For nearly two decades, I’ve been writing about the evolving landscape of Canada’s best online banks. Frankly, I’ve often been disappointed in how long it has taken our virtual banks to catch up to those in the US and abroad.

A decade and a half ago, the emergence of online banking platforms like ING Direct hinted at a potential shift, challenging Canada’s “Big 6 Banks” to take their online services up a notch. Despite RBC, TD, BMO, National Bank, and Scotiabank enhancing their online offerings, their models still heavily rely on physical branches and relatively high fees. For years, these giants managed to overshadow purely online competitors.

However, the tide has turned in recent years. Institutions like EQ Bank and a number of online credit unions in Canada have been making significant strides. I’ve personally created accounts with all of the options on the top online banks mentioned below – so that I can tell you about the mobile and desktop platforms from firsthand experience.

To ensure you have the most current information at your fingertips, I regularly update the online banking comparison below, covering everything from special promotional offers and interest rates to account fees and transaction costs.

Best Online Canadian Bank Comparison

While reviewing my personal ranking of Canada’s online banks, please keep in mind that everyone’s requirements are different. Personally, I want the best interest rates for my high interest savings accounts and Canadian GICs. In order to get those elite rates, I’m willing to not have to visit a physical store in a strip mall.

Star Rating4.8 / 5
1 Year GIC Rate


Interest Rate

2.5% + 1.5% Bonus

Simply Canada's Best Online Bank. Excellent savings interest rates, reloadable EQ Bank Card for purchases, superb platform, incredible value.
Star Rating4.3 / 5
1 Year GIC Rate


Interest Rate


Runner up to EQ Bank. Used to have better rates. Good credit card options.
Star Rating4 / 5
1 Year GIC Rate


Interest Rate

1.40%, with special promo rate of up to 4.60%

Best Big Bank. Excellent chequing account and credit combination. Very nice welcome bonus.
Star Rating3.8 / 5
1 Year GIC Rate


Interest Rate

0.40% (5.25% Teaser)

Best welcome bonus. Good no-fee chequing account and solid app
Star Rating3.7 / 5
1 Year GIC Rate


Interest Rate


No Available Promotion

Star Rating3.4 / 5
1 Year GIC Rate


interest Rate

0.25% - 3%

No Available Promotion

The best rates for chequing accounts: 0.25% in interest. Clunky platform and hefty transaction fees to withdraw from savings accounts.
Star Rating2.9 / 5
1 Year GIC Rate


Interest Rate

0.05% - 2.50%

No Available Promotion

Online investing partnership with Qtrade - the best broker in Canada.
Star Rating2.4 / 5
1 Year GIC Rate


Interest Rate


No Available Promotion

Good option for Quebec residents. Only savings account and GICs.

Now, keep in mind that while virtual banks are competing with the big brick and mortar banks, they still vary quite a bit in their offerings. Some of the new online banks in Canada offer teaser rates (which I don’t love) while others have a lower, but consistent rate that hold steady over time.

Similarly, some digital banks are basic and only offer one or two account options while others are growing to add accounts other than chequing and savings including TFSAs and RRSPs. 

So if you are looking for the best online bank in Canada when it comes to your personal wishlist, read on to see which boxes our leading competitors check off.

Why Use an Online Bank?

When was the last time you walked into a bank? 

These days most Canadians use online banking to conduct and take care of their financial needs. The best online banks have made our lives substantially easier, to the point where it’s the norm rather than the shiny new toy.

“The average Canadian visits their bank’s website five times as often as they do their branch. While differences emerge across generations, in-person banking is now the most common way to bank for only 10 per cent of Canadians”

Canadian Bankers Association, 2022

I don’t know about you, but I definitely prefer being able to pay my bills from my couch while wearing sweatpants on a cold winter day rather than having to wait in line to see a teller.

Online Banking Cost

Big banks have overhead costs that trickle down to you, the client, which means you have to pay more for your accounts and frequently are offered lower interest rates. In comparison, online banks don’t have those big overhead costs which means they can offer you higher rates and, depending on the online bank, even free bank accounts.


Another huge draw to online banking is the convenience. You can do everything from opening an account to paying a bill online anywhere; from the comfort of your home, to the gym, to the office. It doesn’t matter, your online banking is always available.

Online Banks are Time Savers

On top of being convenient, online banks actually save you time. No more waiting in line or worrying about bank hours. You can do whatever you need to with the push of a couple of buttons (or computer keys) at whatever time of day you want.

EQ Bank – My Pick For The Best Online Bank Account in Canada

Since 2016, EQ Bank has been dedicated to affordable, convenient digital banking. Its parent institution, Equitable Bank, was founded in 1970 and is Canada’s 7th largest national bank. 

EQ Bank offers personal high-interest savings accounts (individual, joint, and USD) as well as competitive GICs, RRSPs, and TFSAs. Check out our full EQ Bank Review for more details.

EQ Bank just keeps getting better. In 2023 alone they have introduced the new EQ Bank Card AND continued their run as the #1 bank in Canada as judged by Forbes. The Bank Card is a huge leap forward for customers, as it removed one of the few friction points when it came to everyday uses. 

By giving Canadians a convenient way to pay for stuff, using the same crazy high-interest savings account that they earn a ton of interest on, EQ continues to separate themselves from the pack.

And best of all, EQ is now available in Quebec!


  • Great interest rates on savings accounts and GICs
  • No fees
  • Excellent mobile app
  • Top ranked bank in Canada
  • Cashback bank card


  • No business accounts (but a small business account has been promised for 2024)

Best Feature: No fees, great rates, convenient purchasing power, and a fantastic app.

Tangerine — Runner Up for Best Online Bank in Canada

Tangerine, a digital-only subsidiary of Scotiabank, was originally ING Direct, a pioneer in branchless banking in the 1990s. Acquired by Scotiabank in 2012, Tangerine was considered Canada’s top online bank for years. 

Tangerine offers no-fee chequing and savings accounts, no-fee cashback credit cards, and GICs as well as mortgages and investment account options. You can read more in my full Tangerine review

Currently, when you open a new account with Tangerine you can get an interest rate of 5% in their high interest savings account, which is great. However, after 5 months that drops to 1% which is not as enticing.


  • Excellent online platform and app
  • Solid no-fee credit card options
  • Good promotional offer
  • Best all-in-one online bank


Best Feature: The No-Fee Money Back Credit Card and the convenience of a one-stop bank.

Scotiabank — Best Big Bank for Online Banking

The only one of Canada’s big banks to make our list, Scotiabank was founded in 1831. It offers a variety of banking packages, most of which you can apply for and access completely online. 

Scotiabank offers chequing and savings accounts, a line of credit cards, and investment accounts. Their Ultimate Package includes a huge number of features, from a safety deposit box to cheques and bank drafts for no extra fee. 

Scotiabank is currently offering new clients a $350 welcome bonus if they sign up for their Preferred or Ultimate Packages and set up two automatic payments or deposits. You can read all the details in our Scotiabank Review


  • Excellent perks and inclusions
  • Generous welcome bonus
  • Premium credit card fee waived


  • Hefty fee unless you maintain a minimum balance
    Package is only worth it if you actually want all the bells and whistles

Best Feature: The package inclusions. Big banks are pricey, but Scotiabank’s packages offer good value for that money.

Simplii Financial—Best Online Bank Welcome Bonus

Simplii Financial falls under the CIBC umbrella and was known as PC Financial until 2017.

Simplii offers the full range of online banking features: chequing and savings accounts, credit cards, mortgages, loans, and investment options including GICs, RRSPs, TFSAs, and mutual funds. Learn more about Simplii Financial here. 

Simplii is currently offering a welcome bonus of $400 if you open a chequing account. While that’s the same amount as Scotiabank offer, there are fewer requirements to qualify. New savings accounts also receive 5 months of a 5.25% promotional interest rate. 


  • Excellent welcome bonus
  • Variety of banking options
  • Low fees


  • Low everyday interest rate for savings accounts
  • GIC rates aren’t competitive
  • Customer service isn’t great
  • Platform isn’t user friendly

Best Feature: That sweet welcome bonus and the variety of offerings.

Motusbank – Best Online Bank for Travelling in the US

Motusbank is relatively new when it comes to the best online banks in Canada. It’s owned by Ontario-based Meridian Credit Union which makes it a favourite for online banking in Ontario.

Motusbank offers chequing and savings accounts, as well as GICs, mortgages, financial planning and personalized investing, and an exciting partnership with Qtrade Direct Investing, our top recommended online broker. 

Motus Bank has a leg up on the other online banks when it comes to travel to the USA. They offer access to over 40,000 ATMs, surcharge-free, in the USA through the Allpoint network. A handy benefit to have for anyone who travels frequently to the USA. Read my Motusbank Review here.


  • Free US ATM access
  • Qtrade partnership
  • Good savings account interest rate


  • Lower GIC rates
  • Not all services are available in Quebec

Best Feature: Free ATM access in the US.

Motive Financial – Earn Interest on Online Chequing Account Balance

Motive Financial is one of the biggest online banks in Canada and is a division of the Canadian Western Bank.

Motive Financial offers a chequing account and a savings account, plus GICs, TFSAs, and RRSPs. New clients opening a Motive Savvy Savings Account will see an interest rate of 3% – a really good rate compared to many other online banks. Problem is, their overall fees make this service much less enticing.

Motive Financial lets you earn interest on your chequing account too. The Cha-Ching Chequing account will bring you 0.25% in interest. Check out my Motive Financial Review for full details.


  • Chequing account earns interest
  • Savings account has a great interest rate
  • No monthly fees


  • Additional fees can add up
  • Limited transactions for savings accounts

Best Feature: Earning more than 0.01% interest on a chequing account.

Alterna Bank – Online Bank With a Qtrade Welcome Bonus

Alterna Bank is part of the Alterna Savings Credit Union, which is based in Ontario. They offer everyday banking accounts, mortgages, and investing options. Their HISA interest rate is higher than some of the others on this list, at 2.5%, but what really makes Alterna Bank stand out is their partnership with Qtrade.

While Motusbank has also partnered with Qtrade, Alterna is offering new investors up to $2,000 cashback if they open an account and invest $5,000 with Qtrade Direct Investing. Check out our Qtrade Review to see why they’re MDJ’s top recommended online broker in Canada. 


  • Competitive interest rate
  • Qtrade welcome bonus


  • Minimum investment of $5,000 to be eligible for the Qtrade bonus

Best Feature: A Qtrade partnership that gives you cashback.

Oaken Financial – Available in Quebec

Oaken Financial’s parent company is Home Trust, Canada’s largest independent trust company. It only has one savings account and some GIC options. However, what it lacks in product offerings it makes up for in value, with a standard interest rate of 3.4%.

The other thing that makes Oaken Financial a standout is that Quebec residents are able to open an account with them which is not the case for many other online banks in Canada.


  • Excellent interest rate on savings account
  • Available to Quebec residents
  • No fees
  • Business accounts available


  • Only a few offerings

Best Feature: The excellent standard interest rate and the availability in Quebec.

Canadians are Turning to Online Banking 

According to recent research by the Canadian Bankers Association (CBA) 78% of Canadians do most of their online banking digitally (via online and mobile banking). 

While pandemic lockdowns sped up the shift to online banking, the experts say that the change is here to stay. And that makes sense because online banking is just a lot easier and more convenient for most of us.

Of course, direct banking in Canada isn’t the only way to bank online. The big banks, the brick-and-mortar ones, are going digital too.

Types of Online Bank Accounts

Unlike traditional banks, each online bank offers something a bit different. As you may have noticed from my mini-reviews, not every bank will offer all of the types of bank accounts listed below. For now, here are the main types of online bank accounts available in Canada.

  • Savings Accounts that you can park your money in and earn a bit of interest at the same time.
  • Chequing Accounts that allow for easy access to your money for monthly bills and daily expenses. 
  • High Interest Savings Accounts offer a higher interest rate than regular savings accounts. Online banks are known for having the highest interest rates in Canada.
  • TFSA Accounts are Canadian government sponsored accounts that allow you to invest, save and grow your money tax free when you withdraw it up to a certain amount.
  • Hybrid Savings and Chequing Accounts act like a savings account in terms of earning interest, but lets you spend like a chequing account.
  • Investment Accounts allow you to easily invest your savings to help you plan for the future.
  • Student Accounts work the same as regular chequing and savings accounts, and are a great way to help younger people become more financially savvy.
  • Senior Accounts offer more discounts and freebies to help those in retirement save more money.

Best Online Banks in Canada Account Types Comparison


Everyday Interest Rate

Quebec Accounts

EQ Bank




Same $0 Account













Yes - but not online





Same $0 Account


Motive Financial

0.25% - 3%


Yes but not online

Same $0 Account


RBC Online Banking






Advantages of Online Banking

  1. Convenient and time saving, as everything can be done online or through a mobile app.
  2. Higher interest rates than most brick and mortar banks.
  3. Saves money because you’re not paying fees so the banks can pay rent.
  4. Easy connectivity to other accounts, such as your investment account.
  5. High levels of security, similar to credit unions, so you know your money is safe.

Now, we’ll have a look at the areas online banks might not be up to par with brick and mortar banks.

Disadvantages of Online Banking

  1. Lacking in personal touch as you likely won’t be communicating with an actual person most of the time.
  2. Fewer ATMs available, which means you could end up spending more on ATM fees.
  3. Lacking in all-in-one packages that the bigger banks can offer.
  4. Limitations in terms of types of services offered.

Are Online Banks Safe?

When it comes to the safety of online banks in Canada, it’s a topic that garners a lot of attention and concern, especially for those considering making the switch from traditional brick-and-mortar institutions. The short answer is: Yes, Canadian online banks are safe.

Here’s a quick look at the layers of safety the market leaders make use of:

Firstly, these online banks operate under the same strict regulatory framework that governs all financial institutions in the country. They are regulated by the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI), ensuring that they adhere to high standards of security and reliability.

This means that the operational practices of online banks are closely monitored, and they must meet rigorous criteria to protect their customers’ funds and personal information.

Another layer of security comes from the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC). Most online banks in Canada (including my recommendations) are members of the CDIC, which means any deposits up to $100,000 per account type are protected in the unlikely event of bank failure.

Keeping in mind of course we haven’t had a bank failure in quite a long time in Canada. As publicly-traded companies, banks like EQ and Tangerine (which is part of Scotiabank) have to make all of their financial records public every quarter. So it’s not like financial trouble would come out of nowhere.

Finally, online banks leverage advanced technology to ensure the security of their platforms. They employ robust encryption methods to safeguard data transmission, use two-factor authentication (2FA) to enhance account access security, and continuously update their systems to fend off cyber threats. Additionally, many online banks have dedicated teams monitoring for suspicious activities and implementing preventive measures against fraud and identity theft.

Best Online Bank Mobile App

There is no doubt that the biggest banks in Canada such as RBC and TD offer very solid mobile apps. For my money though, I’ll put the user experience of EQ Bank’s mobile app up against any of them.

You can tell the bank was created to do business exclusively in an online environment. The app is very simple, and the ability to request cash from another linked account is really unique and convenient. While I prefer to do most of my transactions on my desktop (since I spend much of my day at my computer anyway) I know friends that use EQ Bank exclusively through their app.

Shifting money between accounts, exchanging currencies, or even investing in a GIC within an RRSP or TFSA is quick and painless on the app. Easy access to eTransfers (for $0) separates EQ from the credit union banking apps.

There has been some chatter on the personal finance reddit that I frequent in regards to the biometric login needing some improvement, but I honestly just prefer to use the password anyway, so I can’t comment firsthand. Overall, a small price to pay when balanced against all of the free services EQ allows you to access through their app.

Online Banking in Canada: FAQ

Canadian Virtual Banks in 2024 – No Fees and the Right Fit

To choose the online bank that is right for you, use the Canadian online bank comparison chart we compiled above to compare interest rates and banking fees.

But perhaps even more important than the raw numbers is the “vibes” or overall comfort level with your chosen bank. After all, if you don’t like the website, app, or customer service enough to actually use the product, it doesn’t really matter how good the interest rate is! For me, that’s where EQ really excels.

When you pair up the simple design that EQ uses, with their unbeatable customer service, you realize the difference between a bank that was built to be online-only – and a bank built for in-person customers that also happens to have a website and an app.

The one knock against EQ used to be that they didn’t have a card to go with their bank accounts. That all changed in 2023 with the launch of the EQ Bank Card, a prepaid card option that makes it easy to use your EQ account to buy directly from stores, etc.

Ultimately, picking the best online bank for you, comes down to what features you need. If being able to walk into a strip mall and see a representative face-to-face means more to you than getting the best interest rates for GICs and high interest savings accounts, then you might want to look at a Big 6 Bank instead of an online-only bank such as EQ.


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FT is the founder and editor of Million Dollar Journey (est. 2006). Through various financial strategies outlined on this site, he grew his net worth from $200,000 in 2006 to $1,000,000 by 2014. You can read more about him here.
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Philippe Joly
3 years ago

Good article but one note I would add is that as far as I can tell, motusbank has the same partnership with QTrade Investor and VirtualWealth as Alterna Bank.