Low-cost and no-cost accounts

From: Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

Low-cost accounts cost a maximum of $4 per month in banking fees. The Government of Canada and certain financial institutions have an agreement to provide low-cost basic banking services.

If you meet certain conditions, you may be eligible for a low-cost account at no cost. No-cost accounts have the same features and services as low-cost accounts but with no monthly fee.

You may be eligible to get this type of account if you’re part of the following groups:

  • youth
  • students
  • seniors getting the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS)
  • Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) beneficiaries

Contact your financial institution to learn more and find out if you qualify for a no-cost account.

Services included with a low-cost account

Low-cost accounts include at least the following services, if these services are also available to the financial institution’s other retail customers:

  • at least 12 debit transactions per month, including at least 2 in-branch transactions where available
  • ability to write cheques
  • a debit card
  • unlimited deposits
  • monthly printed statements
  • ability to set up pre-authorized payments
  • cheque image return or online cheque image viewing

You’ll pay service fees for each additional transaction that you make.

Read the terms and conditions of your account or contact your financial institution for details.

Information you must receive about low-cost accounts and no-cost accounts

Financial institutions offering low-cost accounts must:

  • identify features and extra service charges associated with low-cost and no-cost accounts in a way that is clear, simple and not misleading
  • display information about the availability of low-cost and no-cost accounts in branches and online
  • display information, in branches and online, on how to access the Account Comparison Tool to compare accounts

The information you get about low-cost accounts is in addition to the information your financial institution must give you when you open a regular bank account.

Learn what information financial institutions must tell you when you open an account.

Where to get a low-cost or no-cost account

The following financial institutions have signed a public commitment to offer low-cost and no-cost accounts:

  • BMO Bank of Montreal
  • CIBC
  • HSBC
  • Industrial and Commercial Bank of China
  • KEB Hana Bank Canada
  • Laurentian Bank
  • National Bank
  • RBC Royal Bank
  • Scotiabank
  • TD Canada Trust

Many other financial institutions which aren't part of the voluntary agreement also offer accounts with low or no monthly fees.

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

Compare low-cost accounts

The following table lists the financial institutions that offer low-cost accounts. It shows the main features of the accounts.

Table 1: Comparison of low-cost accounts
Financial institution
Account name
Monthly fee Maximum number of monthly debit transactions Minimum monthly balance
(for monthly fees to be waived)
BMO
Practical Plan
$4.00 12 (in-branch and self-serve transactions) $2,000
CIBC
Everyday Chequing Account
$3.90 12 (in-branch and self-serve transactions)
HSBC
Performance Chequing - Limited
$4.00 14 (in-branch and self-serve transactions)
Industrial and Commercial Bank of China
Basic Chequing Account
$4.00 12 (in-branch and self-serve transactions) $1,000
KEB Hana Bank Canada
Low cost account
$3.00 Includes 3 in-branch and 10 self-serve transactions $500
Laurentian Bank
Transact a little
$4.00 12 (includes 2 in-branch transactions)
National Bank
Accessible
$3.95 12 (includes 2 in-branch transactions) $2,500
RBC Royal Bank
Day to Day Banking
$4.00 12 (includes in-branch and self-serve transactions)
Scotiabank
Basic Banking Account
$3.95 12 (includes 4 in-branch transactions)
TD Canada Trust
Minimum Account
$3.95 12 (includes 2 in-branch transactions) $2,000

Use the Account Comparison Tool to find other features associated with these accounts.

Types of transactions included in low-cost accounts listed in Table 1

Self-serve debit transactions include transactions you make:

  • at an automated teller machine (ATM)
  • by Internet
  • by automated telephone banking

In-branch debit transactions usually include transactions performed by employees or representatives of a financial institution:

  • in branches
  • while speaking to a customer service agent over the telephone

Network access fees aren’t included unless otherwise specified. You usually pay a network access fee when you use an ATM that your financial institution doesn’t own.

Extra fees may apply to in-branch bill payments. Check with your financial institution for information on fees for in-branch bill payments.

When you check your balance, either in-branch or using self-serve options, with CIBC's and RBC Royal Bank’s low-cost accounts, it doesn’t reduce the number of monthly transactions you’re permitted. Check with your financial institution for its policy on balance inquiries.

If the bank waives account fees when you maintain a minimum balance, you must maintain the minimum balance throughout the entire month.

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