Best Student Bank Account in Canada (2024 Promos Included)

Picture yourself racing across the quad to your early morning lecture – your iced coffee spills down the front of the cleanest hoodie you could find to throw on.

You have two papers to write and midterm exams are quickly approaching – any thoughts of your finances are far from top of mind. You’ve got a lot to keep straight – covering rent, paying tuition, and forking out more money for textbooks! You need a bank account that can keep up with your fast-paced life, but you don’t have the time to research the best student bank account in Canada.

How can you decide which of the many free/cheap options is the best student bank account for you?

Star Rating4.9 / 5
Chequing / Savings Account

Savings Only

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
Chequing / Savings Account


Interest Rate


Runner up to EQ Bank. Used to have better rates. Good credit card options.
Star Rating4 / 5
Chequing / Savings Account


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
Chequing / Savings Account


Interest Rate

0.40% (5.25% Teaser)

Best welcome bonus. Good no-fee chequing account and solid app
Star Rating3.7 / 5
Chequing / Savings Account


Interest Rate


No Available Promotion

Star Rating3.4 / 5
Chequing / Savings Account


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
Chequing / Savings Account


Interest Rate

0.05% - 2.50%

No Available Promotion

Online investing partnership with Qtrade - the best broker in Canada.
Star Rating2.4 / 5
Chequing / Savings Account

Savings Only

Interest Rate


No Available Promotion

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

We here at Million Dollar Journey believe that the free online chequing accounts are still the best value for most Canadians. Check out FT’s recent comparison of Canada’s best chequing accounts

For those enrolled full time in post-secondary education such as a university or college the big banks actually offer some very attractive packages for the attractive price of $0. Read on to see an overview of some of the best accounts and offers for students. You can also read our new guide for the best student credit cards in Canada.

Flash that Student ID for Those Sweet Student Banking Promotions

Your student ID can get you a free chequing account at all major banks in Canada. When the time is right, you can enjoy some decent chequing account offers for students. Here are the current student banking deals from Canada’s big five banks.

Canadian Big Banks Student Account Comparison:

AccountMonthly FeeTransaction FeesSpecial Promotions
BMO Student Chequing Account$0Unlimited debit transactions and Interac e-Transfers$100 cash bonus; 1 free pizza from Domino’s every month for 6 months 
CIBC Smart for Students$0Unlimited debit transactions and Interac e-Transfers$100 cash bonus;Free SPC+ membership
RBC Advantage Banking for students$0Unlimited debit transactions and Interac e-Transfers$100 cash bonus plus $100 donation made to eligible charity of your choice
Scotiabank Student Banking Advantage Plan$0Unlimited debit transactions and Interac e-Transfers$100 cash bonus
TD Student Chequing Account$0Unlimited debit transactions and Interac e-Transfers$100 cash bonus; 6 month membership to Uber One ($60 value)

BMO’s Students Discount

BMO Bank of Montreal gives students a $10.95 discount on the Performance account. The discount makes the Performance account free. Interestingly, the most basic account (Practical account) is not discounted, so a fuller feature Plus account actually becomes cheaper (free) than the less featured Practical account.

The Performance account gives you unlimited free transactions per month and unlimited Interac e-Transfers.

To be eligible, you must be enrolled full-time in university, college, or registered private vocational school. BMO is also nice enough to extend the student discount for up to one year after you graduate.

There is a $100 opening bonus promotion running at the moment until February 29th, 2024. You need to be a brand new BMO customer and complete 2 Interac e-Transfers with your new account to receive the opening bonus. Seventy bucks isn’t too bad. That’s about 16 meatball subs worth of cash! Speaking of food, BMO is throwing in free pizza for 6 months! Students who open a BMO Student Chequing Account qualify for one free Domino’s pizza a month for 6 months.

CIBC’s Free Chequing Account For Students

CIBC offers the Smart Account for Students.  It’s a free chequing account with unlimited transactions and unlimited Interac e-Transfers. That’s quite a convenient account that takes away the hassle of tracking your transactions every month. You have enough things to track already, transactions shouldn’t be one of them.

CIBC’s Smart Account for Students has an expiration date. It’s limited to 4.5 years, after which, it automatically converts to a regular chequing account.

CIBC is also offering a $100 opening bonus to new customers. You just have to share your email, register for online or mobile banking, then make at least 5 Visa Debit purchase purchases online within the first of account opening to receive the bonus cash. If meatball subs aren’t your thing, you can get about 20 Red Bull energy drinks instead with your bonus cash.

The CIBC Smart Account also comes paired with a free SPC membership. You save the $10 SPC membership fee and you can enjoy discounts, contests, and other promotional offers for services or goods at retailers across Canada.

RBC’s Free Banking Account

RBC’s chequing account aimed at Canadian students is the RBC Advantage Banking for students account. This account offers unlimited debit transactions and unlimited Interac e-Transfers. There is no monthly fee for this account for full-time students.

The big banks aren’t all that creative when it comes to promotions, so no surprise, RBC is also offering a $100 opening bonus for new customers. On top of that, they’ll donate an extra $100 to a charity cause of your choice. Their promotion runs until January 31, 2024 and requires you to do one of the following:

make at least three debit transactions, register your RBC Banking account for an Interac auto deposit and send one e-transfer, or enroll for a Virtual Visa Debit Card and make one transaction. Sick of energy drinks and want to detox? 100 bucks can get you 6 healthy Teriyaki Twist bowls from Freshii.

Scotiabank Student Banking Advantage Plan

Scotiabank’s free Student Banking Advantage Plan offers unlimited transactions and unlimited Interac e-Transfers. Similar to other Scotiabank accounts, activity in the student account can earn you SCENE points towards free movies and other discounts.

Scotiabank’s new promo offer is $100 cash. The offer is valid until January 31, 2024.

You just have to complete one of two things: set up payroll deposit (a weird requirement for a student account) or set up 1 recurring pre-authorized transactions for a minimum of $25 per transaction for twelve consecutive months. This bonus offer can get you 4 free movies. That could be a couple of nice dates or one fun evening with friends.

Aside: an interesting option at Scotiabank is to forgo your student status and just open a regular chequing account instead. As Kyle discovered in his Scotiabank review, the current $300 opening bonus could be great value, even if you end up paying some fees.

TD Bank – Free Student Account

Finally, TD’s Student Chequing account is free and gives you unlimited free transactions and unlimited Interac e-Transfers. TD is also offering a $100 cash bonus until August 5th, 2024 if you complete any 3 of the following:

  • Set up a recurring deposit
  • Make an online bill payment
  • Send or receive an e-transfer of a minimum $50
  • Make an online purchase with the TD Access Card with Visa Debit.

They are also offering students who open a TD Student Chequing Account a 6 month membership to Uber One, valued at $60. This membership includes $0 delivery fees on food and groceries and 5% off eligible rides.

The main benefit of an account with a major bank is the in-person experience. If that’s important to you, then take advantage of one of the offers described above.

I quite like Scotiabank for its SCENE points rewards program. You’re going to be using your account, might as well earn some free movies at the same time. Those points could come in handy when you’re cash strapped but still want to treat a date to a movie. That being said, it’s hard to say no to free pizza – which is exactly what BMO is banking on with its BMO Student Chequing Account.

Best Free Online Bank Accounts for Students

If you don’t need the in-person, in-branch experience at a brick and mortar bank, then a free, online chequing account is for you, student or otherwise. Million Dollar Journey often features updated reviews and comparisons of online banking options, like our on the Best Online Banks in Canada. The advice there applies to most Canadians, including college and university 

Honestly, with EQ Bank now having its own debit/credit card available, there is really no reason not to go with this free online bank account.

They won’t buy you any pizzas, but you’ll get an excellent interest rate on money that is just sitting there waiting for you to use. Also, because it’s an online-only bank, their user interface is the best in Canada – plus they excel at offering help via chat or email (no more waiting in line at a branch).

High Interest Savings Accounts For Students

A student may not have much cash for savings or investments but it’s still important to put away some savings whenever and however much possible.

When it comes to high-interest savings accounts, EQ Bank is the top choice at the moment. We like the high interest rate (4%) on offer, and we like that the rate is not a teaser or promo. The rate is the rate. Whatever money you can set aside into an EQ Bank Savings account can grow while you focus on studying for finals.

An interesting feature of EQ Bank’s saving accounts is the ability to make unlimited Interac e-Transfers and electronic funds transfers. This makes the savings account more flexible and acts a little bit like a chequing account. If you don’t need to write physical cheques, then this EQ Bank Personal account could even cover your everyday banking needs.

In his EQ Bank Review, Kornel suggests an ultimate EQ Bank hack: use a credit card for everyday purchases, then use pre-authorized payments to pay off the credit card. Voila, no chequing account is needed and your money earns you more interest than any chequing account.


I’m a big fan of free online banking for students.

If you really value the in-person, in-branch experience at a brick and mortar bank, then choose one of the big banks and take advantage of their opening bonuses.

Between the major banks, I have to say that the hundred bucks plus Domino’s pizza campaign that BMO has going is hilarious. I might go there just for that. If in-person experience isn’t all that important, the EQ Bank Personal account (see our EQ Bank Review for more details) is far and away the best savings account for students.

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Yang is a mechanical engineer by day and an avid learner by night. He has a wide range of interests and hopes to turn his interest in personal finance into helpful articles for other Canadians along their path to financial freedom.
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