Best chequing accounts in Canada 2019

Although writing cheques might be increasingly anachronistic, our day-to-day banking is still carried out through a chequing (or chequing/savings) account. These products are designed to handle everyday tasks like ATM transactions, paying bills, point-of-purchase sales and transferring money. At first blush it might seem like there’s not much to distinguish one chequing account from another, but we surveyed the Canadian banking landscape to find a few standouts.

Our picks for the best chequing accounts are:

  • Best no-fee: Simplii Chequing Account
  • Best sign-up bonus: Scotia One Account*
  • Best rewards:Scotia Basic Banking Account*
  • Best high-interest: Manulife Advantage Chequing/Savings Account
  • Best online-only account: mostusbank Chequing Account

If you’d like more information about the features offered by each of these accounts— from great interest rates, to no fees, to the ability to earn rewards—check out the able below, or jump ahead to the detailed profiles below.

Summary of Best Chequing Accounts in Canada in 2019

as of August 8, 2019

Simplii Chequing Account No fees, with no minimum balance $0
Scotia One Account Earn Scene or Scotia Rewards points on debit card transactions; unlimited free transactions and 2 free Interac e-transfers per month $13.95 (waived if balance is $4,000 or more for entire month)
Scotia Basic Banking Account 12 free transactions and 2 free Interac e-transfers per month $3.95
Manulife Advantage Chequing/Savings Account Unlimited free transactions with minimum $1,000 balance $0
motusbank Chequing Account Unlimited free transactions and Interac e-transfers $0


Best no-fee

Simplii Chequing Account

With the recent surge of no-fee banking options in Canada it’s difficult to choose the best, but Simplii takes the top spot based on their generous sign-up bonus of up to $200, tiered interest rate of 0.05% to 0.50%, and unlimited free paper cheques. Account holders have unlimited free online transactions, Interac e-Transfers, and access to telephone banking—all for free and without any minimum balance. 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: $0
  • Promotion: Earn up to $200 by opening a chequing account prior to October 31, 2019, and then completing payroll or pension deposit actions, as well as setting up two automatic bill payments within 90 days
  • # 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


Best sign-up bonus

Scotia One Account*

Many banks are offering all sorts of incentives to attract new customers, but there’s nothing quite like cold, hard cash. Scotiabank’s sign-up bonus of up to $300 garners it the top spot in this category. Sweetening the pot, account holders can choose to earn Scene points for entertainment rewards or Scotia Rewards for travel and merchandise, making this a loyalty program account as well. The Scotia One Account is not cheap (though those carrying a balance of $4,000 or more get their monthly fee waived), but for those wanting the familiarity and security of a big bank—including brick-and-mortar branches—this could be a winner. (Note that some features of the account will be changing October 1, 2019, including a monthly fee hike to $15.95.)

  • Monthly fee: $13.95 or $0 when account holder maintains a balance of $4,000 for the entire month
  • Promotion: $300 when new account holders complete two of the following three actions: set up an eligible recurring direct deposit for a minimum of 3 consecutive months; set up at least 2 eligible separate recurring pre-authorized transactions that are $50 or more recurring for a minimum of 3 consecutive months; or, make a $50 bill payment through online or mobile banking
  • # of cheques: Unlimited
  • # of transactions: Unlimited
  • Interac e-Transfers: Two free per month; $1.00 each afterwards
  • Extras: Earn Scene rewards for entertainment purchases or Scotia Rewards for travel and merchandise, mobile banking app for Apple and Android
  • Service charges: Many, including $2.25 for a paper statement and $1.50 for Interac withdrawals


Best rewards

Scotia Basic Banking Account*

This account pairs up the advantages of a big bank with the allure of a flexible rewards plan. Like the Scotia One Account above, the Scotia Basic Banking Account allows account holders to collect points on debit card transactions in the Scene or Scotia Rewards programs, and gives new users a big bump with a 5,000-point welcome bonus. The monthly fee is a reasonable $3.95 per month (waived for seniors over 60 years old), but the number of free transactions is limited, so this account is best for those who do minimal banking.

  • Monthly fee: $3.95
  • Promotion: 5,000 point welcome bonus
  • # of cheques: 25
  • # of transactions: 12 per month, of which 4 can be at a teller; additional transactions are $1.25
  • Interac e-Transfers: 2 free per month
  • Extras: Free paperless and paper statements, earn Scene rewards for entertainment purchases or Scotia Rewards for travel and merchandise, mobile banking app for Apple and Android
  • Service charges: Many, including $1.50 for Interac withdrawals


Best high-interest

Manulife Advantage Chequing/Savings Account

Chequing accounts normally pay little or no interest at all, which is why this account from the well-established insurance company Manulife is a standout. The regular rate of 1.25% is higher than most, and account holders also get unlimited everyday transactions when they maintain a minimum balance of $1,000. Although some service fees apply, there is no monthly fee for this account.

  • Monthly fee: $0
  • # of transactions: Unlimited, provided account holder maintains a $1,000 balance
  • Interac e-Transfers: $1.00 unless account holder maintains $1,000 balance
  • Extras: Canadian bank-to-bank transfers are always free, online and mobile banking
  • Service charges: Without $1,000 balance, $1.00 for Interac e-transfers, $1.00 debit purchase and others


Best for people who bank exclusively online

motusbank Chequing Account

This online-only bank, owned and operated by Meridian Credit Union, has been garnering attention for its simple but effective suite of products. The motusbank Chequing Account grabs accolades in this category for its free, unlimited transactions and no daily banking fees, higher-than-average interest rate of 0.50%, and access to more than 3,700 ATMs on the EXCHANGE Network—all with no monthly fee. For those who want to do their day-to-day banking through a credit union, the motusbank Chequing Account is an excellent choice. 

  • Monthly fee: $0
  • Promotion: None
  • # of cheques: First order of 25 free; cost after that starts at $34.80 + tax for 25
  • # of transactions: Unlimited
  • Interac e-Transfers: Unlimited
  • Extras: Mobile cheque deposits, mobile app for Apple and Android
  • Service charges: None


Compare Canada’s Best Chequing Accounts*


What does the * mean?

If a link has an asterisk (*) at the end of it, that means it’s an affiliate link and can sometimes result in a payment to MoneySense which helps our website stay free to our users. It’s important to note that our editorial content will never be impacted by these links. We try our best to look at all available products in the market and where a product ranks in our article or whether or not it’s included in the first place is never driven by compensation. For more details read our MoneySense Monetization policy.


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