8 Best Bank Accounts for Kids in Canada 2022: 12 and below

Simple financial literacy lessons at a young age can be crucial in helping your child make sound financial decisions in their teenage and adult years.

Opening a bank account for your child, teaching them the ins and outs of banking and trusting them with money can be a huge step in getting started in financial literacy.

If you don’t know where to start when it comes to youth accounts or simply want to find out which ones are the best on the market, today’s post can help.

I will be going through my extensive research of youth bank accounts in Canada and listing out which ones I think are the best for those under 12 years of age.

The best part about banking for youth?

None of these accounts have monthly fees and can help your little one keep track of their money as they grow up while also taking advantage of some great perks.

Let’s get started.

Best Overall
CIBC Advantage for Youth Account
CIBC Advantage for Youth Account
  • Free SPC membership for special youth discounts
  • Unlimited, free transactions + Interac e-transfers
  • Earn an interest rate on your balance
Best for Rewards
Scotiabank Getting There Savings Program for Youth
Scotiabank Getting There Savings Program for Youth
  • Earn and redeem rewards with the Scene+ program
  • Earn an interest rate on your balance
  • Unlimited, free transactions + Interac e-transfers
Best Digital Bank
Tangerine Children’s Savings Account
Tangerine Children’s Savings Account
  • The highest interest rate for youth accounts in Canada
  • Digital-only access
  • Unlimited, free transactions
  • High interest rate

What To Consider Before Opening a Youth Bank Account

As a parent, you should consider opening up a bank account for your child pretty early on.

Explaining the concept of banking to your kids at an early age can get them equipped to make sound financial decisions in the future and teach them the value of budgeting, saving, responsible spending and security.

As a parent, you will most likely have to choose an account for them yourself, and, as such, there are certain things you should consider before doing so.

Luckily, most Canadian banks offer chequing and saving accounts for youth that have lowered rates and special features.

To start thinking about which one(s) might be able to serve you and your child’s needs the best, you can start by considering the following things:

  • What purpose would you like the bank account to serve? Will you be depositing your child’s allowance into this account?
  • Would it be useful for this account to make interest?
  • Can my child get a debit card with the account, and if so, will I be giving it to them?
  • Are they any perks and bonuses offered by the account that could serve my child well in the future?
  • If planning on depositing funds into the account, how will you be going about this? Do you have an ATM close to where you live or work? Will it be a joint account?
  • How many transactions per month will be needed, now and in the future? 
  • What is the age requirement and limit for the account? Will my child be able to seamlessly transition into a teen, student, or adult account in the future?

Thinking about these topics can be a good place to start. Based on your answers, one of the options in today’s list should be able to fit your needs.

What I Would Recommend: Best Bank Accounts for Kids Under 12

Best Bank Accounts for Kids In Canada Under 12

These four youth accounts are the best of the best in Canada. With special perks, good interest rates, and unlimited transactions, they should be able to serve your little one well as they grow up.

Note: all of the accounts in today’s list have $0 monthly fees!

1. CIBC Advantage for Youth Account: Best Overall

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce

Why it’s great:

  • Free SPC membership for special discounts in hundreds of stores in Canada
  • No monthly fee, unlimited free transactions + Interac e-transfers
  • Earn a 0.05% interest rate

CIBC is a front runner when it comes to special programs for youth, students, and newcomers. So it’s no surprise that their Advantage for Youth Account takes the number one spot as the best bank account for children under 12 in Canada.

The account is available for all youth under the age of 18, has a higher interest rate than most youth accounts out there, and comes with all of the special perks of having an SPC membership. 

With this account, you also never have to worry about hitting any sort of monthly transaction limit.

Account transactions such as withdrawals, purchases, deposits, bill payments, and transfers are free and unlimited, including sending, receiving, and requesting Interac e-transfers.

These features may feel irrelevant now for a 12-year-old, but don’t forget that they can keep this account until they are 18, or even longer if they pursue post-secondary education.

As the world moves towards a cashless state, unlimited and free transactions are taking on more importance in banking and will likely continue to do so in the upcoming years.

As a parent, you can also easily set up recurrent payments to your child’s CIBC account for allowance purposes.

Learn more about the CIBC Advantage for Youth Account here.

2. Scotiabank Getting There Savings Program for Youth: Best for Rewards

bank of nova scotia

Why it’s great:

  • Earn and redeem rewards over time with the Scene+ program
  • Earn a 0.05% interest rate for balances less than $500 and 0.10% for balances over $500
  • No monthly fee, unlimited free transactions + Interac e-transfers

The Scotiabank Getting There Savings Program for Youth is another really great youth account in Canada. It’s available for all youth under the age of 18, which means that you won’t have to worry about account conversions after the age of 12.

With no monthly fee, unlimited transactions, and free e-transfers, it’s already ahead of most youth accounts in the game.

The Scene program is also really attractive with this account. Once your child is old enough to be spending with their debit card, they can slowly rack up points and redeem them for various things.

With your help, they might even be able to see this program as a way to practice patience as well as caution. Reward and discount programs can sometimes encourage us all to spend more and save less.

This can be a good opportunity for you to teach your child lessons on financial caution while also carefully taking advantage of the reward program over time.

Here are some of the features of this rewards program:

  • Earn one point for every $5 spent on everyday purchases
  • Earn one point for every $1 spent at Cineplex
  • Redeem points for travel, shopping, dining, entertainment, banking, and more

For more details on the Scotiabank youth account, head here.

3. TD Student Chequing Account: Best for Extended Benefits (until 23 years of age!)

TD Logo

Why it’s great:

  • Available until 23 years of age
  • No monthly fee on overdraft protection service
  • Starbucks points perks

TD is yet another banking giant in Canada, and their youth/student account is very attractive for one main reason: it is completely free until your child is 23 years of age, regardless of whether or not they are still a student after high school.

In addition to this feature, they also offer free overdraft protection on the account (which can usually cost a pretty penny) and bonus Starbucks rewards.

Here’s a full rundown of the TD Student Chequing Account:

  • Available for anyone under 23 and full-time students
  • No monthly fee and 25 free transactions per month ($1.25 each afterwards)
  • Free Interac e-transfers
  • Pays interest (although negligible at 0.01%)
  • Earn 50% more “Stars” at Starbucks
  • Free paper or online statements

Learn more about this TD account here.

4. Tangerine Children’s Savings Account: Best for Digital Banking + High-Interest Rate

Tangerine logo

Why it’s great:

  • The highest interest rate for youth accounts in Canada (0.20%)

Tangerine is the leading digital bank in Canada, known for its full-fledged banking products, low fees and good interest rates. The bank operates with zero physical branches but has great customer service over the phone and online.

Tangerine’s Children’s Savings Account functions more as a joint account with the parent.

That is, the parent must have an account at Tangerine first to open this account for them. Once open, the child can have their own login and access the account as they please.

Some other features of the Tangerine Children’s Savings Account are:

  • No monthly fee and unlimited transactions
  • High-interest rate
  • $0 minimum balance
  • Fully digital access

Learn more about the Tangerine Children’s Account here.

Honourable Mentions: Bank Accounts for Kids Under 12

The bank accounts above are what I would recommend for youth accounts.

Below are some “honourable mentions” in this category for comparison. These are also great but might be lacking certain features offered by the first four, such as unlimited monthly transactions and rewards.

But that isn’t to say that these accounts wouldn’t serve you and your child well. After all, it’s unlikely that your 11-year-old would be making hundreds of debit transactions per month and spending enough money to be earning tons of reward points.

Based on your answers to the questions in the “​​What To Consider Before Opening a Youth Bank Account” section, you can consider these options as well.

5. RBC Leo’s Young Savers Account

rbc logo

Account features:

  • Available for 12 years old and younger
  • 15 free debits per month
  • Free unlimited e-transfers
  • Interest paid at 0.01%

More details on the RBC Leo’s Young Savers Account are here.

6. BMO Kids Account

Account features:

  • Available for 12 years old and younger
  • BMO’s “Plus Plan” with no monthly plan fee (normally around $11 per month)
  • 25 free transactions per month
  • Free Interac e-transfers
  • No interest

Note: you must apply for this account in the branch.

For more details on the BMO Kids Account, head here.

7. Laurentian Youth Account (Quebec Only)

Laurentian Youth Account

Account features:

  • Available for kids under 18
  • Free unlimited transactions and Interac e-transfers
  • No monthly fee
  • No interest

If you’re a Quebec resident, you can find more details here.

8. Vancity Chequing Plus Account (BC only)

Account features:

  • Available for anyone under 25 and over 55 years of age (55+ get extra perks)
  • Unlimited debit transactions
  • No monthly fee
  • $0.90 per Interac e-transfer
  • The first cheque order of 50 personalized cheques is free

Please note: Vancity is a BC credit union. To open an account for your child, you must buy a bank share on behalf of them, which costs $5.

If you’re a BC resident, you can find out more about the Vancity Chequing Plus Account here.

What You’ll Need to Open A Bank Account for Children Under 12

What You’ll Need to Open A Bank Account for Children Under 12

Opening a bank account for your child looks a bit different than opening one for yourself.

And although each bank has different requirements for account sign-up, some things are similar across the board.

Usually, if a child is under 12 years of age, only the parent’s ID is necessary to open an account.

Nonetheless, you should go into your chosen bank branch with your child and bring at least one piece of their ID with you in case the account manager asks to see it based on their discretion.

Above 12, it is much more likely that the bank requires a government-issued ID for the child, even if you’re accompanying them.

This can be a passport, birth certificate, permanent residence card, national ID card, or any other government-issued identification.

I also would recommend that you make an appointment at a branch, as opposed to showing up to see a teller.

Account sign-up can take up to 30 minutes, and an appointment can ensure that you do not have to wait long to see an account manager or a teller in the case that the branch is busy.

In short, you’ll need:

  • An appointment at your chosen bank branch
  • Child and parent details (address, SIN, etc.)
  • Two pieces of your own ID (if your child is under 12 years of age)
  • Two pieces of your child’s ID (if your child is above 12)
  • Cash to buy a membership share (if you are opening an account at a credit union)

Conclusion

Best Bank Accounts for Kids in Canada

Opening a bank account for your child at a young age can be a great opportunity to equip them with financial literacy, which can help them make sound financial decisions in the future.

I hope today’s list was helpful in getting your little one started with banking.

It is probably also useful for you to start thinking about saving for your child’s post-secondary education.

To read up on Registered Education Saving Plans (RESP), head to this post on the Global RESP or this one about the Knowledge First RESP product.

Photo of author
Selin is a seasoned personal finance and sustainable banking expert with several years of experience working in Canadian credit unions, both in the branch networks as well as the head office. A graduate of the University of British Columbia, she's also a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers youth community and is either working with kids or travelling when she is away from her computer.

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