Best Student Banks in Canada

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Hadeel Hossam

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07 December, 2021

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5 mins read

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Student Finance

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Upon choosing a study destination and university, you start thinking about more specifics regarding your life in your new home for the next few years. You need to research things like the nearby grocery stores, hospitals, pharmacies, and other amenities you’ll need. You should also look into opening your own bank account for easier money management and transactions. If Canada is the study destination of your choice, your research for student banks ends here. We’ve put together a list of the best student banks in Canada so you can fully understand all the options available out there and make an informed decision.

What are Student Bank Accounts?

Student bank accounts are designated for post-secondary students to help them save money on all kinds of fees. It comes with a debit card, and most banks offer both checking and saving accounts options. Each bank has its own requirements for opening a student account. Still, the common requirement is being a full-time student in a post-secondary program at an educational institution such as a university, community college, or CEGEP. There are many benefits of having a student bank account in Canada, such as taking advantage of student discounts and having unlimited or many debit transactions per month.

Student withdrawing Money from Bank

How to Open a Student Bank Account in Canada?

Many think that opening a student bank account in Canada is a hassle or difficult to do, but that’s not the case whatsoever. Some banks even have the option of doing the whole process online. However, other banks will require you to visit their branch to see the required documents first. Here is the list of documents needed to open a student bank account in Canada:

  • Your passport

  • Driver’s license

  • If you’re renting an apartment, bring a copy of your lease agreement.

  • Recent utility bill with the current address showing on it.

  • A copy of the current term’s timetable.

Make sure to check with your bank of choice their own requirements for opening a bank account since each bank could have different documentation requirements.

What are the Best Student Banks in Canada?

1. Scotia Bank

Known for being the most popular student bank in Canada, Scotia Bank has a student plan that is ideal for international students in Canada. The Scotiabank Student Banking Advantage Plan puts into account how money can be tight for students, which is why it offers convenient features. The plan comes without any monthly fees, including unlimited debit transactions and Interac e-Transfers. It allows students to enhance their buying power by letting them earn either SCENE or Scotia Rewards points, both are reward systems the bank supports to ensure you get points for every purchase via your cards, If you sign up to the SCENE Student Banking Bundle, you get 5,000 SCENE or Scotia Rewards points which you can use for food, entertainment, and movies. The bundle includes the Student Banking Advantage Plan, a SCENE Visa card, and a Momentum Plus Savings Account. Finally, you get to have access to more than 4,000 branches and ATMs across Canada.


CIBC comes in high on the list of best student banks in Canada with zero monthly fees, unlimited transactions, E-transfers and student promotions. The best feature of this student account is that it gives a grace period of 6 months after graduation to keep using your student perks. Once you get a CIBC’s student account, you are automatically enrolled in the SPC rewards program, which offers fantastic deals and discounts on brands such as Apple, American Eagle, and Foot Locker. Just for signing up, you get $60 and three Visa debit purchases within the first two months. They also give you a chance to enter a draw and win $35,000 in university tuition.

The bank offers three services that make this bank one of the best for students; the Student GIC Program, Refer-a-Friend Program, and Global Money Transfer service. 

  • The Student GIC Program allows you to get a $10,000 Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) to apply for a student visa by providing assistance and guidance to international students to meet Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada Student Direct Stream (SDS) study permit guidelines.

  •  Moreover, the bank’s International Student Pay Program allows students to pay their tuition fees with the currency of their choice and from anywhere in the world.

  •  The Refer-a-Friend program refers a friend to the bank, and in return, both receive a $25 bonus once they open an account under the CIBC International Student Banking Offer (ISBO).

  •  Finally, the Global Money Transfer service makes transferring money to any country easier and quicker than ever, another huge perk for international students.

It doesn’t end there! CIBC has an award-winning mobile application for easier bank transactions as well as nearly 4,000 ATM’s, over 1,100 branches across the country. You also get a CIBC Classic Visa Card for Students, CIBC Aventura Visa Card for Students, and CIBC Aero Platinum Visa Card.

3. BMO

BMO is another great bank for students in Canada, yet it doesn’t have special accounts for students. Instead, it offers 3 regular ones with either a lower or waived fee. The three options are; a Plus Plan without a monthly student fee but with a $10.95 regular monthly fee, a Performance Plan with a $5.00 monthly student plan and a regular $15.95 monthly fee, and a Premium Plan for a $19.05 monthly student fee and a $30.00 regular monthly fee.

If you’re looking to have unlimited transactions, you should go for the performance plan which includes a $40 annual rebate for a BMO credit card. BMO goes even further and offers free banking for students for a year after graduation. You’ll also get an SPC Card, giving you great discounts on major retailers in Canada. 

BMO has two credit card options, the BMO CashBack Mastercard for students and the BMO AIR MILES Mastercard. 

  • The first is a no-fee card that puts students in control and gives them the choice of when they receive cashback rewards. It starts with earning you 5% cashback on spending for the first 3 months, up to $2,500. Afterwards, you earn 3% cashback on groceries, up to $500 spent per month, 1% cashback on recurring bill payments up to 500, and 0.5% cashback on all other purchases. 

  • As for the latter card, also a no-fee card; it allows you to collect air miles starting with a welcome bonus of 950 miles. Afterwards, you’ll earn 1 mile for every $20 in purchases on the credit card and 2x miles for all purchases.

Online Student Banks in Canada

1. EQ Bank 

EQ Bank’s Savings Plus Account is another great choice for students because it’s made for saving money. The account does not entail a debit card and bank machine access; this means once the money is in the account, it can only be taken out through electronic transfers. So,  what’s so attractive about this account? Its everyday interest rate is 1.25% which is more than most other banks offer. The bank’s saving account has some great chequing account features such as not requiring a monthly fee, unlimited Interac e-Transfers, unlimited bill payments and electronic fund transfers, free mobile cheque deposits, and not requiring a minimum balance.

2. Tangerine

Tangerine is one of the most popular online banks in Canada, and it’s the online banking arm of Scotiabank. It offers a no-fee chequing account for students, and high-interest savings account with one of the best rates in the country. It doesn’t require a monthly fee, has unlimited email money transfers, Interac e-Transfers, pre-authorized payments, and bill payments. You also get free mobile cheque deposits and a free first cheque book of 50 cheques. This is a great account to pair the EQ one where you can use the latter to save money and earn interest, then move it to the Tangerine chequing account to use it.

Now that you know which banks are good for international students in Canada, you can easily decide which one to go for according to which perks suit you best. Trust us; it’s wise to open a student bank account in Canada to keep your money somewhere safe and take advantage of all the student offers in Canada. Having a savings account with a good interest rate is also a great way to make some extra bucks. ! Aside from banking, you need also to check student medical insurance in Canada because health is just as important , if not more! 


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