What Canadian bank has the best high interest savings account?
The best HISA for 2023 belongs to Saven Financial which had one of the highest interest rates on the market throughout 2022. In addition to their excellent rate, this savings account includes:
- No monthly fees
- No minimum balance requirements
- Free transfers for withdrawals and deposits
- User-friendly online portal
Check out Ratehub's Personal Finance Award winners for 2023 to see our opinion of the best accounts on the market today.
What other types of savings accounts are available?
Some other types of savings accounts include tax free savings accounts, youth savings accounts and senior savings accounts. Learn more below to see which option is best for you:
Tax-free savings accounts typically earn lower interest rates than high interest savings accounts, but there is no tax on the interest earned.
Many financial institutions offer special savings accounts just for children to teach them how to save money and how to bank.
Some banks offer special savings accounts for Canadians 60 and over that offer lower transaction fees or waive minimum balance requirements.
What are the benefits of a high interest savings account?
Savings accounts are an essential part of anyone's financial portfolio. While the modest interest earned by them may pale in comparison to the big gains possible through stocks and bonds, they're a solid place to store your funds for future goals big and small.
While risky investments could pay off big, you also may have to sell in the event of market volatility. Savings accounts, on the other hand, will steadily earn you interest on your money over time while also giving you peace of mind that it isn't going anywhere. They're essentially the perfect mix of safety and growth.
How does the Bank of Canada's overnight rate affect interest rates on HISAs?
The Bank of Canada's overnight rate dictates changes in the prime rate, which then influences the amount of interest earned on HISAs and investments such as GICs. Because banks and other institutions who offer these accounts can afford to be competitive with their interest rates, those who keep money in HISAs can take advantage of higher interest when the BoC's overnight rate rises.
Is a GIC better than a high interest savings accounts?
You can elevate your savings strategy with high interest savings accounts (HISAs) and guaranteed investment certificates (GICs). While GICs boast higher interest rates, they come with the trade-off of tying up your funds for the term (months or years). On the other hand, HISAs provide lower rates but greater accessibility, ensuring flexibility in managing your finances.
Natasha Macmillan, Business Unit Director - Everyday Banking
Looking for the best high interest savings account in Canada? With so many financial institutions and varying interest rates, it can be overwhelming to find the right savings account for your needs. We break down the top options for high interest savings accounts and help you make an informed decision.
Our guide to high interest savings accounts
A high-interest savings account (or HISA, for short) is a savings account that features a higher-than-average interest rate (usually around 1-1.7% range, but certain banks may offer limited-time rates above 2% as part of a promotion).
Why choose a high interest savings account?
Before we dive into the best HISA accounts, let's first understand why you should consider one in the first place.
1. Higher interest rates
The main benefit of a high interest savings account is, of course, the higher interest rates. These accounts typically offer higher rates than traditional savings accounts, allowing you to earn more on your savings.
2. Easy access to funds
Unlike other investment options, HISAs offer easy access to your funds. This means you can withdraw your money at any time without any penalties or fees.
3. Low risk
HISAs are considered low-risk investments, making them a safe option for those who want to save without worrying about market fluctuations.
How does a high interest savings account work?
Similar to a normal savings account, a HISA serves as a place to deposit money you don’t need access to all the time. While there, it accrues a high rate of interest over time, increasing your balance organically the longer you maintain the account. In short, it’s a great way to let your money grow while you sleep.
That being said, while you’re free to withdraw your money from a HISA at any time, they do come with a fair amount of regulations. Most notably, transfers from your HISA account could take one or two days to complete, and you may also have to pay a fee. Each institution is different, however, so make sure you’re aware of their specific rules before deciding to open a HISA.
How do HISAs earn interest?
While the interest on a HISA is typically shown as a yearly percentage, it is calculated daily and paid back into your account on a monthly basis, creating what’s known as compound interest (or interest on top of interest). If we were discussing compound interest in the context of credit cards, that would spell bad news, but those maintaining HISAs benefit greatly from it.
As an example, if you deposited $15,000 into your HISA with an interest rate of 1%, you would receive $150 in interest if you leave your account untouched for a whole year. That would bring your total balance to $15,150 without lifting a finger.
An important thing to note, however, is that interest on a HISA can change without warning, so always make sure to keep an eye on your current interest rate and monitor any fluctuations.
Are HISAs good for long-term investment?
HISAs are an excellent way to dip your toes into the investment world with very little risk, but also mean your rate of return is lower than what you can earn with other investment vehicles. For longer-term saving goals (such as retirement), you’ll most likely need to move your money into higher-yielding investment options to accomplish them.
Do you pay taxes on HISAs?
Similarly to regular earnings, the interest generated through your HISA savings is taxable by the federal government and is subject to the same rate. To find out how much you need to disclose at tax time, find the figure as part of the T5 tax form supplied by your financial institution.
How to choose the best high-interest savings account
When comparing high interest savings accounts, there are a number of factors to consider. You can also consider extras, like whether the account offers online and mobile banking, free Interac® e-Transfers, and bill payments. Some high interest savings accounts also offer sign up incentives and promotional interest rates. Even though these offers look attractive, you may find that you’ll come out ahead by choosing an account with an everyday high interest rate.
Here are a few more common things to consider when shopping around:
What are you saving up for?
One of the first things to ask yourself before opening a HISA is “what are my financial goals?” Are they short-term, such as saving up for an exotic vacation or a car? Perhaps they’re longer in scope, like putting money away for a down payment on a home? Whatever the reason, choose a HISA that will provide the flexibility you need while helping you meet your saving needs and goals.
It’s common for some banks or credit unions to require a minimum deposit when opening your account, but the specific amount can vary wildly, so make sure you know the specific figure (or ask a customer service representative for that information) before opening your HISA.
You wouldn’t be considering a high-interest savings account if you didn’t want a great interest rate, so make sure this is one of the first things you look at when comparing HISAs. Many financial institutions will feature ultra-high promotional interest rates, and while these can be attractive, it’s important to remember that they’re only temporary. Once the promotional period ends, they’ll quite often drop, so you’d do better to compare standard interest rates rather than promotional ones. That being said, if you think you can hit your savings goal within that promotional time frame, a temporarily high interest rate could be your best friend.
Fees and charges
While most HISAs don’t charge a monthly fee, some may still charge you for withdrawals or transfers in certain circumstances. Make sure you’re aware of your financial institution’s fees and policies before signing up.
How to open a high-interest savings account
To open a HISA, first make sure you meet the following criteria:
- The age of majority in your home province or territory
- A Canadian resident with a permanent address
- In possession of a social insurance number (SIN)
If you meet these requirements, simply visit your financial institution online and follow their navigation instructions to open a HISA. In most cases, what you will need to provide is:
- Personal information such as your full name, mailing address, and date of birth
- Social insurance number
- Valid email address
If you would rather open a HISA in a brick-and-mortar bank branch, just make sure your chosen bank or credit union operates physical locations and is not online-only.
One important note: not every financial institution offers HISAs to residents of every province (this is particularly true for credit unions). Always make sure you’re eligible for a HISA before applying.
How does a high interest savings account differ from other types of accounts?
HISAs vs. chequing accounts
Unlike a chequing account, which is typically used for day-to-day transactions like paying bills, savings accounts are meant as a short-term investment vehicle to help grow your savings conservatively with absolutely no risk. The cash you deposit in a savings account is “liquid”, which means your money is always accessible and can be withdrawn at any time. It’s why a savings account is an ideal place to set aside extra money for large but predictable expenses (like a vacation or upcoming big-ticket purchase), or an emergency fund while gathering interest.
HISAs vs. regular savings accounts
The decision on whether to keep your money in a HISA or a regular savings account largely depends on your particular savings goals. Because HISAs have a much higher interest rate than run-of-the-mill savings accounts, they tend to be a better bet if you're saving for something significant (i.e. a car or wedding). Plus, while HISAs are fairly liquid, they're primarily designed for longer-term savings. This means you could encounter withdrawal limits, minimum balance requirements, or transaction fees if you want to habitually take funds out of the account.
Regular savings accounts, on the other hand, are perfect for keeping money that you may not have any specific plan for but don't need in your chequing account.
HISAs vs. GICs
While both HISAs and GICs are safe, protected places to store your money, the most important differences between the two are liquidity and interest.
GICs are "locked-in" investments, meaning that when you open one, you agree to keep your money there, untouched, for a specific period of time (this can be anywhere from a matter of months up to ten years). If you decide you want to access your funds before that, you'll be subject to a penalty for withdrawal. Because you've guaranteed the bank that your money will remain in the GIC for the agreed-upon period, however, you'll likely earn higher interest. Plus, the longer you agree to lock your money away, the higher your interest rate will be.
HISAs, on the other hand, are far more flexible, allowing you to access your money at any time, but tend to offer lower interest than that of GICs.
HISAs vs TFSA
While a high interest savings account (HISA) and a tax free savings account (TFSA) seem similar, they are typically used for very different purposes.
A HISA is a basic savings account with a competitive interest rate, designed to help you grow your savings while keeping your money easily accessible. On the other hand, a TFSA is a tax-advantaged account that allows you to invest and save money without paying taxes on the interest, dividends, or capital gains earned within the account. While HISAs offer liquidity and interest, TFSA contributions have limits, and offer tax benefits, making them a great choice for long-term investing and tax-efficient wealth growth.
Ultimately, the choice between these two types of accounts depends on your financial goals and how you prioritize accessibility, returns, and tax advantages.
HISAs vs RRSP
A high interest savings account and a registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) are both accounts where you can grow your savings over time.
An RRSP is a tax advantaged retirement savings account designed specifically for long-term retirement planning. Contributions to an RRSP are tax-deductible, reducing your taxable income for the year, while withdrawals are taxed when you retire. RRSPs, unlike HISAs, have an annual contribution limit.
Tips for maximizing your savings
While a high interest savings account is a great way to earn more on your savings, there are a few tips you can follow to maximize your savings even further.
Set up automatic savings plans
Many high interest savings accounts offer the option to set up automatic savings plans, meaning you can set a specific amount to be transferred from your chequing account to your savings account on a regular basis. This can help you save without even thinking about it.
Take advantage of promotional rates
Some financial institutions may offer promotional rates for new customers. Keep an eye out for these offers and take advantage of them to earn even more on your savings. Be sure to evaluate the amount of interest you will earn during the promotional period relative to other accounts.
Keep an eye on interest rates
Interest rates tend to vary, so it is crucial to monitor them and consider transferring to another high interest savings account if a more favourable rate is available.
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