Compare the best savings accounts for kids

Explore accounts with competitive interest rates, minimal fees, mobile banking apps and more.

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Kids can be expensive, but a youth savings account can help teach responsible financial behavior from an early age. These savings accounts are specially designed with low fees, relatively high interest rates and other advantages that make them worth considering when you’re looking to open a bank account for your child.

How we chose the best accounts

Most youth savings accounts can help your child start saving for the future, but some accounts may offer more convenient or advantageous features than others. We’ve highlighted the youth savings accounts below based on factors like interest rates, fees, application requirements, account features and other variables that might affect your ability to save. No single account will be right for everyone, so we encourage you to compare your options to find the one that’s best for your situation.

Features of the best youth savings accounts

Some of the special features available for youth savings accounts include:

  • No linked debit cards or cheque books that are best kept out of reach of children.
  • Free and easy deposits.

Basic costs and interest rates compared*

Youth accounts usually have no ongoing fees and offer extremely competitive interest rates by normal standards. However, there are differences from one account to the next, so it’s a good idea to see how each one will affect your child’s balance in the long run.

This table shows the interest rates of each account, conditions that apply for those rates and how much interest would be earned over 60 months (5 years) with a $1,000 initial deposit and $50 deposited monthly. The total principle amount deposited into the account after 60 months would be $4,000. Amounts are for illustration only and assume monthly compounding. Actual terms may vary.

Youth savings accountMonthly feeTransaction feesInterest rateInterest earned over 12 months
Tangerine bank logoTangerine Children’s Savings Account$0All are free and unlimited0.35%$44
Meridian Credit Union logoMeridian Youth Savings Account$0All are unlimited0.5%$6
EQ Bank logoEQ Bank Savings Plus Account$0All are unlimited2.00%$257
CIBC bank logoCIBC Advantage for Youth$0All are free and unlimited0.15%$19

EQ Bank Savings Plus Account (for anyone over years old)

The EQ Bank Savings Plus Account offers the one of the best interest rates out there, so it could be a good option if you want to reduce the effects of inflation and help your child get financially ahead. However, you should always look beyond the interest rate and take note of the account’s other features.

  • High starting APY. This account has a high interest rate of 2%, which is higher than most traditional banks and even some online banks and credit unions.
  • Supports a range of features (including free transfers). This account supports mobile cheque deposits, recurring transfers, unlimited Interac e-Transfers and unlimited electronic transfers to/from another EQ account or another bank account.
  • Not just for kids (no expiry). This account has no age maximum, because it’s not strictly a children’s savings account. Your child can continue to enjoy the benefits of this account at any age without worrying about these benefits expiring.
  • Minimum amounts. The required minimum balance is $0 and the minimum deposit to open the account is $0.
  • $200,000 savings limit. EQ Bank has set a maximum balance of $200,000 per customer, so this account may not be suitable if you’re looking to save very large amounts of money.
  • No in-person service. EQ Bank is entirely online, so you won’t have access to in-person customer service if you need it. Instead, you’ll have to be content with email, phone or live chat.
  • No debit card or cheque withdrawals. You won’t get a debit card or cheques to withdraw from your savings account. To withdraw your funds, you’ll have to transfer from your EQ Bank Savings Plus Account into a linked account and then access the money from there.

Tangerine Children’s Savings Account

Tangerine offers a competitive child’s savings account that comes with a 0.35% interest rate, which is above the rate offered by most other banks. With a $0 monthly fee and 24/7 customer service available in both English and French, this account makes it easy for your child to start saving for the future.

  • Competitive interest rate. Offering 0.35% interest on the funds you deposit, Tangerine boasts returns that exceed what many other banks offer.
  • Minimum amounts. The required minimum deposit to open an account is $0, and the minimum balance required to maintain your account is $0.
  • 24/7 customer service. Tangerine offers round-the-clock customer service via phone. Service is available in both English and French.
  • No in-person service. Tangerine is an online bank, so there are no physical branches to visit for in-person service. If this is important to you, then you might want to open a youth savings account with a traditional brick-and-mortar institution.
  • Parent/guardian must also have a Tangerine account. In order to open a Tangerine Children’s Savings Account, you must first open a Tangerine savings or chequing account of your own.
  • Limited statement options. You can receive an electronic statement on a monthly basis, which is comparable to other banks. However, if you prefer paper statements, these are only sent out quarterly and only to accounts that are active.

Meridian Youth Savings Account

Many people view credit unions as a great alternative to banks because of their low fees and cooperative management model. Meridian Youth Savings Account has a very competitive interest rate of 0.5% and gives customers access to online, mobile, in-person and telephone banking service.

  • Competitive interest rate. Earn 0.5% on any balance. This is above what most banks in Canada offer.
  • Good ABM access. With this account, you have surcharge-free access to Meridian ABMs and over 3,700 EXCHANGE Network ABMs across Canada. This is very comparable to the number of ABMs you can get access to with major banks.
  • Convenient customer service options. Meridian offers toll-free and international collect phone service between 8am and 12am every day of the week (including Saturdays and Sundays). You can also message customer service using a contact form on Meridian’s website.
  • Must apply and be accepted to begin banking. Unlike customers of traditional banks, credit union customers are actually part owners of their credit union. Because of this, there is an application process that your must complete to begin banking with Meridian, and you can only open an account if you’re approved.
  • Branch options are limited. Meridian has less than 100 branches located across Ontario. CIBC and TD Canada Trust both have branches all across Canada, with CIBC boasting over 1,000 locations and TD boasting over 1,100 locations. This could make it very difficult for you to get in-person service from Meridian, depending on where you live.

CIBC Advantage for Youth

CIBC offers a children’s savings account that functions much like a chequing account with free and unlimited monthly transactions and many options for accessing and managing your child’s funds. While not boasting the highest interest rate out of all the accounts on this list at 0.15%, the CIBC Advantage for Youth is great if you’re looking for flexibility and convenience.

  • Monthly transactions. All day-to-day banking transactions are free and unlimited
  • Debit card included. This account comes with its own debit card, which makes it more convenient for you to begin teaching your child how to spend and manage their money.
  • Good range of account features. Supports cheque deposits, autotransfers to deposit your child’s allowance into his/her account, Interac e-Transfers, optional overdraft protection (for a fee), pre-authorized payments, bill payments and electronic or paper statements every month or quarter. Monthly statements with cheque images are also available.
  • Convenient options for accessing funds. CIBC lets you manage your child’s money with both online and mobile banking. Mobile app supports accessing the account using Touch ID and Face ID technology, making it easy for your child to view his/her account if you choose to allow it.
  • Non-competitive interest rate. At 0.15%, the interest rate for this account is below that of many other youth savings accounts. However, it’s still typical of the rates offered by most traditional banks. Other types of financial institutions, such as credit unions and online banks, are usually able to offer stronger returns.

Compare with savings accounts for all ages

Name Product Interest Rate Promotional Interest Rate Min. Bal / Min. Deposit Account Fee
EQ Bank Savings Plus Account
2.00%
N/A
$0 / $0
$0
Enjoy zero everyday banking fees, free transactions and no minimum balance with an EQ Bank Savings Plus Account.
Tangerine Savings Account
0.25%
2.5%
$0 / $0
$0
Earn 2.50% interest for 5 months (up to a maximum of $1,000,000) as a new Tangerine client. Offer expires October 31, 2020.
HSBC High Rate Savings Account
0.25%
Up to 2.25%*
$0 / $0
$0
Earn up to 2.25%* interest on New Deposits* until August 6, 2020. *Terms and conditions apply.
Wealthsimple Cash
0.90%
N/A
$0 / $0
$0
Earn 0.90% on any money you invest and withdraw your funds at any time.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Fees and other costs

Savings accounts for kids typically have fewer fees and costs than other types of accounts, but some may still apply. If you’re not careful, you might end up losing a significant amount of savings to fees and lost interest in the long run.

Fortunately, none of the accounts we’re looking at today have monthly service fees or transaction fees. However, you should watch out for minimum balance requirements, monthly statement fees and other charges that may creep up unexpectedly.

Here, we look at some of the most common fees that could apply to your account and how to avoid them.

EQ Bank Savings Plus Account

The EQ Bank Savings Plus Account is remarkable among its class of accounts because it truly is fee-free. While many other banks might charge for transfers, account inactivity and cheque handling (among other things) EQ Bank keeps it simple with no hidden charges or penalties. The NSF (insufficient funds) fee for bounced cheques is even $0 for this account.

It should be noted, however, that along with no fees comes some restrictions. EQ Bank does not offer paper statements, nor is there an option to purchase overdraft protection. Furthermore, the Canadian dollar is the only currency that is supported.

Tangerine Children’s Savings Account

Tangerine is known for offering a good range of no-fee account options and for being fairly transparent regarding the penalties or charges that customers may be charged. Thankfully, with the Tangerine Children’s Savings Account, you don’t have much to watch out for.

  • Dormancy fee. If your account is inactive for 10 years, you will be charged a $40 fee.

Meridian Youth Savings Account

The Meridian Youth Savings Account also has fees that are entirely or almost-entirely avoidable depending on how you plan on using the account. Here’s what to watch out for:

  • Interac e-Transfers — You pay an additional fee for every Interac e-Transfer you send or receive, making it slightly less convenient to transfer money in and out of this account compared to some of the other options on our list.
  • Non-sufficient funds (NSF) — $45. Can be avoided by making sure you have enough money in the account to cover any payments or cheque withdrawals.
  • Foreign debit transaction — 2.5% of the transaction. Can be avoided by only debiting Canadian amounts, or withdrawing money and converting it to another currency to make a foreign cash payment.
  • Inactive account — $30 per year. Can be avoided by making regular deposits into the account or by setting up Automatic Funds Transfers (ATFs) to move money without any further effort.
  • Other fees. Some other fees to consider are that certified cheques cost $10, and overdraft protection costs $2 per item plus 21% annual interest.

CIBC Advantage for Youth

  • Interim statements or copies of statements you’ll likely be charged a fee for each interim statement and copy. An interim statement is one that is requested outside of regular mailing dates, whereas copies are used to replace statements you’ve lost. These fees can be avoided by keeping track of your account activity electronically and by storing your statements in a safe place such as a cloud server or filing cabinet.
  • Non-CIBC ATM withdrawals within Canada — $2 per transaction plus any applicable transaction fees. Avoid this fee by using only CIBC ATMs.
  • Overdraft protection — You’ll have 2 overdraft protection options: (1) pay $5 for each business day an overdraft is created or increased, or (2) pay a fixed monthly fee of $4 regardless of how many times the account is overdrawn. You won’t have to pay overdraft fees if you plan to make deposits only and avoid using the account for withdrawals or making payments.

Other conditions to be aware of

Before deciding on any one youth savings account, you should also take a look at the conditions that apply, including:

  • Age limits. Does your child only need to be under 18 years old, or are their stricter requirements?
  • Account transfer. Some accounts will automatically convert to a regular savings account when your child reaches a certain age, while others may require you to transfer the funds to a new account yourself.
  • Transaction access. Some accounts allow your kids to deposit or withdraw funds of their own volition, while others require a parent’s permission.
  • Eligibility requirements. Are there any special eligibility requirements to open the account for your child, like already being a member of the bank yourself?

Tangerine

Tangerine bank logo

CIBC

CIBC bank logo

Meridian

Meridian Credit Union logo

EQ Bank

EQ Bank logo

Age limitThe age of the majority in the province where the child resides:

18 yrs. old in AB, MB, ON, PE, QC, SK

19 yrs. old in BC, NB, NL, YT, NU, NT

18 yrs. old17 yrs. oldN/A

(general savings account for anyone over the age of the majority in your province or territory)

What happens to the account at the age limit?Account converts to a Join Savings Account co-owned by the child (now adult) and his/her parent/guardian.Automatically converts to the CIBC Premium Growth Account, which has a 0.05% interest rate.Automatically converts to the Meridian Credit Union High Interest Savings Account, which has an annual interest rate of 0.5%.Nothing; account has no age limit.
Who can make transactions?The child is the primary account holder, but the parent/guardian is a joint account holder with sole signing authority over the account. Child can login to the account to view the transaction history and track their savings.Parent/guardian can access the account, but he/she can give consent to allow the child to access the account as well.Not stated on the website.The account owner, is the child’s parent/guardian. The Child would not be old enough to be an account owner and could not, therefore, access the funds.
Special eligibility requirementsParent or guardian must have a Tangerine Savings or Chequing account of their own.Child must be 18 years old or younger and not a full-time student enrolled in college, university or CEGEP.Must apply – and be approved – to join Meridian Credit Union in order to open an account. Eligibility requirements include being a Canadian resident, and 17 years old or younger.Account owner must be the age of the majority in your province or territory, or older.

Educational tools and resources

Many banks provide resources that teach about saving and spending wisely and how to manage money. Your bank may also offer a savings tracker program, a calculator or some other tool to help you and your child better plan for the future. These resources can help your child understand the concept of saving from a young age by providing good information, encouraging goal creation and helping to narrow down the best savings plan to meet his/her future needs.

EQ Bank Savings Plus Account

EQ Bank has designed a savings tool to help account owners track their financial progress. Use this tool to create goals for your child and watch his/her funds grow towards these goals over time. With the EQ Bank Savings Plus Account, you can create and track up to 4 goals.

Tangerine Children’s Savings Account

Check out Tangerine’s handy guide, “Plan to save, plan to spend,” for practical tips on how to manage money and meet your savings goals. You can use this resource to have informed discussions with your child about the fundamental principles of building up their finances and spending wisely.

Additionally, Tangerine has created a number of helpful calculators based on the different accounts and savings options it offers. Use the Tangerine Savings Account calculator to estimate your child’s savings based on your initial deposit, how much and how often you plan to contribute over time, how long you’ll be saving and the account interest rate. Compare this to the savings goal you have for your child to see if you need to adjust your plans and to get an idea of what you can save within a specified time frame.

Meridian Youth Savings Account

Meridian’s Good Sense blog is packed full of articles with useful tips and information relating to money, planning for the future, family finance, business finance, travel sense and more. Your child will have a wealth of information on a wide variety of topics that he/she is sure to encounter in life.

The Meridian Youth Savings Account automatically converts to the Meridian Credit Union High Interest Savings Account when your child reaches 18 years old, so the two accounts are fairly similar. Use Meridian’s Good to Grow High Interest Savings (HISA) Calculator to see how using Auto-Save to make regular, recurring payments to your child’s account can help their savings grow over time.
Read up on how to compare bank accounts for your baby

CIBC Advantage for Youth

Like most of the other banks on our list, CIBC provides a useful savings calculator to help you and your child make a financial plan that will help meet his/her future goals. CIBC advisors are also on hand to provide in-person consultation, should you need it. Visit your local branch to make an appointment if you need advice or information on the products and services CIBC offers to help your child grow financially.

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