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Published October 14, 2022

Best Student Bank Accounts in Canada

Choose a student chequing account that offers no monthly fees, free transactions and other perks to make your day-to-day banking easier and more affordable.

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 No-fee Chequing Accounts | Best Chequing Account Offers and Promotions | Best Senior Bank Accounts

Student bank accounts often combine the best parts of no-fee chequing accounts — zero monthly fees and unlimited transactions — with special perks and tools designed to help students strengthen their finances.

Some banks provide additional cash offers and other bonuses for students who open a new account.

Compare our selections for the best student bank account to choose the right one for you.

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Best student chequing accounts

HSBC Student Chequing Account

HSBC Student Chequing Account
  • Bonus Offer
    Up to $150*
  • Monthly Fee
    $0
  • Number of Transactions
    Unlimited
  • Our Take
    • The HSBC Student chequing account includes unlimited account transactions, free Interac e-Transfers®, and no monthly fees.
    • HSBC is one of the largest global banks offering financial services like wealth, personal and, commercial banking in over 63 countries.
  • Product Details
    • Get up to $150* when you open an HSBC Student Account.
    • Open an account online and receive $100 cash bonus*, even before you arrive in Canada
    • No monthly fees.
    • No minimum balance required.
    • Unlimited chequing account transactions.
    • Free Interac e-Transfer®.
    • Free withdrawals from your account at HSBC Bank Canada or THE EXCHANGE® Network ATMs.
    • Free mobile cheque deposit.
    • Secure Mobile & Online banking.
    • Issued by HSBC Canada. *Terms and conditions apply. Applies for new HSBC customers only. Offer ends December 31, 2022.
    • ®Trade-mark of Interac Inc. Used under license. ®THE EXCHANGE is a registered trademark owned by Fiserv Inc. licensed for use in Canada by FICANEX Services Limited Partnership.

TD Student Chequing Account

TD Student Chequing Account
  • Bonus Offer
    $75 Amazon.ca Gift Card
  • Monthly Fee
    $0
  • Number of Transactions
    Unlimited
  • Our Take
    • Offering no fees, free daily banking and tools to help you save faster, the TD Student Chequing Account is a worthwhile option for young Canadians hoping to start the next phase of their lives on solid financial footing.
    • TD Bank, founded in 1955 is one of Canada’s Big Six banks offering bank accounts, credit cards, loans, and investment solutions. Read our review of TD Bank for more information.
  • Product Details
    • Introductory offer: Open a TD Student Chequing Account, complete three eligible transactions by December 27 and receive a $75 Amazon.ca gift card. Offer expires October 31, 2022.
    • No monthly fee until the account holder turns 23. After 23, proof of full-time enrollment in post-secondary education is required to maintain eligibility.
    • Interest rate: 0.01%.
    • Unlimited transactions per month, including online purchases and recurring payments.
    • No transfer fee to send or request money using Interac e-Transfer.
    • No minimum monthly balance required.
    • No-fee overdraft protection.
    • TD Access Card with Visa Debit allows you to shop online and in-store wherever Visa is accepted.
    • Free access to TD’s ATM network in Canada.
    • Non-TD ATM fees: $2 each in Canada, $3 each for U.S. and Mexico, $5 in any other foreign country.
    • Direct deposit for paycheques and mobile deposit for other cheques.
    • Access to TD MySpend, which helps improve spending habits, and the Simply Save program, which automatically transfers a small amount of money into an associated TD savings account when you complete a debit transaction.
    • Link your card with your Starbucks Rewards account and earn 50% more Stars at participating Starbucks stores.
    • CDIC protection for eligible deposits.

First Nations Bank of Canada Student Chequing Account

First Nations Bank of Canada Student Chequing Account
  • Bonus Offer
    N/A
  • Monthly Fee
    $0
  • Number of Transactions
    Unlimited
  • Our Take
    • The First Nations Bank of Canada Student Chequing Account is a straightforward student account with unlimited transactions and no monthly fees. ATM withdrawals are subject to fees.
    • The First Nations Bank of Canada provides a full-suite of financial services to the Indigenous marketplace in Canada. The bank is over 80% Indigenous owned and controlled.
  • Product Details
    • Available to full-time post-secondary students.
    • No monthly fees.
    • Unlimited transactions, including Interac eTransfers.
    • $2 fee for Interac ATM withdrawals.
    • $3 to $5 fee for Cirrus ATM withdrawals.
    • $1.50 to $5 fee per withdrawal from non-Desjardins ATMs.
    • Free paperless and online statements.
    • Telephone, online and mobile banking services available.
    • Deposits eligible for CDIC insurance.

Canadian Western Bank Student Account

Canadian Western Bank Student Account
  • Bonus Offer
    N/A
  • Monthly Fee
    $0
  • Number of Transactions
    Unlimited
  • Our Take
    • Full-time post-secondary students qualify for the Canadian Western Bank Student account, which offers no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements and unlimited transactions.
    • Canadian Western Bank offers business banking, investing products, registered plans, and personal banking, including loans, mortgages, credit cards, and chequing and savings accounts.
  • Product Details
    • Available to full-time post-secondary students.
    • No monthly fees.
    • Unlimited transactions, including Interac eTransfers.
    • $1.50 per withdrawal for ATMs outside Canadian Western Bank’s network.
    • Deposits eligible for insurance from CDIC.

Desjardins Student STRATEGIC Account

Desjardins Student STRATEGIC Account
  • Bonus Offer
    N/A
  • Monthly Fee
    $0
  • Number of Transactions
    Unlimited
  • Our Take
    • Eligibility for the Desjardins Student STRATEGIC Account is limited to full-time college and university students but comes with no monthly fees and unlimited transactions.
    • Desjardins Bank is wholly owned by Fédération des caisses Desjardins du Québec, and the first Desjardins Group banking institution outside Canada. It offers financial services to Desjardins members who are living or staying in Florida, or elsewhere in the United States.
  • Product Details
    • Available to full-time post-secondary students.
    • No monthly fees.
    • Earns interest.
    • Unlimited transactions, including Interac eTransfers.
    • $1.50 to $5 fee per withdrawal from non-Desjardins ATMs.
    • In-person, online and mobile banking services available.
    • Overdraft protection available.
    • Eligible for Desjardins member dividends.
    • Deposits eligible for insurance from the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF).
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Best student banking plans

Scotiabank Student Banking Advantage® Plan

Scotiabank Student Banking Advantage® Plan
  • Bonus Offer
    Up to $150
  • Monthly Fee
    $0
  • Number of Transactions
    Unlimited
  • Our Take
    • The Student Banking Advantage Plan is a no monthly fee, low-maintenance student account that offers unlimited transactions and Scene+ points for attractive rewards.
    • Founded in Halifax in 1832, Scotiabank is one of Canada’s oldest and largest banks, a more or less permanent member of the country’s Big Six financial institutions. Read our review of Scotiabank for more information.
  • Product Details
    • Earn a $75 welcome bonus and up to 7,500 Scene+ points with the Scene+ Student Banking Bundle – up to $150 in total value. Must open a new account by October 31, 2022. Conditions apply.
    • A worry-free account matched for student life.
    • No monthly fee. Must be currently enrolled full time in a post-secondary institution in Canada or the U.S. (Domestic or International students).
    • Unlimited debit and Interac e-transfer transactions.
    • Free paperless or paper statements
    • Earn points on everyday purchases with the Scene+ program: 1 Scene+ point for every $5 spent on everyday purchases, and 1 Scene+ point for every $1 spent at Cineplex.
    • Redeem Scene+ points for travel, shopping, entertainment, dining, banking, and more.
    • Manage your account through mobile and online banking or visit convenient branches and 4,000+ ABM locations.
    • Pay with Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay.
    • Shop with convenient VISA Debit and Interac Flash payment options.
    • Mobile cheque deposit.
    • Access free credit score.
    • Eligible deposits are covered by CDIC.

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.

RBC Advantage Banking for Students

RBC Advantage Banking for Students
  • Bonus Offer
    $100
  • Monthly Fee
    $0
  • Number of Transactions
    Unlimited
  • Our Take
    • The RBC Advantage Banking for Students account is a simple, inexpensive way for students aged 13 and up to manage their money — and earn RBC Rewards points on debit purchases.
    • Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) is one of Canada’s Big Six banks providing banking, investment, and lending solutions to individuals and businesses since 1869. Read our review of RBC for more information.
  • Product Details
    • Receive $100 by opening an RBC Advantage Banking for Students account by October 31, 2022 and making either an eligible purchase, an Interac e-Transfer or a mobile cheque deposit by December 30, 2022.
    • Must be at least 13 years of age, live in Canada and have one piece of government-issued photo identification to apply.
    • No monthly fee for full-time students. Proof of enrollment may be required.
    • Unlimited debit transactions in Canada.
    • Free Interac e-Transfer transactions to a maximum of 999 per month.
    • No RBC fee to use another bank’s ATM in Canada. Other banks may charge fees of their own.
    • Earn RBC Rewards points on debit purchases. Must enrol the account in the RBC Value Program.
    • Access to RBC Mobile Student Edition, an app designed to help students manage their money.
    • CDIC protection on deposits.

CIBC Smart™ for Students

CIBC Smart™ for Students
  • Bonus Offer
    $150
  • Monthly Fee
    $0
  • Number of Transactions
    Unlimited
  • Our Take
    • University, college and CEGEP students can enjoy unlimited, fee-free banking and score access to banking services and perks with CIBC Smart™ for Students.
    • Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, also known as CIBC, is a full-service multinational financial institution and one of the Big Six banks in Canada. Read our review of CIBC for more information.
  • Product Details
    • To earn up to $150 when you open your first chequing account with CIBC Smart for Students, you must satisfy the conditions outlined by CIBC.
    • You could win $35,000 for tuition. Open a new CIBC bank account, credit card or line of credit to enter. Conditions apply.
    • Unlimited everyday banking for university, college and CEGEP students graduating at age 25 and up.
    • No monthly fee.
    • No minimum daily balance is required.
    • Unlimited transactions.
    • Free Interac e-transfer transactions.
    • Get a free SPC+ membership as an eligible CIBC student client and enjoy student deals and discounts, including 30% on over 450 top brands, from fashion to tech and everything in between.
    • Keep your unlimited everyday banking benefits until 6 months after you graduate. After that, your account will continue as a regular CIBC Smart™ Account.
    • Access to nearly 4,000 ATMs across Canada.
    • One free non-CIBC ATM withdrawal per month in Canada.
    • Shop online and in-app using money directly from your CIBC Smart Account with Visa* Debit.
    • Manage your daily spending and grow your savings with help from CIBC Insights — a tool included in the CIBC Mobile Banking App that offers tailored tips based on your debit and credit card activity.
    • CIBC Smart Balance Alert gives you a heads-up when your account is short on funds. That gives you time to make a transfer and avoid a non-sufficient funds (NSF) fee and a declined payment.
    • Checkout with CIBC’s digital payment options, including Visa Debit, Click to Pay, Google Pay, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay.
    • Save up to 10 cents per litre on gas by linking your CIBC card with Journie Rewards to save on gas at participating Pioneer, Fas Gas, Ultramar and Chevron locations.
    • Bank in-person, online or in the mobile app.
    • To qualify, you must be a Canadian resident. If you're an international student, you'll qualify when you show your proof of international student status.

National Bank Chequing Account Offer for Students

National Bank Chequing Account Offer for Students
  • Bonus Offer
    $300
  • Monthly Fee
    $0
  • Number of Transactions
    Unlimited
  • Our Take
    • The offer for students includes a free account, a Platinum Mastercard credit card and a line of credit with personalized benefits based on your field of study and everyday needs.
    • National Bank of Canada or NBC, headquartered in Montreal, Quebec is one of Canada’s Big Six banks offering bank accounts, lending and investment solutions, and wealth management services. Read our review of National Bank of Canada for more information.
  • Product Details
    • Earn $300 cashback when you open your first National Bank chequing account. Conditions apply. Promotion ends October 31, 2022.
    • The National Bank’s Offer for students includes:
    • A chequing account with no fixed monthly fees and chequing privileges.
    • A Platinum Mastercard credit card, subject to credit approval by the National Bank of Canada. Certain conditions apply.
    • A personalized line of credit, subject to credit approval by National Bank. Certain conditions apply.
    • Fields of study: CEGEP, university and specialized training include healthcare, engineering, teaching, administration, law, accounting and business.
    • Manage your accounts whenever and wherever you want with the National Bank mobile app, a simple digital experience is at your fingertips.
    • Access to National Bank’s team of expert advisors, who can offer you financial solutions throughout every stage of life.
    • With the offer for students, get personalized solutions that help you save money and make your daily life easier.
    • To get the offer, make an appointment at the branch of your choice.
    • Eligible deposits are covered by CDIC.
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Methodology

NerdWallet Canada selects the best student bank accounts based on several criteria, including monthly fees, minimum balance requirements, number of included free transactions, and more. The accounts considered for this list are available to Canadians in more than one province.

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What to know about student bank accounts

By CLAY JARVIS

A student bank account allows you to take care of your daily banking needs without incurring monthly fees or having to pay for most individual transactions — and there can be a lot of those when you’re going to school.

Types of student bank accounts

Most Canadian financial institutions, and all of the Big Six banks, have bank account options tailored specifically for students. These offerings typically fall into two categories:

  • Student chequing accounts
  • Student banking plans, which may package chequing and savings accounts with other financial products, such as a credit card rebate or a student line of credit.

Savings accounts are rarely tailored specifically to students, but many high-interest savings accounts and no-fee accounts from online banks are suitable for a student’s budget and needs.

Common features of a student chequing account

  • No monthly fee and unlimited transactions.
  • Free access to large ATM networks is provided by certain banks, which can cut down on out-of-network ATM costs.
  • Special offers, like cash bonuses and rewards programs, that regular chequing account customers don’t have access to. It’s best to take advantage of these student-specific deals while you’re eligible so you can save more.

How to choose the best student bank account for you

To choose the best student chequing account, assess the account’s everyday banking features and then look at the added benefits.

Look for an account that includes enough services — and branch, ATM or online banking options — that you can conveniently access your money and not worry about paying extra fees.

When comparing benefits, choose the ones you’ll enjoy the most. It could be a cash bonus that helps you pay for a few textbooks (or a couple Friday nights out on the town) or a rewards program where you earn points that can be put toward future purchases.

Considerations when choosing a student chequing account

  • Do you meet the age, residency and educational status requirements to apply?
  • Is there overdraft protection in case you overstretch your budget?
  • What bonuses are being offered that make the account especially beneficial for you?

Nerdy tip:

One way a student chequing account can go from “no fee” to “oh no, fee!” is if you align yourself with a bank that has limited free ATM access. If your bank isn’t part of a large nationwide ATM network, you could find yourself shelling out a few extra bucks every time you access your money this way.

How to open a student chequing account

Opening a student chequing account is generally easy. Usually, banks will allow you to apply online, but some will require you to make an appointment with a representative.

When applying online, you’ll typically need to provide:

  • Your name and contact information.
  • Some form of identity verification, like a government-issued ID. If you’re unable to verify online, you might need to go to a local branch with a proof of ID.
  • Your expected graduation date.
  • Other details around your intended account uses, employment and resident status, though some of these questions will be optional.

Who’s eligible for a student account?

As the name suggests, you need to be a student to apply for a student chequing account.

The criteria for being a “student” in the eyes of Canadian banks may vary. Although, it often means you need to reside in Canada and be enrolled full-time in a post-secondary education program here to be eligible for these accounts. You’ll also be expected to show proof of enrollment, like a student card, recent transcript or acceptance letter.

Some financial institutions also offer student chequing accounts for younger customers enrolled in primary or secondary school.

Other types of bank accounts students should consider

Many of the features common to student chequing accounts can be found in other kinds of bank accounts.

Account TypeProsCons
No fee chequing accountsNo monthly fees.

Unlimited transactions are common.
Rarely offers access to branch banking.

Low to no interest.
Student credit cardsHelps build credit.

Ability to earn rewards and benefit from special perks.
Can lead to debt or a poor credit score if not used responsibly.

Fees and high-interest rates on your balance.
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.
Chequing accounts (Big 6 Bank)In-person and online service.

Ability to link other accounts, sometimes with bonus offers included.
Most accounts charge a monthly fee.

Risk of other costs, like Non-sufficient funds (NSF) or dormant account charges.
  • FAQs for student bank accounts

    • How many bank accounts should a student have?

      Two is a good number to start with. A chequing account is essential, as you’ll generally be spending money left and right while you’re at school. A savings or high-interest savings account is good for stashing leftover cash, but only if you’re able to avoid accessing it. Be aware of extra withdrawal charges or penalties for not maintaining a minimum balance on these accounts.

    • What banks offer student chequing accounts in Canada?

      Canada’s big 6 banks offer student chequing accounts, as do many credit unions and online-only banks. See our selections above for noteworthy mentions.

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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