3.2.1 Savings accounts

From: Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

Savings accounts are handy for short-term savings.

  • You can deposit money into a savings account at almost any financial institution in Canada, such as a bank, credit union, caisse populaire or trust company. (For details, see the Banking module.)
  • A savings account will keep your savings safe and pay a little interest. (Many accounts are guaranteed in case the financial institution fails. See the Banking module for details.)
  • You can take your money out whenever you need it, but savings accounts are not as flexible as chequing accounts. There may be limits on when you can withdraw money, and there may be extra charges if you use an automated teller machine (ATM) or write cheques on a savings account.

Use the checklist below to mark what features are important to you in a savings account.

Savings account features

OK These features are important to me in a savings account:
Pays higher interest than other similar accounts
Charges lower service fees than other similar accounts
Calculates interest on daily balance (instead of the lowest balance during the month)
Allows use of features such as debit cards, direct payment, pre-authorized debits and cheques
Allows access to account by automated teller machine, Internet or phone
Allows transfer directly to another account at another institution
Transfers to another account within one day
Has a convenient location

The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada's online Savings Account Selector Tool describes the main features of the savings accounts in your province or territory. Go to the Account Comparison Tool to compare your account with others in your province, or to find an account with the services you want.

When you're looking for a savings account, remember:

  • Shop around. Accounts are not all the same. Choose one that pays the best interest rate and has the features you need.
  • Switch to another financial institution if it offers you what you want. Don't be tied down without a good reason.
  • An account that lets you transfer money to your chequing account without cost will give you quick access to your money.
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