Are you looking for the best bank for joint accounts in Canada? My husband and I have joint and separate finances and it works well for us. We have income inequality and we figured out a way to put money in our joint account that works for us. There are a lot of pros and cons to having a joint bank account and some couples may work completely fine with totally separate accounts.
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Best Bank for Joint Accounts in Canada
Lately, I’ve been on the prowl to having our cash earn more interest for us other than the minimal interest earned in chequing so I did some sleuthing around to see what are the best bank for joint accounts in Canada offering chequing and also high interest on your savings.
This post will go over what a HISA account is, what joint accounts are (and why you should be wary of them), whether married couples should have joint accounts, and finally what the best bank for joint accounts in Canada are.
I am a big fan of high interest savings accounts to stash my cash and I have a number of them.
Updated October 2023
What is a High Interest savings Account?
First off, let’s define what a HISA is.
A HISA stands for high interest savings account.
These are usually online-only banks where you skip the middle man and the brick and mortar bank so that higher and more rewarding interest rates can be passed off to you.
They usually offer interest rates that are much higher than what you can get at a big bank, which is something like over 2%. This is how a savings account interest works.
Usually with a high interest savings account, you have to feel comfortable using the Internet and doing your banking online.
I suppose these are targeted towards millennials and boomers who feel comfortable banking online.
For example, my boomer mom would never open up a high interest savings account as she likes to talk to people in person at the big banks.
What Is a Joint Account?
A joint account is an account where the ownership is with two people.
Both have complete ownership of the account, and it can be risky in this way.
Whoever you open an account with, you need to trust them because you don’t need permission from the other joint-account holder to take or deposit money in the account!
If your good for nothing cheating spouse for example, decided to run off with his mistress, he could clear out all of the $15,000 in your joint account very easily. Similarly, if you are an aging parent and you have a joint account with your adult child for the sole purpose of having your child help you with banking because you aren’t able to get the bank by yourself anymore because you can’t get out of the house.
And then your adult child, who runs into some money trouble takes your money and clears the joint bank account, you’re unfortunately in a bad situation (and a victim of elder financial abuse).
This is an example of a joint account with an elderly parent in Canada.
In this situation, might be a better idea to designate a Power of Attorney in Canada instead for the situation when you are incapable of handling your finances.
Should married couples have joint bank accounts
Should married couples have joint bank accounts?
Yes, in short, I think married couples should have joint bank accounts.
You got married, you are working as a team, so you should have assets and expenses that reflect you as a team. Who owns the money in a joint bank account? Well you both do.
However, I think married couples should have their own individual accounts too. Many years ago, during the time of her divorce, an older female friend told me something: she said she was very glad she listened to advice from her mom.
Her mom told her to keep a small account separate from her husband. This was so that she had money and independence to be able to have savings of her own. Now, this is probably bad advice for a relationship since it means keeping secrets from your spouse. She had always worked during their marriage, and both earned about the same amount.
Unfortunately, they have since had a messy divorce with kids involved. She has had to extend her retirement date because of the divorce, but she’s still glad she kept a bit of money separate from her husband that he didn’t know about.
They did a separation agreement and didn’t have to involve the courts.
This is another reason why I don’t think I could give up my job to be a SAHM (stay at home mom). It would be a double whammy motherhood penalty. I don’t want to take myself out of the workforce as getting back in would be quite difficult. I also like to have my own money to spend, I like to have my own independence and identity.
Recently, I encountered an uncomfortable public situation involving a story I probably created in my head about a woman who was financial dependent on her husband (and she did not speak English) but I failed to speak up.
Here’s more information about financial infidelity. It’s more common than you think.
Should I Get a Joint Account With My Boyfriend?
If you’re wondering whether you should get a joint account with your boyfriend, this definitely makes sense if you are living together and having shared expenses like a rent, or mortgage, or groceries, and utilities.
I have a friend who has lived with her boyfriend for over a year and they do not have any joint accounts and take turns buying groceries or one person buys groceries and the other person pays for other shared expenses.
However, it seems like there’s already a bit of resentment (for example, groceries are more expensive than the other expenses) developing with this arrangement.
Here are the joint bank account pros and cons.
Pros of a Joint Bank Accounts
Here are some of the positive aspects of having joint finances.
- It is perfect for income inequality, when one partner makes a larger amount than the other
- It is also perfect if one spouse doesn’t work and there aren’t two paycheques to worry about (again, income inequality)
- You have one pot where you can pay all of your household expenses from, you don’t have to calculate who owes what at the end of the month (which in my opinion is quite unromantic).
- It promotes teamwork, if you have separate finances, and a $1000 sudden expense for the kids come up, it will be difficult to try and scrounge up that money from two separate accounts
- If a joint account holder passes away unexpectedly, it is easier for the remaining bank account holder to access funds as needed.
Cons of Joint Bank Accounts
- Without separate accounts, a 100% joint bank account would be difficult as getting surprise gifts for each other would be kind of a moot point since it comes out of the joint account
- However you could bypass this and have a major joint account and just withdraw a small amount or allowance for each individual to spend
- When you have completely merged accounts, you have to discuss with each other about purchases you want to make, especially for individual needs (a new pair of jeans for me would probably have to be discussed if it is over a certain amount of money in cost).
- It’s easy to get ‘cleaned out’ since either spouse will have access to the money (100% access increases risk of abuse)
- You will definitely need to talk about boundaries and expectations for your accounts. Alternately, you could have separate bank accounts and just use one joint credit card. With this route, I think this still promotes disharmony as paying the credit card bill would be difficult to do (there would be a lot of coordination involved- one person would have to calculate and see how much each person owes to the credit card).
I’m not very good with words, but instead I’ll show you a video that captures it very well. To summarize why the cons of separate bank accounts in a marriage and how not to pay for household expenses, here’s a great clip from Joy Luck Club:
That being said, you can have legally separate finances in marriage but still have it work well.
In my opinion, it all boils down to communication, trust, and compassion for each other.
If you want to have legally separate finances in marriage (sort of like what the folks in that video did), you can, but you will need a pre-nup or a post-nup and it would vary in your province, territory, or state. And both parties in the relationship will need to be happy with the arrangement and not resentful, like above’s example.
What works for one couple might not work for another couple, and each situation is different. If you have no resentment towards your spouse, you know you’ve found the right method (either joint or separate finances) that works.
Anyway now that you know the potential pitfalls (and pluses) of opening a joint account, here are some of the best bank for joint accounts in Canada.
EQ Bank Personal Account
I’m a huge fan of the EQ Bank’s Personal Account because you get the interest rate of a savings account but it has the flexibility of a chequing account. There is no minimum balance, no every day banking fees, and there are free transactions.
In July 2020, EQ Bank account that they are introducing joint accounts. You can invite up to three people to be part of the EQ Bank Joint Pesonal Account.
Any Account Holder of the EQ Bank Joint Personal Account can invite another person to be part of the joint account. If one of the Joint Account holders dies, the surviving account holders will be able to withdraw any positive balance as long as they are not in the province of Quebec.
In 2023 they added an EQ Bank Card, therefore you really can use it as a chequing account with free ATM withdrawals in Canada and even get 0.5%** cash back on purchases. In addition, there’s no foreign currency conversion fee.
Here is my review of EQ Bank.
If you want to sign up for the EQ Bank Joint Pesonal Account and get 2.50*% interest.
You can sign up online here.
The interest is calculated daily on the total closing balance and paid monthly.
Canadian Tire High Interest Savings Joint Account
Canadian Tire Bank did have the highest high interest savings account with at joint account option but this has recently changed.
The rate is 3.50% as of September 2023, there are no fees, and there is no minimum balance.
Deposits are insured with CDIC up to $100,000.
This post may contain affiliate links. Please see genymoney.ca’s disclaimer for more information.
The content is not provided by the issuer. Any opinions expressed are those of the genymoney.ca alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the issuer.
You can open an account if you are older than 12 years of age and you do not live in Quebec.
Some of the downsides include no no email transfers, but you can do free electronic fund transfers to a linked bank account and via online banking or via phone.
There are no personal cheques with this account and there are no physical ATMs or banks that you can withdraw your money from.
When you apply, you will need a signed personal cheque and your Social Insurance Number, to open a joint account, you will need both of your signatures on the personal cheque or two personal cheques with your own signatures.
Motive Financial Joint Account
Motive Financial offers a joint high interest savings account option.
Motive Financial is a subsidiary of Canadian Western Bank. The Motive Financial Savvy Savings Account offers a 4.10% interest rate on deposits and interest up to $500,000.
Their customer service is excellent (other than the occasional long wait time) and they send you frequent email updates. The downside is that you’re allowed two transactions per month with the Savvy Savings Account otherwise you get charged a fee, but there’s no limit to transfers to the Cha-Ching Chequing Account. The Cha-Ching chequing account goes in tandem with the Savvy Savings Account and you get 50 free personalized cheques when you sign up.
Deposits (including interest) up to $100,000 are CDIC insured with Motive Financial.
Here’s my Motive Financial review. The sign up process is lengthy and took about a month. The minor annoying thing is that I keep accidentally writing a cheque and having insufficient funds (because I hadn’t transferred money over from the Savvy Savings Account) so I overdraft my account.
I’ve put a post-it note on my chequebook to remind myself from now on so hopefully it doesn’t happen again. It’s $5 per insufficient funds plus 18% interest calculated daily (ugh like similar to credit card debt charges!).
Other than that complaint, I’ve been happy with Motive Financial.
So far, I think I’ve paid $25 in fees for having insufficient funds in my chequing account.
They provide you a few books of free cheques.
Alterna Bank Joint Account
Alterna Bank has a High Interest eSavings account that offers 2.25 % interest rate on deposits. There are free, unlimited bill payments, transfers and debits and also free Interac® e-Transfers. The maximum balance you could hold in the account is $250,000 (including interest). Alterna Bank is based out of Ontario and has been business for over 100 years.
Deposits up to $100,000 are also CDIC insured. To start an eSavings account you will need an account at another financial institution so that money can be transferred over to Alterna and your identity can be verified.
There are no monthly fees and there is also no minimum deposit.
Apparently you can email Rob the CEO at CEO_president@alterna.ca if you wish and he directly answers emails.
Oaken Financial Joint Account
Oaken Financial offers joint high interest savings accounts as well and their savings account interest rate is 3.40%. Oaken Financial is a trademark of Home Bank (Home Trust Company) based out of Toronto, Ontario. Home Trust Company is an independent trust company that has been in business since 1987. Oaken Financial was launched in 2013. Home Trust is an alternative mortgage lender.
You may have heard of it when Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway bought a bunch of shares and provided a $2 billion credit line for Home Capital, and the stock rose up 25% in the same day in 2017. In 2018 though, Warren Buffett bowed out of Home Capital and shares plunged.
Oaken Financial is also a member of CDIC and deposits up to $100,000 are insured.
There are no monthly fees and no minimum balance is required. You can open an Oaken account online, by phone, in person or by mail. In person, there are bank locations in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Halifax.
Wealthsimple Joint Account
Wealthsimple also has a high interest savings account, and it’s called Wealthsimple Cash. However in recent years they have changed it to like a Venmo or Fooi of sorts. Where you can send money to each other.
There’s no account minimum and no monthly fees for the Wealthsimple Cash account as well. The big bonus is that there are unlimited free transactions- it’s like a hybrid savings and chequing account. Joint accounts are eligible for Wealthsimple Cash.
There is no account limit for Wealthsimple Cash (so you can have $1,000,000 in their savings account if you wish to do so). Interest is paid on the 5th of each month or the next business day.
They also plan to have no foreign exchange transaction fees- this is a huge one as a lot of banks charge you extra on this.
Finally, you get a fancy black tungsten metal card with this account, and they will reimburse you for ATM withdrawals in Canada, but it’s up to a limit. It is also Apple Pay and Google Pay compatible.
Interesting though, your deposits in Wealthsimple Save do not seem to be covered with CDIC but is covered under CPIF. Unless I’m comprehending it incorrectly, your cash deposits are not CDIC protected but they are CPIF covered in Wealthsimple were to go bankrupt. Here’s what it says on Wealthsimple’s website:
“Wealthsimple’s custodial broker, ShareOwner Investments Inc., deposits the cash you deposit in your Wealthsimple Save account in trust at an account with one of more federally regulated, Schedule I banks. We carefully select these banks using a set of criteria that evaluates the institutions’ stability and security. The accounts at these banks are not covered by Canadian Deposit Insurance Corporation. Currently, the banks we deposit funds in trust with are Scotiabank and National Bank.”
Here’s what Wealthsimple said when I asked them:
Hey there! Cash accounts do not have CDIC coverage. We deposit your funds with federally regulated, Schedule 1 banks, chosen for their stability and security. Through ShareOwner, our custodial broker, your accounts are CIPF protected. More details: https://t.co/ePQeUd6bDf
— Wealthsimple (@Wealthsimple) January 21, 2020
Unfortunately, we can’t advise on exactly how your CIPF coverage would be divided. As a general rule, protection applies up to set limits across your WS accounts but exact coverage depends on the types of accounts you have. More info from CIPF: https://t.co/zint1Y9AGc.
— Wealthsimple (@Wealthsimple) January 22, 2020
Scotiabank Savings Joint Account
We have a Scotiabank Momentum Plus Savings Joint Account. There is no monthly fee and no minimum balance needed. My husband and I have this as a joint account.
The mobile banking app is great and easy to use, their mobile cheque deposit always deposits our cheques glitch free (I can’t say this of other bank’s mobile cheque deposit app functionality, that’s for sure). There are unlimited self service transfers.
Deposits up to $100,000 are CDIC eligible.
The interest rate is “tiered” in a time way.
Earn up to 5.65% interest for a limited time on your MomentumPLUS Savings Account
It’s kind of like a fake-GIC within a high interest savings account. The additional interest on top of the basic interest that you get as ‘baseline’ is called premium interest.
If you withdraw your money before you reach the “premium” payout, then you lose that extra interest rate but still get your base rate. There’s a ‘goal tracker’ where you can see how many days left until the premium payout.
You get the true safety and convenience of a big bank with a pretty darn good interest rate.
If you open up a Scotiabank Preferred Package or Scotiabank Ultimate Package, you can give your savings even more of a boost – an additional 0.05% Interest Rate Boost on your MomentumPLUS Savings Account (a total of up to 5.60%*) on your preferred savings account or a 0.10% Interest Rate Boost if you have the Ultimate Package which is up to 5.65%* for a limited time.
The content is not provided by the issuer. Any opinions expressed are those of the genymoney.ca alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the issuer.
We also opened up a joint Scotia iTRADE account to take advantage of a new online brokerage promotion and free equity trades (10 for the first calendar year and five each year afterwards) with the Ultimate Package.
Tangerine Joint Account
Finally, the Tangerine Savings Account also offers joint accounts and is one of the best bank for joint accounts in Canada in my opinion.
There are also zero monthly fees and zero minimum balance required for the Tangerine Savings Account.
If you open up a Tangerine Spending Account (the chequing account) you can get 50 free cheques. To make your Tangerine Savings account a Tangerine joint account, you will each have to sign up for a Tangerine Savings Account and then there’s a button on the screen that will allow you to change it to a joint account- however, likely you will have to call in to customer service to have this done.
Deposits up to $100,000 are also CDIC insured with Tangerine Bank.
Here’s my review of the Tangerine Savings Account. I really like how you can set goals (this is perfect for setting goals with your spouse/ partner) and see how you are doing on the journey to achieving these financial goals.
The rate for the Tangerine Savings Account is 1.00%.
Tangerine frequently has promotions going on.
They also have a Tangerine Money Bank credit card where you can get 2% cash back (sometimes 10-15% cash back for their promotions) on certain categories. This is definitely useful for a household with routine purchases for certain categories (e.g. groceries).
BMO Joint Account
BMO has joint accounts but there is another package called the BMO Family Bundle that you can use in order to have more privacy (they are individual accounts).
The lead account has the monthly fee (waived if there is a minimum balance of $4000 a month) and the other family member (living at the same address) does not have to pay the monthly fee.
Although this is not joint account per se, it is still a nice way to save money on banking needs.
Here’s information on BMO’s new account offer where you can get $400 cash with the family bundle.
CIBC Joint Account
CIBC also has joint accounts available too. There are actually some CIBC promotions going on for new accounts, like $400 cash.
Here’s some more information on how to open up a CIBC joint account.
Joint Chequing Accounts
Of course, if you have a savings account it would make more sense to have a chequing account too to manage your money in Canada.
Here are no fee banking options in Canada for you to consider.
Therefore, the best bank for joint accounts in Canada will have the flexibility of both a chequing and a savings account.
My vote for the best bank for joint accounts in Canada are the following:
- EQ Bank Personal Account: Because of the 3.00% USD interest rate, the high 2.50%* interest rate on savings, the option to have a high rate 1 year GIC, and most importantly, the hybrid nature of the account whereby you can use it as a chequing account and get free ATM withdrawals.
- Tangerine Joint Account: This is also because they have free personal cheques, and no annual fee to use it as a chequing account
If having an online only bank intimidates you, some of the big banks are a great “best bank for joint accounts in Canada”.
- Scotiabank Bank Ultimate Account: I am biased since we have this account. You can get free trades on Scotia iTrade, you can access the Momentum Plus Savings Account, and you can get a free premium credit card anually.
Hopefully this post helps you answer what are the best bank for joint accounts in Canada. More importantly, whether joint accounts are a fit for your financial situation with your significant other.
Just make sure that if there is foreign property involved (US based joint bank accounts) you should factor that into the T1135 form minimum investment cost basis of $100,000 CAD.
Do you have a joint account with your elderly parent or spouse or partner?
Which high interest savings account do you use as a joint account?
Are there any other HISA for joint accounts you would add to this list?
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GYM is a 40 something millennial writing about personal finance since 2009 and interested in achieving financial freedom through disciplined saving, dividend and ETF investing, and living a minimalist lifestyle. Before you go, check out my recommendations page of financial tools I use to save and invest money. Don’t forget to subscribe for a free dividend yield spreadsheet and the free Young Money Bootcamp PDF.