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List of top onsite and online banks in Canada

Canada is known to have one of the safest banking systems in the world. The choice of a bank depends on a customer’s financial needs and preferences. 

Canada’s Biggest Banks

The five biggest banks in Canada were established in the 19th century and currently have branches and ATMs all over the country and offer numerous financial services. They are: 

  • TD Ban
  • RBC
  • CIBC
  • BMO
  • Scotiabank

1. Royal Bank of Canada 

This is the largest bank in Canada. It is a sponsor to numerous cultural and sporting events in the country. Its most chequing account offers 12 free transactions every month and its Premium VIP option comes with unlimited debits, Interac e-transfer, free drafts, discountsIt offers four main chequing bank accounts and four savings accounts. It also offers credit cards in multiple categories such as annual fees, low-interest, and cash back. 

2. Toronto-Dominion Bank 

By market capitalization, this is the second-largest bank in Canada. It is also one of the best banks based on several metrics and is highly recognized in the United States making it one of the largest banks in North America. It has 6 chequing accounts, 3 savings accounts and its credit cards offer low rates, Aeroplan Miles, no annual fees and travel rewards. 

3. Scotiabank 

This is the third-largest bank in Canada by asset size and market capitalization. It operates under the legal name of the Bank of Nova Scotia. It offers chequing, savings and credit cards services of which it offers 5 chequing accounts, 5 savings accounts, and has one of the best credit cards in Canada. Its smallest chequing account ffers 12 free transactions per month. 

4. National Bank of Canada. 

With its headquarters in Montreal, it is the sixth-largest bank in Canada, it has 4 chequing accounts and a high-interest savings account. Its total chequing account provides unlimited transactions, free cheques, overdraft protection, an integrated line of credit. 

5. Bank of Montreal

Founded in 1817, this is the oldest and fourth largest bank in Canada. It has 5 chequing accounts, 4 savings accounts and a credit card that fits various categories. The Bank of Montreal was the first of the Big Five bank to offer a digital investment service. 

6. HSBC Bank Canada

With over 40 miliion customers in 63 countries and one of the largest banks in the world, it has 5 chequing accounts, 3 savings accounts and also offer various foreign currency savings accounts. It also has 6 credit cards customers can apply for. Furthermore, they offer personal loans, lines of credit and investment services. 

7. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce 

Ranks as one of the biggest banks in Canada, it also has offices in Asia, United States, and Europe. It has 3 major chequing accounts, 4 savings accounts, and 21 credit cards customers can pick from. 

Canada’s Best Online Banks in 2023

Today, digital banks are gaining more momentum than ever. The following are branchless online banks known for offering free chequing accounts and good savings rates: 

  • Tangerine Bank
  • Motive Financial
  • EQ Bank
  • Alterna Bank
  • Simplii Financial
  • Neo Financial

1. Tangerine Bank 

Known as the top digital bank in Canada, it is the direct banking subset of Scotiabank. It has few kiosks in several parts of the country but it is fuly an online bank. It has 6 savings accounts, a free chequing account, and two credit cards. 

2. Motive Financial

A division of the Canadian Western Bank, it has 2 chequing accounts, 2 savings accounts and also offers chequing high interest savings and GICs.

3. EQ Bank

EQ Bank is a subset of Equitable Bank. It offers guaranteed investment certificate through its website and app. It also works as a hybrid account, offers joint accounts and allows customers send affordable international money transfers directly from their accounts. 

4. Alterna Bank

Alterna Bank is a subsidiary of the Ontario-based credit union Alterna Savings. It has one chequing account and 3 savings e-savings accounts and also offers investing and homebuying services.

5. Neo Financial 

This is a fintech company that serves as an online bank. It has four major product; Neo Invest, Neo Money, Neo Card, Neo Mortgage

Benefits of Banking with Online Banks

  • Lower fees: virtual banks charge customers with low balances less when making debit transactions or transferring money between accounts. 
  • Better rates: most online banks offer higher interest rates, welcome bonus offers, and rewards. 
  • Better websites and mobile apps: since they are fully online, they usually have functional apps and websites as well as simple interface that makes navigation easy. 

Types of Banks in Canada

The Bank Act in Canada categorizes banks into three sections: 

  1. Schedule I: these banks are not subsidiaries of a foreign bank. They are domestic banks. They can accept deposits and are eligible for deposit insurance through CDIC. they are TD, BMO, CIBC, RBC, Scotiabank, Tangerine, Equitable Bank, National Bank of Canada. 
  2. Schedule II: this is the opposite of Schedule I. they are subsidiaries of foreign banks and they can also accept deposits. They are: Citibank Canada, ICICI Bank Canada, HSBC Bank Canada, Bank of China (Canada) 
  3. Schedule III: these are subsets of foreign banks that operate in Canada and carry out financial services authorized by the Bank Act. they are; Deutsche Bank, Bank of America, BNP Paribas, Capital One Bank, Citibank N.A. 

Choosing the Best Bank for You

The following are determinants to consider when choosing a bank: 

  • ATM and Branch Network: ensure the bank has free ATMs at convenient locations. This will reduce the monthly charges deducted from non-partner ATMs. 
  • Interest rates: this is the amount the bank is paying customers to save money. Online banks pay more than physical banks. 
  • Fees: this is the amount the customer is willing to pay to keep her money in a bank account. 
  • Safety: all banks listed in this article are members of the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC) therefore, all customers’ monies are safe. 

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