Online banking has become increasingly prevalent in today's digital age, particularly in Canada. Its popularity is not surprising, given online banks' high level of convenience and flexibility.
They allow you to manage your money from the comfort of your home, offer attractive interest rates, and often come with lower fees than traditional banks. However, with many online banks to choose from, it can be daunting to determine which is the best fit for your specific needs.
There are many factors to consider when choosing an online bank. Understanding the unique features each bank provides is essential to ensure you get the most out of your banking experience. Some of the most crucial aspects to consider include the types of accounts offered, interest rates, ATM access, monthly fees, and the bank's customer service.
In the following sections, we'll dive deep into some of the top online banks in Canada. We'll explore what they offer, including savings and chequing accounts, high-interest rates, credit cards, access to ATMs, and more.
Whether you're a seasoned online banking veteran or someone looking to dip their toes into the digital banking world, this article aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the best online banks in Canada to help you make an informed decision. We've got a lot to cover, so let's get started.
Can I open a Canadian bank account if I'm not a resident?
Several Canadian banks allow you to open an account online from the US. However, the process and requirements can vary depending on the bank. Some banks may require you to visit a branch in person, while others may allow you to complete the online process.
Can I open a Canadian bank account from the US?
Yes, non-residents can open a bank account in Canada. However, the requirements may vary depending on the bank. You may need to provide identification and proof of address. Some banks may require a Canadian mailing address or a visit to a physical branch in person.
How to choose an online bank in Canada
Choosing the right online bank in Canada can seem daunting, but it doesn't have to be. There are several factors to consider that can guide your decision and help you find the perfect fit for your financial needs. Here are some key points to consider:
Assess your personal needs and financial habits
Each person has unique banking needs and habits. Are you looking for a simple chequing account, or are you interested in high-interest savings options? Do you require a bank that offers robust investment opportunities, or is access to free Interac e-Transfers more important? Understanding what you want from a bank is the first step in the decision-making process.
Compare features and offerings
Each online bank has its unique strengths. Some banks may offer higher interest rates, while others might excel in providing a variety of account types. Look into each bank's offerings and additional features to see if it suits your needs.
Consider reliability and customer service
An essential aspect of any online bank is the reliability of its platform and the quality of its customer service. Read reviews to gauge the experience of other customers. Customer service is particularly crucial for online banks, as face-to-face interaction is minimal.
Examine fees and interest rates
Online banks often have lower fees than traditional banks, but reviewing any potential charges, such as monthly account fees or withdrawal charges, is essential. Additionally, consider the interest rates they offer on savings accounts, lines of credit, and cashable GICs. A higher interest rate can significantly impact your savings growth over time.
Online banks should prioritize the security of their customers. Ensure that the bank you choose uses encryption to protect your data, has measures to prevent fraudulent activity, and is insured by the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC).
Accessibility and convenience
One of the significant advantages of online banks is their convenience. However, the level of convenience can vary. Consider factors like the user-friendliness of their website or app, the ease of making transactions, and how straightforward it is to reach customer service.
By considering these factors, you can find an online bank that suits your financial habits, meets your needs, and offers you the best possible banking experience. In the following sections, we'll explore some of the top online banks in Canada in detail to help guide your decision-making process.
What are the best online banks in Canada?
- Equitable Bank
- Neo Financial
- Simplii Financial
- Motive Financial
- Outlook Financial
In the realm of online-only banks in Canada, EQ Bank has consistently been recognized for its outstanding savings accounts and great GIC rates. Launched in 2016, it is the digital subsidiary of Equitable Bank, a Canadian bank with a strong foothold in residential and commercial real estate lending services.
EQ Bank's Savings Plus account stands out due to its combined chequing and savings account features.
With free Interac e-Transfers, bill payments, minimum balance, and no fees, it gives you the flexibility of a chequing account while offering an impressive 2.50% annual interest, calculated daily and paid monthly.
If your goal is to grow your savings, EQ Bank's high interest in this account can significantly boost your funds. The recently launched EQ Bank Card, a reloadable prepaid Mastercard, adds to the convenience. It allows free withdrawals from any ATM in Canada and earns 0.5% cash back on most card purchases.
EQ Bank also provides a variety of account options to meet different needs. These include:
- EQ Bank Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA)
- EQ Bank Non-Registered GICs
- EQ Bank TFSA and RSP GICs
- EQ Bank Retirement Savings Plan
- EQ Bank Joint Account
- EQ Bank US Dollar Account
Notably, EQ Bank offers cost-effective international money transfers. This feature, coupled with the option to link your savings account directly to your other bank accounts for easy transfers, makes EQ Bank an excellent choice for Canadians seeking to maximize their savings. Please note that the EQ Bank Card is currently not available in Quebec.
Neo Financial is a digital-only online bank redefining how Canadians bank. Founded by the same team that launched the popular food delivery service, SkipTheDishes, Neo Financial aims to make everyday banking hassle-free and convenient.
One of the standout features of Neo Financial is its unique hybrid of a savings and chequing account.
With no monthly fees, unlimited free transactions, and no minimum balance requirement, this account is designed to make your money work harder for you. Plus, it offers a high-interest rate of 2.25% annually on your balance, calculated daily and paid monthly so that you can grow your savings faster.
This online bank also offers a free prepaid Mastercard, the Neo Money Card, linked to your account, allowing you to make transactions online, in-person, and abroad anywhere Mastercard is accepted. The icing on the cake is the cashback rewards you can earn with this card. Eligible card purchases earn an average of 5% cash back from Neo partners, with up to 15% cash back for each first purchase made at a partner merchant.
Neo Financial offers two Mastercard options for Canadians looking for a credit card depending on their credit score. No credit check is required for the secured credit card, and the minimum security deposit is just $50, ensuring Canadians with any credit score have access to their services, except for those in Quebec.
Neo Financial is committed to leveraging technology to create a better banking experience for Canadians. With the ease of funding your account via Interac e-Transfer, direct deposit, or by linking other bank accounts, Neo Financial simplifies banking, offering a flexible and lucrative platform to manage your money.
A pioneer in online banking in Canada, Tangerine has made a name for itself by offering customer-centric banking solutions. Serving over 2 million clients across the country, Tangerine's strong reputation and broad clientele are testaments to its exceptional service.
As a subsidiary of Scotiabank, one of the most reputable Canadian banks, Tangerine ensures its financial services have a solid foundation.
One of the perks of this connection is free access to Scotiabank ATMs in Canada and Scotiabank's Global ATM Alliance.
Tangerine's most popular offering is their no-fee daily chequing account, which allows you to carry out transactions freely and gives you interest on your money. Depending on your account balance, you can earn up to 0.10% annually, a feature rarely seen in traditional chequing accounts.
Moreover, Tangerine offers a wide range of savings accounts catering to different needs:
- Savings Account (1.00% interest)
- Tax-Free Savings Account (1.00% interest)
- RSP Savings Account (1.00% interest)
- USD Savings Account (0.10% interest)
- RIF Savings Account (1.05% interest)
All of these savings accounts come with no minimum balance or monthly fee requirements, and the tax-free savings account allows you to keep all the interest earned.
Opening an account with Tangerine is straightforward and can be done online within minutes. Your free Visa Debit Card, which can be used anywhere Interac and Visa are accepted, will be shipped directly to your house, allowing easy access to your funds for transactions.
Whether you reside in Ontario or any other province, Tangerine's services are accessible to all Canadian residents, making it an excellent choice for those seeking a blend of traditional and online banking.
As a subsidiary of CIBC, one of Canada's leading banks, Simplii Financial leverages its parent company's extensive experience to offer top-notch online banking services. The bank is committed to making everyday banking simple and affordable, with no monthly or annual fees for their accounts.
The Simplii Financial No Fee Chequing Account comes packed with attractive features.
Apart from being a fee-free account, it offers unlimited transactions and e-Transfers, ensuring you can manage your money freely without worrying about extra costs. Also, as a part of CIBC, Simplii Financial customers enjoy access to CIBC ATMs without any fees.
One of the advantages of banking with Simplii Financial is their High-Interest Savings Account. While the interest rates might not be as high as other online bank accounts, Simplii Financial makes up for it with attractive sign-up bonuses, including high-interest periods and cash bonuses. Based on your balance, the annual interest rate starts at 0.40% and is calculated daily and paid out monthly.
Simplii Financial also offers RRSP or Tax-Free Savings Accounts, USD Savings Accounts, and special student banking offers, ensuring that they cater to a wide range of financial needs. Additionally, they offer personal lines of credit and cashback Visas for eligible Canadians. Unfortunately, Simplii Financial services are not available for residents of Quebec. Still, they are accessible to all other Canadian residents who are of the legal age of majority and have a Social Insurance Number.
With a robust platform, easy-to-use interface, and a wide range of financial products, Simplii Financial is a strong contender for Canadians looking for a straightforward and reliable online banking solution.
Alterna Bank, the digital subsidiary of Alterna Savings Credit Union based in Ontario, has been a trusted name in banking for over a century. They've garnered many awards, including The Best Bank for Millenials from The Globe and Mail and the Best Personal Banking award from RateHub, showcasing their commitment to excellent banking services.
Although they operate predominantly online, Alterna Bank offers high-interest savings accounts, chequing accounts, and mortgages, similar to a traditional bank.
They also provide the convenience of accessing thousands of ATMs surcharge-free in the Canadian EXCHANGE Network and the American Allpoint Network.
Their Alterna No-Fee eChequing Account has no monthly fees, unlimited transactions, and free Interac eTransfers. Additionally, it pays a 0.05% yearly interest rate on your balance, a unique benefit for a chequing account.
The Alterna High-Interest eSavings account is another highlight, offering a 2.50% interest rate with no minimum balance required, free transactions, and unlimited Interac eTransfers. The simplicity and high-interest rate make it an appealing choice for those looking to grow their savings.
Furthermore, Alterna Bank supports small businesses, offering small business e-Chequing accounts, small business lines of credit, and payment processing using Mobile Pay.
Applying for an account with Alterna Bank is straightforward, taking just about 5 minutes, and the bank's platform, accessible via their website or mobile app, makes it easy to manage your accounts.
With strong customer service, competitive interest rates, and a wide array of account options, Alterna Bank is an excellent choice for Canadians seeking a robust online banking experience.
Born out of a response to the growing demand for convenient, low-fee banking options, Motusbank was launched in 2019 as the digital arm of Ontario-based Meridian Credit Union. The online bank provides various solutions, including no-fee chequing accounts, high-interest savings accounts, mortgages, personal loans, and investment opportunities.
The Motusbank no-fee chequing account is an attractive option, requiring no minimum balance and unlimited Interac e-Transfers, debit purchases, and withdrawals.
Furthermore, the account offers an annual interest rate of 0.15% on your balance, enabling yourmoney to grow even as it sits in a chequing account.
Motusbank also offers a high-interest savings account, a Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA), and an RRSP savings account, all boasting a 2.50% interest rate. This high rate is competitive with other online banks, making these accounts attractive options for growing your savings.
The bank is part of the Canadian EXCHANGE Network and the American Allpoint Network. This means, as a Motusbank account holder, you have free access to over 43,000 ATMs, allowing easy and convenient access to your funds.
Although Motusbank services are not available to those residing in Quebec, all other Canadian residents can benefit from their customer-friendly approach to banking. If you're seeking convenient, low-fee, high-interest banking solutions, Motusbank is worth considering.
As the digital division of Canadian Western Bank and a Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation member, Motive Financial brings together the convenience of online banking with the reliability of traditional banking. They offer a variety of financial products, including chequing accounts, high-interest savings accounts, GICs, RRSPs, and tax-free savings accounts.
The Motive Cha-Ching Chequing Account stands out with no monthly fee, unlimited free transactions, and free Interac e-Transfers.
Plus, it offers a 0.25% annual interest on your account balance, giving you a bit of a return on your chequing account. This account also allows free withdrawals from any ATM in The EXCHANGE Network and two free withdrawals per month from non-EXCHANGE Network ATMs.
The Motive Savvy Savings Account is an excellent choice for those seeking a high-interest savings option. This account offers a staggering 4.10% annual interest, calculated daily and paid monthly. It has no monthly fee and provides unlimited transfers between accounts, free deposits, and two free withdrawals per month. It's important to note that every additional withdrawal comes with a $5.00 fee, and each Interac e-Transfer costs $1.00.
Motive Financial makes banking simple with an easy-to-use mobile app where you can open your account and manage your finances daily. Additionally, the app lets you track your account activity and access various financial calculators, including a retirement planner.
Currently, Motive Financial is not available to residents of Quebec. However, it remains an attractive option for Canadians in other provinces seeking a robust and competitive online banking solution.
Outlook Financial, a digital subsidiary of Assiniboine Credit Union Limited based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, may not be as widely known as other online banks. Still, its straightforward high-interest savings accounts and GICs make it a worthy contender. In fact, they have some of highest rates on their GICs.
One key feature of banking with Outlook Financial is that opening an account also grants you membership to Assiniboine Credit Union.
This comes with added benefits such as access to expert financial advice and a voice in electing their Board of Directors, giving you more control and say in the bank's operations.
With its competitive interest rates and simple banking model, Outlook Financial is an excellent option for Canadians seeking a no-frills, high-yield savings account.
Online banking has revolutionized the financial industry, providing convenient, low-fee alternatives to traditional brick-and-mortar banks. Online banks provide a compelling solution for Canadians seeking to maximize their savings, manage their money more efficiently, and access their finances anytime, anywhere.
From Tangerine's vast array of savings options and EQ Bank's high-interest savings accounts to the comprehensive banking packages offered by Manulife Bank, there's an online bank suited to virtually every financial need. Whether you're a student, a professional, a retiree, or a small business owner, the online banks highlighted in this article are just a few examples of the myriad of choices available to Canadians today.
Remember that when choosing an online bank, you must consider what matters most to you. Higher interest rates, low fees, access to ATMs, quality of customer service, and an intuitive user experience are all important factors that can significantly impact your banking experience.
In the rapidly evolving world of digital banking, staying informed about your options and making educated decisions about your finances has never been more important. You're investing in your financial future by researching and choosing the right online bank. It's time to embrace the convenience and benefits of online banking in Canada.