Bridgewater Bank Review: Savings Account Rates, GICs, and More

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by Enoch Omololu

Updated

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Looking for a high interest savings account (HISA) with truly “highly” rates in Canada? You’ll be hard-pressed to identify any that beat the inflation rate.

Although HISAs have generally become a joke, online banks like Bridgewater Bank, EQ Bank, and Canadian Tire Bank are still worth checking out.

A high interest savings account is handy when you need access to your principal, or are saving towards a short-term financial goal (e.g., vacation, home down payment, or wedding).

This Bridgewater Bank review covers its financial products, pros, cons, and alternatives.

Related: EQ Bank Canada Review.

Who is Bridgewater Bank?

Bridgewater Bank is a Schedule I Chartered bank based in Calgary. It was founded in 1997 and is owned by the Alberta Motor Association.

The bank offers a high-interest savings account, Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs), and alternative lending solutions.

As of this writing, it had over $2.2 billion in assets under management.

Bridgewater Bank Savings Account

Bridgewater Bank’s savings account is referred to as the Smart eSavings Account.

This high interest account offers a 1.20% rate and has the following features.

  • Minimum initial deposit of $25
  • One free withdrawal per month
  • Supports automatic pre-authorized contributions
  • Supports joint accounts
  • Eligible for Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC) insurance

Note that additional withdrawals cost $5 each.

Also, a $20 fee applies if your cheque is dishonoured or when a pre-authorized debit is reversed.

Related: Best TFSA Savings Rates.

Bridgewater Bank GICs

GICs secure investments that guarantee your principal and pay a fixed or variable return for the length of time your money is invested.

Bridgewater Bank offers short-term GICs (from 180-364 days) and long-term GICs (1-5 years).

GIC rates as of July 27, 2021, are:

  • 1 year GIC: 1.21%
  • 2 year GIC: 1.40%
  • 3 year GIC: 1.65%
  • 4 year GIC: 1.80%
  • 5 year GIC: 1.90%

The minimum deposit for GICs is $5,000.

Related: Best GIC Rates in Canada.

Bridgewater Bank Mortgages

Bridgewater Bank provides mortgage loans in British Columbia, Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.

The mortgage terms offered are for 1, 2, 3, and 5 years and the rates are fixed.

It also offers mortgage life and disability insurance.

How To Open a Bridgewater Bank Account

To open a Bridgewater Bank Smart eSavings Account, you must be:

  • Resident in Canada
  • The age of the majority in your province
  • Have a savings or chequing account with another Canadian bank

You will need to provide your social insurance number and a personal cheque from a bank account in your name during the sign-up process.

You can reach the bank by phone at 1-866-243-4301; email at [email protected], or by mail at Bridgewater Bank, Suite 150, 926 – 5th Avenue SW, Calgary, Alberta T2P 0N7.

Related: Best Mortgage Rates.

Downsides

  • Bridgewater Bank Smart eSavings Account is not available to residents of Quebec.
  • It has no physical branches you can walk into for in-person service.
  • You need a minimum deposit of $5,000 for GIC investments.
  • HISA and GICs are not offered for registered accounts (e.g., TFSA and RRSP).
  • It does not offer business accounts.
  • Its savings account allows only one free withdrawal per month.

Is Bridgewater Bank Safe?

Bridgewater Bank is a member of the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation which means your deposits may be protected up to $100,000.

It is a member of payments Canada and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

Also, the bank is regulated by the office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions.

Bridgewater Bank vs. EQ Bank vs. Canadian Tire Bank

For top savings rates in today’s low-interest environment, the following online banks are worth checking out:

1. EQ Bank

EQ Bank’s HISA is referred to as the Savings Plus Account and offers:

  • 1.25% interest rate on every dollar
  • Unlimited free debit transactions and bill payments
  • Unlimited free Interac e-Transfers
  • Free mobile cheque deposits
  • Supports joint accounts
  • No monthly account fee
  • CDIC insurance eligible

EQ Bank also has TFSA and RSP savings account, and GICs.

2. Canadian Tire Bank

While not as popular as its Triangle credit cards, Canadian Tire Bank has a high-interest savings account.

This HISA has a 1.25% interest rate and no monthly fees.

Canadian Tire Bank also offers GICs and a Tax-Free Savings Account.

Related: Best Stock Trading Apps.

What rates are you getting on your savings? Let us know in the comments.

 Bridgewater Bank Smart eSavingsEQ Bank Savings Plus AccountCanadian Tire Bank HISA
Monthly fee$0$0$0
HISA rate1.20%1.25% 1.25%
Free transactions1 free transfer to linked personal account/monthUnlimited free debits, bill payments, and electronic find transfersFree transfers to linked personal account
Free Interac e-TransfersN/AFree and unlimitedNA
Withdrawals fees$5 each per additional withdrawal in a calendar month$0N/A
CDIC insurance eligibleYesYesYes
Learn moreOpen an accountRead review
Bridgewater Bank review
4.5

Summary

Bridgewater Bank is an online bank in Canada. This Bridgewater Bank review covers its savings account, GIC rates, benefits, downsides, and alternatives.

Best Banking Offers this month

1.25% interest on every dollar.

Up to 125x interest more than other banks.

Combines savings and chequing account features.

No monthly fees and free unlimited transactions and Interac e-Transfers.

Free reloadable prepaid card and budgeting app.

Up to 2% cash back on all purchases and 10% at brand partners.

1.20% savings interest on your entire account balance.

Get 3-day early access to $100 of your paycheque.

Earn 2% unlimited cash back in three spending categories.

Get a $150 welcome bonus with $1,000 spending in first 2 months.

0.5% unlimited cash back on all other purchases.

Low balance transfer rate and insurance coverage benefits.

Credit score updated weekly and no fees!

Get your free credit report updated weekly.

Access to DIY credit monitoring.

Over 1.5 million members in Canada.

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Author

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Enoch Omololu

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 has a passion for helping others win with their personal finances and has been writing about money matters for over a decade. His writing has been featured or quoted in The Globe and Mail, Winnipeg Free Press, Wealthsimple, Financial Post, Toronto Star, Credit Canada, MSN Money, National Post, CIBC, and many other personal finance publications.

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.

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