Chequing accounts

You can use a chequing account to manage your day-to-day transactions. It usually has lower transaction fees than a savings account.

Chequing accounts usually:

Types of chequing account transactions

Some financial institutions may charge fees for transactions done with the help of a teller or bank employee.

Contact your financial institution to learn about what fees apply to different types of transactions.

Teller-assisted transactions

Teller-assisted transactions are those made with the help of a teller, usually in-branch, such as:

Self-serve transactions

Self-serve transactions are transactions that you make without the help of a teller, such as:

Some financial institutions consider transactions made over the phone with the help of a customer service agent as teller-assisted. Ask your financial institution about its policy on self-serve transactions.

Find out what fees you'll pay at an automated teller machine.

Monthly fees

Your monthly banking fees will largely depend on your account or package.

Monthly set fee

With a monthly fee account, you pay a set fee each month. This allows you to make a certain number and type of transactions each month. The number and type of transactions included in your monthly account fee depend on your account. You must pay for every extra transaction over the number of transactions that your monthly banking package allows.

Some accounts will waive the monthly fee if you keep a minimum monthly balance in your account. This can be a good way to save on banking fees. For example, say you pay $12 per month in fees. Your financial institution may waive this cost because you maintained a minimum balance of $2,000. In this case, you could save $144 per year.

You may qualify for a multi-product discount if you have more than one banking product with your financial institution. For example, you may get a discount if you have a mortgage and a credit card.

Check with your financial institution to find out if you qualify for one of these service packages or discounts.

Per-transaction fee

With a “per-transaction” or “pay-as-you go” account, you pay for every transaction you make. Fees can add up fast. Consider the number of transactions you make per month before deciding if a per-transaction account is right for you.

Low-cost and no-cost accounts

Certain financial institutions have signed an agreement with the federal government to offer low-cost accounts with basic features.

Find out if you’re eligible for a low-cost or no-cost account.

Changes to service fees

A financial institution can change its account service fees at any time. However, federally regulated financial institutions must tell you in advance of any increases to existing fees or new fees.

Financial institutions must also provide to you a list of all the service charges that apply to your account. For example, these may include fees for non-sufficient funds (NSF) cheques. Ask for a copy of this list.

If your financial institution didn’t tell you about these changes, you may file a complaint.

Learn how to file a complaint with your financial institution.

Saving money on banking fees

Consider the following when trying to save money on your banking fees:

To save money on ATM withdrawal fees, consider doing the following:

Talk to the staff at your local branch if you need help understanding your account fees.

Get electronic alerts from your financial institution

Your financial institution may send you an electronic alert when the balance of your chequing or savings account falls below a certain amount.

These alerts may help you manage your day-to-day finances and avoid fees.

Learn more about these electronic alerts.

Shopping for a chequing account

Before you start shopping around for a chequing account, consider:

Step 1: Identify your banking habits

Figure out how you bank to learn what type of chequing account will work best for you.

Consider how often you bank

Think about how many transactions you make in a typical month.

Review your statements and count how many times you make each of the following transactions:

Adding up each transaction can help you figure out how many monthly transactions you need with your banking package.

For example, say you make only a few transactions each month. You may not need to pay more for a package that offers unlimited transactions.

Consider where you bank

Note how many of your transactions you make using:

You mostly use ATMs. Search for a financial institution that gives you access to ATMs in places you'd use them regularly.

You mostly use online or mobile banking. Find out what options are available through the bank you're considering.

You mostly bank in-branch. Look for a financial institution that has branches in your area and business hours that fit your schedule.

Think about what features you need

Paying extra money for a service you use regularly can be costly.

Look at how often you need services that cost extra, such as:

Search for a chequing account that includes services or products you use often as part of the monthly fee. If not, search for an account that offers them to you at a discount.

Think about other features that may be of value to you. For example, you may be willing to pay a little more for an account that offers:

Step 2: Shop around

Once you’ve thought about the services you need, find out how much it will cost to get those services.

Start by looking at no-cost or low-cost accounts to see if they meet your needs. Consider the benefits of these accounts if you make very few monthly transactions or don’t need many extra services.

Compare if it would cost less for you to:

Use the Account Comparison Tool to find the account that best suits your needs.

Step 3: Make a decision

Make sure you understand what's included in the account and how much you'll pay.

Ask about:

Make a choice based on the services that are important to you, including:

Review your needs and preferences from time to time. Find out if your financial institution, or another one, offers a chequing account with similar features to your own. You may find a similar account with lower monthly fees or no monthly fees.

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