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Published January 9, 2024
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CIBC Youth Account Review: Pros, Cons and Who It’s For

CIBC’s Smart Start youth chequing account offers unlimited transactions and other perks to Canadians who are under 25 years of age.

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CIBC youth account: Best for kids who want low-fee chequing with perks.

You need to be under 25 to qualify, but perks include unlimited Interac e-transfers and debit transactions, commission-free trades, discounts at the pumps and free SPC+ membership.

    CIBC Smart Start youth account pros and cons



    CIBC Smart Start Youth Account full review

    The Smart Start chequing account is CIBC’s youth account, designed for students and young people below the age 25.

    There are no monthly fees or balance minimums, and it comes with unlimited debit and Interac e-transfers. The account automatically converts to a CIBC Smart account when you turn 25. When this happens, all your account information, including your debit card number and online banking details, remain unchanged, but monthly fees will apply.

    Benefits of CIBC Smart Start Account

    CIBC’s youth account has no monthly fees, transaction fees or minimum balance requirements. Kids 13 and older can apply on their own, while parents of children 12 and under must apply on their children’s behalf.

    The CIBC Smart Start account offers commission-free trades via the CIBC Investor’s Edge investment platform and free SPC+ membership for account holders over the age of 18.

    There’s also the opportunity to earn a $100 welcome bonus by completing 5 Visa Debit purchases online within two months of opening an account.

    Additionally, account holders have a chance to receive $50 for each friend referral, up to $500 when the friend opens their first CIBC Smart Start account and sets up an ongoing direct deposit for the account.

    Drawbacks of CIBC Smart Start Account

    Even though the CIBC Smart Start account doesn’t have a monthly fee, there are still some fees young account holders will need to watch for, including a $2 service charge for using non-CIBC ATMs and a $45 insufficient funds fee for overdrawing your account.

    What is CIBC?

    Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, or CIBC, is a Toronto-headquartered financial institution founded in 1867. As one of Canada’s Big Six banks, its robust banking network includes over 1,000 locations and up to 3,000 ATMs to serve its millions of customers across Canada and around the world. It offers in-person and digital banking services for personal, business and institutional clients.

    CIBC customer satisfaction ratings

    CIBC ranks third in customer satisfaction with retail banking advice, according to J.D. Power’s 2023 Canada Retail Banking Advice Satisfaction Study, a survey of 2,911 retail bank customers in Canada[1]. RBC Royal Bank ranks first and BMO Bank of Montreal comes in second.

    CIBC ranks fourth in online banking satisfaction according to J.D. Power’s 2023 Canada Online Banking Satisfaction Study, a survey of 8,242 retail bank and credit card customers nationwide[2].

    On Trustpilot, CIBC had a rating of 1.3 out of 5 possible stars, based on 1,200+ customer reviews, as of this writing.

    On the Better Business Bureau’s website, CIBC had a rating of 1.16 out of 5 possible stars, based on 70+ customer reviews, as of this writing.

    Is CIBC reliable and secure?

    CIBC carries Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC) insurance, so eligible deposits of up to $100,000 are protected if CIBC goes under.

    The Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF) covers CIBC investor portfolios for up to $1M of investor assets in the event of insolvency.

    ​​CIBC also offers a digital banking guarantee, which pledges to refund all funds lost from a CIBC account in the event of fraud so long as digital banking security guidelines are followed.

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    CIBC Smart Start youth account details and eligibility

    Who qualifies for a CIBC Smart Start Account?

    To be eligible for the CIBC Smart Start account, you must:

    Who should get a CIBC youth account?

    The CIBC Smart Start account is a youth account for Canadians under 25. It offers perks you won’t find with the standard CIBC Smart account for adults, including no monthly fees and free SPC+ membership. If you qualify for the CIBC youth account, consider applying. If you’re under 13, you’ll need a parent or guardian to apply with you.

    How to know if the CIBC Smart Start account is right for you

    If you’re a young Canadian eager to start learning the nuts and bolts of money management, saving and investing, the CIBC Smart Start account could be the right account for you, especially if your parents already bank at CIBC.

    How to open a CIBC Smart Start youth account

    Method and general steps

    The application process for CIBC’s youth account depends on the applicant’s age. Children up to 11 years old must have a parent or guardian complete the application on their behalf, either online or in person at a CIBC branch. Although, parents of 12-year-olds can only apply in person. Those between the ages of 13 to 24 can apply for an account without their parents.

    Here’s a breakdown of the online application process for youth over 13:

    1. Enter your full name, email address, phone number and residential address.
    2. Tell CIBC more about your residency status and the purpose of the account.
    3. Review CIBC’s account agreement and privacy policy.
    4. Select ‘submit.’

    Deposit and withdrawal process

    CIBC Smart Start account deposits can be made by cash, cheque or Interac e-transfer. Visit an ATM or bank branch to deposit cash or cheques. Cheques can also be deposited through the CIBC mobile app.

    Cash and cheque deposits may take up to seven business days to clear. Funds from Interac e-transfers are typically available within 30 minutes.

    Cash withdrawals can be made at an ATM or bank branch during business hours. You can make one free withdrawal at a non-CIBC ATM monthly. Otherwise, using a non-CIBC ATM will result in a $2 service fee.

    Customer service options

    There are a few ways to connect with the CIBC customer service team:

    How to maximize the benefits of a CIBC Smart Start Account

    Alternatives to the CIBC Smart Start Youth Account

    If you don’t qualify for Smart Start, but you’d prefer to stick with CIBC, consider its Smart for Students Account. This account offers many of the same features and benefits as the Smart Start Account. It’s available to any Canadian student who anticipates graduating at 25 or older.

    Outside CIBC’s roster, the other Big Six Banks offer youth accounts, as do credit unions and digital banks.

    Reasons you might want a different youth account

    While unlimited debit and Interac e-transfers are a standard fixture across youth accounts, additional perks may vary. You may want to consider your options elsewhere, especially if:

    CIBC Smart Start account vs. CIBC Smart for Students account

    CIBC’s youth and student accounts have plenty in common but aren’t without their differences.

    CIBC Youth AccountCIBC Student Account
    EligibilityBe a resident of Canada under the age of 25.Be a resident of Canada and a student graduating at age 25 or older.
    Age restrictionMust be under the age of 25.None
    TypeYouth accountStudent account
    Monthly feesNoneNone
    Account minimumsNoneNone
    BenefitsBoth accounts offer unlimited debit and Interac e-transfer transactions in Canada, a free SPC+ membership and up to $0.10 off per litre of gas at participating locations when you use your CIBC debit card.
    Commission-free stock and ETF trades through CIBC’s Investor’s EdgeKeep your student banking benefits for six months after graduation.

    CIBC youth account facts

    What is a youth account?

    Youth accounts, sometimes called kids bank accounts, are chequing and savings accounts designed for children, teens and young adults. They tend to offer many of the benefits of a regular bank account, like a debit card, mobile banking, earned interest and more — but without the monthly account fees. The cutoff age for these accounts can range from 12 to 24 years old.

    Smart Start interest rates

    The CIBC Smart Start youth account doesn’t earn interest.

    Smart Start minimum balance

    There is no minimum balance requirement to avoid a monthly account fee for the CIBC Smart Start account.

    Smart Start fees

    Monthly fee

    There are no monthly fees for the CIBC Smart Start account.

    Transfer fee

    There is a $19.50 fee per account transfer when you move funds from the CIBC Smart Start to an external account.

    Withdrawal fee

    There is no fee for withdrawing funds from a CIBC ATM. A $2 fee applies for non-CIBC ATM withdrawals in Canada.

    Frequently asked questions about the CIBC youth account

    Is it worth it to get a CIBC youth account?

    The CIBC Smart Start youth account offers many of the benefits of a CIBC Smart account, minus the monthly fee. If you or your child qualify for the CIBC Smart Start account, it may be worth considering.

    Can a 12-year-old have a debit card in Canada?

    Yes, a 12-year-old can have a debit card, but a bank may require their parent or guardian to apply for an account on their behalf before a card is issued. Note that CIBC requires Canadians to be at least 13 years-old to open a Smart Start youth account on their own.

    Article Sources

    Works Cited
    1. J.D. Power, “2023 Canada Retail Banking Advice Satisfaction Study,” accessed January 9, 2024.
    2. J.D. Power, “2023 Canada Online Banking Satisfaction Study,” accessed January 9, 2024.


    What is a Kids Bank Account?

    What is a Kids Bank Account?

    A kids bank account is designed for children and teens. Chequing and savings accounts for kids have different eligibility requirements, features and fees than adult accounts.

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