2.2.1 Types of deposit accounts

From: Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

Financial institutions in Canada offer a wide variety of deposit accounts. To match your needs to the services they offer, they need to know a bit about you and how you expect to use a banking account. For example, they need to know:

  • if you are a member of a special group, such as students, youth or seniors (they may charge lower fees for some groups)
  • the minimum balance you will have in the account each month (they may not charge regular fees if you keep a minimum amount in the account)
  • the number of transactions you expect to do in a month (sometimes it's cheaper to pay for each transaction, sometimes it's better to pay a flat monthly fee)
  • if you need any special services on a regular basis, such as:
    • certified cheques
    • money orders and bank drafts
    • stop payments
    • travellers' cheques
    • personalized cheques
    • overdraft protection
    • cheque returns
    • safety deposit box
    • access to bank machines that are not owned by your financial institution
    • email money transfers.

The two main types of accounts are savings and chequing accounts:

Savings accounts Chequing accounts
  • pay higher rate of interest
  • pay lower interest, or none at all
  • may not offer debit card or chequing
  • include debit cards and chequing
  • may have fees on basic transactions
  • may offer basic services at no fee
  • may have limit on number of free transactions
  • usually allow more free transactions
  • may require one or more days to transfer money
  • do not delay withdrawals, cheques or debits


  • may offer special rates for certain groups

Some financial institutions also offer combined chequing/savings accounts that offer features of both types of accounts. You earn a small amount of interest and you can also write cheques. You will likely get less interest than with a regular savings account, and you may pay higher fees when you write cheques.


Financial institutions offer other alternatives if you won't need to withdraw your money for a few months or more, such as term deposits or investment accounts. Ask the customer service representative about plans that might make more money. For more information, see the Investing module.

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