The best high-interest savings accounts in Canada for 2023

Here are the accounts offering the highest interest rates and lowest fees.

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Canada’s best high-interest savings accounts

Generally, savings accounts offer very low interest rates. So, if you want to earn on your deposits (rather than simply using your account as a temporary “holding tank” or directing to longer-term saving and investing vehicles), a savings account with a high interest rate is a no-brainer. This type of account is referred to as high-interest savings account (HISA). We break down what you should know about HISAs and give you our picks for the most competitive interest rates in Canada.

The best high-interest savings accounts in Canada

Best high-interest savings account rateSaven Financial High Interest Savings Account
Motive Savvy Savings Account
Best for interest rates and no service feesEQ Bank Savings Plus Account*
Best regular interest rate at a credit unionMaxa Financial High-Interest Savings
Best e-savings accountNeo Money
Best regular interest rate in a hybrid accountWealthsimple Cash
Best promotional rateTangerine Savings Account
Simplii Financial High Interest Savings Account*
Best tiered interest productScotiabank MomentumPlus Savings Account*
LBC Digital High-Interest Savings Account

Best high-interest savings account rate

Saven Financial High Interest Savings Account

This HISA may sneak under the radar, but once you see the rate you will be impressed. This online-only financial institution hits in with a strong interest rate on its HISA, along with no minimum balance requirements and free transfers. Saven is a division of FirstOntario Credit Union, a financial institution with roots back to 1939, and which currently has more than 126,000 member clients. Note: You need to invest at least $25 to become a member of FirstOntario.

  • Fees: None, except for a one-time $25 fee to become a member of FirstOntario
  • Other restrictions: Only available to residents of Ontario

Also consider: Motive Savvy Savings Account

Motive Financial, the online banking division of Canadian Western Bank, offers a high regular interest rate. Eligible deposits are held at Canadian Western Bank and protected by the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC; see details below). There isn’t a monthly fee, and account holders get two free monthly withdrawals. But additional transactions will cost you.

  • Promotional Rate: None
  • Interest Rate: 3.00%
  • Minimum balance: None
  • Free transactions per month: 2 free monthly withdrawals ($5 charged per additional transaction)
  • Interac e-Transfer fee: $1 per outgoing transfer (no fee to receive)
  • Fees for extras: $1.50 charged per withdrawal though non-exchange ATMs
  • CDIC insured: Eligible on deposits up to $100,000 in Canadian funds that are payable in Canada and have a term of no more than five years
  • Other restrictions: Not available to residents of Quebec

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Best for interest rates and no service fees

EQ Bank Savings Plus Account*

EQ Bank is owned by Equitable Bank, a Canadian institution in business since 1970. Another in the burgeoning online space, EQ Bank offers great returns on its Savings Plus Account. There is no fee for the account and no minimum balance. All services, including Interac e-Transfer, are free.

  • Minimum balance: None
  • Promotional rate: None
  • Interest rate: 2.50%
  • Free transactions per month: Unlimited
  • Interac e-Transfer fee: None
  • Fees for extras: None
  • CDIC insured: Eligible on deposits up to $100,000 in Canadian funds that are payable in Canada and have a term of no more than five years
  • Other restrictions: There’s a maximum balance of $200,000 per customer; paper statements are not available

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Best regular interest rate at a credit union

Maxa Financial High-Interest Savings

Maxa is a division of Westoba Credit Union, located in Manitoba. But its accounts are open to all Canadians, and it offers an impressive interest rate on savings. There’s no fee, but account holders can expect to pay service charges for many transactions.

  • Promotional Rate: None
  • Interest Rate: 3.00%
  • Minimum balance: None
  • Free transactions per month: First debit of each month free
  • Interac e-Transfer fee: $2 per transfer domestically; $5 per transfer internationally
  • Fees for extras: $1.50 per debit except on the first of each month
  • CDIC insured: No, but all deposits guaranteed by the Deposit Guarantee Corporation of Manitoba, with no dollar-amount limit
  • Other restrictions: The online interface is dated

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Best eSavings account

Neo Money

Neo Money is a no-fee hybrid account that lets you spend and save—and earn cash back rewards—all in one place. Clients earn 1.8% in interest on every $1 held in the account and can access their money from an app on their phone, making bill payments, purchases, Interac e-Transfer transactions and more simple and seamless. 

  • Promotional Rate: None
  • Interest rate: 2.25%
  • Minimum balance: None 
  • Free transactions per month: Unlimited
  • Interac e-Transfer fee: $0
  • Fees for extras: $5 for each printed document 
  • CDIC insured: Deposits held in Neo Money savings accounts are combined with eligible deposits held at Concentra Bank, for up to $100,000 of deposit protection, per category, per depositor
  • Other restrictions: Maximum balance per customer is $200,000; not available to residents of Quebec

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Best regular interest rate in a hybrid account

Wealthsimple Cash

Wealthsimple Cash was launched in January 2020 by the Canadian online financial services provider Wealthsimple. Joining the fintech’s original robo-advisor offering and its more recently added discount brokerage Wealthsimple Trade, Wealthsimple Cash is a hybrid chequing and savings account. Unlike many of the big banks, this institution offers a regular high interest rate. Plus, as with a good chequing account, this one gives you unlimited transactions with zero fees. From the account, you can make no-fee bill payments and Interac e-Transfer transactions. If you have a Wealthsimple investment account, such as a tax-free savings account (TFSA) or a registered retirement savings plan (RRSP), you can contribute to them easily using funds from your savings account.

  • Promotional Rate: None
  • Interest Rate: 1.50%
  • Minimum balance: $1
  • Free transactions per month: unlimited
  • Interac e-Transfer fee: None
  • Fees for extras: None
  • CDIC insured: Yes, since January 1, 2021
  • Other restrictions: None

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Best promotional rates

Tangerine Savings Account

Known for its flexibility, this account doesn’t require a minimum balance. And there are no fees or service charges. The entire Tangerine banking experience is simple and friendly, and its savings offerings are the same. Account holders can set up an Automated Savings Program online to help plan and meet savings goals.

  • Promotional rate: 5% for the first 5 months.
  • Interest rate: 1.00%
  • Minimum balance: None
  • Free transactions per month: Unlimited; free unlimited deposits and withdrawals at Tangerine or Scotiabank ABM Network bank machines in Canada; no surcharge or access fees on withdrawals from Global ATM Alliance machines internationally
  • Interac e-Transfer fee: None
  • Fees for extras: None; no cost for paper statement, if desired (sent quarterly)
  • CDIC insured: Eligible on deposits up to $100,000 in Canadian funds that are payable in Canada and have a term of no more than five years
  • Other restrictions: None

Simplii Financial High Interest Savings Account*

You can earn a promotional rate of 5% interest until Jan. 31, 2023, then it goes back to its regular rate of 0.4%. Plus, no matter how much money you hold in this account, you won’t pay any fees.

  • Promotional Rate: 5% 
  • Interest rate: 0.40%
  • Minimum balance: None 
  • Free transactions per month: Unlimited
  • Interac e-Transfer fee: None
  • CDIC insured: Yes
  • Other restrictions: None

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Best tiered interest savings account

Scotiabank MomentumPlus Savings Account*

With tiered earnings on interest starting at 1.6%, this product acts like a guaranteed investment certificate (GIC), giving account holders the opportunity to save more just by leaving their money alone—but with the freedom to make withdrawals if you need to. Provided no debit transactions have taken place during that time; deposits stashed for longer can earn extra interest based on the following calculations:

1.60% (regular interest) +

  • 0.85% after 90 days
  • 0.90% after 180 days
  • 1.00% after 270 days
  • 1.10% after 360 days

For the first 5 months after the account was opened, you can earn Welcome Bonus Interest of 1.80% on eligible deposits. Plus, if you also have an Ultimate Package account with Scotiabank, your earn rate will be an additional 0.10% for a limited time. The account is no-fee and self-service transfers are unlimited.

  • Minimum balance: None
  • Interest rate offer: Earn a savings rate of up to 4.60% on your Ultimate Package MomentumPLUS Savings Account for the first 5 months.
  • Fees for extras: $5 per debit transaction that’s not self-service
  • Free transactions per month: Unlimited for self-service transfers
  • Interac e-Transfer fee: None
  • CDIC insured: Eligible if in Canadian currency with a term of five years or less and payable in Canada
  • Other restrictions:  No paper statement available

Also Consider: LBC Digital High-Interest Savings Account

Since 2003, Laurentian Bank has been available only in Quebec, but with the recent launch of a new digital offering at LBCDigital.ca, the institution is tempting clients from across the country. The headline news here is the high-interest rate and the fact it has no minimum balance and no monthly fees. Laurentian Bank easily tops our list of best rates on GICs, which lock in your money for a specified period of time. But with the LBC Digital High-Interest Savings Account, you can access your funds whenever you like and use services like electronic fund transfers and pre-authorized deposits. Plus, transfers between LBC Digital accounts are included. This last one is important as it means you can move your money to an LBCDigital.ca chequing account, from which you can make unlimited free Interac e-Transfer transactions.

  • Promotional Rate: None
  • Interest Rate: 3.00%
  • Minimum balance: None
  • Free transactions per month: Unlimited
  • Interac e-Transfer fee: None
  • Fees for extras: None
  • CDIC insured: Eligible on deposits up to $100,000 in Canadian funds that are payable in Canada and have a term of no more than five years
  • Other restrictions: Non-sufficient funds (NSF), returned items and overdrawn accounts are subject to fees, and if you close the account within 90 days there’s a $25 penalty

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What to know about high-interest savings accounts (HISAs)

Watch: Why open a high-interest savings account?

What is a high-interest savings account?

A HISA is a savings account that pays a better rate of interest than standard savings accounts. HISAs are offered widely by a variety of banks, credit unions and other financial institutions.

This type of account allows you to safely and securely set aside money and earn a modest return without losing the ability to access that money anytime.

It’s also great for short or medium-term savings that want to be able to withdraw from than later. People will often use a HISA to save for big expenses or financial goals, like a wedding, the down payment on a home, a vacation or for an emergency fund. HISAs are also smart places to stash some money during times of uncertainty or during economic downturns.

How does a high-interest savings account work?

The greatest appeal of HISAs is that they are a safe and secure place for savings to grow money slowly. Financial institutions that are members of the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC) insure savings of up to $100,000, while credit unions are insured provincially and usually cover the full deposit, with no limits. Money deposited in a HISA account generates interest by allowing the bank to access those funds for loans. Interest rates offered by HISA accounts typically vary between rates as low 0.5% and to the 3% range at the upper end. There are usually no monthly service fees associated with savings accounts since they are intended to serve as places for people to park their money for stretches of time. However, it’s not unusual to see the number of withdrawals and transfers limited or to have a fee associated with transactions.

How are high-interest savings accounts taxed?

Earnings from a HISA are taxable income. That means any interest earned from your savings must be declared and will be taxed at your normal rate. It is, however, possible to shelter your savings from taxes if you hold a HISA within either a TFSA or an RRSP.

The difference between a high-interest savings account and a regular savings account

The main difference between a standard savings account and a HISA is the interest rate. As suggested by its name, a HISA pays a slightly higher rate than a standard savings account, allowing savings to grow quicker. It may, however, be subject to withdrawal or transfer limits, transaction fees or minimum balance requirements. A standard savings account is a good place to keep surplus cash you don’t need for everyday transactions (use a chequing or hybrid account for those needs). A HISA, on the other hand, is a better choice for holding savings that are geared toward a particular goal, such as paying for home renovations or university tuition. 

The difference between a HISA and a GIC

GICs and HISAs are safe and secure ways to save money and can be used to earn interest and save money. And both have their place in a financial plan. The main difference between the two financial products is that when you make a deposit into a GIC, you have to leave it there for a certain amount of time or you will pay a penalty. The banks can count on having access to your money for a given period (usually GICs are available for terms of six months to 10 years), so they tend to pay more interest than HISAs. GICs are suitable for medium- to long-term savings. But HISAs are more flexible and are a great place to save money for a short term. You earn a higher interest rate than in a regular savings account, and you can still access the funds if you need them.

How to choose a high-interest savings account

Most financial institutions in Canada offer HISAs, and you will want to consider which is the best fit for your needs. First and foremost, consider the interest rate. Of course you should look for an interest rate that outpaces the rate of inflation—or your money will ultimately be worth less than before. (However, the inflation rate in 2022 rose above the typical 2% target and even went as high as 8% at one point. And HISAs interest rates have yet to keep up.)

You will also want to carefully look at the HISA terms and conditions. Some accounts charge fees on transactions, limit withdrawals and/or enforce lock-in periods, and some may require you to keep a minimum balance, too. 

Take advantage of cash signing bonuses or higher promotional rates if there are any, but also keep in mind that the long-term interest rate is more important than a short-term introductory rate.

How the Bank of Canada’s overnight rate affects high-interest savings accounts

Changes in the prime rate, which are based on the Bank of Canada’s overnight rate, affect the interest earned in HISAs as well as on GICs and other investment vehicles. When the overnight rate increases, individuals can earn higher interest on the aforementioned types of savings, because financial institutions have more flexibility to compete on the interest rates they offer. On the other hand, people who are retired or living off fixed income from a savings fund can be negatively affected when the overnight rate drops.

Is having a savings account necessary?

Even when the economy is strong, the interest rates on savings accounts tend to be low. If you compare this to real estate or stock portfolio returns, you might wonder why you should hold a savings account at all. The thing to understand is that these aren’t comparable products. They’re apples and oranges, each are used for different reasons.

A savings account is an essential part of everyone’s personal finance portfolio. Why? They are a place to keep your money safe—and liquid!—while earning guaranteed returns. Although these returns tend to be modest, they can help your money grow steadily to combat against inflation. Having a savings account is important if you want a safe way to set aside money in case of emergencies or for an upcoming major purchase, like a car or a down payment on a house. Stocks typically do well in the long term, but short-terms fluctuations make them unsuitable places to store money for a purchase in the near future because you may well be forced to sell during a downturn. If you’re lucky enough to own real estate, you already know that it is anything but liquid (and can be tough to sell depending on the real estate market). Savings accounts hit the sweet spot by providing interest, while your money is protected by CDIC or similar deposit insurance coverage, up to specified limits.


Didn’t find the perfect savings account here?

If none of our best HISA picks sound like the right one for you, consider putting your money into one of these registered accounts instead.

High-interest TFSA

More than just a savings account, a TFSA allows you to invest up to certain limit each year and not pay any taxes on the earnings. You are free to withdraw the money, tax-free at any time. The savings plans available within a TSFA may have somewhat lower interest rates than some other HISAs, but could be a better choice after considering the tax savings. (You can also hold other kinds of investments inside a TFSA, such as stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs).)

High-interest RRSP

An RRSP is a tax-deferred retirement savings plan, registered with the federal government, that allows Canadians to defer paying taxes on their income until after retirement. If you plan things right, you will be in a lower tax bracket in retirement, meaning you will pay less tax on your withdrawals than you saved initially by stashing your money inside an RRSP. Like with TFSAs, you can hold a range of investments in your RRSP, including stocks and ETFs).

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