- USD, GBP, EUR accounts
- Multi-currency credit card
- Pay bills in 37 currencies
- Avoid FX fees
- For registered Canadian corporations only
Business banking in Canada
The right mix of business banking products can help you manage and grow your small business in Canada.
Finding the best business bank account in Canada is crucial to successfully managing and growing your business. The right business banking solution depends on your unique needs — no matter the size of your business. To help, here’s a guide on how to compare business chequing and savings accounts.
- USD, GBP, EUR accounts
- No monthly fee
- 1% cashback
- Avoid FX fees
- For registered Canadian corporations only
- Transfer to 80+ countries
- Low minimum transfer amount
- High sending limits
- No mark-up or FX rate fees
- For registered Canadian corporations only
What is business banking?
Business banking is an umbrella term used to describe all banking accounts and products that focus on the needs of business owners. This includes day-to-day payments to and from a business chequing account, as well as business savings accounts, loans, credit cards, payroll services, and international payment services.
Most major banks in Canada, as well as plenty of smaller financial institutions, offer business banking. However, finding the business banking products you need will vary. To find the best, you need to consider factors, such as the age and size of your business, whether you operate in the digital world or physical world or both.
But the one core product every business needs is a chequing account — or day-to-day transaction account.
Types of business bank accounts
The three most common types of business bank accounts include:
Business chequing accounts
A business chequing account is used to manage the day-to-day finances of your business. Once you open an account in your business’ name, you can use it to pay your suppliers, get paid by customers and make essential purchases. It also comes with reporting tools to help you track expenses, manage cash flow and meet your tax obligations.
Business savings accounts
Rather than simply leaving unused business funds sitting dormant in a chequing account, a business savings account allows you to earn interest on that capital. This can help you manage cash flow, improve your bottom line, and have money set aside to take advantage of opportunities as they arise. Unlike a chequing account, which offers easy access to your funds whenever you need, a savings account only supports a limited number of transactions.
Multi-currency business bank accounts
In recent years, fintech disruptors started to provide business bank accounts that offered Canadian business owners the ability to sell and transact in different locations and currencies worldwide. These online-only accounts reduce fees associated with global sales and international currency payments, but also provide the day-to-day banking needs required by Canadian businesses.
Why open a business bank account?
There are lots of good reasons to open a business bank account, including:
- Creates a central place for funds. A business bank account can keep all of your funds in one central place so you can easily track and manage your finances.
- Separates your personal and business funds. Separating your business and personal expenses can help keep you out of trouble for making the wrong deductions come tax time, protecting you from facing personal liability if your business gets into trouble.
- Looks professional. A business bank account can help establish the business’ credibility with customers and creditors.
- Provides accountability. Regular statements from your business accounts help keep you accountable for your finances and make things easier at tax time. You can also easily report earnings to your board or shareholders.
How to choose a business bank account
The best business bank account for you depends on your banking needs. How many business banking transactions do you perform each month? Does your business operate completely online, or do you also receive cash and cheque payments? Do you need to transact in multiple currencies? Once you know what features you need in an account, you can start comparing your options.
Consider the following factors when comparing business bank accounts:
Check how many transactions the account supports per month — will this be enough for your business now and as it grows?. Are electronic and in-branch transactions included, or will you pay additional fees for specific transactions such as cash deposits?
Also check whether there are any restrictions on the amount you can deposit into your account. For example, some accounts have limits on how much you can deposit in cash or cheques each month.
Check the fine print for details of any fees that apply to your account. Most business chequing accounts come with a monthly fee, but some don’t. Your bank may also waive the monthly fee if you meet a minimum balance requirement.
Other business banking fees to be aware of include:
- Interac e-Transfer fees
- Branch transaction fees
- Cash and cheque deposit fees
- Non-network ATM withdrawal fees
- Foreign transaction fees
- Paper statement fees
- Chequebook fees
Branch and ATM access
If you need to perform in-branch transactions on a regular basis, such as making cash deposits, make sure the bank you choose has convenient locations near you. It’s also a good idea to consider the size of the bank’s ATM network so you can make fee-free cash withdrawals when needed.
Online and mobile banking
Does the bank offer dedicated web business banking and mobile banking apps? Read independent customer reviews to find out whether the online and mobile banking offerings are easy to use and allow you to perform all your essential transactions.
If you’re opening a business savings account, be sure to compare interest rates to find an account that will help you grow your balance as quickly as possible. Also check how easily you will be able to withdraw funds when you need access to capital.
If you do business in the United States and internationally, check what foreign currencies the account supports. Remember to consider which currencies you can receive and hold funds in, as well as which currencies are supported when you need to send an international transfer.
Extra perks and business resources
Does the bank offer access to any tools and resources to help you grow your business? These may include access to a business adviser, online educational resources and business management products from partner providers. Opening a business account may also entitle you to other discounts, such as a waived annual fee on a business credit card.
Make sure you open a business bank account with a bank or financial institution that is a member of the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation. This means deposits of up to $100,000 are insured in the unlikely event that the bank fails.
Check how you will be able to access customer support if you have a problem with your account. Can you get help via live chat, over the phone or by email? During which hours can you contact the customer support team?
Compare low and no-fee online business bank accounts
What is the best business bank account in Canada?
The best business bank account will depend on how your business does its banking. In our guide to the best business bank accounts in Canada, we break down the top business accounts for a wide range of businesses, including:
- Basic chequing accounts
- Business bank accounts that support unlimited transactions
- Free business bank accounts
- Multi-currency business accounts
- Accounts for e-commerce businesses
- Online bank business accounts
Learn more: Best business bank accounts in Canada
Business bank accounts with the Big Five Banks in Canada
For many business owners, the first option when choosing a business bank account is to apply with a Big Five bank. These major banks operate large branch and ATM networks, offer a full suite of business banking products, and provide the peace of mind of dealing with a trusted financial institution. Here’s a breakdown of the business bank accounts found at Canada’s traditional banks.
RBC business banking
RBC offers six business chequing accounts, including options such as:
- RBC Digital Choice Business Account. Designed for businesses that transact largely online, this account supports unlimited electronic debit and credit transactions as well as unlimited electronic cheque deposits. A $6 monthly fee applies, while paper transactions and cash deposits attract additional fees.
- RBC Flex Choice Business Account. For a $7 monthly fee, this RBC business banking account doesn’t have any maximum transaction limits but instead lets you pay for the transactions you perform each month.
- RBC Ultimate Business Account. This high-volume account features unlimited electronic debits and credits, 100 paper transactions, and 500 outgoing Interac e-Transfers per month. A monthly fee of $100 applies, but the fee is waived if you maintain a balance of $75,000 or more.
You can manage your account via the RBC online business banking portal, while RBC also offers a US dollar business account, a foreign currency account, a business savings account and more.
TD business banking
TD’s business bank accounts include six chequing accounts, a savings account and a range of US dollar accounts. Popular options include:
- TD Basic Business Plan. This entry-level account has a $5 monthly fee and is designed for businesses with minimal banking needs. It supports 5 deposit items and 5 transactions per month.
- TD Everyday Business Plan A. This mid-range plan supports 50 deposit items and 20 transactions per month. A $19 monthly fee applies, but the fee is waived if you keep a balance of at least $20,000.
- TD Unlimited Business Plan. This high-volume transaction account supports unlimited transactions and deposits as well as free e-Transfers. There’s a $125 monthly fee which is waived if you maintain a balance of $65,000 or more, while you’re also entitled to annual fee rebates on eligible TD business credit cards.
You can manage your account, send transfers and add account users in TD Small Business Online Banking or the TD Bank app.
BMO business banking
BMO online banking for business is designed to make it easy to manage your day-to-day business finances. It offers a choice of six chequing accounts, including:
- BMO eBusiness Plan. This BMO online business banking plan has no monthly fee and supports unlimited electronic transactions as well as unlimited Moneris transactions. There’s no minimum balance requirement, but you’ll need to check the fees that apply to non-electronic transactions.
- BMO Business Start. If you’re starting a new business, this BMO business banking account is designed with you in mind. It has a $6 monthly fee and supports 7 transactions per month, with no minimum balance requirement.
- BMO Business Builder. Available in four different plan levels to suit your business’ monthly transaction needs, this account supports both online and in-branch transactions. Monthly fees range from $22.50 for Business Builder Plan 1, to $120 for the high-volume Business Builder 4 plan.
CIBC business banking
CIBC business banking offers a range of chequing, savings and US dollar accounts, plus business banking solutions for farmers and not-for-profit organizations. Its four chequing accounts are:
- CIBC Basic Business Operating Account. This flexible account is designed to let you only pay for the transactions you use each month. A $6 monthly fee also applies, while you can also take advantage of CIBC Global Money Transfer for Business.
- CIBC Everyday Business Operating Account. This basic account features 30 transactions per month, and the monthly fee varies depending on if you want self-service ($20) or full-service access ($25). The monthly fee is waived if you have a minimum daily balance of $15,000.
- CIBC Advanced Business Operating Account. This mid-level CIBC business account supports 100 monthly transactions, including Interac e-Transfers. There’s a monthly fee of $35, but that’s waived if you maintain a minimum daily balance of $35,000.
- CIBC Unlimited Business Operating Account. If your business needs to be able to perform unlimited transactions per month, this CIBC business account will let you do that for a $65 monthly fee. The fee is waived if you keep your balance at $45,000 or higher, so you can deposit as much as $15,000 cash, $1,000 coin and 100 cheques each month.
Scotiabank business banking
If you want to open a Scotia business account, Scotiabank offers three chequing accounts as well as savings accounts and GICs for business. Scotiabank business banking products include:
- Scotiabank Select Account for Business. This Scotia business account is available in four different plan levels that support between 25 and unlimited transactions per month. The more transactions you need the higher your monthly plan fee, but the fee is waived if you meet minimum balance requirements.
- Scotiabank Right Size Account for Business. This flexible account can be used as much or as little as you want. It comes with a $6 monthly fee, plus a fee for each transaction you perform. The size of this transaction fee varies depending on your account usage — it’s $1 per transaction if you perform 51 or more transactions per month, but higher if you perform fewer transactions.
- Scotiabank Basic Business Account. Available in Canadian and US dollars, this account offers 1 free transaction per month for every $1,500 in the account. The monthly fee is $10.95, but the fee is waived when you maintain a monthly balance of at least $8,000.
Online bank business bank accounts
You don’t necessarily need to open a business bank account at a major bank. Online-only banks and fintech firms now offer more choice for Canadian business owners, with day-to-day money accounts, multi-currency accounts, corporate cards and easier access to business loans and credit. While some online-only banks are subsidiaries of brick-and-mortar banks, others are strictly digital-only fintechs. In almost all cases, online-only business bank account options come with lower fees, more services and an instantaneous and digital method of banking for your business.
How to open a business bank account in Canada
When you’ve found the best business banking account for your needs, check what you need to do to apply. While many banks allow you to open an account online, you may be required to visit a branch or book an appointment with a bank rep to finalize your application.
If applying online, here’s what to do:
- Click the “Apply now” link on the bank’s website.
- Provide your business name, contact details and registration details. You’ll also be asked to provide details about what your business does, how long it’s been established, and your annual revenue.
- Provide your personal details as well as the details of any other business owners or directors.
- Upload proof of ID for yourself and anyone else associated with the account.
- Submit your application.
What documents will I need?
You’ll need to provide a government-issued form of photo ID to open a business bank account. You’ll also need to supply a business registration document, but the type of document you have to provide will vary depending on your business structure.
- If you’re a sole proprietor, a copy of your trade name registration certificate or your master business licence will be required.
- Partnerships may be asked to provide a partnership agreement and a copy of a trade name registration certificate.
- Corporations may be asked to provide articles of incorporation/association.
The bank will outline the documentation you should have handy before you start filling out an online application.
Can I use my personal bank account for business banking?
While a business bank account is not mandatory with some business structures, some business types will require a separate bank account. Even if it’s not a requirement, it’s considered best practice separate your personal and business bank accounts. Here are three reasons why:
- Saves you time during tax season. Keeping your work and personal finances separate ensures you don’t spend countless hours sorting through transactions come tax time and makes it easier to spot what tax deductions and credits you qualify for.
- Makes it easier to apply for business credit.If you want to expand or grow your business in the future, you may need to get a business loan. At this point, having a business account that clearly shows accounts receivable and payable — without the confusion of personal expenses — goes a long way in establishing the credibility of your small business.
- Gives you a clearer picture of your business’s performance. If you use a personal account, it’s difficult to separate your income from your spouse’s income, your personal bills from your business bills and so on. But with a business account, you automatically know if your company is on the right track financially.
The best business bank accounts in Canada make it easy and affordable to manage your finances, leaving you free to focus on running your business. But the right business banking solution for you depends on factors such as your monthly transaction needs, how and when you get paid, and even your budget. Compare business bank accounts from a range of banks and financial institutions to find the best business account for your needs.
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