Top 5 Free Bank Accounts Canada In 2023: Picks And Reviews

Noah Edis
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Reviewed by Randolph Vialva, MBA
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eqbank logo

EQ Bank Savings Plus Account

Best Overall

4.0 stars - votes

pc financial logo

PC Financial Money Account

Most Affordable

3.5 stars - votes

alterna bank logo

Alterna Bank No-Fee eChequing Account

Most Secure

4.0 stars - votes
Top 5 Free Bank Account Canada

Many banks in Canada charge a monthly fee for their basic bank accounts. While these fees may not be exorbitant, they can still add up – especially if you have multiple accounts with different banks.

Fortunately, Canadian residents have another option available – free bank accounts. There are several financial institutions like banks and credit unions that offer free bank accounts without a monthly fee. 

But which one tops them all? In this post, we will discuss the best no-fee bank account in Canada in 2022.

Top 5 Free Bank Accounts in Canada 2023

Here is a list of our top 5 free bank accounts in Canada in 2022. These bank accounts are widely available and offer great features with little to no fees, hence their popularity among Canadians.

What is a Free Bank Account?

A free bank account is a bank account that does not charge any monthly fee. This means you can use the account to save or spend your money without worrying about being charged.

However, it is essential to note that most free bank accounts still come with some fees – such as ATM fees, foreign transaction fees, etc. So while they may be ‘free’ in the sense that there are no monthly charges, they are not entirely fee-free.

Types of No-fee Bank Accounts

There are several types of free bank accounts available in Canada, each with its own set of benefits and drawbacks. The most common types are:

  • 1. No-fee Chequing Account: A no-fee chequing account is the most basic type of free bank account and offers few bells and whistles. However, this is ideal if you just want a simple place to deposit your paycheck and pay your bills.
  • 2. High-Interest Savings Account (HISA): These accounts offer higher interest rates than traditional chequing and savings accounts, making them ideal for growing your money. However, they typically have stricter withdrawal limits, so you need to make sure you can live with those before opening one.
  • 3. Tax-free Savings Account (TFSA): TFSAs are savings accounts that allow you to grow your money tax-free. They are an excellent option for anyone looking to save for the long term, but they have contribution limits that you need to be aware of.
eqbank logo

EQ Bank Savings Plus Account

  • Zero daily banking fees
  • 2.50% interest rate
  • Free EFTs, Interac e-Transfers, and bill payments
  • No minimum balance
pc financial logo

PC Financial Money Account

  • Unlimited transactions and Interac e-Transfers
  • Earn rewards
  • ATM withdrawals available
  • Compatible with Google Pay and Apple Pay
alterna bank logo

Alterna Bank No-Fee eChequing Account

  • ATM access
  • Overdraft protection
  • CDIC insurance
Wealthsimple save account
  • Automatic savings
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Additional perks
motive financial logo

Motive Chequing Account

  • ATM access
  • 2 free ATM access for non-supported ATMs
  • Free personalized cheques

Top 5 Free Bank Accounts in Canada  February 2023

Top 5 Free Bank Account Canada

EQ Bank Savings Plus Account

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Read EQ Bank Reviews

The EQ Bank Savings Plus Account is a high-interest savings account that offers no monthly fees, no minimum balance requirements, and unlimited free transactions. 

EQ Bank is a subsidiary of Equitable Bank, one of Canada’s leading independent banks. It is a digital financial institution – meaning there is currently no physical store available in the country.

While the EQ Bank Savings Plus Account is mainly for savings, it also provides the flexibility of chequing accounts. You can use it to pay bills, make electronic funds transfers, and do Interac e-Transfers for free.

  • Savings and chequing hybrid
  • High daily interest rate
  • No minimum balance
  • Free transfers and transactions
  • The online bank only; no physical branch
  • No debit cards
  • Website and app tend to be slow

EQ Bank Savings Plus Account is an excellent choice for those who are looking for a free bank account without a monthly fee and minimum balance requirement. It also offers a high-interest rate of up to 2.50%, which is something that many other ‘free’ bank accounts do not offer. 

Here are its best features:

  • 2.50% Interest Rate: This is one of the best interest rates available, as you can earn up to 250x more.
  • Free Interac e-Transfers: You can transfer funds between accounts for free using Interac e-Transfers.
  • Affordable International Money Transfers: EQ Bank’s international money transfers are powered by Wise, which generally offers lower fees.
  • No Monthly Fee: You don’t have to worry about being charged monthly fees, regardless of how much money is in your account.
  • Mobile Cheque Deposit: You can deposit cheques using the EQ Bank app, which is handy if you don’t live near an Equitable Bank branch.

With zero fees and the potential to earn high on savings, the EQ Bank Savings Plus Account is easily our overall best choice for a free bank account in Canada.

PC Financial Money Account

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Read PC Financial Reviews

President’s Choice Financial (PC Financial) is a Canadian financial institution owned by Loblaw Companies. It was founded in 1996 and offers a range of financial products, including savings, chequing, credit cards, and more.

The PC Financial Money Account is a no-fee chequing account with free unlimited transactions. This means you can use your debit card as much as you want without being charged any fees. You can also enjoy free Interac e-Transfers.

The unique thing about PC Financial Money Account is that it also functions as a rewards program. You can earn PC Optimum points that can be redeemed for groceries and other items at participating stores.

  • Unlimited transactions and Interac e-Transfers
  • Earn PC Optimum points
  • PC Financial ATMs available
  • Powered by Mastercard
  • No cheque or cash deposit
  • No interest
  • $1.50 withdrawal fee at non-PC Financial ATM
  • $20 Inactivity fees (after a year)

The PC Financial Money Account is one of the most affordable free bank accounts in Canada. While it cannot boast of absolutely zero fees, the fees that it does incur are relatively lower than other no fee bank accounts. 

Additionally, this account will serve you best if you are a regular shopper at Loblaws stores. It provides various opportunities to earn rewards. You can also easily withdraw at PC Financial ATMs located in these stores. 

Take note of its top features:

  • PC Optimum Points: You can earn up to 200,000 points in welcome offers alone when you open a PC Financial Money Account.
  • ATM Withdrawals: PC Financial has convenient ATMs in Loblaws stores despite being purely an online bank.
  • Google Pay and Apple Pay Compatible: Since the card is provided by Mastercard, it can be used with Google Pay, Apple Pay, and any other place where Mastercard is accepted.
  • Mastercard Zero Liability Promise: Card users will be protected against unauthorized transactions, with some qualifying requirements.

Overall, the PC Financial Money Account is an affordable and convenient choice for those who want to get something back, especially if they are regular visitors at Loblaws stores.

Alterna Bank No-Fee eChequing Account

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Read Alterna Bank Reviews

Alterna Bank is a relatively new bank, founded in 2017. But in such a short time, they have made a name for themselves as one of the best online banks in Canada. 

Their No-Fee eChequing account is no exception. This account comes with all the features you would expect from a basic bank account – including online banking, free bill payments, and direct deposit.

  • No monthly fee
  • No minimum balance
  • Wide ATM network
  • Overdraft protection
  • Low 0.05% interest rate
  • Overdraft protection monthly charge
  • App issues

Similar to our best pick of the list, Alterna Bank’s No-Fee eChequing Account offers zero fees and also provides no minimum balance limit. Additionally, it supports a wide range of ATMs in the country.

One of the features that makes the Alterna Bank No-Fee eChequing Account stand out is the overdraft protection. It’s an add-on service with a monthly charge that protects you from overspending. Not many free bank accounts offer such.

Let’s explore the rest of its features:

  • Zero Monthly Fee: This is the primary selling point of the chequing accounts, so you can save or spend your money without worrying about being charged.
  • No Minimum Balance: There is also no minimum balance requirement for the chequing account. This means you can open an account with as little or as much money as you want.
  • CDIC Insured: All deposits with Alterna Bank are insured by the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation up to the maximum amount. This means that your money is safe in the event of the bank’s failure.
  • Overdraft Protection: The account comes with an overdraft protection add-on. The bank will cover the difference if you accidentally spend more money than you have in your account. This service charges $2.50 per month.
  • ATM Access: The account comes with free access to 3,300 ATMs across Canada. 

Overall, Alterna Bank No-Fee eChequing account earns a spot in our best free bank accounts in Canada thanks to the robust security measures available.

Wealthsimple Save Account

Wealthsimple save account

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Read Wealthsimple Review

Wealthsimple is a Robo-advisor company and popular online investment platform that offers a variety of financial products, including high-interest savings accounts. The Wealthsimple Save account is – in our opinion – one of the best free bank accounts in Canada and we’ll tell you why.

The account offers the standard features other no-fee bank accounts would: zero monthly fees, unlimited transactions, and no minimum balance. It also provides a 1.5% interest rate.

  • 1.5% interest rate
  • Zero fees
  • Automatic savings
  • Additional perks
  • Digital bank only
  • 3 days transfer time

The Wealthsimple Save Account is a considerable choice to earn on your savings and is also great for users with investment assets as well. The account provides perks to help you save more and manage your investments once you exceed a specific requirement.

Take a look at its features:

  • No Fees: You can rest easy knowing there are no fees associated with the Wealthsimple Save account. This means no monthly fees and no foreign transaction fees. 
  • Automatic Savings: The Wealthsimple Save account has a feature called Wealthsimple Overflow which allows you to set up automatic transfers from another account into yours. 
  • Wealthsimple Black Perks: Users will be eligible for premium benefits if they exceed a $100,000 balance with Wealthsimple. These include lower fees (0.4%), free sessions with financial advisers, and free tax-loss harvesting services.

Some points may be shaved off of the Wealthsimple Save Account due to the inconvenient withdrawal time, but its additional perks make it an attractive option for those looking for the best free bank account in Canada.

Motive Chequing Account

motive financial logo

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Read Motive Chequing Account Reviews

Motive Financial is a Canadian bank that offers free chequing accounts without a monthly fee. This account comes with unlimited transactions, Interac e-Transfers, and access to over 3,300 ATMs across Canada. 

There are no minimum balance requirements and you can deposit money for free using Motive’s mobile app. You will also earn interest on your deposits – though the interest rate is not very high (0.25%).

  • Free personalized cheques
  • Wide ATM network
  • 2 free withdrawals from non-supported ATMs
  • $1 Interac e-Transfers
  • Low-interest rate

Last but not least, the Motive Chequing Account has highlighted features that deserve mention. With this account, you get free ATM withdrawals on The Exchange network, plus 2 free withdrawals from ATMs outside of it. Furthermore, you can also enjoy 50 personalized cheques for free. 

Here are its top features in detail:

  • ATM Access: One of the best things about the Motive Chequing Account is that you get free ATM withdrawals on The Exchange network. If you are not near any of these, you can also use up 2 free uses of ATM withdrawals outside the network.
  • Personalized Cheques: Another great feature of these chequing accounts is that you can get 50 personalized cheques for free. This can come in handy if you need to write cheques for rent, utilities, or other purposes.
  • Multiple Bank Account Support: With the Motive Chequing Account, you can link up to 5 external bank accounts. This can be useful if you want to quickly transfer money between your different accounts.

The Motive Chequing Account is perhaps the most accessible among our picks, as it supports ATMs on The Exchange network, plus it generously offers additional free access for non-network ATMs.

How to Choose a No-fee Bank Account?

When choosing from various no-fee bank accounts, there are several factors you should consider: 

  • Monthly fees: As we’ve already mentioned, most free bank accounts still come with some monthly fees. So you will need to compare the fees charged by different banks to find the one that offers the lowest fees.
  • Transaction limits: Some banks may limit the number of transactions you can make in a month. If you think you will need to make more than the limit allows, then you should look for an account that doesn’t have any transaction limits.
  • Minimum balance requirements: Some banks may require you to maintain a minimum balance in your account to avoid being charged a monthly fee. If you don’t think you will be able to meet this requirement, then you should look for an account that doesn’t have any minimum balance requirements.
  • Interest rates: If you are looking for an account to help you grow your money, you should look for one with high-interest rates. 
  • Other features and benefits: Some banks may offer additional features and benefits with their free bank accounts. For example, some banks may give you access to exclusive deals and discounts, or they may offer rewards points that can be redeemed for travel or other purchases. Some accounts are also insured by the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC) in the event of a bank failure.

What To Consider To Have A Free Bank Account?

Before getting a free bank account, there are a few things to remember. First, make sure you understand what a free bank account entails. While free bank accounts are called such, they are not absolutely free.

Second, consider what type of account is best for your needs. If you want to earn on your savings, an account with a high-interest rate would suit you best. However, if you are simply looking for an account to use for everyday transactions, then you may not need to worry about the interest rates. 

Finally, make sure you compare the features and benefits different banks offer. 

Final Thoughts

There you have it – a review of the top 5 free bank accounts in Canada. As you can see, there are a few different factors to consider when choosing a free bank account. But if you take the time to compare your options, you should be able to find an account that suits your needs and helps you save money on fees.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a free bank account?

A free bank account does not charge any monthly fees. However, many free bank accounts still come with other fees, such as ATM or foreign transaction fees.

What is the best free bank account in Canada?

Our pick for the best free bank account in Canada is the EQ Bank Savings Plus Account. Considering all its features and comparing them to the rest, this one provides the best opportunities to save and grow your money. Other top bank accounts to consider are the Motive Chequing Account, PC Financial Money Account, and the Alterna Bank No-Fee eChequing Account.

What are the benefits of a free bank account?

The main benefit of a free bank account is that you can use it without worrying about being charged for doing so. This can help you save money, especially if you have multiple bank accounts.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Noah Edis
Noah Edis, BA
Business & Binary Advisor
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Noah Edis is a writer and entrepreneur with a wealth of experience in online businesses and marketing. When he's not working on his latest project, you can find him playing competitive dodgeball or pursuing his personal interest in business process automation.

ABOUT THE REVIEWER

He is an organized and creative thinking sales management professional with experience in outside and inside sales in various markets. Working as freelancer in the Greater Boston Market, he moved to St. Louis and became an Account Executive, then a Sales Manager managing and coaching 12 sales reps covering a nationwide territory. He has developed his team with a combination of consultative selling and value before price coaching mindset which has won him a President’s Cup and many other financially rewarding awards at RICOH. His most recent role as a Continuous Improvement Manager provided insight into the importance of delivering a quality product in alignment with the value and reputation of his organization. It further enhances the aspect of selling on value as opposed to price.