A Search For The Best High-Interest Savings Account In Canada

Last updated: March 22, 2019

A Search For The Best High Interest Savings Account In Canada

With the Bank Of Canada raising interest rates, a strange event may be taking place and it’s one Canadians haven’t seen in a long time.

In fact, I don’t think I’ve witnessed it since becoming an adult.

Savings accounts might soon become a viable place to put your money to help earn interest. But the question remains whether or not now is a good time to start using one.

So grab that stashed cash under the mattress – or more preferably from your investment account – as it may be time to drive down to your local bank and trust them with some of your hard-earned money.

Whether or not to put your money into a high-interest savings account is really a question of how hard you want your money to work for you.

With the Bank Of Canada’s target inflation rate of 1-3%, you have to find a savings vehicle that is both higher than inflation plus any taxes you will pay on the profits from your interest earned outside of tax-free and tax deferred savings vehicles, like a TFSA or an RRSP.

Anything that is above a 2% interest rate is interesting, but likely won’t cut it when thinking of ways to save for a life after work.

Therefore, in order to get the most out of your money, it’s best to have a savings account that offers higher than a 3% interest rate to get ahead of the game after inflation and taxes…but does it exist today?

The nuts and bolts of savings accounts

In some cases, a higher interest rate may be offered when you have more money to put into a savings account. So people with large sums of money are oftentimes offered higher rates … but there’s a catch.

In a savings account, your money is only insured up to $100,000 by the Canadian Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC). For the big banks, the higher interest rates with large deposits start at $250,000, meaning more than half your money is hanging out on the clothesline if a big financial storm comes and the bank goes belly-up.

Doomsday scenario, I know, but interesting to think about since it’s your hard-earned money at risk.

Related: Grudge Match: RRSP Vs. TFSA. The Battle For Your Savings

High-interest savings accounts in Canada

And now (drumroll please), time for a list of the highest interest savings accounts out there right now in Canada:

Please note: These rates are subject to change at any time, so for the most up-to-date and accurate information please visit the financial institution directly. There are more savings accounts that offer anywhere from 0.05%-1% interest rates, but are not included here.

Financial Institution
Pros
Cons
Promotions
Tangerine
  • 2.75% interest rate for the first 6 months
  • Cash bonuses for automated deposits
  • No monthly fees and no minimum balance required
  • After 6-month period, interest is back down to 1.20%
  • 2.75% interest rate offered to new clients only
  • Existing clients can earn 2.50% interest on new deposits to Savings Accounts, TFSA and RSP until March 31, 2019
Steinbach Credit Union
  • 2.35% interest rate for less than $100,000
  • 2.4% for $100,000 to $250,000
  • 2.45% for over $250,000
  • Regional
  • Can change at anytime without notice
  • This is not a promotion, available anytime to new and old members
EQ Bank Savings Plus Account
  • 2.3%* everyday interest rate
  • No monthly fees and no minimum balance required
  • Free electronic funds transfers
  • Unlimited free Interac e-Transfers
  • Almost no fees (even for NSF and dormant accounts)
  • Not available in Quebec
  • Maximum $200,000 balance (plus accrued interest)
  • This is not a promotion, available to new and old members
National Bank
  • 1.05% everyday interest rate
  • Free online transfers
  • $5,000 minimum balance
  • 1 withdrawal per month
  • None
Alterna Bank e-Savings Account
  • 2.35% high interest rate
  • No minimum balance required
  • Free online transfers
  • Unlimited ATM withdrawals through the exchange network
  • Can change at anytime without notice
  • $1.90 fee for withdrawals made through Interac ATMs
  • None
Manulife
  • 1.50% interest rate on all money in combined chequing and savings account
  • Everyday banking fees are waived when the account balance is $1,000 or more
  • Rates are subject to change
  • None
Simplii Financial
  • 1.25% everyday interest rate
  • No monthly fees and no minimum balance required
  • Rates are subject to change
  • Requires one business day to move money into chequing account for free (can pay for same-day transfers)
  • None
RBC High Interest eSavings
  • 1.05% interest rate
  • 1 withdrawal per month
  • $5 for each additional transaction
  • None
CIBC eAdvantage Savings Account
  • 1.20% interest rate
  • $5 for each transaction
  • $5,000 minimum balance to earn interest
  • None

Related: Never A Better Time To Open A Tangerine Bank Account

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Tax implications

As mentioned earlier, all interest from savings accounts is taxed at your marginal tax rate. And once you take into account the interest rate, minus paying tax on any money earned these days, you’re not left with much.

Factor inflation into it all and you guessed it...you're losing money by keeping cash in a savings account.

So for me, I’m still going to keep my money where it is and see what happens with interest rates. Chances are they're going to go up...but by how much? And when?

Is it worth having a savings account?

It’s amazing how when the BOC raises interest rates, the big banks follow with raising their mortgages almost instantaneously. But savings accounts…they really drag their feet on raising those rates.

And take a look at the big banks. It seems to me that they really aren’t interested in offering competitive savings accounts as they typically have the lowest interest rates out there.

So is it worth having a savings account at all?

Well, a high-interest savings account should be considered to have a balanced financial portfolio. It offers a quick way to access money in case of emergencies or when saving for a big purchase – such as a car, house or university degree – and it’s seen as a stable place to put cash because it is insured, which may be worth the price of having money grow slower than inflation.

Related: How To Rebalance Your Investment Portfolio

But how much should be in this account? And how much does keeping it there cost you? Those are all things you have to decide when running your finances.

Your turn

Do you have a high-interest savings account worth mentioning?

Is there a bank out there worth stashing your cash with that I missed?

I’d love to know – because it feels like savers still have a hard time making money off their hard earned cash these days.

Disclosure: Some links in this article may be affiliate links. We're letting you know because it's the right thing to do. Here’s a more detailed disclosure on how HTS makes money.

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Comments

Me dode
Me dode's picture

Interest is paid yearly at the end of December.
Other institutions have interest paid monthly and calculated daily

August 31, 2018 @ 12:02 am
Fiona Bryden
Fiona Bryden's picture

Trying to find a reasonable place to put some US$ but the savings rates in Canada are abysmal. Do you have any good US$ savings options? I want safe savings, so lower interest but clear of market crashes!
I use EQ and just had a savings account with WFCU that paid 3% p.a. but only for 6 months. I will probably move it to EQ GIC.
When will the banks start sharing their/our profits with their customers on a more equitable basis?

August 28, 2018 @ 11:23 am
Cindy Rattle
Cindy Rattle's picture

Achieva Financial (online credit union) offers 2.15% on savings accounts and 2.4% on one year GIC's.

August 28, 2018 @ 11:38 am
Liz More
Liz More's picture

I use EQ bank and find it easy to use.
However, under your "con" list a maximum of $100,000 is listed. Since I believe this is the maximum amount insured under CDIC insurance , this should be a comment on all the bank accounts, and not a drawback to this particular bank.

August 28, 2018 @ 11:57 am
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

You are correct that the CDIC limit for all bank accounts is $100,000. However, in this case for EQ Bank it is actually a hard limit on account size. From their terms and conditions:

 

For accounts opened before February 21, 2016, the maximum balance per customer is $500,000 (plus accrued interest)

For accounts opened on or after February 21, 2016, the maximum balance per customer is $100,000 (plus accrued interest)

August 28, 2018 @ 12:18 pm
Dola AuCoin
Dola AuCoin's picture

Outlook Financial pays 2.15% on Savings . Also have excellent CIC rates . They are a virtual Credit Union .

August 28, 2018 @ 12:06 pm
jjc
jjc's picture

DICO (deposit insurance corporation Ontario) back up by the Ontario government insure each account up to $250,000 (that is a combination of let say: 1 saving account + 1 gic account + 1 tfsa account + 1 rrsp account) per person, per bank,PEN FINANCIAL credit union in the Niagara peninsula region offered 2.92 % GIC for 2 years term interest cashable at 12 or 24 months term, at 24 months if ( depending of your tax situation)you do not want cash the interests you can roll over the interests,Meridian credit Union and 1ST ONTARIO CREDIT UNION have more or less similar deal, advertised or not (comes and go) you can always contact a branch manager and negotiate a deal.ps: if you want to withdraw before the 2 years term, they (pen financial) will hold back 33% of the interests as penalty,by the way DICO has an very impressive list of credit union insured with them: city of Toronto employees, many police forces,fire dpt, different union members ,etc.....also with BMO/nesbitt burns, i bought CAPITAL PROTECTED NOTES,4/5/6 years terms issued by TD/BMO/RBC/, some made 2% yearly after 4 years, some others much more (the trick is not to wait 4/5/6 years term crossed arms, and collect whatever is there at the end) a little repositioning during the term is a must

August 28, 2018 @ 1:53 pm
Andy Hunter
Andy Hunter's picture

Really enjoy your articles! One tip I have found useful is that even though account interest rates will drop back to lower levels after 6 months ie Tangerine, you can contact them directly & advise about higher interest rates with another bank or credit union. They have always offered to match the higher rate for 3 months to keep you as a customer. Mark the adjusted expiry date on your calendar as a reminder to contact them again.

August 28, 2018 @ 2:01 pm
Bob
Bob's picture

Why not put it into Oaken Financial? 1 year GIC = 2.8% or 18 months = 3.0%, compounded after 12 months resulting in a net yield of 3.05%. Puts the ones you listed to shame.

August 28, 2018 @ 2:03 pm
Bob
Bob's picture

I should have added that Oaken is insured by CDIC.

August 28, 2018 @ 2:06 pm
MARY ANNE ROBERTS
MARY ANNE ROBERTS's picture

Simpli Financial has a great 1-year rate GIC, which pays 2.5%, with only a minimum investment of $100.
I was able to shop this over to Scotiabank, where they matched this rate, even though their own 1-year rate pays only 2%.

August 28, 2018 @ 4:44 pm
Cindy L
Cindy L's picture

As another commenter noted, Tangerine will offer existing customers 1.9% for existing or new deposits for a period of 90 days but not the 2.5% mentioned in the article. Regardless of this minor inaccuracy it was news to me to learn that you could negotiate better interest rates on savings than those being offered. On borrowing, yes, a no brainer. But on savings!? I had no idea. That's the big takeaway for me.

August 28, 2018 @ 7:43 pm
Gina Alward
Gina Alward's picture

I'm with Tangerine, and right now I'm earning 2.50% on new deposits to my Tangerine Savings Account, Tax-Free Savings Account and RSP Savings Account until March 31, 2019.

August 29, 2018 @ 9:42 am
John
John's picture

You missed AcceleRate Financial, their savings account rate is 2.25%. Although it's in Manitoba, I'm in Saskatchewan and have an account there. The other thing with them they are a Credit Union so your deposit is 100% guaranteed.

August 28, 2018 @ 7:45 pm
Danny Jellis
Danny Jellis's picture

Not so much about savings account interest rates, but more about GIC's. I saw on CBC about a gentleman who p;urchased several GIC's several years ago and fporgot about them. When he went to cash them in his banks had no record of them, and refused to return his money. Got me thinking about how to actually prove I have money on deposit with my banks, if all f my transactions are only online, I have nothing tangible to prove anything I believe I have on deposit. Any thoughts or suggestions on how to be able to provide proof of cash in th ecase of a bank denying such info?

August 30, 2018 @ 11:58 am
AT
AT's picture

Hubert Financial (happysavings.ca) (part of Sunova Credit Union) has recently upped its savings account to 2.35%. Although based in Manitoba, Hubert offers most of its online services in other provinces (other than Quebec) as well. GICs are also offered.

August 30, 2018 @ 4:54 pm

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