Canada is filled with a diverse range of students from all over the world, and with this diversity comes differences in opinions, culture, and social norms. It is common for international students to find that banks in Canada are very different from their home countries.

International students have many options when opening a bank account in Canada, and the challenges they face will vary depending on the bank they choose. New students have many great banking options, including the country’s most prominent institutions like Scotiabank, BMO, CI, HSBC, National Bank, RBC, and TD.

Choosing the right bank for exchange students can take time and effort. There are not just many options but different accounts available with each bank. This guide covers all the main things you will want to consider when looking for a Canadian bank to open an account for your students.

Let’s start from the basics!

What Is a Student Bank Account?

Financial institutions often offer special chequing and savings accounts for students. A student bank account is a chequing account specifically designed for college students. Student accounts are usually free, but they may charge you a fee if you exceed your balance or make too many transactions.

However, Student accounts are often better than free chequing accounts because they offer more benefits and services to help you manage your money. Some student banks even offer rewards programs that let you earn cash back on purchases or free money when you open an account.

Most student banks also have lower requirements than traditional ones, making them easier to qualify. And since they’re geared towards college students, most student banks don’t charge overdrafts or low-balance fees.

In addition, student bank accounts come with low debit card usage charges, so you don’t have to worry about paying extra fees when using your card while studying abroad or back home in Canada.

SDS study permits and GIC requirements for students

Student Direct Stream (SDS)study permits are for students who have already been accepted to a university in Canada and are planning to study in that country. If you’re applying under the SDS, you’ll need to provide proof of acceptance by a Canadian educational institution.

SDS is available to students from countries that have negotiated an agreement with Canada. These include Brazil, China, Morocco, Pakistan, India, Costa Rica, Colombia, the Philippines, Trinidad and Tobago, Vietnam, and Peru.

To get your study permit, you must have sufficient funds to pay for your tuition, living expenses and health insurance while you study in Canada. This requirement is called the GIC (Guaranteed Income Component).

However, a large number of banks in Canada make it possible for students to obtain GICs if they submit the necessary paperwork to do so.

Best Bank To Open an Account for Students

There are several student bank accounts in Canada, but not all offer the same features. Some have higher fees than others or lower interest rates, while others don’t allow you to use an ATM outside Canada. Here’s a look at some of the top student bank accounts in Canada and what they offer:


CIBC Student Banking is a division of CIBC that caters to students in Canada. The bank offers various products and services, such as student credit cards, chequing, and savings accounts.

The bank also offers online banking and bill payment services for students who want to manage their finances on the go or from any location.

CIBC Student Banking offers a variety of student banking options so students can choose the account that best meets their needs. 

The CIBC Student Account is a no-fee account designed for students under the age of 24 who are enrolled full-time in an accredited post-secondary institution with a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN).

The account has free access to over 4000 CIBC ATMs across Canada and unlimited Interac e-Transfer transactions at no charge.


  • Unlimited free monthly transactions
  • A bonus of $60 just for registering
  • Free Interac-e transfers
  • The SPC offers a free membership


Scotiabank Student Bank Account is designed for students looking for an easy and convenient way to manage their money. It comes with a free debit card, chequing and savings account, and online banking. You can also enjoy access to Scotiabank’s full range of other banking services, including loans, credit cards and mortgages.

What makes this bank account unique is its Scene+ Rewards program. This program rewards you with points that can be redeemed for various gift cards and merchandise. The more you use your account, the more points you earn!

The main advantage of this account is that it has no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements. This makes it ideal for students who may not have much money to put into their account but still want to have an account with a major bank.


  • No monthly fee
  • Unlimited monthly debits
  • Unlimited Interac e-Transfers Monthly
  • The free credit rating report
  • A bonus of $75 cash on the chequing account 


This is one of the few student bank accounts that doesn’t require a minimum balance to avoid fees, so you don’t have to worry about keeping as much money in your account as possible to avoid paying fees.

The HSBC Student Banking Account is available to anyone aged 18 or over and has no monthly fees, minimum balance requirements, and debit card charges.

HSBC offers the Newcomers Program for International Students, designed to help new immigrants from abroad settle into their new lives in Canada. Package deals are available for new account holders, and bonuses range from a few dollars to hundreds of dollars, depending on the account type and initial deposit.

Extra incentives become available for students who can work by opening a new Mutual Fund account or establishing a regular payroll system.


  • Interac e-Transfers are free.
  • Accept mobile deposits at no cost.
  • $150 sign-up bonus
  • Free withdrawals at HSBC Bank Canada or ATMs
  • Mobile/online banking
  • HSBC credit card

National Bank

National Bank is a Canadian financial institution that provides bank accounts for students. The bank has a variety of student accounts, including chequing and savings accounts, that are designed for students.

National Bank for students is open to all Canadian residents between 16 and 22 years of age or under 25 if they still attend high school full-time. Students must be enrolled in a post-secondary institution at least part-time to qualify.

The National Bank for Students Account allows you to withdraw money from any ATM in Canada and pay using your debit card or chequebook with no additional charges or fees applied.


  • Platinum credit card
  • Unlimited Free transfers
  • No Monthly fee
  • Student-specific offers


BMO Bank for students is a bank account you can open with a $16.95 deposit. BMO Bank for students is a full-service bank that works to meet the needs of students and young Canadians. Whether saving up for your first car or starting to plan for your future, you’ve got the products that can help you get there.


  • Free student chequing accounts
  •  No monthly fees
  •  Free Interac e-transfers
  •  SPC Program Discount
  •  Safe and secure online banking


RBC Bank is a full-service bank that has provided Canadians with personal and business banking services since 1864. The RBC Student Banking account is an excellent option for new graduates, international students and those aged 18 to 24. 

It’s a low-cost service that allows you to manage your finances efficiently. With this account, you can get free transactions from ATM and access to RBC Royal Bank branches across Canada.

Use this account to make deposits and withdrawals using your debit card or chequebook. You can also pay bills online or with mobile banking apps on your smartphone or tablet. You can even set up text message notifications if you want immediate updates on your balance or when you’ve made a significant payment.


  • Debit Card Purchases Without Limits
  • No RBC ATM fee in Canada
  • Online shopping with Virtual Visa Debit
  • Zero monthly cost 
  • RBC Student Mobile app


TD Bank is the largest bank in Canada and one of the top banks in North America. What makes TD Bank unique is that it offers a full range of products and services to students.

TD Bank is a good choice for students. It has many account options that are free to use and don’t charge fees. There are also some other features, like overdraft protection and debit cards, that will make managing money much more accessible.


  • Free monthly unlimited transactions
  • E-Transfers via the Interac Network.
  • Zero monthly cost 
  • Student Mobile app

Check Out How to Open a BANK ACCOUNT for International Students in Canada // Best Bank Account for Students:

Other Student Banks To Consider

Students often look for the best bank accounts to help them manage their money. And while the big banks like TD, CIBC and RBC offer student accounts with numerous perks, they may not be the best fit for your needs. Here are some options to consider:


Tangerine is the online banking arm of Scotiabank, Canada’s largest bank. The bank has no physical branches but offers its customers a wide range of services, including mortgages, credit cards and investment products.

Like many other online banks, Tangerine offers a no-fee chequing account and a variety of savings options. It also has a unique feature called “no fee” money market accounts. 

You have free access to any of the 3,500 Scotiabank ATMs across Canada and any 44,000 ATMs located worldwide that are part of the Scotiabank Global ATM Alliance.


  • Gain interest on your balance in your student chequing account.
  • Unlimited withdrawals
  • High-interest saving accounts
  • Payment of bills, ACH transfers, money orders,
  • Interac e-Transfers
  • $0 per month account fee
  • Free cheque deposits via mobile

Simplii Financial

Simplii Financial is a division of CIBC, and it has the lowest interest rate for student accounts with no monthly fees. It offers an interest rate ranging from 0.05% to 0.10%, depending on your balance and how much you deposit each month. You can also get up to four free Interac e-transfers per month.

In addition, the Simplii Student Savings Account is ideal for students who want to start saving early to build their emergency fund. 

You’ll receive up to 4% cash back on all purchases with your Cash Back Visa card. Every time you use your debit card, you’ll earn 0.50% to 4% cash back on all spending, including online purchases.


  • 3,400 CIBC ATMs are available for free in Canada.
  • unlimited debit
  • Sign-up bonus of $350 
  • Zero monthly fees

Checklist for Student Bank Accounts

Student banks are a great way to save money and earn interest on your savings. These banking accounts come with some perks and features. They are designed specifically for students, and they have features specifically tailored to the needs of students.

When you’re a student, managing your money is tough. You’re probably focused on paying your tuition and rent, but you also have to worry about having enough for food, drinks, and social events.

Student bank accounts can help ease some of the financial strain that comes with being in school. These accounts come with perks such as no monthly fee and flexible overdraft protection, but they aren’t all created equal. Here are some features that you should look for when choosing a student bank account:

No Ongoing Charges

If you’re going to be using your bank account for everything from paying bills to withdrawing cash, you want to ensure that it won’t cost you more than necessary. Some banks charge monthly or transaction fees on their primary accounts. 

Others have additional fees associated with using certain ATMs or using your debit card at point-of-sale locations. Ensure you understand what costs you’ll be responsible for before signing up for an account.

No-Fee Transaction

Many central banks will charge you for any transactions outside of Canada. For example, if you need to pay an international vendor, withdraw or transfer money to someone in another country, this can add up over time and eat away at your savings.

Some of these charges can be as high as $5 per transaction! If you are planning on travelling abroad while at school or working part-time in another country, you must find a bank account that does not charge for these transactions.

No Cost For e-Transfers

E-transfers are one of the most convenient ways to send money to someone else’s account or request it from them. However, many banks charge fees for this service, so make sure yours doesn’t!

ATM Usage

Banks charge a fee for using an ATM owned by another bank. This can get expensive quickly, so make sure your bank account doesn’t charge any ATM fees so that you don’t have to pay extra when accessing your funds while away from home.

Cashback Credit Card

Cashback credit cards offer a simple way to earn extra spending money. With a cashback card, you can earn 1% to 5% back on every purchase you make. This can add up to hundreds of dollars in annual rewards. The best student bank accounts offer cashback cards with no annual fee and no minimum balance.

Low or No Minimum Required Balance

Some student bank accounts require you to maintain a certain minimum balance in your account each month. If the balance drops below this amount, you may be charged fees that eat into your savings.

A low or no minimum required balance is vital for students because they don’t usually have a steady income. You should ensure that your bank doesn’t charge you for not maintaining a certain amount of money in your account each month.

Earn Benefits or Rewards

Some student bank accounts offer special bonuses or rewards programs that stand out from the crowd of similar products on the market today.

These include bonuses for opening an account and regular rewards programs that allow you to earn extra money by using your debit card at participating merchants.

Flexible overdraft protection

If you do overdraw your account, there’s usually an option to pay interest on the amount. If you don’t want to pay this fee, make sure your bank offers flexible overdraft protection so that you will only be charged extra interest when your account is overdrawn by more than $100 in a day or $500 for a month, whichever is less.

Why Should You Open a Student Bank Account?

Student bank accounts are a great way to start saving money and building a credit history. They’re also easier to get than most people think, especially if you have a part-time job or some other source of income.

Saving money: Withdrawing money from ATMs and making unlimited debit transactions can be costly, so having your student bank account can help you save money.

Building a credit history is one of the essential benefits of having a student bank account. You can build up your credit score if you pay all your bills on time, including your monthly minimum balance.

Having fun with rewards programs: Some banks offer rewards programs that allow you to earn points every time you use your card or make a transaction. You can use these points to redeem gift cards or travel rewards.

Free debit card: Many student bank accounts also come with a free debit card, so they can make purchases anywhere in Canada without carrying cash or credit cards around campus or town.

Earn Interest: Most Canadian banks offer special savings accounts specifically designed for students, which offer higher interest rates than regular savings accounts.

These are great places to store extra cash that won’t be needed immediately, such as graduation gifts or birthday presents, so it can grow over time without being touched. 

What Should Students Understand About Banking and Personal Finances?

When students save money in their teens and early twenties, they can build a nest egg to help them get through college and beyond.

Saving is putting money away for something specific, like a trip or a new laptop, and banking is the perfect mode for saving. While financing is also important because it allows your money to grow over time. 

That means if you invest or finance your savings wisely and carefully, they can be worth more when you need them most in retirement. Both are important for anyone who wants to be financially secure in the future.

The banking world is complex, and it can seem even more complicated if you are a student. However, it is important to have at least a basic understanding of the topic.

The earlier you learn about personal finances and banking, the better. Banking and finances are great ways to build wealth and make more money for yourself.

Banking is a critical part of our economy. It allows us to save money, pay bills and make purchases. It’s also a way to access our money if we’re ever in need of funds.

Knowing banking terms and understanding how money works will give you the tools you need to manage your finances wisely. Understanding what happens after you deposit money into your account can help you make smart decisions about how you spend it.

Personal finances are all about deciding how to use your money wisely. You may want to save some money to buy something expensive in the future or spend some now on something fun. Personal finance also includes understanding how credit cards work and the types of loans available to you.

A student’s finances can be complicated, and many factors must be considered. From paying for college tuition to buying groceries, many expenses come with being a student.

Here are some things students should understand about banking and personal finances:

Budgeting: Budgeting is one of the best ways to manage money. It will help you keep track of your finances, plan for the future, and see where your money is going. 

Savings accounts: Saving money is important in managing your finances as a student. You may want to save up for a car or even enjoy yourself during spring break. Make sure you have at least one savings account to save money now!

Credit cards: Credit cards are easy to make purchases online or in stores without actual cash. But credit card debt can quickly add up if you’re not careful! 

Is It Necessary To Have a Student Bank Account?

When you’re in university, putting off opening a bank account can be tempting. You might think that you don’t need one or that it’s not worth the time. Having a student bank account is one of the most important things you can do while attending university.

Having a student bank account is necessary for many reasons. Having access to your money in an emergency is essential, and having an account means you won’t have to wait until payday to get paid.

You’ll also be able to keep track of your spending so you don’t go over budget, which can be very helpful when managing your finances as a student.

You’ll also be able to take advantage of any discounts or benefits offered by your bank, for example, and some banks offer cashback rewards on purchases made with their cards. 

And if you’re going abroad for study or work experience, having a Canadian chequing or savings account will make it easier for you to access your funds while abroad without fees or charges.


Which Bank Is Best for Scholarships?

Scholarships are a great way to help pay for college, but they’re only sometimes easy to find. Choosing a bank that makes applying for scholarships as easy as possible is essential.

The best bank for scholarships is the one that offers you the most money. But if you’re looking for a specific type of scholarship, some banks are better than others.

Here’s our list of top banks offering scholarships:

– Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)
– TD Bank
– Credit Unions
– Bank of Montreal 

Where Can I Open a Student Bank Account?

You can open a student bank account at any bank, credit union, or financial institution. The best place to start is with your parent’s bank or credit union. If you don’t have a relationship with them, ask for recommendations from friends and family.

Before choosing a student bank account, ensure you’re looking for the right features. For example, if you want to make money by banking online, then look for an online-only account with no monthly fees.

If you’re interested in getting cashback rewards for every debit card purchase, look for one offering cash back on all purchases.

Some banks also offer discounts on student loans and credit cards; it’s worth asking if these are available.

What Are the Disadvantages of a Student Account?

A student bank account can be a great way to save money, but it has disadvantages:

Student accounts often have low-interest rates, and some come with fees. There may be better options than student banking if you’re looking for a high-interest account.

Student accounts also don’t offer many of the features that other types of bank accounts do, such as overdraft protection or access to merchant services. These features can be crucial to people who want to use their debit cards at retail stores and online merchants.

For example, suppose you have an overdraft protection feature on your checking account. If you spend more money than what’s in your account, the bank will automatically cover it up to a specific limit.

This can come in handy if you’re travelling overseas and don’t have access to foreign currency or if an unexpected expense arises while you’re away from home.

What Is the Limit of the First Bank Student Account?

The student account is designed to help students manage their finances and make it easy to access money while studying. Students can create an account and get cash from it if they have a valid student ID card.

The First Bank student account is a type of savings account with a limit of N300,000.00n, and you can deposit up to N500,000.00n into this account at any time. 

However, this amount can be increased or decreased depending on the customer’s needs and the bank’s policies. Moreover, you can withdraw money from it as long as there is enough money in the account for you to withdraw.

Final Thoughts

Canada’s student banking landscape is currently a competitive one. The top six banks, CIBC, RBC, TD, HSBC, BMO, and Scotiabank, have started targeting university students with customized products. Due to this increased competition, it’s becoming easier for students to switch from their parents’ bank to one of the big six.

However, Ensure you know the limits and requirements of opening an account with many student banking services. Not all services are available at all banks, so keep in mind the best fit for your needs.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this guide and that it’s helped you find the best bank to open an account for students in Canada. If you have any questions, please feel free to comment below!