Top 5 Best Banks in Canada for International Students 2021

By Remitbee - Oct 8, 2021

Money is an important topic of conversation when you become a student in Canada. From tuition fees to accommodation costs to thinking about your weekly food budget, choosing the perfect student bank account could be a simple way to make your money work for you.

Freebies, awards, and even cash incentives are commonplace in student bank accounts. However, you don't want to be paying a large sum of money just to keep your account open. So, in this article, we've compiled a list of Canada's best banks for international students in 2021.

Banking Tips For International Students in Canada

When you're ready to open a student bank account, here are some things we recommend you to check for:

  • No Monthly Maintenance Fee
  • Free Transactions
  • Free e-transfers
  • Access to ATMs
  • No-fee Credit Card
  • Low Maintenance Balance
  • Can Earn Rewards

Best Banks in Canada for International Students

While each bank in Canada has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, the top 5 banks listed below are the best in the game for helping international students studying in the country.


With almost 24 million customers and over 2,700 branches worldwide, Scotiabank is Canada's third-largest bank. Their StartRight Program makes living and banking in Canada easier for newcomers and international students.

A free account with no monthly fees and unlimited debit transactions and e-transfers are among the best features of Scotiabank. Another popular feature of their student banking package is Cineplex's SCENE® program. Sign up for a SCENE® Visa card if you're a movie buff, and you'll be able to start collecting free movie tickets as soon as you arrive in Canada.


  • Apply in person
  • Unlimited free transactions
  • Unlimited free e-transfers
  • No monthly fees
  • Free credit score
  • Sign-up bonus


CIBC has existed for as long as Canada has known as a country. With over 4,000 ATMs and 1,100 branches, they've been serving Canadians for 150 years.

CIBC's banking options are perfect for international students. For starters, CIBC offers student bank accounts that are entirely free. You can make as many transactions and e-Transfers as you want, plus there is no monthly fee.

The best feature of CIBC is that there is no annual fee credit card for students. Most banks require international students to at least deposit to apply for a credit card. CIBC, on the other hand, allows you to apply for a credit card without any cash deposit, proof of income, or credit history.

You can also earn travel or cashback rewards, which you can use to pay for things in school or groceries.

CIBC services:

  • CIBC's Student GIC Program
  • CIBC's Refer-a-friend Program
  • CIBC's Global Money Transfer


  • Apply online or in-person Unlimited free transactions Unlimited free e-transfers No monthly fees Free SPC membership

3. RBC

RBC has the largest network of bank branches and ATMs in Canada. If you meet a student bank account eligibility, you won't have to pay any monthly fees for the first year.

RBC has no-annual-fee and no-credit-history-required credit cards. Their RBC's Rewards program allows you to earn points that can be redeemed at Amazon and Starbucks. Lastly, their e-Transfer options let you send money through Siri or iMessage.

One of the main drawbacks of RBC is the limited number of monthly transactions, which cost $1 apiece and are limited to 25 each month.


  • Apply in person
  • Limited free transactions: 25/month ($1 per additional transaction)
  • Unlimited free e-transfers
  • No monthly fees At Petro-Canada, you can save gas money.

4. BMO

BMO's partnership with Western Union may be interesting for international students in Canada. Customers can use their Money Transfer service through BMO Online Banking to send money to over 200 countries and territories that are part of the Western Union branch.

Also, BMO provides free banking to students for the duration of their studies and for a year after graduation. Students can also get a free SPC Card, which entitles them to discounts at hundreds of stores across the country.


  • Apply in person
  • Limited free transactions: 30/month
  • Unlimited free e-transfers
  • No monthly fees
  • Free SPC Card
  • Free credit score

5. Tangerine

Tangerine Bank is Scotiabank's online banking branch and Canada's most popular online bank. Tangerine is a high-interest savings account with one of the most incredible rates in the country.

As a student in Canada, you can apply for the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card. It has no annual fees and gives you unlimited 2% cashback on all purchases in up to three different categories. Learn more about applying for a student's credit card here.

For students, it's also the simplest and quickest way of depositing a cheque. Just take a picture of your cheque using your phone's camera, enter your details, and the cheque is deposited into your account. That's all there is.


  • No monthly fees
  • Free cheques
  • Free mobile cheque deposits
  • Interest is paid on the balance of your chequing account.
  • Unlimited debit transactions, bill payments, email money transfers, and Interac e-Transfers.
  • Access to 3,500 free Scotiabank ATMs in Canada and 44,000 more globally.

Benefits of A Student Bank Account For International Students

While you won't have access to a student bank account forever, you should make the most of it while you do. After you graduate, the bank will usually transfer your account to a paid plan automatically.

A student bank account allows you to apply for credit, such as a credit card or a loan, and establish your credit rating and score. For many international students, transferring money back home quickly and safely is a top priority.

Remitbee, with its best and most competitive exchange rates you'll find on the market, is a reliable money transfer service working with big Canadian banks. Remitbee is perfect for all international students who want faster and safer transfers.

Sign up now.

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