Best Bank in Canada For Students

7 Best Banks in Canada For Students 2021

A typical Canadian student has to walk a fine line between studying and managing their finances throughout their school years. And it becomes even more necessary to manage the latter where funds aren’t readily available.

To that end, it becomes pertinent to find out the best student bank accounts and why their services are the best for you. Before checking them out, here are a few things to look out for before you register for a student bank account:

Bank Account Fees

Even the best bank in Canada understand that students generally do not have surplus cash, so they tailor their services for students with little or no fees. Student bank accounts fall under this category, and you should not encounter any problems finding a bank that will meet almost all your needs without charging you a cent.

Access to ATM

If you care less about having access to a physical bank close to you, you’ll still need to ensure you’re close to the ATM. Most malls accept debit cards, but you’ll still need to have some spare cash in your pocket just in case.

Student Credit Cards

A student credit card is a useful way to build credit history while still in college, allowing you to have a great credit score in the future. Make sure you put that in mind while shopping for a bank.

Best Banks in Canada for Students

Disclaimer: Rates and product offerings are always changing, so this article might not reflect the current market situation. Please contact your financial advisor before making any financial decisions.

1. Scotiabank Student Banking Advantage Plan

Money is nearly scarce resources for most students, so finding a bank account with all the bells and whistles and no fees is a priority.

Scotiabank’s Student Banking Advantage Plan provides unlimited transfers and debit transactions courtesy of Interac. It also enhances their purchasing power, providing students with to pick SCENE or Scotia Rewards points.

For students who enjoy entertainment, movies, and food, SCENE Rewards give more excellent value, and you can earn as high as 12500 extra points if you sign up for the SCENE Student Banking Bundle.

Students looking to get Scotia Rewards points they can redeem for merchandise and gifts or travel are also in luck. They can earn reward points on their daily purchase and redeem such points in any category they want.

Features

  • Monthly fees: C$0
  • Transactions: Unlimited
  • E-Transfers: Unlimited
  • ATM choices: Plus, Cirrus, Union, Pay, Pulse
  • Special features: allows students to earn points on their daily purchases, which can be redeemed towards the Scotia Stewards or Scene program.
  • Sign-up bonus: 5,000 Scotia Rewards or SCENE points after registering.
  • Grace Period upon Graduation: Students must show proof of enrollment each academic year, or your account will be converted after graduation.

2. RBC Student Banking Account

The RBC Student Banking Account is another full-featured account that is of benefit to students who already bank with RBC. Students will be happy to find a welcome bonus worth 5,000 RBC Rewards points and a C$.0.03 discount per liter when they tank up at Petro-Canada.

And if you combine that with a WestJet RBC Mastercard or Signature RBC Rewards Visa, expect to get a C$39 reimbursement – the value of the annual fee.

While there aren’t any unlimited transactions, it offers 25 free transactions monthly and on top. Unlimited e-transfers via Interac, which is more than enough to cater to a student’s spending.

Features

  • Monthly fees: C$0
  • Transactions: 25 debits free and C$1.25 per transaction
  • E-transfers: Unlimited
  • ATM options: Interac, Plus
  • Special features: fuel discounts of C$0.03 per litre and 20% additional Petro-points at Petro-Canada. C$39 cashback on the yearly fee of a credit card. 
  • Sign-up bonus: up to 5000 Reward points as a welcome bonus
  • Grace period upon graduation: expires at graduation year as filled by the student during sign-up.

3. CIBC Smart Account for Students

The CIBC Smart Account for Students features unlimited Interac e-transfers and transactions for no monthly fee while the student is still in school and an additional six months after graduation.

Signing up for this account qualifies the student for the SPC rewards program, which provides discounts on top brands like Apple, Foot Locker, and American Eagle.

To further sweeten the pot, CIBC offers a C$60 cashback when you buy three products using your VISA debit card. Account-holders can also qualify to win C$35000 towards tuition fees.

  • Monthly Fees: C$0
  • Transactions: Unlimited
  • E-transfers Unlimited
  • ATM options: Cirrus, Plus, Interac
  • Special features: receive deals and discounts with SPC.
  • Sign-up bonus: receive C$60 after making three debit purchases with VISA within two months of sign-up, and a chance to win C$35000 in tuition fees.
  • Grace period upon graduation: six months

4. TD Student Chequing Account

As one of Canada’s largest banks, it is not a surprise that TD has an account for students. The TD Student Chequing Account has zero monthly fees, no minimum monthly balance, plus 25 free POS transactions each month. 

Features

  • Monthly Fees: C$0
  • Transactions: not unlimited 
  • E-transfers: Unlimited
  • ATM options: Interac
  • Special features: 25 free POS transactions monthly
  • Sign-up bonus: nil
  • Grace period upon graduation: accounts expires after graduation.

Best Online Banks for Students in Canada

Recently, online banks have been clawing some of the market share previously enjoyed by physical banks.

While there is a certain level of comfort required to bank online, online banks regularly offer better options and rates with lower charges and often no fees.

Indeed, the idea of a “student account” resides with traditional banks, but do not rule out online banks as well.

5. Simplii No Chequing Fee Account

Though not designed as a student account, the Simplii No Chequing Fee Account is convenient for Canadian students on a slim budget.

The Simplii No Chequing Fee Account has no monthly fees, free unlimited transactions, and free international transfers, which makes it our best bank in Canada for international students.

New customers who also have a High-Interest Savings Account and transfer a minimum of C$50 for three consecutive months will get an extra C$50. An additional C$150 is up for grabs for account holders who set up direct payroll deposits and receive at least C$100 each month for three consecutive months.

Features

  •  Monthly fees: C$0
  • Transactions: Unlimited
  • E-transfers: Unlimited
  • ATM options: Plus, Cirrus, Interac
  • Special features: free international transfers
  • Sign-up bonus: up to C$200 for new account holders

6. EQ Bank Savings Plus Account

This account’s standout feature is its interest rate of 2.00%, which is heads and shoulders above what traditional banks are offering. This is one feature to capitalize on for those with lump-sum deposits (like student loan disbursements).

Besides, EQ Bank Savings Plus also provides affordable international transfers through its collaboration with TransferWise.

However, EQ bank does not offer ATM access or debit cards, so this account is only suitable for holding your savings. On the bright side, you can link this account with an account at another bank to make free unlimited transfers between both.

Features

  • Monthly fees: C$0
  • Transactions: Unlimited
  • E-transfers: Unlimited
  • ATM options: nil
  • Special features: cheap international transfers
  • Sign-up bonus: nil

7. Motusbank No Fee Chequing Account

Motus No Fee Chequing Account is attractive to Canadian students because of its unlimited free transfers, transfers via Interac, and the interest rate of 0.25% per dollar for students with scant funds. You can digitally deposit your cheques and 25 paper cheques for free.

Features

  • Monthly fees: C$0
  • Transactions: Unlimited
  • E-transfers: Unlimited 
  • ATM options: Interac, Cirrus, Accel
  • Special features: 0.25% interest and 25 free paper cheques
  • Sign-up bonus: nil

How to Choose the Best Bank for Students in Canada

All things considered, majority of the student bank accounts have similar features except for a few perks thrown in. If you’re comfy with online banking, you should consider combining a Tangerine Chequing Account with the EQ Bank Saving Plus Account to enjoy the best of both worlds. If you’re a stickler for the more conservative Big 5, Scotiabank is one to consider with the two kinds of reward points on offer.

FAQ

What is the best student bank in Canada?

While most banks sport similar fees tires for students, the term “best bank” is relative to the features you need. The winning combination remains EQ Savings and Tangerine Chequing to earn a significant interest with the former and transfer to the latter.

Is there a Bank for Students where I can earn Interest?

You will not see any bank with an interest rate higher than the 2.00% offered by EQ Bank. Even though the Savings Plus has no ATM access or debit card, it comes with unlimited free transactions and e-transfers, all for a zero monthly fee.

Which bank has the Best Credit Cards for Students in Canada?

The RBC WestJet Mastercard for students is the top choice for students in Canada. In addition to the zero annual fees, students can earn some cashback returns on their daily purchases. 

What is a Student Bank Account?

A student bank account is a savings or chequing account specifically designed to meet students’ needs in a post-secondary institution. These accounts usually have zero monthly fees, unlimited e-transfers, high-interest rates, and points that can be spent on products. 

What do I need to Open a Student Account?

Before you open a student bank account, you will need to provide evidence of your student status. The proof you’ll provide depends on the bank and can be as simple as your student ID card or a declaration, including your year of expected graduation. Online bank accounts usually require no proof because these accounts are designed for everyone regardless of status. A student can open an online bank account within minutes. 

Conclusion

Whether you’re undecided between a physical or online bank, ensure you ask the right questions before signing up.

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