The best chequing accounts in Canada for 2023

Most people expect little from their chequing accounts—but we’ve scouted out options that offer surprising features, from breaks on fees to rewards programs.

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These are current accounts offered by Ratehub partners. You can find information about additional product options and MoneySense editor’s picks further below.

Canada’s best chequing accounts

While your physical chequebook may be considered a relic of the past, a chequing account is still a necessity to carry out day-to-day banking—even in 2023. Your chequing account, or even a hybrid chequing/savings account, is designed to handle ATM transactions, bill payments, point-of-purchase sales and money transfers; some can even earn you some cool rewards. We’ve outlined some standout chequing accounts to help you find the best one for you.

Our best chequing account picks for 2023

Best no-fee chequing account:

Simplii Financial No Fee Chequing Account*

The No Fee Chequing Account offers a tiered interest rate, starting at 0.01% for those banking up to $100,000 and jumping to 0.10% for those with $100,000.01 and up in their account. (Rates may change without notice.) Account holders have access to unlimited online transactions, Interac e-Transfers and telephone banking. These perks are all available for free and without a minimum required balance. And, new account holders can earn $350 when they set up one or more eligible recurring direct deposits within 120 days of opening the account. The monthly deposits must total a minimum of $100 for three consecutive months during the offer period. This offer ends March 31, 2023. Although this is an online bank (so there are no brick-and-mortar branches), it’s associated with the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, so Simplii account holders have access to their money through CIBC’s network of more than 3,400 ATMs across Canada.

  • Monthly fee: None
  • # of cheques: Unlimited
  • # of transactions: Unlimited
  • Interac e-Transfers: Free
  • Extras: Mobile banking app for Apple and Android; pay-per-use overdraft protection
  • Service charges: None

Runner up:

Tangerine No-Fee Daily Chequing Account

Tangerine also offers a no-fee chequing account, with the added advantage of Visa Debit. That means you can use your debit card similar to a credit card (to shop online, for instance), but the money comes directly from your account. You’ll also earn interest on every dollar in your account, up to 0.1%, which is calculated daily and paid out monthly. Getting money out is never an issue, since you’ll get free access to 3,500 Scotiabank ATMs nationwide and 44,000 ATMs worldwide through Scotiabank’s Global ATM Alliance. You can also use their customizable budgeting tool to help organize your spending and stay on track financially.

  • Monthly fee: None
  • # of cheques: First chequebook free, $50 for additional chequebooks
  • # of transactions: Unlimited
  • Interac e-Transfers: Free
  • Extras: Zero-liability protection, pay-per-use overdraft protection
  • Service charges: Some, including $1.50 for other ABMs in Canada, $12.50 for stop payments (you get 1 free per year), $45 for non-sufficient funds fee

Best student bank account:

Scotiabank Student Banking Advantage Plan*

A student chequing account has unique features that cater to a low budget, with minimal (or no) fees and, hopefully, some rewards, too. The Scotiabank Student Banking Advantage Plan is an attractive no-fee account for students that sweetens the pot by earning you Scene+ points on your debit purchases: Get 1 Scene+ point per $5 spent on everyday purchases, and 1 point per $1 spent at Cineplex. While the earn rate isn’t as good as you’d get through a credit card, it’s a nice extra to have, especially on a no-fee student account. The nuts and bolts of the plan will make many students happy: no monthly fee, unlimited debit transactions and Interac e-Transfers, overdraft protection, access to a massive network of over 4,000 ATMs.

  • Monthly fee: None, as long as you’re enrolled in a post-secondary institution
  • # of transactions: Unlimited
  • Interac e-Transfers: Unlimited
  • Extras: Earn Scene+ points on debit purchases; free paperless or paper statements; Apple and Android mobile banking apps
  • Service charges: None

Best premium bank account for bundles:

Scotiabank Ultimate Package*

If you’re looking to bundle up on services to get a better deal, check out the Scotiabank Ultimate Package. Like many premium accounts, it offers perks like unlimited transactions, unlimited Interac and free cheques, but the Ultimate goes one or two steps further. Perhaps the biggest advantage of this account, and why we added this to our list of best chequing accounts in Canada, is that you can receive an annual fee waiver of up to $150 on select credit cards from Scotiabank, like the Scotiabank Gold American Express or Scotiabank Momentum Visa Infinite. The Scene+ points you earn on everyday expenses and purchases at Cineplex are good, too. Or, you might like the unlimited free global non-Scotiabank ABM withdrawals, the free safety deposit box, the 10 free equity trades at Scotia iTrade in your first year or the interest rate boost on your Momentum Plus Savings Account. You get the idea: This is a valuable bundle with perks that easily pay off the fees of $30.95 per month. And, if you don’t like that rate, simply waive it by keeping a $5,000 minimum in the account. 

  • Monthly fee: $0 or $30.95 (monthly fees waived by maintaining at least $5,000 in your account) 
  • # of transactions: Unlimited
  • Interac e-Transfers: Unlimited
  • Extras: You can earn a $350 welcome bonus with the Ultimate Package when you open an account by April 20, 2023 (conditions apply); get 10 free equity trades at Scotia iTrade in the first year and free access to a safety deposit box; earn 1 Scene+ point per $5 spent on everyday purchases and 1 point per $1 spent at Cineplex.
  • Service charges: Some, including $2.25 for paper statement

Best rewards chequing account:

PC Money Account

Joining the burgeoning no-fee online banking scene, the PC Money Account offers a solid slate of services like free, unlimited monthly transactions. However, there are no actual chequebooks with this account. Instead of writing a cheque, you’ll have to e-Transfer the money instead. The headline feature, though, is that rewards are applied to your everyday spending. When you use your PC Money Account card, a prepaid card that effectively works like a debit card, you’ll earn valuable (and easy-to-redeem) PC Optimum points. 

Use the PC Money Account bank card at Shoppers Drug Mart and get 25 points per dollar (equivalent to 2.5% in rewards). You’ll earn 10 points per dollar (1%) at Loblaw grocery stores, and 5 points per $1 everywhere else. These points can be used against grocery, drug store and gas purchases at Loblaw banner stores and partners, like Shoppers Drug Mart, No Frills and the Real Canadian Superstore. Simply redeem at checkout.

Points are redeemable starting at 10,000, which is worth $10—a threshold you’ll hit quickly with the PC Money Account. You needn’t worry about coverage, either. The PC Money card is accepted everywhere that takes Mastercard, making this a terrific alternative to a credit card for everyday spending with rewards. As for fees, there are no monthly fees, charges or limits for transactions or e-Transfers. There are some service charges, such as the $20 charge for inactivity, but that is easily remedied by using the account at least once a year. 

  • Monthly fee: $0
  • # of transactions: Unlimited
  • Interac e-Transfers: Unlimited
  • Extras: Earn 25 PC Optimum points per $1 at Shoppers Drug Mart, 10 points per $1 at Loblaw grocery stores and 5 points per $1 everywhere else
  • Service charges: Some, including $1.50 for ATM withdrawals at non-PC machines, $3.50 for cancelling e-Transfers, and $40 for insufficient funds

Best account from an online-only bank:

Motive Chequing Account

This online-only bank touts itself for its simple but effective suite of products. The Motive Chequing Account grabs accolades in this category for its free, unlimited transactions and no daily banking fees, an interest rate of 0.15%, and access to more than 3,600 ATMs on the Exchange Network—all accessible with a physical debit card with no monthly fee. Sending e-Transfers will set you back $1 each, although receiving them is free.

  • Monthly fee: None
  • # of transactions: Unlimited, except for e-Transfers
  • Interac e-Transfers: $1 each to send; free to receive 
  • Extras: 50 cheques; free withdrawals from the Exchange Network’s surcharge-free ATMs (this group of banks and credit unions allows each other’s customers to share use of ATMs at no charge)
  • Service charges: $1.50 for withdrawals from non-Exchange Network ATMs


motusbank No-Fee Chequing Account

Owned and operated by Meridian Credit Union, motusbank doesn’t have any brick-and-mortar locations, which means you need to be comfortable with doing all your banking on your electronic devices. The no-fee account includes unlimited transactions and e-Transfers, 25 free cheques, and an interest rate of 0.15%. With motusbank, you’ll get only 25 free cheques, but sending money by e-Transfer is free, so how you prefer to pay will factor into your choice (for example, some people prefer to use cheques because you’re able to stop payment if necessary and use the digital cheque images for record-keeping). For those who want to do their day-to-day banking through a credit union, the motusbank No-Fee Chequing Account is an excellent choice.

  • Monthly fee: None
  • # of cheques: First order of 25 free; cost after that starts at $40.56 + tax for 25
  • # of transactions: Unlimited
  • Interac e-Transfers: Unlimited
  • Extras: Mobile cheque deposits; Apple and Android mobile apps
  • Service charges: None for daily banking, but there are some fees, including $30 for an inactive account

When should you use a chequing account?

Most young people start out by opening up a savings account to stash away allowances and birthday money. As you get older, however, your banking needs change and you’ll require something that allows you to move money in and out of your account easily. Often savings accounts will have higher interest rates and fewer free transactions while chequing accounts accrue less interest but have more free transactions, allowing you to use your chequing account as the main hub of activity for your finances.

You may choose to have recurring payments, such as phone and utility bills, come out of your account, and have repeat deposits, such as payroll and GST rebates, set up to go into your account. When you look at your monthly cash withdrawals from ATMs, e-Transfers and cheque deposits, the transactions can really add up, hence why having a large number of free transactions (or unlimited transactions) can be advantageous. Most people have at least two accounts (a savings and a chequing account), so that they can reap the rewards of high interest as well as flexibility with the number of transactions.

How to choose the right chequing account

Given that nearly everyone needs a chequing account, regardless of their income level and financial goals, financial institutions offer a huge range of options. Different people use their accounts in different ways, so it’s important to consider what your individual needs are. If you will never write cheques, for example, then you shouldn’t pay monthly service fees on an account that includes them. We’ve broken down the various aspects you should consider before signing up for an account.


  • Banks have traditionally charged a monthly service fee for chequing accounts. Higher fee accounts generally include more features, while lower-fee accounts offer those features on a pay-per-use basis. With the advent of online-only banking services that don’t have to cover the costs of operating physical branches, some banks pass on those savings by offering no-fee chequing accounts. Many of these no-fee accounts even come with great features like unlimited transactions. If you don’t need to do your banking in person, these are worth looking into. 


  • Interac e-Transfers allow you to send money easily to anyone with an email address. Some chequing accounts provide e-Transfers for free; others allow you to receive e-Transfers for free, but charge a fee to send them.
  • Transactions generally include debit purchases, deposits, withdrawals, bill payments and transfers. You’ll want to consider whether there are charges for transactions after you’ve made a certain number per month.
  • Some banks may offer rewards debit cards that will accrue points toward programs like Scene+, Air Miles or PC Optimum.


  • Banks with more ATMs will provide easier access to cash withdrawals or ATM transactions. Note that using ATMs outside your own bank’s network usually results in additional fees.
  • Branch access may be important for people who prefer to conduct banking in person or need assistance with transactions.
  • Access to foreign currency may be important to frequent travellers or those who do business abroad. Some banks also provide foreign currency or borderless accounts, which offer favourable exchange rates.


  • Student accounts are usually no-fee accounts with no transaction limits.
  • Seniors can often qualify for discounts on existing accounts or low-fee senior accounts.
  • Small-business owners can find business accounts that cater to their needs.
  • Banks are always looking to lure new customers. Look for cash signing bonuses or giveaways such as TVs or iPads.

Types of chequing accounts 

There’s a wide range of chequing accounts, each with their own features. Here we look at some of the most common ones:

Personal chequing account

A personal chequing account is held by one person. This is likely the most common kind of chequing account. You can have any variety of personal chequing account, such as online only, hybrid, student, no-fee etc. Its features will depend on your bank and the package you choose. 

Online-only chequing account

An online-only chequing account doesn’t offer any in-person services. The major benefit is that since the providers save on overhead, they can offer their accounts with low or no fees. As technology has evolved you will likely find an online-only account can easily meet your needs. You can deposit a paper cheque through your phone app, take out cash through an ATM (for example, Simplii customers have access to CIBC’s ATM network, and Tangerine’s customers can use Scotiabank machines), sign up for direct deposit with your employer and pay bills with a few clicks of a button.  

Hybrid account

A hybrid account is an option at some newer financial institutions. It combines elements of a savings account and a chequing account. Hybrid accounts usually pay high interest compared to chequing accounts, while also allowing you to complete daily transactions. They are a great option if you are trying to simplify your life, as long as you are disciplined enough to not spend the “savings” portion of your money. Depending on the account, you may also only have limited access to ATMs and cash withdrawals.

Joint chequing account

Joint chequing accounts are held by two or more people, who each have full access to the account and its privileges. Typically held between spouses, or a parent and child, these accounts are great when you are trying to combine funds or pay household bills. You can hold both a personal and a joint chequing account. 

Student chequing account

A student chequing account is an option at some banks. Students receive a discount on account fees  as long as they are enrolled in a post-secondary institution. Some banks offer promotions like cash or gift cards to encourage students to open an account, as they know many Canadians stick with the same banks or financial institutions throughout their lives.  

Newcomer chequing account

Some banks have started offering accounts designed specifically for newcomers to Canada. These accounts often offer reduced fees for a limited time, provide services in a variety of languages, and boast some free high-value perks, such as international wire transfers. Like with student accounts, you will often receive a promotional offer for opening this kind of account. 

USD account

Many Canadians earn money in U.S. currency, live in the U.S. for part of the year, invest in American stocks or like to do cross-border shopping. Having a USD account makes all these options much easier. Many financial institutions offer USD chequing accounts where you can withdraw and deposit U.S. dollars.

No-fee chequing account

Canada used to have limited competition for banks, which meant consumers paid high prices in monthly fees—and many still do. But now there are plenty of no-fee or low-fee chequing account options, some of which give you unlimited transactions without a monthly fee; others come with certain restrictions, such as fewer monthly transactions. No-fee chequing accounts are often offered by online-only banks, so if you’re comfortable receiving service over phone or chat, you could save hundreds of dollars per year. 

How to close a chequing account 

Closing a chequing account is simple. But before you do that, it’s best practice to open a new chequing account. First, e-Transfer any funds in your old chequing account, or set up an online link between the accounts. You can also get your old bank to transfer your balance to another institution but they may charge a fee. 

Next, set up all your pre-authorized deposits and withdrawals, including government benefits, employment paycheques or mortgage payments. The last thing you want is to be dinged with an exorbitant NSF fee or miss out on wages.

Finally, contact your bank, either by phone or in-person at a local branch, and inform them that you want to close the account. It should only take a few minutes to do.

Comparing chequing, savings and hybrid accounts

A chequing account is meant for transactions, while a savings account is meant for accumulating funds. With a chequing account you can pay bills, accept deposits, withdraw cash or make purchases with your debit card. You rarely earn interest with a chequing account. 

In contrast, a savings account is meant for stashing away money to pay for short or long-term goals, such as a car, vacation or a down payment. You always earn interest in a savings account—though the interest rate can be modest, depending on the account. 

Some newer Canadian financial institutions now offer a hybrid account, which give you both the transactional features of a chequing account with the high interest of a savings account. 

Chequing SavingsHybrid
May charge a monthly feeOften freeOften free
Rarely pays interestPays interestPays interest
Multiple features available like bill payments, automated transfers, e-Transfers, deposits and withdrawals, debit card purchases, cash withdrawalsLimited features, usually just transfers to and from a chequing account, debit card purchases and cash withdrawalFeatures of a chequing account and savings account
Designed for daily transactionsDesigned to accumulate fundsDesigned for both transactions and accumulation

Frequently asked questions

Some chequing accounts do earn interest, especially at online banks and credit unions. It’s rare, however, and the interest rate is almost always lower than that of a savings account. 

Yes, you likely need a chequing account, both to earn money and pay bills. Most landlords and mortgage lenders refuse to accept cash, so you would need a chequing account to find housing. And legitimate employers and the Canada Revenue Agency will either write a cheque or do a direct deposit into your chequing account to pay wages or distribute government benefits.

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