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.
What do you need to do to set up a kid’s / youth bank account in Canada?
- 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.
- 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
- 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 ING Direct Review.
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.