Best Online Only Savings Accounts 2021

Best Online Only Savings Accounts 2021

Written by Lisa Rennie
Fact-checked by Caitlin Wood
Last Updated November 23, 2021

Aside from a checking account, a savings account is a staple in the average Canadian’s banking repertoire. These types of accounts are designed to give you a place to stash your cash that you don’t need to withdraw right away while paying you a small amount of interest on the funds deposited. Rather than tucking your capital under your mattress, a savings account lets that money grow, even if it’s just a little while keeping it in a safe place. 

Savings accounts are available from big banks, but these days, consumers can set up savings accounts that are dealt with entirely online. They offer competitive interest rates, no monthly fees, and a convenient platform to interact on. 

We’ve reviewed the best online-only savings accounts that offer competitive interest rates and ideal terms and have hand-picked the best of the bunch. 

Tangerine Savings Account

One of the first online-only banks to hit the scene is Tangerine. It was formerly ING Direct but is now owned by Scotiabank. It offers a plethora of products similar to what you’d find with a traditional brick-and-mortar bank. Among the more popular banking products offered by Tangerine is its high-interest savings account. While typical savings accounts pay out very little in interest, Tangerine’s rates are much more competitive.

Tangerine’s savings account allows you to set a savings goal and track your progress. The Automatic Savings Program (ASP) is available for free. It allows you to transfer funds from your checking account to your savings account regularly. This will help you achieve your financial goals even faster. Simply establish the amount and frequency of these transfers and watch your savings automatically grow without any intervention or effort.

  • Welcome bonus: New clients can earn 2.15% for 5 months when opening a savings account
  • Earn this special rate on deposits made into any other savings accounts up to the maximum according to the account type
  • Earn 0.10% interest after the introductory period expires
  • No service charges 
  • Automatic Savings Program (ASP)
  • No minimum balance required

Wealthsimple Cash Savings Account

Wealthsimple is an online investing platform that not only offers digitally-savvy investors a way to grow their money through passive investing but also offers an online banking platform that includes high-interest savings accounts. You can then connect your savings account to any investment accounts you may have with Wealthsimple to help you grow your money faster. 

Account-holders can take advantage of free and unlimited withdrawals, no minimum balances, and competitive interest rates. Plus, the Wealthsimple Cash savings accounts acts somewhat like a checking account to simplify your banking. You can save and spend, all with one Wealthsimple Cash account.

  • No monthly account fees
  • No low balance fees
  • Earn 0.90% interest
  • Withdraw cash from ATMs across Canada
  • Free deposits, transfers, and transactions. 
  • Send money with e-transfers 
  • Encrypted data 
  • CIPF protected 
  • Connect your savings account to an investment account 

EQ Bank Savings Plus Account

EQ Bank is a trademark of Equitable Bank, one of the bigger banks in Canada that’s been around for decades. With little overhead thanks to its online-only business model, the bank passes its savings onto customers in the form of high-interest rates. In fact, EQ Bank offers some of the highest interest rates for savings accounts around at an impressive 1.25%. In addition to its high rates, the digital bank is also known for its fee-free structure, unlimited daily transactions, and impeccable customer service.  

  • High-interest rates
  • No banking fees
  • No minimum balance
  • Unlimited transactions
  • Free EQ to EQ account transfers
  • Unlimited bill payments
  • Unlimited Interac e-transfers
  • Save on international money transfers
  • The functionality of a checking account

Motive Financial Savvy Savings Account

Formerly known as Canadian Direct Financial (CDF), Motive Financial is an online-only bank that offers super-high interest rates on its savings accounts. At a whopping 2.05% interest, that’s a tough rate to beat. Not only that, but Motive’s savings account comes with no minimum balances or monthly fees, free Interac e-transfers, and insures your funds through the CDIC.

  • Earn 2.05% interest
  • No minimum balance 
  • No monthly fees
  • Free deposits 
  • Unlimited transfers between accounts
  • 2 free transactions a month
  • Free Interac e-transfers
  • CDIC insured

MAXA Financial High-Interest Savings Account

MAXA Financial is a digital bank that offers great interest rates on its high-interest savings account at 1.80%. A division of Manitoba-based Westoba Credit Union Ltd, MAXA Financial also offers investment products to help you grow your money faster and help you reach your financial goals a lot sooner. Plus, deposits held with MAXA Financial are protected by the Deposit Guarantee Corporation of Manitoba, so your funds are always safe.

  • Earn 1.80% interest
  • No minimum balance 
  • No monthly fees
  • MAXA MemberCard available for ATM and purchase transactions

Alterna Bank Savings Account

A subsidiary of the century-old Alterna Savings, Alterna Bank is an online bank that offers a handful of financial products, including its e-savings account. Accessible via desktop or the Alterna Bank mobile app, the e-savings account offers a hefty interest rate of 1.50%. Plus, you can save even more thanks to the no-fee structure and unlimited free debits, transfers, and bill payments. 

  • Earn 1.50% interest
  • No monthly fees
  • Free, unlimited transfers, debits, and bill payments
  • Free, unlimited Interac e-transfers
  • No minimum balance
  • Deposits are insured through the CDIC
  • Mobile app

Simplii Financial Savings Account

Previously operated as PC Financial, Simplii Financial is a very popular online bank among Canadians thanks to its myriad of banking products and affiliation with CIBC, a well-established bank in Canada. Simplii offers a high-interest savings account that currently offers an interest rate of 0.30%. There is no minimum balance required, no monthly fees, and you can set up automatic deposits to make saving a breeze. 

  • Earn 0.30% interest
  • No minimum balance 
  • No monthly fees
  • No transaction fees
  • Automatic deposits
  • CDIC insured

Online Savings Accounts Recap

TangerineWealthsimple EQ BankMotive FinancialMAXA FinancialAlterna BankSimplii Financial
Minimum Balance$0$0$0$0$0$0$0
Interest rate0.10%0.90%1.25%2.05%1.80%1.50%0.30%
# TransactionsUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
Interac e-TransfersLimited free transfersUnlimited (limited free e-transfer) $1.00 per transferFree, unlimited– 

Why Would A Consumer Need An Online-Only Savings Account?

While a checking account is designed for daily money transactions, a savings account is not meant to be used for everyday use. Instead, it’s meant to serve as a vehicle to save money. The longer the money remains in the account, the more interest will accrue over time. Savings accounts typically have higher interest rates than checking accounts, which is why it’s better to leave a larger chunk of your money in savings rather than in your checking account. 

Savings accounts are not only offered by big banks but online-only banks too. You can deposit, make transfers, and keep tabs on your account all virtually via your computer or mobile app. Customer service is available through chat, phone, or email if you have any questions or concerns. 

Online-only savings accounts are also attractive to digitally savvy consumers because they tend to come with no fees, unlike big banks that tend to charge a monthly fee or require minimum account balances. Not only can banking be much more convenient with an online-only savings account, but they can be money-savers thanks to their no-fee structures. 

How Do I Choose An Online-Only Savings Account That Suits Me?

When selecting an online-only savings account, certain factors should be considered, including the following:

Interest Rate

Savings accounts were meant to help you save money, so the higher the interest rate, the faster your money will grow. 

Interested in investing? Check out online-only Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs).

Monthly Fees

Nobody likes to see a monthly fee be tacked onto their accounts, so verify if there are monthly fees for the online-only savings accounts you’re considering. 

Minimum Balance

Like the monthly fees, you don’t want to be charged a fee if you go below a certain minimum balance threshold, so look for accounts that have a low or no minimum balance requirement.

Are Online Savings Accounts Safe? 

Banking with an online-only institution outside of the traditional, big bank realm may seem a bit unconventional for some consumers. Some may even be a little wary of dealing with them. More specifically, some consumers may wonder if the funds deposited with an online-only bank are safe. 

In fact, banking online is very safe. Reputable online banks not only insure deposits but they also use encryption to make sure your personal information is safe. Nonetheless, it’s always advisable to use a strong password that would be hard for hackers to crack. 

Final Thoughts

Unless you plan to invest your money, leaving it in a savings account that pays out a high-interest rate is your best bet. But instead of taking the traditional banking route, you may want to consider an online-only savings account to take advantage of low fees and the unmatched convenience of banking online. And if you’re looking for the right online-only savings account to park your capital, we think the above accounts should make your shortlist.

Rating of 5/5 based on 2 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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