The Best Savings Accounts Offered by Credit Unions in Canada

Jessica Lyn
by Jessica Lyn October 21, 2016 / No Comments

If you’re looking for a high-interest savings account, one of the most important factors is the interest rate. It’s also important to consider what services are included and which charge a fee. Lastly, when looking at savings accounts offered by a credit union, you should also look at the membership requirements to open up an account.

Credit unions in Canada

According to the Canadian Credit Union Association, there are more than 300 credit unions nationwide with more than 5.5 million members.

Credit unions are financial cooperatives providing all the same financial services as banks. What differentiates a credit union from a chartered bank is that credit unions are owned by their members with all profits reinvested into the company or distributed to their members or community. Additionally, you must be a member of the credit union to have access to its services. To become a member, you’re usually required to purchase a share, pay an annual fee or both.

Credit unions are provincially regulated and fall into the category of deposit taking institutions. This ensures deposits are protected to at least the same amount as deposits at chartered banks.

The best savings accounts offered by credit unions are (according to interest rate):

Luminus Financial Investment Savings Account

The Luminus Financial Investment Savings Account offers a 1.75% interest rate. The account also comes with free in-branch deposits and free pre-authorized (electronic) deposits while in-branch transfers and withdrawals incur a fee of $0.65 for each transaction.

To get this savings account, you must be a member of Luminus Financial. To become a member, you must be a resident of Ontario and pay your annual membership dues of $5.99. As a member you’ll receive a $25 membership share and are eligible for a percentage of Luminus’ annual profits each year based on the amount of interest you earned on investment accounts and the amount of interest paid on loans and mortgages.

Achieva Financial Daily Interest Savings Account

The Achieva Financial Daily Interest Savings Account offers an interest rate of 1.7% with no minimum balance required and interest calculated on your daily closing balance and paid monthly. The account includes unlimited deposits and one free cheque, direct transfer or pre-authorized payment each month. Also, you’re able to receive $1 every month if you choose to receive documents electronically rather than paper copies. A fee of $0.60 is charged for ATM withdrawals and $0.50 for bill payments. Achieva Financial also provides its customers with a mobile app to conduct day-to-day banking needs such as checking account balances, transferring money and finding an ATM.

Since Achieva Financial is a division of Cambrian Credit Union, you must first become a member of Cambrian in order to open an Achieva account. This requires you to be a resident of Manitoba. However, there are no annual fees or membership share purchases required.

Outlook Financial High-Interest Savings Account

Outlook Financial’s High-Interest Savings Account offers a 1.7% interest rate. Interest is calculated daily and paid monthly. The account comes with one free debit per month with further debits each incurring a $1.00 charge and two e-statements per year. Outlook Financial also has a mobile app, where its customers can view account balances, transfer funds between accounts, pay bills and deposit cheques.

Since Outlook Financial is a division of Assiniboine Credit Union, to open up an account you must first become a member of the credit union which requires a one-time membership fee of $5. This fee is returned back to you if you ever leave Outlook Financial.

Steinbach Credit Union Regular Savings Account

The Steinbach Credit Union Regular Savings Account has a tiered interest rate. For balances of less than $100,000, the interest rate is 1.6%. For balances between $100,000 and $250,000, the rate is 1.65%. And for balances greater than $250,000, the interest rate is 1.7%. The account comes with one free withdrawal per month. Extra withdrawals cost $1 each. Additionally, unlike the majority of the savings account offerings, interest is calculated on the minimum monthly balance and is paid annually.

To open up an account, you must first become a member of Steinbach Credit Union. This is done by purchasing a $5 share. Since Steinbach Credit Union is located in Manitoba, it’s mainly targeted to residents of that province, but non-Manitoba residents are also eligible to open up accounts as long as you provide supporting documentation. The supporting documents required are a result of opening an account in a non face-to-face environment.

The bottom line

The best savings account offered by a credit union and available to all Canadians is Outlook Financial’s High-Interest Savings Account at an interest rate of 1.7%. And Ontario residents are able to receive the highest interest rate of 1.75% through Luminus Financial. When looking for a savings account, look at both national and local offerings as there may be a local credit union offering higher interest rates.

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