Raising kids to be financially literate can be tough but picking the right bank account for them doesn’t have to be.
The best bank accounts for kids in Canada give your child a no-fee way to practice money skills. We’re talking absolute basics like:
- Depositing and withdrawing money
- Sending or receiving an e-transfer
- Understanding savings
- Using a debit card (in some cases – not all accounts for kids offer debit transactions)
In our list of the best children’s bank accounts, we’ll explain why a bank account is a good idea for your child and what to look for in a good one. Then we’ll compare our favourites so you can get a handle on the best that Canada’s banks have to offer.
Best Kids Bank Account in Canada 2022 Comparison
A kid’s bank account shouldn’t cost you anything more than a few minutes of your time when you go to open it up, and luckily, a lot of Canada’s best banks agree. All the accounts on this list have no annual fee and at least some free transactions, including e-transfers.
For more information about each account, scroll past the chart to our mini-review section.
0.05% on deposits up to $499.99
What to Look for in a Bank Account for Children
The best bank accounts for kids have several features in common:
- No annual fee
- No minimum balance
- Earns some interest
- Gives account holders at least SOME free transactions, preferably unlimited
That’s really it. They should give your kids the maximum value for no money.
A cynic would point out that the banks want kids’ business in the hope that as they grow, they’ll stick with that bank. Giving kids a no-fee account with (ideally) unlimited transactions is a low-cost way for a bank to cultivate a new generation of customers.
It doesn’t really matter why they offer the accounts, though. What matters for you is the fact that they do! Let’s see what the best children’s bank accounts have to offer.
Best Kid’s Bank Account in Canada: Tangerine Children’s Savings Account
Our pick for Best Kid’s Bank Account in Canada is the Children’s Savings Account from Tangerine. It gives kids unlimited transactions, including e-transfers.
The standout feature of the Tangerine Children’s Savings Account is its 0.2% interest rate, which is at least double the other rates on our list.
Tangerine is an online bank (you can learn more in our Tangerine Bank Review), so you can open your child’s account entirely online. You’ll need a SIN plus a piece of ID for your child. A birth certificate or certificate of Canadian citizenship is accepted for children under 11.
Because this is a savings account, Tangerine doesn’t give kids a debit card. This is a good opportunity to teach them about the difference between a chequing and a savings account and remind them about that big item they want to save for.
And, honestly, with Paypal and e-transfers becoming increasingly common, there’s a decent chance that you’re prepping them for a world that doesn’t use debit cards at all.
Canada’s Best Kids Bank Account for Rewards: Scotiabank Getting There Savings Account
The Getting There Savings Account is Scotiabank’s account for children under 18. It features unlimited debit transactions, so if you’d rather have your kids learning how to use a debit card, it’s a good one to consider.
Scotiabank’s interest rate is comparatively terrible, and it’s tiered, which is confusing for adults, let alone kids. Deposits over $500 earn 0.1% interest, while all smaller deposits earn 0.05% interest. This is not the account to choose if you want to teach your kids the details of compound interest.
In order to open a Scotiabank Getting There Savings Account, you’ll have to head to the branch with your child if they’re under 16. Teens aged 16-18 can open their own account (remind them to take ID). You can learn more about banking with Scotiabank in our Scotiabank Review.
Apart from unlimited debit transactions, Scotiabank’s main feature is the choice of rewards for kids over 14. Your teenager can choose between SCENE rewards and Scotia rewards. For an overview of the SCENE program, which earns cardholders free movies and dining, check out our Scotiabank SCENE Visa review.
Canada’s Best Children’s Bank Account with a Welcome Bonus: CIBC Advantage for Youth Account
The CIBC Advantage for Youth account offers unlimited no-fee banking. It’s basically a savings account with all the features of a chequing account, so it offers unlimited debit transactions as well as e-transfers.
CIBC’s kid’s bank account offers a welcome bonus of $25. All you need to do to qualify is open the account and provide a valid email address, and the money will be deposited within 2 months.
The account also includes a free Student Price Card (SPC) membership. This discount program for students usually costs $10/year, which makes it a great perk. Students can enjoy discounts at over 450 stores and restaurants including:
- Pizza Hut
CIBC’s interest rate is 0.05%, which isn’t stellar, but the welcome bonus and SPC membership, plus unlimited transactions make it a solid choice.
Canada’s Best Kid’s Account with a Chequing and Savings Option: BMO Plus Plan Youth Chequing
The BMO Plus Plan Youth Chequing Account is more of a discount than a special account. BMO offers kids under 19 a free Plus Plan account, or they can get a Performance or Premium Plan account with a discount equivalent to the cost of the Plus Plan ($10.95).
Once they turn 19, the account fees are no longer waived – unless you open a student account. You can learn more about BMO’s student account offering, plus our picks for better alternatives, in our list of the Best Student Bank Accounts in Canada.
BMO’s Plus Plan gives account holders 25 free transactions/month, plus unlimited e-transfers. Their chequing account has no interest at all, but a free savings account is included, which gives them 0.1% interest.
If you want your child to learn about managing more than one account – one for saving and one for spending, the BMO Plus Plan is worth considering.
Canada’s Best Chequing Account for Older Teens: TD Student Chequing Account
If your teen is getting older and doesn’t have a bank account yet, you could consider the TD Student Chequing Account. It’s available until your child turns 23, and longer if they have proof of full-time student status.
The TD Student Chequing Account doesn’t offer much in terms of interest (0.001%, which is so small that you almost wonder why they bothered), but it’s more than the 0% they offer on most chequing accounts. So that’s not nothing—just almost nothing.
One feature of TD’s student account is that they don’t charge a fee for overdraft. That can be helpful if your teen is still learning how to manage their spending.
Canada’s Runner up for Kid’s Account with the Best Welcome Bonus: RBC Leo’s Young Savers Account
Royal Bank’s Leo’s Young Savers Account is targeted at younger kids. Children aged 0-12 will receive a $25 deposit into their account 2-8 weeks after opening it.
This account offers only 15 free transactions (additional transactions are $1.25 each), so it’s not an account for daily spending. E-transfers are still free and unlimited.
If your child is over 13, they can open an RBC Advantage account for students instead. These accounts feature unlimited debit and e-transfers, plus up to $39 off the annual fee of an eligible credit card for students old enough to qualify.
Why Your Child Needs a Bank Account
We’ve already discussed how opening a bank account early gives children a chance to practice basic money skills. But there are several other reasons why a kid’s bank account is an excellent idea:
- Opening a bank account gives kids early exposure to banks and how they work.
- A bank account gives kids a place to store their allowance (and e-transfers make it easy on parents who may not always have cash lying around every week).
- A good kid’s bank account lets them earn interest on the money they’ve saved
- Today’s bank accounts help children (and especially teenagers) get used to electronic transactions like e-transfers and Paypal
- Online/mobile banking helps kids keep track of exactly how much money they have, instead of shaking their piggy bank and feeling how heavy it is. This helps them understand their spending power.
How to Open a Kid’s Bank Account
When you want to open a bank account for your kid, the exact procedure can vary. Unless you have an older teenager, you’ll need to initiate the process, and likely take them to your bank’s branch (unless you’re dealing with an online bank like Tangerine).
You’ll want to make sure your child has an ID plus their SIN number with them. Check the bank’s website to confirm details and requirements before you head out!
Canadian Bank Accounts For Kids – FAQ
Best Kids Bank Account in Canada: Our Verdict
The best bank accounts for kids, and especially younger kids, make saving easy. This means giving kids a decent interest rate and making withdrawals difficult enough that they can’t, say, bankrupt themselves buying chocolate bars at the corner store (hey, it’s been known to happen).
That’s why our pick for the best bank account for kids in Canada is the Tangerine Children’s Savings Account.
Tangerine’s interest rate is far more generous than the rest of the accounts on our list. Plus, the lack of debit card means that your kids need to think a little harder before spending their savings. When it comes to younger kids especially, this is an advantage.
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