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Best no-fee chequing accounts

These 11 free bank accounts in Canada eliminate monthly fees, while offering perks, such as cash back, unlimited e-Transfers and a debit card.

A no-fee chequing account lets you manage your day-to-day banking without having to worry about bank fees eating away at your balance. Free bank accounts in Canada have no monthly fees and allow you to do everything from paying bills and sending e-Transfers to buying gas and groceries and withdrawing cash at ATMs. Fees may apply to some transactions though, so it’s important to compare options before deciding what’s best for you.

To help make your decision easier, we have rounded up the 11 best no-fee chequing accounts from Canada’s leading banks and fintechs.

Best no-fee chequing accounts in Canada for 2024, by feature

ProviderBest forWhat we likeOpen an Account
Simplii FinancialBest overall no-fee chequing account
  • Earn a $400 welcome bonus
  • Earn 5.9% interest for 5 months on your first Simplii Financial High Interest Savings Account
  • $0 transactions and eTransfers
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Simplii No Fee Chequing Account

EQ BankBest free bank account with interest
  • Earn 4.00% interest including a regular interest rate of 2.5%
  • Get unlimited transactions and eTransfers
  • Free withdrawals from any ATM in Canada
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EQ Bank Personal Account

BMOBest chequing account with ability to waive monthly fee
  • Earn a $600 welcome bonus
  • $0 transactions and eTransfers
  • Account fee waived if you maintain a minimum $4,000 monthly balance
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BMO Performance Chequing Account

Coast CapitalBest no-fee chequing account from a BC credit union
  • Earn $350
  • Pay no monthly fee and get unlimited transactions
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Coast Capital Free Chequing, Free Debit, and More Account

ScotiabankBest no-fee chequing account for students
  • Earn up to a $100 bonus
  • No account fee for full-time post-secondary students
  • Unlimited free transactions and e-Transfers
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Scotiabank Student Banking Advantage Plan

Neo FinancialBest free bank account with cash back
  • Earn 1% interest on your balance
  • $0 transactions and eTransfers
  • Earn up to 6% cashback on your Money card

Neo Money Account

National BankBest no-fee chequing account package for newcomers
  • No monthly fee for up to three years
  • Free phone advice for newcomers for the first year
  • Unlimited electronic transactions
National Bank Newcomer Bank Account
WealthsimpleBest no-fee chequing account with online investing perks
  • Earn between 4.00% - 5.00% interest
  • Rewards designed for investors
Wealthsimple Cash
TangerineBest digital bank no-fee chequing account
  • Earn up to a $250
  • Free Interac e-Transfers
  • First 50 cheques free
  • No fees for daily chequing transactions
Tangerine No-Fee Daily Chequing Account
motive financialBest chequing account for earning interest
  • No monthly account fee, and free transactions and e-Transfers
  • Earn 0.25% interest on your money
  • 50 free personalized cheques
Motive Cha-Ching Chequing Account
Alterna BankBest chequing account for using when travelling to the US
  • No monthly account fee, and free transactions and e-Transfers
  • Access 40,000+ surcharge-free ATMs in the United States through the Allpoint Network
  • Earn 0.05% interest on your money
Alterna Bank No-Fee eChequing Account

Best overall no-fee chequing account

Simplii No Fee Chequing Account

Earn $400
Bonus Offer
$0
Monthly Account Fee
unlimited
Free Transactions
With a $0 monthly fee, free transactions, free e-Transfers and no minimum deposit, the Simplii No Fee Chequing Account is our top pick for no-fee chequing accounts. Earn 0.01% – 0.1% interest on your balance, and make purchases with a Debit Mastercard. Pay $4.97 a month for overdraft (plus interest) only when you use it.
  • Earn a welcome bonus of up to $400
  • Enjoy unlimited free transactions and e-Transfers
  • No monthly account fee
  • Earn 0.01% to 0.1% interest on your balance
  • No minimum deposit requirements
  • Earn a referral bonus
  • Free access to over 3,400 CIBC ATMs across Canada
  • Simplii is an online only provider
  • You can only earn the welcome bonus if you're a new Simplii customer
  • Residents of Quebec cannot open a Simplii account
Min. Age 18
Min. Age Teen Account 12
Account Fee $0
Overdraft Fee $4.97
ATM Out-of-Network Fee $1.50
International ATM Fee $3

Best free bank account with interest

EQ Bank Personal Account

Earn 4.00% interest
Bonus Offer
$0
Monthly Account Fee
unlimited
Free Transactions
Opt for an interest-earning chequing account to earn up to 4% with an EQ Bank Personal Account. Enjoy high interest with no fees on everyday banking, plus unlimited transactions and no minimum balances. Sign up online in minutes. Plus, you can also apply for a Joint account if you're looking to save with your partner or family.
  • $0 account fee
  • Get unlimited transactions
  • $0 Interac eTransfers
  • Earn up to 4% interest on your balance
  • EQ Bank will refund withdrawal fees for using any ATM across Canada
  • No physical branches for in-person service
  • Some standard banking features not available such as overdraft protection and the option to have paper statements
Min. Age 18
Account Fee $0

Best chequing account with ability to waive monthly fee

BMO Performance Chequing Account

Earn $600
Bonus Offer
$17.95
Monthly Account Fee
unlimited
Free Transactions
The BMO Performance Chequing Account is one of BMO's most popular chequing accounts. It offers unlimited free transactions and e-Transfers, and a generous welcome bonus. To avoid paying the monthly account fee, you'll need to maintain a monthly balance of at least $4,000.
  • Unlimited monthly transactions
  • Interac e-Transfers
  • $40 fee rebate on the BMO Mastercard annual fee
  • BMO will reverse the first accidental fee charged to this account
  • Up to 20 accounts can be included in the BMO Family Bundle
  • Get up to a $600 cash bonus. Earn $350 when you open a new BMO Performance Chequing Account and $200 when you open a Savings Amplifier Account. Plus, earn an additional $50 when you add a second member and make it a BMO Family Bundle. Valid until July 2, 2024. Plus, earn a 5.50% promo interest rate when you open a Performance Chequing and a Savings Amplifier Account.
  • Monthly fee of $17.95
  • You won't earn any interest on the money in your account.
Min. Age 18
Min. Age Teen Account 13
Account Fee $17.95
Youth Account Fee $0
# of Accounts Included 20
Overdraft Fee $5
ATM Out-of-Network Fee $2
U.S. ATM Fee $5
International ATM Fee $5

Best no-fee chequing account from a BC credit union

Coast Capital Free Chequing, Free Debit, and More Account

Earn $350
Bonus Offer
$0
Monthly Account Fee
unlimited
Free Transactions
Yet another account on our list with $0 monthly fees, the Coast Capital Free Chequing, Free Debit, and More Account comes with unlimited free transactions and no minimum balance requirement. But there are fees for some services like Interac e-Transfers ($1.50) and paper statements.
  • No monthly fee
  • Unlimited free transactions
  • No minimum balance required
  • Deposit cheques on the app from your phone
  • Withdraw money free of charge from 4,000+ ATMs across Canada.
  • e-Transfers cost $1.50 each
  • Only available to BC residents
Min. Age 19
Account Fee $0
Overdraft Fee $5
ATM Out-of-Network Fee $10
U.S. ATM Fee $2.50
International ATM Fee $5
Dormancy Fee $1.50

Best no-fee chequing account for students

Scotiabank Student Banking Advantage Plan

Earn $100
Bonus Offer
$0
Monthly Account Fee
unlimited
Free Transactions
The Scotiabank Student Banking Advantage Plan removes some of the financial burden of being a student with no monthly account fee, free transactions and free Interac e-Transfers. Open to students in post-secondary schools across North America. Earn up to a $100 welcome bonus when you open an account. Apply by July 2, 2024.
  • Earn a welcome bonus of 12,500 Scene+ points
  • No account fee for full-time post-secondary students
  • Enjoy unlimited free transactions and e-Transfers
  • Earn Scene+ points on debit transactions.
  • Not free for part-time students
  • You must verify that you're a student each year.
Min. Age 16
Account Fee $0
Overdraft Fee $5
ATM Out-of-Network Fee $2
U.S. ATM Fee $3
International ATM Fee $5
Dormancy Fee $20

Best free bank account with cash back

Neo Money Account

Neo Money Account

1%
Interest Rate
$0
Account Fee
$0
Transaction Fee
A combined spending and saving account, the Neo Money Account lets you earn cash back from 0.5% to 6% at popular retailers and pays 1% interest on your balance. Enjoy a $0 monthly account fee, no minimum balance, free transactions and free e-Transfers. The cash back rate varies between stores.
  • Spending cash back
  • Earn 1% interest rate on your entire balance
  • Free unlimited transactions
  • No minimum balance
  • No account fee
  • Online only with no physical branches
  • The Neo Money Card is a prepaid Mastercard, which works slightly differently than a debit card
  • Not available to residents of Quebec
Min. Age 18
Account Fee $0
Transaction Fee $0
Interac e-Transfer Fee $0
NSF Fee $0
International ATM Fee $0

Best no-fee chequing account package for newcomers

National Bank Newcomer Bank Account

N/A
Bonus Offer
$0
Monthly Account Fee
unlimited
Free Transactions
A banking package designed for newcomers to Canada, the National Bank Newcomer Bank Account comes with a $0 monthly bank account fee for up to 3 years. It also comes with unlimited free electronic transactions and Interac e-Transfers. You'll get one year's worth of free legal assistance and advice by phone on immigrating, housing, personal finance and more.
  • $0 for up to 3 years
  • First order of cheques free (saving you $67.10)
  • Send international transfers online to 19 countries for only $5.95 per transfer
  • Exclusive phone support for help with immigration, housing, finances and more
  • Must get a National Bank personal credit card and satisfy other requirements to get the monthly fee waived for years 2 and 3
  • After 3 years, pay $15.95/month
Min. Age N/A
Account Fee $0
Overdraft Fee $0

Best no-fee chequing account with online investing perks

Wealthsimple Cash

N/A
Bonus Offer
$0
Monthly Account Fee
unlimited
Free Transactions
Wealthsimple offers a no-fee chequing account with all the benefits of a high interest savings account. Perks include earning 4.00% to 5.00% interest (depending on how much money you hold in your account), being able to access your pay a day early, CDIC deposit insurance of up to $500,000, and the ability to earn 1% cashback in stock, crypto or cash when you make a purchase with your card. And if you want to invest your savings, you can trade stocks, ETFs, options and more through your other Wealthsimple accounts.
  • No monthly fees
  • Earn up to 5% interest on your account balance
  • Unlimited free transfers
  • No minimum balance
  • Access to $0 commission stock trading
  • No free ATM access (fee typically $3/withdrawal)
  • Fees apply to managed investment accounts
Min. Age 18
Account Fee $0
Overdraft Fee $0
U.S. ATM Fee $0
International ATM Fee $0
Dormancy Fee $0

Best digital bank no-fee chequing account

Tangerine No-Fee Daily Chequing Account

Earn $250
Bonus Offer
$0
Monthly Account Fee
unlimited
Free Transactions
The Tangerine No-Fee Daily Chequing Account comes with a $0 monthly fee and unlimited free transactions and Interac e-Transfers. Easily manage your money 24/7 with Tangerine's highly-rated mobile app. Plus, earn up to 0.1% interest on every dollar.
  • Earn decent interest rates
  • Unlimited transactions
  • Free Interac e-Transfers
  • Free cheques
  • Mobile cheque deposits
  • Charges for certain ATMs
  • No in-person service
  • Only one free replacement card
Min. Age 16
Account Fee $0
Overdraft Fee $10
ATM Out-of-Network Fee $1.50
International ATM Fee $3

Best chequing account for earning interest

Motive Cha-Ching Chequing Account

Motive Cha-Ching Chequing Account

N/A
Bonus Offer
$0
Monthly Account Fee
unlimited
Free Transactions
Earn 0.25% interest on your money and enjoy no monthly account fee, free transactions and free e-Transfers. Plus, enjoy the added perk of receiving 50 free personalized cheques.
  • No monthly account fee
  • Free transactions
  • Free e-Transfers
  • Access to the THE EXCHANGE Network of ATMs
  • 50 free personalized cheques
  • No in-person service or branch locations
Min. Age N/A
Account Fee $0

Best chequing account for using when travelling to the United States

Alterna Bank No-Fee eChequing Account

Alterna Bank No-Fee eChequing Account

N/A
Bonus Offer
$0
Monthly Account Fee
unlimited
Free Transactions
If you're frequently travelling to the US and looking to avoid ATM surcharges, the Alterna Bank No-Fee eChequing Account offers surcharge-free access to 40,000+ ATMs in the US through the Allpoint Network. In addition, enjoy free transactions and free e-Transfers.
  • No monthly account fee
  • Free transactions
  • Free e-Transfers
  • Surcharge-free use of 40,000+ ATMs in the US via the Allpoint Network
  • Earn 0.05% interest on your money
  • Alterna Bank in-person service is only available in Quebec and Ontario
Min. Age N/A
Account Fee $0
Overdraft Fee $2.50

A photo of seancooper

Expert tip:

I've been using a no-fee chequing account for over 20 years and have saved myself hundreds of dollars. That being said, it's important to be aware of their limitations. For example, it may be time consuming or not possible to get a bank draft and other services.

— Sean Cooper, Editorial Review Board

What is a no-fee chequing account?

No-fee chequing accounts are a type of free bank account in Canada that come with $0 monthly fees. Standard chequing accounts from bigger banks require you to pay an account maintenance fee every month, but will often waive the fee if you keep a minimum of $3,000 to $4,000 in your account. No-fee chequing accounts are typically offered by smaller, digital banks (like Tangerine, Simplii and EQ Bank).

Are no-fee bank accounts actually free?

Although people tend to refer to no-fee accounts and free bank accounts interchangeably in the Canadian market, the terms “no-fee” and “free” usually only refer to a $0 monthly account fee and do not include all banking fees. For example, free bank accounts may still charge overdraft or foreign exchange fees.

Which Canadian banks offer no-fee chequing accounts?

No-fee chequing accounts are commonly offered by fintechs, challenger banks and credit unions in Canada, including:

  • Alterna Bank
  • ATB Financial
  • Coast Capital
  • EQ Bank
  • Laurentian Bank
  • Motive Financial
  • Motusbank
  • Neo Financial
  • PC Financial
  • Tangerine
  • Simplii Financial
  • Wealthsimple

Do the Big Banks in Canada offer no-fee chequing accounts?

Big Banks in Canada do offer some free bank accounts, but only under specific circumstances, like if you’re a student, senior or immigrant. Otherwise, most chequing accounts offered by Canada’s biggest banks come with a monthly fee, typically ranging from $4 to $30.

Here is quick summary of no-fee chequing account options from the Big 5 Banks:

CIBC no-fee chequing accounts:
  • CIBC Smart Account
  • CIBC Smart for Seniors
  • CIBC Smart for Newcomers
  • CIBC eAdvantage Savings Account
  • CIBC Smart for Students
TD no-fee chequing accounts:
  • TD Student Chequing Account
  • TD Minimum Chequing Account (for seniors 60 years or older)
  • TD Unlimited Chequing Account (for newcomers)
RBC no-fee chequing account:
  • RBC Advantage Banking for students
  • RBC Leo’s Young Savers Account
  • RBC Advantage Banking account (for newcomers)
  • RBC VIP Banking account (for newcomers)
BMO no-fee chequing accounts:
  • Performance Plan (for kids, students and newcomers)
  • Practical Plan (for seniors)
Scotiabank no-fee chequing accounts:
  • Student Banking Advantage Plan
  • Getting There Savings Program for Youth
  • Basic Bank Account (for seniors)
  • StartRight Program designed for Newcomers

Some of the free bank accounts listed here, like the RBC Leo’s Young Savers Account, act more like hybrid chequing and savings accounts. So make sure to compare options to choose an account that fits your financial needs.

If you don’t meet the eligibility requirements for one of these free bank accounts, you may still be able to score no monthly fee. Most chequing accounts that charge a standard monthly fee come with the option to get the monthly fee waived if you have a minimum amount of money in your account.

For example, the Scotiabank Preferred Package charges $16.95 per month unless you meet this condition: The monthly account fee will be waived if you have at least $4,000 in your account at all times.

These bigger banks will also sometimes offer cash bonuses (often for hundreds of dollars) when you sign up for a chequing account, which can help offset the cost of the monthly fee.

Why choose a no-fee chequing account?

Quite simply, a no-fee chequing account saves you money. You can still do all your normal day-to-day banking transactions but without pesky bank fees chipping away at your balance. That means you have more money to spend on the things you want.

Some no-fee chequing accounts even offer additional perks. For example, some free bank accounts in Canada are hybrid savings and chequing accounts, paying interest on your balance while giving you the flexibility to spend.

Others let you earn cash back or rewards points on your purchases. For example, spending with a Scotiabank debit card will let you earn Scene+ points on your purchases, and spending on a prepaid EQ Bank Card will earn you cash back.

That’s why it’s important to compare a range of options to find the best free chequing account for your needs.

Pros of free bank accounts in Canada

  • No monthly fees. Regular chequing accounts charge monthly fees that eat away at your balance. With a no-fee chequing account, you don’t have to worry about your hard-earned dollars being wasted on bank fees.
  • No minimum deposit requirement. Most free chequing accounts in Canada come with no minimum deposit or balance requirements.
  • Manage your day-to-day banking. From receiving your paycheque to paying bills and buying groceries, no-fee chequing accounts make it easy to manage your everyday banking needs.
  • Other perks. A no-fee chequing account may come with benefits like free e-Transfers, cash back on purchases and interest paid on the balance.

Cons of free bank accounts in Canada

  • Not completely free. With most free Canadian bank accounts, you’ll still have to pay for out-of-network ATM usage, overdraft usage, non-sufficient funds (NSF), foreign transactions and other services.
  • Limited features. Free chequing accounts offered by digital banks may not come with all the features you would get at a traditional bank. For example, they have smaller ATM networks and don’t offer branch access. They also can make it difficult to get a bank draft, which can be a challenge if you need to make an offer on a home.
  • No premium features. Premium chequing accounts often come with access to financial advisors, credit card rebates, discounted international money transfers and more, but at a cost. You won’t find many of these perks with a free account.

Do free chequing accounts have the same features as paid accounts?

The short answer is, yes. No-fee chequing accounts come with all of the same features needed for everyday banking as you would get with a paid account.

Features like unlimited debit transactions, unlimited Interac e-Transfers, free ATM access, Visa/Mastercard debit cards, bill payments, pre-authorized payments and physical cheques often come standard with no-fee chequing accounts.

So, what’s the catch? Why do some people still opt to pay for a chequing account?

That’s because free chequing accounts in Canada are typically offered by digital banks, which means you won’t get access to very many (or any) physical branch locations. Online banks also don’t typically offer as comprehensive a suite of banking products as you would find from bigger banks.

But if you’re comfortable with completing most of your banking tasks online or via mobile apps, and you don’t mind having your banking products split between different institutions, there’s no reason to avoid no-fee chequing accounts.

Open a free chequing account

Other chequing account fees and how to avoid them

Beyond the monthly fee on your chequing account, there are several other standard banking fees you’ll likely come across in your everyday banking, including:

Keep reading for a breakdown of how these chequing account fees work and tips to save money by avoiding them.

ATM fees

Most banks charge a fee if you use an out-of-network ATM. This is usually between $1.50 to $2.50 per transaction, in addition to fees charged by the ATM provider. If you’re travelling internationally and plan to take out cash, you could also encounter foreign ATM fees.

Cash in hand icon
How to avoid:
You can avoid chequing account ATM fees by using an in-network ATM and choosing a bank with a large ATM network. Many banks are partnered with global ATM networks to help you save when travelling (for example, Scotiabank/Tangerine’s Global ATM Alliance). Alternatively, you could choose a no-fee chequing account that doesn’t charge out-of-network ATM fees, such as the EQ Bank Personal Account.

Overdraft protection fees

If you have insufficient funds in your chequing account to cover debits and withdrawals, you could end up paying $45 or more in non-sufficient fund (NSF) fees. Forgetting about a scheduled payment can be a very costly mistake. Signing up for overdraft protection is cheaper than paying an NSF fee, but it could still cost you approximately $5 or more each month.

Also remember that overdraft fees are different than overdraft interest, which is essentially the interest you must pay for a temporary loan to cover your overdraft. Even if some accounts do not charge overdraft fees, they will charge interest on your overdraft balance of around 21%.

Foreign transaction fees

Many people don’t realize that banks typically charge around 2.5% of the transaction amount every time you make a purchase in a currency other than Canadian dollars. This is on top of adding a small fee (called a “markup”) to the exchange rate.

Even some of the best no-fee chequing accounts, like Simplii and Tangerine, still charge a foreign currency conversion fee. Notably, the EQ Bank Personal Account made our list of the best free chequing accounts, but does not charge a foreign transaction fee.

Cash in hand icon
How to avoid:
There are a couple of ways to avoid foreign transaction fees. The first is to simply avoid making foreign-dollar purchases, although this may not be possible for some people. Your second option is to get a card that comes with low or no foreign transaction fees, helping you save money when you spend overseas.

International money transfer fees

If you need to send money overseas, many banks will charge a fee, which could range anywhere from $5 to $50. However, there are some chequing accounts that don’t charge international transfer fees. So if you need to make regular international payments, it’s worth shopping around to find a fee-free account.

Cash in hand icon

How to avoid:
Open one of these accounts to get fee-free international money transfers:

Foreign exchange fees

The other cost you need to consider when sending money overseas is the exchange rate. Banks typically charge an exchange rate markup of 2% to 3% on top of the mid-market rate, so your transfer could end up costing a lot more than you realize.

Cash in hand icon
How to avoid:
A way around this problem is to use a specialist money transfer service with lower exchange rate markups and no or low transfer fees. Compare international money transfer services to find the best value.

Paper statement fees

Banks typically charge a fee of around $2 per statement if you prefer to receive paper account statements in the mail. If you need to be resent a statement in the mail, you could pay an additional fee of up to around $5 per reprint.

Cash in hand icon
How to avoid:
You won’t be charged a fee for paper statements if you opt to receive electronic statements instead. You can sign up for email statements through your banks online banking portal.

Other ways to get a free bank account in Canada

If you decide that signing up for a no-fee chequing isn’t right for you, keep in mind that there are a few other ways to get access to free accounts or no-fee banking.

Free kids and youth accounts

Kids and youth under the age of the majority can often get access to free bank account products designed for them from both the Big Banks and digital banks. These accounts sometimes come with tools designed to keep parents connected and help their children learn about money management and budgeting.

No-fee student accounts

Banks in Canada offer discounted chequing accounts for senior citizens, usually aged 60 to 65 years or older. In most cases that might means getting access to chequing accounts with lower monthly fees, but some simpler accounts will be offered for a $0 monthly fee.

Bundled financial products

Sometimes you may be able to get a free bank account if you sign up for multiple financial products together. Several chequing accounts come with the option to bundle the account with family members or other bank products (like credit cards, car loans and mortgages) to get discounted fees and/or added convenience.

Bottom line

Why pay bank fees if you don’t have to? A no-fee chequing account offers easy access to your cash just like a regular chequing account, but without the hassle of monthly fees eating away at your balance.

The best free chequing account is the one that lets you do the types of transactions you need, whether that’s regular e-Transfers, ATM withdrawals or even earning cash back on your purchases. Compare the best free chequing accounts to find one that’s right for you.

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