Best High-Interest Savings Accounts In Canada 2021

Best High-Interest Savings Accounts In Canada 2021

Written by Lisa Rennie
Fact-checked by Caitlin Wood
Last Updated September 15, 2021

There are many saving accounts available on the market, choosing the best one can be a difficult task considering all the factors and choices you have to consider. Before we divulge into that, let’s explain what is a savings account.  

What Is A Savings Account?

A savings account is a secure area where you can deposit your money while generating interest on your balance. Though it may earn interest like an investment, a savings account is more secure as it is insured by the Canadian Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC), meaning your money is protected (up to $100,000) in the event the bank collapses. 

Difference Between A High-Interest And A Regular Savings Account

The biggest difference between a high-interest savings account and a regular savings account is the interest rate. The former typically offer much higher interest rates, allowing you to earn more money in interest compared to the latter. Generally speaking, high-interest savings accounts come with interest rates that are as high as 2.5% or more, compared to regular savings accounts that usually offer no more than a half percent on average.

Learn about Tax Free Savings Account (TSFA)

How Does A High-Interest Savings Account Work? 

A savings account is a way of growing money with cash that is just “sitting” around. When you open a savings account, the money you store in it is used by the banks to invest and lend to other people and businesses. In return for using your savings, the bank pays you interest. Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t access your money whenever you want. Your money is always available to you and is also insured by the Canadian Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC) as mentioned above. 

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Benefits Of High-Interest Savings Accounts

Why put your money in a high-interest savings account over other types of accounts? Here are a few benefits to consider:

  • Higher returns – A savings account is meant to help you save your money over the long run. Unlike a chequing account that is meant for daily transactions, a savings account is designed to help you grow your money by leaving it in there to earn interest over time. And with the higher interest rates offered with a high-interest savings account, your money can grow even faster with higher returns. 
  • Flexibility -There are other account types that allow you to earn a decent interest rate on your deposited funds, but they typically require you to lock in your money, which means you can’t withdraw the funds without incurring a penalty. Instead, a high-interest savings account offers much more flexibility, since you’re free to withdraw your funds at any time without penalty while earning a healthy interest rate on every dollar in your account.
  • Perfect for emergencies – It’s always a good idea to have a financial cushion to fall back on and be able to access emergency funds for a rainy day. And when that day comes, the money you are saving and growing in a high-interest savings account can come in really handy when an unexpected expense arises.  
  • Shelter from taxes – If you choose a TFSA or RRSP savings account, the money you earn on interest within those accounts will either be tax-free or tax-sheltered. This is a great way to keep more money in your pocket come tax time. 
  • Security: Like a traditional savings account, most high interest savings accounts are insured up to $100,000 by the CDIC.

Drawbacks of High-Interest Savings Account

In addition to the perks of a high-interest savings account, there are some drawbacks to consider. 

  • Taxes paid on interest – Unless the financial institution that you have your high-interest savings account with offers a TFSA, you’ll be subject to taxation on all gains earned through interest. 
  • Withdrawal limits – Depending on who you are banking with, you may be subject to withdrawal limits. Be sure to check with your specific bank to find out if any limits exist, and if so, what they are.

Factors To Consider When Choosing A High Interest Savings Account Canada

With all the high-interest savings account in Canada, how do you choose one that best meets your needs? 

How Often Will You Use It? 

A savings account is typically meant to store your money for long periods of time. Over time you may withdraw or deposit more money. However, in general, transactions, withdrawals, and transfers are typically limited with savings accounts. Depending on your own personal banking habits and needs, figure out how many withdrawals and transactions you need. Some banks offer a free transaction once a month while others require a fee.

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How Easy Is The Accessibility?

Depending on if you choose an online or traditional savings account, your accessibility will range accordingly. For online savings accounts, you will likely be restricted to dealing with your money through electronic means. If you require access to an ABM or a teller, then a traditional savings account will suit you better. 

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Does The Interest Rate Beat Inflation?

When choosing a savings account whether through a traditional bank or an online financial institution be sure to choose a rate that is higher than the current Canadian inflation rate. Inflation affects your purchasing power, by matching your interest rate with the inflation rate your savings won’t lose it’s purchasing power. 

Best High-Interest Online Savings Accounts In Canada

Listed are 5 of the best online high-interest savings accounts in Canada. All of the following savings accounts have no minimum balance and monthly fee.

Interest RateMonthly FeeExtra FeaturesInsured
Tangerine Savings Account0.10%NoneUnlimited withdrawals, deposits and transactions. 
RSP, TSFA, RIF and U.S savings account available
Wealthsimple Cash0.90%NoneUnlimited withdrawals, deposits, transfers and transactions. 
RRSP & TFSA available Hybrid chequing and Savings Account
Alterna Bank High eSavings Account 1.5%NoneUnlimited free Interac e-transfer and bill payments. 
RRSP & TFSA available
Oaken Savings Account1.5%NoneUnlimited withdrawal, transfers. 
ABMs available
EQ Bank Savings Account Plus1.25%NoneUnlimited Interac e-transfer, transactions, transfers, bill payments and cheque deposits. CDIC
MAXA Financial High-Interest Savings Account1.60%NoneRRSPs, TFSAs, and RRIFs availableDGCM
Laurentian Bank Digital High-Interest Savings Account1.5%NoneInterac e-transfers, automatic withdrawals, pre-authorized debits and wire transfers available.CDIC

Tangerine Savings Account 

Tangerine is an online bank in Canada that was formerly known as ING Direct. They are a subsidiary of Scotiabank; a well-known multinational bank in Canada. They offer a number of products and services like GICs, mortgages, mutual funds, and different savings accounts.  Their savings account has an interest rate of 0.10% and does not require a minimum balance or a service fee. They are also easily accessible even though they don’t have branches. You can gain access to your account online and through mobile banking as well as their automated banking machines (ABMs) on the Scotiabank network. They also have an Automatic Savings Program (ASP) to help you reach your financial goals.

Wealthsimple Cash

Wealthsimple is an online investment firm in Canada that was established in 2014. They manage investments through their Robo advisors and manage money to help their clients save. Now, they’ve launched Wealthsimple Cash, which is a hybrid of a chequing and savings account. This allows you to earn high interest on your money while having the freedom of chequing account, which includes unlimited transactions with no fees. Wealthsimple also has TSFA and RRSP if you prefer to save using those accounts. Unlike the other online banks mentioned, Wealthsimple is not insured by the CDIC but the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF) up to 1 million.

Alterna Bank High eSavings Account 

Alterna is a digital bank in Canada that is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Alterna Savings; a credit union in Ontario. They offer mortgages and high-interest savings accounts in Canada. You can earn 1.5% on your savings with Alterna, however, the cap balance is set at $250,000.  Unlike traditional savings accounts, there is no fee or minimum balance and you have unlimited transactions and interact-transfers.

Oaken Savings Account 

Oaken is a digital banking company that is powered by the Home Trust Company. They were first established in 2013 to provide a savings product that the customers could control. Hence, Oaken does not charge any fees or require a minimum balance. They also have unlimited withdrawals, transfers, and deposits. Their savings account also has one of the highest interest rates available (1.5%), along with Equitable Bank (2.00%). If you’re looking for different sorts of savings accounts, Oaken also offers high-interest TFSA and RRSP. They also offer GICs for those looking to invest. 

EQ Bank Savings Plus Account 

EQ is an online subsidiary of Equitable Bank; one of Canada’s largest Schedule I Banks. They’ve been in business for over 40 years and are insured by the CDIC, making them a creditable financial institution. They currently offer two products: Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs) and High-Interest Savings Account (HISAs). Their highest-interest savings account is one of the best on the market with an interest rate of 1.25%. Unlike traditional savings accounts, EQ extends free withdrawals, transfers, transactions, and bill payments. They also give you the ability to connect to your other bank accounts so you can automate bill payments and transfer funds more seamlessly. 

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MAXA Financial High-Interest Savings Account

MAXA Financial is a division of Manitoba-based Westoba Credit Union, so all deposits held with the bank are guaranteed by the Deposit Guarantee Corporation of Manitoba. MAXA’s high-interest savings accounts are available for savings accounts including RRSPs, TFSAs, and RRIFs. Currently, MAXA’s interest rates for its high-interest savings account stands at 1.60%, which is a pretty competitive rate.

Clients holding these accounts won’t have to be subject to any monthly fees, nor any minimum balance requirements. Plus, they come with MemberCards that can be used to withdraw cash at ATMs and make in-store purchases. 

Laurentian Bank Digital High-Interest Savings Account

Laurentian Bank has been around for over a century-and-a-half and has LBC Digital under its umbrella, which is the bank’s online banking arm. In addition to GICs and a no-fee chequing account, Laurentian Bank also offers a high-interest savings account that comes with a healthy rate of 1.65%. 

There is no minimum balance required to maintain, nor are there any monthly fees to pay. There’s no need to sign up, as you can link your savings account with another bank. Otherwise, you can transfer funds from your LBC Digital Chequing Account if you so desire. Plus, all eligible deposits up to $100,000 are protected under the CDIC.

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Why Choose A High-Interest Savings Account With An Online Bank Over A Traditional Bank?

  • High Interest: Digital banks save on costs that come with owning a physical location. As such, they are able to provide much higher interest rates than traditional banks who have branches. 
  • Low Fees: Typically require no fees compared to a regular savings account. 
  • Accessibility: A lot of traditional savings accounts have restrictions on the number of transactions, withdrawals, and deposits you can make. However, online savings accounts generally have few restrictions. 

Why You Should Not Choose A High-Interest Savings Account With An Online Bank Over A Traditional Bank?

  • No face-to-face contact. If you’re someone who likes the security that comes with human contact. A traditional brick and mortar bank will probably be best suited for you. 
  • Accessibility: Many online savings accounts only have electronic transactions. You won’t have access to ABMs or a local branch to access your money. 
  • Deposit Issues: If you want to deposit cash, you have to find an ABM or turn the cash into a cheque. 
  • Limited Products: Online banks typically have a limited range of products and services. So, if you want to get a TFSA or a chequing account along with your savings account you may have to go with two different providers. 
  • Slow Gains: Despite having higher interest rates than traditional savings accounts, your money is still going to grow very slowly in comparison to investing your money in other securities (bonds, stocks, mutual funds, etc).

Best High-Interest Savings Accounts With Big Banks In Canada

Interest RateCostMin BalanceExtra PerksCDIC Insured
Scotiabank Momentum PLUS Savings Account– Up to 2.70% (limited time offer)
-0.05% base + premium period interest
No monthly feeNo minimum balance– Unlimited self-service transfers
– Automatic savings plan
TD High Interest Savings Account– 0.05%No monthly fee$5,000+– Unlimited transactions 
– Automatic savings program
BMO Smart Builder Savings Account– Up to 0.50% 
– 0.05% base interest + 0.45% bonus interest
No monthly fee$200+ per month– 1 free transfer out of accountYes
CIBC eAdvantage Savings Account– Up to 2.10% (limited time offer)
– 0.10% base
No monthly feeNo minimum balanceYes
RBC high-interest savings account– 0.05%No monthly feeNo minimum balance– No minimum deposit required
– 1 Free ABM cash withdrawal per month
– Automated savings program

TD High-Interest Savings Account In Canada

TD is one of the biggest and most well-known banks in Canada. It was founded over 65 years ago and since then has grown into a multinational financial institution. They have over 1,100 branches and serve over 10 million Canadians. They offer a range of products and services like credit cards, mortgages, insurance, GICs, savings accounts, and much more. Their high-interest savings account offers an interest rate of 0.05% if you have a balance of $5,000 or more. Anything less will result in an interest rate of 0%. This account does not charge a monthly fee, however, there are a few transactions fees you should note:

  • $5.00/ per transaction
  • $2.00/ per non-TD ABM transaction
  • $3.00/ per U.S. or Mexico ABM transaction
  • $5.00/ per ABM transaction in any other country
  • $2.00/ per month for paper statement fee

These transaction fees can be waived if you maintain a monthly balance of $25,000. When you bank with TD, you also have access to mobile deposit, TD’s spending tracker app, automated savings programs, and more. 

Scotiabank Momentum PLUS Savings Account

Scotiabank is one of the largest banks in Canada. They have a wide range of products and services like credit cards, loans, mortgages, insurance, investments, savings accounts, and more. Their high-interest savings account is called the Momentum Plus Savings account; a savings account to help you meet all your savings goals. This savings account tracks your earnings and rewards you with higher interest rates the longer you save. They pay you a regular interest of 0.05% monthly plus a Premium period interest if no debit transactions were made during the premium period. This premium interest is designed in a way that compels you to not touch your money unless you have no choice. The rise in interest is an advantageous reward that you can work toward. There is no monthly fee, however, there is a $5.00 charge for every debit transaction that is not a self-service transfer. 

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BMO Smart Builder Savings Account 

The Bank of Montreal (BMO) is a multinational financial institution that offers a number of financial products and services like credit cards, insurance, mortgages, lines of credits, savings accounts, and more. BMO’s Smart Builder Savings Account is a great account for those consumers who are looking for extra motivation to save. It’s designed in a way that compels you to continuously put money into your savings. If not, you lose out on a whole percent of earnings on interest. The BMO savings account has a base interest rate of 0.05% plus 0.45% if you deposit $200 or more every month. There is no monthly fee and you are granted 1 free transfer out of the account every month. However, if you require any more withdrawals, it will cost you $5 per withdrawal.

CIBC eAdvantage Savings Account

Like the other big banks, CIBC offers a wide variety of financial products and services like credit cards, mortgages, loans, insurance, investments, savings accounts, and more. Their eAdvantage savings account offers a 0.10% interest rate with no monthly fee. However, there is a 5$ charge for any transaction like debit purchases, withdrawals, bill payments, branch transfers, Interac e-transfers, and cheques

RBC High-Interest eSavings Account

The Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) offers numerous financial products and services. Their High-Interest eSavings account allows you to earn 0.05% interest on every dollar, which is a fairly balanced rate in comparison to the other banks. No monthly fee or deposits are required in order for you to earn interest on your savings. You also have unlimited transfers between this account and your other accounts with RBC. They also offer an automated savings program called Save Matic, which can help regulate your savings so that you can reach your savings goals faster. 

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Is Your Money Safe In A High-Interest Savings Account? 

As with any other account, the money you have deposited in your high-interest savings account is safe as long as the financial institution that you have your account with is reputable. These accounts are typically eligible to be insured by the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC), so even if the bank you are with goes under, your money would be safe. 

Plus, the interest rate with a high-interest savings account is fixed, so you are guaranteed to earn that amount of interest for that month on the funds you have deposited, which is much safer than playing your odds with stock investing.

Bottom Line 

Whether you choose to go with an online or traditional savings account, having one, in general, is most important. Proactively working on building your savings is key to managing unexpected expenses and future financial crises. A savings account will not only help keep your money secure but will grow your money and help you meet your future financial goals. The list above will help you narrow your options and choose a savings account that best suits your needs. 

Rating of 5/5 based on 4 votes.

Lisa has been working as a writer for more than a decade, creating unique content that helps to educate Canadian consumers in the realms of real estate, mortgages, investing and financial health. For years, she held her real estate license in Toronto, Ontario before giving it up to pursue writing within this realm and related niches. Lisa is very serious about smart money management and helping others do the same. She's used a variety of financial tools over the years and is currently growing her money with Wealthsimple, while stashing some capital in a liquid high-interest savings account so that she always has a financial cushion to fall back on. She's also been avidly using her Aeroplan TD credit card to collect as many Aeroplan points as possible to put towards her travels!

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