When it comes to banking, Canadians have more options than ever. Why then are so many of us still paying bank fees?
Many of us choose our financial institutions based on whatever bank our parents signed us up for as children, and then we never switch.
You shouldn’t have to pay fees on your day-to-day banking
Yep, I said that. I mean it, too. It should cost you $0 to pay your bills and manage your money every day.
If you think no-fee chequing sounds too good to be true, you have no idea how many choices you actually have! Not only is it easy to find a no-fee chequing account, but you can also get one that actually pays you interest on your balance, too.
Tangerine was first to the scene to offer this years ago, but since then many competitors have entered the market. You can no sign up for no-fee chequing with additional perks from a few different banks and credit unions. Check them out below!
|Financial Institution||Interest Rate||Interac eTransfers||Debit Transactions||Minimum Balance|
|Simplii Financial No Fee Chequing Account||0.05% to 0.50%||free, unlimited||unlimited||$0|
|Tangerine No Fee Daily Chequing Account||0.15%||free, unlimited||unlimited||$0|
|EQ Bank Savings Plus Account||2.45%||free, unlimited||No debit card||$0|
|KOHO||2.00% (plus 0.50% to 1.50% cash back on all purchases)||free, unlimited||unlimited Visa transactions||$0|
Tangerine has been my primary bank for nearly a decade. Not only is this where I keep my chequing account and my primary credit card, but I also keep a small cash TFSA and small cash RRSP here.
Tangerine pays 0.15% interest on your balance in your chequing account, which is higher than most of the competitors. It goes up to 0.65% if you’re the type of person to leave $100,000 just sitting around for your day-to-day transactions.
The major downside about Tangerine compared to the others is the $1 fee for Interac eTransfers. Every other no-fee banking option provides free, unlimited Interac eTransfers so it’s unusual they charge for this. However, because Tangerine also offers savings accounts, GICs, and the Tangerine Money Back Credit Card, they are an excellent comprehensive banking option.
Simplii Financial used to be President’s Choice Financial. So while they seem to be new on the scene, they have a longer history than you might think.
Simplii offers 0.05% interest all the way up 0.50% interest depending on the balance you keep in your chequing account. With no fees, no minimums, and unlimited Interac eTransfers, they’re one of the strongest contenders on the list.
I opened my first account with EQ Bank 2 years ago, and I’m still sad I waited so long! They’re my favorite high-interest account for regular banking and short-term savings.
However, EQ Bank might not be a fit for everyone. The EQ Bank Savings Plus Account is a savings account that functions like a chequing account. While you can set up direct deposit, bill transfers, and send Unlimited Interac® eTransfers, you won’t get a debit card to use for day-to-day purchases.
I would still argue the limitations are worth the 2.30% everyday interest rate* EQ Bank Savings Plus Account offers on your money, but it will take some planning to work with. I primarily use my EQ Bank Savings Plus Account for things like rent and regular bill payments. It’s also where I store my Emergency Fund. However, for everything else, I have to use another financial tool.
Because the EQ Bank Savings Plus Account doesn’t have a debit card, I use KOHO for all my day-to-day transactions. KOHO functions like a prepaid Visa and budgeting app, but also offers you cash back on all your purchases.
I use KOHO for all my day-to-day spending, as well as to save for short-term goals. I love the flexibility of having a card that works like a Visa but never lets me spend more than I have like debit.
Motusbank is actually a digital bank owned by Meridian Credit Union. They offer no-fee, unlimited banking which includes unlimited bill payments, debit purchases, and Interac eTransfers. You’ll also earn 0.50% interest on every dollar in your account.
… But you don’t have to pick just one
I’m personally using 3 of the 5 no-fee banking options listed above. Sometimes it takes more than one financial institution to get the right blend of flexibility and utility to meet your financial goals.