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Best high-interest savings accounts in Canada

Best high-interest savings accounts in Canada

Vadim Martynenko / Shutterstock

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Updated: November 20, 2023

We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Please be aware that some (or all) products and services linked in this article are from our sponsors.

We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Please be aware this post may contain links to products from our partners. We may receive a commission for products or services you sign up for through partner links.

Finding the right place for your savings is important, and there are so many options to choose from. But not all strategies for saving are created equal.

Investing your savings could pay dividends — especially if you use a robo-advisor — but it’s not always easy to turn your investments into liquid assets if you need cash fast.

Parking your money in a regular savings account isn’t a bad idea, but it may not be ideal, either. The interest rate on a traditional savings account could be as low as 0.01% a year — practically nothing.

Luckily, there’s a middle ground. High-interest savings accounts pay substantially more than traditional savings accounts, giving the funds you deposit the chance to grow.

Here's everything you need to about the best HISA and start making money while you save.

Best high-interest savings accounts of 2023

Canadians have a lot of high-interest savings account options to choose from. Most financial institutions offer them, but that doesn’t mean all HISAs are equal. These are our picks for the best high-interest savings accounts in Canada right now.

  • Review methodology: How we chose the Best HISA in Canada

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    Banks and credit unions offer a variety of financial products and services, including chequing and savings accounts, loans, credit cards and more. When evaluating the best accounts provided by financial institutions, we consider the following criteria: fees, interest rates, accessibility, customer service, mobile banking options, security, account options and additional services. Money.ca’s business relationships have no effect on ratings.

    For more information, read the Money.ca review methodology.

Best HISA for unlimited transactions

EQ Savings Plus Account

Fast Facts:

  • Regular interest rate: 2.50%
  • Regular interest rate: 2.50%
  • Promotional interest rate: None currently
  • Minimum account balance: None

This online-only bank falls under Equitable Bank. With no physical locations, it doesn’t have to worry about the same overhead costs as brick-and-mortar financial institutions so it’s able to pass those savings on to customers.

EQ Bank's Savings Plus Account currently has an interest rate of 2.50%.

This is one of the best non-promotional interest rates in Canada right now. Not only do you get a good rate, the Savings Plus Account also comes with many more advantages, and very few conditions.

Beyond making you money, you will pay no monthly fees and there’s no minimum balance to maintain. Account holders also have unlimited transactions and free electronic fund transfers, mobile cheque deposits and bill payments. Unlimited free Interac transfers are also included.

There is, however, a maximum balance that your account can hold, which is now $200,000. Interest is calculated daily and paid monthly into your account.

This combination of a high interest rate and limited conditions makes EQ Bank one of the top recommended best high-interest savings accounts in Canada.

Best HISA for regular high interest rates

Motive Savvy Savings

Fast Facts:

  • Regular interest rate: 4.100%
  • Promotional interest rate: None currently
  • Minimum account balance: None

A popular online-only bank in Canada, Motive Financial comes on strong with a 4.100% regular interest rate for their high interest savings account, the Savvy Savings Account. Keep in mind this is the regular rate, not a promotional rate and there is no minimum account balance required. That puts Motive Financial on top when it comes to the best HISA rates in Canada.

There are no monthly fees and account holders have access to an unlimited number of deposits. While there’s 4.100% interest, the Motive Financial Savvy Savings account comes with some limitations. The account only allows two free monthly withdrawals. Any additional withdrawal transactions will cost a hefty $5 each. However, this is a savings account we are talking about, not a chequing account, and that 4.100% rate makes it one of the best HISAs in Canada.

Account holders should note that the 4.100% interest rate is only valid on balances up to $5,000,000. After which the rate drops down to 0.5%.

Best high interest savings account app

KOHO Easy

Fast Facts:

  • Regular interest rate: 0.5% interest, plus 1% cash back on select purchases
  • Promotional interest rate: None currently
  • Minimum account balance: None

KOHO has become incredibly popular since its launch, thanks to higher interest rates and low fees/limited conditions. They aren’t just another online bank, but a Canadian technology company that offers a lot of added perks.

KOHO is a free downloadable app that allows Canadians to manage their money easily, and earn interest. It's like a chequing account with the perks of a credit card. So, how does it work? The app connects with a pre-paid Visa card, so you can budget, spend, and save at the same time. Once your account is set up, you can load it with an e-transfer. You can also add your paycheque to your KOHO Card.

From there you can use the card to pay for pretty much anything from your lunch, to your bills.

We like the KOHO Easy plan because of the added perks, on top of earning interest. Once direct deposit is set up, you will start to earn 0.5% interest on your balance. The bonus comes when you use your KOHO account to purchase groceries or pay bills. Then you’ll earn 1% cash back.

KOHO isn’t a traditional HISA but the interest rate, no fees, and additional benefits make it worthy of a spot on this list.

Best no-fee high interest savings account

Motusbank Savings

Fast Facts:

  • Regular interest rate: 2.50%
  • Promotional interest rate: None currently
  • Minimum account balance: None

Motusbank is an online bank that falls under Meridian Credit Union, which is one the largest credit unions in Canada. Motusbank offers plenty of financial products and their HISA option, Motusbank Savings, is a great pick for those looking to save.

Not only is the regular interest rate of 2.5% one of the higher offers in the market, but Motusbank Savings also charges zero fees, no minimum account balance, and unlimited debit purchases and withdrawals. Sending Interac e-Transfers, however, does incur a fee of $1.25 per transfer.

While Motusbank might not be a household name when it comes to banking in Canada, it’s one worth keeping an eye on. With very competitive interest rates, no daily baking fees, and added bonuses, Motusbank has earned its spot on this list of the best HISAs in Canada.

Best savings account for simple transactions

Neo Money

Fast Facts:

  • Regular interest rate: 3.75%
  • Promotional interest rate: None currently
  • Minimum account balance: None

Founded in 2019, Neo Financial is catching attention with its cash-back credit card, the Neo Card, and the Neo High-Interest Savings Account.

The Neo High-Interest Savings Account offers the 3.75% interest rate, as well as unlimited free transactions, and no minimum deposit requirements.

The offerings of this account are pretty basic compared to some of the competitors, but Neo Financial could be a good choice if you have simpler needs. If you are just looking for a basic account with a good interest rate, it’s worth considering.

Best high interest savings account promotional rate

Simplii Financial

Fast Facts:

  • Regular interest rate: 0.40% up to %500K, 1% for $500K to $1M, 5.25% for above $1M
  • Promotional interest rate: 5.25% for five months, on deposits up to $1M, $400 cash bonus after five months
  • Minimum account balance: None

While the normal interest rate for Simplii Financial’s HISA isn’t the most impressive at 0.40% for balance under $500,000, this financial institution is known for having some great promotional rates. While promotional rates aren’t good for long term savings, if you are only saving up money for a couple of months before you are planning on making a large purchase, then the promotional rate can be worth taking advantage of.

At the time this article was written, Simplii Financial is running a promotional rate of 5.25%. That’s more than double EQ Bank’s rate which can add up pretty quickly if you are looking for a place to park your money for a few months.

Like many of the other options on this list, Simplii Financial's HISA has no minimum balance requirement and no monthly or transaction fees. So, keep an eye out for those promotional rates and take advantage if the timing is right.

Best tiered-interest HISA account

Scotiabank MomentumPLUS Savings Account

Fast Facts:

  • Regular interest rate: 1.40%; 0.90% for 180 days; 1% for 270 days; and 1.25% for 360 days
  • Promotional interest rate: 240% welcome bonus interest rate on eligible deposits for the first five months
  • Minimum account balance: None

With some high-interest savings accounts, you’ll be offered different interest rates depending on how much money you have deposited, and how long you keep it there.

These are called tiered-interest accounts.

Scotiabank’s MomentumPLUS Savings Account is one of our favourites because the longer you leave your money untouched, the more it will earn. The regular interest rate is 1.40%, on top of which you can earn a premium period interest rate of 0.85% for the first 90 days and increases up to 1.25% for leaving deposits untouched for 360 days. This makes it ideal for those medium-term goals like saving a down payment for a house, a vacation or a renovation.

Again, since it’s a big bank, the Scotiabank MomentumPLUS doesn’t necessarily offer the best rates when it comes to HISAs. But their tiered interest strategy is certainly appealing to some clients looking to save money and earn some interest.

More high-interest savings account options

Despite not making our best-of list, it’s worth taking a look at what the other Big Five banks offer for HISAs.

TD ePremium Savings Account

Fast Facts:

  • Regular interest rate: 1.70%
  • Promotional interest rate: None currently
  • Minimum account balance: $10,000

TD ePremium Savings Account offers 1.70% interest on balances over $10,000. There is no monthly fee and you have unlimited online transfers.

Given the large minimum balance, as well as the associated fees for some transactions, it’s best to keep this account strictly as a savings account to avoid any additional costs.

CIBC eAdvantage Savings Account

Fast Facts:

  • Regular interest rate: 0.40% up to $10,000, 0.60% up to $25K, 1.40% for 25K to 100K, 1.60% for 100K to $500K, 1.80% for 500K+
  • Promotional interest rate: None currently
  • Minimum account balance: $0

CIBC offers a 0.40% regular interest rate with their eAdvantage Savings Account. When you contribute at least $200 a month (to a maximum of $200,000) you receive an additional 0.50%.

There’s no fee for the account, but each transaction comes at a cost of $5.

BMO Savings Builder Account

Fast Facts:

  • Regular interest rate: 0.50%
  • Bonus interest rate: 2.50% if you meet monthly deposit requirements
  • Minimum account balance: None

The BMO savings builder account is a free account that provides a base interest rate of 0.50%, with a bonus interest rate up to 2.50%. To qualify for the bonus interest rate, you must increase your monthly balance by at least $200 each month (up to $250,000).

You receive one free transfer out of the account per month, but after that each transaction will cost you $5.

Royal Bank High Interest eSavings Account

Fast Facts:

  • Regular interest rate: 1.60%
  • Promotional interest rate: None
  • Minimum account balance: None

RBC offers a HISA with a current standard interest rate of 1.60%. There is no monthly fee, and you can transfer money from the HISA to another RBC account in your name for free.

Included in the account is one free RBC ATM withdrawal per month. Additional transactions cost $5 per month.

A chequing account alternative

While high-interest savings accounts are common, high-interest chequing accounts are pretty rare in Canada. Still, we thought it worth noting a chequing account option.

Tangerine No-Fee Daily Chequing Account

Fast Facts:

  • Regular interest rate: 0.01% for balances up to $49,999.99; 0.05% for balances from $50K to $99,999.99; and 0.10% for balances of $100K or more
  • Promotional rate: New clients who want to open a chequing account and savings account can use promo code EARNMORE and earn up to $400 cash back and a 5.25% savings rate in a savings account for five months
  • Minimum account balance: None

Tangerine is an online bank known for their low fees and free accounts. One of those accounts is the Tangerine No-Fee Daily Chequing Account, which allows for free daily transactions and pays you interest on every dollar in the account. You’ll earn interest of 0.01% to 0.10% depending on your balance.

The no-fee account includes unlimited debit purchases, bill payments, and pre-authorized payments. You also have free and unlimited Interac e-Transfer transactions.

The interest rate may not be that high, but check their site for any promotional rates they may be offering.

How does a high-interest savings account work?

With a high-interest savings account, you’ll earn a lot more interest than you would with a traditional savings or checking account. That means you’ll generate more money from your savings over a shorter amount of time.

What's the catch? Sometimes with a high-interest account, you need to make a minimum deposit, maintain a minimum balance or pay regular fees — though that’s not always the case. 

MORE: Best banks in Canada 

APY

When you start looking for a high-interest savings account, the first number you’ll see will be APY, or annual percentage yield. 

APY is the yearly rate of return on the money in your account, and it includes compound interest, which is the interest earned on your interest.

The more often your investment compounds and builds interest on the interest you’ve already earned, the faster your savings grow.

Comparing rates

So how much higher is the interest on a high-interest, or high-yield, savings account? As of June 2022, the best rates topped 3% â€” more than 200 times higher than a traditional savings account.

If you were to put $10,000 into a traditional savings account with a 0.01% interest rate, you’d earn only $1 in interest during an entire year.

Compare that to high-yield accounts with a rate of 2%, which would earn you $200 in interest over the course of a year — quite a difference. And that’s without making any monthly deposits.

At the same 2% rate, making a monthly deposit of $200 over one year would earn you $222; over three years it would earn you $824, and over five years it would earn you $1,645. 

As you can see, making regular monthly deposits into a high-interest account will lead to serious gains over time.

Where to find a high-interest savings account

Like traditional savings accounts, high-interest accounts are federally insured up to $100,000 if you're dealing with a bank insured by the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC), or a credit union insured by provincial deposit insurance providers.

Old-school brick and mortar financial institutions aren’t your only secure option though; a growing number of high-yield savings accounts are being offered by online banks, and the CDIC insures many of them as well.

And since the Bank of Canada has slashed interest rates in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, many of these small online banks are offering better high-interest savings options than their big-bank competitors at the moment.

Should I get a high-interest savings account?

The great thing about high-interest savings accounts is they’re versatile. Whether you’re planning for your wedding or preparing for retirement, you can rest easy knowing that the money you’re putting towards your goal is growing.

Some popular reasons for opening a high-yield account include:

  • Building an emergency fund.
  • Saving up for a big purchase, like a car or a home.
  • Starting a nest egg.
  • Creating a college fund for your kids.
  •  Protecting your money against inflation.
  • Helping your general savings grow.

Whatever your goals are for your savings, opening a high-interest account is a smart move. 

But before you jump at the first account your bank offers you, it’s worth it to shop around a bit and see what’s out there. After all, you’re not obligated to stick with your current financial institution if you can find a better rate somewhere else.

MORETypes of bank accounts

Comparing savings accounts

Before you open an account, it's a good idea to compare offers from a few financial institutions. Here are a few key things you should look for when comparing your options for a high-interest account.

Interest rate

Obviously you’ll be looking for accounts with high interest rates, but make sure to clarify whether the rate being offered is standard or if it’s an introductory rate that will eventually go down. The highest rate isn’t always your best bet if it’s going to drop after just a few months.

You should also look into whether there are minimum or maximum thresholds you need to meet in order to maintain your rate, and confirm that they’re doable for you.

Fees

Some financial institutions may charge introductory fees for opening a high-interest account, and monthly maintenance fees for keeping it open. It’s important that you understand what these fees are and whether there are ways to avoid them. 

Access to your money

How easy it will be to access the money in your high-yield account is another thing to consider. Some banks will allow you to make withdrawals instantly using an ATM card, while others may require a waiting period of several days before your transaction is processed.

Compounding offer

Lastly, you should find out how frequently the interest you earn from your account will be compounded. An account in which interest is compounded daily will grow your savings faster than an account where interest is compounded yearly. The more often interest is added to your balance, the more growth you’ll see in your savings.

How is a high-interest savings account different from a regular savings account?

While they offer better interest rates than a regular savings account, HISAs also tend to come with more restrictions or conditions.

Some common conditions to look for when choosing a high-interest savings account include account minimums. For example, interest might only be calculated if your account has a minimum balance, such as $5,000.

There are also withdrawal conditions, where there are a limited number of free withdrawals per month. Any extra ones will lead to a charge.  There are also transaction fees, which may be waived depending on your balance. Again, any conditions and fees associated with your HISA will vary from institution to institution.

About our authors: faces of finance

Hannah Logan
Hannah Logan, Freelance Contributor
Shane Murphy
Shane Murphy, Reporter

Hannah Logan is a freelance writer, blogger, and content creator from Ottawa. She spends half the year in Canada and half the year travelling around the world. A self-described wannabe Indiana Jones, Hannah first developed an interest in personal finance in an effort to prolong her travel lifestyle. Today, she shares her stories from her travels as well as finance tips, tricks, and knowledge to help others fulfil their savings and travel goals as well. You can keep up with Hannah’s adventures on her personal travel blog, EatSleepBreatheTravel.com or find her on Instagram @hannahlogan21.

Shane is a reporter for Money.ca. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English Language & Literature from Western University and is a graduate of the Algonquin College Scriptwriting program.

His work has appeared on the Financial Post, MSN Money and Yahoo Finance.

Disclaimer

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