checking account

Bank account

A bank account is a financial account with a banking institution recording the financial transactions between the customer and the bank and the resulting financial position of the customer with the bank.

Bank accounts may have a positive or credit balance where the bank owes money to the customer; or a negative or debit balance where the customer owes the bank money.

Broadly, accounts opened with the purpose of holding credit balances are referred to as deposit accounts; whilst accounts opened with the purpose of holding debit balances are referred to as loan accounts.

Some accounts are defined by their function rather than nature of the balance they hold. Bank accounts designed to process large numbers of transactions may offer credit and debit facilities and therefore do not sit easily with a polarised definition. These transactional accounts are called by different names in different countries: in the U.S. and Canada, they are checking accounts, in the UK current accounts.

Other account types

Neutral Consumer Information


The Government of Canada maintains a database of the fees and features of bank account packages offered by various financial institutions operating in Canada. The information is periodically incorporated in comparative tables and published in booklet form. The tables are also published in PDF form on the website of the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada. The database also feeds into an interactive online tool that allows consumers to compare various bank account packages online.

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