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Published June 19, 2024
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How to Choose a Student Bank Account

When comparing student bank accounts, consider features like monthly fees, ATM fees, number of free e-transfer fees and more.

Many Canadian banks have accounts specifically designed for students to help them save on banking expenses while pursuing their education. Here’s what you need to know about student bank accounts in Canada.

What is a student bank account?

A student bank account is exactly what it sounds like: a bank account designed specifically for the needs of students. A college or university education is expensive enough without having to worry about paying bank fees, which is why many Canadian banks offer low or no-fee chequing accounts geared toward students.

Bank accounts for students work the same way as most other accounts but usually boast high or unlimited debit transactions.

However, these accounts are only for students. After graduation, your account will be upgraded to a regular paid account.

Who qualifies for a student banking account?

While the basics of a student bank account are pretty standard across Canada, qualifications vary from bank to bank. Typically, to qualify for a student bank account, you’ll need to be:

  • A Canadian resident.
  • A full-time student.
  • Registered at a recognized post-secondary education institution.

Some banks also offer student accounts for international students, and others offer specialized account options for medical, dentistry or optometry students. Most bank websites list the requirements for student accounts. You can also get in touch with a representative via phone or email to get more information about opening or switching your bank account

Different banks have different qualifying rules for high schoolers. However, youth bank accounts, such as the CIBC Youth Account may offer similar benefits to eligible account holders.

» MORE: How a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) can help pay for college

Considerations when choosing a student bank account

Most student accounts are built on the idea that student banking should be affordable and easy. However, that does not mean that all student accounts are the same. These are some of the ideal features that you should look for when choosing a student bank account:

  • Ideally, the student account should be free, with no monthly fees.
  • It should offer unlimited or a high number of monthly withdrawals, debit transactions and Interac e-transfers.
  • It should not have a minimum balance requirement.
  • The account should be safe and protected. Look for a bank associated with the CDIC for your deposit coverage.
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Pros and cons of student bank accounts

While student bank accounts have a lot of benefits, they aren’t necessarily a good fit for every student. Here are the main pros and cons to be aware of.


  • No or low fees.
  • Often unlimited transactions and e-transfers.


  • Usually must be a full-time student to qualify. Therefore, part-time students may not be eligible.
  • Many student accounts only recognize post-secondary education, not high school students, though different banks have different rules.
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    How to open a student bank account

    Opening a student bank account is essentially the same as opening any other bank account. You can go into the branch and open an account in person, or open an account online. 

    To apply for a student bank account, you’ll need two pieces of government-regulated identification (here’s the full list of approved IDs) and a proof of enrolment in a full-time educational program.

    While you don’t necessarily need to have a student account, it’s worth taking advantage of the account benefits and savings on banking fees — you probably have enough student expenses to cover.


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