The Best Online Banks in Canada for 2022
According to the Canadian Bankers Association, 90% of Canadians reported using online banking in the past year, and almost 50% say that digital is their preferred banking channel. The trend towards online banking isn’t a new one, but it certainly was hastened by the isolation and mandatory quarantines caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. With the move to digital banking, Canadians have more online banking options than ever.
To help you sort through all the options, I’ve created a list of what I believe are the best online banks in Canada. My primary focus is on the online-only banks and the fintech companies, but I’ve included the Big Five banks and leading credit unions from several provinces.
I’ve divided the list by institution type. I started with the online-only banks, then lumped the credit unions into their own group and the big banks into another.
Note: The interest rates and welcome offers posted throughout the article were accurate when writing and are subject to change at any time. Please consult with the respective financial institution for up-to-date interest rates.
Canada’s Best Online Banks: Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Tangerine
Best Online Spending Account: Neo Money
Best High-Interest Savings Account: EQ Bank
Best Investment Accounts: Tangerine Investment Funds
Best Credit Union Online Banking: Steinbach Credit Union
Best Big 5 Online Banking: Scotiabank
It’s no secret that the cheapest way to bank in Canada is at an online-only bank. These banks and fintech companies benefit from low overhead due to a lack of physical locations. They pass the savings along to their customers with no fees and higher interest rates on savings accounts. Let’s take a closer look at the best online banks in Canada, starting with Tangerine.
Tangerine: Best Overall Online Bank
What We Like: Breadth of product offering, attractive welcome offers
- Wide range of banking and investment products
- Attractive welcome bonuses
- No-fee chequing with free e-Transfers
- Free access to 3500 Scotiabank ATMs
- No-fee savings account
- Tangerine World Mastercard offers up to 2% cash back with no annual fee
- Non-registered TFSA, RSP, and RIF accounts are available
Tangerine has come a long way since launching ING Direct Canada in 1997. Scotiabank acquired ING in 2012, and the name was changed to Tangerine. Tangerine gets our nod as Canada’s top overall online bank due to the breadth of its product offering.
While many online banks offer little beyond high-interest savings accounts and a few GICs, Tangerine offers chequing and savings accounts, business savings, credit cards, its own family of investment funds, GICs, credit cards, and more. Regarding your investments, you can hold TFSAs, RRSPs, and RIF accounts with Tangerine and non-registered accounts.
Tangerine customers benefit from having access to Scotiabank’s massive ATM network. When you open a Tangerine account, you can use 3500 Scotiabank ATMs free of charge and over 44,000 ATMs worldwide through its Global ATM Alliance.
Other online banks offer superior standard interest rates on savings, but Tangerine’s Welcome Bonuses are tough to beat. For example, at the time of this writing (October 2022), you can earn up to $400 cash back AND 4.25% interest on your Savings account for the first five months. In addition, you can earn 15% cash back on the first $1000 of purchases made with a Tangerine World Mastercard during the first two months.
Neo Money: Best Online Spending Account
What We Like: Neo Money, a high-interest combination spending/savings account
- High standard interest on savings/spending account
- Unique no-fee, cash back credit card offers up to 5% rewards
- Accountholders can also invest for the long term with Neo Invest
- CDIC-insured through Concentra Bank
Neo Money, by Neo Financial, isn’t an actual bank. It’s a fintech company offering a digital alternative to traditional banks. The company’s founders are the same people who built Skip the Dishes into an international food delivery empire, so they know something about delivering innovative online products.
Neo’s best product is Neo Money, a combination savings/spending account that features a very attractive standard interest rate (2.25% as of Oct 20, 2022). The Financial Post has called it the best savings account in Canada.
The account has no monthly fees or account minimums, and it lets you send and receive money, set up a payroll deposit, and pay your bills.
And while Neo isn’t a bank, per se, their accounts are provided by Concentra Bank on the back end. Concentra is a Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC) member, so your Neo Money deposit balances are insured up to $100,000 per depositor per registration.
In addition to Neo Money, there’s Neo Invest, which offers automated ETF investing through Neo’s partnership with OneWest, a Portfolio Management firm registered in every province and territory in Canada. With Neo Invest, you can choose RRSP, TFSA, or non-registered investing.
Neo members can also apply for a Neo Card, a cashback Mastercard with no annual fee. According to the Neo website, the card allows you to earn up to 5% cash back at Neo’s more than 8000 retail partners. For more information on Neo Financial, check out our full review.
EQ Bank: Best High-Interest Savings Account
What We Like: Excellent standard interest rate with no fees
- 2.50% interest on savings
- Savings account with no monthly fees
- Free e-Transfers
- Free bill payments
- US Dollar Account available
- Mortgage referral tool
- No debit or credit card
EQ Bank’s Savings Plus Account currently offers a whopping 2.50% standard interest rate, one of the highest rates offered by an online bank in Canada. The no-fee account also features free e-Transfers, free bill payments, and free EQ-to-EQ Transfers. Mobile cheque deposit is also available, and your deposit balance is CDIC-insured through EQ’s partnership with Equitable Bank.
On the downside, EQ has no debit card or ATM access. The only way to withdraw funds is via an eTransfer to another bank account or an Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) to your linked bank account. However, if you’re looking for the highest possible interest rate and don’t mind the additional step required to access your funds, EQ is a solid option. Let’s hope they add a debit or credit card to the EQ product lineup in the near future.
In addition to Savings Plus, EQ offers joint savings accounts, TFSAs, US Dollar accounts, International Money Transfers, RRSPs, GICs, and an online Mortgage Marketplace. They don’t do mortgages, but they can connect you with a great mortgage rate and a mortgage broker.
What We Like: No-fee Visa card with 4% standard cash back at restaurants, bars, and coffee shops.
- Generous welcome bonuses
- No-fee chequing and savings accounts
- Access to more than 3,400 CIBC ATMs
- No annual fee cash back Visa card with up to 4% rewards
- Purchase GICs and Mutual Funds
- Mortgages and loans available
Simplii Financial is the online banking arm of CIBC, Canada’s fifth-largest bank. It’s similar to Tangerine’s product offering, boasting everything from day-to-day banking products and credit cards to investments, mortgages, and loans. Simplii customers benefit from access to CIBCs 3000-strong ATM network. They offer a no-fee chequing, and high-interest savings account with no monthly fees and unlimited transactions.
And like Tangerine, Simplii usually has a welcome bonus for new clients. Currently, Simplii is offering up to $350 to new clients who open a no-fee chequing account by January 31, 2023, and introductory savings account interest rate of 4.75%.
You can also purchase GICs and mutual funds through Simplii. Unfortunately, mutual fund account holders will be subject to higher fees than what they would pay for Tangerine Investment Funds. The main drawback to Simplii is that their standard savings interest rates pale compared to competitors like Neo Money and EQ Bank. It currently stands at 0.40%.
What We Like: The combination of high interest rates and debit card convenience
- Owned by Meridian Credit Union
- Higher interest on savings than the big banks
- A debit card is available
- Access to more than 43,000 ATMs across North America
Motusbank is the online banking arm of Meridian, Canada’s second-largest credit union. They are well known for their attractive interest rates on their savings and investment accounts. Because they are an online bank, Canadians across the country can deal with motusbank, Quebec residents being the one exception. Their current rate of 2.10% on savings is higher than all of the big banks and slightly lower than Neo Financial and EQ Bank.
Unlike EQ Bank, motusbank has its own debit card. Their savings account features unlimited debit purchases and withdrawals, and members can access more than 43,000 surcharge-free ATMs in North America via The EXCHANGE (Canada) and Allpoint (US) ATM networks.
Motusbank has a unique savings feature called Auto-Save, which rounds up your debit purchases to the nearest dollar and transfers the amount instantly to your savings account. Motusbank is suitable for Meridian customers looking for high interest online savings, but they’re worth considering if you want the combination of great interest and the convenience of a debit card.
What We Like: Backed by Manulife, high introductory savings interest rate.
- Owned by Manulife Insurance
- Attractive introductory interest on savings
- Advantage Account is a combination of chequing/savings
- Manulife Bank Visa Infinite credit card offers 3% cash back on groceries
- Several products are available, i.e., Mortgages, credit cards, loans, investments
- Minimum balance requirements for “free banking”
Manulife Bank is the digital banking arm of Manulife, Canada’s largest insurance company. They offer various products, including chequing and savings, credit cards, mortgages, loans, and investments.
Their All-In Banking Package offers unlimited day-to-day banking and other tools, like overdraft protection, for $10/month. Manulife will waive the monthly fee if your High-Interest Savings Account balance has increased by at least $100 over the previous month. It’s an odd requirement and one that may or may not work, depending on your spending habits.
Manulife Bank’s Advantage Account combines chequing with high-interest savings. Currently, the standard interest rate is 2.00%, but Manulife offers new customers an introductory rate of 3.75% for five months. The welcome offer is similar to the Tangerine offer. Unfortunately, transactions are only free if you maintain $1000 in your account throughout the month. Otherwise, ATM withdrawals are $1.50 each, and e-Transfers are $1.00.
Manulife’s value proposition for daily online banking isn’t as straightforward as the top players in this category. For one, their bank accounts (All-In Banking and Advantage) charge fees unless you satisfy the balance requirements. Dealing with Manulife Bank might be worth it if you use other Manulife products and will always satisfy their minimum balance requirements, but at the end of the day, their banking is not truly “free.”
What We Like: High savings interest, access to the large ATM network
- Online-only bank owned by Canadian Western Bank
- High savings interest rates
- The savings account is no-fee, with two free monthly withdrawals
- ATM access via THE EXCHANGE Network
Motive Financial is a subsidiary of Canadian Western Bank. The online-only bank boasts one of Canada’s most attractive savings interest rates. Currently, Motive is paying 3.00% interest on balances up to $5MM in its Motive Savvy Savings Account.
While the account only includes two free monthly withdrawals, you can make unlimited transfers between other Motive accounts. The account has no monthly fee. While Motive is a digital bank, you can make deposits and withdrawals at any ATM on THE EXCHANGE Network, which includes thousands of ATMs across Canada.
Motive Financial’s mobile app allows you to perform the same transactions as most banking apps, including paying bills, sending and receiving e-Transfers, and opening a new Motive Savings Account or GIC.
What We Like: High rates on savings and GICs.
- Online bank, division of Home Trust
- High-interest savings accounts and GICs
- Some rates are superior to Neo and EQ
- Deposits are CDIC-Insured
- The product line is limited
Oaken Financial is a digital bank that is a division of Home Trust Company, which is Canada’s largest independent trust company. Unlike other digital banks on our list, Oaken Financial has a limited product offering: they only offer a savings account and some GIC products.
The Oaken Savings account offers an attractive interest rate (currently 3.40%) with unlimited transactions and no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements. Their GICs are also very competitive, with terms ranging between 30 days and five years and interest rates up to 4.65%.
You’ll be disappointed if you’re searching for additional products, like credit cards or investment funds. But if your goal is simply to lock away your money somewhere safe, Oaken Financial is worth looking into. Oaken deposits are protected with CDIC insurance.
Credit Union Online Banking
While it wasn’t always the case, most credit unions now have their own online and mobile banking platforms. And while they still lack some of the functionality of the big bank apps, you can do all the important stuff, like mobile cheque deposits and send and receive e-Transfers. At the moment, Steinbach Credit Union gets our nod for top online banking due to its EQ-busting regular interest rate of 2.80% on savings and an online-friendly E-Pack chequing account.
Steinbach Credit Union: Best Overall Credit Union
What We Like: E-Pack Chequing account, top-tier savings interest rates
- Manitoba’s largest credit union
- Regular savings interest rate of 2.80% (as of October 18, 2022)
- E-Pack chequing account is ideal for online banking transactions
Steinbach Credit Union (SCU) is Manitoba’s largest credit union and is well-known within the province for its high-interest rates on savings and GIC products.
Currently, they are offering 2.80% interest on their regular savings account, even higher than EQ Bank’s 2.50%. You can earn up to 3.00% on balances over $250,000. You can open a savings account online with SCU if you are 18 years of age, a Canadian resident, and have a valid email address.
Steinbach Credit Union also offers a chequing account for members who prefer to bank online. It’s called E-Pack chequing. For a reasonable $5 monthly fee, you get 15 monthly debits, including cheques, online bill payments, and five free e-Transfers. You can bank online with SCU’s mobile app for easy access to your account.
Meridian Credit Union
What We Like: Excellent savings interest, the parent company of motusbank
- Superior savings interest vs. big banks
- High-interest savings extends to TFSA, RSP, RIF
- Mobile app for iOS and Android
- 2FA security
Meridian Credit Union is Canada’s second-largest credit union. While they aren’t an online bank per se, its online banking platform has plenty to offer. For starters, you don’t have to open a separate account with Neo or EQ to get a great interest rate on your savings – Meridian is currently paying 2.05% on its high-interest savings account.
The Ontario-based credit union lets you bank anywhere with its mobile app, which is available for iOS and Android devices. You can deposit cheques with your phone, pay bills, transfer funds, and set up alerts and notifications.
Vancity Credit Union
What We Like: e-Package chequing with free mobile cheque deposit and e-Transfers
- Canada’s largest credit union
- e-Package chequing account offers free electronic and online banking
- Competitive interest on GICs and Term Deposits
BC-based Vancity is Canada’s largest credit union, with over 50 branches and 500,000 members. As expected, they offer a full suite of banking and investment products, many of which are available through their online banking platform.
Their e-Package Chequing account was designed with electronic banking in mind. If you maintain $1000 in your account throughout the month, you won’t pay a monthly fee. What’s more, the account offers free online bill payments, Mobile cheque deposits, and e-Transfers.
One big drawback – they don’t offer much in the way of savings interest, lagging behind the digital banks and Meridian Credit Union in this regard.
Servus Credit Union
What We Like: Award-winning credit union mobile app has an Instant Balance feature
- The award-winning credit union is known for excellent service
- They offer a full suite of banking products and services
- The mobile banking app has a unique feature called Instant Balance
- Digital payments are available
- Savings account interest rate is closer to big five banks than top online banks
Servus Credit Union is Alberta’s largest Credit Union. They are known for providing excellent customer service and offering clients a full online banking experience.
With Servus’s mobile app, available on iOS and Android, you can access mobile cheque deposits and make digital payments from your phone. And a feature called Instant Balance lets you view the balances of up to four accounts right from the sign-in screen of your Servus mobile app.
The Servus World Elite Mastercard rewards cardholders with 2% cash back and is also available for digital payments. Unfortunately, their savings account interest rate is on the low end and is closer to the big five banks than the top online banks like Neo and EQ.
The Big 5 Banks
Canada’s big banks have had online banking since before most digital banks existed. These days, their online banking platforms are as good as you’ll find anywhere, with two big drawbacks; fees and lackluster interest rates on savings. If you stick to the big banks for your online banking, know this: you’ll get all the bells and whistles, but you will pay a premium in the long run.
Scotiabank: Best of the Big Banks
What We Like: MomentumPLUS Savings Account with Welcome Bonus
- Decent savings interest rates among the big banks
- Online banking platform makes it easy to transfer funds overseas
- Round-up savings feature available
- Solid rewards credit card lineup
- Transfer easily between Scotiabank and Tangerine
Scotiabank edges out TD Canada Trust for top online banking amongst the big banks due to their MomentumPLUS Savings Account, which currently pays a decent 1.35% regular interest rate on your full account balance. They also have a 5-month Welcome Bonus interest of up to 4.25%, which is similar to what their digital banking division, Tangerine, offers.
What We Like: Dedicated app tracks your spending (TD MySpend)
- Mobile app is among the best in the business
- TD MySpend – a dedicated app that tracks your spending
- TD ePremium Savings Account offers decent interest on balances >$10,000
- Cross Border banking allows you to bank at TD in the U.S.
- Several options for transferring money overseas
TD, Canada’s second-largest bank, has not just one mobile app but two. Customers can download TD MySpend, a free app that tracks their spending and lets them know if they’re on pace to spend more or less than they normally would.
For people who prefer to bank online, they also offer an ePremium Savings account, which can only be accessed online (no in-person transactions). Unfortunately, it’s a tiered interest rate, and you don’t earn interest on balances under $10,000. Scotiabank’s MomentumPLUS is a better option.
What We Like: ePremium Savings with free online transfers and a generous Welcome bonus.
- Stability of dealing with Canada’s largest bank
- Send money overseas with an RBC International Money Transfer
- ePremium Savings offers free online transfers to other RBC accounts
Like TD, RBC has its own online savings account called the RBC High-Interest eSavings. The standard interest is lower than both Scotia and TD, but they currently offer an introductory rate of 4% for three months. The account does pay interest on the full balance. The account can only be accessed online or at an RBC ATM, but you can transfer to and from your eSavings to your other RBC accounts for free online.
Like the other big banks, RBC has an International Money Transfer service that lets you send money overseas from the comfort of your living room. RBC’s mobile app, while not as slick as TD’s, lets you perform all of the different functions you would expect from a mobile banking app.
What We Like: Mobile app functionality, Apple Watch integration
- Check your free credit score from the mobile app
- CIBC eAdvantage Savings account is designed for online transactions
- Bonus interest is available when you set up an automated savings plan
CIBC customers can check their credit scores for free on the CIBC mobile banking app. It’s one of many features designed to make managing your finances much easier. Mobile cheque deposits are another, and CIBC lets you check your account balance and make transfers directly from your Apple Watch.
When it comes to online accounts, CIBC also has an online-only savings account called CIBC eAdvantage Savings. There’s no monthly fee, although transactions are $5.00. An interesting feature, if you set up an automated savings plan of $200 or more, you’ll be rewarded with 0.75% bonus interest.
What we like: Savings Amplifier account, options for investing online
- Savings Amplifier account has a solid interest rate vs. competitors
- Plenty of online investment options, including robo-advisor
BMO’s online banking features don’t stand out. They offer the typical desktop and mobile banking experience that gets the job done, which is all that matters for many people. Like the other big banks on our list, they have their own online savings account, the Savings Amplifier Account. It offers a decent regular interest rate and free self-serve transactions to your other BMO accounts with no monthly fee or minimum balance requirement.
Online Bank FAQs
Are Online Banks Safe?
Yes, dealing with an online bank in Canada is perfectly safe. The best online banks adhere to strict privacy policies and employ the same security features on their online platforms as the big banks.
Do Online Banks Offer CDIC Deposit Insurance?
Most online banks in Canada are CDIC members, or they are backed by a Canadian bank that is a CDIC member. This means that your deposits are protected up to $100,000 per registration. If you’re wondering about a specific online bank, visit their website for more information.
Do Online Banks Have Registered Accounts?
Many online banks allow you to open registered accounts, including TFSAs, RRSPs, and RIFs. Some also have RESPs, LIRAs, and LIF accounts. If you’re interested in opening a registered account, confirm with the online bank before proceeding.
Do Online Banks Offer Student Accounts?
Not all online banks have specific accounts for students, but some do. Check on the bank’s website before signing up.
Do Online Banks Have Physical Branches?
No online-only bank in Canada has physical branches. Most, however, are connected to a large ATM network so that you can withdraw cash at little to no cost from physical locations across Canada. For example, Tangerine customers have access to the Scotiabank ATM network, while Simplii customers can use CIBC’s ATMs for no charge.
The Best Online Banks in Canada: Final Thoughts
Online banks offer the best rates on high-interest savings accounts and no-fee banking, two areas where brick-and-mortar banks fail to deliver. The only downside is that, in some cases, their products and services are limited. For example, EQ doesn’t issue debit cards, and Oaken Financial only offers high-interest savings accounts and GICs.
If you don’t mind dealing with more than one financial institution, you’ll earn more money and save on fees by opening an online bank account with an online-only bank like Tangerine or EQ. Even a fintech like Neo Financial will pay you better interest and help you avoid banking fees with their Neo Money spending account.