Canadian Bank Accounts for Kids

A few years ago we took the kids down to our local RBC and signed them up for a Leo Account. I did some online research to find out which Canadian bank offered the best bank accounts for kids. They were all so similar that no single bank was a clear winner. The only incentive at the time was with Royal Bank who offered a bank tour which ended in the vault. There each child would find 5 loonies in a safety deposit box to start out their accounts. I was really impressed with the level of service we received. The kids were treated like VIPs through the whole process and they came out feeling valued and excited to start their financial journey.

When I began doing the research for this post, I was disappointed to find Royal Bank had discontinued this incentive. I even called them directly to confirm that they no longer offered it.

If I were choosing again today, I would choose one of the banks that offered unlimited debits. Debit use isn’t a huge issue yet for my kids but I’ve met many teens who use their debit cards frequently and exclusively. Fifty or sixty five cents may not sound like much, but if your teen is using their debit cards a couple of times a day, it will add up quickly.

When comparing the different bank accounts for children and youth offered by Canadian banks, I was disappointed to find how little information was available online. I had to call five out of six banks to get the basic information found in the chart. Scotiabank was the only bank with an easy to navigate website and all of the information I needed all in one place.

Keep in mind interest rates change frequently. The rates posted are for the lower balance amounts but even for high balance accounts. There was no rate over 1% at any of the big five banks.

Kid's Bank Accounts

What do you need to do to set up a kid’s / youth bank account in Canada?

  1. Call to set up an appointment. You can ‘walk in’ but if someone is there to meet you, the process will go a lot more smoothly.
  2. Bring your child’s Social Insurance Numbers (SIN) with you. If your children don’t have one yet, you can find out more about how to get one here: http://www.servicecanada.gc.ca/eng/sin/apply/how.shtml
  3. Bring a birth certificate and / or passport for ID and to confirm they are under 19. All children’s / youth bank accounts in Canada are only for kids under 19.

My financial journey begin the day my parents took me down to the local Canada Trust and signed me up for a children’s bank account. Setting up a bank account for your children is a great way to start them on their financial journey.

Editors Note: Until the end of Sept 2009,  ING Direct is offering a $25 bonus for all Childrens Savings Accounts (CSA). Note though that only existing account holders can open a CSA.  If you are not an existing member, you can join, collect $25 for your account and $25 for your childs account.  Find out more in my Tangerine Review (previously known as ING Direct).

Kathryn works in public relations and training for a non profit. In her off hours, she volunteers as a financial coach helping ordinary Canadians with the basics of money management. Her passions include personal finance and adult education. Kathryn, along with her husband and two children live in Ontario.

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Kathryn

Kathryn has been a staff writer for MDJ since January 2009. During the day she works in an office. In her off hours, she volunteers as a financial coach helping ordinary Canadians with the basics of money management. Kathryn, along with her husband and two children live in Ontario.
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Marshall Davidson
2 years ago

Hello,
where can a person set up a kids account with a passbook. And it would be nice to get some interest on it as well.

Claude Picard
5 years ago

This company has great programs for kids in the schools with direct connections to the bank (at least in Quebec). My 11 year old has an operational account and a savings 1-3-5 yr terms program where we place 3,000$ a year that he can t touch and can renew. In 10years, he has over 30,000 in his account. Students as young as grade 1 meet with bank personnel and off they go. There are many unique accounts. You must be 12 to have a debit card and if not, you go in with your parent for withdrawal. At school, they fill out the deposit slip and the bank collects the money there. I was very impressed. Also, a student financial planning kit is offered!

Kimmie
6 years ago

I re-scheduled an appointment to open up two youth accounts for my children with Scotiabank to take advantage of an upcoming promotion. Starting June 16, 2014, each kid will get 5 free SCENE movies for opening up a youth account. 10 free movies is worth the wait in our eyes! They also allow unlimited transactions now (instead of 20 max mentioned in your chart).

Twinmom
9 years ago

We just opened one for our kids with our Credit Union – no fees, very personalized service and $20 share to start your account. Anothe option to look into! We’ve been with them for a long time – no fees on anything, great mortgage rates, cash rebate on mortgage interest and really great service.

Dan
9 years ago

I would recommend avoiding the President’s Choice account. We opened one for my daughter and they keep freezing it because she goes too long between transactions. It seems every time she goes to do a debit the account has been frozen for non-activity. Unfortunately because it is a “one size fits all” account, they expect adult level transactions even from a child.

Tara
10 years ago

I opened my first “bank” account when I was about 6 years old at what was then Surrey Metro Savings. I had a chequing account and a savings account, which earned about 0.05% interest and a debit card with 30 free transactions per month. Junior accounts also come with free cheques. When I was about 17, I switched to their Unlimited Chequing account which is free, but no longer gives me free cheques.

Looking at the Coast Capital Savings website now, it looks like youth accounts give 15 free transactions per account per month, while youth are also eligible for the free Unlimited Chequing account and they still have the free cheques for kids.

They’re mainly located in the Greater Vancouver Regional District and the southeastern portion of Vancouver Island (Nanaimo to Victoria, along the coast), but if they’re available for you, I have been a very happy member since I was 6, even while I moved back east to go to university. I tried CIBC and PC Financial each for awhile, but neither of those lasted very long.

Tracey
11 years ago

Thanks! What great info. My 8 year old just got her 1st paycheck for being a movie extra and is dying to put it in the bank. We’ll be heading to PC financial to open her account. I love that it can be tied to mine. It sure will make thinkgs convenient as she gets older.

Thanks everyone!

K
11 years ago

I recently took my kids (10 and 12) to set up a youth account at CIBC. The people were friendly and treated the kids like a million bucks but I was extremely disappointed to hear that the youth Premium Growth Account pays NO interest on accounts of less than $5,000. (To “compensate” for this, the account representative said they could open a $500 GIC, half the usual minimum balance for a GIC.) Both kids decided to go elsewhere (still looking!), with my 10-year-old daughter saying to me “I might as well just hide my money under my bed. Then I won’t have to wait in line to get it out, like at a bank. And if they think most 10-year-olds are going to have $5,000, they probably don’t know very much about 10-year-olds and I’m not going to get very good service.”

Both kids understand that, at most, they’ll get only a few cents interest. But, on principle, they feel strongly that if they’re going to loan their money to the bank by depositing it in an account, the bank should at least cough up a bit of interest. And I was interested in having them see, first-hand, how the financial world/interest system works. Any ideas where we can go to meet those aims? From our perspective, CIBC was a failure.

Lianne
11 years ago

While I agree that kids these days are extremely comfortable online, I would argue that establishing a face-to-face relationship with a financial institution is very worthwhile. They need to get comfortable with their bank or credit union and ideally develop an ongoing relationship. That will serve them well when they need to apply for a loan, mortgage or need financial/investment advice.

Canada Deals
11 years ago

Perfect timing. My 15 y/o just started his first job and we’ve made an appointment with Canada Trust. We’re looking into a debit card that takes a few cents off each time he uses it and puts it into a savings account for him. Pretty sweet deal huh?

Btw, you’d be surprised at how many places of employment actually require your kid to have a bank account now for direct deposit purposes. Back in the day, my dad used to cash my A&W work checks through his account lol.

I just came across this site today but I’m really impressed with the content I’ve read thus far :)