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Best free mobile banking in Canada

Easily check account balances, transfer money, manage points and more with the 6 best free mobile banking apps in Canada.

Mobile banking makes it easier than ever to manage money. Pay bills, send e-Transfers, deposit cheques and track spending any time of day or night, all from your smartphone or tablet.

But which bank offers the best mobile banking in Canada? To help you compare your options, we’ve rounded up the top banking apps available in Canada today, including apps from the big six banks, like RBC mobile banking and BMO banking app, as well as offerings from digital banks, such as Simplii and Tangerine.

Keep reading to find out which bank has the best mobile app in Canada, and learn about the advantages and disadvantages of mobile banking using an app.

Find the best banking app in Canada

#1 Scotiabank Mobile Banking

Scotiabank’s award-winning mobile app is easily accessible, user friendly and secure. It has a full range of money management features and even gives you access to your TransUnion credit score. Data encryption and two-step verification ensure the security of your money, while key features like mobile cheque deposits, budgeting insights and advisor access are also included.

Ratings
  • Apple App Store rating: 4.7/5 based on 405,152 reviews
  • Google Play Store rating: 4.6/5 based on 94,147 reviews

#2 Tangerine Mobile Banking

The Tangerine Mobile Banking app is secure and easy to use. Tangerine’s mobile banking app offers a simple and straightforward user-interface that lets you check your account balances, review transactions, send transfers and locate your nearest automated bank machine (ABM). A full suite of money management tools can help you reach savings goals and improve your spending habits, while other features include mobile cheque deposits, biometric identification, and alerts and notifications to let you know when your money is on the move.

Ratings
  • Apple App Store rating: 4.7/5 based on 56,619 reviews
  • Google Play Store rating: 4.4/5 based on 30,726 reviews

#3 TD app

The TD mobile banking app is another highly-rated app among Canadian consumers. Designed to make it easy to manage your money 24/7, the TD app features two-factor authentication for security and an AI chatbot for fast customer service. You can use the app to check balances, pay bills and send money domestically and to over 200 countries around the world. You can also make mobile cheque deposits, plus monitor your spending and receive real-time notifications with TD MySpend, making this a highly competitive mobile banking solution.

Ratings
  • Apple App Store rating: 4.5/5 based on 75,138 reviews
  • Google Play Store rating: 4.2/5 based on 102,074

#4 BMO Mobile Banking

BMO’s user-friendly mobile banking app lets you deposit cheques using your phone, view your accounts, pay bills and transfer money. You can also view detailed account information, book appointments, and locate your nearest branch or ATM. And all of this is backed by the BMO Electronic Banking Guarantee, which ensures that you’ll be fully reimbursed for any losses caused by unauthorized transactions through BMO Mobile Banking.

Ratings
  • Apple App Store rating: 4.6/5 based on 99,765 reviews
  • Google Play Store rating: 4.1/5 based on 70,765 reviews

#5 CIBC Mobile Banking App

The CIBC mobile app is available for Apple and Android devices. It lets you perform a wide range of everyday banking activities from your mobile or tablet, including paying bills, managing your credit card and transferring money. This award-winning app also offers alerts to remind you when a payment is due or warn you of suspicious transactions and features the CIBC Smart Planner tool to help you better manage your money.

Ratings
  • Apple App Store rating: 4.3/5 based on 17,222 reviews
  • Google Play Store rating: 3.9/5 based on 38,636 reviews

#6 RBC Mobile Banking

The RBC mobile app is designed to make saving, spending and managing your money as easy as possible. You can check your account and Avion rewards point balances in the same place, and enjoy fast access to everyday transactions like bill payments, e-Transfers and moving money between your accounts. Biometric access helps ensure the security of your account, while personalized tips for spending and saving are provided by the NOMI tool.

Ratings
  • Apple App Store rating: 4.8/5 based on 206,423 reviews
  • Google Play Store rating: 3.6/5 based on 36,584 reviews

How to choose the best mobile banking app for you

While it’s nice to have a bank account with a user-friendly mobile app, it’s not the number-one priority for most people. You may prefer to choose your bank based on its savings account interest rates, low fees, rewards and customer service offered instead.

With that said, here are the factors you should consider when searching for the best mobile banking app for your needs.

  • Ease of use. The best mobile banking apps are simple and straightforward. They make it quick and easy to log in, navigate to where you want and perform day-to-day banking transactions with a minimum of fuss.
  • Features. The app should allow you to do all your essential banking tasks, like paying bills, sending e-Transfers and checking your balance. But it should also offer extra features. Most apps support mobile cheque deposits in Canada, while many also allow you to track your spending and budget, open new accounts and monitor your credit score.
  • Security. Next, check what security measures the mobile app has in place to protect your funds. For example, does it use high-level encryption? Can you set up two-factor or multi-factor authentication as an added layer of protection?
  • Customer support. Check to see whether you can access the bank’s customer support team through the app. During which hours are they available? Can you chat with a real person rather than a bot?
  • Customer reviews. Head to the relevant app store for your smartphone and check the average customer rating. Read some reviews to find out if there are any commonly reported issues or whether people say the app is user-friendly.

Looking beyond the mobile app, it’s also a good idea to consider other features that will influence your choice of bank, such as:

  • Branch access. If you like to have the option of face-to-face banking in a branch, check whether the bank has locations convenient to you. Some of the top apps are produced by online-only banks, so if you want access to a local branch, you’ll have to avoid these apps.
  • ATM network. How extensive is the bank’s ATM network so you can access fee-free withdrawals? Does it have many ATMs located close to you?
  • Account features. You’ll also need to check that the bank offers accounts that suit your needs. This could include a chequing account with unlimited transactions or a low monthly fee, or a savings account with a high interest rate.

Where can I download mobile banking apps?

It’s easy to download mobile banking apps from the relevant app store for your smartphone’s operating system.

If you’re on an Android phone, you can find mobile banking apps in the Google Play store. If you have an iPhone, you’ll find iOS apps in Apple’s App Store.

However, rather than going directly to an online store and searching for the app, it’s recommended that you follow a link from your bank’s website to the app store. This will ensure that you download the correct app and don’t get caught out by a scam.

Are mobile banking apps free?

Yes, banks and other mobile institutions offer free mobile banking in Canada. Just remember that while the app may be free, the bank account you manage via the app may charge a monthly fee.

But you typically don’t have to pay anything to download a mobile banking app from an app store. You simply have to download and install the app onto your smartphone, then open the app and enter your account details to register.

It’s also usually possible to sign up via the bank’s online banking portal.

What are the advantages of mobile banking?

Why sign up for mobile banking? There are plenty of reasons why it’s a good idea to manage your money via mobile:

  • Saves you time. Mobile banking is quick and easy. Most of us already take our phones with us everywhere and mobile banking apps allow you to perform a host of everyday transactions with just a few taps. These days you can use mobile banking to e-transfer money, deposit a cheque (through mobile cheque deposit), check your account balance and set up bill payments.
  • Do your banking 24/7. Mobile banking apps let you do your banking on a smartphone or tablet whenever and wherever it suits you, without having to worry about bank business hours. You can even manage your finances anywhere in the world, regardless of whether there’s a branch nearby or not.
  • Money management tools. The best mobile banking services offer tools to help you stick to a budget, track your spending and set savings goals. The end result is a simpler and more effective way to manage your money.
  • Widely available. Every major bank, credit union and financial institution in Canada offers mobile banking. From the “Big Six Banks” like the RBC online banking app and CIBC mobile app, to apps from online-only banks like Tangerine and EQ Bank, plenty of choices are available.

What are the disadvantages of mobile banking?

But there are a few issues to be aware of with mobile banking in Canada:

  • Not face-to-face. If you’re not particularly tech-savvy or you just prefer to do your banking face-to-face, mobile banking might not be for you.
  • No personal relationships. If you feel more comfortable dealing with someone you know and building a relationship with a bank, the impersonal nature of mobile banking can take some getting used to.
  • Bugs and glitches. While the best mobile banking apps offer a seamless user experience, others don’t. Technical problems and app bugs can make banking via your smartphone a frustrating experience.
  • Scams. While mobile banking is generally considered to be a safe and secure option, you still need to be aware of fake text message phishing scams and avoid downloading scam apps. It’s also important to look for features such as multi-factor authentication to help protect your account.

How to set up mobile banking online

The exact signup process for mobile banking varies between banks. However, there are two options available: sign up for mobile banking via a mobile app, or sign up through online banking on your computer.

How to sign up for mobile banking via the app

If your bank lets you sign up directly from your mobile app, then here are the eights steps to get you set up with mobile banking via the app:

  1. On your smartphone, navigate to your bank’s website.
  2. Find the link for its mobile banking app and click through to the corresponding store for your smartphone operating system.
  3. Download and install the app on your smartphone.
  4. Open the app and click “Register.”
  5. Enter any information as required, such as your name, debit card number or phone number.
  6. You’ll typically be sent a code by SMS that you will need to enter to verify your details.
  7. Create a password or PIN.
  8. Sign up and start banking.

How to sign up for mobile banking via your bank’s website

Some banks allow you to sign up for online and mobile banking, at the same time. Here’s how:

  1. Visit your bank’s website and follow the links to sign up for online and mobile banking.
  2. Enter your debit or credit card information and your phone number.
  3. You may also be asked to provide additional information such as your date of birth and postal code.
  4. Enter the verification code you’re sent by SMS.
  5. Create your username and password.
  6. On your smartphone, follow a link from your bank’s website to their app in the relevant app store for your smartphone.
  7. Download and install the app.
  8. Open the app and complete any further steps required to register.

Is it safe to use mobile banking?

Yes, it is safe to use a mobile banking app from a reputable financial institution. Security features like end-to-end encryption, multi-factor authentication and real-time account alerts are all used to help protect you against fraud.

But there are still several things you can do to help maximize the security of your funds, such as:

  • Create a strong password and never share it with anyone
  • Set up multi-factor authentication on your account
  • Don’t use public Wi-Fi networks
  • Make sure you only ever download mobile banking apps from official app stores like Google Play and Apple’s App Store
  • When downloading a mobile banking app, follow a link from your bank’s website to access the app download
  • Be extremely wary of unsolicited phone calls, emails and texts claiming to be from your bank
  • If you are contacted by someone claiming to be from your bank, don’t share any sensitive information like your online or mobile banking password
  • Don’t click on links or open attachments in any unsolicited emails or text messages
  • Make sure your mobile phone is locked via PIN, password or fingerprint login

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Written by

Tim Falk

Tim Falk is a freelance writer for Finder. Over the course of his 15-year writing career, he has reported on a wide range of personal finance topics. Whether you're investing in stocks and ETFs, comparing savings accounts or choosing a credit card, Tim wants to make it easier for you to understand. When he’s not staring at his computer, you can usually find him exploring the great outdoors. See full profile

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