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Compare the Big Five Canadian banks

Unlock a range of personal and business financial products from the top 5 banks in Canada.

The 5 largest banks in the Canada, dubbed the Big Five Banks, include TD Bank, RBC Royal Bank, BMO Bank of Montreal, CIBC, and Scotiabank. Banking with these heavy-hitters gives you access to a variety of chequing and savings accounts and other financial products. Read our guide below for a Canadian bank comparison of these major financial institutions.

What are the Big Five banks?

  1. RBC (Royal Bank of Canada)
  2. BMO (Bank of Montreal)
  3. TD Bank (Toronto-Dominion Bank)
  4. Scotiabank (Bank of Nova Scotia)
  5. CIBC (Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce)

The Big Five banks in Canada serve millions of customers each year, and are the largest banking institutions by assets held. These powerhouses offer a wide range of personal and business financial products and together own the largest ATM networks in Canada.

RBC Royal Bank

First incorporated in 1869, RBC Royal Bank now has 17 million clients worldwide. It is Canada’s largest bank by market share, and second largest by assets, as of 2020. RBC has over 86,000 employees who serve customers in Canada, the US and in 34 other countries around the world. It has over 2,600 ATM and branch locations. In 2020 RBC was named the North American Retail Bank of the Year for the third year in a row by Retailer Banker International. For more, compare RBC chequing accounts , RBC Savings accounts and RBC credit cards.

BMO

As Canada’s fourth largest bank, BMO serves 12 million customers globally, including 8 million in Canada alone. It has over 45,000 employees, and over 3,000 ATM and branch locations. BMO has been recognized as the most sustainable ban in North America, as of 2020. Because it was founded in 1817, BMO has the distinction of being Canada’s oldest of the Big Five banks. For more, compare BMO chequing accounts , BMO savings accounts and BMO credit cards.

Promoted
BMO Performance Chequing Account
Bundle and save: Earn $400 when you open a BMO Performance Chequing Account. Valid until January 31, 2023. Plus, earn a 4.25% bonus interest rate when you open and add a Savings Amplifier Account to your chequing account.

TD Bank

TD (or TD Canada Trust as it it also known) is the second biggest bank in Canada by market share and the largest by assets as of 2020. Since its founding in 1855 in Toronto, Ontario, TD Bank has grown to serve over 25 million customers around the world. It has over 1,900 ATM and branch locations. TD is the only Canadian bank since 2014 to be listed on the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index. For more, compare TD chequing accounts, TD savings accounts and TD credit cards.

Scotiabank

Scotiabank is Canada’s third largest bank by both market share and assets as of 2020. Scotiabank has over 90,000 employees, and serves more than 10 million small business and commercial banking customers across Canada. It has 953 branches and over 3,632 ATMs. Since beginning in 1832, Scotiabank has primarily focused on serving countries in North America and parts of South America, but still operates in over 55 countries around the world. For more, compare Scotiabank chequing accounts, Scotiabank savings accounts and Scotiabank credit cards.

CIBC

Even though CIBC is the smallest of the Big Five banks, it still has over 40,000 employees who serve more than 10 million customers across Canada and globally. CIBC has over 1,000 bank branches and 3,000 ATMs. With its founding in 1867, it’s Canada’s second oldest of the Big Five banks. CIBC’s banking app has been ranked 1st by J.D. Power for Customer Satisfaction among Canada’s largest banks’ Mobile Banking Apps. For more, compare CIBC chequing accounts , CIBC savings accounts and CIBC credit cards.

The Big Five banks’ market share

As of October, 2022, RBC has the largest market capitalization out of the Big Five banks, with TD Bank coming in at a second, well ahead of third-place Scotiabank. Regardless of which bank you choose, all of the Big Five banks, and most other Canadian financial institutions, are backed by CDIC deposit insurance, which protects eligible deposits up to $100,000.

BankMarket capitalization (As of October 24, 2022)
RBC$128.3 billion (USD)
TD Bank$114.7 billion (USD)
Scotiabank$56.6 billion (USD)
BMO$59.2 billion (USD)
CIBC$39.4 billion (USD)

Which is the best bank in Canada for personal banking?

There’s no one bank that is “best” overall, as what’s best for you will depend on your financial situation and goals. However, here are a few differences between the Big Five that may help sway you one way or another.

  • RBC. Largest bank in terms of market share, most branches and ATMs.
  • TD Bank. Awarded safest bank in North America.
  • Scotiabank. Most international with a presence in 55 countries.
  • BMO. Canada’s oldest bank (institution number is 001).
  • CIBC. Number 1 rated mobile banking app.

Choosing between the Big Five banks

Deciding on the best bank in Canada for personal banking depends on your unique financial needs. The Big Five banks all offer a similar range of products and services, but there are a few key differences. First, consider the accounts and services you wish to use. For example, you might be interested in a high-yield savings account and a low-fee chequing account. Once you have this in mind, compare what each bank has to offer in terms of interest rates, fees, customer support and more.

Compare products offered by the Big Five banks

RBC Bank logo

RBC

TD Canada Trust bank logo

TD Bank

Scotiabank logo

Scotiabank

BMO, Bank of Montreal logo

BMO

CIBC logo

CIBC

Accounts
Popular accountsRBC Signature No Limit Banking Account

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TD Unlimited Chequing Account

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Scotiabank Preferred Package

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BMO Performance Chequing Account

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CIBC Smart Account

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Lending
Popular credit cardsRBC Avion Visa Infinite

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TD Cash Back Visa Infinite Card

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Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite Card

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BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard

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CIBC Dividend Visa Infinite Card

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Investing

How to compare bank accounts from the Big Five

When you’re looking at chequing accounts offered by the Big Five, consider the following features:

Fees

From monthly fees to overdraft charges and everything in between, be sure to compare fee schedules between accounts. Some banks will waive your monthly fee if certain conditions are met, whereas others may charge you regardless. Be sure to consider how you will be using your account when considering the importance of fees. For instance, if you plan to frequently withdraw cash from ATMs, look into the fees associated with ATM transactions.

ATM access

Convenient access to the money in your chequing account is another key factor in choosing the right product for your needs. Check out whether the account provides free access to ATMs, how many ATMs are in the bank’s network and where those ATMs are located. Also consider whether the bank will reimburse you for out-of-network ATM charges.

Online banking

The Big Five banks all have Internet and mobile banking access, so it comes down to which offers the best customer experience. CIBC’s mobile banking app has a great reputation, but you may want to compare mobile banking apps to find out which would be best for your needs. Make sure that the bank and app you choose is compatible with your mobile device if you like banking on the go.

Interest rates

Although extremely rare, an interest-bearing chequing account can put your money to work when it’s not being used. Interest rates on chequing accounts at Big Five banks may not be much, but it can still grow your account balance. Interest rates may also be higher on balances that are above a certain threshold.

Minimum deposit and balance requirements

Minimum deposits and balance requirements may vary depending on which bank you choose. Plus, if you don’t meet the balance requirements, you might be charged a fee, which could eat into your balance. Shop around to find an account with a minimum deposit in your budget and balance requirements you can easily meet each month to avoid unnecessary charges.

Perks

Some banks offer incentives and perks to attract customers, including signup bonuses, free linked accounts, rewards programs and fee-free ATMs. Compare the features and signup bonuses of each account in order to make the most of your money.

Branch locations

If you prefer to do your banking in person, you might want to think about how many branches are in your area. There’s no point in opening an account with a bank if most of its branches are on the other side of town.

Compare Big Five chequing account options

1 - 13 of 13
Name Product Monthly Account Fee Free Transactions e-Transfer Fee Bonus Offer Offer
BMO Performance Chequing Account
BMO Performance Chequing Account
$16.95
unlimited
$0
Earn $400
Earn $350. Plus, earn an additional $50 when you add a second member and make it a BMO Family Bundle. Valid until January 31, 2023. Plus, earn a 4.25% bonus interest rate when you add a Savings Amplifier Account.
Scotiabank Preferred Package
Scotiabank Preferred Package
$16.95
unlimited
$0
Earn $350
Earn a $350 welcome bonus. Conditions apply. Valid until April 30, 2023. Plus, earn up to 4.55% interest on your MomentumPLUS Savings Account for 5 months.
BMO Practical Chequing Account
BMO Practical Chequing Account
$4
12/month
$0
N/A
BMO AIR MILES Chequing Account
BMO AIR MILES Chequing Account
$16.95
unlimited
$0
N/A
Scotiabank Basic Bank Account
Scotiabank Basic Bank Account
$3.95
12/month
$0
N/A
BMO Plus Chequing Account
BMO Plus Chequing Account
$11.95
25/month
$0
Earn $100
Earn $100 when you open an account and setup recurring deposits and bill payments. Valid until January 31, 2023.
Scotiabank Ultimate Package
Scotiabank Ultimate Package
$30.95
unlimited
$0
Earn $350
Get a welcome bonus of $350. Conditions apply. Valid until April 30, 2023. Plus, earn up to 4.60% interest on your MomentumPLUS Savings Account for 5 months.
BMO Premium Plan Chequing Account
BMO Premium Plan Chequing Account
$30
unlimited
$0
Earn $400
Earn $350 with a Premium Chequing Account. Plus, earn an additional $50 when you add a second member and make it a BMO Family Bundle. Valid until January 31, 2023.
Scotiabank Student Banking Advantage Plan
Scotiabank Student Banking Advantage Plan
$0
unlimited
$0
Earn $75 and 7,500 Scene+ points
Earn $75 and up to 7,500 Scene+ points with the Scene+ Student Banking Bundle. Conditions apply. Apply by January 31, 2023.
BMO Performance Student Chequing Account
BMO Performance Student Chequing Account
$16.95
unlimited
$0
Earn $100
Earn a $100 cash bonus and enjoy no monthly fees while in school and one year after you graduate. Valid until January 31, 2023.
Scotiabank Basic Plus Bank Account
Scotiabank Basic Plus Bank Account
$11.95
25/month
$0
N/A
BMO New to Canada Performance Chequing Account
BMO New to Canada Performance Chequing Account
$16.95
unlimited
$0
Earn $400
Earn up to $350 when you open an account. Plus, earn an additional $50 when you add a second member and make it a BMO Family Bundle. Valid until January 31, 2023.
BMO Canadian Defence Community Banking Performance Plan Chequing Account
BMO Canadian Defence Community Banking Performance Plan Chequing Account
$0
unlimited
$0
N/A
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When you’re looking at savings accounts offered by the Big Five, consider the following features:

Interest rates

Interest rates determine how quickly your savings can grow. Look at the interest rates of each account to determine which one has the best value. With the Big Five, you may be able to get an introductory rate, which offers higher interest for a set period of time. Interest rates may also be higher on account balances that are above a certain threshold.

Online banking

The Big Five banks all have Internet and mobile banking access, so it comes down to which offers the best customer experience. CIBC’s mobile banking app has a great reputation, but you may want to compare mobile banking apps to find out which would be best for your needs. Make sure that the bank and app you choose is compatible with your mobile device if you like banking on the go.

Fees

From monthly fees to overdraft charges and everything in between, be sure to compare fee schedules between accounts. Some banks will waive your monthly fee if certain conditions are met, whereas others may charge you regardless. Since you’re most likely opening a savings account to save money, it’s important to consider how fees might affect your savings goals.

Minimum deposit and balance requirements

Minimum deposits and balance requirements may vary depending on which bank you choose. Plus, if you don’t meet the balance requirements, you might be charged a fee, which could eat into your savings. Shop around to find an account with a minimum deposit in your budget and balance requirements you can easily meet each month to avoid unnecessary charges.

Perks

Some banks offer incentives and perks to attract customers, including signup bonuses, free linked accounts, rewards programs and fee-free ATMs. Compare the features and signup bonuses of each account in order to make the most of your savings.

Branch locations

If you prefer to do your banking in person, you might want to think about how many branches are in your area. There’s no point in opening an account with a bank if most of its branches are on the other side of town — unless you prefer an online savings account.

Pros and cons of banking with the top 5 banks in Canada

Pros

  • More access to your money. By choosing one of the Big Five, you’ll have easy access to your money through a large number of branches, ATM networks and online banking.
  • 24/7 customer service. Depending on the Big Five bank you choose, you’ll likely have access to 24/7 customer service, which can come in handy if you have a financial emergency.
  • Easily link your Big Five bank account. If your chequing account is already with one of the Big Five, you’ll find it easy to link your new savings accounts.
  • Financial stability. The Big Five have the largest market share of all banks, meaning you can trust that your money is safe. And even if any of these banks were to fail, they’re insured by the CDIC, meaning you’re protected for up to $100,000 per eligible deposit.

Cons

  • Other brands out there. The Big Five are all well-known institutions, but you should still look at other banks when making your comparisons. This helps to ensure that your savings are working as hard as possible toward your financial goals.
  • Lower interest rates. The Big Five have a reputation for having the lowest interest rates in the market for their savings accounts. You can compare high-interest savings accounts here.
  • Not the most competitive. Due to their popularity, the Big Five banks aren’t always as competitive with their rates and fees as smaller banks and credit unions.

Alternatives to the Big Five banks

Although the Big Five banks have the biggest financial footholds in Canada, they are not the only banking options. In fact, depending on your financial needs, other banks may be a better fit for you. A popular alternative to the Big Five are credit unions and online banks like Tangerine or EQ Bank. Online banks and credit unions often offer fee-free account options and some of the most competitive interest rates on the market.

The downside to Big Five alternatives is that they may not offer a full suite of financial products. For example, you may not be able to get a mortgage from an online bank. However, you could save a lot of money on your everyday banking by switching to a no-fee chequing account or high interest savings account at an online bank for example.

Compare online banking products in Canada

Interested in opening your first online bank account? Compare the products below from some of the best online banks in Canada.

1 - 4 of 4
Name Product Promo Rate Regular Interest Rate Monthly Account Fee Transaction Fee e-Transfer Fee Offer
KOHO Save
KOHO Save
N/A
2.00%
$0
$0
$0
Use promo code FINDERCODE and get a $20 cash bonus when you make your first purchase within 30 days.
EQ Bank Savings Plus Account
EQ Bank Savings Plus Account
N/A
2.50%
$0
$0
$0
Simplii High Interest Savings Account
Simplii High Interest Savings Account
5.00% until January 31
0.40%
$0
$0
$0
Neo Money Account
Neo Money Account
N/A
2.25%
$0
$0
$0
Open an account and get a $5 bonus.
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Bottom line

If financial stability is your number one priority when choosing a bank, then opening an account with one of the Big Five could be right for you. These powerhouses aren’t likely to fail any time soon and offer a wide range of financial products to meet your personal and business banking needs. However, these institutions aren’t known to have the most competitive interest rates or fees.

Compare the Big Five banks with smaller providers and credit unions to find the savings account that best fits your needs.

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