EQ Bank Review 2021
EQ Bank* is at the vanguard of digital banking in a new and exciting way. As a bank that operates exclusively online, EQ offers a small yet impressive line of personal finance products, which includes a hybrid savings account, two registered savings account options, GICs, an international money transfer service, powered by TransferWise, and mortgage borrowing options.
But that’s not all. EQ Bank was heralded as the best bank in Canada by Forbes magazine, and there’s really no wonder why!
In this review of EQ Bank, we’ll take a closer look at this exceptional digital bank, providing a detailed summary of their financial products and how they aim to serve Canadians better.
Table of Contents
An EQ Bank Review for 2021
At this time, EQ Bank offers six products: a hybrid bank account, a tax-free savings account (TFSA), a registered retirement savings account (RRSP), Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs), international money transfers, powered by Transferwise, and mortgage borrowing options.
Below is a review of each product currently offered by EQ and how they provide an alternative, cost-effective option to mainstream banking, investing, and borrowing.
EQ Bank Savings Plus Account
The EQ Bank Savings Plus Account is a hybrid bank account. Hybrid bank accounts are savings accounts that combine many of the flexible features that come with chequing accounts.
EQ Bank's Savings Plus Account comes with unlimited transactions. That includes deposits, transfers, bill payments, and Interac e-Transfers.
As a savings account, the EQ Bank Savings Plus offers an interest rate of 1.25%*, a rate consistently among the highest currently available in Canada.
Customers can link their external bank account to the Savings Plus Account for seamless electronic funds transfer between an external account.
Unlike a traditional chequing account, EQ does not come with a debit card, permit point-of-sale transactions, or offer a chequebook. There are no dedicated EQ Bank branches or ATMs, either.
EQ bridges this gap by providing a sleek online banking and mobile app for iOS and Android that allows clients to deposit physical cheques via mobile cheque deposit.
They can also receive direct deposits from their place of employment. The bank also allows customers to pay bills automatically. Customers can also accept Interac e-Transfers, though there isn't an auto-deposit feature currently available.
The Savings Plus 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.
The best part? All of this comes with no minimum deposit requirement, no monthly fees, and no transaction limits.
Accounts are limited to a maximum balance of $200,000.
*Current as of May 26, 2021
EQ Bank Tax-Free Savings Account
EQ Bank recently reached a milestone by introducing registered savings accounts. One of them is the exceptional EQ Bank Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA).
EQ Bank's registered savings accounts operate like any other registered product. However, unlike many accounts available in Canada, it offers an interest rate of 2.30%* until May 26, 2021.
After that date, the interest rate drops to 1.25%**. Even with the interest rate decrease, the interest rate is much higher than most Canadian banks and credit unions.
Additionally, this account comes with no monthly fees, minimum deposits, or transaction limits.
*Current until May 24, 2021
**Current after May 25, 2021
EQ Bank Registered Retirement Savings Plan
EQ Bank's Retirement Savings Plan (RSP) is another semi-new financial product introduced by the online bank. The registered savings account provides an interest rate of 2.30%* until May 26, 2021. The interest rate after then drops to 1.25%**.
The account works like any other RRSP requires no minimum balance or contributions, and is free to use with no annual fees.
*Current until May 25, 2021
**Current after May 25, 2021
EQ Bank GICs
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.
EQ Bank GIC terms range from as brief as 3 months to as long as ten years. Customers must also open an EQ Bank Savings Plus Account to purchase GICs through the financial institution. Interest rates on non-registered GICs from EQ Bank range from 1.30%* to 2.30%*.
EQ Bank offers TFSA and RSP GICs, with rates ranging from 3 months to ten years. Rates on these investments range from 1.30%* to 2.30%*. 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 May 2021, and may have changed since this article’s published date.
*Rates current as of May 5, 2021
Money Transfers Powered by Transferwise
EQ Bank offers international money transfers that are available in partnership with TransferWise.
EQ customers can send money to India, most of Europe, the Philippines, the United States, and up to thirty additional countries around the world.
International transfers come with a one-time fee that, according to EQ Bank, is eight times cheaper than its competitors and with no exchange rate markups, charging only one flat-rate fee.
Customers sending money internationally must also open an EQ Bank Savings Plus Account at no additional cost.
|Term Length||Non-Registered GIC Rates||TFSA and RRSP GIC Rates|
*Current as of May 2021
EQ Bank Mortgages
Considering that EQ Bank is a subsidiary of one of Canada's largest mortgage lenders, Equitable Bank, the online version of the bank now offers mortgages as well.
EQ Bank offers fixed and variable mortgages, with an Annual Percent Rate (APR) of 1.83%* for a fixed rate and a 1.22%* for a variable rate, both on 5 year terms.*Rates current as of May 5, 2021
What is EQ Bank?
EQ Bank is a digital bank that operates exclusively online. A relatively new member in Canadian personal finance, 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 Savings Plus Account. It is their staple product. It also offers GIC term deposits and facilitates International Money Transfers in partnership with TransferWise.
Canadian citizens, with a Social Insurance Number (SIN), can open an EQ Bank account online, if they meet the age of majority in their province.
EQ Bank, and its parent company, Equitable Bank, is headquartered in Toronto, Canada. It currently employs over 900 employees, with online chat, e-mail, and telephone customer service.
How does EQ Bank work?
EQ Bank is a very straightforward, user-friendly, banking service. Since EQ Bank operates exclusively online, new customers can only sign up or access accounts through their online or mobile devices.
Opening an account can be done online through EQ Bank's web portal. Customers must be Canadian citizens with a Social Insurance Number and be the age of majority in their province.
Customers are required to provide proof of address and a Government ID, which requires a trip to a Canada Post outlet for identity verification.
After a soft credit check, approved customers can utilize EQ Bank products.
How to Open an Account with EQ Bank
Opening an account with EQ Bank is a fairly straightforward process, and can be done in two ways: online through EQ Bank's website or over the phone.
Before applying for an account, users must qualify first have the following:
To apply over the phone, simply contact EQ Bank and speak to one of their representatives.
To apply online, visit the EQ Bank* website and click "Join Now."
Please note that the EQ Savings Plus Account is not available to residents of Quebec.
EQ Bank: Pros and Cons
While EQ Bank is considered one of Canada's best banks, banking with EQ 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: The Good StuffEQ Bank offers several advantages over other Canadian financial institutions. Let's take a look at EQ Bank's pros.
No minimum investments: EQ Bank offers several advantages over other Canadian financial institutions.
Chequing/Savings account hybrid: EQ Bank's Savings Plus Account is a high-interest savings account that acts as a chequing account. It offers a chequing account's flexibility, allowing Canadians to keep all of their finances in one place—while earning interest.
No fees or minimum balance requirements: EQ Bank does not charge any management fees, Interac e-transfer fees, transaction fees, or minimum deposit requirements.
Competitive interest rates: EQ Bank offers some of Canada's highest interest rates for its Savings Plus Account and GICs.
Cons: The Not So Good StuffDepending on who's banking, there is one minor disadvantage to using EQ Bank. Let's take a quick look at the drawbacks.
No debit card, Google/Apple Pay compatibility, or cheques: There are no point-of-sale payments available or chequebooks. Free fund transfers are available in place of a debit card.
Our Final Thoughts
As a (happy) EQ Bank customer myself, I really can't recommend EQ Bank products.
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 despite the pandemic.
While I've only used their Savings Plus 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, traditional bank with no fees, EQ Bank might be a suitable option for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
This EQ Bank review will now take a look at the digital bank itself, covering details about the financial institution itself, and what they offer new and existing customers alike. Find all the answers to the frequently asked questions below.
EQ Bank is the digital banking branch of Equitable Bank, Canada's ninth-largest independent bank. It has been in business since 1970, providing Canadians with mortgages and commercial lending. It currently manages $25 billion in assets today.
Yes, EQ Bank is a safe and legitimate banking institution. In fact, it’s a member of the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC).
Both EQ Bank’s Savings Plus Account and EQ Bank GICs are CDIC-insured up to $100,000 per account or investment
In the unlikely event that EQ Bank becomes insolvent, the account holder’s money is secure, at no additional cost to the customer.
Yes! EQ Bank offers one of the best high-interest savings account rates in Canada.
While rates are subject to change, EQ Bank’s Savings Plus Account interest rate has consistently remained among the highest available in Canada.