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The 11 Best Free Chequing Accounts in Canada

    Not all chequing accounts are free. Some require a monthly fee that can often be waived if you maintain a certain balance in your account. We used a chequing accounts comparison tool to find the best free chequing accounts described in this article. As you will see, some chequing accounts go as far as removing completely all transaction fees.

    Chequing Account Fees

    Generally speaking, holding a chequing account will cost you a few dollars a month. Banks offer different packages, including a certain number or type of transactions for a monthly fee. ATM fees are the costs you pay when withdrawing funds from an ATM. In general, withdrawals are free if your chequing account is with the financial institution that owns the ATM. However, there are fees incurred when using other companies’ ATMs in Canada. These fees are higher if the withdrawal is made in the United States, which are sometimes the same or lower than internationally. Also, some accounts provide only a limited number of free debit card transactions per month, and once this number is exceeded, additional costs may be incurred.

    1. EQ Bank Personal Account

    EQ Bank’s Personal Account is the best of both worlds. It has all the characateristic of a chequing account, with unlimited Interac transfers, a card that behaves like a debit/credit card. It is also a good savings account with a higher interest rate (up to 3%) than other chequing accounts. There are no transaction, foreign transaction, monthly, or inactivity fees.

    Fees

    There is no monthly fee to have the Personal Account and the EQ Bank Card. There is no minimum balance requirements. EQ Bank empowers users with free ATM withdrawals across Canada and promptly reimburses surcharges or out-of-network fees imposed by ATM providers. Deposits including mobile cheque deposit, electronic funds transfers, Interac e-transfers, bill payments, opening and closing an account are all free. Only Wise will charge a fee when you make an international transfer. There are limits on the number of accounts you can hold (5) and maximums such as $100,000 per cheque deposit and $5,000 for outbound Interac e-transfer in a 24-hour period.

    Province

    The Personal account is available in all Canadian provinces. The EQ Bank Card, however, is not available in Quebec.

    2. Coast Capital Savings Federal Credit Union Free Chequing, Free Debit, and More account

    The Coast Capital Savings Federal Credit Union was founded in 1940 and is the largest credit union with 535,000 members. Its branches are located only in British Columbia. It offers chequing accounts, savings accounts, loans, mortgages, guaranteed investment certificates and registered accounts.

    Fees

    The Free Chequing, Free Debit, and More Account includes an unlimited number of transactions per month and no monthly fees. When sending an Interac e-Transfer, a $1.50 fee is added. However, there is no charge when receiving an Interac e-Transfer. There is a $2.50 fee when withdrawing from an ATM other than that of your bank. This fee is $5+2% of the amount retrieved when withdrawing from an ATM in the United States or in another country.

    Province

    Only available in British Columbia.

    3. Alterna Bank No-Fee eChequing Account

    Alterna Bank has been operating as a bank since 2017 and offers its services online, by phone or by app. It is a subsidiary of Alterna Savings, which is one of the largest funds in Ontario. Alterna Bank has a reputation for offering high interest rate savings accounts, mortgages, and it also offers a chequing account, which offers an interest rate of 0,05%.

    Fees

    The No-fee eChequing account, as its name suggests, has no fees, either for transactions or for monthly or annual fees. It includes an unlimited number of free transactions per month and free Interac e-Transfers.

    Provinces

    All provinces

    4. Tangerine No-Fee Daily Chequing Account

    Tangerine Bank exists since 1997 under the name ING DIRECT Canada and it was purchased by Scotiabank in November 2012. This online bank offers several financial services such as chequing accounts, savings accounts, credit cards, guaranteed investment certificates, investment funds and mortgages. Its No-Fee Daily Chequing Account offers between 0.25% and 1.00% of interest.

    Fees

    The free chequing account has no monthly fees and includes an unlimited number of debit transactions and free Interac e-Transfers. You also get a Visa Debit card so you won’t even need a credit card. The ATM fees are $1.50 in Canada, $2 in the United States and $3 internationally.

    Province

    All provinces

    5. President’s Choice PC Money Account

    President’s Choice Bank has been offering banking services since 1998. With the PC Money Account, you can earn points, and once you’ve earned 10,000 points you can redeem them for $10 worth of products or groceries. You earn 25 points per dollar spent at Shoppers Drug Mart stores or online, 10 points in some grocery stores, and 5 points for every dollar of purchases anywhere else. You can then redeem your points for food and beauty products at participating stores, or gas at Esso or Mobil stations.

    Does this card have limits? PC Bank has only 750 ATMs across Canada, so if you need to make a withdrawal and want to avoid fees, it’s not ideal. Also, you can’t write or deposit cheques. To use your card at merchants, they must accept Mastercard payments.

    Fees

    This account is not completely fee-free. You’ll pay $50 if you have insufficient funds to settle a transaction. In addition, a fee of $1.50 applies to all non-PC ATM withdrawals ($3.00 internationally). To request an inquiry into the status of a bill payment, you’ll pay $15.00. An Interac transfer is free, but cancelling it will cost you $3.50. There are a few other fees, including a $20 inactivity fee if you haven’t made any transactions on your account for 12 months. Overall, these types of fees are also found at other banks, so they shouldn’t deter you from choosing PC Money.

    Province

    All provinces

    6. Laurentian Bank of Canada Youth Plan

    Laurentian Bank was founded in 1846 and is one of the few banks with its head office located in Montreal. Most of its branches are located in the province of Quebec, but it does provide banking services all over Canada. It offers chequing accounts, savings accounts, credit cards and personal loans.

    Fees

    The Youth Plan is for those under 18. It has no monthly fees and offers an unlimited number of transactions. These include withdrawals, transfers and bill payments at Laurentian Bank ATMs and THE EXCHANGE network, transfers and bill payments via LBCDirect and the mobile app, Interac Debit transactions, cheques and pre-authorized payments.

    In all other Laurentian Bank chequing accounts, each Interac transaction and transfer costs at least $1, but if you have a balance of $3,000 or more in your account, many fees disappear, such as those for pre-authorized payments.

    Province

    All provinces

    7. motusbank No-Fee Chequing Account

    Mostusbank is part of the Meridian Credit Union. This bank was established in 2019 and is 100% online, which means that there are no branches. It offers guaranteed investment capital and fairly large savings accounts. It also offers a chequing account with an interest rate of 0.15%.

    Fees

    The No-Fee Chequing Account has no monthly fees, offers unlimited transactions without fees and free Interac e-Transfers. The fees for ATMs are $2 in Canada, $3 in the United States and $5 in other countries. There are also other fees, such as $45 for insufficient funds and $25 if you close your account within 90 days of opening it.

    Provinces

    All provinces

    8. Simplii No-Fee Chequing Account

    Simplii Financial is the digital banking division of CIBC. It offers chequing and savings accounts, as well as investment products, mortgages and mutual funds. The bank has almost two million clients.

    The No-Fee Chequing Account doesn’t pay much interest (0.01% for balances up to $50,000) but offers many advantages: unlimited debit purchases, bill payments and withdrawals. Overdraft protection is optinal. You also get a debit Mastercard to make purchases.

    Fees

    There are no monthly fees and you have access to over 3,400 CIBC ATMs across Canada. You will pay $45 for non sufficient funds, $1.50 for domestic ATM withdrawals outside Simplii’s network and $3 at international ATMs. Aegistered account transfer to another institution costs $50.

    Provinces

    All provinces except Quebec

    9. Steinbach Credit Union Standard Pack Chequing

    Steinbach Credit Union (SCU) is Manitoba’s largest credit union. It is also the 7th largest credit union in Canada. Created in 1941, it provides several services such as chequing accounts, savings accounts, credit cards, loans, insurance and mortgages. These services are available in Manitoba only.

    Fees

    If you’re interested in no commitment to a monthly package or fee structure, you might opt for this pay-as-you-go account. The Standard Pack Chequing offers one free debit monthly per $500 minimum monthly balance. Deposits are free, but there is a bunch a other fees. Cheques, debits, transfers, and withdrawals on personal chequing are $0.65 each. Withdrawals at SCU are $0.55 and withdrawals at Interac ATMs in Canada are $1.50.

    Province

    Manitoba

    10. Valley First Simply Free Account

    Valley First Credit Union is a division of First West Credit Union. Its headquarters are in Penticton, British Columbia. It was founded in 1947 and offers several services such as chequing accounts, savings accounts and credit cards. It also offers loans and insurance. These services are only available in British Columbia.

    Fees

    The Simply Free Account includes an unlimited number of transactions per month, free Interac e-Transfers and no monthly fees for debit card transactions, withdrawals, bill payments, pre-authorized payments and deposits. Interac ATM withdrawal is $1.25 in Canada and international ATM withdrawals are $5.

    Province

    British Columbia

    11. Meridian Credit Union Student Chequing Package

    Founded in 2005, the Meridian Credit Union is the 3rd largest credit union in Canada and the largest one in Ontario with 360,000 members. It offers chequing accounts, savings accounts, mortgages, loans and insurance. This student chequing account, as its name suggests, is only available to people aged 18 to 25.

    Fees

    The Limitless chequing account is free and offers unlimited self-serve transactions and includes 5 in-branch transactions per month. You will pay $1.25 per additional transaction. You get 99 rebated Interac e-Transfers, meaning the cost of $1.50 will be refunded to you at the end of the month.

    Provinces

    Alberta, British Columbia, Prince Edward Island, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories, Yukon.

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    Maude Gauthier is a journalist for Hardbacon. Since completing her Ph.D. in communications at University of Montreal, she has been writing about finance, insurance and credit cards for companies like Fonds FMOQ and Code F. As a responsible user of credit cards, she can spend hours reading the fine print to fully understand their benefits. Because of their simplicity, she developed a preference for cash back cards. After suffering steep increases with her former insurer, she can now proudly say that she saved hundreds of dollars by shopping around for her auto and home insurance. In her free time, she reads novels and enjoys streaming popular shows (and possibly less popular shows, like animal documentaries).