Determining the best youth bank account in Canada is serious business!
Afterall, what’s a parent’s job but to create the conditions for a fulfilling life for his or her progeny?
To do that job well and help their children survive and thrive in the world, parents must pass on critical life skills. Money management is arguably one of life’s most underrated skills. The earlier kids can learn how to manage their resources, the faster those resources can grow and work for them. Unfortunately, financial literacy isn’t taught very well in school, so the responsibility usually falls squarely on the parents’ shoulders.
Editor’s Note: Unless MDJ’s own Kyle Prevost is teaching the personal finance course!
ne great way to teach kids and teens about finance is to give them control over their own bank account. Having their own youth savings account can help kids develop good habits and practices, give kids a sense of agency, and help them develop independence. It’s a great way to ease kids into the financial system.
Read on for details on our picks for the best youth bank accounts in Canada.
Big Banks Can Accommodate Little Ones Too
All of Canada’s best banks offer kids accounts or youth accounts:
Best in Canada
$25 Welcome Bonus
Free Basic Plan
Paid Premium Plan
None for first 25 transactions each month
Discount on Credit Cards
Interac e-Transfers cost $0.50
Existing TD Clients
Tangerine Children’s Savings Account
Finally, we arrive at what I think is the best bank account for kids in Canada. Tangerine’s Children’s Savings Account is a no fee account that offers unlimited transactions and Interac e-Transfers. Its 0.20% interest rate is the highest of all other banks today.
The Tangerine Children’s Savings Account is a simple, no frills account that should meet all your child’s needs.
The only catch is that to open this Children’s Savings Account, a parent must first open his or her own chequing account with Tangerine. But that’s not so bad given Tangerine is a solid choice for many. See Kornel’s Tangerine Bank Review 2021 for more information about Tangerine. Also, don’t miss out on other types of new bank account promos in Canada.
Scotiabank Getting There Savings Account
Kids 18 and younger can visit Scotiabank to open a free account with unlimited debit transactions and Interac e-Transfers. Read our detailed Scotiabank review first and see exactly what they on offer.
The account offers tiered interest rates. All deposits under $500 earn 0.05% interest and deposits $500 or higher earn 0.10% interest. Be careful, the tiers are separated by deposit, not balance. It’s as if there are two pools within the account: pool A earns the base 0.05% interest and pool B earns a higher 0.10% interest. Small deposits go into pool A and larger deposits (>$500) go into pool B.
Realistically, a young child likely makes mostly small deposits less than $500 so the net interest rate on his/her balance would be 0.05%. However, clever kids can take advantage of this tiered system by collecting their savings outside the account and wait to make large deposits to earn the higher interest rate. And a watchful parent can teach their kids how to compare the future gain of higher interest rate on larger deposits with the opportunity cost of sidelining cash in non-interest bearing vehicles (piggy bank, under the mattress, etc.).
Although this tiered interest rate arrangement is a bit convoluted, it can help give kids a little boost in motivation to save more.
A nice perk with Scotiabank accounts is the SCENE rewards program. Debit transactions on the account earn points towards free movies. That may not encourage saving but if spending is unavoidable anyway, kids might as well earn some bonus points.
CIBC Advantage for Youth
CIBC’s Advantage for Youth account is a neat and simple offering. Kids 18 and younger can qualify for a free savings account that has all the useful features of a chequing account. The Advantage for Youth account comes with unlimited transactions, unlimited Interac e-Transfers, and a 0.05% interest rate, all at the cost of $0 per month.
The account also includes free SPC membership. SPC is a discount program for students and a nice free perk to have. That’s a $10 dollar savings per year and potentially even more savings through discounts on goods and services for students.
CIBC is currently offering a $25 bonus for opening an Advantage for Youth account. Not too shabby a boost to help kick-start a child’s savings journey.
BMO Plus Plan for Youths
BMO Bank of Montreal offers a discount for kids under 13 and teens between 13 and 18. I’m not sure why there are two age categories. As far as I can tell, the discount and the accounts are exactly the same. Both the kids and the teen accounts amount to a $10.95 (at the time of writing) discount on monthly fees. That makes the normal Plus Plan chequing account free, discounts the Performance Plan to $5 per month, and discounts the Premium Plan to $19.05 per month.
The free Plus Plan should be plenty for kids or teens. It offers 25 free transactions per month and unlimited Interac e-Transfers.
Upon opening this Plus Plan account, you can also add a free Premium Rate Savings Account to help your kids earn some interest. Although using the term “premium” to describe a 0.01% (at the time of writing) interest rate is quite the exaggeration. A kid would need to hold at least $2,500 in the account for a year to earn a quarter. Still, that’s more interest than a piggy bank at home.
Earning a little bit of interest can help show kids money’s ability to grow.
RBC Leo’s Young Savers and Student Banking Accounts
RBC splits it’s youth accounts into two tiers. First tier is the Leo’s Young Savers account for kids up to 12 years old. Second tier is the Student Banking Account for teens 13 to 18.
The Leo’s Young Savers account is very basic and very free. It includes 15 free transactions per month but unlimited Interac e-Transfers. The account does also offer a 0.01% interest rate.
Once the youth hits 13, he or she would have to switch to the RBC Student Banking Account. The account is still free but a few more features open up. The Student Banking Account increases the free transactions to 25 per month. Interac e-Transfers are still unlimited. There is a $39 discount on annual fees of some RBC credit cards. Having a credit card could help a teenager learn to use and manage credit while building up his or her credit score. And why not minimize those annual credit card fees when you can.
Additional perks to the RBC Student Account are Fuel-Savings at Petro-Canada and bonus Be-Well Points at Rexall Pharmacies. Both of these perks don’t really become useful until post-secondary student years.
Unfortunately, the Student Banking Account does not seem to offer an interest rate on the balance so a separate savings account would be needed to put the money to work. For example, the RBC High Interest Savings Account offers 0.05% interest.
TD Youth Account
TD offers a free youth account for kids 18 and under. This free account comes with unlimited transactions but Interac e-Transfers cost $0.50 for transfers up to $100 or $1.00 for transfers over $100. The interest rate on this youth account is a paltry 0.01%.
Unfortunately, TD’s offering isn’t too exciting.
Best Kids Bank Account in Canada
We explored a number of youth bank accounts options today. I think the Tangerine Children’s Savings Account is the best choice of the bunch at this time. Tangerine’s high interest sets it above the rest. This simple and no-frills bank account should meet all the needs of most kids and help them gain valuable financial experience.
Second place is the Scotiabank Getting There Savings Account. I like that the tiered interest rates adds a game element to the savings experience. That could help make saving a little bit more interesting and rewarding. The bonus SCENE points is also a nice perk. Who doesn’t like free movies right?
It’s never too early for young people to engage with the financial system, to gain independence, and start their million dollar journey. A free youth account like the Tangerine Children’s Savings Account or the Scotiabank Getting There Savings Account can help kids learn the essential skills to live a fulfilling financial life.
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