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EQ Bank Review 2024

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EQ Bank is an online-only bank that offers a small yet impressive line of personal finance products. This includes a hybrid savings account, three registered savings account options, GICs, an international money transfer service, a U.S. Dollar savings account, and mortgage borrowing options.

In this EQ Bank review, we’ll take a closer look at this digital bank, provide a detailed summary of its financial products, and highlight how they aim to serve Canadians better.

EQ Bank: an overview

EQ Bank was created in 2016, when it became Canada’s first-ever digital-only bank. Since then, it’s gained prominence in the Canadian financial industry. With more than $8 billion in deposit, EQ Bank is known for its innovative approach to banking, offering a wide range of financial products and services entirely online.

The emphasis at EQ Bank is on simplicity and competitive rates. As a result, it’s carved itself a niche in the digital banking landscape and continues to expand its customer base.

EQ Bank is the digital banking branch of Equitable Bank, Canada’s ninth-largest independent bank. Equitable Bank has been in business since 1970, providing Canadians with mortgages and commercial lending. It currently manages more than $65.9 billion in assets today. EQ Bank is a noteworthy player in the digital banking space, offering Canadians a compelling alternative to traditional brick-and-mortar banks.

EQ Bank chequing accounts

EQ Bank offers the EQ Bank Personal Account, which is a hybrid chequing/savings account.

You can enjoy unlimited transactions, including direct deposits, transfers, bill payments, mobile cheque deposits via the EQ Bank app, and Interac e-Transfers. The EQ Bank Savings Plus offers an interest rate of 2.50%*, a rate consistently among the highest currently available in Canada.

The Personal account also provides joint account options, ideal for business partners, married couples, or anyone looking to share an EQ Bank account. Joint accounts permit up to three people to share one account. All of this comes with no minimum deposit requirement, no monthly fees, and no transaction limits. Though accounts are limited to a maximum balance of $200,000.

Once you open an EQ Bank Personal Account, you can apply for the EQ Bank Card right in the app.

*Current as of May 2024

EQ Bank Card

The EQ Bank reloadable Mastercard akin to a debit card that earns you cash back in the way a cash back credit card does.

You can access funds and make payments from your EQ Plus Savings Account, the same way you would with a chequing account. The EQ Bank Card offers:

  • Free ATM withdrawals from any ATM in Canada. Withdraw money from any ATM in Canada and EQ Bank will reimburse any ATM fees incurred.
  • Cash back rewards. In addition to the 2.50%* interest you make on your account, cardholders will make 0.50%* cash back on all purchases, online or in-store.
  • No fees. Skip the cost of banking. You won’t incur any monthly fees, foreign transaction fees, or inactivity fees.

EQ Bank savings accounts

EQ Bank also has registered savings accounts, including a Tax-free Savings Account (TFSA), Retirement Savings Plan (RSP), First Home Savings Account (FHSA), and Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs).

Below is a review of each product.

EQ Bank Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA)

The EQ Bank TFSA currently offers an interest rate of 3.00%. This account comes with no monthly fees, minimum deposits, or transaction limits. But be mindful of staying within your contribution limit for each calendar year.

EQ Bank Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP)

EQ Bank’s Retirement Savings Plan (RSP) provides an interest rate of 3.00%. The account works like any other RRSP requires no minimum balance or contributions, and is free to use with no annual fees.

EQ Bank First Home Savings Account

As Canada’s first fully digital, no-fee FHSA, those saving for a down payment on a qualifying home can do so at an interest rate of 3.00%.

Contribute $8,000, tax-fee annually for a total of up to $40,000. When the time comes, you can withdraw your down payment without having to pay it back. Plus, you’re eligible for up to $100,000 of CDIC deposit insurance.

EQ Bank U.S. Dollar Account

EQ Bank offers a U.S. Dollar savings account for anyone looking to hold USD. Account owners earn 3.00% interest on their savings and EQ Bank claims to have one of the lowest exchange rates in Canada.

From this account, owners can make USD transfers to another Canadian account for free. It is also possible to make international money transfers to the United States and other countries around the world using EQ Bank’s in-house application, Wise.

EQ Bank mortgage offerings

EQ Bank offers fixed and variable mortgages via Equitable Bank.

Equitable Bank five-year mortgage rates currently range from 7.287%* for a fixed rate and 8.450%* for a variable rate.

*Rates current as of Nov 8, 2023.

EQ Bank GIC rates

EQ Bank offers both non-registered and registered GICs, which stand apart from other low-risk investment options available in Canada. That’s because of their incredibly competitive interest rates and flexible term deposit investing options.

While funds invested in a GIC are inaccessible until term maturity, EQ Bank provides multiple deposit term options, making it suitable for all types of long-term and short-term investing goals.

There is a minimum deposit of $100 required to purchase any GICs with EQ Bank.

  • Non-Registered GICs. EQ Bank GIC terms range from as brief as three months to as long as 10 years. Customers must also open an EQ Bank’s Savings Plus Account to purchase GICs through the financial institution. Interest rates on non-registered GICs from EQ Bank range from 3.75%* to 5.65%*.
  • Registered GICs. EQ Bank offers TFSA and RSP GICs, with rates ranging from 3 months to 10 years. Rates on these investments range from 3.75%* to 5.65%*. You must open an EQ Bank Savings Account with the purchase of registered GICs. Here are EQ Bank’s GIC rates and terms. Please note that rates are current as of August 30, and may have changed since this article’s published date.
  • For FHSA and TFSA GIC rates, visit EQ bank’s website.

*As of Nov 20, 2023.

Term Length Non-Registered GIC Rates TFSA and RRSP GIC Rates
3 Months 3.75% 3.75%
6 Months 4.55% 4.55%
9 Months 4.80% 4.80%
1 Year 5.05% 5.05%
15 Months 5.00% 5.00%
2 Years 4.90% 4.90%
27 Months 4.85% 4.85%
3 Years 4.65% 4.65%
4 Years 4.50% 4.50%
5 Years 4.50% 4.50%
6 Years 3.80% 3.80%
7 Years 3.80% 3.80%
10 Years 3.80% 3.80%

EQ Bank money transfers

EQ Bank offers international money transfers, powered by Wise.

That means that as an EQ Bank customer, you can send money to India, most of Europe, the Philippines, the United States, and up to 30 additional countries around the world for a one-time flat-rate fee. According to EQ Bank, that fee is eight times cheaper than its competitors and has no exchange rate markups.

Customers sending money internationally must open a Personal Account (at no additional cost).

What is EQ Bank?

EQ Bank is a digital bank that operates exclusively online. Its parent company, Equitable Bank, is headquartered in Toronto, Canada. It currently employs more than 900 employees, with online chat, e-mail, and telephone customer service.

A relatively new member in the Canadian personal finance space, EQ Bank has been operating since 2016. Today, the financial institution manages $2 billion in savings and investments for Canadian clients.

EQ Bank provides a savings account option known as the EQ Bank Personal Account. This is the bank’s staple product, and one of the best high-interest savings accounts in Canada. While rates are subject to change, EQ Bank’s Personal Account interest rate has consistently remained among the highest available in Canada.

EQ Bank also offers GIC term deposits and facilitates International Money Transfers in partnership with Wise.

Canadian citizens with a Social Insurance Number (SIN) can open an EQ Bank account online, as long as they meet the age of majority in their province. Since EQ Bank operates exclusively online, new customers can only sign up or access accounts through their online or mobile devices.

Compare EQ Bank alternatives

EQ Bank Logo

EQ Bank

  • Account Options Hybrid Savings/Chequing, Investment Accounts
  • Countries Served Canada Only
  • Branches in Canada Online only
An image of the Neo Money card used for savings accounts

Neo Money

  • Welcome Offer $5 sign-up bonus once approved
  • Minimum Deposit $0
  • Monthly Fees $0
  • Interest Rate 4%
  • Transaction Fees $0
Tangerine Logo

Tangerine

  • Account Options Savings Accounts, Chequing Accounts, Credit Cards, Investing Accounts
  • Countries Served Canada Only
  • Branches in Canada

EQ Bank fees

EQ Bank is a no-fee bank. However, there are some third-party charges to be aware of, including:

  • International money transfers through Wise (currently from 0.43% to send money).
  • Mastercard currency conversion rate for foreign transactions
  • ATM providers outside of Canada (EQ Bank only reimburses you for ATM fees within Canada.)

Pros and cons of EQ Bank

While EQ Bank is considered one of Canada’s best banks, banking with EQ Bank may not be the right fit for every Canadian’s daily financial requirements.

The financial service offers unique and flexible banking products at affordable pricing, with its advantages outweighing its drawbacks.

Pros

  • No minimum investments

  • High-interest savings account that acts as a chequing account

  • No fees or minimum balance requirements

  • Competitive interest rates

Cons

  • No physical branches

Our final thoughts

After two years as an EQ Bank client, I’ve found their products flexible and very easy to use. As a no-frills bank account with total flexibility and unlimited banking features, they’ve also maintained exceptionally high-interest rates throughout the pandemic.

While I’ve only used EQ Bank’s Personal Account and purchased various GICs, I can say that their additional banking, investing, and borrowing products are among Canada’s best.

If you’re looking for a safe, digital bank with no fees, then EQ Bank might be a suitable option for you.

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