Fast facts

  • More than 99 per cent of Canadians have a bank account
  • 31 per cent of Canadians say they pay no service fees at all and another 45 per cent pay $15 or less per month
  • Canadians are careful borrowers. Only 0.17 per cent of mortgages are in arrears

The bottom line

For consumers and businesses, Canada’s competitive banking system provides good value, ready access and wide choice.

Canada’s competitive banking system provides good value, ready access and wide choice for consumers and small business. In fact, of the more than 80 banks operating in Canada, more than 40 offer financial products and services to Canadian consumers, including bank accounts, credit cards, loans and investments.

Affordable banking services

According to the World Bank, more than 99% of adult Canadians have an account with a financial institution,1 so the accessibility of banking services in Canada is incredibly high. Whether it’s a savings, chequing, low-fee, student, or senior − full of bells and whistles or a plain vanilla account−  there is a lot of choice for Canadians and over 100 account packages to choose from in the marketplace

  • Banks have worked hard to ensure that there are low-cost accounts, priced at $4 or less per month, for those who need or want them.
  • 31 per cent of Canadians say they pay no service fees at all and another 45 per cent pay $15 or less per month.2
  • Youth, students, seniors, Registered Disability Savings Plan beneficiaries and newcomers to Canada can access discounted or free accounts.
  • Payday loans aren’t the answer for small, short-term borrowing and are extremely expensive: overdraft protection, lines of credit and low-rate credit cards are much more affordable alternatives. And banks are strong supporters of credit counselling if needed.

Mortgages

Canadians continue to have access to a banking system that is accessible, affordable and competitive. They remain confident in the safety of their deposits, and continue to make use of affordably-priced credit, including mortgages.

  • Canadians are careful borrowers. Only 0.17 per cent of mortgages are in arrears in Canada.3
  • Banks have developed a model plain language mortgage document to help make the contract terms easier to understand for customers.
  • Banks in Canada provide a wealth of information for consumers on home buying mortgages

Credit cards

A credit card is a convenient and flexible payment tool that can be used at millions of locations in more than 200 countries around the world. Credit cards are:

  • Accessible – as unsecured credit, you don’t need to have a collateral to back up the loan. And the loan is interest free from the time of purchase until the end of the billing period.
  • Convenient – credit cards can be used 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year and allow you to instantly pay for what you need.
  • Safe – credit cards offer fraud protection with zero liability to the consumer and coverage for purchases if the item is damaged, stolen or not delivered within 90 days.

A majority of Canadians pay their credit card balance off every month:

  • A Bank of Canada survey found that 70% of Canadians pay their balance off in full every month.4
  • The majority of Canadians use credit cards as a payment tool rather than a loan product. For them, reward programs, insurance, retail discounts and affinity programs are very attractive.
  • There are many low interest rate cards to choose from and more than 30 have an interest rate of under 13 per cent.

Technology and the Convenience of Banking

Technology is changing the way financial products and services are accessed and used by Canadians and the innovative financial technologies introduced by banks are increasing choice and improving convenience for customers. Customers can now:

  • deposit a cheque with their mobile banking app,
  • pay for services using Tap & Pay contactless technology,
  • connect with banking website chatbot, available 24/7, to provide customer support,
  • transfer money online easily and quickly, and
  • get quick access to their accounts at more than 18,500 bank-owned ABMs5 across Canada and more when travelling abroad.

Forty-nine per cent of Canadians say they bank primarily online and another 29 per cent use mobile banking apps as their primary method.6 Satisfaction levels with online and mobile banking are very high:

  • 93 per cent of Canadians are satisfied with online banking,
  • 80 per cent of Canadians say they are satisfied with mobile banking services, up from 73 per cent in 2018

Customers can also use the extensive and growing branch banking system for in-person service, in many cases seven days a week and in the evening. And you can drop into a Canadian bank branch in many parts of the U.S. and in a growing number of countries around the globe.

As technology evolves, customers' digital expectations are rising. This is the leading catalyst for continued innovation as banks develop new, easier and more convenient ways for Canadians to bank safely and securely.

Consumer education and financial and digital literacy

Financial literacy is an essential life skill and the banking sector has long recognized that it has a role to play in supporting and strengthening financial literacy.

Banks are leaders in supporting financial education activities in communities across the country, helping millions of Canadians improve their financial skills.

Bankers across Canada also volunteer their time to deliver the CBA’s free and non-commercial financial literacy seminars: Your Money Students for youth and the Your Money Seniors program for older adults.

At a time where digital banking is becoming the norm, banks also understand they have a role to play in helping their customers get comfortable with new banking technologies, while also keeping them informed about how to detect and prevent financial frauds and scams.

Canadians trust and value their banks

Of all the companies that consumers have relationships with, few are more personal and sensitive than the relationship with their bank. Canadians look to their banks to safeguard their money, help finance a home or business, manage their savings and investments, and plan their retirement.

But no less important is satisfaction in the value that customers feel they get from their bank. Banks have worked hard to make banking more convenient – extending branch hours, introducing mobile banking and payments, and enhancing online banking – enabling banking literally around the clock and around the world. Canadians have noticed and value these improvements. Today:

  • 90 per cent of Canadians believe that new technologies have made banking a lot more convenient.7
  • 86 per cent of Canadians say their bank has improved service through technology.8
  • 86 per cent of Canadians trust their bank to offer secure digital banking services, and 87 per cent trust their bank to protect their personal information.9

1 World Bank, Global Findex Database 2017: pg. 123 bit.ly/3cPauyB
2 Abacus Data, Assessment of Canada’s Banks, December 2016
3 CBA Mortgages in Arrears statistics, November 2023
4 Bank of Canada bankofcanada.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/sdp2018-17.pdf
5 Number of ABMs, CBA, cba.ca/abms-in-canada
6 Abacus Data, How Canadians Bank, 2021
7 Ibid
8 Ibid
9 Ibid

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