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Best Banks in Canada 2023

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Generally speaking, banks offer the same products…right? Well, that might seem to be the case to the naked eye, but if we all take a closer look at what most major banks have to offer Canadians, it more often than not reveals that we’re not getting that much out of our banking institution.

That’s why we’re counting down the best banks in Canada, with options including no-fee online banks to Canada’s big-league banking institutions.

Do you think that your bank will make the cut? There’s only one way to find out. Learn more about the best banks in Canada for 2021 below.

The best major banks and online banks in Canada for 2023

Canada has a fruitful variety of banking options, with the most well-known banking institutions referred to as Canada’s “Big Five.” These five are Scotiabank, CIBC, RBC, TD, and BMO.

Additionally, Canadians have access to a humble selection of online banks and neobanks to choose from, which typically tend to offer more customer-focused products.

Below, we’ll explore the best traditional banks and online banks available in Canada for 2021.

1. Best bank in Canada: Tangerine Bank

While this bank may operate entirely online, Tangerine offers products that make banking a breeze. That’s why Tangerie’s our choice for the best bank in Canada.

Tangerine holds the distinction of being Canada’s first branchless (direct) bank when founded as ING Direct back in 1997. It came into prominence as Tangerine after Scotiabank purchased ING Direct in 2012.

Tangerine combines the best aspects of online banking with the best parts of terrestrial banking. While Tangerine does not offer branches, customers can use Scotiabank ATMs to complete most of their immediate banking needs. Otherwise, customers can use online, mobile, or telephone banking to fulfill their needs.

That said, online reviews of their customer service by phone and online have been mixed and can very much lack a full-service or thorough quality for less knowledgeable clients. Of course, it helps if you’re proficient at technology and can navigate online financial services mostly independently.

Tangerine’s staple product is the Tangerine No-Fee Daily Chequing Account. It comes with unlimited transactions, unlimited free e-transfers, and unlimited bill payments. It also does not charge any monthly fees or require minimum balances.

Tangerine also offers a variety of savings accounts, both registered and non-registered.

Accounts offered by Tangerine include the Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA), the Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP), and the Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF). Rates usually sit at 1.00%* but typically offer a promotional rate of 5.00%* for new accounts.

Additional Tangerine products include Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs), business accounts, mortgages, lines of credit options, mutual funds, and loans.

Tangerine is the perfect bank for people who want to be in complete control when managing their finances while keeping all of their services under one hood.

Tangerine is available to all Canadian residents, including Quebec.

*Rates current as of April 2023

2. Best major bank in Canada: BMO

Founded in 1817, the Bank of Montreal (BMO) is Canada’s third largest bank and serves more than 12 million Canadians. It’s the only big bank on our list — and for good reason. BMO offers a variety of competitive products to meet the unique needs of its customers, including personal accounts, credit cards, and investing tools.

BMO offers 13 credit cards, and four of them rank among our Top 25 credit cards for Canadians. Our favorites include BMO’s cash back, student, and travel credit cards. Unlike other travel rewards programs that limit you to one airline or blackout periods, travellers can earn and spend their points on any airline or travel expense at any time.

We’ve also ranked the BMO Cashback World Elite Mastercard as the best option for grocery shopping, with a whopping 5% cash back offered on grocery purchases — a cash back rate we rarely see. BMO’s Student Cash Back MasterCard also ranks on our Best Student Credit Cards list as the top cash back student credit card. Again, we like how BMO offers a higher cash back rate for groceries, this time with no annual fee.

BMO also sets itself apart from the other big six banks for its savings accounts. Not only does BMO offer high promotional and regular interest rates, but none of its savings accounts charge an annual fee. BMO’s Premium Rate Savings Account doesn’t offer any special interest rate, but its other savings accounts offer up to 2.50%* of regular interest.

Here’s a breakdown of BMO’s savings accounts interest rates:

Savings Amplifier Account
Promotional interest rate: 4.00%*
Regular interest rate: 1.80%*

Savings Builder Account
Promotional interest rate: N/A
Regular interest rate: 0.50%* or 2.50%* when you increase your monthly balance by $200 or more each mont

Premium Rate Savings Account
Promotional interest rate:
Regular interest rate: 0.05%

For any families out there, BMO offers a Family Bundle for its Performance and Premium Chequing Accounts. Any family member in the same household as the primary account holder is eligible for a chequing account at no additional charge. Kids, spouses, and grandparents under the same roof are eligible for this offer. The best part? Both the Performance and Premium Chequing Accounts offer no annual fee if the primary account holder maintains a minimum balance of $4,000 and $6,000, respectively so you and your family can enjoy free everyday banking.

Finally, BMO offers a full range of investment products, including registered savings accounts, GICs, ETFs, and more. Customers can also explore investing in stocks through BMO’s InvestorLine online trading platform.

For full details on what it’s like to bank with BMO, visit our in-depth review.

*Rates current as of April 2023

3. Best bank in Canada for interest rates: EQ Bank

The “EQ” in EQ Bank stands for Equitable, as in Equitable Bank. Equitable Bank is Canada’s 9th largest independent bank, and EQ Bank is their direct-to-consumer online bank.

Founded in 1970, Equitable Bank primarily offers Canadians mortgage borrowing options, commercial lending, as well as deposit services in commercial and residential real estate.

In 2016, Equitable Bank launched EQ bank as a completely branchless, online-only personal banking.

EQ Bank makes this list primarily due to its uncompromising flexibility and unflinching interest rates.

EQ Bank’s staple product is its flagship Savings Plus Account, which holds one of the highest interest rates in Canada at 1.25%* and is currently the best high-interest savings account in Canada. That’s not a promo rate, but their everyday banking rate.

Like other direct banks, EQ Bank charges no fees, requires no minimum balance, and provides unlimited Interac e-Transfers. It also features mobile cheque deposits and direct deposit.

While EQ Bank does not offer a chequing account, debit cards, or nor is it mobile wallet enabled, the Savings Plus Account is best suited for saving.

EQ Bank recently introduced a TFSA and an RRSP savings accounts, both of which come with an interest rate of 1.25%*.

Additional EQ Bank products include GICs, which also come with the best GIC rates in Canada, as well as international money transfers, powered by TransferWise, and mortgage borrowing options.

*Rates current as of August 2021

4. Best online bank in Canada: Simplii Financial

Simplii Financial is remarkably like Tangerine, except it’s even more straightforward. It’s the perfect bank if you want all of your banking in one place but don’t want to pay any fees – ever.

Simplii is a digital bank owned and operated by CIBC. It operates entirely online, with no Simplii Financial dedicated branches. However, customers can use any CIBC ATMs at no cost or take advantage of online banking.

Forbes magazine also praised Simplii Financial in its selection of the World’s Best Banks.

Simplii Financial’s No-Fee Chequing Account comes with no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements. It also provides unlimited transactions, Interac e-Transfers, withdrawals, and deposits.

Simplii Financial offers registered savings accounts and non-registered savings accounts, all of which come with the lackluster but fairly average rate of 0.10%* across all accounts.

Finally, Simplii Financial offers various products, such as mortgages, mutual funds, GICs, loans, personal lines of credit options, and mortgages.

It also offers a Visa credit card, which is one of the best credit cards in Canada.

*Rates current as of August 2021

5. Best bank in Canada for grocery rewards: PC Money Account

There’s one main reason to open a PC Money Account: free groceries.

Okay, we’re getting ahead of ourselves. PC stands for President’s Choice, a legendary name in Canadian grocery stores. It is responsible for such household names, including Loblaws, Shoppers Drug Mart, No-Frills, Provigo, Zehrs, and many more.

The PC Money Account is a free online bank account that offers a hybrid bank account combining a chequing and savings account with a pre-paid credit card and a rewards card. This all comes with no fees, no minimum balance requirements, unlimited transactions, and unlimited e-Transfers.

PC Money Account holders can collect and redeem PC Points towards free groceries with every purchase, whether or not they make purchases at Loblaws affiliated stores.

A major drawback is their minimal ATMs, which are only available in Loblaws stores.

If you don’t shop at any Loblaws brand stores, this isn’t the bank for you.

But, if you are the type to frequent Loblaws stores, there are many sign-up promotions available to those who are proud Loblaws patrons.

Open a PC Money Account, and you’ll get 10 PC Optimum* points for every dollar you spend everywhere you shop and no fees on account transactions.

Plus, you’ll receive 10 points* for every dollar spent at Loblaws stores in-store and online and 25 points* for every dollar spent at Shoppers Drug Mart.

Meanwhile, you can get up to 50,000 PC Optimum points* (a $50* value) when you link another bank account, 10,000 PC Optimum points* set up direct payroll deposit, 25,000 PC Optimum points* when you make your first $50* transaction, and 10,000* PC Optimum points* when you make five recurring bill payments.

*Rates current as of August 2021

PC Financial Mastercard

PC Money Account

Rated 2/5 stars.

Our Review

  • Account Options Bank Account (chequing account and prepaid mastercard features)
  • Countries Served Canada
  • Branches in Canada Online only

How to choose the right bank

Choosing a bank may seem like an overwhelming process. After all, there are so many options available to Canadians.

Here’s a quick guide on how to choose a bank account, with a few pointers on what to look out for during the shopping process.

1. Fees

Monthly fees are a great indicator of what will come with an account. If it’s from a major bank, you are almost always guaranteed to pay a monthly fee and constraints on the account. However, online banks offer an alternative to high fees with limitless free accounts. Consider whether paying a monthly fee is worth the additional perks of things like in-person customer service or branches.

2. Bank features

Account features act as a significant component when choosing a bank account. Choosing the wrong one can lead to a high tab of unnecessary fees.

Be sure to look out for account features such as limits, transactions, and promotions. If the account comes with a monthly fee, see if you can maintain a minimum balance to waive monthly fees.

3. Accessibility

Accessibility is important when choosing a bank account. You’ll likely want to choose a bank account that provides online and mobile app access if you do a majority of your banking online. If you find yourself withdrawing or depositing cash often, you’ll likely want to choose a bank close to places you frequent to avoid paying fees.

Our final thoughts

Canadians are lucky enough to have a wide selection of great banks, some of which are world-renowned. When choosing a bank, make sure it’s the right fit for you before signing on the dotted line. After all, a bank should serve you, and not the other way around!

Frequently asked questions

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