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 have 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) among Canadians definitely has some correlation to 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 as well also offer cash bonuses on sign-up and no-fee, interest-earning, chequing accounts.

 

EQ Bank Ratings Summary

4.8/5!

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.

 

About EQ Bank

EQ Bank is a trademark of Equitable Bank, a federally regulated Schedule I bank with over 600 employees and $25 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 Accounts

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 2.30%*. The interest rate of 2.30%* 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 2.30%*. Interest is calculated daily and paid out monthly.
  • Zero Minimum Balance
  • Zero Monthly Fees
  • Five Free Interac e-Transfers® per month
  • 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)

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, setup recurring or pre-authorized transfers and bill payments, deposit cheques, etc.

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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 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: 2.35%
  • 6 months: 2.40%
  • 9 months: 2.45%
  • 1 year: 2.91%
  • 2 years: 3.30%
  • 3 years: 3.35%
  • 4 years: 3.40%
  • 5 years: 3.60%

A summary of the great perks offered by EQ Bank’s GICs include:

  • Competitive Interest Rates
  • No-Fee Banking
  • Mobile Banking App
  • Real-Time Updates and a Contact Center that is available 7 days a week (8am – 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.

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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 (October 11, 2018):

  • EQ Bank: 2.30%* (current best all-year rate)
  • Implicitly Financial: 2.10%
  • Alterna Bank: 2.05%
  • Tangerine Bank: 1.10% (Promotional rate of 3% for 6 months)
  • Wealthsimple: 1.70%
  • Zag Bank: 1.65%
  • Oaken Financial: 1.50%
  • Motive Financial: 1.50%
  • ICICI Bank: 1.35%
  • Simplii Financial: 1.25%
  • RBC: 1.05%
  • Scotiabank: 1.05%
  • CIBC: 1.05%
  • TD: 0.50%

Is EQ Bank Safe?

Equitable Bank which owns EQ Bank is a member of Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC) and this means that your savings deposits at EQ Bank are insured for up to $100,000 should the bank ever go bankrupt.

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.

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.

 

What About My Other Banking Needs?

There are other reasons for 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.

Conclusion

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, some limits on daily electronic transactions, a lack of a TFSA account, and lack of a debit card or joint accounts.

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, the best non-promotional savings rate I found across Canada is offered by EQ Bank at 2.30%. 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 650 employees and over $26 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.

My EQ Bank Review
  • Savings Interest Rate
  • GIC Interest Rate
  • Banking Fees
  • Customer Service Options
  • Convenience
4.8

Summary

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

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