Danielle Kubes is a trained journalist and investor who has written about personal finance for the past six years. Her writing has been published in The Globe and Mail, National Post, MoneySense, Vice and RateHub.ca. Danielle writes about investing and personal finance for Wealthsimple. She has a Bachelor of Humanities from Carleton University and a Master of Journalism from Ryerson University.
The downside to such a strong and rich banking sector is that there’s little to no competition. Canadians all know of the Big Five banks that dominate the industry. Still, there are promotions you can take advantage of. Most banks offer regular promotions for their premium accounts, sometimes a cash bonus up to $300. Since the premium accounts tend to cost $15 to $30 a month, you’re often getting 10 to 20 months of free banking.
We rounded up all the top bank promotions happening right now so you can see which is right for your specific needs. Remember it’s wise to check fees, features and the terms of each offer on each bank’s website to fully understand the promotion and their services.Wealthsimple Invest is an automated way to grow your money like the world's most sophisticated investors. Get started and we'll build you a personalized investment portfolio in a matter of minutes.
$150 at Tangerine
New clients to Tangerine’s savings account get a $150 cash bonus for opening a chequing account if they add a payroll direct deposit. All chequing and savings accounts at Tangerine have no fees for day-to-day transactions. Although access to the account is only available online, though mobile and at Scotia ATMs, Tangerine still offers a full suite of banking products such as mortgages, lines of credit, credit cards, investments, and tax-sheltered accounts.
$200 at Simplii
Simpli offers a slightly higher cash bonus and a slightly lower saving rate than Tangerine: Earn 2% on new deposits into a savings account plus $200 for opening a chequing account if you add a qualifying direct deposit. Similar to Tangerine, Simplii offers a full suite of banking products and access to the account is available online, through mobile, and at CIBC ATMs.
Notable: 2% is an extremely high interest rate in a time of historic low rates.
$300 at BMO
Get $300 for opening a BMO Premium or Performance Chequing Account, and an additional $50 if you add family members. You must set up a qualifying direct deposit or pre-authorized bill payment.
The Premium costs $30 and you get unlimited transactions, free access to all domestic and foreign ATMs, free cheques, a discount on a safety deposit box, and an annual fee rebate up to $150 on select BMO credit cards. The monthly fee is waived if you maintain a minimum balance of $6,000.
The Performance costs $15.95 and you get unlimited transactions, free access to one non-BMO domestic ATM withdrawal a month, and an annual fee rebate up to $40 on select BMO credit cards. The monthly fee is waived if you maintain a minimum balance of $4,000.
Notable: Family members in the same household can get separate accounts for a single monthly fee, and if you have several adults in your household this can end up saving you a few hundred a year.
Get a $300 cash bonus by opening an All-Inclusive or Unlimited package. You must set up a qualifying direct deposit, pay a bill, or set up a pre-authorized bill payment.
The All-Inclusive costs $29.95 and you get unlimited transactions, free access to all domestic and foreign ATMs; an annual fee rebate for select TD credit cards; a free safety deposit box; plus free certified cheques, personalised cheques, and money orders. The monthly fee is waived with a minimum balance of $5000.
Unlimited costs $16.95 a month for unlimited transactions, free access to any domestic ATM, and an annual fee rebate on select TD credit cards. The monthly maintenance fee is waived with a minimum balance of $4,000.
Notable: The perks for are more valuable than most banks offer.
$300 at Scotia
Earn up to a $300 welcome bonus at Scotia for opening an Ultimate or Preferred Package account. You must make a qualifying bill payment and set up two eligible direct deposits.
The Ultimate costs $30.95 for unlimited transactions, including international money transfers, free access to all domestic and foreign ATMs, free cheques, and an annual fee rebate of $139 on select Scotia Credit cards. The monthly maintenance fee is waived with a minimum balance of $5,000 or a combined balance of $30,000 across this account plus your Momentum Plus savings account.
The Preferred has unlimited transactions, access to one free non-Scotia domestic ATM withdrawal and up to $139 rebated for select Scotia credit cards, for one year. The monthly maintenance fee is waived with a minimum balance of $5,000.
Notable: Scotia may be good for the jet set. Not only do you get free international money transfers with The Ultimate, but you also get monthly fees waived on a US dollar account for both packages.
$350 at National Bank
Grab a $350 cash bonus for opening a Total or The Connected account at National Bank.
The Total has a monthly fee of $25.95 for unlimited transactions, free cheques (plus tax and shipping), free access to domestic ATMs, free bank drafts, and an annual fee rebate of $150 on select National credit cards. The monthly maintenance fee is waived with a minimum balance of $6,000.
Connected costs $14.95 a month for unlimited point of sale and e-transfers, but it will cost you $2 for branch transactions. Access to The Exchange ATMs are free. Annual fee rebate of $30 on select National credit cards. Monthly maintenance fee is waived with a minimum balance of $4500.
Notable: The $50 extra cash bonus is more than what most banks offer
Free iPad at RBC
If you switch to a RBC VIP or Signature No Limit chequing account you’ll get a free 10.2 inch iPad in the colour of your choice, worth about $400. You must set up two qualifying direct deposits and two bill payments.
The VIP costs $30 and you get unlimited transactions, 12 free annual bank drafts, free cheques, free access to all domestic and foreign ATMs, a discount on a safety deposit box, and an annual fee rebate up to $120 on select RBC credit. If you have two additional qualifying RBC products your monthly fee falls to $19.95.
The Signature costs $15.95 and you get unlimited transactions, six free annual bank drafts, free cheques, access to three free non-RBC domestic ATM withdrawals, a small discount on a safety deposit box, and as much as a $39 annual fee rebate on select RBC credit cards. If you have two additional qualifying RBC products your monthly fee lowers to $9.95. RBC will toss you $60 if you open a Day to Day Banking Account, which is a much more affordable $4 a month. You get 12 debit transactions, but unlimited e-transfers. If you have two additional RBC products your monthly fee is rebated.
Notable: RBC does not offer free account packages no matter the minimum balance.
Other financial institutions that offer promotions
Wealthsimple isn’t a bank but it offers an easy way for Canadians to begin investing, with automated rebalancing. When you sign up to Wealthsimple Invest you get a $50 cash bonus upon funding your account with $500. Then you select your risk tolerance, and the algorithm will do the rest. The Management fee is 0.5%
You can also get $10,000 managed for free for 12 months if you share your custom referral link with friends and family. Those you share it with also get free management of up to $10,000 for a year.
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