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Best Kids Bank Accounts: How to Help Your Child Start Saving Today

Best Kids Bank Accounts: How to Help Your Child Start Saving Today

One of the best ways to set your child up for financial success early on is by opening them a youth bank account. With their account, you can begin to teach them important personal finance lessons, such as careful budgeting, smart saving, and mindful spending.

You may think that all youth savings accounts are the same, but you’d be surprised to know that the features vary between the different banks and credit unions. To help you find the right account to help your child save money, I’ve created the following guide to Canada’s best kids’ bank accounts. Before we dive into the list, here are some things to consider when choosing a children’s savings account.

What to Look for In a Youth Bank Account

While most youth bank accounts in Canada offer free banking, some accounts offer more interest than others, not to mention other unique perks. For example, two banks on this list are currently offering kids a $25 bonus just for signing up. And Scotiabank lets kids 14 and over earn rewards when they spend. Here are a few questions to ask when comparing bank accounts for kids.

  • Is there a monthly fee? (There usually isn’t)
  • Does the account offer unlimited debit transactions?
  • Does the account pay interest? (Some do, some don’t)
  • Can my child get a debit card?
  • How about e-Transfers, are they included?
  • Do any perks come with the account (bonuses or rewards)?

With these questions in mind, I present my list of the ten best kids’ bank accounts (in alphabetical order.) There’s a good chance your bank is on the list.

BMO Plus Plan Youth Chequing Account

What We Like: Free, unlimited e-Transfers

BMO has separate bank accounts for kids and teens. If your child is under 13, they can open a Kids Account and get the monthly fee waived for the Plus Plan (usually $10.95). The Plus Plan includes 25 transactions and free, unlimited e-Transfers per month.

If your child needs unlimited bank transactions, they can opt for the Performance or Premium Plans and receive a $10.95 discount off of the monthly fee. Kids 13 and over receive similar discounts until they turn 19 years of age, and the Teen discounts end.

Key Features

  • Free banking with Plus Plan Chequing (up to 25 transactions)
  • Unlimited, free Interac e-Transfers
  • Discounts continue for full-time post-secondary students
  • $10.95 discount on Performance and Premium Plans (unlimited transactions)
  • Open a free savings account with chequing
  • No interest paid on chequing accounts

Canadian Western Bank Youth Account

What We Like: The best interest rate on our list (.50% for balances over $500.01)

Canadian Western Bank (CWB) is a federally-regulated financial institution based in Western Canada. They offer a youth account for kids 18 and under. What stands out is their product-leading interest rate. Youth account balances over $500.01 earn 0.50% interest, far higher than any other bank on this list (Tangerine is 2nd, at 0.20%).

In addition to the high savings interest rate, there is no monthly fee, and debit transactions are unlimited. There is, however, a $1.00 fee for e-Transfers. If you live in Western Canada, the CWB Youth account is worthy of consideration.

Key Features

  • Savings program for kids 18 or under
  • High interest rates (<$500, 0.05% / >$500, 0.50%)
  • No monthly fee
  • Unlimited transactions
  • Interac e-Transfers are $1.00 each

CIBC Advantage for Youth Account

What We Like: $25 Sign-up bonus and the 0.05% interest rate.

If your child is 18 years of age or under, they qualify for a CIBC Advantage for Youth Account. The account has no monthly fee, unlimited transactions, free Interac e-Transfers, and the interest rate is 0.05%, which is not bad for a basic savings account. If your child is old enough, you can even set them up with online banking, including the CIBC mobile banking app, so that they can access their account from anywhere. It’s an excellent way for them to learn about money at an early age.

CIBC is currently offering a $25 sign-up bonus if your child opens up a CIBC Advantage for Youth Account and provides a valid email address. Upon completing these steps, CIBC will transfer the money into your child’s account within two months.

Key Features

  • No monthly fee
  • Unlimited debit transactions
  • Free e-Transfers
  • $25 sign-up bonus
  • 0.05% interest

Laurentian Bank Youth Account

What We Like: A 100% free, no-frills bank account.

If you’re under 18 years of age, you can open a Laurentian Bank Youth Savings Account with no monthly fee and unlimited transactions. Interac e-Transfer debits are also unlimited. Cheques are available on the account, and you can set up a direct debit (pre-authorized payments.) If you want to receive a paper bank statement in the mail each month, there is a charge of $3.00. Of course, online (paperless) recordkeeping is free.

Key Features

  • Available to customers 18 and under
  • No monthly fee
  • Unlimited free transactions
  • Free, unlimited Interac e-Transfers
  • Youth savings account with chequing account privileges
  • Free paperless recordkeeping (bank statement is $3.00/month)

National Bank Youth Account

What We Like: The flexibility of choosing from two different service plans.

The National Bank Youth Account offers two choices of youth savings account: The Minimalist and the Modest plans. Both plans come with a no-fee bank account. The Minimalist plan is a no-frills package for kids who don’t plan to use the account that much. You get 12 free debit transactions per month (including two in-branch transactions.) The Modest plan offers 30 monthly transactions, but there is a charge of $2.50/month for in-branch transactions.

If your child is six years of age or under, NBC will open the bank account as a trust account. In other words, the parent is fully responsible for the account, even if it’s in the child’s name.

Key Features

  • Two service plans to choose from (Minimalist and Modest)
  • No monthly fees
  • 12-30 monthly transactions, depending on the plan

RBC Leo Young Savers Account

What We Like: $25 Promo Offer available until January 17, 2022, when you open a Leo’s Young Savers Account.

RBC takes a slightly different approach than the other banks on this list when it comes to kids’ bank accounts. The RBC Leo’s Young Savers Account is for children between 0-12. There is no monthly fee, but your child only gets 15 free debit transactions per month. Fortunately, Interac e-Transfers are unlimited and free. Until January 17, 2022, RBC is offering a $25 bonus when your child opens a Young Savers account.

RBC offers a separate student account for full-time students ages 13 and over, called RBC Advantage Banking for students. This account offers unlimited debit transactions, including free Interac e-Transfers, with no monthly fee. Also, RBC waives its fee when you use a different bank’s ATM.

Key Features

  • The savings account is available for kids 0-12
  • No monthly fee
  • 15 free debit transactions/month (Leo’s Young Savers)
  • Unlimited free debit transactions (RBC Advantage Banking for students)
  • Free, unlimited Interac e-Transfers

Scotiabank Getting There Savings Account

What We Like: Children 14 and over can earn SCENE Rewards or Scotia Rewards.

Scotiabank’s Getting There Savings Account is available to customers under the age of 19. The account features no monthly fees and unlimited debit and Interac e-Transfer transactions, with no minimum balance requirement. The savings rate is decent as well – currently, it pays 0.05% interest on balances up to $499 and 0.10% on deposit balances of $500 or more. And a unique feature – children 14 and over can choose to earn SCENE Rewards or Scotia Rewards.

Key Features

  • Kids bank account for anyone under 19 years of age.
  • No monthly fees
  • Unlimited free transactions
  • Free Interac e-Transfers
  • Decent interest rate (0.05% – 0.10%)
  • Ability to earn rewards (14 years and up)

Tangerine Children’s Savings Account

What We Like: 0.20% interest rate is the highest on our list.

True to form, Tangerine, Canada’s leading digital bank, offers free banking WITH interest to children. The Tangerine Children’s Savings Account has no monthly fee or minimum balance requirement. It works as a joint account between the parent and child, requiring that the parent is an existing Tangerine account holder. However, the child gets their own Client number and login details to keep track of their money themselves.

Key Features

  • Kids bank account from Canada’s leading digital bank
  • No fee account that pays interest
  • The current interest rate is 0.20%
  • The parent must already be a Tangerine customer
  • Access to more than 3,500 ATMs across Canada via the Scotiabank network

TD Youth Account

What We Like: Simply Save can be used by parents for a weekly allowance.

Kids under 19 years of age are eligible for the TD Youth Savings Account. There are no monthly fees, and transactions are unlimited. Parents have the option of setting up an automatic transfer, or a Simply Save directly from their account to the Youth account. Simply Save is similar to roundup savings in that a preset amount is transferred into savings every time you purchase with your debit card.

Key Features

  • Available to kids under 19
  • Free, unlimited monthly transactions
  • Free Interac e-Transfers
  • A free monthly statement or paperless recordkeeping
  • Parents can make transfers via Pre-Authorized Transfer Service and Simply Save
  • Current interest rate 0.01%

Vancity Chequing Plus for Youth

What We Like: Free banking for anyone under 25 years of age.

Vancity stretches the definition of a youth account by making their free Chequing Plus account eligible to anyone under 25. There is no monthly fee, and except for Interac e-Transfers, all debit transactions are free. The first order of 50 Vancity cheques is also free. There is no interest paid on the Chequing Plus account.

Vancity also offers youth under 25 a free savings account, called the Plan 24 Savings Plus. The account provides free, unlimited transactions but does not come with cheque writing privileges or the ability to set up pre-authorized payments.

Key Features

  • Members under 25 qualify as youth
  • Free Chequing Plus and Plan 24 Savings Plus accounts
  • No interest paid on chequing accounts
  • 0.01% interest on Plan 24 Savings Plus
  • Excludes free e-Transfers
  • The first 50 cheques are free (Chequing Plus)

Final Thoughts on Kids Bank Accounts

The best bank account for your child will be the one that checks the most boxes when it comes to features and benefits. On our list, a few stand out for their better-than-average interest or other unique features. I like the Tangerine Children’s Savings Account for its 0.20% interest rate. The Canadian Western Bank’s interest is even better, but they won’t be an option in every area of Canada.

RBCs Leo’s Young Savers Account and the CIBC Advantage for Youth Account are offering up a $25 sign-up bonus that’s pretty hard to beat. Last but not least, Scotiabank lets kids over 14 earn SCENE points or Scotia Rewards. What teenager wouldn’t love free movies? The bottom line is that there are plenty of bank options – it’s up to you and your child to decide.

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