motusbank Review 2021: Lowercase m, Uppercase Banking

motusbank review

motusbank is one of the (relatively) new online banks on the block. In 2016, the digital bank joined a growing trend of fully online banks now readily available to Canadian citizens from the comfort of their own homes. We say, leaving the house is so 2019. This is 2020. Stay home.

For customers that want to ditch the bells and whistles that come with traditional bank accounts, motusbank is the answer. It provides one of the most cost-effective means of everyday banking, without compromising interest rates and excellent customer service.

In this motusbank review, we’ll take a close look at one of Canada’s fastest-rising free bank accounts. We’ll also review products and services that the digital banking service offers, focusing primarily on various spending, saving, and investing products.

Table of Contents

What is motusbank and What are its Key Features?

Motusbank is a digital bank owned and operated by Meridian Credit Union. According to the Canadian Credit Union Association (CCUA), Meridian Credit Union was Canada’s second-largest credit union in 2019. Even though Meridian Credit Union owns Motusbank, the online bank is still considered a Schedule 1 bank, meaning money in a Motusbank account comes with insurance provided by the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC). Cash, savings, and GIC investments come with included insurance of $100,000 per account.
Best Online Savings Accounts

How Does motusbank Work?

motusbank works like any regular online bank. Customers can sign-up online or over the phone. In fact, since there are no physical branches, all banking is done online or via telephone. Once you’ve signed up, you can access your money, savings, and investments through the motusbank mobile app or online interface.

Customers can withdraw cash from ATMs in the EXCHANGE Network. In brief details, most credit unions, and some banks (National Bank and HSBC), allows customers to access their ATMs for free.

If you choose to do your banking with motusbank, you’ll be able to withdraw, deposit, or do basic banking transactions at no cost.

motusbank Pros & Cons

Not all banks have something to offer Canadians, but motusbank does. Here are some of the online bank's advantages and drawbacks.

Pros: The Good Stuff

Logo Great rates: In lieu of branches, motusbank makes up for it with the one thing that matters: great interest rates. At the end of the day, savings accounts are only as useful as their rates are, and motusbank has offered consistently high rates for their entire existence.

LogoNo fee banking: In addition to great rates, there are no fees or minimum balance requirements when using a motusbank account

Logo Great variety of saving, spending, and borrowing products: Great variety of saving, spending, and borrowing products: For an online bank, motusbank is a great option for people who like keeping all of their investments under one hood.

Cons: The Not So Good Stuff

Logo Lack of credit card options: motusbank does not currently offer any credit card options right now, but may introduce them in the future..

Logo Lack of branches: Depending on your outlook, motusbank does not have physical branches. While this is not a detriment for many customers, it’s something that could be a deal-breaker for some.

motusbank Review: Chequing, Savings, and Investing Options

motusbank has it all when it comes to the online banking experience: competitive rates, immense flexibility, and a sleek online interface and mobile app that makes it all possible. The bank comes with no monthly or annual fees to make things sweeter, nor does it any minimum balance requirements.

motusbank at a glance

  • Monthly fee: None
  • Debit transactions: Free, Unlimited
  • ATM Network: The EXCHANGE Network
  • Interact e-transfers: Free, Unlimited
  • Account types: Savings, TFSA, RRSP, RRIF
  • Sign-up bonus: None
  • Cheques: Yes (25 cheques free
  • Mobile app: Yes
  • Available in Quebec?: None

motusbank no-fee chequing account

It’s that simple: the motusbank No-fee chequing account is a no-fee chequing account. That means no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements, unlimited transactions, withdrawals, deposits, and bill payments. This is one truly incredible free chequing account! Sure, every mostusbank review says that, but we actually mean it. The motusbank No-Fee chequing account also comes with a debit card and 25 free cheques, with mobile cheque deposit and direct deposit options available. The account uniquely offers interest at a rate of 0.25%—with no minimum balance requirements to start earning interest. Since there are no physical motusbank branches, customers can access over 3,700 ATMs in the EXCHANGE Network to deposit or withdraw cash. FYI, the EXCHANGE Network is an ATM network that unites credit unions from coast-to-coast and allows participating credit unions members to use ATMs at no cost. Unlike any other bank, motusbank offers a unique Price Drop™ feature, allowing customers to upload receipts from participating Canadian retailers. motusbank will match the difference if they find a more cost-effective one.

motusbank savings accounts

motusbank has consistently provided some of the best savings account rates for registered and non-registered accounts. Some of the accounts provided by motusbank include the Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) and the Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP), along with the Retirement Income Fund (RIF). Traditional savings accounts are also available with motusbank. Here are some of motusbank’s current rates for eligible deposits.

motusbank GICs

motusbank’s fruitful selection of Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs) includes non-registered and registered GICs, with some of Canada’s best rates. While GICs are safe, conservative investments, customers can reap high interest using motusbank GICs. They are available as registered and non-registered, along with redeemable and non-redeemable investing options. Registered GIC options include TFSA, RRSP, RRIF, RESP GICs, and traditional GIC investments. Terms for motusbank GICs range from one-year to five-years in length. Rates vary depending on GIC and its term, but range from 1.20% to 2.00%*. motusbank also offers a variety of prebuilt GIC ladders, called Escalator GICs. These are prebuilt investments that diversify investments over several terms. *Rates current as of August 2020.

motusbank robo-advisor and online brokerage option

motusbank has recently extended its investing services to now include a robo-advisor and an online brokerage, both through separate, third-party financial institutions:

  • VirtualWealth® is a wealth-management platform and robo-advising service that facilitates passive investing.
  • Qtrade is an independent discount brokerage that operates online. It facilitates self-directed trading options for Canadians.

Hopefully our motusbank review helped you see how the digital bank can help up your personal finance game. That’s what it’s all about, right? If you can’t up your personal finance game, why play at all?

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes! motusbank is an entirely digital bank and is truly ideal for tech-savvy Canadians or people who don’t need branch access and prefer cheaper banking alternatives.

While no dedicated branches for motusbank exist, customers can do banking online and access over 3,700 ATMs across Canada that are in the EXCHANGE Network, an ATM network that unites credit unions across the country and allows members of said unions to access their ATMs free of charge.

Some big banks affiliated with the EXCHANGE Network include HSBC, National Bank, and Manulife. Credit unions affiliated with the EXCHANGE Network include Alterna Savings, Desjardins, Vancity, and much more.

motusbank is owned and operated by Meridian Credit Union. As of 2019, Meridian Credit Union is Canada’s second-largest credit union. Not too bad at all.

While only you can know what’s best for you, a motusbank TFSA isn’t a horrible idea.

The bank has consistently offered great rates on all of their products, especially their TFSA.

Many banks or credit unions place limitations on withdrawals on TFSAs, which can include fees. However, a motusbank TFSA allows customers to withdraw and contribute as they see fit.

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