This post serves as a living list of free, online banking service options that are available to Canadians (lacking permanent residency, a green card or mailbox, permanent or forwarding address in the United States). This includes banks that provide chequing/savings accounts, prepaid credit cards, taxable and non-taxable investment products and so on. As offerings are constantly changing and the so-called "FinTech" (Financial Technology, mainly referring to the recent spate of emerging online-only self-serve banks) industry is evolving rapidly it is entirely likely that you will find some entries no longer offer what they were originally listed for, some no longer exist at all (or have been acquired by/merged with another organization). Please drop by the Telegram group to let me know if this is the case for you or to suggest an option not shown.
Full Service Banks
These banks provide at least a chequing account, often a savings account and a handful of other meat-and-potatoes products like credit cards, mortgages and TFSAs (Tax Free Savings Account, more flexible than an RRSP which is similar in purpose to a 401k).
Reloadable Credit Cards
Reloadable credit card accounts provide access to credit card payment methods with most merchants that accept credit cards - however their nature as a "reloadable" or cash-secured card (where money is provided to an account that maintains a north-of-zero balance) is detected by and not suitable for reserving vehicle rentals etc. This can sometimes be finessed by providing a large cash deposit, depending on the vendor. Generally speaking these cards do not offer the same level of anonymity as traditional prepaid credit cards but have convenient features like the ability to accept deposits by Interac e-transfer and may include perks like discounts at certain restaurants, rewards or reward points and even cashback.
- Koho Referral bonus! We both get $20 after you activate your card, e-transfer any amount to load your balance then make a purchase of $5 or more
Some American banks will open accounts or sell certain products directly to Canadian citizens lacking a US permanent address within the United States.