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Canada’s Best Online Banks for January 2023

The best online banks in Canada can help you save $200 or more per year in bank fees.

If it has been a while since you last made your way into a brick-and-mortar bank branch, you are not alone.

Recent data from the Canadian Bankers Association shows that more than 75% of Canadians now use online and mobile banking to conduct most of their day-to-day banking transactions.

Online banks, aka digital banks or virtual banks, offer their customers access to low-fee (or no-fee) banking and easy access, higher interest savings rates, no-minimum balance banking, and security of funds.

Traditional banks in Canada also have an online presence to provide their services; however, this write-up focuses on those branchless direct banks whose main service delivery model is via the internet, i.e. they have zero or very limited physical locations you can walk into.

Read on to see the options available if you are considering an online-only bank for your banking needs and the best-rated online banks.

Best Online Banks in Canada 2023

EQ Bank Savings Plus Account

EQ Bank tfsa.

2.50%* non-promotional interest rate

Unlimited debits and bill payments

Unlimited Interac e-Transfers

No monthly account fees

Simplii No-Fee Chequing Account

simplii logo2

No monthly account fees

Unlimited transactions & Interac e-Transfers

Free personalized cheques

$350 cash bonus offer

Tangerine Chequing Account

Tangerine logo transparent-img

No monthly account fees

Unlimited free transactions

Up to 0.10% interest on balance

Access to a no-annual-fee credit card

Neo Money Account

neo logo

2.25% non-promo interest rate

No monthly fees

Unlimited free transactions

Access to a no-annual-fee credit card

online and digital banks canada

The top 4 online-only banks in Canada offer free online chequing accounts, savings accounts, or a combination thereof.

1. EQ Bank

If you are looking for the best non-promotional savings rates, EQ Bank is in the lead among traditional and online banks. It is also one of the best banks in Canada.

EQ Bank is the direct online banking arm of Equitable Bank. It has no physical locations; however, customers have access to a well-rated mobile app for online banking access.

They offer several accounts:

EQ Bank Savings Plus Account

Their high-interest savings account comes with no monthly fees, unlimited free transactions, and no minimum balance.

Although it is a savings account, the EQ Bank Savings Plus functions as a hybrid between savings and chequing, allowing you to send unlimited free Interac e-Transfers, free electronic fund transfers, free bill payments, deposit mobile cheques, and earn a standard high interest rate.

The interest is calculated daily and paid out monthly.

EQ Bank GICs

They offer high-interest guaranteed investment certificates with terms from 1-5 years. The minimum deposit to open a GIC account is $100.

EQ Bank TFSA and RSP

You can open a TFSA or RSP account and use savings or GICs to save towards a financial goal or for retirement. The EQ Bank TFSA offers one of the best TFSA savings rates in Canada.

EQ Bank US Dollar Account

This USD account pays a 2.00% interest rate and has no monthly fees. You can move USD funds between linked accounts in Canada, and for international money transfers, they offer this service via Wise right from your account dashboard.

EQ Bank now offers a Mastercard (debit card) that waives FX and ATM fees.

Read my detailed EQ Bank review for more details about their offerings, or open an EQ Bank Savings account.

2. Simplii Financial

Simplii Financial is the direct banking arm of CIBC and was formerly operated as PC Financial. It is one of the best online banks in Canada.

Simplii Financial clients can access a no-fee chequing account, savings, credit card, mortgages, investments, and more. Additionally, customers can use over 3,400 CIBC ATMs across Canada for free.

Simplii Financial High-Interest Savings

This savings account offers a standard rate of 0.40% and has no monthly account fees.

You also can choose to keep your funds in an RRSP or TFSA savings account at the same rate of 0.40%.

For a limited time,  you can earn a special 5.00% savings interest rate

Simplii Financial Chequing

Simplii’s no-fee chequing account is similar to Tangerine’s and offers no monthly fees, no minimum balance, unlimited transactions, and interest up to 0.10%.

In addition, you can send unlimited free Interac e-Transfers.

For a limited time, it also offers a $350 bonus when you open an account.

Look out for their $45 NSF fee, bank drafts ($7.50), and $1.50 (Canada) or $3 (outside Canada) when you use a non-CIBC ATM.

Simplii Financial also offers a credit card. You can read my review of the Simplii Financial Cash Back Visa Card.

Learn more about Simplii Financial in this detailed review.

3. Tangerine Bank

Tangerine is one of Canada’s top digital banks. A subsidiary of Scotiabank (one of the best Canadian banks), Tangerine offers a savings account, no-fee chequing, credit card, investments in registered and non-registered accounts, mortgage, HELOC, and business accounts.

The bank does not have branches, like many other online banks on this list.

Tangerine Savings Account

They offer 5 different savings accounts:

  • High-interest Savings Account (1.00%)
  • TFSA
  • RRSP
  • US$ Savings Account
  • RRIF Savings Account

Tangerine Chequing Account

Their no-fee chequing has all the bells and whistles you can look for in a chequing account, including no monthly fees, unlimited free daily transactions, free cheques (first book), and free access to 3,500 ATMs in Canada and 44,000 worldwide.

Additionally, you earn interest on your chequing account balance as follows:

  • $0.00 to $49,999.99: 0.01%
  • $50,000 to $99,999.99: 0.05%
  • $100,000 or more: 0.10%

Watch out for the $45 NSF fee, Interac e-Transfers, Canadian drafts ($10), $1.50 per ATM transaction outside the Tangerine or Scotiabank networks in Canada and $3 abroad.

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

This Tangerine credit card is one of the best no-fee cash back cards in Canada. It has no annual fees and offers a 2% cash back on up to 3 categories of spending, including groceries, restaurants, gas, entertainment, drugstore purchases, and more, plus 0.50% cash back on everything else.

With no limits on how much cash back you can earn, the Tangerine Money-Back Card is one of the best in its category.

Read more about the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card.

Tangerine also recently introduced the Tangerine World Mastercard. Similar to the Money-Back card, it offers up to 2% cash back and no annual fees. In addition, it also offers free mobile device insurance, free global Wi-Fi, rental car insurance, and several other perks.

Read my Tangerine World Mastercard review.

For more details about the investment options at Tangerine, check out my review of Tangerine Investment Funds.

All three online banks noted above are owned by some of Canada’s safest banks.

We should note that while we have made a distinction between online-only banks and their traditional counterparts, you can also do online banking directly with all the five largest banks, including CIBC, RBC, Scotiabank, BMO, and TD. But you may miss out on some perks.

4. Neo Financial 

Neo Financial is an online bank with a line of financial products, including Neo Money, Neo Invest, and Neo Credit. 

Neo Money is a hybrid bank account that combines the features of a chequing and savings account. It pays 2.25% interest on your balance with no monthly or yearly fees. 

Some features include free Interac e-Transfer transactions, free debit transactions and bill payments, and you can set up your paycheque to direct deposit in your account. 

There is no minimum deposit or account balance needed, and you get deposit insurance protection up to $100,000 from the CDIC. 

You can also apply for the Neo Financial Mastercard or the Neo Secured Mastercard

The Neo Financial Mastercard gives you cash back on all your purchases. You get 0.50% cash back across all purchases and an average of 5% cash back at Neo partners (up to $5,000 per month). On top of that, Neo offers 15% cash back on your first purchase at many retailers. 

The Neo Secured Mastercard has all the same features and benefits as the regular Neo Mastercard but is designed for those with poor or bad credit. You are guaranteed approval regardless of your credit score as long as you deposit a minimum of $50. 

Both credit cards include a $245 bonus when you sign up.

Neo Invest is a Robo-advisor service where money is invested on your behalf based on your investment objectives and risk tolerance. 

Read our full Neo Financial Review

5. Manulife Bank

Manulife has a digital bank called Manulife Bank, owned by The Manufacturer’s Life Insurance Company. They offer 4 bank accounts:

  • The All-In-One Banking Package
  • The Advantage Account (combined high-interest chequing and savings)
  • US$ High-Interest Savings
  • Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA)

All-In-One Banking Package

This account includes unlimited Interac eTransfers, bill payments, debit purchases, and cash withdrawals. It also includes a high-interest savings account, automated savings tools, a virtual financial assistant, and $10,000 travel insurance. 

As long as you save $100 each month, the $10 monthly fee will be rebated. 

Advantage Account

The Advantage Account is a combined chequing and savings account. It has no minimum balance requirement, but you need to keep at least $1,000 in your account for free unlimited everyday banking transactions. 

US$ High-Interest Savings Account

The US Dollar account pays a decent interest rate on your balance. You can transfer money between banks with no fees. There are also no monthly or yearly fees to keep this account open. 

Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA)

This TFSA has no setup or monthly account fees, no minimum balance, and no fees to deposit or withdraw money. You can hold cash savings or use GICs.

Manulife also offers two Visa credit cards, mortgages, loans, and investments. 

Best Online Banks in Canada..

Best Online Banks in Canada Owned by Credit Unions

The provision of free online bank accounts is not limited to digital banks owned by Canadian banks. Credit unions have also launched several of these virtual banks as a way to increase their customer base beyond their province of residence.

6. Motusbank

motusbank is one of the newer entrants into the online Canadian banking world. It is owned by Meridian Credit Union, an Ontario credit union.

motusbank offers a variety of accounts, including high-interest savings, chequing, investments, mortgages, and personal loans. Their customers have access to over 3,700 free ATMs across Canada through The EXCHANGE Network.

motusbank is federally incorporated and is a member of CDIC.

Read my complete motusbank review.

7. Alterna Bank

Alterna Bank is the direct banking arm of Alterna Savings Credit Union (based in Ontario). It has no branches and is a member of CDIC.

They offer no-fee e-chequing and high-interest savings accounts, as well as term deposits for registered and non-registered accounts, mortgage loans, and online investing through a robo-advisor.

Clients of AlternaBank can access thousands of surcharge-free ATMs via The EXCHANGE Network.

Read this Alterna Bank review.

8. Outlook Financial

Outlook Financial is a division of the Assiniboine Credit Union, a Manitoba credit union. Members of Outlook Financial also become members of Assiniboine Credit Union with voting rights.

They offer a high-interest savings account and GIC products that can also be utilized using registered accounts like the RRSP, TFSA, or RRIF.

Deposits are protected by the Deposit Guarantee Corporation of Manitoba (DGCM).

Read my Outlook Financial review.

9. AcceleRate Financial

Accelerate Financial is the online division of Crosstown Civic Credit Union, a Manitoba financial institution. It was launched in 2010.

They offer high-interest savings accounts, GICs, and investment options using RRSP, TFSA, and RRIF accounts. Deposits with the bank are 100% guaranteed by DGCM.

Read more about Accelerate Financial.

10. Achieva Financial

This online bank is owned by Cambrian Credit Union.

Similar to the other online banks owned by credit unions, Achieva Financial only offers a high-interest savings account and GICs with options to have these deposit products inside a TFSA, RRSP, or RRIF account if needed.

Given that their parent company is located in Manitoba, deposits in Achieva are 100% guaranteed by DGCM. This coverage protects your funds even if you are not a resident of Manitoba.

Read my Achieva Financial review.

online banks canada

11. Hubert Financial

Hubert Financial is a division of Sunova Credit Union. It offers high-interest rates on its savings account (happy savings), TFSA, RRSP, US Savings, mortgage loans, and a credit card.

Customer deposits are fully guaranteed without limits by DGCM.

Read my Hubert Happy Savings review.

Worthy Mentions

A few other virtual banks and financial institutions in Canada that offer high-interest savings and low fees (but are not credit union affiliated) include:

12. KOHO

Although it’s not a bank, KOHO ($20 bonus) is an app and prepaid Mastercard that earns you cash back on all purchases. Using a KOHO card is a great way to track and cap your spending, as you are only using the money that you have. 

You get up to 5% cash back when you make a purchase. 

The standard KOHO Mastercard is free, but if you want to earn more cash back, you can upgrade to KOHO Premium for $9 per month. 

Other features of KOHO include:

  • Credit Building: build your credit history for $7 to $10/month 
  • Earn Interest: earn interest on your spending and savings account when you set up direct deposit (up to 2% interest)

Read our full KOHO review

13. Motive Financial 

Motive Financial has two online-only bank accounts: the Cha-Ching Chequing Account and the Savvy Savings Account.  It is a division of the Canadian Western Bank.

Motive Cha-Ching Chequing Account

This chequing account offers free unlimited transactions, free Interac e-Transfers, 50 personalized cheques, and free withdrawals at the EXCHANGE Network ATMs.

It is completely free to use, and it pays a 0.25% interest rate on every dollar. 

Motive Savvy Savings Account

This savings account has no monthly fees and pays a high-interest rate on your balance. It includes 2 free monthly transactions, unlimited transfers between accounts, and free deposits. 

For investments, Motive also offers TFSAs, non-registered GICs, and RRSPs. 

Check out our Motive Financial review.

14. Oaken Financial 

Oaken Financial only offers a savings account and GICs, so if this is what you’re after, Oaken is perfect for you. 

Savings Account

Oaken offers one of the highest interest rates for savings accounts in Canada. This savings account has no fees and no minimum balance requirements, as well as unlimited free transactions. 

You can easily transfer your money to an Oaken GIC. 

GICs

Oaken offers GICs in registered or non-registered plans, with various terms ranging from 30 days to 5 years. GICs offered include TFSA, RSP, RIF, and commercial GICs. 

Read our Oaken Financial Review to learn more. 

15. Wealthsimple

Wealthsimple isn’t a bank, but they have a Spend & Save account that is completely free to use and requires no minimum balance. 

Like KOHO, Wealthsimple offers a prepaid Visa card which you can manage from the Wealthsimple app. You get 1% back in cash back for every dollar spent. 

You can open a savings account with Wealthsimple and earn 1.5% on your savings. 

Besides the spending and savings account, you can invest in stocks, ETFs, and crypto, or have their robo-advisors do it for you. Read our Wealthsimple Cash Card Review and Wealthsimple Trade Review

Lastly, you can also consider Wealth One Bank of Canada. For credit unions with a great online banking platform, consider Meridian Credit Union and Servus Credit Union.

Advantages of Online Banking in Canada

Here are some of the benefits you can expect from online banking:

1. Convenience: These days, you can conduct most of your transactions using your bank’s mobile app or by visiting their online platform. Easily pay bills, deposit cheques, transfer money between accounts, and more.

2. Better Rates: Online-only Canadian banks save on the overhead costs that come with managing physical locations. They redirect some of these savings to their customers by offering high interest rates on savings and term deposits. For example, a 2.50% savings account rate as opposed to 0.05%.

Many internet banks even pay you interest on your chequing account balance, which you won’t find with traditional banks.

3. Lower or No Fees: Canadians pay an average of $200 per year in banking fees. Many online banks do not levy a monthly account maintenance fee for chequing, and their service fees are often cheaper. Online-only banks also offer no-minimum balance banking.

4. Save Time: Hate waiting in line for services at a bank? Conduct your banking using your mobile app while you are on the go. If you need assistance, you can reach customer service by phone or chat.

5. Versatility: If you are using a budgeting or money management application, you can easily connect your online banking account to track your spending and stay on top of your finances.

6. Security: The funds you deposit in online-only banks are protected by Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC – similar to traditional banks) or the relevant credit union deposit guarantee corporation (similar to credit unions).

CDIC guarantees deposits up to $100,000 per category, while provincial deposit guarantee corporations may guarantee up to 100% of your deposits regardless of the amount.

Disadvantages of Online Banking

When you choose a digital bank, here are some of what you may miss:

1. Less Personalized Service: If you prefer to interact with a person face-to-face every time you make a deposit or withdrawal, a virtual bank does not provide this perk as it lacks brick-and-mortar branches.

2. Fewer ATMs or Automated Banking Machines (ABMs) as they are now referred to. Depending on your choice of an online bank, they may not have as many ATMs available in your area as the resident traditional banks.

When you use ATMs tied to other networks, you may have to pay. That being said, the online banks in this post are either owned by a bank or are related to an established credit union which makes this issue less of a problem.

3. Transaction Limitations: If you routinely conduct “complicated” banking transactions, e.g. bank drafts and wiring money abroad, or need a safety deposit box, an online bank is not for you.

4. Lack of an All-in-One Package: Some online banks only offer a savings account which means you will need to source additional services from another bank if required.

Are Online Banks in Canada Safe?

Digital banks in Canada offer a deposit guarantee similar to traditional banks.

The online-only banks that are federally incorporated (e.g. EQ Bank, Tangerine, and Simplii) are associated with the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation. This means your deposits with these banks are protected for up to $100,000.

For the virtual banks owned by credit unions, your deposits are either covered by CDIC (e.g. Alterna and motusbank) or are 100% guaranteed by the Deposit Guarantee Corporation of Manitoba (Achieva, Hubert, Accelerate, and Outlook).

Types of Online Bank Accounts in Canada

There are various online bank accounts available in Canada, including:

  • Chequing accounts
  • Savings accounts
  • Hybrid accounts (savings and chequing)
  • High Interest Savings Accounts
  • TFSA and RRSP savings accounts
  • Investment accounts
  • Youth or kid accounts
  • Senior accounts
  • Student accounts

How To Choose an Online Bank in Canada

Your choice of an online bank will depend on your banking needs.

If you are looking to replace your traditional bank entirely, i.e. move your savings, chequing, mortgage, investments, and more, Tangerine Bank and Simplii Financial stand out as the most practical options.

If you prefer to keep your current bank but want to take advantage of the superiorly better savings rates available in Canada, EQ Bank tops my list with its hybrid high-interest Savings Plus account, unlimited free transactions, GIC offerings, and a USD account that pays a great rate.

Online Banks in Canada 2023 Summary

BankEQ BankTangerineSimpliiNeo FinancialmotusbankAlternaOutlookAccelerateAchievaHubert
Savings AccountsYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Chequing A/CNoYesYesNoYesYesNoNoNoNo
Monthly feeNoneNoneNoneNoneNoneNoneNoneNoneNoneNone
HISA rate2.50%-3.00%1.00%0.40% (5% promo)2.25%2.50%2.50%3.35%3.25%3.25%3.25%
InvestmentsGICs, cashGICs, index fundsGICs, mutual fundsETFsGICsGICsGICsGICsGICsGICs
Investment AccountsRSP, TFSA, Non-RegisteredRRSP, TFSA, non-RegRRSP, TFSA, non-RegRRSP, TFSA, non-RegTFSA, RRSP, non-regTFSA, RRSP, non-regTFSA, RRSP, RRIFTFSA, RRSP, RRIFTFSA, RRSP, RRIFTFSA, RRSP
Physical locationsNoneNoneNoneNoneNoneNoneNoneNoneNoneNone

All the online banks on this list can help you save on fees, and their savings rates generally exceed what is available at the big banks as of this writing.

Best Online Bank Accounts in Canada FAQ

Can I open a virtual bank account in Canada?

Yes, you can open a virtual or online bank account by visiting the bank’s website and completing their application. Typically, you will need to provide your basic personal information and social insurance number.

Which Canadian bank has the best online banking?

EQ Bank offers the best online banking in Canada if you want to open a high-interest savings or hybrid account. For free online chequing accounts, the best options are Simplii and Tangerine.

How safe are online-only banks in Canada?

The best online-only banks in Canada are as safe as the traditional banks, and you can trust them with your money. Your deposits in these banks are also protected by the CDIC up to $100,000 per insured category.

What is the best virtual bank account in Canada?

The best virtual bank in Canada for savings is EQ Bank. For general banking, the best virtual banks are Simplii Financial and Tangerine Bank.

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Author

Gravatar for Enoch Omololu, MSc (Econ)
Enoch Omololu, MSc (Econ)

Enoch Omololu is a personal finance expert and a veterinarian. He has a master’s degree in Finance and Investment Management from the University of Aberdeen Business School (Scotland) and has completed several courses and certificates in finance, including the Canadian Securities Course. He also has an MSc. in Agricultural Economics from the University of Manitoba and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Ibadan. Enoch is passionate about helping others win with their finances and has been writing about money matters for over a decade. He has been featured or quoted in The Globe and Mail, Winnipeg Free Press, Wealthsimple, CBC News, Financial Post, Toronto Star, CTV News, Canadian Securities Exchange, Credit Canada, National Post, and many other personal finance publications. You can learn more about him on the About Page.

His top investment tools include Wealthsimple and Questrade. He earns cash back on purchases using KOHO, monitors his credit score for free using Borrowell, and earns interest on savings through EQ Bank.

13 thoughts on “Canada’s Best Online Banks for January 2023”

  1. Gravatar for Afolabi Adewale

    Great article. There are some other entrants like Koho and WealthSimple. They basically provide an hybrid savings+chequing account with the convenience of a prepaid Visa card.

  2. Gravatar for Laurice

    Doc,

    Do you have a similar article on the list of virtual banks, on a yearly basis? When did virtual banks start?

    Thanks!

    • Gravatar for Enoch Omololu

      @Laurice: No, I don’t. I did a quick search online and couldn’t find a definitive list there either. Sorry.

  3. Gravatar for Kenneth Scaddan

    This is from Tangerine dated June 2, 2020

    Not as happy with them as I used to be. Do you know if any of the other online banks are moving to this kind of ….. um.. Terms of Service?

    Here’s a summary of the change:

    We’re clarifying your responsibility to review your Account activities regularly. The new clause requires you to notify us of any errors, irregularities, or unauthorized transactions immediately. Effective July 1, 2020, if you see an irregularity from a previous month and don’t notify us within 30 days from whichever is earlier of (a) the date you actually saw the irregularity or (b) the 15th day of the current month, we’ll deem your Account activities to be accurate and authorized by you, and you’ll have no claim against us for the irregularity. Previously, you had to notify us within 30 days of the date of the Account Statement or the transaction date.

  4. Gravatar for Mo

    Thanks for the great content as always! I’m currently with Tangerine but they don’t offer RESP, I also use CIBC but they’re not forward thinking at all, it’s so restrictive, I have to call in to deposit money into an investment fund, unlike Tangerine where I can simply do an online transfer. I also have to keep a minimum balance in my chequing with CIBC to avoid monthly fees.
    So I’m looking for a great bank with no chequing fees that offers RESP and also one for Business account. Unfortunately, Tangerine doesn’t offer these, otherwise I would be content to do all my banking with them

  5. Gravatar for David Johnston

    My personal financial set-up:
    1. EQ Bank for 2.00% savings account for job pay deposits, working capital and no fee interacc transfers (how I pay family and friends $). EQ is CDIC insured;
    2. 2 credit cards (one of each, M/C and VISA): Rogers Bank M/C (high rewards) as primary card and Home Trust VISA for the periodic US$ purchases (best USD exchange rate);
    3. Questrade for investment funds: margin, RRSP and TFSA accounts
    I don’t need an ATM card or cheques. I haven’t used either in years. I pay everything on my high cash back Rogers Bank M/C and pay the account balance automatically each month. Excess EQ Bank cash gets swept periodically to Questrade for active self-directed investment management.
    4. Digital applications submitted when home mortgage renews; this goes to a mortgage broker. I don’t care who lends me the money; I just want the lowest interest rate. If the lender goes under, good (? – maybe they’ll lose track of my mortgage then? (no likely)).

    There is no need for bricks and mortar banks anymore (and their daily 10-4 M-F hours). This “feeling” that people need their big 5 bank is a fallacy. People used to feel the same way about Sears Roebuck, but they appear to be getting by just fine without them.

    By the way, about time (Ontario, Sep 2020) schools will be introducing personal finances to school curriculum. Inane that schools teach and train students for careers and then they don’t know how to manage the money they make and borrow, frittering away a lot of it. Governments can come around eventually; might take 50 years, but …..

    • Gravatar for Enoch Omololu

      @David: You have a great set up! Interesting to hear about Ontario’s new personal finance curriculum. That’s great news…hopefully the idea will spread to other provinces too.

  6. Gravatar for John Muto

    In your article on the best online banks in Canada in 2021 you did not review LBC – Laurentian Bank of Canada. Could you tell me why?

    And do any online banks offer a savings account in US dollars for individual investors?

    Many thanks.

    • Gravatar for Enoch Omololu

      @John: Can’t remember a specific reason for not including LBC at the time of writing the post…many others are not listed either. I focused on the most popular ones with a combination of factors that made them stand out.

      For personal U.S. savings, you could check Tangerine and Manulife bank.

  7. Gravatar for Jack

    Hi, you should include if these online banks are available in Quebec. Most of them are not, to my disappointment.

    • Gravatar for Enoch Omololu

      @Jack: Good point…I will make a note of this when next the article is updated.

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For GIC terms equal to one year, simple interest is calculated on a per annum basis and paid at maturity. EQ Bank GICs are non-redeemable.