National Bank Review (October 2022): Get up to 1.5% Cashback

It can be really complicated searching for the right Canadian bank for your personal or business finances. There are so many on the market and they all offer different services and charge different fees, so determining which bank will give you the most bang for your buck can be mind-boggling.

But the good news is that the National Bank of Canada is a solid choice for any banking need you may have. We’ll tell you all about their features, services, pros and cons of the National Bank of Canada, in our National Bank review so that you can decide whether they’re the right bank for you.

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Last Updated: Sep 25, 2022

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History and Reputation of the National Bank of Canada

 An important part of any National Bank review for many people is learning about its history and reputation. Of course this makes sense because in this day and age we always read the ratings and reviews of products or services before we buy them.

The National Bank of Canada (Banque Nationale du Canada) is considered to be one of the best commercial banks in Canada. It’s part of what people refer to as the “Big Six Banks” and we found out during our research for this National Bank review that it’s considered to be the sixth-biggest bank in Canada. The other banks in the Big Six are BMO, CIBC, RBC, Scotiabank and TD Bank.

The bank was founded in 1859 by two business men who spoke French, and it was originally called Banque Nationale. Under Quebec provincial legislation, the bank was limited to operating in Quebec. But it started growing. It first merged with Bank Canadienne Nationale (BCN), or Canadian National Bank.

BCN went on to merge with another Quebec-based bank called the Provincial Bank of Canada. In 1979 BCN and the Provincial Bank of Canada merged and the product was called the National Bank of Canada, which is the iteration of the bank that we’re reviewing in our National Bank review.

We weren’t kidding when we said it’s one of the biggest banks in Canada earlier in our National Bank review. They have more than 420 different bank branches all over the country, and 940+ ATMs spread across Canada. There are currently more than 2.4 million National Bank users. The National Bank of Canada has joined a network of banks, partnerships and subsidiaries in other countries, as well, expanding their business beyond Canada.

National Bank’s Products and Services

Now we come to the meat and potatoes of our National Bank review: the products and services. This is the section of the review where we tell you about what the National Bank of Canada can do for you. Since there are various types of services, we’ve broken it up into subsections that are easier to read through.

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Personal Banking

Personal accounts are designed to serve individuals and their personal finances, not businesses. Some of the stand out personal account features we found while conducting research for this National Bank review include in-branch ATM access, free Interac e-Transfers and offers for new customers who are students, health professionals, or new to Canada. Here’s a look at some of the personal banking products and features that the National Bank of Canada offers:

The Minimalist Chequing Account

The first account type we want to discuss in our National Bank review is the Minimalist Chequing Account. This account has a monthly fee of $3.95 and 12 transactions per month. Students, children (0-17 years), and senior citizens (65+ years old) won’t be charged a fee.

The Modest Chequing Account

The name says it all: this is a modest chequing account option. Some of the things about this bank account type we found while writing this National Bank review are that you’ll get 30 transactions per month, free Interac e-Transfers, access to ATMs in the network, and online statements. The monthly payment is $9.95. Seniors get a discounted fee of only $4.95. We found during our research for this National Bank review that students and children who have more than $3,000 in their accounts don’t pay a monthly fee.

The Connected Chequing Account

You get unlimited transactions with this account, as many Interac e-Transfers as you want, and they waive $30 of your annual credit card fees annually. Monthly fees on this account are $14.95. Children and students pay $5.00 and senior citizens pay $9.95 per month. However, customers have $4,000 in their account they don’t have to pay monthly fees.

The Total Chequing Account

This account provides some extra features, such as unlimited counter transactions and digital transactions, plus overdraft protection. You get $150 in credit card fees waived per year, as well. . It’s $25.95 per month for most customers, $16 for children and students, and $20.95 for senior citizens.

NBC Personal High Interest Savings Account (HISA)

During our research for this National Bank review we found that they offer more than just personal chequing accounts. This High Interest Savings Account allows you to earn 0.05% interest on your balance, no matter how low your balance is. Another nice perk to this account is that you can make unlimited transfers of your funds between National Bank accounts.

NBC USD Progress Account

We found out about this account during the course of our research for this National Bank review and found out it’s designed for people who travel to the United States and write USD cheques. If you have a balance of $5,000 you can earn 0.100% interest. You can make online, mobile or over-the-phone transactions from this account, as well. You can also use your account for in-branch transactions such as transfers, withdrawls and paying bills.

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Business Banking

These accounts are designed for everyday business use, and have been made with a variety of industries in mind. We found while checking out NBC’s business bank accounts for this National Bank review that they come with exclusive offers on things like incorporation, human resources and other accounts, as well.

NBC Current Accounts

We found while writing this National Bank review that there are two different types of NBC current accounts, so we wanted to mention them in our National bank review. There’s one for CAD and one for USD. Both account types are free to open, and there’s a monthly fee of $7.50 applied to both account types. Both accounts are also protected by the Canadian Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC).

CAD Account: CAD accounts are a good idea for anyone who does business in CAD. You can choose from any of their 6 business banking packages, depending on the type of business you do.

USD Account: USD accounts are good for business owners who conduct a lot of financial transactions in USD. You can easily view your transactions and keep an eye on conversion rates.

Business Investment Account (BIA)

You can open a BIA for free, and there’s no monthly fees. Other advantages of a BIA include overdraft protection, low interest rates and the freedom to access your funds and do whatever you want with them.

Foreign Currency Account

We found while reading about NBC for our National Bank review that they offer another type of account for people who conduct business in other foreign currencies (other than the USD). There are 15 currencies currently supported by the Foreign Currency Account, including the Euro (EUR), Renmimbi (CNY), British Pounds (GBP), and more. Deposits made into this account type are covered by the CDIC (Canadian Deposit Insurance Corporation). The monthly fee for a Foreign Currency Account is $35.

Business Banking Packages

We found that there are a number of business banking service packages, as well, so we decided to add them to our National Bank review. They’re designed to meet the needs of any business owner, which is why there’s so many of them.

NBC e-Package

This package costs $5.99/ month. You get 20 electronic transactions per month, and 2 Interac e-Transfers. You’ll have to pay a $12.99 fee for any non- debit or credit transactions, as well as for transactions that require an NBC employee to complete.

20 Transactions Business Package

This package costs a monthly fee of $15.99. As the name suggests, you can make up to 20 debit or credit transactions with this account per month, as well as deposit 15 cheques per month. You get a maximum $1,000 deposit amount in bank notes or $500 in coin deposits.

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35 Transactions Business Package

We found out that this package costs $26.99 per month, and there are some advantages over the 20 Transactions Business Package, so we wanted to list them in our National Bank review. You’re allowed up to 35 debit or credit transactions per month, and deposit up to 20 cheques per month. And you can deposit up to $3,000 in bank notes and $500 in coin deposits.

50 Transactions Business Package

This package costs $39.99 per month. You get 50 debit or credit transactions, and can deposit 30 cheques per month. You’re also allowed to deposit $5,000 per month in bank notes and $500 in coins.

75 Transactions Business Package

The monthly fee for this package is $54.99. You’re allowed 75 debit or credit transactions, and can make 40 cheque deposits per month. You’re allowed to deposit up to $8,000 in bank notes and $500 in coins.

100 Transactions Business Package

The montly fee for the 100 Transactions Business Package is $77.99 You get up to 100 debit or credit transactions, as the name suggests, and can deposit up to 60 cheques per month. Your maximum deposit allowance is $15,000 per month in bank notes, and $500 in coins.

National Bank Brokerage

We found out that the National Bank of Canada offers direct brokerage referred to as NBDB (National Bank Direct Brokerage), so we wanted to include a section about it in our National Bank review. This online brokerage service is fairly new compared to other brokerage services, but there are several advantages to it.

They boast $0 trading fees when trading CAD or USD stock, and $0 for ETF trades and online purchases. There’s a $100 per year account fee for any account that holds less than $20,000 or makes less than 5 trades per month. Young investors can have this fee waived. The online experience is quite smooth these days, even though it was pretty rocky in the past. And their customer service has improved over the years, as well.

Fees

In 2021 the National Bank of Canada was the first online brokerage service to knock their trading fees down to $0. Here’s a look at some of the fees and prices we haven’t already included in our National Bank review.

  • Options Trades: On transactions of over $2,000: $0 commission + $1.25 per contract with a minimum fee of $6.25. On transactions less than $2,000: $0 commission + $1.25 per contract with a maximum fee of $19.95.
  • RRSP3, RRIF, or LIF withdrawl: $50
  • Withdrawls from TFSA, RESP, RDSP: $0
  • Internal transfer between registered accounts: $100
  • NSF Cheque: $45
  • Excess contribution reimbursement: $100
  • Wire transfer: $75
  • Partial or total transfer to another account (plus commission fees): $150/account
  • Portfolio statements by mail: $6/ quarter
  • Trade confirmations by mail: $2/ trade (billed monthly)
  • Administration of restricted shares (plus commission fees): $250/transaction
  • Custodial services for a client: $30/security/month
  • Donation or substitution of securities: Max. $150
  • Registration/delivery of certificate: $50/operation
  • Rush orders on registration/delivery of certificate: $200/operation
  • Deposit a stock certificate: $100/operation
  • Estate settlement: $200/ estate
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International Money Transfers

One of the things not mentioned enough in reviews about the National Bank of Canada is their international money transfers, so we wanted to include it in our National Bank review. Here’s what you need to know about NBC’s international money transfers:

Since the National Bank of Canada is one of the six largest banks in the country, there are a lot of people who use their international money transfers. On top of conducting wire transfers, they also offer an international money transfers through Mastercard, which is a company trusted by many people.

We found while writing this National Bank review that only NBC customers can make international money transfers with NBC. You can make these transfers from any NCB  account. And you use the money in your account to fund the transfer.

There is a $3,000 daily transfer limit, a $14,000 weekly transfer limit, and a $20,000 monthly transfer limit.

Don’t worry. We found out all about the transfer fees for international money transfers and we’ll tell you all about them in this section of our National Bank review. There’s a flat fee of $5.95 if the transfer is made by Mastercard, with account withdrawl fees as well, if they apply. A wire transfer fee of $15 for transfers between Canada and the United States, while the fee is $20 for any other country.

NCB also tacks on service charges to transfers, and they vary based on which type of account you have. For instance, if you have a line of credit or chequing account, then you’ll be charged a fee of $1.25, those with High Interest Savings Accounts will be charged $5.00, and those with All-in-One Home Equity accounts won’t be charged any service fees.

Mortgages

We really can’t talk about NBC’s services and leave their mortgages out of our National Bank review. They offer a range of mortgages to meet your financial needs, and there are mortgage advisors on hand to give you more information and advice about their mortgages, as well.

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Mortgage Loans

We found during research for our National Bank review that there are three different mortgage loan categories: fixed-rate, variable-rate and made-to-measure. These three categories are designed to meet customers’ risk tolerances in a personalized way. If you get a fixed or variable-rate mortgage loan with a 4 year minimum commitment, you can get $3,000 cashback.

  • $750,000+ loan = $3,000 cashback
  • $500,000- $749,999 loan = $2,500 cashback
  • $250,000- $499,999 loan = $1,500 cashback
  • $100,000- $249,999 loan = $1,000 cashback

Home Equity Line of Credit

While we were reading about NBC’s services for our National Bank review, we found out that a Home Equity Line of Credit is where you use the amount you’ve paid off your mortgage to complete various tasks around the house or make big purchases.

Some examples of the things people use home equity lines of credit for include home renovations or repairs, buying cars, or funding higher education. It’s a way to help you use the money you’ve paid off on your mortgage to get the funds you need without requiring you to apply for a new loan.

Mortgage for Self-Employed

We wanted to mention this mortgage type in our National Bank review because it’s a rarity. It’s designed for self-employed people and entrepreneurs that can’t provide the proof of income that’s typically necessary to obtain a loan. This program allows you to make a 10% down payment in order to either refinance or finance your home up to $600,000.

Some of the eligibility requirements for a mortgage for the self-employed are that your property can’t be valued at more than $1,000,000.00, and you must have been a business owner or self-employed individual for at least two years.

  • 1 month: Open % — Closed- 2.45%
  • 3 months: Open % — Closed- 4.25%
  • 6 months: Open- 7.05% Closed- 4.40%
  • 1 year: Open %– Closed- 2.69%
  • 2 years: Open %– Closed- 2.94%
  • 3 years: Open %– Closed- 3.45%
  • 4 years: Open %– Closed- 4.09%
  • 5 years: Open %– Closed- 4.79%
  • 6 years: Open %– Closed- 5.39%
  • 7 years: Open %– Closed- 5.39%
  • 10 years: Open %– Closed- 5.79%
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Insurance

Along with the other products we’ve mentioned in our National Bank review, NBC also offers various types of insurance. Here are some of the insurance types that the National Bank of Canada offers:

Loan and Line of Credit Insurance

This insurance covers things like critical illness, disability or death. The loan types eligible for this insurance are car loans, personal loans and RRSP lines of credit.

Travel Insurance

This insurance covers travel-related insurance and medical bills, either for individuals or for entire families. It includes up to $500,000 in medical bill coverage, as well as other expenses.

Mortgage Loan Insurance

This insurance provides you with mortgage coverage of $1,000,000 in the event of your death, $3,000 in the case of disability and $150,000 in the event of critical illness. It also provides up to $1,000 cashback.

Credit Card Payment Insurance

This insurance will cover your Mastercard credit card payments in the event that you lose your job, become disabled, become critically ill, become dismembered, or die. The maximum payment it will cover is $50,000, which in some cases could be as much as five times more than your credit card payment.

Pros of National BankCons of National Bank
+ Lots of credit card options
+ Lots of mortgage options
+ CAD and USD accounts
+ Get high interest on your savings
– Transfer fees
– You need an account to make transfers

Drawbacks of National Bank

We want to provide you with an unbiased National bank review, so we’re going to tell you about the drawbacks of using their services, as well. Here are some of the drawbacks of the National Bank of Canada:

Transfer fees: If you’re making a wire transfer through NBC, you’ll have to contend with high fees. There’s no flat rate for transfer fees, but they vary based on the country you’re sending money to.

You can only transfer money if you have an account: There are some international transfer services that don’t require you to have an account in order to transfer money, so while this is standard operation for banks we thought we’d mention it in our National Bank review.

Brokerage downsides: There are several downsides to NCB’s digital brokerage that we noticed while writing our National Bank review. First of all there’s no app, which is enough to turn some people off of the service entirely. When you follow that up with the fact that there aren’t very many portfolio analysis tools, many investors are likely to pass on it. There’s also a $100 account fee for a service that doesn’t have a mobile app and has so few portfolio analysis tools.

Mortgages: When it comes to NBC’s mortgages, there are drawbacks, too. There aren’t many physical locations for their mortgage offices. And they make it nearly impossible to obtain rate information unless you fill out an application and then talk to a loan officer. For many people, rate transparency is a sign of trustworthy businesses, so that’s why we mention it in our National Bank review.

Alternatives

Because we’re writing an unbiased National Bank review and we understand that the National Bank of Canada isn’t for everyone, we’re going to provide you with some alternatives to consider.

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Wise

Wise offers a cheap and convenient way to transfer money to other people, or to receive money. You can send and receive money from 80 different countries. One unique aspect of Wise’s signup process is that you can signup by email, or sync your Facebook, Google or Apple account to it to sign in. They charge a flat rate amount of around $1 for most countries as well as a little less than 1% of the transfer amount. And they don’t charge exchange rate markups.

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Tangerine

Tangerine is a Canadian online bank that we found out about while writing this National Bank review. They don’t charge any fees, and you can make unlimited transactions from your bank account at no charge. They’re a full-service bank, so you can get things like chequing, savings, business, loans, credit cards, retirement products and investing services.

They’ve got some really excellent customer service, too. In fact, they’ve been rated as the Highest Overall Customer Satisfaction in a midsize bank segment by J.D. Power’s Canada Retail Banking Satisfaction Study for the past nine years.

Better

If you’re looking for a good lender, then check out Better. NerdWallet actually gave them a 5-star rating. You only need to have a 620 minimum credit score, and 3% minimum down payment. They offer puchase, jumbo, refinance, adjustable, fixed and FHA loans.

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EQ Bank

EQ Bank is another online bank that doesn’t disappoint. It’s owned by Equitable Bank, which has a great reputation with Canadians because of its 50 year track record. Some of EQ Bank’s perks include: high interest rates, free Interac e-Transfers, free electronic funds transfers, no banking fees, no minimum balance, free bill payments, and free transfers to other EQ Bank accounts. And their customer service team is not only prompt to respond to customers, but friendly and helpful.

Simplii

Canadians are pretty acquainted with Simplii as it’s a big name in online banking. Simplii offers a number of personal and savings accounts, as well as investment options. They don’t charge any fees for everyday banking products, so savings and chequing accounts don’t have usage fees. When it comes to their lending plans you can expect low-interest on things like credit cards, mortgages or mutual funds.

National Bank Review Conclusion

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If you’re looking for a trusted Canadian bank with low fees and a good reputation, then the National Bank of Canada may be a good choice for you. We did find a few drawbacks of NBC’s services while we were doing research for our National Bank review, like their high transfer fees or the fact that other online banks don’t charge any fees for chequing accounts.

But there is something to be said about the fact that most online banks don’t have physical locations where you can just walk in and speak to a representative about your issue and have it resolved on the spot, and in that regard the National Bank of Canada is the better choice for some people.

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FAQs about National Bank

What is National Bank of Canada?

The National Bank of Canada (Banque Nationale du Canada) is considered to be one of the best commercial banks in Canada. It’s part of what people refer to as the “Big Six Banks” and we found out during our research for this National Bank review that it’s considered to be the sixth-biggest bank in Canada. The other banks in the Big Six are BMO, CIBC, RBC, Scotiabank and TD Bank.

What accounts does National Bank offer?

National Bank has several account options for personal and business. Their personal accounts include:

  • The Minimalist Chequing Account
  • The Modest Chequing Account
  • The Connected Chequing Account
  • The Total Chequing Account
  • NBC Personal High Interest Savings Account (HISA)
  • NBC USD Progress Account

What mortgages does National Bank offer?

National Bank offers mortgage loans with cashback, home equity lines of credit, and even mortgage loans for those who are self-employed.

What insurance does National Bank offer?

National Bank offers the following kinds of insurance:

  • Loan and Line of Credit Insurance
  • Travel Insurance
  • Mortgage Loan Insurance
  • Credit Card Payment Insurance

What business accounts does National Bank offer?

National Bank has the following business account options:

  • CAD Account
  • USD Account
  • Business Investment Account (BIA)
  • Foreign Currency Account
  • 20 Transactions Business Package
  • 35 Transactions Business Package
  • 50 Transactions Business Package
  • 75 Transactions Business Package
  • 100 Transactions Business Package

What credit cards does National Bank offer?
March 11, 2022
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