The Best High-Interest Savings Accounts for 2023
High-interest savings accounts have garnered more attention in recent months, with inflation sending interest rates soaring. If you’re sitting on cash in a regular chequing or savings account that is not earning interest – now is the time to open a high-interest savings account and move the funds over.
But with so many options, choosing the best account for your money can be challenging. To help, I’ve compiled a list of over 20 top high-interest savings accounts, complete with current rates. But before we get to the list, let’s take a closer look at how high-interest savings accounts work.
What Is a High-Interest Savings Account?
High-interest savings accounts are short-term savings vehicles that offer liquidity and a higher return than you would otherwise receive in a regular savings account or a chequing account. As you’ll see from our list, many financial institutions in Canada offer high-interest accounts, including banks and credit unions, online-only banks, and investment companies.
In the past, the name “high-interest” has been somewhat of a misnomer, as rates were so low for many years. However, recent inflationary pressures have sent savings rates soaring, much to the delight of Canadian savers. Presently, it’s common to see interest rates over 3.00% on many high-interest savings accounts.
What to Look for in a High-Interest Savings Account
When shopping for a high-interest savings account, it’s tempting to only look for the highest possible rate. However, there are other factors to consider. Perhaps the most important one is how often you need access to your funds.
Several accounts on our list have interest rates above 3.00%. However, most limit withdrawals to one or two per month. If you go over, there is often a $5.00 charge per withdrawal.
If you require regular access to your funds, you’re better off choosing a lower rate with no withdrawal restrictions. EQ and Motusbank are good examples. Their standard rate is lower, at 2.50%, but you can make as many free withdrawals as you’d like.
That said, high-interest savings accounts should only be used for funds you don’t require daily or weekly.
Another thing to consider is how easily you can access funds when needed. Can you use a debit card? With some high-interest savings accounts, you must link your primary bank account and transfer back and forth, which can take several days.
Best High-Interest Savings Accounts in Canada
I’ve included 22 financial institutions on our best high-interest savings account list. You’ll notice that online banks and credit unions offer the best rates. The big banks are enticing new customers with attractive limited-time bonus interest, but their standard rates are mediocre at best.
I haven’t named a “Best Overall” account, as interest rates and account features constantly change. The top savings account today might not be in a couple of months. Instead, I’ve pointed out 6 of the 22 accounts as being “Best For” something, as follows:
- EQ Bank: Best Standard Interest Rate
- Saven Financial: Best for Ontario Residents
- Scotiabank MomentumPLUS Savings: Best Big Bank Savings Acc0unt
- Tangerine: Best Introductory Rate
- Steinbach Credit Union: Best Credit Union High-Interest Savings
- CI Direct Investing: Best Investment Company Savings Account
Without further ado, here is my list of the best high-interest savings accounts in Canada, in no particular order:
EQ Bank Savings Plus Account
Best Standard Interest Rate
EQ Bank appears near the top of most “best savings account” lists, and for a good reason. They won’t always have the highest savings account interest rate, but they’ll always be in the conversation. Where other online banks, like Tangerine, focus on high introductory rates and a broad product offering, EQ leads with an excellent standard interest rate, which at the time of this writing, is 2.50%.
In addition, you get unlimited transactions, and there are no monthly fees. And while it was a long time coming, you can now get an EQ Bank debit card with no-fee ATM withdrawals in Canada (EQ will reimburse the fees).
Best Savings Account for Ontario Residents
Saven Financial is a division of FirstOntario Credit Union. Currently, their high-interest savings account rate of 3.75% is one of the highest in Canada. There is no minimum balance requirement, no monthly fees, and transfers are free. Saven also offers high-interest GIC interest rates (at the moment, you can earn up to 5.30%).
There are a couple of downsides. To be eligible for an account, you must live in Ontario and be at least 18 years of age or older. There is also a $25 membership fee to start (it is a credit union, after all). If you are an Ontario resident, give Saven Financial a close look.
Scotiabank MomentumPLUS Savings Account
Best Big Bank savings account
Canada’s big banks are not known for competitive interest rates on savings accounts and GICs. However, with its MomentumPLUS Savings Account, Scotiabank seems to be taking a queue from Tangerine, its online banking division. If you open a MomentumPLUS Savings account, you can earn up to 4.60% interest for the first five months, perfect for short-term savings.
There are no monthly account fees or minimum balance requirements. After the introductory offer, which requires that you open the account and make a deposit within a specific period, the interest rate will return to the current standard rate of 1.60%.
Of note, you can earn higher standard interest by signing up for one of two Scotia account packages: Preferred or Ultimate. Also, the longer you save, the higher your rate will climb. Ultimate package customers can earn up to 2.80% interest if they save for 360 days. This is similar to GIC rates, while you’re money remains liquid.
Tangerine Savings Account
Best Introductory Rate
Tangerine is the digital banking arm of Canada’s third-largest bank, Scotiabank. While their standard savings account interest rates lag behind competitors like EQ Bank or Saven Financial, they usually have a generous welcome bonus for new customers. New customers can earn 5.00% interest for the first five months!
Once the promotional rate expires, your rate will return to the standard, which is currently only 1.00%. As a positive, there are no minimum balance requirements, monthly fees, or transaction fees.
Steinbach Credit Union
Best Credit Union High-Interest Savings Account
Steinbach Credit Union, or SCU, is Manitoba’s largest credit union. Throughout the province, they are well-known for their high-interest rates on savings accounts and GICs. The Steinbach Credit Union High-Interest Savings Account features a tiered interest rate. Currently, balances under $100,000 earn 3.35%, 3.40% between $100,000 and $249,000, and 3.55% on balances over $250,000.
CI Direct Investing HISA
Best Investment Company Savings
CI Direct Investing stands out on our list as it is primarily an investment company, not a bank or credit union. However, they currently pay a 3.60% interest rate on their customers’ savings balance. There is no monthly fee, no minimum balance required, and you can access your money any time for free.
There is one key distinction between CI and the other names on our list. Your CI savings balance won’t be protected with CDIC deposit insurance because they aren’t a bank.
Instead, they are members of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF) through the following custodians: CI Investment Services Inc., Credential QTrade Securities Inc., and National Bank Independent Network. Your funds are protected for up to $1 million through CIPF if the custodian becomes insolvent.
If you’re interested in moving your savings to CI Direct, I recommend you research the CIPF before opening an account.
Simplii Financial™ High-Interest Savings Account
Simplii Financial is the digital banking arm of CIBC. The Simplii High-Interest Savings Account has a tiered standard interest rate of between 0.40% and 2.00%. Unfortunately, you need $500,000 to earn more than the lowest rate. That said, look out for bonus introductory rates similar to the Scotiabank and Tangerine offerings. Simplii currently has a 5.00% Welcome Bonus, but it expires on January 31, 2023.
If you’re an existing CIBC customer looking to earn a bit more interest on your short-term savings, the convenience of Simplii’s HISA account may be worth it. There are no transaction fees, and you can access your funds anytime.
HSBC High Rate Savings Account
HSBC’s High Rate Savings is not competitive with the top accounts on our list. They are not currently offering a welcome bonus, and their standard rate of 1.05% on balances up to $25,000 is mediocre at best. The interest rate rises to a more respectable 1.55% on balances over $25,000. If you hold the account in a TFSA, you’ll earn 1.55% on the entire balance.
You get unlimited, free transfers between your HSBC accounts, but withdrawals are limited to 3 per month. Afterward, it’s $5 per withdrawal.
Meridian High-Interest Savings (HISA)
Meridian is Ontario’s largest credit union, with more than 350,000 members. Their high-interest savings account features a high standard interest rate, unlimited free transactions, and access to more than 43,000 ATMs across North America through the EXCHANGE and Allpoint networks.
Currently, their standard interest of 2.50% is the same as EQ Banks but not as high as the aforementioned Saven Financial (3.75%).
RBC High-Interest eSavings Account
In recent years, Canada’s big banks have been shifting their best savings rates to “eSavings accounts.” You cannot access your account through a bank teller, but you will get higher than the standard interest rate.
RBC’s High-Interest eSavings Account has a standard interest rate of 1.40%, but you may be able to secure a higher introductory rate. For a limited time, RBC currently offers 4.5% interest on eSavings for the first three months to new customers.
AcceleRate High-Interest Savings
AcceleRate Financial is a division of Access Credit Union, one of Manitoba’s largest credit unions. When you open a High-Interest Savings with AcceleRate, your funds are 100% guaranteed by the Deposit Guarantee Corporation of Manitoba. There are no monthly fees, and you get one free monthly withdrawal. AcceleRate currently offers a 3.25% variable interest rate on their HISA account.
Motive Savvy Savings Account
Motive Financial is an online banking subsidiary of Canadian Western Bank. They currently offer a high 3.00% standard rate on their Motive Savvy Savings Account. Along with the great rate, there are no monthly fees, and you get unlimited, free transfers between your Motive accounts.
A potential drawback is that you’re limited to 2 free withdrawals – after that, it’s $5.00 per transaction. As long as you can plan and limit your monthly withdrawals, the high-interest rate may be well worth the effort.
Peoples Bank e-Savings Account
Peoples Bank is a member of the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC) and part of Peoples Group. They offer a variety of banking products, including spending and savings accounts, GICs, and mortgages.
The Peoples Bank Savings Account is an e-Savings account that currently pays 3.00% interest. There are no monthly fees or minimum deposit amounts. You can transfer funds between your Peoples Bank accounts, but you’ll need to connect your primary bank account to move money to and from your Peoples Bank savings. Peoples Bank might be the solution if you want to keep your savings out of sight and out of mind while earning a great interest rate.
Achieva Financial Daily Interest Savings Account
Achieva Financial is the online banking arm of Manitoba-based Cambrian Credit Union. Their regular daily interest savings rate, currently 3.25%, is among the highest in Canada.
In addition to the high savings rate, the account features no monthly fee or minimum balance. However, withdrawals are limited to one free per month. You can also open an Achieva Daily Interest Savings Account in a TFSA, RRSP, or RRIF.
Motusbank High-Interest Savings Account
Motusbank is the online banking arm of Meridian Credit Union. Their high-interest savings Account features a competitive standard rate of 2.50%, no monthly fees, and unlimited debit purchases and withdrawals. The CDIC protects eligible deposits for up to $100,000.
Outlook High-Interest Savings Account
Outlook Financial is the online banking arm of Manitoba-based Assiniboine Credit Union. Their High-Interest Savings Account is currently paying 3.35% interest. There is no monthly fee or minimum balance requirement; however, account holders are limited to one free debit per month.
CIBC eAdvantage® Savings Account
CIBC’s eAdvantage Savings Account standard interest rate of 1.40% is lower than Scotia’s MomentumPlus (1.60%), but they are offering a 4.50% interest rate to new customers for the first four months. I love the big bonus, but unless you’re only saving for a very short term, you’ll earn more with one of the online banks in the long run. That said, the account may appeal to CIBC customers who prefer to keep everything under one roof.
Bridgewater Bank Smart eSavings Account
Bridgewater Bank is a Calgary-based Canadian Schedule I chartered bank serving over 40,000 accounts. They are a subsidiary of the Alberta Motor Association (AMA), offering savings accounts, GICs, and mortgage products.
While the interest rate on their Smart eSavings Account is subject to change anytime, it’s currently paying an attractive 3.25%. There is an initial deposit requirement of $25, and you get one free withdrawal per month. To access your funds, you’ll need to set up a transfer to your main financial institution.
Canadian Tire High-Interest Savings® Account
Canadian Tire Bank is known for its Triangle Mastercard products, so you may be surprised to learn that they also offer a high-interest savings account. Currently, the rate is 3.00%. There are no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements. You’ll need to link an external bank account from your main financial institution, but once that’s done, you can transfer funds online or through a Canadian Tire Service Representative over the telephone.
Hubert Financial Happy Savings Account
Hubert Financial is a digital banking subsidiary of Access Credit Union (yes, they have two). Their High-Interest Savings Account, Happy Savings, currently pays 3.25%. There is no monthly fee or minimum balance required.
WealthONE High-Interest Savings Account
Founded in 2016, WealthONE is a Canadian Schedule I chartered bank. According to WealthONE, the company “specializes in borrowing solutions suitable for self-employed persons, investors with multiple properties, high net worth individuals, newcomers to Canada.”
In addition to its borrowing products, WealthONE also offers a High-Interest Savings Account. Like most of the accounts on our list, there is no monthly fee or minimum balance requirement. WealthONE is currently paying a 3.25% interest rate on its savings account. In addition to the non-registered account, you can open an RRSP or TFSA savings and earn the same high-interest rate.
Finally, because WealthONE is a chartered bank, your deposits are CDIC-protected.
Oaken Financial is a subsidiary of the Home Trust Company and a trademark of Home Bank. They offer a High-Interest Savings Account and a suite of GIC products. Their 3.40% interest rate on savings is currently one of the highest in Canada. Their savings account includes free transactions and no monthly fees or minimum balances.
If you lock in your funds, you can easily transfer money from your savings account to an Oaken GIC. All Oaken Financial accounts are CDIC-Insured, up to the standard limits.
Final Thoughts on The Best High-Interest Accounts
The sudden rise in interest rates has been problematic for Canadian borrowers, many of whom have seen their mortgage and loan payments rise. But on the savings side, it’s been a good news story. As you can see from the list, there is no shortage of options for your short-term savings.
If you have a cash surplus and are not using a high-interest savings account, now is the time. Just remember to use it for savings only. It’s not the right account for spending or making bill payments. If you use your HISA account to save money, it will have served its purpose.