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EQ Bank US Dollar Account Review 2023

EQ Bank’s U.S. Dollar Account will change the landscape for foreign currency bank accounts in Canada for the better.

If you earn income in USD or have searched for places to park your US dollars vacation fund or savings, you understand the struggle.

Some options offered by the big banks involve opening a USD chequing account and paying a monthly maintenance fee when you don’t keep a minimum balance. For example, I pay $4.95 monthly for my personal USD account when the balance falls below $3,000.

It’s not just the fees, though. I also don’t earn interest on this balance and haven’t earned any interest for a while.

Well… it paid 0.01% interest for a bit before scrapping it entirely. Not much of a difference, eh?

Even when you open a dedicated U.S. Dollar Savings Account, the interest rates are generally in the 0.01% to 0.25% range. And you better be prepared to pay a fee for most transactions.

It is this combination of dismal interest rates and transaction fees that goes hand-in-hand with the big bank offerings that make the EQ Bank US Dollar Savings Account exceptional.

This EQ Bank US Dollar Account review covers what you need to know.

What is EQ Bank?

EQ Bank is a popular online bank launched in 2016. It is owned by Equitable Bank, a Schedule I bank with more than $47 billion in assets.

EQ Bank has more than $7 billion in deposits and offers its customers access to innovative financial products, including:

  • Savings Plus Account: A hybrid account (chequing + savings) that pays high interest on every dollar and has no monthly fees. This free account also includes free Interac e-Transfers, unlimited bill payments, and free Electronic Funds Transfers.
  • TFSA Savings Account: Pays a high interest rate that is tax-free and has no monthly fees or minimum balance requirement.
  • RSP Savings Account: You can easily set up a retirement savings account and earn a competitive interest rate.
  • Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs): You can invest your money at guaranteed rates for a length of time that suits your needs (3 months to 10 years).

EQ Bank U.S. Dollar Savings Account

Similar to the CAD-denominated Savings Plus Account, the EQ Bank US Dollar Account offers a high-interest rate.

You will earn 2.00% interest on every dollar and pay no monthly fees.

What this means is that you no longer get to just hold USD (and avoid FX conversions and markups), but you can also watch your money grow over time.

Below is a summary of what you can expect from this account:

  • 2.00%* interest rate
  • No monthly account fees
  • Free and unlimited USD to USD transfers within Canada
  • Easy process to fund your USD account using Canadian dollars
  • Fast and competitively priced international money transfers using USD dollars via Wise (no hidden fees)
  • Eligible for CIDC protection

How To Open an EQ Bank US Dollar Account

The process for opening an EQ Bank US Dollar account is straightforward and takes only a few minutes.

To start, you must first open a free Savings Plus Account online.

The requirements for this account are that you must:

  • Be a Canadian resident
  • Be at least the age of the majority in your province
  • Have a Social Insurance Number

Once your EQ Bank Savings Plus Account is set up, you can easily open your US dollar Account directly from your dashboard.

EQ Bank is available using a web browser or their mobile app.

Benefits of an EQ Bank US Dollar Account

The main benefit of this account is that you earn interest rates that beat the big bank’s hands down.

Think 2.00%* vs. 0.25%!

In addition to this, transfers from your account to other accounts within Canada are free.

You can also send US dollars to recipients in the United States or abroad using Wise (formerly TransferWise), one of the cheapest ways to send money abroad.

Lastly, funds deposited in this USD bank account are eligible for Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC) protection.

Downsides of an EQ Bank USD Account

EQ Bank is not available in Quebec, so residents of this province are unable to take advantage of this service.

This account only applies to personal savings, which is a bummer as it would be nice to get similar great rates for USD business savings accounts.

Related: USD Account Options for Canadians.

EQ Bank USD Account vs. Alternatives

Wondering what the big five banks are offering on their US Dollar account? As of February 2023, here’s what I found:

  • TD U.S Daily Interest Chequing Account: 0.01%
  • RBC U.S. High Interest Savings: 0.40%
  • BMO U.S. Dollar Premium Rate Savings Account: 0.05%
  • CIBC US$ Personal Account: 0.25%
  • Scotia U.S. Dollar Daily Interest Account: Up to 0.05%

The Tangerine US Dollar Savings Account has a 0.10% interest rate.

All these rates pale in comparison to the 2.00% interest rate you get with an EQ Bank USD Account.


EQ Bank USD Account FAQs

How do I open an EQ Bank US Dollar Account?

You need to first open a free Savings Plus Account. When this is fully set up, you can then open your US Dollar Account. None of these steps involves a fee – nada!

What free transaction can you do with your EQ Bank US Dollar Account?

You can deposit USD or CAD from your linked Canadian financial institution and move CAD or USD between your EQ Bank savings accounts.

What transactions have fees?

When you transfer US dollars from your EQ Bank US Dollar Account to a US dollar account abroad, you use the Wise international money transfer service and pay a highly competitive fee.

Are US dollar funds protected by CDIC?

The USD money in your EQ Bank account is eligible for coverage up to $100,000 per category. The coverage combines the deposits you have across your individual Savings Plus Account, GICs, and US Dollar Account.

Top Banking Offers in March

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 monthly).

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

Access to a high-interest savings account.

Get a free chequing account and a $400 cash bonus

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

No monthly account or transaction fees.

$400 cash bonus when you deposit $100 for three months.

Get a high-interest rate on your savings (5.25% limited-time interest rate offer).

Best no-fee cashback credit card with a $100 bonus

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

Get a $100 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.

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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.

6 thoughts on “EQ Bank US Dollar Account Review 2023”

  1. Gravatar for J B

    Great review as always. I really appreciate your content. I was wondering, can you deposit US based checks directly into this account? e.g like a US treasury check.

    • Gravatar for Enoch Omololu

      @JB: Thanks for your feedback. Here’s what I found in EQ Bank’s FAQs:

      Can I deposit a US dollar cheque into my EQ Bank US Dollar Account?
      Unfortunately, you cannot use our remote cheque deposit feature to deposit funds into the EQ Bank US Dollar Account.

  2. Gravatar for De

    How can I access the US $? If I wanna withdraw the US cash do I have to transfer it to another institution US dollar account? It seems like I have to have an account with the regular bank anyway so what is the advantage of it outside of the interest rate?

    • Gravatar for Enoch Omololu

      @De: The main advantage of this US account is that you can use it to grow US funds you don’t need right away. Instead of earning 0.0.05% interest, you get a 1% return. That said, you may also need a US account at another bank for wire transfers, etc. if you are unable to pay your bill or vendor via Wise.

  3. Gravatar for Bill Hutton

    question….I am a Canadian that has $ in a Royal Bank account in the US.
    I use it to purchase US $ when the rate is favourable so I can golf and pay bills in US currency when I am there.
    Please tell me the benefits by switching to EQ….thx- B

    • Gravatar for Enoch Omololu

      @Bill: The main benefit of EQ is that if you have extra US funds (more than what you would normally spend within a certain timeframe e.g. when you are in the US/year) in your RBC account, you could move it to EQ and earn some interest. Moving the money back and forth would involve some work though.

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  • Earn 5.25% interest rate* on every dollar.
  • One of the best savings rates in Canada.
  • Access to a free chequing account with $400 bonus.
*Terms and conditions apply. Limited time offer.
Earn one of the highest savings rates in Canada! Get a 5.25% interest rate + $350 bonus with a free chequing account.*
*Terms and conditions apply. Limited time offer.