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The Best High-Interest Savings Accounts in Canada

The Best High-Interest Savings Accounts in Canada

In recent years, Canadian banks and credit unions have introduced savings accounts that offer higher rates of interest, in an effort to entice clients to deposit more funds with their respective institutions.

These high-interest savings accounts come with a number of features and benefits, such as bonus interest rate offers, no fee transactions or monthly fees, and free e-transfers.

With so many options to choose from, we’ve selected six high-interest savings accounts that we consider to be the best. While there are smaller online banks and credit unions that have some excellent products, the accounts featured here are available to Canadians from coast to coast.

Before we review the top six, let’s take a closer look at what to consider in a savings account.

What’s Important in a Savings Account

The two main features of a savings account are safety and liquidity. After all, a savings account is a place to store money for the immediate or near future.

When you need access to cash, you want to know it’s there, and that you can get your money quickly, and without much trouble. These days most, if not all, Canadian savings accounts offer this reassurance through various principal guarantees, including protection by the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC).

But safety and liquidity aren’t the only consideration for your short term savings. With interest rates having risen over the past couple of years, Canadians now have the ability to earn decent returns on their hard-earned dollars.

One of the easiest ways to do that is by opening a high-interest savings account.

An Introduction to High-Interest Savings Accounts

In my review below, you’ll find high-interest savings accounts with standard rates up to 2.5%, not to mention rates as high as 3.2%, once introductory, bonus rate offers are factored in. That’s pretty impressive, considering savings account balances are 100% principal guaranteed, and funds are easily accessible in most cases.

Some high-interest savings accounts are affiliated with a major Canadian bank, others are standalone online banks with a limited product offering.

The way each bank charges fees differs as well. This is important to note, as high fees will eat into your returns very quickly, especially if your balance is smaller.

As you can see, there is a lot to consider. Thankfully, this in-depth review of the best high-interest savings accounts in Canada will remove a lot of the guesswork, and help you decide which one is best for you.

EQ Bank : One of the Highest Standard Interest Rates

The EQ Bank Savings Plus Account is the crown jewel in the product line of this exclusively online bank. That’s likely due to their reputation of offering one of the highest standard interest rates in the business, on a savings account with no monthly fees.

Currently, the EQ Bank Savings Plus Account is set at a very attractive 2.30% everyday interest rate*, a level only matched or exceeded by competitors introductory, bonus offers.

If there’s a downside to holding your savings with EQ Bank, it’s that your money isn’t as accessible as with other banks. For example, you can’t get a debit card through EQ Bank, their accounts don’t have cheque writing privileges, and there are no physical branch locations you can visit.

That said, there are three distinct ways you can move money in and out of an EQ Bank account. For starters, you can link your primary bank account to your EQ Bank account, and transfer funds back and forth via an Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT). While there is a delay of up to a couple of days, there is no fee for this service.

Open An EQ Bank Savings Plus Account Today

You can also send unlimited free Interac e-Transfers®, just as you would with through any other financial institution. Lastly, you can send and receive funds seamlessly through EQ Connections, to any friends and family who also hold an EQ Bank Savings Plus Account. There are no fees for this service. You can find out more in our complete EQ Bank review.

Features:

  • One of the highest available standard interest rates, currently at 2.30%*
  • No monthly fees
  • No minimum balance requirement
  • Maximum balance of $200,000
  • Unlimited free Interac e-Transfers®
  • Unlimited transfers to other EQ account holders via EQ Connections
  • Funds are eligible for deposit insurance
  • Registered savings accounts unavailable (TFSA, RRSP)

*Interest is calculated daily on the total closing balance and paid monthly. Rates are per annum and subject to change without notice.

Tangerine: High Introductory Bonus Rate

Tangerine is our top choice for online bank. But how does their high-interest savings account stack up against the competition? Let’s find out.

With a Tangerine Savings Account, you’ll earn a standard interest rate of 1.25%. While that’s a far cry from the 2.3% offered by EQ, they do have a very attractive introductory rate of 3.00% for the first six months.

You won’t pay any fees with a Tangerine Savings Account either. No monthly fees, no transactional fees, and there is no minimum balance required. You earn interest with the first dollar deposited into the account.

Open A Tangerine Savings Account Today

One advantage that Tangerine has over EQ Bank, is the ability to opt for a registered savings account. In fact, you can open a TFSA, RRSP, or RRIF savings account.

Features:

  • High introductory rate of 3.00% for the first 6 months
  • Standard interest rate of 1.25%
  • No minimum balance requirement
  • No monthly fees, unlimited transactions
  • CDIC insured
  • Available registered savings accounts (TFSA, RRSP, RRIF)
  • Available US Dollar Savings account (.80% interest)

Simplii High-Interest Savings Account: Big Bank Affiliation

Simplii, formerly known as President’s Choice Financial, is the online banking arm of CIBC. The features and benefits of the Simplii High-Interest Savings Account appear to align closely to the offering from Tangerine Bank.

They offer a standard interest rate of 1.25%, they don’t charge fees for withdrawals, nor do they have a minimum balance requirement. In other words, it’s all pretty straightforward.

Open A Simplii High-Interest Savings Account Today

If you are already a client of CIBC, you might view the Simplii High-Interest Savings Account as the most convenient way to get some additional interest on your short term savings. Otherwise, better rates can be can be found elsewhere.

Features:

  • 1.25% standard daily interest rate
  • No monthly or transaction fees
  • No minimum balance requirement
  • Convenience of a big bank affiliation (CIBC)
  • Deposits are CDIC insured

Wealthsimple Savings: High Standard Interest, Innovative Products

With slick marketing aimed squarely at the millennial generation, the Wealthsimple brand has become synonymous with the term ‘robo-advisor’. But Wealthsimple is becoming much more than a low cost, online investing platform. In 2018, they unveiled their own high-interest savings account, Wealthsimple Save.

Wealthsimple Save offers account holders a very high standard interest rate, currently at 2.0%. This puts them ahead of not only the big banks but other online players like Tangerine or Simplii. They don’t bother with limited time offers or introductory rates.

Open A Wealthsimple Save Account Today

Wealthsimple also boasts a couple of innovative savings tools for its customers that make savings, well, simple.

Wealthsimple Products: Roundup and Overflow

The first is called Roundup. When you activate this feature on the Wealthsimple App, anytime you use your debit card, your purchase is rounded up to the nearest dollar, and the difference can be automatically transferred to your Wealthsimple Save account.

Over time, those small amounts can really add up.

With Overflow, you determine how much you want to keep in your account to manage your day to day expenses. Then, once a month, Wealthsimple transfers any excess amount into your Wealthsimple Save or Invest account.

Features:

  • High standard interest rate, currently 2.0%
  • No monthly or transaction fees
  • No minimum balance requirement
  • Access to innovative tools like Roundup, and Overflow
  • Deposits are CDIC insured
  • Easy-to-use mobile app

motusbank: The Newest Option in Online Banking

Launched in April of 2019, motusbank is the newest player in the Canadian online banking scene. And while the subsidiary of Ontario-based Meridian Credit Union is already making waves for its highly competitive rates on personal loans and mortgages, it boasts a pretty stellar high interest savings account as well. 

I found the motusbank savings account to be competitive with the Tangerine and EQ products, both on interest rate, as well as low fees. Right now, you’ll receive 2.5% on a non-registered, or RRSP savings account. The interest rate on the motusbank TFSA account is even higher, at 2.50%. At the moment, these rates are slightly higher than the regular interest rate offered by Tangerine. 

There are no monthly fees on the motusbank savings account, and deposits and withdrawals are unlimited. Access is free to over 3,700 ATMs across Canada, and motusbank deposit balances are protected with up to $100,000 of CDIC coverage. 

Features: 

  • Interest rates as high as 2.5% (TFSA)
  • No monthly fees
  • No minimum balance
  • Unlimited point of sale transactions and account withdrawals
  • Free access at more than 3,700 ATMs throughout Canada
  • Deposits are CDIC insured

Visit the motusbank website for more details. 

Scotiabank Momentum Savings Account: High Tiered Interest Rates

The Scotiabank MomentumPlus Savings Account is a tiered rate account that operates a bit differently than most. A portion of the interest rate increases with the duration of your deposit, rather than the balance itself. Sound complicated? Well, that’s because it is. Here’s how it breaks down.

There is a standard interest rate of 1.05% on the account, regardless of the balance.

In addition, Scotiabank offers what they call Premium Period Interest. It’s an interest rate that increases the longer the deposit remains in the account, as follows:

  • .75% for 90 days
  • .80% for 180 days
  • .85% for 270 days
  • .90% for 360 days.

With this feature, you can earn as much as 1.95% should you keep the funds in the account for 1 full year.

In addition to the standard and premium interest, Scotiabank has a promotional offering of 1.25%, until March 10, 2019. Account holders who have taken advantage of this promotion have been able to earn up to 3.2% interest. That’s pretty impressive!

While the promotion will be ending shortly, there’s always the possibility that Scotiabank will offer something similar in the future.

What I like about the MomentumPlus account, is having the ability to earn a higher rate of interest than you would with the other big bank offerings. The Premium Period interest makes this almost like a blend between a savings account and a term deposit.

The drawback is how complicated they make it. There’s the standard interest rate, the tiered rates (on which several conditions apply), and then finally the limited time bonus interest.

Regardless, if you have a nest egg that you know you won’t need to touch, the Scotiabank MomentumPlus Savings account is a great option.

Visit Scotiabank’s website for more information.

Features:

  • Standard interest rate of 1.05%
  • Premium Period tiered rates offer up to .90% additional interest
  • Current promotion of 1.25% bonus interest
  • Big bank affiliation
  • Deposits are CDIC insured
  • No monthly fees
  • No minimum balance

TD ePremium Savings: Suitable for Large Balances

The TD ePremium Savings account is the other big bank offering included in this review of Canadian high-interest savings accounts.

Unlike TD’s standard high-interest savings account, the ePremium Savings allows for unlimited, free online transfers between your other TD accounts. The catch, however, is that you require a minimum balance of $10,000 to earn any interest at all.

From $0 – $9,999, there is no interest paid, but the rate is a respectable 1.2% on balances over $10,000.

Funds in the account are CDIC insured, there are no cheque writing privileges, and if you make an external or in-person withdrawal, there is a $5 fee.

Overall, this account is ideal for existing TD clients who bank online and tend to maintain a large balance in their savings account. If this isn’t you, there are better alternatives.

Features:

  • Standard 1.20% rate of interest on balances over $10,000
  • No interest paid on balances between $0-$9,999
  • Unlimited, free online transfers between other TD accounts
  • No monthly fee
  • In-person withdrawals are $5
  • Deposits are CDIC insured

Visit TD to learn more about the TD ePremium Savings Account.

What’s the Best Savings Account for You?

There you have it, our look at 7 of the best high-interest savings accounts in Canada.

Which one is best for you? It depends.

If your priority is earning the highest rate of interest possible, then EQ or Wealthsimple may be your best bet. Tangerine is a solid option as well, with the six-month introductory rate of 3.00%.

If you prefer the accessibility and convenience that comes with a big bank affiliation, then Tangerine or Simplii are solid options, as they are connected to the massive ATM networks of Scotiabank and CIBC, respectively.

Lastly, the TD ePremium Savings Account offers an attractive standard rate for a big bank (1.20%), with the caveat that it is only on balances higher than $10,000.

Comments

  1. Peter Menard

    Alterna? Oaken?

  2. ALan

    People should also take a look at Canadian Tire Bank.
    Current rate of 1.5%
    Very reliable – with timely transfers.
    No minimum and no charge transfers

  3. Peter

    You could also add some of the credit unions in Manitoba such as Achieva and Hubert. They are available to all Canadians and offer high interests

  4. Mark

    Two comments regarding EQ Bank

    While you correctly indicate in the full review that there are 5 FREE Interac e-transfers per month , your synopsis in this article incorrectly indicates it’s unlimited.

    A solution for increasing the speed of accessing your funds Held within EQ is to set yourself up as a transferee. Then use one of your 5 free e-transfers to email or text the funds to yourself. Then you simply deposit the funds into your bank that you do have a debit card with. E-transfers are usually completed within 30 minutes of initiation vs two – three business days it takes for bank to bank transfers.

    • Tom Drake

      Hi Mark, EQ Bank changed to unlimited transfers the same day this post went live. I’ve now updated the review post to show that as well.

  5. Vil

    Good summary. But why is Oaken not included in your list? Home Trust and Home Bank are both CDIC-insured and both offer 2.3% daily interest rates.

  6. Tom Drake

    There are 6-7 banks listed here in the comments that I hadn’t included because they were not national companies (and I’m not very familiar with them), but if they’re available coast to coast, I will certainly be looking at them for future updates to this article!

    • J Smith

      Hi Tom, fyi – (mentioned in first comment) Alterna Bank eSavings accounts are national and available for signup coast to coast including Quebec where its branch is headquartered in Gatineau.
      Another one that might be un-/familiar to you is the no monthly fee Manulife Advantage Account, which is a combined savings and chequing account all in one and is also available nationwide.
      Whereas in your current list “**The EQ Bank Savings Plus Account is currently not available in Quebec.”

      Here’s an at-a-glance latest comparison summarizing features including fees and rates of mentioned savings accounts :-

      -Both non-promo 1.15% Simplii and non-promo 1.15% Tangerine Savings accounts has “traditional” access restrictions, which require legacy pairing with their respective chequing account to be as useful for day to day transactions (e.g., no bill payment, no e-transfer, no ATM debit from their savings accounts).

      -Moreover, unlike Simpli chequing and its “hybrid savings-chequing” rivals, Tangerine Savings’ chequing account (still) charges $1 each for every standard Interac® e-Transfers sent out and (like its parent BNS) nothing to waive this fee; although their proprietary “Email Money Transfers” are free.

      -Though “no charge” on all Deposits, Pre-authorized Withdrawals(PAPs), Exchange ABM Withdrawals, Writing cheques and fund transfers(EFTs) in/out with External Account Link(s), non-promo 1.25% Manulife Advantage Account also charges $1 each for Interac® e-Transfers sent out and debit card/bill payment, but those fees can all be waived with a $1000 minimum balance.

      -The 2.25% Motus Savings charges $1.25 each for every e-Transfer sent out.

      -Both hybrids EQ Savings(since March 2019) and Alterna Bank eSavings(since June 2018) have unlimited free Interac e-Transfers sending out and have 2.3% up to “$200,000” and $500K/$250K(pre/post-May 1,2017) respectively for their unregistered accounts.

      -No Interac e-Transfer and no ATM withdraw from the 2% Wealthsimple Savings as these accesses are unavailable on them just like Tangerine Savings.

      -EQ Bank currently has no debit card or other so no ATM withdraw nor debit pay at retail store/POS terminal from EQ Savings account.

      -Meanwhile available on their respective ATM debit cards, are ability to withdraw directly from Motus Savings accounts through “THE EXCHANGE® Network” ATMs surcharge-free like Manulife Advantage,
      and able to withdraw directly from Alterna Bank eSavings through combined “Alterna, ACCULINK® or THE EXCHANGE® Network” ATMs surcharge-free like its parent credit union Alterna Savings.

      Do check directly with the given financial institution and/or their official website for more about their accounts and its most current details like their Interest Rates and Service Fees.

      “Equitable Bank CEO Andrew Moor, in his January 2016 interview with Bloomberg, Equitable Adds Online Bank, shared their research that “about 70 percent of Canadians don’t really move money much between the checking and savings account. The answer is they end up leaving a lot of it in the checking account…sitting in accounts generating virtually no interest…”
      “Most other banks require you to move money between savings and chequing accounts, but why is that? … fewer and fewer Canadians write cheques so it doesn’t make sense for most to have two accounts.”

      *Inter-bank versions* of Alterna’s coverdraft and Manulife’s sweep functions between category savings accounts (e.g., daily&monthly transactions, vacation, maintenance/disaster, TFSA, etc.) might be an alternate robo-solution to EQ’s sensible solution of a just do all savings plus account.
      Both functions would be adjusted as necessary for you to move money around to balance your day to day transaction allowance with savings growth by respectively avoiding NSF and fees when you exceed your budgeted daily&monthly savings account balance (coverdraft) and by moving excess money accumulated while being on budget into the highest interest account available non-/promo anywhere (sweep).

      Hope to soon hear your own thoughts and more great reviews coming from your article(s) in the near future.

  7. Francisco Correia

    Hi,

    I am Canadian but not living in Canada. I have health problems and my doctors do not allow me to fly – specially long flights. I have a Canadian mailing address.

    I would like to open a High Interest Savings Account in Canada. Is there any Bank or Credit Union in Canada that will allow me to open an account as non resident?

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