Update on April 23, 2013: HSBC Canada does not offer this chequing account anymore. If you need free pay-as-you-go business banking you may want to consider the RBC Business Essentials Savings Account that I wrote about here.
If you are tired of paying a monthly fee to do your banking, you have the option of opening a no-fee chequing account with President’s Choice Financial and seeing a substantial reduction in bank fees. If you want to earn a higher interest rate on your savings, you are spoiled for choice with a long list of online banks vying for your business. Even the discount brokerage space has vigorous competition. But, for some reason, business banking has been one area that seems completely immune to competitive pressures. If you run a small sideline business and want a chequing account, your options are limited to accounts that charge a monthly fee of $5 or $6 for the lowest-priced, pay-as-you-go, banking package. If your business is grossing about $1,000 per year, you’ll end up paying $60 to $70 just to maintain a business chequing account.
Thankfully, HSBC Canada is injecting some much-needed competition in business banking by introducing a no-fee, business chequing account that it calls HSBC Business Direct. There will be no monthly fees on the account, no charges for an unlimited number of electronic transactions and no fees for a limited number of cheque transactions (both credit and debit). Note that the Business Direct account charges some fees but these should be far and few between for light users and any applicable fees seem to be inline with those charged by the big banks. Also, HSBC says that this is not a limited-time, introductory offer type of gimmick and promises not to charge a monthly fee as long as the account is maintained.
Update: HSBC Business Direct offers both Canadian dollar and US dollar Business Chequing Accounts.