I’ve been writing about Canada’s best high interest savings accounts since I first started this blog back in 2007! Somewhat embarrassingly, I actually had a large portion of my savings sitting in cash at the time, so high interest accounts were my “investment” of choice.
These days I prefer investment strategies such as Dividend Investing or All In One ETFs, but high interest savings accounts definitely have their place when it comes to saving for a new car, a vacation, or a downpayment on a house, especially as banks like EQ bank offer as much as 1.50% annual interest rate.
Compare Canada’s Best High Interest Savings Accounts
Enjoy a comparison of Canada’s leading online banks’ saving accounts. If you want to compare an online bank’s saving account to a Canadian big bank, you can find an additional comparison below.
|Comparing||EQ Bank||Tangerine Bank||Scotiabank||Motive Bank|
|Interest Rate||✔️ 1.50%||◼️ 0.10% (but with an initial 5 months teaser rate of 2.15%)||◼️ 0 .55%- 1.10% (tiered rate)||✔️ 1.75%|
|Interac eTransfer Fees||✔️ Free||✔️ Free||✔️ Free||❌ $1.00|
|Number of Free Monthly Transactions||✔️ Unlimited||✔️ Unlimited||❌ Unlimited – but monthly account fee||❌ 2|
|Our Rating||✔️ 4.9 / 5||✔️ 4.3 / 5||✔️ 4.5 / 5 (Chequing Account Score)||❌ 3.8 / 5|
|Review||EQ Bank Review||Tangerine Bank Review||ScotiaBank Review||Motive Bank Review|
|Savings Account Name||EQ Bank Savings Plus Account||Tangerine Savings Account||Scotiabank Momentum PLUS Savings Account (360-premium)||Motive Financial Savvy Savings Account|
|Visit Website||Visit EQ Bank||Visit Tangerine||Visit ScotiaBank||Visit @motivefinancial.com|
Canada’s Best Saving Accounts List by Interest rate
View our simple saving account interest rates comparison below.
- Motive Bank – 1.75% – Highest Interest Rate (…but mediocre online reviews)
- EQ Bank – 1.50% – Best Rated Saving Bank Account
- Outlook Financial (DGCM insured) – 1.50%
- Alterna Bank (CDIC insured) – 1.50%
- Oaken Financial (CDIC insured) – 1.50%
- Scotiabank Momentum PLUS Savings Account- 0.55%-1.10% (tiered rate)
- BMO Savings Builder – (CDIC insured) 0.50% (requires $200/month deposit)
- Simplii (CDIC insured) – 0.30% (formerly PC Financial)
- Canadian Big Banks ~ 0.20%
- Tangerine – 0.10% (but with a 2.15% teaser)
High Interest “Teaser Rate” vs “Everyday Rate”
If you are shopping around and comparing Canada’s top saving accounts, you should know there are two types of rates:
- The ‘teaser rate‘ (often granted for six monthly or less, to get your money in the door).
- The everyday rate
The reason these teaser rates are so popular is that the banks are betting that you’ll simply see the highest interest rate number, and go there. Even if you intend to switch over after your six months, it’s generally a good bet to assume that you’ll be too lazy to. This is why subscriptions and streaming services are so profitable!
So when you see an online bank such as Tangerine offer an eye-popping rate that is .5% higher than anything else out there – just understand that this is a temporary rate. There is nothing wrong with taking advantage of that rate – and we think Tangerine is a very solid banking option (read our full Tangerine review) – but just be aware.
The most notable thing to take from this list is that Canada’s major banks simply are not offering a competitive high interest savings account product at the moment. They are banking on the massive strength of their brands and the convenience of their retail banking locations to attract Canadians – not competitive interest rates.
Best Saving Accounts in Canada for 2021 – Detailed Reviews:
#1 EQ Bank – Our Top Canadian High Interest Savings Account
When it comes to the combination of $0 fees AND a consistently-high interest rate, the EQ Bank Savings Plus Account has been the king of the Canadian high interest savings account mountain for a while now based on our saving account comparison.
They continue to innovate by offering new options each year (newest addition: joint accounts) and while they don’t offer quite the diverse array of consumer options that Tangerine does (no cheques or credit cards) – they have always had a considerably higher interest rate. That difference has opened up massively since Scotiabank (Tangerine’s parent company) has decided to take that daily interest rate all the way down to .15% (after the teaser rate runs out).
While EQ Bank recently lost their absolute edge on having the highest interest rate when they recently dropped down to 1.5% (from 1.7%), I’m more than willing to trade the .25% between their product and what Motive brings to the table based on their free transactions and their record of always having the top (or extremely close to the top) interest rate over the last five years.
I’ve personally been a customer since EQ Bank first started several years ago (read my EQ Bank Review), and have always been impressed with their commitment to cutting costs as lows as possible, and providing the best interest rate in Canada. That is why we rate EQ as the best online bank in Canada.
#2 Scotiabank Momentum PLUS Savings Account – The Best Big Bank High Interest Savings Account
Canada’s big banks are known for being great investments – not great high interest savings account options!
So to be honest, I’d avoid them altogether. However, many Canadians simply have a love affair with the convenience of brick-and-mortar big banks, and having all of their banking needs met under one roof.
Given the fact that the Scotiabank Momentum Credit Card is the #1 credit card in Canada at the moment, and that their premium chequing account offers an excellent array of services when you choose to have multiple accounts with the company (rated #1 chequing account currently), I can see many reasons for using the Scotiabank Momentum PLUS Savings Account.
It has a unique interest rate tier system where if you keep your money in the account over a year, you can earn 1.10% interest – by FAR the best savings interest rate that you’ll find amongst Scotia, TD, RBC, BMO and CIBC.
You don’t open a Scotiabank Momentum PLUS Savings Account for the high interest rate though (EQ or Motive are much better options there) you open it for the convenience factor of having the best credit card in Canada, and all of the banking convenience of mortgages, chequing accounts, etc. – all under one roof.
#3 Tangerine High Interest Savings Account – The Former Champ
When I started writing about the best high interest savings accounts in Canada back in 2007, there was an orange company that was revolutionizing the industry in Canada. The company was called ING (“Save Your Money” *British Accent*)
In 2013 ING decided that Canada wasn’t for them, and ran back to their Dutch homeland after selling the company to Scotiabank. Many thought Scotia planned to simply bring the ING customers under their large main bank umbrella – but instead they kept the company somewhat separate and rebranded into today’s Tangerine.
For my money, Tangerine is among the best chequing account in Canada. You can read my full review of their entire banking product line here (including an excellent no-fee credit card). The problem is that Scotiabank has cut their high interest savings account rates year after year, until there is no difference between their chequing account interest rate, and their savings account interest rate!
This is why I now recommend getting the best of both worlds – and opening up both a Tangerine Chequing Account AND an EQ Savings Plus Account. You can get the sign up bonuses for each company, and easily transfer money back and forth. You can also use your account with the other to leverage the best possible rate and perks at any given time. Read my detailed Tangerine Bank review first, or sign up using the button below:
#4 Motive Financial High Interest Savings Account
After EQ Bank recently cut their interest rate to 1.5%, that left Motive at the top with an interest rate of 1.75%. However, given the relatively poor rating of their apps and online platform, plus their annoying transaction fees, and lack of a long-term track record, I just don’t feel comfortable recommending them over EQ at this point in the game. What I am hoping for is that the competition between the two keeps pushing EQ to keep their interest rates competitive.
Other Criteria for Judging Canada’s Best Saving Accounts for 2021
While EQ is head and shoulders above the field when it comes to everyday high interest savings account rates, as well as GIC rates, that’s not the only criteria one should use when choosing a high interest bank account.
The good news is that all of the options listed above are “safe” in every sense a bank account can be safe. They all employ excellent security features and are guaranteed by solid insurance backing. The Manitoba-based credit union options are backed by the Deposit Guarantee Corporation of Manitoba (DGCM), whereas the larger online banking options (including EQ Bank) are backed by the Canadian Deposit Insurance Corporation. These insurance agreements mean that even if the banks were to go bankrupt, your money is insured and will get back to you. In the case of the DGCM there is no account limit, whereas for the CDIC there is a $100,000 limit per account. Some folks like to skirt this rule by having a high-interest account for themselves, their significant other, a TFSA account for each, a GIC for each, etc. All of these are considered separate accounts by the CDIC.
Long story short: They’re All Really Safe!
Some people want to keep much of their banking in one place (even though it’s quite fast and easy to shift money back and forth with online banking) and so being able to offer loans and/or mortgages, plus accessing a debit card becomes important.
Another comparison point is fees for services like eTransfers, foreign exchange currency transfers, overdraft fees, or fees for automated bill payments.
When it comes to our most recommended option of EQ Bank, they simply cannot be beat on the low fee and high interest rate side of things. They even launched a joint account option recently. However, they do not offer certain services such as a debit card at the time of this writing.
Check out our in-depth EQ Bank Review to see how we use Canadian banking hacks to maximize our credit card rewards points, our high interest savings account earnings, and the utility of a broader bank account in tandem with EQ.
Your Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA) Is Really a TFIA
A lot of folks seem to place an abnormally high value on being able to hold their high interest savings account within a TFSA or an RRSP.
This doesn’t make a ton of sense the vast majority of the time. If you’re looking at investing for the long-term, you should be building a bonds/stocks portfolio to shelter in your RRSP or TFSA. In fact, I’ve been saying for years that calling the fun financial tool a Tax Free Savings Account was a massive branding mistake on the part of the government. It should have been called a Tax Free Investment Account. Just that small name change – when combined with Canada’s collective financial illiteracy – has been enough to encourage broad misuse of the tax advantages.
About the only exceptions to this rule that I can think of off the top of my head, would be if you are relatively early in your savings journey, and are saving to buy a car or a housing down payment. In that early savings situation, if you have no long-term investment, and are clearly going to need the money in the next five years, then it makes sense to use your tax shelter for the relatively small returns generated by a high interest savings account.
We’ll Let EQ Bank Speak for Themselves
When it comes to consistently rewarding clients with the everyday best high interest savings account rate in Canada, EQ Bank simply stands head and shoulders above their competitors. Their low fees can’t be beat, as they pass their cost savings on to Canadians.
If you want to play the teaser rate shifting game, you will likely be able to get a slight edge on the everyday EQ savings rate – but personally, I’ve only got so many hours in each day, and I do not need to spend them constantly opening new bank accounts and shifting money around.
Check out what EQ Bank had to say about their products and future projects when they were interviewed at the Canadian Financial Summit by MDJ’s own Kyle Prevost.
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