CIBC vs. RBC 2021: Which Major Canadian Bank is Better?

cibc vs rbc

No matter where you find yourself between Canadian coasts, you’re bound to see a CIBC or an RBC branch.

After all, they’re two of Canada’s “Big Five” banks (the others are Scotiabank, TD, and BMO).

However, in this article, we’re focusing on CIBC and RBC by providing a comparison for two of Canada’s largest and most reputable banking institutions. But which one provides the better banking experience for the average Canadian?

We’ll compare the personal finance products that both major banks offer Canadians, focusing specifically on chequing accounts, savings accounts, and credit cards.

Table of Contents

CIBC vs. RBC: At a Glance

The Canada Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) and Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) have deep roots in the Canadian banking landscape.

CIBC operated for almost 60 years after two Canadian banks merged. Those two banks were the Canadian Bank of Commerce (founded 1867) and the Canadian Imperial Bank (founded 1873). Today, CIBC is one of Canada’s most reputable banking institutions and offers an exceptional direct-to-consumer digital bank known as Simplii Financial, which touts a no-frills, cost-free banking experience. Today, CIBC has over 10 million clients.

The Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) has operated in Canada since 1864, founded first in Nova Scotia. Since then, it’s expanded worldwide and currently services 16 million clients in Canada, the United States, the Caribbean, Europe, and Asia.

Both CIBC and RBC have quite a lot in common. As major banks, there are very few differences between them. Both banks offer the same products and usually offer the same conditions, interest rates, and fees on their accounts.

Below, we’ll take a closer look at RBC and CIBC, comparing what they have to offer Canadians in chequing accounts, savings accounts, and credit cards.

RBC and CIBC are two of the world’s largest banks, meaning they have many products to offer.

Below, we’ll take a look at their most popular and effective personal finance products.

CIBC vs. RBC: Chequing Accounts

Any bank or credit union offers chequing account options. They are, after all, staple products of personal finance and everyday banking.

CIBC and RBC are major banking corporations, which means they offer many different types of chequing account options with competitive sign-up bonuses.

CIBC: Chequing Accounts

CIBC offers major chequing accounts. Like many banks, it offers a discount, no-frills option, a medium tier with more flexibility, and a maximal chequing account option, suitable for people who have lots of banking needs. There are over a 1,000 CIBC branches across Canada.

Chequing accounts options include:

  • The EveryDay Chequing Account, a basic chequing account that offers 12 monthly transactions for the low price of $3.90 per month.
  • The CIBC Smart Account, a customizable chequing account that offers customized features. The price ranges from $4.95 a month to $14.95 a month. Account holders can waive this fee to maintain a minimum balance of $3,000 and two pre-authorized payments.
  • The CIBC Smart Plus Account offers a beefed-up chequing account, offering limitless accessibility such as unlimited Interact e-transfers, bill payments, and transactions. The account also offers unlimited international transactions at no additional cost. Other perks include rebates on CIBC credit cards. The CIBC Smart Plus account comes with a monthly fee of $29.95, waived with a minimum balance of $6,000 or $100,000 in investments.

RBC: Chequing Accounts

RBC provides a similar range of chequing account options, all of which offer something to offer Canadians from all financial standings and offers 1,000 branches across Canada.

Some of the most popular RBC chequing accounts include:

  • The RBC Day to Day Banking Account comes with 12 free debit transactions per month and costs $4.00 a month. They additionally offer overdraft protection and various rebates on account fees.
  • The RBC No-Limit Banking Account offers an unlimited transactions package for a monthly fee of $10.95. There is also no monthly fee, with multi-product rebate offerings.
  • The RBC Signature No Limit Banking Account comes at a monthly cost of $15.95 per month, with unlimited transactions and a yearly credit card rebate discounted at $39.00 per year.
  • The RBC VIP Banking Account is RBC's premium chequing account, offering unlimited features such as transactions, transfers, debit purchases, and more. This package also comes with a $120 credit card rebate per year. Additionally, customers can open two additional chequing accounts and one U.S. dollar account. It costs $29.95 per month to use.

CIBC vs. RBC: Which bank offers better chequing accounts?

Quite frankly, CIBC and RBC bring quite similar chequing account offerings to the table. That said, we'll have to say that both are near equal.

However, CIBC is likely to offer more discounted options, and that's why we're saying CIBC is the better choice for chequing accounts between the two major banking corporations.

CIBC vs. RBC: Savings Accounts

CIBC and RBC both offer registered and non-registered account options. Unfortunately, most major banks in Canada do not offer the most competitive rates on these accounts. CIBC and RBC aren't any different.

Let's take a look at the registered and non-registered accounts offered by CIBC and RBC.

CIBC: Savings Accounts

CIBC offers customers four different savings accounts: the CIBC eAdvantage Savings Account, the CIBC US Money Account, the CIBC TFSA Tax Advantage Savings Account, and the CIBC RRSP Daily Interest Savings Account.

Non-registered accounts offer an Interest rate of 0.05%, while registered accounts offer a promotional interest rate of 1.50% until March 2021.

There are no minimum fees to open any of these accounts. However, the account holder must make a minimum deposit of $25 upon opening.

RBC: Savings Accounts

RBC offers a comparable set of savings accounts, with registered and non-registered options available to Canadians with no monthly fees.

RBC offers the RBC High-Interest eSavings Account, NOMI Find and Save (which integrates budgeting software), the RBC Day to Day Savings Account, and the RBC U.S. High-Interest eSavings account.

Interest rates for all accounts start at 0.05%. There is, however, a promotional rate of 2% for all RBC savings accounts. Most of the savings accounts offered through RBC do not require a minimum deposit.

CIBC vs. RBC: Which bank offers better savings accounts?

Both banks offer savings accounts that are nearly identical. However, RBC offers much more flexibility when compared. There is no minimum deposit to open most registered or non-registered accounts with RBC.

CIBC still offers an excellent roster of savings accounts. Their interest rates are the same as RBC’s. That said, if you anticipate opening an account with $25 or more, CIBC is still just as suitable.

CIBC vs. RBC: Credit Cards

CIBC and RBC both offer their fair share of credit cards, some of which find themselves among the best credit cards in Canada. Still, both banks are very similar in their offerings.

CIBC Credit Cards

CIBC offers an abundance of credit card options. Their feature credit card offerings include:

  • The CIBC Classic Visa Card is a no-frills credit card with no annual fee, 19.99% interest on purchases, and 22.99% on cash advances. It additionally offers accident insurance and purchase security insurance. The credit card requires an annual income of $12,000.
  • The CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite Card is a travel rewards credit card offering various sign-up bonuses. It comes with an interest rate of 19.99% for purchases and 22.99% for cash advances. This card provides a myriad of exceptional benefits on everyday purchases and requires a minimum income of $60,000.
  • The CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card offers a competitive interest rate of 19.99% on purchases and 22.99% on cash advances. It requires a minimum income of $60,000. Rewards for this credit card offer travelers perks, making it exceptional for those who want to earn more for their next vacation while purchasing daily goods.
  • The CIBC Visa Infinite Dividend Card comes with an interest rate of 19.99% on purchases and 22.99% on cash advances. The card offers cashback of up to 4% on daily purchases, including gas, groceries, transportation, and bill payments, as well as a standard cash back rate on all other purchases.

CIBC also offers credit cards for business owners and students, making their itinerary of credit cards suitable for all spenders.

RBC Credit Cards

Like CIBC, RBC also offers a wide selection of credit card options. The most popular ones include:

  • The RBC Avion Visa Infinite comes with an annual fee of $120. The interest rate offered starts at 19.99% and goes as high as 22.99% for cash advances. There is a bonus offer of 15,000 points.
  • As you may have guessed, the WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard is a travel rewards card that comes with an annual fee of $119 annual fee, a purchase interest rate of 19.99%, and a cash advance interest rate of 22.99%. In partnership with WestJet, this card allows frequent flyers to redeem points with WestJet.
  • The RBC Rewards+ Visa allows RBC customers to seek a customizable credit card to choose their reward categories. This credit card comes with no annual fee and a purchase interest rate of 19.99%. Additionally, the interest rate of 22.99% for cash backs is in line with other card options.
  • The RBC Cash Back Preferred World Elite Mastercard comes with an annual fee of $120. The interest purchase rate for this card is 19.99% and 22.99% for cash advances. Its rewards program caters to flights and more.

CIBC vs. RBC: Which bank offers better credit cards?

It probably goes without saying that there are many credit cards out there. With so many options, Canadians have their own specific needs, spending habits, and priorities, which is why credit cards from CIBC and RBC are tied.

Our Final Thoughts

If you’re torn between CIBC or RBC, the reality of the comparison is that both major banks are quite similar in their offerings and functionality.

Both banks charge higher fees and offer low interest on savings accounts. The consumer is paying for the overhead that comes with a major bank, such as branches and luxurious customer service options.

Whether you end up doing business with RBC or CIBC, you should probably choose the bank closer to places you frequent, such as your home, place of employment, or school.

If you find yourself rarely visiting branches and enjoy doing your banking online, perhaps you could benefit most from an online bank account. These accounts are usually free and offer some exceptional benefits to Canadian citizens.

Frequently Asked Questions

Both CIBC and RBC offer a banking package for newcomers.

CIBC offers the CIBC Welcome to Canada Banking Package, while RBC offers the RBC Newcomer Advantage. Both accounts offer no monthly fees for a year.

The CIBC Welcome to Canada package offers free transactions and one year free on a safety deposit box.

The RBC Newcomer package offers unlimited transactions and two free international transfers per month for six months.

Absolutely. Both CIBC and RBC are Schedule 1 banks in Canada, and protected by the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CIDC). Insurance is included with each account at no cost.

While only you can answer this question, the truth is that CIBC and RBC charge for their services to cover the overhead costs of branches. If you never find yourself using a branch, you’ll likely find more value in using an often free online bank account.

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