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A kids’ bank account comes with special features that help young people save money and learn how to use a bank account. Read our guide to opening a child’s bank account below to learn more about how savings accounts for kids work and compare options to find the best fit for your child.
If you want to set your child up for financial success, you need to start with the basics: a kid’s bank account. By opening a bank account for kids, you can teach your child about the importance of saving money and spending wisely.
The younger you start to talk and teach children about money management, the greater their chances for future financial success. According to a University of Michigan study, research shows that when a parent with low or moderate income opened up a kid’s bank account, the child was three times more likely to go to college and four times more likely to graduate from college – even if the child’s savings account held less than $500. Additional studies show a direct correlation between higher education and greater financial stability and success. To start, all a parent needs to do is open a kid’s bank account.
The good news is that opening a child’s bank account in Canada is relatively easy and straightforward. To find the right bank account for your kids, consider the following tips.
Unlike a regular bank account, a kid’s bank account won’t come with many bells and whistles. However, most accounts do offer a few key tools that help make it easier for you to talk about money to your child and teach money management skills.
To find the right bank account for your child, consider the following:
Finding answers to these four questions will help you narrow down your choices. To see our top children’s accounts check out our best kid’s bank account guide.
To help with your research process, we compiled a list of all bank accounts available to children in Canada in March 2023, including money management apps and digital bank accounts for kids. Remember, unless otherwise stated, all kids’ bank accounts in Canada are available to anyone 18 years of age or younger.
|Kids’ Bank Account||Interest Rate||Debit Card||Features & Conditions||# of Regular Transactions||Fees||Learn More|
|Simplii Financial Student No Fee Chequing Account||0%||Yes||Unlimited||$0||Learn more|
|Simplii Financial International Student GIC Program||0%||Yes||Unlimited||$0|
|Mydoh app and Mydoh Smart Card||0%||Yes||Unlimited, but max 10 purchases/day or 30/month||$2.99||Go to site|
|Tangerine Children’s Savings Account||1.1%||No||$0 (can only accept e-transfers)||$0||Learn more|
|RBC Leo’s Young Savers Account||0.01%||Yes||15/month, then $1.25 per transaction||$0||Learn more|
|RBC Advantage Banking for Students||0.01%||Yes||Free and unlimited||$0|
|TD Youth Account||0.01%||Yes||Free and unlimited, except $0.50 per e-Transfer||$0||Learn more|
|BMO Youth Plus Account||0%||Yes||25/month, then $1.25 per transaction||$0|
|BMO Kids Plus Plan||0%||Yes||25/month, then $1.25 per transaction||$0|
|BMO Youth Premium Account||0%||Yes||Free and unlimited||$18.95|
|BMO Youth Performance Account||0%||Yes||Free and unlimited||$5|
|Scotiabank Youth Savings Account||0.05%||N/A||N/A||Free and unlimited, (2 free e-transfers/mth, then $1 for each)||$0||Learn more|
|Canadian Western Bank Youth Account||0.05%||N/A||Free and unlimited, except $1/e-Transfer||$0|
|HSBC Youth Savings Account||0%||Yes||free and unlimited||$0|
|CIBC Smart Start (formerly CIBC Advantage Acccount)||0.05%||Yes||Free and unlimited, including e-transfers||$0||Learn more|
|TD Student Chequing Account||0.01%||Yes||Free and unlimited||$0|
|TD International Student Banking Package||0.01%||Yes||Free and unlimited||$0|
|TD Youth Account||0.01%||Yes||free and unlimited||$0||Learn more|
|Scotiabank Getting There Savings Account||0.05%||Yes||free and unlimited||$0||Learn more|
|Laurentian Youth Account||0%||Yes||Free and unlimited||$0||Learn more|
|National Bank The Minimalist Chequing Account||0%||Yes||12/month||$3.95|
|National Bank Modest Chequing Account||0%||Yes||30 transactions a month, unlimited e-transfers||$10.95||Learn more|
|National Bank Connected Account||0%||Yes||Unlimited||$15.95|
|Walo app and WALO Mastercard SmartCard||0%||Yes||Unlimited virtual, digital or point of sale transactions, $2.50 per ATM withdrawal||$9.99||Learn more|
|Vancity Chequing Plus Account||0%||Yes||12/mth, unlimited e-transfers||$0||Learn more|
|Meridian Youth Savings Account||0%||Yes||12/mth, unlimited e-transfers||$0||Learn more|
|DUCA Children's Bonus Savings Account Residents||0%||Yes||Free and unlimited, except $1.25/e-Transfer||$0|
|HSBC Youth Savings Account||0%||Yes||free and unlimited||$0|
|HSBC Premier Youth Savings Account||0%||N/A||Free and unlimited||$0|
|First Nations Bank of Canada Youth Savings Account||0.05%||Yes||Free and unlimited, except 5 e-transfers/ mth and $2 per ATM withdrawal||$0|
|First Nations Bank of Canada Youth Chequing Account||0.05%||Yes||Free and unlimited digital transactions, Including e-transfers, but $2 per ATM withdrawal||$0|
|BlueShore Credit Union Youth Savings Account||0.5%||Yes||10/mth, then $1 for in-branch or $0.70 for digital||$0|
|Servus Credit Union Youth Plan||0%||Yes||60/mth digital or in-branch, then $1.25 Per transaction + Unlimited e-transfers||$0|
|Servus Credit 17 - 25 Be Free Account||0%||Yes||Free and unlimited||$0|
|Coast Capital Student Day-to-day Chequing Account||0%||Yes||Free and unlimited, $1.50 to send e-transfer (free to receive)||$0|
|Coast Capital High-Interest Savings Account||1.4%||No||2 transactions/mth, then $5 per transaction, Except $1.50 to send E-transfers (free to receive)||$0|
Fortunately, most kids’ bank accounts in Canada typically come with no monthly fees and reduced or no transaction costs. To find the right bank account for your child, consider what each account offers, including exclusive discounts, types of transactions, along with perks or discounts on every-day spending.
Opening a bank account in your child’s name is relatively easy, but it will require your help. In most cases, you will need to book an appointment with a branch representative. During this in-person meeting, you and your child will be asked for key documents. While the exact documentation required will vary from bank to bank, consider bringing the following documentation:
When determining the type of account to open for your child, you may run into minimum age requirements for opening a bank account. In most cases, a child under the age of 12 will require a parent to be present to open a bank account. For most financial institutions in Canada, children between the ages of 12 and 15 can open their own bank account, without the help of a parent, as long as they can provide official identification, such as a passport. In virtually all cases, when a teen reaches the age of 18 (or 19 in some provinces), they are considered an adult and can open an account without parental permission.
For some parents, opening a kid’s bank account online is easier than scheduling an in-person visit to a local bank branch. You will still be required to provide documentation to open a kid’s bank account, but the process can be completed online without an in-branch visit.
To help, we’ve narrowed down the list to banks and financial institutions that offer digital account set-up, making it easier to open an online bank account for your child:
For help, see our Finder guide on how to open a bank account online.
While the range of banking products available to children is quite limited compared to the options available to adults, there are still options to consider. Here is a list of the different types of bank accounts as well as money tools and various saving and investment options available to children.
This account most closely resembles a chequing account. It comes with a larger number of free monthly transactions, access to online banking and a debit card. Unlike the adult versions, the child’s bank account does not come with cheques.
In Canada, you must be 18 or older to get access to a debit card unless you open a kid’s bank account and your parent authorizes the use of a debit card. By opening up a kid’s bank account with a debit card, a parent can start to teach their child about digital transactions and the cost of borrowed money. It also means the parent assumes responsibility for the use of the debit card and the attached account. For more information, go to the Finder guide on kid’s debit cards.
For parents keen to show and teach their kids about digital transactions, a cash card (and money account) may be a good alternative to a traditional bank account. Cash cards are offered by digital-only financial institutions and provide account holders with a debit card and account that works in a similar fashion to a day-to-day bank account. The key advantage to cash cards for kids is that these services often provide more visually stimulating details about spending and saving and often come with higher interest rates. For more information, go to the Finder guide on prepaid cards and money apps for kids.
Did you know you (or others) can gift your child a GIC as long as a parent is listed as the account custodian? This is good news for parents who want to teach their children about the power of saving and compound interest since GICs typically earn at a higher interest rate than other child savings accounts. Your child will not be able to access the GIC money until they turn 18 and any earned income before that age will need to be reported as investment income on your tax return. Read our guide to find out more about GICs in Canada.
An RESP is a registered savings account that allows parents and caregivers to save after-tax dollars in a tax-sheltered account. A big incentive for using an RESP is that a portion of annual contributions is matched through government grants and bursaries, up to specified limits. For more, go to the Finder guide on RESPs.
There are several key differences between a standard chequing or savings account used by adults or teens and a kid’s bank account. While requirements and conditions may differ from bank to bank, the primary differences include the following:
There is no difference between a kid’s bank account and a bank account opened for a baby. In fact, for parents excited about teaching their kids the value of saving, it’s possible to open a bank account for your baby once the child is born and you have the child’s unique Social Insurance Number (SIN).
Yes. A parent can open a bank account for their child. A kid’s bank account works pretty much the same as an adult’s bank account, but either a parent will need to be listed as a joint account owner, or the parent will need to act as a guarantor for a kid’s bank account. With both types of bank accounts, your child can make deposits and withdrawals, learn how saving money and e-transfers work and earn interest on money kept in the bank account.
RESP: Parents, grandparents, relatives and friends can contribute money at any time into an RESP – up to a lifetime total of $50,000 per child. While there are no immediate tax benefits for the contributor, the money can grow tax-free in the RESP. Once a child is ready to pay for post-secondary schooling, the money in the RESP is withdrawn and taxed by the student. Since students typically have little to no income, significantly less tax is paid on any interest or earnings that accrued in the account, plus the money invested is returned to the contributor’s family, tax-free. For more info, read our tax guidelines for opening a kids’ bank account guide.
Joint bank accounts: Quite often, a parent will open a bank account and add their child’s name to the account – effectively making it a joint account. These accounts are not considered a child’s bank account and all interest and earnings must be reported on the parent’s annual tax return. The benefits of a joint account are that you have complete visibility and control over your child’s saving and spending decisions.
No. To open a bank account for a baby, you must provide both a birth certificate and the child’s Social Insurance Number (SIN) – two documents that are obtained once a child is born.
Just like a kid’s bank account, a bank account opened for a baby will require additional documentation from the parent, along with an agreement to assume responsibility for keeping the account in good standing.
Kids typically don’t require multiple bank accounts, unless there’s a strategy for the extra accounts. For instance, some parents require kids to keep a saving account that is not linked to a debit card and another ‘spending’ account that is linked to the child’s debit card. This helps a child learn to transfer money from accounts, the power of saving and the importance of monitoring your account balance.
Another reason to open multiple bank accounts for kids is to help a child learn money concepts that are not, yet, familiar. For instance, opening a joint chequing account with your child can be an excellent way for them to learn how to make deposits and withdrawals as well as gain an understanding of how to budget properly.
Contrary to popular belief, joint bank accounts are not just for couples. Joint accounts are also a great tool for families. Siblings can use joint accounts when they share the costs and responsibilities of certain assets or activities. A joint account between a parent and a child is a great way for a child to piggyback on the money management tasks completed by a parent.
In Canada, almost all major banks and credit unions will offer an option for a joint account between a parent and a child. Some fintech and digital banks, such as Tangerine, also offer this option. When choosing which account to use, remember that the child will have access to the account and all the features, but as the parent, you are responsible for maintaining the account.
As kids start to develop their financial literacy skills, they’ll need to learn the difference between saving and investing.
Saving is putting aside money in order to reach your goals. Investing requires taking this money and putting it into something with value, with the expectation that the value will grow over time.
One way to illustrate this difference is to help your child open up a high-interest savings account or RRSP. (Unfortunately, your child must turn 18 before opening a tax-free savings account.)
You may find the current kid’s bank account no longer suits your child’s needs. Sometimes, you may need to switch to a student or adult bank account. In other situations, you may want to close the kid’s bank account. Thankfully, the process to close an account isn’t complicated.
Before booking an appointment with a bank representative first, be sure to:
Once these steps are completed, get in touch with our financial institution. You can either call for an in-person appointment or go online using their secure chat system. Some banks and credit unions will require you (and maybe your child) to fill out an account closure request form or submit a written request to close the account. Others will take a verbal request and check to make sure there are no outstanding payments or funds in the account.
This prepaid Visa helps kids build credit and get cashback rewards. The Step card isn’t in Canada, but there are alternatives.
The Greenlight debit card helps kids save and earn cashback rewards. It’s not available in Canada, but there are alternatives.
Here’s our list of the best kids bank accounts and money management apps based on critical features, fees, accessibility and ease of use.
Fast-track your child’s financial literacy by learning how to teach your kids about money.
To help teach financial literacy to kids means parents have to find ways to help kids learn the connection between time and money and the importance of saving and budgeting. Find out what are good, age-appropriate chores for kids, plus average allowance and per chore price lists.
Let your child earn a taste of financial freedom with Mydoh, an innovative prepaid Visa card for kids.
Let your child explore the world of finance in a safe setting with the innovative WALO app.
Learn about the different types of bank accounts for your teenager and how to choose the right one.
If you’re looking to invest in your child’s future post-secondary education, a registered education savings plan (RESP) can be one of the best ways to do so.
If your child’s bank account is earning interest, it’s time to consider how this impacts the income you declare with the CRA. Here’s what you need to know.
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