EQ Bank is a Canadian online bank that offers a high-interest savings account and one of the best savings interest rates available today.
It’s no secret that interest on savings accounts has been depressed since the last financial crises. After a decade of rock bottom interest and inflation rates due to weak global economies, real returns on cash deposits have either been negative or at best insignificant.
The increasing adoption rates of digital banks (like EQ Bank and Tangerine) among Canadians definitely has some correlation with the better savings interest they offer compared to the big banks.
In addition to the better rates, the savings accounts often also give depositors access to no-fee and no-minimum balance banking with unlimited free transactions. Some digital banks also offer cash bonuses on sign-up and no-fee, interest-earning, chequing accounts.
My EQ Bank review is positive and covers all you need to know about the bank including why I believe the bank is safe and legit.
EQ Bank Ratings Summary
This is based on assessing several factors including the Interest Rates offered on Savings and GIC accounts, Banking Fees, Customer Service Options, Convenience, and Overall Value.
Who Is EQ Bank?
EQ Bank is a trademark of Equitable Bank, a federally regulated Schedule I bank with over 900 employees and $34 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 are what translate into the high-interest rates and no-monthly-fee accounts they are able to offer their customers.
EQ Bank Account Review
EQ Bank offers 2 main accounts that give customers a chance to earn better-than-average interest rates on their cash deposits. They are:
1. EQ Bank Savings Plus Account
This is the high-interest savings account offered by EQ Bank, with a current interest offer of 1.70%*. The interest rate of 1.70%* 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 include:
- High-Interest Rates: Currently 1.70%*. 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
- 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 a lot of similar ways, including to pay bills, transfer money between accounts at different banks, set up recurring or pre-authorized transfers and bill payments, deposit cheques, etc.
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.
EQ Bank Joint Savings Account
EQ Bank recently introduced 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 together 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 1.70% interest rate, free and unlimited bill payments, Interac e-Transfers and electronic fund transfers.
In addition, you can have up to $500,000 maximum balance per customer.
How To Sign-Up for an EQ Bank 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, a proof of address document 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.
EQ Bank savings and GIC accounts are not available to residents of Quebec.
2. EQ Bank GICs
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’s GICs have interest rates that are very competitive and they beat what is currently on offer by the competition. Here are their current GIC offers:
- 3 months: 1.80%
- 6 months: 1.50%
- 9 months: 1.50%
- 1 year: 1.50%
- 2 years: 1.50%
- 3 years: 1.50%
- 4 years: 1.60%
- 5 years: 1.80%
Some of the great perks offered by EQ Bank’s GICs include:
- 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)
Signing up for an account with EQ Bank is pretty easy, and you should be ready to start saving within a few minutes.
EQ Bank vs. Tangerine & Others – Rates Comparison
When Canadians decide to bank with a digital bank, it is usually because they are seeking higher returns on their savings and/or they are fed up with paying ever-increasing chequing account fees.
Here’s a quick look at the best savings rates on offer by some big banks and online-only banks as of today (August 8, 2020):
- EQ Bank: 1.70%* (currently one of the best all-year rate)
- Tangerine Bank: 0.20% (Promotional rate of 2.50% for 5 months)
- Wealthsimple: 0.90%
- Motive Financial: 1.25% to 1.75%
- ICICI Bank: 0.50%
- Simplii Financial: 0.20%
- RBC: 0.05%
- Scotiabank: 0.15%
- CIBC: 0.10%
- TD: 0.05%
Is EQ Bank Safe?
EQ Bank is a trademark of Equitable Bank. Equitable Bank is a member of Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC) and this 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. The maximum GIC term offered by EQ Bank is 5 years.
EQ Bank and Transferwise
EQ Bank recently partnered with Transferwise in order to offer its customers access to cheaper international money transfer options.
Canadians lose billions of dollars every year 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 Transferwise 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 TFSA, RRSP, RESP or other registered and non-registered investment accounts. 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.
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.
Investing accounts like RRSP and TFSA can remain at your other bank or if you want to save on fees on these as well, you can try the services of a Robo-Advisor.
Depending on your banking needs, banking with EQ Bank comes with its own downsides. These downsides include a lack of access to a brick-and-mortar location if you are old school, a lack of a TFSA account, and debit card.
None of these should be of much concern to you if you plan to use EQ Bank mainly for your general savings. As of this review date, one of the best non-promotional savings rates I found across Canada is offered by EQ Bank at 1.70%. This better rate speaks for itself and it means more money in your pocket.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who owns EQ Bank?
EQ Bank is owned by Equitable Bank which is a federally regulated Schedule I Bank that has over 900 employees and over $32 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?
No, EQ Bank does not currently offer a TFSA account.
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, as well as an overhauled user-friendly dashboard.
Does EQ Bank have a debit card?
No. However, their savings account works similar to a chequing account in that you can deposit cheques, set-up direct deposits, pre-authorized debits, bill payments, Electronic Funds Transfers, and more.
What are EQ Bank’s GIC rates?
They offer some of the best GIC rates available in Canada today. You can check them out here.
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 $25 cash bonuses per friend or family that sign up using your code.
How is EQ Bank Able To Offer Higher Interest Rates?
Same reason that other digital banks are able to 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 in the form of higher interest rates and no monthly fees.
EQ Bank Review 2020: Best Savings Account Rate in Canada?
Savings Interest Rate
GIC Interest Rate
Customer Service Options
EQ Bank is a Canadian online bank that offers a high-interest savings account and one of the best savings interest rates available today. This EQ Bank review covers everything you need to know!