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How to Open a Chequing Account Online

Learn 4 simple steps to open a chequing account online and skip the branch waiting room.

A good chequing account is the bread and butter of banking and money management. And today, most banks will let you open one without having to visit a branch. But there are certain requirements to meet, as well as important considerations to keep in mind when comparing your options.

Simple steps to open a chequing account online

Step 1: Choose a Bank

To get started you’ll need to spend some time shopping around to compare banks and account options. It’s convenient to do this online, and there are tons of different chequing accounts out there to choose from.

Once you’ve made a decision, navigate through the bank’s website to open the account that you’ve chosen.

Step 2: Provide Your Information

When applying for a bank account online in Canada, you’ll need to provide two forms of official ID as well as your basic personal information. You’ll be asked for your name, address and date of birth, as well as your Social Insurance Number (SIN). Enter your information as prompted, and you should work your way through basic setup in a couple of minutes.

Step 3: Verify your ID

Perhaps the most important step when opening a bank account is to verify your ID. When opening a chequing account online, you’ll be prompted to share your passport and/or government-issued ID in order to satisfy security requirements. The exact verification process can vary, but most banks will ask you for a picture or scan of your identification documents. You might also have to provide answers to security questions, or set up two-factor authentication via email, text or mobile banking app.

If you’re opening a new account with your current banking provider, then you may have the option of skipping these steps since you’re already registered with them.

Step 4: Activate Your New Account

Once you’ve been verified and all of your information is confirmed, the final step is to activate your account. Depending on the chequing account you’ve signed up for, you may need to activate a physical debit card that will arrive via mail. Or it could be a matter of sending funds to your account in order to begin using it.

Follow your bank’s instructions after opening your account online.

What do I need to open a chequing account?

Opening a chequing account online isn’t a complex process. The initial sign up can take just 10 minutes, but there are certain documents that you need to have in order to open a bank account in Canada.

The first thing you’ll need is your ID. In fact, most banks will require you to provide two pieces of verified identification and they must be the original documents, not copies. One document should state both your name and address, while the other should show your name and date of birth.

This helps the bank to be sure that you are who you claim to be, which protects both you and the bank from the potential risks of fraud.

Here’s the list of documented ID types that you can use to open a bank account in Canada:

  • ID issued by the Government of Canada
  • ID issued by your provincial government
  • Recent notices of Canadian tax assessment from federal, provincial or municipal government
  • Recent statement of Canadian federal or provincial government benefits
  • Recent Canadian utility bill
  • Recent bank or credit card statements
  • Foreign passport

In addition to your ID, there are some basic eligibility requirements that typically must be met in order to open a Canadian bank account:

How to choose the right chequing account

Opening a new bank account is kind of a big deal. There are a lot of options out there today, which is great, but you’ll want to get it right the first time. It’s worthwhile to think about exactly how you’ll be using your chequing account, what kind of transactions you’ll be making regularly, and any other details that are important to you and your financial needs.

We can look at some of the key features of a chequing account to help narrow down your search:

  • Fees

Many traditional bank accounts come with fees, including monthly, transaction and overdraft fees. The exact cost of these various fees will differ between banks and account types. On the other hand, a lot of banks that operate exclusively online offer no or low fee chequing accounts.

Either way, you may want to take a close look at the fees associated with any account you’re considering.

  • Interest

While the conventional big banks won’t typically offer interest on a chequing account, some online banks have started to do so. Interest is usually reserved for savings accounts, but if you can find a chequing account with APY then you’ve got the best of both.

If growing your money is a priority (and why wouldn’t it be?) then looking for a chequing account with a nice annual percentage yield could be the way to go.

  • Accessibility

Online banks may have shiny offers like high-interest chequing accounts, but they can’t provide you with face to face service. If in person banking services and customer support is something you value, then you’ll want to consider that trade off. Even among brick and mortar banks, opening hours and branch services will vary.

  • Minimum balance requirements

Some chequing accounts will require you to maintain a minimum value in order to operate. And if your account dips go below that, you’ll probably incur a fee. When choosing a new chequing account, be sure to read up on any minimum balance requirements and associated fees.

  • Transaction limits

Some Canadian banks may limit the number of transactions you can make each month, or charge you a fee for exceeding a certain number of transactions. If that could be a dealbreaker for you, look out for chequing accounts with low fees, or better yet, unlimited transactions.

  • Insurance

This can be easy to overlook, but knowing that the bank you choose is insured with the Canadian Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC) is vital. In the unlikely event your bank goes under, this will insure your account for up to $100,000.

  • Extra features

If you’re big on the little details, you’ll want to consider how your potential choices measure up when it comes to additional features. Some bank accounts can offer customers early paychecks, overdraft protection coverage and online savings tools, among others.

How to manage a chequing account online

Once your new chequing account is open, you can work on getting it set up so that it’s tailored to your spending habits. Depending on your bank provider, you should be able to manage most of the details of your account online, including:

  • Direct Deposit: You’ll need to provide your employer with your new account details, including bank number, transit number and account number, in order to set up payroll deposits. This information should be available through your bank’s website.
  • PAD: If you need to use your new account for pre-authorized debits, you should be able to access the necessary account details online, as well as the authorization form.
  • Bill Payments: You can pay your bills online through most banks these days, as well as set up recurring bill payments so that you don’t have to risk being late on utilities, credit cards or subscriptions.

Compare chequings accounts

1 - 5 of 17
Name Product Finder Rating Monthly Account Fee Free Transactions e-Transfer Fee Bonus Offer Offer
BMO Performance Chequing Account
Finder Score:
3.7 / 5
$17.95 (can be waived)
Earn $600
Get up to a $600 cash bonus. Valid until October 31, 2024. Plus, earn a 5.50% promo interest rate when you open a Performance Chequing and a Savings Amplifier Account.
Simplii No Fee Chequing Account
Finder Score:
3.9 / 5
Earn $400
Earn $400 when you become a new client and set up a direct deposit of at least $100 for 3 months. Offer ends October 31, 2024.
RBC Signature No Limit Banking Account
Finder Score:
3.8 / 5
$16.95 (can be waived)
Get an iPad
Get the new iPad when you switch to RBC & open an RBC Signature No Limit Banking Account. Valid until August 13, 2024.
Scotiabank Preferred Package
Finder Score:
3.7 / 5
$16.95 (can be waived)
Earn $400
Earn a welcome bonus of up to $400. Valid until July 31, 2024. Plus, earn up to 6.05% interest for 3 months on your MomentumPLUS Savings Account.
Coast Capital Free Chequing, Free Debit, and More Account
Finder Score:
3.7 / 5
Pay no monthly fee and get unlimited transactions.

Bottom Line

Opening a chequing account online is a straightforward process, although you may need time to thoroughly compare all of the variables when choosing a specific account and bank.

With so many options among both traditional providers and online neo-banks, the good news is you’re sure to find a chequing account that meets your unique banking needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Steven Brennan is a freelance finance writer working from Vancouver, B.C. He has a BA and an MA in English Literature at the University of Ireland, Maynooth, and also spent time working in Italy and Vietnam as an English teacher. Today, he writes regularly on a range of personal finance topics including banking, loans, mortgages, insurance and tax. His work has appeared on sites such as and WealthRocket, as well as in print with Canadian MoneySaver. See full bio

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