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Motive Financial Review 2023

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Previously known as Canadian Direct Financial when it was originally founded in 2008, Motive Financial changed its name in 2017 to better reflect its mission. At the time of the rebrand, former Division Manager, Adam Skoreyko, remarked the reason for the switch: “Our clients are serious about savings and we felt we needed a brand that better reflected who they are and what we offer them.”

In this review, we’ll delve into what this online bank offers — from accounts to banking methods and more — and you can determine if it’s the right fit for your financial needs.

Motive Financial: an overview

Motive Financial is an online-only bank with a solid set of offerings for its clients, including chequing, savings, and investment accounts. Motive doesn’t have any brick and mortar locations, but is based in Edmonton, Alberta. It’s a division of Canadian Western Bank, which is itself a member of the CDIC, so you know your deposits are secure.

Accounts with Motive Financial function similarly to those at traditional banks, but its lack of overhead allows for high interest rates and low monthly fees, so saving money can feel a bit more attainable.

In this review, we’ll cover Motive’s main offerings, including:

  • Chequing accounts
  • Savings accounts
  • GICs

Motive Financial chequing accounts

Motive Chequing

The Motive Chequing account is simple — a chequing account for no-fee daily banking. This chequing account earns you 0.15% interest on your deposited funds and doesn’t charge you a monthly fees. However, Interac e-transfers cost $1.00 per transfer.

Any ATM withdrawals from your Motive Chequing account made from Motive’s afiiliated ATMs with THE EXCHANGE Network — the second largest ATM network in Canada — are free, but if you’re in a pinch and can’t locate one of its ATMs, you’ll be charged a $1.50 withdrawal fee at non-affiiated ATMs.

Motive Financial rates are pretty competitive, especially for chequing accounts. Combined with its lack of fees, the motive chequing account is a great starter for anyone on a tight budget looking to make the most of their cash. Plus, you get 50 free personalized cheques when you create your account.

Motive Cha-Ching Chequing Account

The Motive Cha-Ching Chequing Account functions similarly to the Motive Chequing account, except it comes with a few extra perks. The Cha-Ching account has an interest rate of 0.25%, no monthly fees, and unlimited monthly withdrawals.

Unlike the Motive Chequing account, the Cha-Ching account has free Interac e-transfers and two free withdrawals from ATMs outside of THE EXCHANGE Network, with any after that costing $1.50 per withdrawal.

With both of these chequing accounts, Motive will provide you with your very own debit card. This card can be used to withdraw cash at ATMs and make purchases. And if your’e travelling, the Motive debit card works outside of Canada too. Though, they recommend having an alternate form of payment on hand should any service disruptions occur.

If you want to make the most of your spending, the Cha-Ching account might be the best of Motive’s options for you.

Motive Financial savings accounts

Motive Savings Account

  • Interest rate: 1.00%

The Motive Savings Account is the more basic of the two savings account offerings. With this online savings account, you earn 1.00% interest — or 0.5% interest if your balance is more than $5 million—get unlimited monthly withdrawals, free transfers between your Motive accounts, and free ATM withdrawals from any ATM associated with The EXCHANGE Network. Any non-affiliated ATM withdrawals are $1.50 and Interac e-transfers are $1.00 per transfer.

There’s no minimum balance required, so regardless of where you’re at with your savings you can boost your bank account and reach your savings goals with this account.

Motive Savvy Savings Account

  • Interest rate: 4.100%

The Motive Savvy Savings Account is a high-yield savings account and has a competitive interest rate of 4.100%, making it one of our picks for the best high interest savings accounts in Canada. Much like the regular savings account, this option offers free transfers between your Motive accounts, free ATM withdrawals from any ATM associated with The EXCHANGE Network, and Interac e-transfers for $1.00.

The biggest difference is that the Savvy Savings account has a much higher interest rate and just two monthly withdrawals included, with each one after that costing $5.00 each. The Motive Savvy Savings Account allows for your savings to grow faster without much intervention.

Motive Financial GIC rates

Motive offers a variety of GIC options to its customers including both registered and non registered. Here’s a breakdown of Motive Financial GIC rates:


  • Terms available: One to 10 years
  • Interest rate: 5.300% – 6.000%
  • Minimum investment: $500


  • Terms available: One to 10 years
  • Interest rate: 5.300% – 6.000%
  • Minimum investment: $1,000

Short-term GIC

  • Terms available: 120 days
  • Interest rate: 4.15% (5.75% for new money deposits)
  • Minimum investment: None

Long-term GICs

  • Terms available: One to 10 years
  • Interest rate: 5.300% – 6.000%
  • Minimum investment: $1,000

What is Motive Financial?

Motive Financial is an online-only bank, division of the Canadian Western Bank, and member of the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC).

Being a purely digital banking experience, customers of Motive Financial can optimize their savings and spending without the overhead costs that come with traditional banks.

Compare Motive Financial alternatives

There are plenty of great online banks out there. Below we compare Motive Financial to Tangerine Bank and EQ Bank so you can get a sense of how it stacks up.

Motive Financial Tangerine Bank EQ Bank
Savings account interest rate Up to 4.100% Up to 6.00% 2.50% + 0.50%
Mobile app Yes Yes Yes
GIC 1 year rate Up to 6.000% 5.50% 5.75%
TFSA Yes Yes Yes
RRSP Yes Yes Yes
Credit cards No 2 1

Motive Financial fees

Motive Financial does not charge any monthly, annual, or maintenance fees. However, depending on the account you have there are charges for Interac e-transfers, monthly withdrawals, and withdrawals from ATMs not affiliated with The EXCHANGE Network.

Pros and cons of Motive Financial


  • High interest rates on savings accounts

  • No monthly fees

  • Affiliated with Canada’s 2nd largest ATM network — The EXCHANGE Network

  • High interest rates on GICs


  • Charges for Interac e-transfers depending on which account you have

  • No in-person branches

Our final thoughts

If eliminating monthly fees is a priority for you, Motive Financial is a great choice for your banking. With its competitive interest rates on all types of accounts — including chequing, savings, and investments — it can be a great place for your finances to thrive without having to shell out money for maintenance fees. Of course, the lack of in-person support is worth noting as you’ll have to rely solely on customer service via e-mail and over the phone. But in the era where digital savviness is a given for many, you may not bat an eye at a digital-forward bank experience.

Learn more about how we rate banks and credit unions by visiting our methodology page.

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