Cheaper banking on tap for low-income Canadians

(Voyagerix/Fotolia)

(Voyagerix/Fotolia)

Daniel Proussalidis, National Bureau

, Last Updated: 3:54 PM ET

OTTAWA — The feds have cajoled Canada's chartered banks to create "low-fee" and "no-fee" bank accounts for low-income earners, including students and senior citizens.

Finance Minister Joe Oliver says the eight biggest banks in Canada will introduce new accounts by mid-January.

"That means access to no-cost accounts for more than 7 million Canadians and savings of almost $50 a year," Oliver said on Tuesday. "For Canadians on fixed income, every dollar counts and $50 can buy a week's groceries."

Low-cost accounts will give account-holders cheque-writing privileges, no-charge paper statements and at least two in-branch transactions per month for a $4 monthly fee.

Students, seniors collecting the Guaranteed Income Supplement and Registered Disability Savings plan beneficiaries can get no-cost accounts, offering basic banking.

Oliver says the accounts are meant to help the most vulnerable Canadians, adding that he's "not concerned" banks will pass on the costs of foregone profits.


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