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EQ Bank Review 2023: Everything You Need To Know in January

EQ Bank is a Canadian online bank that offers a high-interest savings account and one of the best savings interest rates available today.

If you are tired of earning rock-bottom interest rates at the big banks, EQ Bank makes a difference with non-promotional high savings rates.

I have used the bank for a few years for my CAD and USD emergency fund savings and have had a positive experience.

In addition to EQ Bank, you can generally boost your savings by considering a digital bank.

These online bank savings accounts often give depositors access to no-fee and no-minimum balance banking with unlimited free transactions. Some also offer cash bonuses when you sign-up and no-fee, interest-earning, and chequing accounts.

My EQ Bank review covers all you need to know about the bank, including why I believe it is safe and legit.

Click to Get Your Best Savings Rate at EQ Bank

EQ Bank Accounts Review

EQ Bank offers seven accounts (registered and non-registered) that customers can use to earn better-than-average interest rates on their cash deposits.

They are:

1. EQ Bank Savings Account Plus Account

This is the high-interest savings account offered by EQ Bank, with a current interest offer of 2.50%*.

EQ Bank’s interest rate of 2.50%* significantly beats rates on savings accounts offered by the big banks and also easily ranks as one of the highest savings interest rates among their online-only banking competitors.

Some great features of the EQ Savings Plus Account:

  • High-Interest Rates: Currently 2.50%*. Interest is calculated daily and paid out monthly.
  • Zero Minimum Balance
  • Zero Monthly Fees
  • Unlimited Free Interac e-Transfers®
  • Unlimited Bill Payments
  • Free Electronic Funds Transfer
  • Free and Unlimited Day-to-Day Transactions
  • Free EQ Bank Card (prepaid Mastercard)
  • 10 Free Linked Accounts
  • Free Mobile Cheque Deposits
  • Mobile Banking App
  • Customer Service that is available 7 days a week (8am – midnight EST)
  • Cheap international money transfers

A major feature I like about EQ Bank’s savings account is its versatility. Although they do not offer a chequing account, you can use their savings accounts in many similar ways.

And the new EQ Bank Card converts this savings account into an excellent spending account with free ATM withdrawals, no FX fees, and 0.50% unlimited cash back on purchases.

From my experience, you can easily pay bills, transfer money between accounts at different banks, set up recurring or pre-authorized debits, deposit cheques, use electronic fund transfers, etc.

EQ Bank also offers joint savings accounts you can co-own with a spouse or friend.

GET YOUR BEST SAVINGS RATE AT EQ BANK

2. EQ Bank TFSA Savings Account

EQ Bank’s TFSA account offers one of the best interest rates on TFSAs in Canada. Interest earned on your TFSA is tax-free for life, and you can withdraw at any time without penalties.

For 2023, the TFSA contribution limit is $6,500.

Benefits of an EQ Bank TFSA include:

  • High-interest rate of 3.00%*
  • Zero account fees
  • No minimum account balance
  • CDIC protection up to $100,000
  • Easy online sign-up
  • Free withdrawals and tax-free returns
  • It supports recurring automatic contributions

If you have been eligible to contribute to a TFSA since its launch in 2009, your total contribution room in 2023 is $88,000.

EQ Bank also offers TFSA GICs, which are discussed in detail below.

OPEN AN EQ BANK TFSA

3. EQ Bank Non-Registered GICs

EQ Bank GICs are available in both registered and non-registered accounts.

A Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) is similar to a savings account and offers you a fixed percentage of interest that is paid on pre-determined dates.

One of the main differences between a savings account and a typical GIC is that for a GIC, you may not be able to withdraw your funds until maturity.

GICs are a great way to save towards short-term goals since they come with very low risk and offer guaranteed returns. You may also earn a bit more than when you just park your money in a savings account.

EQ Bank GIC rates are very competitive and beat what is currently offered by many of the competition. Here are their current GIC offers:

  • 3 months: 2.65%
  • 6 months: 3.60%
  • 9 months: 3.75%
  • 1 year: 5.00%
  • 2 years: 4.75%
  • 3 years: 4.55%
  • 4 years: 4.40%
  • 5 years: 4.30%

Some of the perks offered by EQ Bank’s GICs include the following:

  • Competitive High-Interest Rates
  • No-Fee Banking
  • A Versatile Mobile Banking App
  • Real-Time Updates and a Contact Center that is available 7 days a week (8 am-midnight EST)
OPEN AN EQ BANK GIC ACCOUNT

4. EQ Bank TFSA and RSP GICs

You can choose to hold GICs in your RSP and TFSA accounts instead of cash. EQ Bank’s TFSA and RSP GIC rates are:

  • 3 months: 3.10%
  • 6 months: 3.60%
  • 9 months: 3.75%
  • 1 year: 5.00%
  • 2 years: 4.75%
  • 3 years: 4.55%
  • 4 years: 4.40%
  • 5 years: 4.30%
OPEN A REGISTERED EQ BANK GIC

5. EQ Bank Retirement Savings Plans

EQ Bank’s Retirement Savings Plans (RSPs) are great if you are looking for a low-risk place to park some retirement savings.

Similar to an RRSP, taxes are deferred on your account until you start making withdrawals. You also get tax deductions for contributions you make to your RSP.

Your RRSP contribution room is determined by your earned income and any unused contributions you have carried forward from previous years.

The annual RRSP contribution limit for 2023 is 18% of your income, up to $30,780.

Some of the great features of an EQ Bank RSP Savings Account are:

  • High-interest rate of 3.00%*
  • Zero monthly account fees
  • No minimum balance requirement
  • CDIC protection up to $100,000
  • Easy online sign-up and access to a versatile mobile app
  • Supports recurring contributions
OPEN AN EQ BANK RSP ACCOUNT

6. EQ Bank Joint Account

EQ Bank has a joint savings account that allows you to team up with up to 3 other people.

This option is great for those who want to track and manage their finances with a friend, partner, spouse, or roommate while earning high-interest rates.

Your joint account enjoys the same benefits and features as the individual savings account, including a 2.00% interest rate, free and unlimited bill payments, Interac e-Transfers, and electronic fund transfers.

In addition, you can have up to a $500,000 maximum balance per customer.

7. EQ Bank US Dollar Account

You can earn a high-interest rate on your USD funds through the EQ Bank US Dollar Account.

Like its other offerings, this account has no monthly fees. It pays 2.00% interest on every dollar, and you can use it in conjunction with Wise to send cheap international money transfers.

The USD account can be used to transfer funds between Canadian bank accounts (both USD and CAD).

Fund transfers between the EQ Bank US Dollar Account and a US dollar account held abroad are also possible using the Wise service.

Learn more about what the US account offers in this detailed review.

EQ Bank Savings and GICs

How To Open an EQ Bank Savings Account

To open an account, you must be a Canadian resident, meet the minimum age of the majority in your province (at least 18 or 19), and have a Social Insurance Number (SIN).

You will need to provide a government-issued ID such as a driver’s license, passport, or permanent resident card.

If your government-issued photo ID does not show your current address, proof of address documents such as a recent utility bill, income tax assessment, or Canada Child Benefit statement may be required.

EQ Bank conducts a “soft” credit check during the sign-up process. This check does not affect your credit score.

Signing up for an account with EQ Bank is pretty easy, and you should be ready to start saving within a few minutes.

After opening your account, you can request an EQ Bank Card and enjoy free ATM withdrawals and 0.50% cash back on all purchases.

EQ Bank savings and GIC accounts are now available to residents of Quebec.

Is EQ Bank Safe?

Is EQ Bank safe for your money?

EQ Bank is a trademark of Equitable Bank. Equitable Bank is a member of the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC), which means your funds are eligible for deposit insurance, subject to maximum coverage limitations.

This coverage is generally up to $100,000 per insured category and per depositor.

CDIC insures GICs as well as long as they do not exceed a maturity term of 5 years. This coverage also extends to TFSA and RSP accounts.

The bank also uses 2-Factor Authentication to protect your account information.

Pros and Cons of EQ Bank

Pros

Free online bank account with unlimited transactions

Pays high interest rates on savings and GICs

CDIC deposit guarantee

Owned by a Tier 1 Canadian bank

Now in Quebec

Prepaid card offers cash back

Excellent customer service

No minimum balance is required

Cons

Prepaid card is not available in Quebec

No physical branches for in-person support

No ATM access

What is EQ Bank?

EQ Bank is a trademark of Equitable Bank, a federally regulated Schedule I bank with over 1,000 employees and $42 billion in assets under management. Equitable Bank was founded in 1970.

As an online-only bank, EQ Bank has no brick-and-mortar locations, resulting in lower operating costs. These savings translate into the high interest rates and no-monthly-fee accounts they can offer their customers.

EQ Bank has more than $7 billion in deposits.

EQ Bank vs. Tangerine vs Other Banks – Rates Comparison

When Canadians decide to bank with a digital bank, it is usually because they seek higher returns on their savings and/or they are fed up with paying ever-increasing chequing account fees.

Here’s a quick look at some of the best regular savings rates being offered by big banks and online-only banks as of January 16, 2022:

  • EQ Bank: Up to 2.50%*
  • Neo Financial: 2.25%
  • Tangerine Bank: 1.00%
  • Wealthsimple: 1.50%
  • ICICI Bank: 1.00%
  • Simplii Financial: 0.40% (5% promotional rate – see below)
  • RBC: 1.30%
  • Scotiabank: 1.60%
  • CIBC: 1.40%
  • TD: 0.05%

For short-term promotional rates, you can get higher rates until the end of April 2023 from Simplii as follows:

Simplii High-Interest Savings Account

simplii logo2

5.00%* rate until April 30, 2023

Unlimited debits and bill payments

Unlimited Interac e-Transfers

$350 cash bonus offer with a free chequing account

EQ Bank and Wise (Formerly TransferWise)

EQ Bank recently partnered with Wise so it could offer its customers access to cheaper international money transfer options.

Canadians lose billions of dollars annually in fees they pay to transfer money abroad. Using your EQ Bank Savings Plus account, you can now easily send money in 17 currencies to 46+ countries for less.

The real (mid-market) exchange rate is used, and the small upfront fee you pay to Wise is often up to 8 times cheaper than what you would pay to the big banks.

You can transfer up to $9,500 every 24 hours using EQ Bank and TransferWise

What About Your Other Banking Needs?

There are other reasons why you use a bank. For example, you may want to open a mutual fund account or trade stocks and ETFs. As such, EQ Bank is not a replacement for all your traditional banking needs.

The idea is to ensure your money is always working for you and that you can maximize your returns. EQ Bank is a great option for competitive savings and GIC interest rates for registered and non-registered accounts.

Saving up an emergency fund? Saving for a home down payment, wedding, or vacation? Want to invest the conservative portion of your investment portfolio in a GIC while getting the best returns possible? These are all scenarios where an EQ Bank account could serve you well.

Conclusion

Depending on your banking needs, banking with EQ Bank has its downsides. These downsides include a lack of access to a brick-and-mortar location if you are old school and a lack of a debit card.

None of these should concern you if you plan to use EQ Bank mainly for your general, TFSA, or RRSP savings. With EQ Bank Savings Plus, you get unlimited free transactions, and bill payments and this feature can help you save on banking fees.

EQ Bank Canada FAQs

Who Owns EQ Bank?

EQ Bank is owned by Equitable Bank, a federally regulated Schedule I Bank with over 1,000 employees and over $42 billion in total assets under management. Equitable Bank is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Equitable Group and is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange as EQB.

Does EQ Bank Offer a TFSA Account?

Yes, EQ Bank has a TFSA savings account that holds both cash and GICs.

Does EQ Bank Offer Mortgages?

You can apply for a mortgage via the EQ Bank mortgage marketplace and get fixed and variable-rate mortgages at competitive rates.

What is the current EQ Bank Promotion?

EQ Bank’s cashback bonus promotion is no longer available. That said, you could get a $20 bonus when you sign up using a valid personal EQ Bank promotional referral link and make the required deposits.

Does EQ Bank have a Debit Card?

EQ Bank now offers a prepaid Mastercard that works like a debit card. The EQ Bank Card has no monthly fees, and it waives ATM and FX fees.

Does EQ Bank Offer a Credit Card?

No, EQ Bank does not offer a credit card.

Does EQ Bank have bank drafts?

No, EQ Bank does not offer bank drafts.

Does EQ Bank have cheques?

While you can deposit cheques to your EQ Bank savings account using the mobile app, EQ Bank does not offer its own cheques.

Does EQ Bank offer business accounts?

You cannot open a business savings or investment account with EQ Bank.

Does EQ Bank have an App?

Yes, EQ Bank has an app that makes your online banking easy on the go. They recently relaunched the app on App Store and Google Play with new and innovative features, including fingerprint ID and facial recognition sign-in and an overhauled user-friendly dashboard.

What are EQ Bank’s GIC Rates?

They offer some of the best GIC rates available in Canada today. You can check them out.

Does EQ Bank have a Referral Program?

EQ Bank occasionally offers its customers an opportunity to earn cash bonuses when they refer friends to sign up. For example, they may offer $20 cash bonuses per friend or family that sign up using your code.

Does EQ Bank Offer an RRSP?

EQ Bank recently introduced Retirement Savings Plan Accounts you can use to save towards retirement, similar to an RRSP. It holds both savings and GICs.

How is EQ Bank Able to Offer Higher Interest Rates?

Same reason that other digital banks can offer better rates than the big banks – lower overhead costs. Since they do not have to build or manage branches across the country, overhead costs are greatly reduced. These savings are passed on to customers through higher interest rates and no monthly fees.

Is EQ Bank in Quebec?

Yes, EQ Bank launched in Quebec in December 2022.

Related:

Top Banking Offers in January

Get a top-rated chequing account and up to a $400 bonus

Unlimited debits and Interac e-Transfer transactions.

Monthly account fee is waived if eligible (and 5 ATM fees rebated/mo.).

Get up to $400 cash bonus when you meet minimum requirements.

Access a high-interest savings account.

Get a free chequing account and a $350 cash bonus

Unlimited debits, online bill payments and Interac e-Transfer transactions.

No monthly account or transaction fees.

$350 cash bonus when you deposit $100 for 3 months.

Get a high-interest rate on your savings (5.00% limited-time interest rate offer).

Best no-fee cashback credit card with a $150 bonus

Earn 2% unlimited cash back in three spending categories - no annual fees!

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

0.5% unlimited cash back on all other purchases.

1.95% low-interest balance transfer rate and insurance coverage benefits.

Retirement 101 eBook - 3D

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.

35 thoughts on “EQ Bank Review 2023: Everything You Need To Know in January”

  1. Gravatar for Finsavvy panda

    It’s great that they still have 24/7 customer support!

    All the points you listed seem really attractive other than the fact they don’t have a physical location haha. So does that mean the customer won’t be able to pull physical money out? I’m thinking too old school because I haven’t banked with anyone else other than the bigger banks! But hopefully that will change soon!

    Thanks so much for the awesome review!

    • Gravatar for Enoch Omololu

      @Finsavvy Panda: Yes, EQ Bank does not have physical branches, but they give you FREE unlimited electronic transfers to your bank accounts and for paying bills. This way you can use your banks’ ATM to withdraw any funds you need in cash.

      • Gravatar for fin$avvypanda @ finsavvypanda.com

        This is great news!

        Thanks for sharing 🙂

  2. Gravatar for Pratham Goyal

    Ok now I’m stuck. I fairly new everything related to banks, investments and Canada. I want to make the best out of my money. I’m willing to invest 100-200 dollars(maybe more in future) a month. What should I choose this or wealth simple?(smart savings plan) Currently I have a savings account in TD. Btw love your blog.

  3. Gravatar for Adriani

    Hello there,

    How can i deposit money from the EQ bank if they do not have a physical location.

    Thanks

    • Gravatar for Enoch Omololu

      @Adriani: Thanks for your inquiry – here’s the answer I received from EQ Bank:

      Once you set up your EQ Bank Savings Plus Account, you can move money between your EQ Bank account and Linked Accounts from another Financial Institution. Alternatively, you can send Interac e-Transfers® to and from your EQ Bank account.

  4. Gravatar for Kevin Hawerchuk

    Could you please indicate the exact procedure on how to transfer funds from the EQ savings account, back into your linked bank account? I can see no direct method to do this! Very frustrating and confusing.

    • Gravatar for Adriani

      I need an answer to that question as well.

    • Gravatar for Enoch Omololu

      @Kevin: Here’s the answer I received from EQ Bank re. your query:

      1. At the top of dash board, click on “Pay & Transfer”

      2. In the “From” field, select your EQ account

      3. In the “To” field, select the Linked Account you’d like to transfer the funds to

      a. If you’d like access to the funds immediately, there’s always the option to use one of the 5 free Interac e-Transfers®. Simply select “Send Interac e-Transfers®”.

      4. Enter the Amount you’d like to transfer

      5. Select which date you’d like to transfer the funds on

      6. Hit “Submit” and you’re done!

      Note: Funds should be available in a few business days.

  5. Gravatar for Debbie H

    “Current” interest rate EQ Bank is 2.3%, but it isn’t locked in like some of the promotional rates offered, e.g. Tangerine for 6 mos. Perhaps the rate will drop to 1% next month – is there any kind of time guarantee offered?

    • Gravatar for Enoch Omololu

      @Debbie: The EQ Bank rate is non-promotional and has been at the 2.30% level for several months. None of the rates shown on this page are ‘locked.’ The banks update them as the overall interest rates change…however, EQ Bank has been one of the most steady rates so far…

    • Gravatar for kim

      Rather place your money in a mutual fund – much higher interest and you can get your money back anytime.

      • Gravatar for Enoch Omololu

        @Kim: Not really. This will depend on your needs. If you are saving for a short-term financial goal, it could be very risky to put your money in a mutual fund as it exposes you to a lot more market risks. For longer-term investing, you could definitely use mutual funds/ETFs as long as you invest in line with your risk tolerance.

  6. Gravatar for Peter Martin

    Unfortunately EQ Bank will only allow you to move money between a limited number of financial institutions – the big players. If your bank (like Alterna) is not on their list, you are out of luck. When I called, I was told that they do update the list but it could take “a long time” before my bank was added to the list. So, is it worthwhile to open an account at one of the big banks, then change auto deposit processes in order to move the money? Probably not.

    • Gravatar for Enoch Omololu

      EQ Bank is best when you plan to save money for a medium-long term goal and when you are trying to get a better rate than what is available through the big banks. If you are already banking with another online-only bank like Alterna or Tangerine, it’s not as advantageous…unless of course if EQ Bank’s rate is much higher and worth the hassle.

      • Gravatar for Jl

        Alterna is an online-online bank? I’ve seen their branches prominently in downtown. Like College & Bay.

  7. Gravatar for yettie

    I recently decided to move our emergency funds to Tangerine for the 2.5% interest rate. The rates with the big 5 banks is so low, it’s almost laughable.

    Thanks for the Wealthsimple blog shout-out. It’s much appreciated.

    • Gravatar for Enoch Omololu

      @Yettie: Yes, savings account rates with the big banks are pretty much 0% right now.

      And, you are welcome!

  8. Gravatar for susanne talkington

    Hi Enoch
    I find the information you post in your blogs easy to understand. You cover every imaginable question so thoroughly. Keep the topics coming. Glad I signed up to receive your newsletters. I’m hooked.
    Interested in your insights on TFSA’s.
    Cheers
    Susanne

    • Gravatar for Enoch Omololu

      @Susanne: Thanks for your feedback. I’m glad to be of help!

  9. Gravatar for Victor

    Do you know why EQ Bank not offers in Quebec?

  10. Gravatar for Bob Chenier

    Do you think EQ Bank would be useful for estate planning ie. Joint accounts of 4 people, and beneficiaries with their TFSA?
    Also do you know if RRIF accounts will be offered in the future.
    Thanks,
    Bob

    • Gravatar for Enoch Omololu

      @Bob: That’s an interesting way to think about the account. One thing to note is that any of the account holders can withdraw money from it at any time, so you will all need to be on the same page. Also, it wouldn’t work for a TFSA as that needs to be individual. I haven’t read anything to indicate that EQ Bank will offer RRIFs in the near future.

  11. Gravatar for Sam

    While EQ Bank does not currently offer a TFSA savings account, they now offer joint savings accounts you can co-own with a spouse or friend.

    GET YOUR BEST SAVINGS RATE AT EQ BANK
    2. EQ Bank Tax-Free Savings Account

    So you state that EQ bank does not currently offer a TFSA account, then in the next paragraph you discuss the EQ Bank Tax-Free savings account!

    Think you need to update!

  12. Gravatar for Enoch Omololu

    @Sam: True that! It is now updated. 😉

  13. Gravatar for Anna

    Hi there, if I am not quite ready to invest yet, should I open an EQ bank savings account or TFSA? Thanks!

    • Gravatar for Enoch Omololu

      @Anna: If you have TFSA contribution room, an EQ Bank TFSA savings account can work while you decide on how you’d like to invest your funds later. Monies can be withdrawn from a TFSA at any time without penalty and you can re-contribute what you withdraw in future years.

  14. Gravatar for Abdullah Albarrak

    Hello, I have a few questions if you don’t mind me asking.
    1) As an international student, can I open an account, or do I need to be a permanent student?
    2) Is having a SIN mandatory?
    3) Can I have an EQ savings account and then link it up with a simplii chequing account for when I need to use a debit card?

    Thank you!

    • Gravatar for Enoch Omololu

      @Abdullah:
      1) Yes, you can open an account as an international student (it’s the same as other Canadian banks). They will ask for proof of residency (i.e. your student permit, etc.)
      2) Yes, I believe having a SIN is mandatory (don’t quote me on that since it has been a while since I opened my account). Financial institutions will generally ask for this information especially if you don’t already have an established credit history in Canada.
      3) You can link your EQ Bank account to other banks and move money easily back and forth. I checked and Simplii is on the list of banks you can link to.

  15. Gravatar for Terry

    One drawback with EQ Bank is they lump Savings account and GIC investment together as 1 insured category so if you wanted to invest $100,000 in each of those you would only be covered for $100,000 not $200,000 through CDIC

  16. Gravatar for Dennis

    Do you know why EQ Bank is not offers in Quebec?

    • Gravatar for Enoch Omololu

      @Dennis: Most likely due to differences in regulations compared to other parts of Canada. I think they will soon launch in Quebec though.

  17. Gravatar for Karen

    Hello – at the date of your post (Nov 4, 2022), EQ Bank was offering 5.1% for a one year GIC. But I just noticed today (November 17, 2022), EQ’s rates have gone done to 5.05% for a 1 year or longer GIC. I wonder why that is?

    • Gravatar for Enoch Omololu, MSc (Econ)

      @Karen: The GIC rates do change…sometimes even weekly. Whatever rate you lock in is what you get for the term.

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  • Earn 5.00% interest rate* on every dollar.
  • One of the best savings rates in Canada.
  • Access to a free chequing account with $350 bonus.
*Terms and conditions apply. Limited time offer.
Earn one of the highest savings rates in Canada! Get a 5.00% interest rate + $350 bonus with a free chequing account.*
*Terms and conditions apply. Limited time offer.