Best Banks in Canada

Looking for the best banks in Canada? Whether you’re after a personal account for day-to-day transactions, the best credit cards, or mutual funds, there are many financial institutions to choose from in Canada. That’s why finding your best fit can seem like quite a mission.

To help you choose, we have compiled a detailed list of the best banks in Canada, including things you need to consider and look out for when choosing your next bank.

10 Best Banks in Canada

Here are the top 10 banks in Canada that you can open an account with today:

1. CIBC: Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce

  • Chequing accounts: Starting from $16.95 per month
  • Savings accounts: Starting from $0 per month

The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, commonly known as CIBC for short, is one of the Big Five Banks in Canada. Founded in Toronto in 1961, it resulted from the largest bank merger in Canada. CIBC operates four business units, with personal and business banking being one of them.

CIBC offers two chequing accounts to choose from and a chequing account for youths under 25 years of age. The CIBC Smart account is the most basic of the two. It has a monthly fee of $16.95, which is waived when maintaining a daily balance of $4,000. You can also opt for the CIBC Smart Plus account, which has a higher fee and more features. Both accounts offer a welcome bonus that can see you get up to $400 and three months free.

CIBC also offers several savings accounts, including a TFSA account, an RRSP account, and a US Dollar account. The regular savings account has an interest rate of 1.00% and a bonus interest when saving at least $200 per month. If this is your first time opening this account, you will also get a special interest rate of 4.25% for the first three months.

At CIBC, you will also find a wide range of banking products and services, including credit cards, mortgages, loans, investments, and many others.

2. Scotiabank

  • Chequing accounts: Starting from $11.95 per month
  • Savings accounts: Starting from $0 per month

Scotiabank, also known as the Bank of Nova Scotia, is the third-largest bank in Canada and has been operating since 1832. Founded in Halifax, Nova Scotia, it moved its headquarters to Toronto in 1900 and has branches in all provinces and territories, with the only exception being Nunavut.

Scotiabank offers three chequing accounts. The most basic account is called Basic Plus Bank Account and has a monthly fee of $11.95. To waive the fee, you’ll need to maintain a closing balance of $3,000 for the whole month. You can upgrade to the Preferred Package or Ultimate Package – both of which have higher monthly fees and requirements.

For your money, you’ll get additional perks, a welcome bonus of up to $400, and, for a limited time, higher interest rates on your savings account if you have one.

Scotiabank has five different savings accounts, including USD and Euro-denominated accounts. The Momentum Savings Account is an account designed for saving money for the long term with a regular interest rate of 1.35%.

If you don’t withdraw any funds, you will also get a Premium Interest Rate, which goes higher the longer you make any transactions.

Advice+ is a Scotiabank service that’s very well worth mentioning. You can access it through the bank’s mobile app, offering advice and insights for smarter money management. The bank also offers other financial products and services, including credit cards, lines of credit, mortgages, loans, investments such as GICs, and many others.

3. RBC: Royal Bank of Canada

  • Chequing accounts: Starting from $4.00 per month
  • Savings accounts: Starting from $0 per month

The Royal Bank of Canada, known as RBC, is the largest in Canada by total assets. While its headquarters are in Toronto, its head office is in Montreal. In Canada alone, the bank has over 1,200 branches. Its personal and business arm is known as RBC Royal Bank.

RBC offers four different chequing accounts. The RBC Day-to-Day Banking account covers the essentials and costs $4.00 a month – but you can avoid the fee through the Value Program Rebate.

You’ll find the RBC VIP Banking account at the other end of the chequing account spectrum. This account comes with all the bells and whistles RBC offers and costs $30 before rebates.

The Royal Bank of Canada also offers several savings accounts. The RBC High-Interest eSavings account comes with an introductory offer that earns you an interest rate of 3% for the first three months. Once the introductory period is over, you’ll earn a flat rate of 0.800%. The account has no minimum balance requirement and no monthly fees either. The remaining accounts earn lower interest rates.

Nomi Find & Save is great for automatic savings with a flat interest rate of 0.30%. On the other hand, the RBC Day-to-Day Savings account offers a tiered interest rate between 0.005% and 0.010%, depending on your balance. If you prefer to save money in US Dollars, RBC has a specialized account.

Being the largest bank in Canada, RBC offers pretty much all banking services and products you might need, including credit cards, mortgages, loans, and investment options.

4. BMO: Bank of Montreal

  • Chequing accounts: Starting from $4.00 per month
  • Savings accounts: Starting from $0 per month

Bank of Montreal, BMO for short, is one of the Big Five Canadian banks, occupying the fourth position. As the name suggests, it was founded in Montreal in 1817 but has since moved its headquarters to Toronto, Ontario.

BMO offers five different chequing accounts. As the name implies, Practical is an account with no frills and low fees. It costs $4.00 per month and includes 12 transactions per month. Their most popular account is called Performance. It has a monthly fee of $16.95, which is waived when maintaining a balance of at least $4,000. You can also earn an opening cash bonus of $350 and a family bundle bonus of $50 when opening this account.

When it comes to chequing accounts, the selection is equally varied. The Premium Rate Savings Account offers a budget-friendly and flexible option with an interest rate of 0.010%. Meanwhile, the Savings Amplifier Account offers the most benefits. It has no monthly fee, minimum balance requirements, and an interest rate of 1.00%. If none of these accounts include what you’re looking for, remember there are a few more options to choose from – including an account that gives you a bonus interest rate when saving $200 or more per month and a US Dollar-denominated account.

Aside from the various accounts, BMO also offers mortgages, loans, lines of credit, credit cards, insurance, investments, and financial planning services.

5. TD Bank: Toronto-Dominion Bank

  • Chequing accounts: Starting from $3.95 per month
  • Savings accounts: Starting from $0 per month

Toronto-Dominion Bank, operating as TD Bank, was founded in 1955 from a merger between the Bank of Toronto and The Dominion Bank. TD Bank also tried to merge with the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), but the attempt wasn’t successful. TB Bank received its SIFI (Systemically Important Financial Institution) in 2019.

TD Bank offers five chequing accounts, with monthly fees ranging from $3.95 to $29.95. There is also a student account with no monthly fee. TD Minimum Chequing Account is a basic chequing account with a monthly non-waivable fee of $3.95.

It includes 12 free transactions per month and a few other basic features. The top two chequing accounts currently have a welcome bonus offer to see you get a $300 gift card. These accounts have more features and higher fees, waived when meeting the minimum balance requirements.

There are three savings accounts to choose from – all of which have no monthly fee. The main difference between these accounts is how you earn interest which largely depends on how much money you have saved in the account.

TD Bank also offers the full spectrum of financial products and services you can expect from a bank, including credit cards, loans, investments, disability and life insurance, and many others.

6. National Bank of Canada

  • Chequing accounts: Starting from $3.95 per month
  • Savings accounts: Starting from $0 per month

The National Bank of Canada, known as NBC for short, is the 6th largest bank in Canada. It operates branches in most provinces, giving it a wide reach. They are currently building a new head office in Montreal – and you can see live progress updates on the bank’s website.

NBC offers four different chequing packages with monthly fees starting from $3.95. The cheapest account is a no-frills account with 12 transactions per month and free statements by mail. The fee cannot be waived. One step up is The Modest package, which offers 30 digital transactions per month at a fee of $10.95 per month. This fee cannot be waived either.

Alternatively, you can opt for The Connected or The Total – both of which come with monthly fees you can avoid when maintaining a certain balance. You can receive $300 in cashback for a limited time.

National Bank of Canada offers one savings account called HISA: High-Interest Savings Account. This account has no monthly fees and an interest rate of 0.80% with no minimum balance requirement. Applications for this account can be submitted online, with the entire process taking 5 minutes or less.

NBC offers numerous products and services, including credit cards, loans, mortgages, insurance, savings, and investment plans.

7. Tangerine

  • Chequing accounts: Starting from $0 per month
  • Savings accounts: Starting from $0 per month

Tangerine is unlike traditional banks. It is a subsidiary virtual bank of Scotiabank. As a virtual bank, it does not operate any branches – everything is done online through its mobile app or internet banking. The lack of branches means the bank has fewer overheads to deal with, which translates to lower fees and higher interest rates.

Tangerine has one chequing account available – which is typical of virtual banks. The account has no monthly fee and can earn you as much as 0.10% interest.

At the moment, Tangerine is also running a welcome promo to see you earn an interest rate of 4.00% for the first five months and up to $400 in cashback. Apart from this, you also get access to free Interac e-transfers, mobile cheque deposits, zero liability protection, customizable alerts, and much more.

Tangerine also has one savings account and many specialized savings accounts, including a TFSA (Tax-Free Saving Account), an RSP savings account, and others. The standard savings account has no monthly fee and no minimum balance requirements. It earns an interest rate of 1.00% across the board, and Tangerine promises no unfair fees.

The bank also offers other financial services and products, including a couple of credit cards, mortgages, lines of credit, and a few others.

8. EQ Bank: Equitable Bank

  • Chequing & Savings account: Starting from $0 per month

Equitable Bank set up EQ Bank to serve customers looking for a digital bank. With a focus on simplicity and convenience, EQ Bank has no branches and promises to deliver more value than traditional banks.

EQ Bank doesn’t differentiate between savings and chequing accounts; both accounts roll into one – Savings Plus Account. They also offer a joint account, a TFSA account, and a US Dollar-denominated account.

The Savings Plus Account has no monthly fees and no minimum balance requirements. The account includes free EFTs (Electronic Fund Transfers), Interac e-Transfers, bill payments, and EQ to EQ transfers. One of the biggest benefits of this account is that you’ll earn the same interest rate on your balance (which will be higher since it’s all sitting in one account). The interest rate is 1.65%, substantially higher than other financial institutions offer.

EQ Bank offers a mortgage marketplace and investment options, including GICs, RSPs, and TFSA.

9. Simplii Financial

  • Chequing accounts: Starting from $0 per month
  • Savings accounts: Starting from $0 per month

Simplii Financial is a division of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC). It is a digital-only bank with no brick-and-mortar branches. Since opening in 2017, the bank has amassed 2 million clients.

Simplii Financial has one chequing account called No Fee Chequing Account. As the name suggests, there are no monthly fees and minimum balance requirements.

Furthermore, you get unlimited purchases, withdrawals, and bill payments. The account also earns interest with rates varying between 0.01% and 0.10% – depending on your balance.

Simplii Financial also offers a High-Interest Savings Account. The interest rate is 0.40% on all balances; however, new customers get a limited-time bonus rate of 3.85%. There are no monthly fees and no minimum balance requirements either. You can also earn a $50 bonus whenever a friend signs up for this or any other eligible account.

In addition to the chequing and savings accounts, Simplii Financial offers a Cash Back Visa credit card, mortgages, loans, and investments.

10. HSBC Bank Canada

  • Chequing accounts: Starting from $4 per month
  • Savings accounts: Starting from $0 per month

HSBC is the largest bank in Europe and one of the biggest banks in the world. The Canadian subsidiary is the 7th largest bank in Canada, where it has offices in all provinces, with Prince Edward Island being the only exception.

HSBC Bank Canada has four chequing accounts to choose from and a separate student chequing account. The Performance Chequing-Limited account has a monthly admin fee of $4.00, which cannot be waived. You get 14 free monthly transactions, with anything over and above costing $1.00.

On the other hand, the Performance Chequing-Unlimited account has no transaction limits; however, the monthly fee is $14.95. One step up is the HSBC Advance account which has a monthly fee of $25, which is waived when meeting eligibility criteria. This account has way more perks, including access to different credit cards.

HSBC Canada also offers many savings accounts with several specialized accounts. The High Rate Savings Account has no minimum balance requirements or monthly fees, making it an attractive option. The interest rate ranges between 0.50% and 1.00% depending on your balance.

HSBC also offers a range of Mastercard credit cards, insurance, loans, mortgages, and many other products and services.

What to Look for When Choosing a Bank in Canada

Canada has some of the best banks in North America. Many Canadian banks are even on the list of the most stable banks in the world – great news for anyone looking to open a bank account in Canada!

The rise of virtual and neo banks means more to choose from than ever. While not all banks are the same, what makes a bank good or great for one person might be different for someone else. There is no secret formula you can use either – it all begins with understanding what you want from a bank and then finding the best institution to deliver that.

This section will cover some things you should keep in mind when looking for a new bank.

Account Selection

Not all banks offer the same accounts. While you’ll find an everyday banking account with a free debit card in most banks and credit unions, if you’re after more specialized accounts like RRSP, TFSA, or a high-interest savings account, you’ll need to dig a little deeper.

Perks

Different accounts come with different perks. Some can be useful, while others might be nothing more than a gimmick to try and attract customers. Be sure to look at perks from the lens of the bigger picture – it has to be useful to you, not something you don’t need.

Banking Fees

While you can avoid most banking fees, this is not always the case. Banks may have several fees — from an annual fee to keep your account open to out-of-network ATM fees, which can easily rack up.

If there are minimum requirements to have fees waived, consider how likely you are to meet them. If this is not the case, you might consider choosing a lower-tier account and giving up on some perks (see the previous point). Check other fees for services you might use, such as international money transfers.

Insurance

Canadian bank accounts are insured through the CDIC (Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation). Always confirm this is the case to ensure you can sleep more soundly at night, knowing that your money is safe.

Interest

Interest can help you grow your money. While it’s common with savings accounts, some chequing accounts also offer this feature. Opting for an account with high-interest rates gives you a better chance to grow your money. Use an interest calculator to determine how much money you’ll earn based on your average balance, and check for tiered interest rates.

ATMs

If you withdraw cash often, a wide ATM network can help you withdraw money without paying fees. Some banks also offer rebates – something to keep in mind should the bank not have a very large network.

Banking Options

Online banking and mobile apps can save you pointless branch visits, which often take time. Features such as bill payments and mobile cheque deposits can be very useful. Make sure you check what the app offers and doesn’t offer to save time and money down the line.

Withdrawals

Accounts designated as lower-tier often come with withdrawal limits, usually per month or billing cycle. Fees apply if you go over the limit. While these accounts may seem more cost-effective, they could cost you more if you constantly exceed the limit.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the number 1 bank in Canada?

The number one bank can mean different things to different people. RBC is the biggest bank in Canada by total assets, while TD Bank is the biggest bank by the number of customers. Review our list of the best banks in Canada to see which bank offers everything you need as a customer.

What is the safest bank in Canada?

The list above includes the safest banks in Canada. All major banks in Canada are considered very safe, including CIBC, Scotiabank, RBC, and BMO.

Are Canadian banks safe?

The Canadian banking system is considered one of the safest in the world. Furthermore, deposits are insured by the CDIC (Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation) up to $100,000 in the case of a bank failure. Insurance is automatic, and there are no fees involved.