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Published September 30, 2022

Best No-fee Chequing Accounts in Canada

Canada’s best no-fee chequing accounts are free chequing accounts that can help you save money, earn rewards and manage your day-to-day expenses.

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

ALSO CONSIDER: Best chequing accounts | Best Chequing Account Offers and Promotions | Best Student Bank Accounts | Best Senior Bank Accounts

No-fee chequing accounts, sometimes known as free chequing accounts, are bank accounts designed for day-to-day spending. There’s no monthly account fee to pay, and customers typically aren’t required to maintain a minimum balance.

While these accounts don’t usually pay much in interest, the best no-fee chequing accounts earn their value by allowing you to spend and move your money freely.

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The best no-fee chequing accounts

Alterna Bank No Fee eChequing Account

Alterna Bank No Fee eChequing Account
  • Bonus Offer
    N/A
  • Monthly Fee
    $0
  • Number of Transactions
    Unlimited
  • Our Take
    • The Alterna Bank No Fee eChequing Account has no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements. Plus, transactions are free and unlimited, including Interac e-Transfers.
    • Alterna refers to Alterna Savings and Credit Union Limited (“Alterna Savings”) and its wholly owned subsidiary CSAlterna Bank (“Alterna Bank”). Together, Alterna Savings and Alterna Bank form the Alterna Financial Group.
  • Product Details
    • No monthly fee or minimum balance requirements.
    • Unlimited transactions.
    • Free, unlimited day-to-day transactions.
    • Free, unlimited Interac e-Transfers®.
    • Cash deposits earn 0.05% interest.
    • Access to over 3,300 ATMs across Canada in THE EXCHANGE® Network - Canada's largest ATM network, surcharge-free.
    • In the United States, access to 40,000 surcharge-free ATM’s through the Allpoint Network.
    • Online and mobile banking services available.
    • Add overdraft protection for $2.50 monthly.
    • Deposits eligible for insurance from CDIC.

Coast Capital Savings Free Chequing, Free Debit, and More Account®

Coast Capital Savings Free Chequing, Free Debit, and More Account®
  • Bonus Offer
    N/A
  • Monthly Fee
    $0
  • Number of Transactions
    Unlimited
  • Our Take
    • As the name of the account suggests, this everyday banking account offers loads of free unlimited banking services without charging a monthly fee or needing a minimum balance in return.
    • Coast Capital is a Federal Credit Union providing personal and business banking, mortgage, auto finance and wealth management services to its members. Coast Capital has been certified as a B Corp® since 2018 for its commitment to social and environmental performance practices.
  • Product Details
    • No monthly fee or minimum balance requirement.
    • Unlimited day-to-day transactions.
    • Free withdrawals and deposits at 4000+ ding free® ATMs across Canada, plus free Coast Capital Savings or THE EXCHANGE® Network ATM withdrawals and deposits .
    • Free in-branch, online or phone bill payments.
    • Overdraft Protection on approved credit available.
    • Free eStatements.
    • Free POS payments (in Canada).
    • Free pre-authorized payments and deposits.
    • Free withdrawals, transfers or deposits.
    • Free cheque clearing.
    • Free online images of cleared cheques.
    • Sending an e-Transfer $1.50 each; receiving e-transfers is free.
    • Deposit On-the-go helps you deposit multiple cheques straight into your account in real-time by simply snapping a photo of the front and back.
    • Complete transfers, bill payments, cheque deposits or almost any transaction on your smartphone with Coast Mobile® Banking app.
    • Access Coast Capital’s award-winning digital banking anytime and anywhere.
    • Best-in-class digital money tools and remote resources are available 24/7 to help you achieve your financial goals.
    • The Money Manager tool gives you a snapshot of your budget, spending and all other bank accounts in one place.
    • Coast Capital calculators help you find how long it will take to pay off your loan and crunch numbers for your TFSA or RRSP.
    • Eligible deposits (including interest) equivalent to $100,000 CAD per deposit category are insured by CDIC.

KOHO Spending and Savings Account

KOHO Spending and Savings Account
  • Bonus Offer
    N/A
  • Monthly Fee
    $0
  • Number of Transactions
    Unlimited
  • Our Take
    Why we like it

    • This hybrid chequing-savings account earns 1.20% interest on savings and 0.5% cash back on purchases.
    • KOHO is a virtual bank that also offers cash back prepaid VISA cards
  • Product Details
    • 1.20% interest rate.
    • No monthly fee.
    • The account comes with the KOHO prepaid Visa card that earns 0.5% instant cash back on spending — plus the ability to earn more with brand partners.
    • The mobile app comes with spending pattern analysis, budgeting, automated savings and a RoundUp! feature that helps you save money on every purchase.
    • Free and unlimited transactions, including e-Transfers.
    • No transaction or service fees.
    • No minimum balance.
    • Immediate access to your money through free Visa Plus ATM withdrawals, e-transfers, and more.
    • Eligible for CDIC deposit insurance.

LBC Digital Chequing Account

LBC Digital Chequing Account
  • Bonus Offer
    N/A
  • Monthly Fee
    $0
  • Number of Transactions
    Unlimited
  • Our Take
    • The LBC Digital Chequing Account is a no-frills account with unlimited transactions and no monthly fees. Its ATM network comprises over 3,500 surcharge-free ATMs and spans every province and territory in Canada.
    • LBC Digital is the personal digital banking arm of Laurentian Bank of Canada and offers a HISA, a chequing account and GICs.
  • Product Details
    • No monthly fees.
    • Unlimited transactions, including Interac e-Transfers®.
    • Access over 3,500 fee-free ATMs across Canada.
    • $1.50 per withdrawal for ATMs outside LBC’s network.
    • Online and mobile banking services available.
    • Deposits eligible for insurance from CDIC.

Motive® Cha-Ching Chequing Account™

Motive® Cha-Ching Chequing Account™
  • Bonus Offer
    N/A
  • Monthly Fee
    $0
  • Number of Transactions
    Unlimited
  • Our Take
    • With unlimited free transactions, no monthly fee and free access to one of Canada’s largest ATM networks, the Motive Cha-Ching Chequing account is a low-cost way to manage your money.
    • Motive Financial is an online division of Canadian Western Bank and offers chequing and savings accounts, registered plans and GICs.
  • Product Details
    • Earn interest at a 0.25% rate.
    • No monthly fee.
    • Unlimited monthly withdrawals, including online bill payments, ATM withdrawals, Interac Direct Purchase payments, Interac e-Transfers®, electronic funds transfers to other financial institutions, automatic payments and other electronic debits.
    • First 50 personalized cheques free.
    • Free use of ATMs on THE EXCHANGE Network.
    • Two free uses of non-EXCHANGE Network ATMs, $1.50 per transaction after that.
    • Deposits protected by Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation.

Motusbank Chequing Account

Motusbank Chequing Account
  • Bonus Offer
    N/A
  • Monthly Fee
    $0
  • Number of Transactions
    Unlimited
  • Our Take
    • Motusbank isn’t the only financial institution offering a chequing account with no monthly fee and unlimited debit payments, but it ups the ante with a stylish vertical debit card, the ability to deposit cheques by taking a picture and a few other useful perks.
    • motusbank is an online division of Meridian Credit Union and offers chequing and savings accounts, mortgages, registered plans, GICs, investing, and a home equity line of credit loan.
  • Product Details
    • Earn interest at a 0.15% rate.
    • $0 monthly fee.
    • No minimum balance required.
    • Free, unlimited Interac e-Transfers®.
    • Unlimited debit purchases, bill payments and withdrawals, including transfers between accounts, Interac Direct Payment purchases, pre-authorized debit, ATM withdrawals and cheques.
    • No-fee access to THE EXCHANGE Network of ATMs in Canada and the Allpoint Network in the U.S.
    • Deposit Anywhere: deposit a cheque by taking a photo.
    • First order of 25 cheques is free.
    • Free, unlimited use of Motusbank’s Price Drop feature, which hunts for cheaper prices when online shopping.
    • Foreign debit transaction surcharge: $2.50.
    • Paper statement fee per month: $2.
    • ATM international transaction fee: $5.
    • ATM US transaction fee (non-Allpoint Network): $3.
    • Deposits protected by Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation, up to a maximum of $100,000.

Simplii Financial™ No Fee Chequing Account with Student Banking Offer

Simplii Financial™ No Fee Chequing Account with Student Banking Offer
  • Bonus Offer
    Up to $700
  • Monthly Fee
    $0
  • Number of Transactions
    Unlimited
  • Our Take
    • The Simplii Financial™ No Fee Chequing Account for students comes with attractive perks and offers, unlimited debit transactions, free access to a large ATM network and more.
    • Simplii Financial™ is an online bank owned by CIBC that offers savings and chequing accounts, credit cards, mortgages, loans, lines of credit, registered plans, GICs, and mutual fund accounts. Read our review of Simplii Financial for more information.
  • Product Details
    • Get up to $700 and a chance to win one of 100 prizes, one Apple Store gift card or a Simplii Financial Visa digital gift card when you apply for and activate your Student Banking Offer before January 31, 2023 and you’ll automatically enroll in this contest.
    • Earn $350 when you become a new client, open a No Fee Chequing Account, and set up direct deposit.
    • Earn $100 when you apply for the Simplii Financial™ Cash Back Visa* Card.
    • Earn $200 with the Simplii Financial™ Cash Back Visa* Card: Spend $50, earn $50 on transactions for 4 months, up to $200.
    • Earn $50 when you refer a friend and they successfully sign up.
    • No monthly fees and no minimum balance even after you graduate.
    • Free access to Canada’s largest ATM network through CIBC.
    • Free daily banking: unlimited debit purchases, bill payments, withdrawals and Interac e-Transfer®.
    • If you are an International student Simplii’s International student GIC Program is designed to help you get a study permit quicker and meet visa requirements.
    • Deposits are eligible for CDIC insurance.

Tangerine No-Fee Daily Chequing Account

Tangerine No-Fee Daily Chequing Account
  • Bonus Offer
    Up to $400
  • Monthly Fee
    $0
  • Number of Transactions
    Unlimited
  • Our Take
    • Tangerine’s No-Fee Daily Chequing Account offers free access to 44,000 ABMs worldwide, overdraft protection, financial monitoring tools and a secure way to shop both online and in person.
    • Tangerine is a subsidiary of Scotiabank and offers chequing and savings accounts, GICS, registered accounts, credit cards, mortgages, loans and investment products. Read our review of Tangerine for more information.
  • Product Details
    • Special offer: Open your first chequing and savings accounts using the promo code EARNMORE by November 30, 2022 and earn up to $400 cash back in the first 60 days (chequing) and a 4.25% interest rate for five months on eligible savings accounts.
    • No monthly fee.
    • Interest rate: up to 0.1%.
    • Free online daily banking, including debit purchases, bill payments, pre-authorized payments, Interac e-Transfers and ABM transactions that use Scotiabank’s ABM network.
    • ABM withdrawals with other banks in Canada: $1.50.
    • ABM withdrawals on other networks worldwide: $3.00.
    • Free first cheque book (50 cheques). $50 for each additional cheque book.
    • Tangerine Client Card with Visa Debit can be used anywhere Visa is accepted, and can be added to Apply Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay.
    • Card is covered by Interac and Visa Debit Zero Liability protection, so you won’t have to pay for unauthorized purchases.
    • Access to tools and alerts that help monitor spending activity.
    • CDIC protection for all eligible deposits.

The PC Money™ Account

The PC Money™ Account
  • Bonus Offer
    Up to 200,000 Points
  • Monthly Fee
    $0
  • Number of Transactions
    Unlimited
  • Our Take
    • The PC Money Account from President’s Choice Financial is not just another no-fee chequing account. It’s a rewards program, too. Every time you spend money using your PC Money Account card, you’ll earn PC Optimum points that can be put toward future purchases.
    • President’s Choice Financial is part of Loblaw Companies Limited with millions of account holders across Canada that save bank fees and earn rewards through the PC Optimum points system.
  • Product Details
    • Earn up to 200,000 bonus PC Optimum points: 20,000 points when you first fund the account with $150 or more in the first 120 days; up to 130,000 points on your first $1,300 worth of purchases at participating stores; up to 50,000 points when you refer two friends.
    • Earn 10 PC Optimum points (five regular, five bonus) for every dollar spent.
    • Earn up to 25 PC Optimum points per dollar spent at Shoppers Drug Mart.
    • Earn up to 5,000 points per month when making bill payments with your account.
    • No monthly fee.
    • No minimum balance required.
    • Free unlimited everyday transactions online and in-store, including electronic fund transfers, withdrawals at PC Financial bank machines, self-serve bill payments and purchases in Canadian dollars.
    • Free Interac e-Transfer® services.
    • The PC Money Account card, provided by Mastercard, is compatible with Apple Pay and Google Pay digital wallets and can be used anywhere Mastercard is accepted.
    • PC Financial provides Mastercard Zero Liability Promise for unauthorized purchases.
    • Free access to PC Financial ATMs.
    • CDIC protection on eligible deposits worth up to $100,000.

Wealthsimple Spend

Wealthsimple Spend
  • Bonus Offer
    N/A
  • Monthly Fee
    $0
  • Number of Transactions
    Unlimited
  • Our Take
    • The Wealthsimple Spend account provides a no-fee way to handle your everyday spending needs while earning earning 1% back in cash, stock or cryptocurrency when you pay with your Wealthsimple card.
    • Wealthsimple is a Canadian online investment management service that offers stocks, ETFs, crypto and managed investing, spending and saving accounts, tax services and a peer-to-peer money transfer Cash App.
  • Product Details
    • No monthly fees.
    • No foreign exchange fees.
    • No ATM fees
    • No minimum balance required.
    • Manage your rewards, spending, and send and receive money from friends using the mobile Wealthsimple Cash App.
    • Use your Wealthsimple Spend account to pay bills, make e-transfers and directly deposit your paycheque.
    • The Wealthsimple Spend card can be used anywhere Visa is accepted, in store or online.
    • Digital and physical Wealthsimple Cash Visa debit card provided.
    • Card can be added to Apple Pay and Google Pay digital wallets and used at ATMs Canada-wide. Standard ATM fees will apply.
    • Get 1% back in cash, stock or crypto whenever you spend using your account.
    • Earn 1.5% interest with the Wealthsimple Save account.
    • CDIC protection for eligible deposits.
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Methodology

NerdWallet Canada selects the best chequing accounts based on several criteria like monthly fees, minimum balance requirements, included services, savings on transaction fees and more. The accounts considered for this list are available to Canadians in more than one province.

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Why should you choose a no-fee chequing account?

By CLAY JARVIS

Opting for a no-fee chequing account is one of the least expensive ways to manage your money through a bank. You’ll pay no monthly fee, and in many cases, you’ll be able to make unlimited withdrawals, purchases, transfers and bill payments without incurring any other charges.

You won’t earn much interest, but you can always open a savings account — or a high-interest tax-free savings account — if you’re looking for a way to boost your savings.

Benefits of a no-fee chequing account

  • There’s no monthly fee and unlimited eligible transactions.
  • Typically comes with a debit card that you can use wherever major credit card brands are accepted or add to a digital wallet.
  • Some no-fee chequing accounts also offer online tools for budget management and tracking your savings goals.

Who should consider a no-fee chequing account?

A no-fee chequing account can be helpful for Canadians wanting a simple, free way to manage their day-to-day banking. There’s no need to worry about overusing one of these free or no-fee bank accounts or maintaining a minimum balance.

How to open a no-fee chequing account

Some financial institutions require you to be a Canadian resident and be the age of majority in the province you live in before you can apply for a no-fee chequing account, but some only need you to be 16 years old. Some banks will ask for your Social Insurance Number, but that step will be optional with others.

If you meet those criteria, opening a no-fee chequing account is generally fairly straightforward. Many financial institutions allow for quick online applications that don’t require more than your name, address, contact details and, in some cases, employment status.

» MORE: How to switch to a new bank or credit union in Canada

How to find the best no-fee chequing account for you

No-fee chequing accounts can sometimes appear very similar, so finding the right one often means looking at the details to discover where the extra charges might be hiding.

For example, you might have two debit cards that seem identical on the surface, but one might provide free access to a major bank’s ATM network, while the other doesn’t. Depending on your debit usage, location or spending habits, a difference like that can completely change the value of a no-fee chequing account.

Considerations for a no-fee chequing account

  • What types of customer service options will be available? If you choose a no-fee chequing account offered by an online-only bank, you won’t be able to access a physical branch.
  • Will there be free access to a convenient, nationwide ATM network, or will ATM transactions cost you money each time?
  • Are there any rewards offered, like points or cash back?

Nerdy tip:

A no-fee chequing account is designed to save you money on banking fees, but certain transactions might trigger additional charges. Make sure that whatever account you choose aligns with your spending habits and doesn’t impose any limits that you can’t realistically follow.

Alternative bank accounts to consider

If a no-fee chequing account isn’t for you, plenty of other options are available. Here are a few alternative bank accounts to consider:

TypeProsCons
Student chequing accountsUsually no fees.

Some accounts offer bonuses, especially for students.
Education and/or age restrictions apply.

Some online-only accounts may offer limited ATM access.
Prepaid cardsSpend freely until your limit is reached.

No interest fees or credit checks to worry about.
Limited features.

May charge extra transaction fees.
Hybrid bank accountsCan be used as a savings and chequing account.

Competitive interest rates.
Limited availability in Canada, and typically only offered by online banks.

Frequent ATM use could result in many added charges.
High interest savings accounts (HISAs)Earn a high rate of interest to help your money grow.

Usually no fees.
Some HISAs require you to keep a minimum account balance.

The highest rates are typically only found at online banks.

  • FAQs

    • How can I avoid bank fees in Canada?

      To avoid the most bank fees, sign up for a no-fee chequing account that provides free access to a major bank’s ATM network. If you can, avoid transactions that trigger additional costs, like overdrafts or purchases in foreign currencies, and any banking that puts you in the non-sufficient fund territory.

    • Which banks offer free chequing accounts in Canada?

      Most online-only banks offer many free chequing accounts. Although, you can find no-fee options available for students and youth, or ways to save on monthly fees by maintaining a minimum balance in your account or investments.

About the Author

Clay Jarvis

Clay Jarvis is NerdWallet’s mortgage and real estate expert in Canada. Thus far, his entire professional writing career has revolved around real estate. Prior to joining NerdWallet, he was the editor and senior writer for four publications, including the leading website for the country’s mortgage industry, Mortgage Broker News. Clay has written 30,000-word examinations of Canada’s real estate investment market, interviewed the industry’s most powerful leaders and analysts, and has helped choose both the nation’s top realtors and mortgage brokers. He is based in Toronto, Ontario.

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