What Is A Kid's Bank Account?
If you have kids (or are planning to in the future), you’re probably wondering how you can best prepare them to be financially savvy adults one day. After all, it’s a tough world out there, and we’re only as strong as our financial habits allow us to be.
One of the best things you can do to set your child(ren) up for financial success is to help them open a bank account at any early age. However, as your young child isn’t likely to research bank account options themselves, you need to assist them in choosing the account that is right for them. In this article, we’ll go over the importance of opening a bank account for children. We will also look at the role bank accounts play in teaching young Canadians important tools required for financial comprehension. And finally, we will take a look at the most favourable options for child-friendly bank accounts that the country has to offer. Let’s go!
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What Is A Children's Savings Account?
In Canada, a children’s saving account (or chequing account, though most kid-friendly accounts operate as a hybrid model of some sort), is a bank account for young people under 18. They are designed to meet the needs of young bankers, many of whom haven’t yet started working or will start working their first job soon. This means that they offer basic banking services such as debit transactions and e-Transfers at low or no costs to the banker. Many bank accounts that are designed for children offer the ability to earn a low amount of interest on their account balances.
Why Get A Kid's Bank Account For Your Child?
How old were you when you first opened a bank account? If you’re anything like the majority of Canadians, you were around 13. And, while many young bankers opened this account up in anticipation of their first job babysitting (or something similar), many accounts were opened by parents who were looking to show their children financial savviness in action.
When you open a bank account for your child, you are giving them the opportunity to learn about personal finance from a young age. This includes important habits like depositing money and benefiting from compound interest, saving for a short-term or long-term goal, and how to use a bank branch. In other words, it’s a way to give your child a headstart for their eventual transition into adulthood.
How To Choose The Right Kid's Bank Account
You might be tempted to open a bank account for your child within the same bank system that you are already in. And, while this may be the best option in many cases, that’s not always so. When it comes time to open a bank account for your child, you are going to want to do your research and due diligence, just like you would for any other financial decision. It’s all about weighing the pros and cons of each unique account offering.
For example, if it’s important for you to digitally provide an allowance to your child, you will want to find a bank that allows you to set up regular deposits. If you’d like to teach your child the importance of compound interest, you have a variety of accounts to choose from. Almost all accounts will offer unlimited transactions of some kind but read the fine print clearly, as it won’t always include both Interact e-Transfers and debit transactions. Choose wisely based on your child’s presumed habits.
The Best Children's Savings Accounts In Canada
Children’s Savings Account — Tangerine
Zero monthly fees
Free ATM access
Unlimited monthly transactions
Benefits:Interest rate of 0.20%
Technically a joint account between you and your child
Your child gets their own account number for easy access
If you’re savvy with the Canadian financial landscape, then you likely are familiar with online bank extraordinaire, Tangerine. This no-fee bank offers many different account types to allure you, from a high-interest savings account to a chequing account that can be accessed through thousands of ATMs.
If you already have an account with Tangerine yourself, you can easily open up another account for a minor. With a children’s savings account, you can benefit from zero monthly fees and unlimited monthly transactions, all without a minimum balance requirement. With a 0.20% interest rate, the earning potential on this account is one of the best around for kid’s accounts.
If you don’t already have a Tangerine account, you’ll need to open one before you can open a kid’s account. Considering that Tangerine has a number of enticing offers for adults, this shouldn’t be a chore. The Tangerine Children’s Savings Account is technically a joint account between you and your child (although your child gets their own separate account number).
TD Youth Account
Access to TD online and in-person banking
Unlimited monthly transactions
No monthly fee
0.01% interest rate on all balances
Provides a hybrid savings/chequing account
Parents can set up automated money transfers
With more than 1,000 branches nationwide, TD Bank is one of the most accessible banks in Canada. A full-service “Big Five Bank” among its adult clientele, TD is consistently praised for its versatile credit card offerings and superb customer services. Many cardholders begin their relationship with TD at a young age through the opening of a TD Youth Account.
The TD Youth Account is available for no monthly fee for kids under the age of 19. With this account, Interac e-transfers come with a nominal cost of $0.50 each ($1.00 each if doing more than $100 worth of e-transfers every month), but all other regular transactions are free and unlimited. Parents have the option of transferring a designated monthly amount to their child’s account. The TD Youth Account must be applied for in person.
Scotiabank Getting There Savings Program for Youth
No monthly account fee
Unlimited debit transactions
Limited Free Interac e-Transfers
Benefits:Ability to partake in Scotiabank’s popular Scene program
Opportunity to earn up to 0.10% interest
No minimum monthly account balance required
Scotiabank’s offering for young bankers comes in the form of their Getting There Savings Program for Youth. With a mission of building financial literacy early, this account offers limitless debit transactions and two free Interac e-Transfers. That’s not even the best part—Scotiabank offers the unique opportunity to earn Scene points with every debit transaction.
Scene points are Scotiabank’s popular loyalty program that can be exchanged for movie tickets or on other purchases or experiences. Bankers earn one Scene point for every $5 of regular purchases or one Scene point for every dollar spent at Cineplex locations.
Bank account holders earn 0.05% interest on balances $499.99 and below and 0.10% interest on balances of $500 and above.
RBC Leo’s Young Savers Account
Zero monthly fees
15 Free monthly debit transactions
Unlimited Free Interac e-Transfers
For a limited time receive a sign-up bonus of $25
Free automated payment transfers for parents
Ability to earn interest on every dollar
As its name may suggest, the RBC Leo’s Young Savers account is aimed at the youngest of bankers among us, i.e., kids who are 12 and younger. This account offers no monthly account fees as well as unlimited Interac e-Transfers. There are a limited number of free Interac e-Transfers available every month (15). Bankers older than 12 who wish to bank with RBC can easily make the switch to a student account.
Although this account does offer the ability to earn interest, the rate is low, at 0.01%. However, new sign-ups do receive the benefit of a $25 starting bonus. This account offers parents the ability to set up an automatic monthly payment, so an allowance is never forgotten.
CIBC Advantage for Youth Account
Zero monthly fees
Sign up bonus of $25 for a limited time
Account holders have access to a free SPC discount card
Interac e-Transfers are free
CIBC is another major bank within Canada, and of course, they offer their own version of a kid’s bank account. As is popular with accounts designed for kids, this is a kind of hybrid chequing/savings account. Along with no monthly fees and unlimited transactions, this account also offers the ability to earn 0.05% interest which is paid out monthly.
This account is only for bankers aged 18 and below. At age 19, the account will transition into CIBC’s Premium Growth Account automatically. Parents also have the option to set up automated payments with this account.
How To Open A Kid’s Bank Account in Canada
As a minor, your child can’t simply walk into a bank branch themselves and ask for a bank account. In any case, they’re going to need your help. The exact guidelines will depend on the bank you choose— you may be able to walk in, or you may need to make an appointment. It’s best to call ahead so that you don’t avoid disappointment.
In order for your child to have a bank account, they will need a Social Insurance Number (SIN). Parents can apply for their child’s Social Insurance Number as soon as they are born through the Newborn Registration Service. Otherwise, a SIN can be applied for directly through Service Canada. The quickest way to apply is in person.
Your child will also need to have a piece of photo ID like a passport. If your child doesn’t have a passport yet, their birth certificate may suffice—check with your bank in advance to be sure. You will also likely need to provide some proof of address for your child as well.
The Bottom Line
Finding the right bank account for your child takes a bit of research, but the decision you make will empower your child for many years to come. Whether you’re looking for an account with high-interest savings options or a way to provide a digital allowance, there’s an account out there that’s right for your child so they can start building for the future.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes—and in fact, if they’re under the age of majority, you will need to open an account for them. Most banks require an in-person appointment to open a bank account for a child. Your child will need to have a SIN as well as some form of ID such as a passport or birth certificate. The adult that is applying on behalf of the child should also bring their SIN and government-issued photo ID with them to the appointment.
No, a kid's bank account and a student account are not the same thing, at least not at most banks. While a kid’s bank account is designed for children under the age of 18 (or 19), a student bank account is designed for, well, students (usually university or college students). Many banks will automatically transfer a kid’s bank account to a student bank account once the account holder turns the applicable age. These accounts are also often free.
Much like any other financial product, what you should look for in a kid’s bank account depends largely on your needs (or rather, the needs of your child). While many bank accounts for children will offer the ability to earn interest, not all rates are created equal, so it’s important to shop around. Some accounts will offer limited or unlimited free Interac e-Transfers, but not all. Lastly, while some accounts do offer parents the ability to automatically transfer money every month into their child’s account, not all do, so make sure to look like this if you would like to provide your child with a digital allowance.