • Monthly rebate if you have a balance of at least at the end of each day of the month
  • Special promotions available

Another TD account that might be worth considering is the TD All-Inclusive which works very similarly to the TD Unlimited Chequing Account but has a bunch more features. 

The TD All-Inclusive account comes with a monthly rate of $29.95, which is pretty hefty for a chequing account. However, those monthly fees will be waived as long as you have a balance of at least $5,000 in the account on the final day of each month. 

The account included unlimited transactions per month including free etransfers. An annual credit card fee rebate on select TD Credit cards. No fees for non-TD ATMs of Foreign ATMS (a big perk for travellers!) and free premium perks including a small safety deposit box, certifies cheques, money orders, and personalized cheques at no additional cost. 

The account perks are very handy, assuming you need them. Otherwise, another no-fee bank account might be a better option as that $5,000 needed to waive fees could be earning interest elsewhere. 

Scotiabank Preferred Package

  • Unlimited debit transactions and etransfers
  • Access to the Scene+ program
  • Earn an additional interest on your Momentum Plus Savings Account
  • Monthly fee waived with a minimum daily closing balance of $4,000 for the entire month.  

Another option for a big bank is the Scotiabank Preferred Package which is ideal if you already use Scotiabank products. The monthly account fees for the Scotiabank Preferred package are $16.95 but those fees can be waived if you have a daily closing balance of at least $4,000 for the entire month.

This chequing account includes quite a few features as well as perks and benefits including unlimited debit and interac e-transfer transactions, first year annual fee waiver for up to $150 on select credit cards and access to the Scene+ program. Accountholders can also benefit from preferred rates on GICs, no monthly account fee on a Scotia US Dollar Daily Interest Account, a limited-time savings rate with the Momentum Plus Savings Account, and 20 free trades (stock or ETF) on Scotia iTrade on your first year plus 10 free trades every year after. 

The Scotiabank Preferred Package can absolutely be a great deal if you are a pre-existing Scotiabank client or looking to open multiple financial products with them. However, if you are just looking for the one account then there are better no-fee bank account options out there. 

CIBC Smart Plus Account

  • Unlimited transactions
  • No fee at CIBC ATM withdrawals worldwide
  • Monthly fee waived if you keep your daily balance at a minimum of $6,000 or have at least $100,000 in savings and investments. 
  • Free perks
  • Special promotions available

Like the other big banks on this list so far, CIBC has a no-fee banking account assuming you keep your daily balance at a minimum of $6,000 or have at least $100,000 in savings and investments. Otherwise, the CIBC Smart Plus account is regularly a pricey $29.95 per month. 

Perks included with the CIBC Smart Plus account include unlimited transactions including retransfers, one eligible CIBC card with an annual fee rebated for the primary cardholder and up to 3 authorized users, and no CIBC fee for ATM withdrawals worldwide- a great perk for the travel lovers out there! This account also comes with a number of free perks including free personalized cheques, money orders, bank drafts, pre-authorized payments, and stop payments on cheques. It’s a pretty good package if you plan to use all the extras. Plus, right now the CIBC Smart Plus Account has a $400 welcome bonus for new clients. However, if you won’t utilize all the add-ons, you easily find another no-fee chequing account without a minimum deposit requirement. 

BMO Performance Chequing Account

  • Unlimited monthly transactions 
  • Canadian and US dollar savings account at no cost 
  • Up to $40 rebate on the annual fee for eligible BMOcredit cards
  • Monthly fee waived with a minimum balance of $4,000. 
  • Special offers available

The final big bank account on this list is BMO with the BMO Performance Chequing Account. Typically, this account has a monthly fee of $16.95, however, you will be rebated this fee if you keep your balance at a minimum of $4,000. This account includes free Interac e-transfers, unlimited monthly transactions, 1 free withdrawal at a non-BMO ATM within Canada, and additional Canadian and US dollar savings account at no cost. Account holders can also take advantage of a $40 rebate on the annual fee of eligible BMO credit cards, free OnGuard Identify Theft Protection, as well as special offers on GICs, a family bundle bonus, and a bonus rate on the Savings Amplifier account.

As with the other big bank bundles, while the welcome offer is worth a few hundred dollars, this is only a decent deal if you can make use of all the add-ons. Otherwise, you might be better off with another truly free account where you don’t need to keep a large sum of money just sitting in the account to waive the monthly fees. 

Meridian Chequing Account

  • Unlimited monthly transactions and 4 free e-transfers
  • No-fee account for Canadians aged 18-29
  • No minimum balance requirement

So far, all the no fee bank accounts on this list are for banks that are available (mostly) Canada-wide. But you can also consider an account with a credit union as well. Meridian is one of the most popular credit unions and offers a great free account for Canadians between the ages of 18-29. What’s great about this account is that it doesn’t require a minimum balance, offers unlimited free transactions, and is accessible via 43,000 EXCHANGE network ATMs in Canada and Allpoint Network ATMs in the United States. Account holders do need to be careful when it comes to e-tranfers though as you are only allotted 4 free interac e-transfers per month. 

FAQ

Can I get a free bank account in Canada?

Yes, as you can see from the list above there are a number of no-fee bank accounts in Canada. Keep in mind that even if there are no monthly fees, there still may be fees associated with the account. 

What bank account can I get for free in Canada?

When it comes to no-fee bank accounts in Canada you will find options for free chequing accounts and free savings accounts. With the big banks, they often bundle their products and waive the fees as long as you keep a minimum balance in your account. 

How do I avoid banking fees in Canada?

To start with, choose a no-fee banking account like those listed above. Then you will want to ensure that you keep within the rules of the account and be mindful of any other fees you can incur. For example, don’t use ATMs that are not associated with the bank. Stick with the allotted number of monthly transactions if you have a limit, avoid going into overdraft or having non-sufficient funds, and keep your account active to avoid any inactivity fees. You’ll also want to decline any add-ons the bank may want to sell you such as overdraft protection.

Which banks offer free chequing accounts in Canada?

There are a number of options, as you can see above. Typically, the online banks have the true ‘free’ bank accounts while Canada’s big banks no-fee accounts are really only no-fee if you meet the conditions needed to waive the monthly fee. Oftentimes this means having a required minimum balance in the account at all times.  

Can you open a bank account with $0?

Absolutely. Many of the no-fee bank accounts listed above, especially with online banks, have no minimum balance requirement. However, the bigger banks will often require you to have a minimum balance in order to waive the monthly fee.

About Hannah Logan

Hannah Logan is a freelance writer based in Ottawa, Canada. She specializes in finance and travel writing and has bylines at Fodor's Travel, O Magazine, and more. She also runs two travel blogs, Eat Sleep Breathe Travel and Ireland Stole My Heart. You can find her on Instagram and Twitter @hannahlogan21.

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