Looking for a High Interest Savings Account

Blue screen: "Sorry, this machine isn't working at the moment"

I got an automated message from Google AdSense — the service that puts ads on this blog and gives me a small cut of the ad revenues every time someone clicks on an ad — that says that my bank account is no longer valid for electronic funds transfers because the transaction failed last night. When I went to AdSense’s site, I was informed that I couldn’t set it to directly deposit the money into my bank account ever again and that I’d have to provide a new bank account. A single technical hiccup has rendered my bank account invalid to receive payment from AdSense forever. Thanks, guys.

Although this is an annoyance, this is also an opportunity. I’ve been considering opening an account completely separate from my existing one for discretionary savings. After the rent and other living expenses have been covered and after I’ve made my monthly payment to my “Wealthy Barber” account, I’d like to take a portion of the remaining money and squirrel it away in a high-interest savings account for saving up for little niceties. I’d much rather save up for those things rather than buy them immediately on credit.

PC Financial, ING Direct and HSBC logos

I’ve been looking at the high-interest savings accounts offered by PC Financial, ING Direct and HSBC. Have any of you had experiences with these accounts? Are there other accounts I should be checking out? Let me know in the comments.

24 replies on “Looking for a High Interest Savings Account”

I know some folks have been happy with ICICI Bank and their savings accounts, but I’ve stuck with ING Direct and am quite happy with them.

It’s easy to setup links to bank accounts (TD in my case) so you can easily transfer money back and forth (including automated transfers), you can have as many savings accounts as you want with no minimum balance on each.

And, for those who want it, they allow download of transactions for importing into financial sw.

All and all, there are options with higher rates, but I’ve come to trust ING, they’re never had a hickup, and I’ve had nothing but pleasant experiences with the customer support when I’ve called them.

Been using ING for a few years. Transfers are easy, good interest rate, everything easy on the web.

Seems like a pretty serious problem to have if you’re not willing to create a new bank account. There was no indication that you could resolve this through a customer service rep?

When I did my research a few years ago ING came out on top for interest rates. Time has passed and I haven’t gone shopping around recently so I can’t comment on the absolute best interest rate, but I can tell you about ING’s service. I have had to contact them several times for things I wanted to change or fix.

I accidentally started a transfer TO ING (for more money than I had in my checking account) rather than moving that money FROM ING to my checking. I called them up and they were able to cancel it before things went horribly wrong.

They were also helpful when I wanted to add my wife as a joint owner after our wedding. She already had her own ING account and it was an easy operation. However, it’s a little clumsy if you have joint owners and you want to open other joint accounts (like CDs), it requires both people to authenticate, so I can’t open CDs unless she’s at home too (she could give me her login but that’s not the point).

@Andrew Lewis: Well, I’ve been thinking about creating a completely separate bank account that paid a high interest rate for my AdSense and other bonus money, and glitches like this are perfect opportunities to make changes like this.

The Google AdSense control panel says:

There was a technical error with this deposit. We were unable to fund your account.

What to do next:

1. This bank account is no longer eligible for EFT payments. If you would like to receive AdSense payments by EFT, please enter and verify another bank account.

2. Alternatively, you may choose a different form of payment.

I could go to Google support (I have some doubts about how helpful that would be), but since I’d been thinking about starting up a new account anyway, I thought I might use this glitch as a kick-start for that little project.

The RBC is now also offering a high interest account which is very handy if you are already a RBC customer since everything is under 1 roof and immediately available to you.

Stay away from RBC. My parents had an account there on the supposed high interest rate account. I think the rate only stayed high for the few couple of months and then dwindled to just a very touch higher than a regular account (in other words no HIGH rate at all). Not sure if other banks are the same however with their rates lowering back to almost regular saving account levels.

I’ve been with PC Financial pretty much since they launched, for my day-to-day chequing account, high-interest savings, and a joint account with my girlfriend. Because they’re operated through CIBC, you can use any CIBC machine to access any of the accounts directly (no bothering with transferring to another bank). I’ve always found them very helpful whenever I’ve needed anything, and the rates are competitive.

I’ve been using President’s Choice since highschool and I’ve been very happy with them. Usually offers one of the highest rates (on the Interest Plus savings account, which has a $1,000 min before the good rate kicks in), and the phone customer service is fantastic. There’s no physical branch, but you can do almost everything online and do your normal ATM stuff at CIBC ATMs for free.

Only down side is they don’t do certified (stamped) cheques given their non-corporeal nature, but normal cheques are fine.

I’ll vouch for PC Financial. They seem to have the most competitive high interest rate (for balance over $1000) and I’ve used them for all my day to day banking for years,, best banking decision I’ve ever made. The very generous no fee account has saved me a ton of money, and a Mastercard that gives me effectively 1% cash back (in the form of grocery points, mind you) beats Air Miles any day.

Check out this website for a comparison of rates as of June 2008:

No mention of minimums, though. The big disadvantage of ING vs. PC Financial is that with ING it’s pretty much online-only. True, you can mail them cheques for deposit, and you can access your money via an ING card (Interac with a fee, or using one of the rare hard-to-find ING bank machines), but really you’ll need to have your account linked to a real bank account.

I asked a friend who is in retail banking and worked on a High Interest Rate savings product. She said by and large, PCFinancial has the best product. As someone else commented, many of the other products offer a high starter rate and then it drops after a few months. PCFinancial is the highest consisten rate.

I’ve had dealings with ING, PC financial, and ICICI, and currently have several accounts with both ING and PC.

Personally I find ING to be the best. Their interest rates are always comparable and/or better than the others, and they also allow deposits within their system to move easily into other investment vehicles (ie: mutual funds) without much hassle. Plus their site is a breeze to navigate.

PC a close second – you can access their accounts via any CIBC machine (which is either a good thing or a bad thing!) but web experience less straightforward and clunky. For instance, for years now their “Setup Transfer” dialog box auto-selects “today’s” date, then tells you after you’ve entered the transaction that you have to use tomorrow’s date… a minor irritation, sure, but to me a small detail like this should have been picked up by now…

ICICI I had a bad experience with – how bad? My wife sold her old house and we suddenly had several tens of thousands which we wanted to invest for 6 months, then turn around and plunk down as a downpayment on our condo. Simple enough. ICICI seemed to offer the best short term rate, so I called them up, left a detailed message – but they never even called me back! That’s sort of fundamental to doing business, and if they’re dropping the ball on a $20+K investment…. ’nuff said.

I don’t know about the RBC account Richard mentioned but it’s probably worth looking into as well.

Good luck Joey!

I don’t think Google Adsense will be able to deposit to any Canadian savings account. It will have to be a chequing account. ING won’t even give you a routing number for your savings account (all transfers, inbound or outbound, have to be arranged through ING). I expect the others are the same.

I’ve used a Manulife One account ever since a death benefit turned into it – and I’ve found the people there to be quite awesome.

one more vote for PCF! free cheques, free re-orders. free cheque viewing service (TD charges 1.75 per view, i think). friendly, knowledgeable phone people. some people (on the RFD forums) have had issues with holds, but none so far for me. wish i can customize transaction details like on Wesabe, but other than that it’s pretty good. oh and you get an anniversary bonus! I have ING too, and they don’t have that.

@Baks – a quick note: TD cheque views are free if you have a paperless account, but costs you $1.50 (I think) if you don’t…Crazy, I agree.

I think the lack of bank machine access for ING is a feature, not a bug. This is where I stash my small business income tax, CPP and GST funds (at 3%!), which I only need to access 1-4 times a year, and it’s also where I stash my personal emergency savings. The last thing I want is instant access to this money. If I’m really short in an emergency, I have credit cards and an overdraft on my TD account.

I’ve been with ING for several years and have been really pleased. Talk to someone with an account (of $250)and have them send you a referral and you’ll get $25 when you open the account.

Joey, ask me about pc tomorrow and I’ll tell you my horror stories.

We left for rbc private banking, but in general I’m a fan of rbc as long as you have an account manager @ hq (vs in a branch).

I’ve got ING and President’s Choice. I love actually seeing some interest added into the President’s Choice account each month – and enough interest that you can see it. I use the ING for savings and have my other bank account transfer money into ING every month, so it’s easy.

Never tried the hsbc, but I do like the other two.

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