This post is sponsored by Innovation Credit Union. All opinions are mine.
Innovation Credit Union is one of the largest financial cooperatives in Saskatchewan and is on track to become federally regulated later this year.
It offers a complete suite of financial products including a no-fee chequing account, savings, mortgages, and investments on both registered and non-registered accounts.
If you are looking to cut your banking fees in Canada and avoid monthly chequing fees of up to $30, Innovation Credit Union’s no-fee bank account may be just what you need!
This Innovation Credit Union review covers its offerings, how to open an account, and whether it is safe.
What Is Innovation Credit Union?
Innovation Credit Union is based in Saskatchewan where it ranks as the third-largest credit union based on asset size. It is also the 23rd largest credit union in Canada with over $3 billion in assets under administration as of the fourth quarter of 2020.
It was established in 2007 following a merger between Southwest Credit Union and BCU Financial.
This credit union has more than 57,000 members and 24 locations with advice centres and branches, with financial experts in places like Saskatoon, Regina, Swift Current, North Battleford, Meadow Lake, and several others.
In 2018, a majority of Innovation Credit Union members voted in favour of it becoming a federal credit union. This means diversifying outside of Saskatchewan borders, with access to more members across Canada.
The two only other federal credit unions in Canada are Uni Financial Cooperation and Coast Capital Savings.
Innovation Credit Union Financial Products
Innovation offers a wide variety of financial services and products to personal, business, and agriculture clients.
For everyday personal banking clients, two of its more popular products are:
- No-Fee Bank Account
- Fresh Start Mortgage
Innovation Credit Union No-Fee Bank Account
This fee-free account can save you up to $360 per year in monthly chequing fees, compared to the big banks.
- No monthly account fees
- No minimum balance requirements
- Free and unlimited Interac® e-Transfers
- Access to thousands of ‘ding free’ ATMs across Canada
You can easily open an account online if you are 18 years of age or older, have a Social Insurance Number (SIN), and are resident in Canada (excluding Quebec).
Members can switch their current chequing account and online payments at another financial institution to Innovation using ClickSWITCH.
For a limited time (until September 30, 2021), when you open a new Innovation No-Fee Bank Account online, you can get a $200 cash bonus.
To qualify for this welcome offer, you must:
- Use the promo code SIGNUP200.
- Setup a recurring direct deposit of $100 or more with at least two deposits within the first 90 days.
- Deposit at least $5 into your account to cover the membership cost.
Innovation Fresh Start Mortgage
Looking to buy your first home? An Innovation mortgage offers competitive rates even if you are new to Canada.
A Fresh Start Mortgage is for you if you:
- Are self-employed
- Are a newcomer to Canada
- Have been rejected for a mortgage loan by a bank
Innovation looks at more than your credit score when assessing your eligibility for a mortgage.
With the competitive rates they offer, you can save thousands of dollars in interest fees over the life of your mortgage loan.
Both variable and fixed-rate mortgages are available, and you can also take advantage of the federal government’s First Time Home Buyer Incentive.
As a member, you qualify for quarterly member cash dividends.
You can apply for an Innovation mortgage online or call 1-866-446-7001 to speak with an advisor.
Other Innovation Financial Products
For personal banking, Innovation also offers:
Loans: Borrow up to $50,000 when you need access to cash at a low interest rate or for debt consolidation.
Credit Cards: It offers a wide range of Visa* credit cards including the Visa Infinite* Card and Cash Back Visa* Card.
Savings Accounts: Earn competitive rates on your CAD and USD savings deposits.
Investments: Invest using Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs) and term deposits in TFSA, RRSP, RESP, and non-registered investment accounts. You can also access managed investment services via Innovation Wealth.
Innovation also offers financial services to businesses.
How To Open An Account
Innovation members can access their accounts online through the website and mobile app, and through Advice Centres and Branches located in various parts of Saskatchewan.
You can open an account online and will need your SIN, government-issued photo ID, $5 membership fee, and a mobile phone to scan your ID and take a selfie. You must also be at least 18 years of age.
Alternatively, you can book a phone or video chat appointment to speak with an advisor or visit a branch location.
Benefits of Membership
Members of a credit union are part owners and get to share in its profits and growth.
When you join Innovation, you pay a $5 membership fee which gives you a share (equity) and voting rights in the credit union.
When a portion of the profits is shared, you earn a cash dividend based on the amount of equity you have.
As per its website, the credit union has paid out over $34.25 million in equity and cash dividends to Innovation members over the years.
These dividends are in addition to other benefits such as:
- No-fee bank accounts
- Low and competitive rates on savings, mortgages, and loans
- Re-investments in the communities the credit union operates in
- Access to thousands of surcharge-free ATMs across Canada
- Excellent customer service and support
Is Innovation Credit Union Safe?
Innovation Credit Union is one of the largest credit unions in Canada.
Its members enjoy a 100% deposit guarantee through the Credit Union Deposit Guarantee Corporation (CUDGC). This means that the funds in your savings and spending accounts are fully protected against insolvency.
Innovation is also regulated by the Financial and Consumer Affairs Authority (FCAA).
When it is fully transitioned to becoming a federal credit union, member deposits are going to be insured by the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC). It will also be governed by the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI).
Innovation has an excellent fee-free chequing account which is a rare perk these days. In addition to this, its customers can access a full suite of financial products and services while having a say in how the credit union is run.
If you are a newcomer who is looking to get a competitive mortgage rate while working on your credit rating, Innovation’s Fresh Start Mortgage is a good place to start your search.
Overall, my review of Innovation Credit Union is positive.