The Best Chequing Accounts in Canada For 2024

The Canadian financial landscape is underpinned by a financial tool of paramount importance – the chequing account. This fundamental instrument, often referred to as a “checking” account in other parts of the world, is the cornerstone of personal finance in Canada. It serves as the gateway through which individuals conduct their day-to-day financial transactions, providing them with the liquidity and accessibility necessary to navigate the modern world.

A chequing account, in essence, is a secure reservoir for your funds, offering the convenience of conducting transactions through cheques, debit cards, online transfers, and mobile banking apps. Beyond this basic functionality, chequing accounts in Canada exhibit remarkable diversity, ranging from no-frills, cost-effective options to high-end accounts adorned with a plethora of features and benefits. To navigate this financial landscape effectively, one must possess a comprehensive understanding of the intricacies associated with these accounts.

In this article, we embark on an illuminating journey into the realm of chequing accounts in Canada. We will explore the various types of accounts available, dissect their features and fees, and equip you with the knowledge needed to make informed decisions about selecting the right chequing account for your unique financial needs and aspirations. Whether you’re a seasoned financial pro or a newcomer to the world of personal finance, this article is your guide to mastering the art of managing your financial affairs through the medium of the chequing account.

 

Best Chequing Accounts In Canada For 2024

 

Bank/Credit Union Minimum Deposit Requirement Monthly Maintenance Fee Excess Transaction Fee
EQ Bank Savings Plus Account $0 $0 $0
EQ Bank Joint Savings Plus Account $0 $0 $0
Tangerine Bank No-Fee Daily Chequing Account $0 $0 $0
National Bank The Modest Chequing Account $0 $10.95 $1.25
Motus Bank No-Fee Chequing Account $0 $0 $0
First Nations Bank of Canada Value Chequing Account $0 $3.95 $1.25
TD Borderless Plan $0 $4.95 $0
National Bank USD Progress Account $0 $0 $1.25
National Bank The Connected Chequing Account $0 $15.95 $0
Scotiabank Basic Plus Bank Account $0 $11.95 $1.25

What is a chequing account?

A chequing account is a fundamental financial tool offered by banks and credit unions to individuals and businesses. This type of account serves as a repository for everyday monetary transactions, allowing account holders to deposit and withdraw funds as needed. One of the distinguishing features of a chequing account is the availability of cheques, which are essentially written orders for the bank to pay a specified amount to a recipient. Account holders can use cheques to make payments to individuals or entities, providing a convenient and secure alternative to cash.
Additionally, chequing accounts often come with debit cards that allow for electronic transactions, including point-of-sale purchases and ATM withdrawals. Moreover, they provide an easy means of monitoring financial transactions through monthly statements, which can be essential for budgeting and financial planning. Overall, a chequing account is an indispensable financial tool for managing day-to-day expenses and conducting various monetary transactions efficiently and securely.

How Does a Chequing Account Work?

A chequing account is a cornerstone of personal finance, and understanding how it works is essential for financial literacy. At its core, a chequing account functions as a secure repository for your liquid assets. When you open a chequing account with a bank or credit union, you’re essentially establishing a financial relationship where you deposit your money, which is held in trust by the institution. This deposited money is available for withdrawal or spending whenever you need it.

One key feature of a chequing account is the ability to write cheques. These are written orders that instruct your bank to pay a specified amount to a recipient. Cheques are a convenient and secure way to make payments, especially for bills, rent, or other larger expenses. Additionally, most chequing accounts come with a debit card, allowing for electronic transactions, including point-of-sale purchases and ATM withdrawals.

Furthermore, chequing accounts often provide a monthly statement summarizing all transactions, offering a clear overview of your financial activity. This statement is invaluable for tracking expenses, budgeting, and managing your finances effectively.

Overall, a chequing account acts as a financial hub, facilitating daily financial transactions and offering transparency and control over your monetary affairs. It’s a financial tool that plays a crucial role in modern banking, ensuring your funds are safe, accessible, and easily manageable.

Chequing vs savings account: What is the difference?

Distinguishing between a chequing account and a savings account is pivotal for individuals seeking to optimize their financial management. Both serve as fundamental banking tools, but their purposes, features, and benefits are notably distinct.

A chequing account is primarily designed for everyday financial transactions and liquidity. It offers frequent access to funds, making it ideal for activities such as bill payments, point-of-sale purchases, and ATM withdrawals. This account typically comes with a chequebook and a debit card, providing flexibility and convenience in managing daily expenses. Moreover, chequing accounts often do not offer substantial interest on the deposited funds, as their primary function is to ensure accessibility and ease of use.

In contrast, a savings account is tailored to promote the growth of your savings over time. These accounts typically offer higher interest rates compared to chequing accounts, making them an attractive choice for individuals looking to earn passive income on their balances. Savings accounts are often used to set aside funds for specific financial goals or emergencies. However, they may have restrictions on the number of withdrawals or transactions allowed each month to encourage saving discipline.

What are the types of chequing accounts?

 

In Canada, the banking landscape offers a diverse array of chequing account options to cater to the varying financial needs and preferences of consumers. These types of chequing accounts can be categorized into several distinct categories, each designed to serve specific segments of the population:

  1. Basic Chequing Accounts: This category comprises straightforward, no-frills accounts. Basic chequing accounts are ideal for individuals who prioritize minimal banking services and low fees. They typically offer a limited number of monthly transactions with the option of paying additional fees for extra services. These accounts are suitable for those who primarily need a place to deposit their income and manage essential expenses.
  2. Student Chequing Accounts: Geared towards the student demographic, these accounts are tailored to accommodate the unique financial circumstances of students. Student chequing accounts often feature reduced or waived monthly fees, making them an affordable choice for young adults. Additionally, they may include perks such as overdraft protection or discounts on other banking services to ease the financial burden on students.
  3. Senior Chequing Accounts: Designed with seniors in mind, these accounts provide benefits that align with the financial needs of individuals aged 60 or older. Seniors typically enjoy advantages like lower fees, increased interest rates on deposits, and additional features such as free cheques. These accounts acknowledge the valuable contributions and financial considerations of seniors during their retirement years.
  4. High-Interest Chequing Accounts: For those who seek to maximize the earning potential of their everyday funds, high-interest chequing accounts offer an appealing option. These accounts provide the convenience of a traditional chequing account combined with interest-earning capabilities akin to savings accounts. While they may come with higher fees, the interest earned can offset these costs, particularly for customers who maintain substantial balances.
  5. Premium Chequing Accounts: Aimed at customers who demand a comprehensive and premium banking experience, these accounts offer a wide range of features and benefits. Premium chequing accounts may include unlimited transactions, premium credit card offerings with lucrative rewards, comprehensive travel insurance packages, and access to exclusive banking services. In exchange for these privileges, account holders can expect to pay higher monthly fees.
  6. Business Chequing Accounts: Entrepreneurs and business owners can access specialized services through business chequing accounts. These accounts cater to the unique financial requirements of businesses and may offer features such as multiple account access, merchant services, and sophisticated reporting tools to manage finances efficiently.
  7. Digital or Online Chequing Accounts: With the increasing popularity of online banking, numerous institutions provide digital or online-only chequing accounts. These accounts are characterized by low or no monthly fees and the convenience of managing finances entirely online or through mobile apps. They cater to tech-savvy individuals who value digital banking’s accessibility and efficiency.

How Much Money Should You Keep in a Chequing Account?

Determining the ideal balance to maintain in a chequing account is a fundamental aspect of sound financial planning. The appropriate amount of money to keep in a chequing account largely depends on individual financial circumstances and goals. Generally, it is advisable to maintain enough funds to cover your day-to-day expenses, including bills, groceries, and discretionary spending, for a month or two. This ensures that you have easy access to liquid assets for routine transactions without the risk of overdrawing your account.

Beyond immediate expenses, some financial experts recommend setting aside a small emergency fund in your chequing account to cover unexpected costs like medical bills or urgent car repairs. Typically, this emergency fund should amount to about three to six months’ worth of living expenses. However, a more comprehensive emergency fund may be better placed in a high-yield savings account, where it can earn interest while remaining readily accessible.

Ultimately, the ideal balance in your chequing account is a balance between liquidity and earning potential. You want enough funds to manage daily financial needs comfortably while ensuring that excess cash is put to work in interest-earning accounts or investments. Regularly reviewing your spending habits and adjusting your chequing account balance accordingly is a wise practice to optimize your financial resources and align them with your long-term financial goals.

Pros and Cons of Chequing Accounts

Chequing accounts in Canada, like any financial tool, come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages. Understanding these pros and cons is essential for informed financial decision-making.

Pros of Chequing Accounts:

  • Convenient Access to Funds: Chequing accounts provide immediate access to your money, allowing you to pay bills, make purchases, and withdraw cash easily. They are designed for everyday transactions, making them a highly convenient option for managing day-to-day finances.
  • Transaction Flexibility: Chequing accounts typically come with features like cheques, debit cards, and electronic transfers, offering flexibility in how you conduct financial transactions.
  • Overdraft Protection: Many chequing accounts offer overdraft protection, which can be a lifesaver when you accidentally overspend. This service helps prevent declined transactions and associated fees.
  • Direct Deposits: Chequing accounts are often used for direct deposits of paychecks and government benefits, ensuring a seamless and timely inflow of funds.
  • Monthly Statements: These accounts provide monthly statements that offer a clear overview of your financial activity, aiding in budgeting and expense tracking.

Cons of Chequing Accounts:

  • Low or No Interest: One significant drawback of chequing accounts is that they typically offer minimal or no interest on your deposited funds. This means your money may not grow significantly while it’s sitting in the account.
  • Monthly Fees: Many chequing accounts come with monthly fees, especially if they offer additional features or benefits. These fees can add up over time and erode your account balance.
  • Transaction Limits: Some chequing accounts have transaction limits, which can lead to extra charges if you exceed them. This limitation can be restrictive for individuals with high transaction volumes.
  • No Savings Incentive: Chequing accounts do not encourage savings, as they are primarily designed for transactional purposes. If you’re looking to grow your wealth, you may need to explore other savings and investment options.
  • Overdraft Fees: While overdraft protection can be a benefit, it can also lead to costly overdraft fees if not managed carefully.

How to use your chequing account?

Using your chequing account effectively in Canada requires a strategic approach to manage your finances efficiently and maximize the benefits of this everyday banking tool. Here’s a concise guide on how to make the most of your chequing account:

  • Deposit Your Income: Begin by depositing your paychecks or any other sources of income into your chequing account. This ensures that your funds are readily available for everyday expenses.
  • Budgeting: Create a monthly budget that outlines your income and expected expenses. This will help you allocate funds appropriately and avoid overspending.
  • Regular Monitoring: Keep a close eye on your account balance and transaction history through online or mobile banking. Regularly reviewing your statements helps identify any unauthorized transactions and allows you to track your spending patterns.
  • Scheduled Payments: Set up automatic bill payments for recurring expenses such as rent or mortgage payments, utilities, and insurance premiums. This ensures that you never miss a payment and helps maintain a good credit history.
  • Use Cheques and Debit Cards Wisely: If your chequing account provides cheques or a debit card, use them judiciously. Cheques are useful for larger transactions, while debit cards offer convenience for day-to-day purchases.
  • Overdraft Protection: Consider opting for overdraft protection to prevent declined transactions due to insufficient funds. However, use it sparingly and avoid relying on it as a regular financial solution, as overdraft fees can add up.
  • Emergency Fund: While your primary focus should be on everyday expenses, it’s wise to set aside a small emergency fund within your chequing account to cover unexpected costs.
  • Link to Savings Account: To make the most of your money, link your chequing account to a high-yield savings account. Transfer excess funds into the savings account to earn interest while keeping your chequing account balance at an optimal level.
  • Review Account Features: Periodically assess the features and fees associated with your chequing account. Ensure that it aligns with your financial needs and consider switching to an account that offers better terms if necessary.
  • Regular Reconciliation: Reconcile your chequing account regularly to verify that your records match the bank’s records. This helps catch any discrepancies or errors promptly.

How to Earn More Interest with a Chequing Account?

Earning more interest with a chequing account in Canada involves navigating the unique landscape of interest rates on such accounts. While chequing accounts traditionally offer minimal to no interest, there are strategies to optimize your earnings:

High-Interest Chequing Accounts

Some Canadian financial institutions offer specialized high-interest chequing accounts. These accounts provide a higher interest rate than standard chequing accounts, although still lower than what you’d find in a dedicated savings account. By switching to one of these accounts, you can earn a modest return on your deposited funds while retaining the convenience of a chequing account. However, these accounts often come with certain conditions, such as maintaining a minimum balance, so be sure to review the terms carefully.

Linked Savings Accounts

Another effective strategy is to link your chequing account to a high-yield savings account within the same financial institution. By transferring excess funds regularly from your chequing account to your savings account, you can take advantage of the higher interest rates typically associated with savings accounts. This approach ensures that your money is actively working to generate more interest while keeping the necessary liquidity in your chequing account for daily expenses.

Shop Around for Competitive Rates

Interest rates on chequing accounts can vary significantly among different banks and credit unions. Conduct thorough research to identify institutions offering the most competitive rates. Keep in mind that these rates may change periodically, so it’s essential to stay informed about any rate fluctuations.

Maintain a Higher Balance

Some chequing accounts offer tiered interest rates, meaning you earn more interest as your account balance increases. Consider maintaining a higher balance in your chequing account if you can do so comfortably without compromising your financial stability. However, be mindful of any fees associated with this type of account, as they could offset your interest earnings.

How to access your chequing account?

Accessing your chequing account in Canada is a straightforward process, thanks to the modern banking infrastructure and digital advancements. Here’s a concise guide on how to access your chequing account effectively:

  • In-Person Visits: Traditional brick-and-mortar banks and credit unions offer the option of visiting a local branch. You can walk in during business hours to conduct various transactions, including deposits, withdrawals, and consultations with banking representatives.
  • ATMs: Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) are widely available across Canada. They allow you to withdraw cash, check your account balance, and even deposit funds. Most financial institutions have a network of ATMs where you can perform these functions without incurring extra fees.
  • Online Banking: Virtually all Canadian banks provide online banking services, allowing you to access your chequing account through a secure website or mobile app. Online banking enables you to check your balance, view transaction history, pay bills, transfer money, and set up alerts from the comfort of your home or on the go.
  • Telephone Banking: Many financial institutions offer telephone banking services, allowing you to manage your chequing account over the phone. You can access account information and perform transactions by following the automated prompts or speaking with a representative.
  • Direct Deposits: To receive income, such as paychecks or government benefits, you can set up direct deposit into your chequing account. This ensures that funds are automatically credited to your account without any physical effort on your part.
  • Mobile Wallets: With the rise of digital payment methods, you can link your chequing account to mobile wallets like Apple Pay or Google Pay. These services allow you to make contactless payments using your smartphone at participating retailers.
  • Cheques and Debit Cards: Most chequing accounts provide you with cheques and debit cards. These tools facilitate transactions, whether you’re paying bills, making purchases, or withdrawing cash from ATMs.

How to Choose a Chequing Account?

Choosing the right chequing account in Canada is a crucial financial decision that should align with your specific needs and preferences. To make an informed choice, consider factors such as monthly fees, transaction limits, interest rates (if applicable), and the convenience of ATM access. Assess whether the bank’s branch and ATM network is easily accessible for your routine banking activities.

Additionally, review the account’s features, such as overdraft protection, bill payment options, and mobile banking capabilities, to ensure they match your requirements. Consider your typical monthly transaction volume and any special circumstances, like student or senior status, which may qualify you for account discounts or perks.

Lastly, take into account any additional services or bundled packages that the bank offers, such as credit cards or savings accounts, as they can provide added value. Ultimately, the right chequing account should offer a balance between affordability and functionality, addressing your day-to-day financial needs effectively.

How can you save on bank fees ?

Saving on chequing account fees in Canada is a prudent financial move, and there are several strategies to achieve this. Firstly, select a chequing account that aligns with your transaction needs; many banks offer tiered accounts with varying fee structures based on transaction limits, so choose the one that matches your usage patterns to avoid paying for services you don’t require.

Opt for online statements rather than paper statements, as they are often free and eco-friendly. Take advantage of your bank’s network of ATMs to avoid out-of-network withdrawal fees, and consider using digital banking for balance checks and transactions to reduce teller-assisted service charges. Maintain the minimum balance required to waive monthly fees, which can vary by institution, and explore banking packages that bundle services and offer cost savings.

Finally, inquire about special account options for students, seniors, or specific professional groups, as they often come with fee discounts or waivers. By adopting these strategies and staying mindful of your account activity, you can effectively minimize chequing account fees and make the most of your financial resources in Canada.

What about rewards and special offers ?

When evaluating chequing account options in Canada, it’s essential to consider the rewards and special features that align with your financial goals and lifestyle. Start by assessing your banking habits and priorities. If you frequently use ATMs, look for a bank with an extensive network to avoid fees. Those who value digital banking should prioritize institutions with robust online and mobile banking platforms. If you’re interested in earning interest on your chequing account, seek out high-interest options, although they typically offer lower rates than dedicated savings accounts.

Furthermore, consider account bonuses and special promotions. Some banks offer sign-up bonuses or cash incentives for opening a new chequing account or meeting specific criteria, such as maintaining a minimum balance or setting up direct deposits. These bonuses can provide an immediate financial boost and offset any fees associated with the account. Additionally, explore other perks like free cheques, no-fee overdraft protection, or complimentary credit monitoring services, as these can enhance your overall banking experience and save you money in the long run.

As for banks offering chequing account bonus offers in Canada, it’s worth checking with the major financial institutions like RBC, TD, BMO, Scotiabank, and CIBC, as they periodically run promotions and sign-up bonuses for new customers. Smaller, online-based banks and credit unions may also provide attractive bonus offers to attract new clients. However, the availability and terms of these bonuses can change, so it’s essential to review the specific details and requirements of each offer before making a decision. Ultimately, the rewards and special features that matter most to you will depend on your individual financial needs and preferences, so take the time to evaluate your options and select the chequing account that best suits your goals.

 

How to open chequing account ? 

Opening a personal chequing account is a straightforward process that can be completed with ease in Canada. To get started, you’ll want to follow these essential steps:

Choose the Right Financial Institution: Begin by selecting a bank or credit union that suits your banking needs. Consider factors such as branch location, ATM access, online banking services, and the variety of account options offered.

Gather Necessary Documentation: You’ll typically need to provide certain documents and identification to open a personal chequing account. These typically include a valid government-issued photo ID (e.g., passport, driver’s license), proof of address (e.g., utility bill or lease agreement), and your Social Insurance Number (SIN). Some institutions may also require a minimum age requirement or specific eligibility criteria, so it’s essential to check with your chosen bank beforehand.

Visit the Bank or Apply Online: You can either visit a local branch of your chosen bank in person or apply online through their website. If you choose the online route, you may still need to provide scanned copies or photos of your required documents.

  • Complete the Application: Whether in person or online, you’ll be asked to fill out an account application form. This form will gather your personal information and ask you to select the type of chequing account you’d like to open, including any additional features or services you wish to include.
  • Fund the Account: After your application is approved, you’ll need to deposit an initial amount into the chequing account to activate it. The minimum deposit required can vary by institution and the specific type of account you choose.
  • Receive Your Account Details: Once your account is open, you’ll receive account details, including your account number and information about your debit card (if applicable). You can start using your new chequing account for deposits, withdrawals, and electronic transactions immediately.
  • Set Up Banking Services: To fully utilize your chequing account, consider setting up direct deposit for your income sources, arranging for bill payments, and familiarizing yourself with the bank’s online and mobile banking platforms to monitor your account and manage transactions conveniently.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for Chequing Accounts in Canada

What is a chequing account in Canada?

A chequing account is a type of bank account that allows you to deposit, withdraw, and manage your money. It is primarily used for everyday transactions, such as paying bills, making purchases, and writing cheques.

How do I open a chequing account in Canada?

To open a chequing account in Canada, visit a local bank branch or apply online through the bank’s website. You will need to provide identification and complete the bank’s application form.

What identification do I need to open a chequing account?

You typically need government-issued photo identification, such as a driver’s license or passport. You may also need proof of address, such as a utility bill or lease agreement.

Are there fees associated with a chequing account in Canada?

Yes, most chequing accounts have fees, which can vary depending on the bank and the type of account. Common fees include monthly maintenance fees, transaction fees, and ATM withdrawal fees.

Can I get a chequing account with no monthly fees?

Some banks offer no-fee chequing accounts, but they may come with limitations, such as a minimum balance requirement or fewer included transactions. It’s essential to compare account options to find one that suits your needs.

What is a minimum balance requirement for a chequing account?

The minimum balance requirement varies by bank and account type. Some accounts may require a minimum balance to avoid monthly fees, while others have no such requirement.

How can I access my money in a chequing account?

You can access your money in various ways, including ATM withdrawals, writing cheques, using a debit card for purchases, online banking, and visiting a bank branch.

What is a debit card, and how does it work with a chequing account?

A debit card is a plastic card linked to your chequing account. You can use it to make purchases at stores, online, and withdraw cash from ATMs. The funds are deducted directly from your account.

Are chequing accounts in Canada insured?

Yes, most chequing accounts in Canada are insured by the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC), which covers eligible deposits up to a certain limit in case of a bank failure.

Can I write cheques with my chequing account?

Yes, chequing accounts are designed for writing cheques. You can write cheques to pay bills or make payments to individuals or businesses.

What is an overdraft protection option for a chequing account?

Overdraft protection is a service offered by banks that allows you to make transactions even if your account balance is insufficient. You will be charged interest or a fee for this service, so use it carefully.

How can I monitor my chequing account balance?

You can monitor your balance through online banking, mobile apps, ATM receipts, paper statements, and by visiting a bank branch.

Are there limits on the number of transactions I can make with a chequing account?

Yes, there may be limits on the number of free transactions included with your account. Be aware of these limits and any associated fees for exceeding them.

How can I switch my chequing account to a different bank?

To switch your chequing account to a different bank, open a new account with the new bank, and then transfer your funds and set up your direct deposits and bill payments. Many banks offer assistance with this process.

What should I do if I lose my debit card or it gets stolen?

If you lose your debit card or it’s stolen, contact your bank immediately to report it. They will block the card and issue you a replacement.

Can I earn interest on my chequing account balance?

Some banks offer interest-bearing chequing accounts, but the interest rates are typically lower than what you would earn in a savings account. Check with your bank for available options.

What is a joint chequing account?

A joint chequing account is an account shared by two or more people, such as spouses or business partners. Each account holder has equal access and responsibility for the account.

How can I close my chequing account?

To close your chequing account, visit your bank in person, or contact their customer service. Ensure all outstanding transactions are cleared and funds are withdrawn before closing the account.

Are there any tax implications for my chequing account transactions?

Generally, there are no tax implications for standard chequing account transactions. However, interest earned on certain types of accounts may be taxable. Consult a tax professional for advice.

What should I do if I suspect fraudulent activity on my chequing account?

Contact your bank immediately to report any suspicious activity. They will assist you in investigating and resolving the issue, which may include freezing your account temporarily.