Many small businesses may make only a couple of banking transactions each month — a couple of deposits and maybe a withdrawal or two — but still end up paying a chunk of it in banking fees. As far as I know, there are no free business chequing accounts available anymore (HSBC Canada briefly offered a free business chequing account but doesn’t any longer). All the big banks offer a basic pay-as-you-go business chequing account for monthly fees ranging between $6 per month at RBC and CIBC and around $10 at BMO, TD Canada Trust and Scotia Bank.
If you average just one or two transactions every month and are unable to maintain a large cash balance, you should take a look at the RBC Business Essentials Savings Account. There are no monthly fees and no minimum balance requirements but you will pay $1 for every electronic or cheque deposit. The first two withdrawals are free but every subsequent withdrawal will cost $3.50. If you are averaging less than 2 deposits and 2 withdrawls every month, you’ll save approximately $50 per year in business banking fees. CIBC also offers a no monthly fee business savings account but since each debit transaction costs $5, any savings are likely to be quickly wiped out.
If you are able to maintain a large cash balance and perform a larger number of transactions, you may want to look into BMO’s Small Business Banking Plan. The account has a monthly fee of $9.50 which is waived if you keep a minimum monthly balance of $4,000. The plan includes a fair number of free transactions but keep in mind that a $4,000 balance translates into an opportunity cost of $40 (assuming a 1 percent interest rate). TD Canada Trust and Scotia Bank also waive monthly fees for maintaining a minimum balance but the limits are higher ($8,000 at TD Canada Trust and $5,000 at ScotiaBank).