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A student’s guide to selecting the best bank account in Canada

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Starting the new school year off on the right foot makes a significant impact on a student’s success. Financial health is a pivotal aspect of that success, even if many students have a tighter-than-usual budget during this life chapter. Choosing the right bank account can alleviate the financial strain that comes with student life. It can also help create a solid budget, assist with financial management, and contribute to a student’s overall freedom.

Here are a few tips that give students the inside scoop on choosing the best bank account during college or university.


Think about your personal needs and financial goals first

Every person has their individual goals and needs. Finding out what yours are and assessing them is an essential process, especially when choosing a bank account.

Considering your banking habits can help you find the right account while enrolled as a post-secondary student. For example, if you find yourself withdrawing cash often, making lots of point-of-sale transactions, or sending e-Transfers on the regular, finding an account that offers all of these things for free is essential.

While most student accounts usually offer these options at no cost, comparing chequing accounts and their terms and conditions can save you a lot of money, and even frustration. Bank fees can add up rather quickly, which can become incredibly costly during a time where being frugal is a top priority.


Consider using a bank account for students

Though it seems overly obvious, many post-secondary students don’t even consider taking advantage of a student account. They should, as most – if not all – come at no cost to the student. The average bank account costs around $15 per month. Using a student bank account can save around $180 each year on fees—in other words, money better spent on textbooks or rent.

Student accounts also come without limits on transactions or Interac e-Transfers, giving students additional incentive to use them.

They also often come with enticing sign-up bonuses, too. Some banks offer reward points with student-tailored perks, while others provide contests for scholarships, money, and other bonuses.


Try using a no-fee bank account

If you rarely find yourself visiting bank branches, a free bank account might be a suitable banking option for you. Free bank accounts are a minimalist take on banking without the frills of major banks.

Digital banks offer all of the commodities that come with costly bank accounts at no cost. That includes everything, such as free Interac e-Transfers, unlimited transactions, unlimited bill payments, and more.

Free bank accounts in Canada only exist as digital banks. They operate online and have no physical branches. If you can live without branches, a free bank account might not only be a great banking option as a student but one you might use well beyond your time on campus. Of course, these bank accounts are free and come with no student-tailored benefits or perks, but remain free to use—whether you’re a student or not.


Find a savings account with high interest

Saving can be especially difficult for some students. Other students might find themselves holding massive amounts of money. Still, no matter what your financial situation is, choosing a bank account that holds a great interest rate is important.

Using a tax-free savings account or high-interest savings account with an interest rate of 2% or higher earns a handsome sum of interest—especially in larger quantities. It’ll also keep it valuable with Canada’s rising inflation rate, and, over four years, can make a significant impact on your financial success.


Final thoughts

No matter what bank account you end up using, a student’s ability to live within their means is the ultimate deciding factor of financial success; a bank account’s purpose is to make that easier to achieve.


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