Luisa Rollenhagen is a journalist and investor who writes about financial planning for Wealthsimple. She is a past winner of the David James Burrell Prize for journalistic achievement and her work has been published in GQ Magazine and BuzzFeed. Luisa earned her M.A. in Journalism at New York University and is now based in Berlin, Germany.
Developing a consistent saving habits is probably one of the best things you could do for your financial future. Savings accounts are useful for short-term savings goals or an emergency fund for unexpected expenses, emergencies, and anything else life might throw at you.
When you put money into a savings account it generates interest. You get paid for allowing the bank to loan that money to others. Many standard savings accounts offer you next to nothing in return for depositing your money. A high-interest savings account will ensure you're getting the most return on your money.
Which savings account is the best? Probably the one that meets your specific needs and goals. With so many savings accounts to choose from, that can be a tough choice. We provided this comparison to help you choose the right savings account for your individual needs. Your trust is important to us. We always do our best to provide complete and accurate information. To complete your homework, we recommend visiting our competitors' sites to continue your research.
Top savings accounts in Canada for 2019
While there are a number of savings accounts to choose from in Canada, we've picked some of the accounts from Canada's largest full-service banks and ourselves. These savings accounts tend to have low to no account minimums, and low to no fees.
|Provider & Account Name||Rate (after promotions)||Account Minimum|
|Tangerine Savings Account||1.15%||None|
|RBC High Interest eSavings||1%||None|
|CIBC eAdvantage® Savings Account||1%||None|
|Scotiabank Money Master® Savings Account||0.05%||None|
|TD High Interest Savings Account||0.50%||$5,000|
|BMO Savings Builder Account||0.2% (1.6% if you save $200 per month)||None|
About high-interest savings accounts in Canada
In order for financial institutions in Canada to offer the best rates, many offer online savings accounts—a.k.a. you open the account online rather than visiting a brick and mortar branch. This means cost savings from avoiding a physical location, like building maintenance and rent, can be passed onto you the client. Some accounts will have a minimum balance, meaning you'll need a certain amount of money to open the account. Others won't require any account minimum at all. It's worth doing some research and comparing all your options to uncover the best account for you. Here's information about some high-interest savings accounts available in Canada.
We've created a savings product that has one of the highest available rates (a whopping 2% for the first $100,000) plus unlimited free transfers and withdrawals. We also have no account minimum, meaning you can get started with as little as $1. There's never any hidden fees or penalties. Your money is kept held with financial institutions that are members of CDIC, and you can sign up for extra features such as automatically moving a set amount of cash to your Wealthsimple Save account every month, or rounding up any spare change from debit or credit card purchases into your account.
Tangerine Savings Account
Tangerine is an online-only bank that offers savings accounts, chequing accounts, credit cards, and retirement accounts. The Tangerine Savings Account generates an annual interest rate of 1.15%, and also has no account minimum or service charges. It also offers special promotions for first-time users from time to time. With their Automatic Savings Program, you can automate regular monthly deposits to the account .
RBC High Interest eSavings
The RBC High Interest eSavings is an online savings account that has an integration with other RBC accounts. The savings account offers a 1% interest rate, has no minimum deposit requirements, and includes free transfers between the savings account and RBC chequing accounts. You can also withdraw once a month for free from an RBC ATM. There are also promotions for first-time clients available from time to time.
CIBC eAdvantage® Savings Account
Similar to the RBC savings account CIBC's savings account offers free transfers between other CIBC accounts and has a 1% interest rate. You will, however, pay a bit more for transactions, with transfers between other banks as well as withdrawals costing $5. If you withdraw from non-CIBC ATMS, you'll pay another $2 on top of that . There's also no minimum balance for this account.
Scotiabank Money Master® Savings Account
The Scotiabank Money Master® Savings Account also gives you unlimited free transfers between other Scotiabank accounts (transactions among other banks will be $5 per transaction), and also has no minimum account balance . Like the other accounts, there are no monthly fees and you'd be enjoying an annual interest rate of 0.05%.
TD High Interest Savings Account
TD's high-interest savings account greatest benefits kick in once you have at least $5,000 in the account, at which point you'll start earning 0.50%. You will have to pay a $5 transaction fee unless you have a monthly account balance of $25,000 or more. You can also set up an automated deposit system to add monthly amounts from your chequing to your savings, but you'll still have to pay a transaction fee unless you've got enough in the account to waive the fee .
BMO Savings Builder Account
The BMO Savings Builder Account works by offering you incentives to save more per month. The regular interest rate (with no account minimum) is 0.2% per month, but if you save at least $200 each month, your interest rate will be bumped up to 1.6% . You get one free transfer out of the account a month, and then pay $5 for any additional transfers as well as for each withdrawal. There are no fees to transfer or deposit funds into the account.
Advantages of high-interest savings accounts
Although a high-interest savings account often offers less frequent withdrawal rates (meaning you might not be able to access your money as quickly or as frequently as you would with a regular savings or chequing account), it usually comes with plenty of perks:
Higher interest rates
The most obvious advantage is that because of lower overhead costs from operating (mostly) online, high-interest savings accounts can offer you interest rates that are way above average.
No or low Account minimums
Because of low overhead costs, most online savings accounts don't require high fees. You likely won't have to pay a penalty or a monthly maintenance fee if your account balance drops below a certain amount. However, with some accounts, the high interest rates won't kick in unless you maintain a certain balance.
Achieve savings goals quickly
Because of low-to-no fees, higher interest rates, more limited withdrawal opportunities, and services like automated monthly deposits from your chequing account, a high-interest savings account can help you achieve short-term saving goals much more quickly, or help you establish your emergency fund sooner, so that you can get started on more long-term plans like investing.
How to select a high-interest savings account
There are three main points you should keep in mind when trying to find a high-interest savings account that best suits you:
Because one of the main draws of a high-interest savings account is obviously high interest rates, you'll want to compare what's on the market. But make sure you're looking at the general rates, since many accounts offer new customers attractive promotional rates that only last a couple of months or so. But make sure you're not letting yourself be guided only by rates. An account might come with appealing interest rates but also a high account minimum or inconvenient withdrawal terms.
While many high-interest savings accounts have low to no account minimums, they can still come with significant fees. Watch out for fees for withdrawals, transfers between accounts, or cash withdrawals from ATMS, if appropriate. Some accounts are also fixed-savings accounts, meaning that you can't access your money for a certain period of time without incurring high penalties.
The best high-interest savings accounts come with an app that's user-friendly and free to download, 24/7 customer service (both phone and chat), and extra features like automatic recurring deposits, spare-change-roundups, and overdraft protection.
Questions to ask when selecting a high-interest savings account provider
Before you decide to settle on one account, you should ask a few important questions to make sure that the account really is the right one for you, and that you won't be stuck with any hidden fees or unpleasant surprises later on.
What's the interest structure like?
While some accounts just offer a baseline interest rate, some offer a tiered structure where the interest rate increases if your account balance surpasses a certain point. If you're planning on depositing larger funds into the account, this structure might be more advantageous for you.
Is there an initial deposit requirement?
Do some accounts let you get started right away with as little as $0.01, or do you have to deposit up to $200 to start earning interest?
What fees could I be charged?
Make sure you check what the minimum balance requirements, withdrawal, and transfer fees are like, and whether there's a limit to how many transactions you can make per month before being charged.
Is a money market account more appropriate for me?
Money markets are like a combination of chequing and savings accounts: They pay higher interest rates but also give you certain cheque-writing and withdrawal privileges. The downside is that they'll often have quite high minimum balance requirements.
What support comes with the account?
Who can you reach for questions or troubleshooting if you encounter an issue? Are customer service representatives easily reachable 24/7?
How to open a high interest savings account in Canada
Opening a high-interest savings account couldn't be easier, and you can do it all from the comfort of your own home. All you need is a laptop, an Internet connection, some personal information, and an existing bank account to connect to your savings accounts.
Choose your account. Once you've chosen what account suits you, there will usually be a “sign up” button right on the information page of the account.
Show proof of age and residency. You'll have to prove you're above 18 years of age through some form of valid government ID. In some cases you'll also have to prove your current place of residence.
Enter some personal information. Afterward you'll be asked to fill out your name, age, (sometimes) profession, address, and connecting bank account information.
Set up regular recurring deposits. For your high-interest savings account to work as effectively as possible, you'll want to set up monthly recurring deposits from your chequing to your savings account.
Forget about it. The best thing you can do is to set up those automated recurring deposits and then simply... forget about it. This will let your money accumulate interest and grow undisturbed.
Now that you know how to open a high-interest savings account and have some tips for comparing them — it's time to get started. Put your money to work and save for your future. Wealthsimple Save comes with unlimited free transactions, no account minimum and no low balance fees — get started today.
Methodology & Sources
The information on this page was compiled by Wealthsimple in August 2019. In order to uncover competitor information, we looked at our competitors' websites, press releases, and third-party sites. The information collected relates to accounts and rates of Canada's largest full-service banks and ourselves. It's important to note that the general information within this guide is not specific to your personal situation.