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What Is a HISA?

May 26, 2020
3 mins
A hand drops coins into a mason jar while keeping track of savings with a notepad and calculator

A high-interest savings account (HISA) is a secure place to store your money and earn more interest over time.

Unlike a standard savings account with interest rates as low as 0.05%, HISAs typically offer significantly higher interest rates, upwards of 2%. But not all HISAs are the same. You’ll want to compare the features of the products offered by different financial institutions to ensure the account is right for you.

The top factors you need to consider

When shopping for a HISA, consider how often you’ll be accessing the account and what features you will require. How often will you make transactions, and are there fees? Is there a minimum balance required? How is the interest calculated? Here are some of the top factors to consider before you open a HISA.


Different financial institutions offer different interest rates depending on the selection of services and features they provide. If the bank has a branch on every corner, stays open every day of the week and pays its staff to be ready and waiting to answer any question you have, you may find yourself paying extra fees. Financial institutions with less overhead costs may offer more competitive rates. Assess your needs and choose a HISA through a bank that suits your financial habits. No one wants to pay for unnecessary services. After all, the entire point of opening a savings account is to save, not spend.

Minimum deposits

Some financial institutions require that you deposit a minimum balance – and keep it there. If you’re able to keep at least the minimum balance in the account, you may have access to higher interest rates.

Monthly fees

Some financial institutions may charge monthly fees or fees per service. However, others may provide unlimited access to your money free of charge. Consider how often you will access your funds and the interest rate being offered. A few fees may be worth the extra privileges and features provided through the account.

Age requirements

Most high-interest savings accounts require the account holder to be the age of majority in the province or territory in which they reside.

The age of majority is 18 in Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec and Saskatchewan, and it's 19 in British Columbia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, the Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Nunavut and Yukon.

Promotional rates

Some financial institutions offer promotional rates to get you through the door. Those rates, however, don’t last forever. Choose an institution that offers excellent rates long after the welcome offer expires. Interest rates of 2% are generally the best in the HISA market.

Compound interest

Some financial institutions compound interest daily – not monthly or yearly.

Choose an institution that will give you the most for your money and reward you for regular deposits. You’ll see a greater return on your investment in the long run.

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