Online banks are the way of the future. Canada is pushing toward a cashless society, aiming to drop cash payments by 70% by 2030, according to Moneris. Without the need to deposit or withdraw cash, we don't necessarily need in-person bank branches anymore.

Online banks typically have lower fees and higher interest rates on savings or investment accounts. That's because they don't have the same overhead as traditional bank branches, and the savings are passed on to you.

As Canadians, we have access to many online banks, each one with different features, advantages and disadvantages. The best option for you will depend on your banking needs, what you're looking for and where you live. We've rounded up the 15 best online banks in Canada for 2023 to help you decide which one is the best for you.

Why should you use an online bank?

As a society, we are always seeking more convenient ways of doing things, including banking. Driving to your bank branch during their opening hours to pay bills, transfer money or deposit cash is incredibly time-consuming and inconvenient. As the saying goes, “time is money.”

Online banks, also called ‘neobanks,’ provide the convenience of banking from the palm of your hand via mobile apps or desktop online banking access. That means you'll never need to visit a physical branch.

You'll also receive better rates when using an online bank. This is because they don't have the same operating costs as physical branches. You can even find chequing accounts that offer interest!

Online banks use modern software that integrates with many other financial management apps and tools. This way, you can easily optimize how you manage your money and track your spending. On top of that, online banks are entirely secure. All deposits are protected by the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC), which is similar to traditional banks.

One of the downfalls of online banks is that you won't get the same level of personal service as you would with a traditional bank. Everything is digital, including their customer support. If you want to pull out cash, you will likely have to pay ATM fees since you'll be using ATMs tied to another banking network. But this may not be an issue if you don't use cash often.

The best online banks in Canada

As Canadians increasingly embrace digital solutions, online banks have emerged as a viable alternative to traditional brick-and-mortar institutions. We've put together a list of the top online banks in Canada and cover their features, benefits, and user experience.

1. Neo Financial

Neo Financial is a digital-only online bank launched by the founders of SkipTheDishes. It offers a hassle-free, convenient online banking solution. Their digital bank accounts offer the perfect hybrid of a savings and chequing account with no monthly fees, unlimited free transactions and no minimum balance.

Fund your account via Interac e-Transfer, direct deposit (such as paycheques), or by linking other bank accounts. You'll receive a 2.25% annual interest on your balance, which is calculated daily and paid out monthly.

The account comes with the Neo Money Card, a free prepaid Mastercard linked to your account that can be used anywhere Mastercard is accepted – online, in person, and abroad. Eligible card purchases earn an average of 5% cash back from Neo partners, with up to 15% cash back for each first purchase made at a partner merchant.

Neo also offers two credit card options depending on your credit score, a traditional Mastercard and a Secured Mastercard, both offering the best cash back credit card rewards in Canada. There is no credit check required for the secured credit card and the minimum security deposit is just $50, allowing Canadians with any credit score to access their services, except those from Quebec. Read more about Everything You Need to Know About Neo Credit Cards.

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2. Tangerine

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Chequing and savings account - Tangerine

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Tangerine is probably one of Canada's most well-known online banks, serving over 2 million clients across the country. They are owned by Scotiabank, a highly reputable Canadian bank, so you can trust their financial services.

You get free access to Scotiabank ATMs in Canada as well as those in Scotiabank's Global ATM Alliance. Tangerine offers both chequing and savings accounts, credit cards, and investment accounts. Your chequing account comes with a free Visa Debit Card that you can use anywhere Interac and Visa are accepted, giving you easy access to your funds for transactions in-store, online, and abroad.

Their no-fee daily chequing account is their most popular, which offers free daily chequing transactions, and gives you interest on the money in your account. The amount of interest depends on how much money is in your account, but you can earn up to 0.10% annually.

They also have five different savings accounts:

There is no minimum balance or monthly fee on any of their savings accounts. And with the tax-free savings account, the interest you earn won't be taxed. You can open an account online in minutes, and they will ship your card directly to your house. Tangerine bank accounts can be opened by any Canadian resident, regardless of which province you live in.

3. EQ Bank

EQ Bank Card
  • No fees
  • Earn 2.5% interest on all your money
  • Get 0.5% cash back on all your purchases

Open a Savings Plus Account to get your free EQ Bank Card.

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EQ Bank is frequently touted as one of the best neobanks in Canada for savings accounts. It is the digital subsidiary of Equitable Bank, a Canadian bank specializing in residential and commercial real estate lending services. They launched their personal banking arm, EQ Bank, in 2016.

EQ Bank has multiple different savings account options with no fees and no minimum balance requirements. EQ Bank recently launched the EQ Bank Card, which is a reloadable prepaid Mastercard that can be used anywhere Mastercard is accepted. Most card purchases earn 0.5% cash back and you can withdraw money for free from any ATM in Canada. You can also use their online banking service or mobile app to transfer your funds between bank accounts at other institutions.

Their most popular account is the EQ Bank Savings Plus, which is more like a blend of a chequing and savings account, with free Interac e-Transfers, bill payments, no minimum balance and no fees. The account receives 2.50% annual interest which is calculated daily and paid out monthly.

EQ Bank is a fantastic option if you're looking for a way to earn high interest on savings that you don't plan on spending for an extended period. You can link your savings account directly to your other bank accounts to easily transfer money between them. International money transfers are also inexpensive. Their other account options include:

Promo Code: ENCOREPLUS
Chequing and savings account - Tangerine

Also earn 20% cash back on eligible Visa* Debit transactions for 60 days (up to a maximum rebate of $400).*


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Offer: Get a promotional savings interest rate of 4.25% for 5 months.
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*Conditions apply. Offer ends in July, 17th 2023.

  • EQ Bank Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA)
  • EQ Bank Non-Registered GICs
  • EQ Bank TFSA and RSP GICs
  • EQ Bank Retirement Savings Plan
  • EQ Bank Joint Account
  • EQ Bank US Dollar Account

*The EQ Bank Card is not yet available in Quebec

4. KOHO

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KOHO is more of a financial tech company than an online bank, but it still deserves a spot on this list. They've partnered with Mastercard to offer the Koho Prepaid credit card in three different account options, each with different perks.

Their base account has no monthly fees or charges on daily transactions. It offers 0.5% cash back on all purchases and extra cash back at select partner merchants. The KOHO app also has a feature called RoundUp, which rounds up each purchase and stores your spare change away to help you save more money. You can preload your spending money to stay on budget and access free financial coaching and spending insights to ensure you manage your spending.

Also, you can get your paycheque deposited directly into your KOHO account or fund your account yourself from an external account. Because your Koho card is a pre-paid credit card, not a traditional credit card, you won't have to pay any interest, making it more like a debit card.

KOHO also offers an Extra account with a $9.00 monthly fee, but you'll receive 2.00% cash back on groceries, transportation and restaurants, plus price matching and financial coaching. And lastly, they have a joint account so you can set up shared savings goals and easily share finances with another person.

It's incredibly quick and easy to set up your KOHO account online or through the app, and you can link your account to your Apple Pay, Google Pay or Samsung Pay. KOHO is available for all Canadian residents.

5. Simplii Financial

simpli

Simplii Financial is an online bank owned by CIBC, another one of Canada's most popular banks. They have no monthly or annual fees for their accounts and offer many different accounts with unlimited transactions and e-Transfers. Since they are part of CIBC, you'll be able to use CIBC ATMs without paying any fees.

Simplii Financial offers a No Fee Chequing Account, High-Interest Savings Account, RRSP or Tax-Free Savings Account, USD Savings Account, and special student banking offers.

The chequing account comes with a debit Mastercard that you can use to shop online or in-store. You can also set up direct payroll and pension deposits and overdraft protection. The interest rates for savings accounts aren't as high as some other online bank accounts, though.

However, they offer frequent sign-up bonuses such as high-interest periods or cash bonuses. Plus, unlike many other accounts, you don't have to lock your money away for an extended period of time to reap the benefits of your interest. The annual interest rate for savings accounts is tiered based on your balance and starts at 0.40%, calculated daily and paid out monthly.

Simplii Financial also offers eligible Canadians personal lines of credit and cashback visas. Residents of Quebec do not qualify for a Simplii Financial account, but all other Canadian residents do as long as they are of legal age of majority and have a Social Insurance Number.

6. Wealthsimple Spend & Save

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Wealthsimple is a popular Canadian all-in-one investment management tool that now offers a cash account for your daily banking needs. They have a range of different wealth management products, including a cryptocurrency trading platform, investment advisement platform, automated tax-filing service, stock trading platform, and hybrid chequing/savings account called Wealthsimple Spend & Save, previously called Wealthsimple Cash.

With a Wealthsimple Spend & Save account, you can instantly send money to people in your contacts list, and they can do the same for you. It basically operates like a money transfer app, similar to Venmo or CashApp, which are available in the United States.

There are no monthly account fees or minimum deposit amount to have a Wealthsimple Spend & Save account, plus you'll receive a prepaid Mastercard that you can use anywhere Mastercard is accepted. When you make purchases using your Wealthsimple Spend card, you'll get 1% back in cash, crypto or stock.

The money in your account earns 1% annual interest. You can earn 3% interest if you set up a direct deposit of at least $500, or 4% interest if you deposit over $100K across Wealthsimple accounts.

You can also link your card to your Google or Apple Pay and make purchases that way. It's incredibly easy to set up an account via the Wealthsimple app, and you can start using your account even before your physical card arrives. Once you have your physical card, you can make cash withdrawals from ATMs with a daily withdrawal limit of $1000. All Canadian citizens are eligible to open an account with Wealthsimple Spend & Save.

7. PC Financial

PC Financial online bank

PC Financial is an online financial services provider owned by Loblaw Companies Limited. With no physical branches, PC Financial offers a digital-only banking experience accessible to Canadians nationwide. They offer 3 different PC Financial credit cards that earn points toward free groceries and other perks along with a PC Money Account.

The PC Money Account stands out as a unique hybrid banking solution, combining the benefits of a chequing and savings account. Customers can earn PC Optimum points on everyday purchases with their PC prepaid Mastercard, maximizing rewards while enjoying no monthly fees, unlimited transactions, and free Interac e-Transfers.

While you can withdraw cash from PC Financial ATMs for free and third-party ATMs for an additional cost, you cannot currently deposit cash or cheques into your PC Money Account. You can fund your account by eTransfer, linking an external account, setting up a direct deposit, or as a bill payment through an account at another bank.

8. Alterna Bank

alterna online bank

Alterna Bank is the digital subsidiary of Alterna Savings Credit Union, which is based in Ontario. They've been around for over 100 years and have won many awards, including The Best Bank for Millenials from The Globe and Mail and Best Personal Banking award from RateHub.

This online bank has high-interest savings accounts, chequing accounts, and mortgages. Like most online banks, Alterna Bank doesn't have branches except for two locations in Gatineau, so everything needs to be done online. That said, you can use thousands of ATMs surcharge-free in the Canadian EXCHANGE Network and even more in the American Allpoint Network.

Their chequing account, the Alterna No-Fee eChequing Account, offers no monthly fees, unlimited transactions, free Interac eTransfers and a 0.05% yearly interest rate on your balance. Their High-Interest eSavings account has a 2.50% interest rate with no minimum balance required, free transactions and unlimited Interac eTransfers. They also offer tax-free savings accounts and RRSP accounts. Applying for your online account only takes 5 minutes, and you can easily manage your accounts via their website or mobile app.

They are also one of the best online banks in Canada for supporting small businesses. They offer small business eChequing accounts, small business lines of credit, and payment processing using Mobile Pay. The Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation insures all eligible deposits. Alterna Bank accounts are available for all Canadian residents and come with a physical debit card.

9. Outlook Financial 

Outlook Financial online bank

Outlook Financial is the digital arm of Assiniboine Credit Union Limited, based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. It's a smaller and lesser-known online bank, but that doesn't mean it's not a great option. They offer simple and straightforward high-interest savings accounts and GICs for Canadians.

When you open an account with Outlook Financial, you will also become a member of Assiniboine Credit Union. This membership gives you access to expert financial advice and a say in who is on their Board of Directors. The Deposit Guarantee Corporation of Manitoba guarantees all deposits, so you know they are safe and secure.

The high-interest savings account has no monthly package fee and no minimum balance, but as its primary function is as a savings account, you'll only get one free debit card purchase per month and one free ATM withdrawal. It will cost $1.00 for every additional purchase or withdrawal.

The interest rate on the Outlook Financial high-interest savings account is 2.60%, which is higher than many other online banks and why it's worth opening an account with them. But don't expect to use this account as freely as a chequing account, as you will end up racking up fees if you're making lots of purchases, withdrawals and money transfers. Any Canadian citizen can open an account as long as they are 18 years of age.

10. Motusbank 

motusbank logo

Motusbank is another online bank owned by a credit union. The digital arm of Ontario-based Meridian Credit Union was launched in 2019 to meet the demands of Canadians seeking convenient, low-fee banking options. They have a wide range of bank account options, including no-fee chequing accounts, high-interest savings accounts, mortgages, personal loans, and investment opportunities.

Their no-fee chequing account requires no minimum balance and has free, unlimited Interac e-Transfers and unlimited debit purchases and withdrawals. You'll also receive 0.15% annual interest on your account balance.

The high-interest savings account. TFSA and RRSP savings account all have a 2.50% interest rate, which is highly competitive with other online banking options. They also have frequent sign-up bonuses where you can receive higher interest rates for a set period.

With your Motusbank account, you can use ATMs in the Canadian EXCHANGE Network and American Allpoint Network, giving you free access to over 43,000 machines. Motusbank is available to all Canadian residents except those living in Quebec.

11. Achieva Financial 

achieva Financial

Achieva Financial is another savings-only online bank account owned by Cambrian Credit Union. They have one of the highest-interest savings accounts available to Canadians with a whopping 3.40% interest rate.

They also offer GICs, with growing interest rates based on the term. On a 5-year term, you'll receive a 4.45% interest rate. There is no monthly fee for an Achieva account, no minimum balance required, plus you get one free transfer or pre-authorized debit per month. Remember, this is a savings account, so it's not meant to be used as a daily chequing account.

Achieva Financial also has a TFSA, RRSP Savings Account, and RRIF Account. You can make cash withdrawals via ATM at any machine in the Acculink Network in Canada without paying a surcharge. But for all other ATMs, you'll pay a $2 fee in Canada or $3.50 for international withdrawals. That's in addition to the base $0.60 ATM withdrawal charge, with a maximum daily withdrawal limit of $400. All residents of Canada can open an account with Achieva Financial.

12. Wealth One Bank of Canada

wealthONE online bank

Wealth One Bank of Canada has positioned itself as the go-to online bank solution for those new to Canada, especially in the Chinese community. That said, they have online savings accounts that are great for all Canadian residents.

Their high-interest savings account, tax-free savings account and RRSP savings account all have a 3.40% interest rate, and they even have a business savings account with a 0.50% interest rate. There is no monthly fee or minimum balance requirements and free unlimited transactions to any linked accounts. To send an Interac e-Transfer to an unlinked account, you'll pay $1.50 per transaction.

Unlike other online banks, Wealth One has two physical locations, both in North York and Vancouver, plus you can reach them via telephone if you prefer to talk to someone rather than use email. They have reps available in English, Mandarin or Cantonese.

They also offer GICs, residential mortgages (both fixed and variable rates) and commercial mortgages. Any resident of Canada can open a Wealth One Bank of Canada account as long as they are over 19 years old.

13. Motive Financial

Motive Financial online bank

Motive Financial is the digital division of Canadian Western Bank and a member of the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation. They offer chequing accounts, high-interest savings accounts, GICs, RRSPs and tax-free savings accounts.

The Motive Cha-Ching Chequing Account has no monthly fee, unlimited free transactions and free Interac e-Transfers. You'll also receive 0.25% interest on your bank account balance. You'll be able to withdraw from any ATM in The EXCHANGE Network for free and receive two free withdrawals per month from non-EXCHANGE Network ATMs.

The Motive Savvy Savings Account has no monthly fee, unlimited transfers between accounts, free deposits and two free withdrawals per month. You will pay a $5.00 fee for every additional withdrawal and $1.00 per Interac e-Transfer. The interest rate on the funds in your savings account is 4.10%, which is calculated daily and paid out monthly.

They have an easy-to-use mobile app where you can open your account and manage your finances daily. You can also use the app to track your account activity and access different financial calculators, like a retirement planner. Motive Financial is unfortunately not available to residents of Quebec at this time.

14. Manulife Bank

manulife online bank

Manulife Bank is the online banking arm of The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company. They offer one of the most flexible online banking packages of any other competitor with their All-In Banking Package.

This package includes an everyday banking account, high-interest savings account with 2.0% interest, travel insurance, and various savings tools. There is a monthly fee of $10 for this entire package, but they will waive the fee if your closing balance is at least $100 higher than the previous month (which is a great incentive to save)! You get free Interac e-Transfers, unlimited debit purchases in Canada and free withdrawals from ATMs in The Exchange Network.

If you're looking for an online savings account with a high-interest rate and aren't so concerned about daily transaction needs, then Manulife Bank also has its Advantage Account. This account offers a 2.85% interest rate and free unlimited banking transactions if you keep your balance above $1,000.

For those wanting to bank in USD, they also offer a US Dollar Advantage account. You can open an account with Manulife Bank via their website or mobile app as long as you're a Canadian citizen.

15. ICICI Bank Canada

ICICI Bank Canada  online bank accounts
Offers online bank accounts accessible to anyone

ICICI Bank Canada is owned by the prominent ICICI Bank Limited based in India, and ranks among the top four banks in its home country. While targeted to Canadian newcomers, it offers a comprehensive range of financial services, encompassing chequing and savings accounts, credit cards, investments, loans, and business banking accounts available to almost anyone.

There are physical branches in Calgary, Brampton, Mississauga, Scarborough, and Delta. But even though ICICI Bank boasts a brick-and-mortar presence in a few cities, it largely serves as an online bank for the majority of Canadians residing outside these major cities.

Their HiVALUE Chequing Account is a special online bank account offering a versatile everyday banking solution. Customers earn 0.15% annual interest on balances exceeding $2,500. A monthly charge of $9.95 applies, although it can be waived by maintaining a minimum daily closing balance of $3,000.

The HiVALUE Chequing Accounts also includes free online bill payments and a free first chequebook with 20 personalized cheques. For those seeking a savings account, ICICI Bank Canada's HiSAVE® Savings Account carries no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements and offers a competitive 1.25% annual interest rate.

These accounts can be opened entirely online from within Canada or abroad, catering specifically to newcomers from countries such as the USA, India, UK, Philippines, Vietnam, Germany, UAE, Bahrain, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and South Africa.

Online banks in Canada: The Takeaway

As the demand for hassle-free, low-fee online banking increases, more great Canadian digital banking solutions are popping up. Here we've listed 15 of the best online banks in Canada so that you have many options to choose from and can pick the one that suits your needs.

Those looking for a daily chequing account would do best with banks like Tangerine, Motive and Alterna. And those looking for high-interest savings accounts should look at Achieva, Wealth One and EQ Bank.

FAQs About Online Banks in Canada

How to open a bank account online?

Opening an account with a Canadian online bank is quick and easy. Once you've chosen the best online bank for you (see above for 15 great options), you can head to their website or mobile app and apply. You'll need to be the age of majority in your province and have a Social Insurance Number (SIN) for most online banks. After you register, you'll need to verify your identity to activate your account. Once verified, you can begin funding and using your account. Some online banks will send you a debit card, whereas others don't offer a debit card.

What banks allow you to open an account online?

All of the online banks on this list allow you to open a bank account online. Some of Canada's Big Six banks also offer the convenience of opening an account online. Some notable examples include TD Bank, RBC, and BMO.

How to pay property tax through online banking?

Paying your property tax through online banking is done the same as sending money to anyone via your online banking. You'll need to set up your city as a payee via your online banking platform. When setting up the payee, choose the province associated with your bill. Then enter your city name as the payee, and you should see a dropdown that says your city name and ‘tax' or ‘taxes.' When it asks for your account number, enter your roll number, which you will find on your property tax account statement. From there, you can just transfer the money as usual, making sure to send the exact amount.

How to set up online banking for TD Bank?

TD Bank's online banking platform is called EasyWeb. It's easy to set up; you just need your TD personal banking details. Head to the TD personal banking page and click ‘Register' under EasyWeb Online Banking. Then enter your details (including Access Card number), confirm your identity, choose a unique username and password, and you're good to go! 

Can you deposit a bank draft online?

Most online banking platforms will allow you to deposit a bank draft online by taking a photo of it with your smartphone or tablet and uploading it via their mobile app or online banking. Each bank is different, so check with the customer support of your personal bank to determine if you can deposit your bank draft through them.

How to pay Bell Internet bill through online banking?

To pay your Bell internet bill through online banking, you will need to set up Bell Mobility as a payee on your online banking platform. Search ‘Bell Mobility' and then use your 14-digit customer identification number as the account number. Make sure that when you transfer the funds, you transfer the exact amount stated on your internet bill.

Are online banks safe in Canada?

Yes, online banks in Canada prioritize the security of their customer's information and transactions. They employ advanced encryption technology, robust authentication measures, and adhere to strict regulatory standards set by authorities such as the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) and the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC).

Eligible deposits in federally regulated online banks are protected by the Canadian Deposit Insurance Corporation while provincially regulated institutions, like credit unions, are protected through a provincial or private deposit insurance provider.

Do online banks have ATMs?

While online banks may not have physical branch locations, many of them have partnerships with established banks or ATM networks. This allows customers to access their funds and make withdrawals from a wide range of ATMs across the country without incurring additional fees.

For example, Tangerine allows you to access your money through any Scotiabank ATM in Canada. EQ Bank, on the other hand, allows you to use any ATM in Canada for free and will even reimburse you any applicable network charges within 10 business days.

How do online banks make money?

Online banks can earn revenue in a variety of ways. They may earn income from the interest charged on loans, credit card transactions, and fees associated with specific services such as wire transfers, foreign currency exchange, and overdraft protection. Some online banks may also earn income through investments and partnerships with other financial institutions.

Why do online banks have higher interest rates?

Online banks often have lower overhead costs compared to traditional brick-and-mortar banks. They don't have the expenses associated with physical branches and can operate with a streamlined infrastructure. This cost advantage allows online banks to pass the savings onto their customers by offering no-fee accounts, free transactions, and higher interest rates on savings accounts and other financial products.

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