EQ Bank Review
EQ Bank is a trademark of Equitable Bank, a name that should be familiar to Canadians given its long-standing presence in the market of over 50 years. Equitable Bank’s new and improved online-only banking experience is dubbed “EQ Bank”, and it focuses solely on two of the most essential products required for building a sturdy financial foundation: High-Interest GICs and its Savings Plus Account. Both stand out for their interest rates, no everyday banking fees, and great service.
In This Article:
EQ Bank Account Options
EQ Bank offers two options, each of which caters to those looking to strengthen their financial health and have their money work for them, instead of the other way around.
EQ Bank’s Savings Plus Account
- Everyday interest rate of 1.50%*
- No tiered interest rates
- No minimum balance
- No everyday banking fees
EQ Bank’s Savings Plus Account brings more advantages than just no everyday banking fees and interest, though rates at 1.50%* are indeed impressive. Consider it a savings account that functions as a chequing account by allowing you to transact fee-free and rack up interest. And because it’s online-only, it’s always open. You can access your money, make bill payments, carry out transfers, and download statements any time, day or night.
Savings Plus Account holders will have access to free Interac e-Transfers®, EQ-to-EQ transfers, bill payments, electronic funds transfers, and everyday transactions with no minimum balance. Though international money transfers do come with a low fee, thanks to EQ Banks’s partnership with Wise, these are up to 8xs lower‡ than the norm and display all relevant exchange rate and fee information transparently. With the neat ability to track savings goals as well, EQ Bank’s Savings Plus Account is ultimately an ideal middle ground between the availability of a chequing account and the growth potential of a savings account.
If you sign up for an individual EQ Bank Savings Plus Account before July 13, 2022, you can get a $150** cash bonus. To qualify for the bonus you must set up a recurring payroll direct deposit (minimum $100 each month) to your new EQ Bank Savings Plus Account, and get the first deposit within 60 days of the account’s opening. Then keep the direct deposit going for at least three straight months and you’ll receive the $150** bonus. Please see disclaimer** for more details on payout dates. The offer isn’t available to those who already have an active account.
Savings Plus Account Fees
- EQ to EQ Transfers: $0.00
- Interac e-Transfers®: $0.00
- Bill Payments: $0.00
- Deposits and Mobile Cheques: $0.00
- Bank to Bank Transfers: $0.00
- Account Opening: $0.00
- Daily/Monthly/Yearly Fee: $0.00
- International Transfers: Low Fee via Wise
- Dormant Account Fees: $0.00
Savings Plus Account Withdrawals and More
One key detail about the Savings Plus Account is that it has a maximum account balance of $200,000. In addition, many are probably asking about withdrawals. Though there is no debit card available for the Savings Plus Account, its lack of fees makes it easy to transfer money to an account which does have a card attached, and then withdraw cash from there. Customers can also easily set up bill payments directly with the Savings Plus Account with no fees, maximums, or extra steps.
In some ways, the account occupies a space between chequing and savings in terms of how you access your money, because there’s no fees to move your money around as there are with many high-interest savings accounts. There is no Electronic Funds Transfer cost for interbank transactions, making it one of the more agile savings products out there. If combined with another account and one of the best rewards credit cards, for example, it could be a powerful pair.
EQ Bank TFSA Savings Accounts
Introduced in 2009, Canada’s Tax-Free Savings Accounts are among the most powerful tools you can add to your financial arsenal. EQ Bank recently added its own TFSAs to its product offering, allowing users to earn interest within this registered account, where it can grow tax-free.
EQ Bank offers two ways to save within their TFSA products: savings accounts and GICs. You must have an existing Savings Plus Account in order to access the TFSA Savings Account.
Here are the specifics of each type of account:
TFSA Savings Account
- This account is automatically opened when you open an EQ Bank TFSA
- There is a limit of one TFSA account per customer
- All contributions and withdrawals can be made entirely online
- Withdraw at any time without any fees
- Enjoy a 1.50%* interest rate, tax free
- Eligible for CDIC protection
- TFSA GIC rates will mirror non-TFSA GIC rates
- You can buy your GICs and check interest earned and maturity date through the online portal
- You can buy as many GICs as you like within your TFSA
You can fund your EQ Bank TFSA from an existing savings account or through EFT if you link your EQ Bank account to your chequing account.
EQ Bank RSPs
If you’re planning on saving cash within your RRSP, EQ Bank’s RSP Plan offers 1.50%* interest and flexible GIC options. With a limit of one RSP Plan per customer, you can choose to keep your funds in interest earning cash or a GIC.
Here are the details:
RSP Savings Account
- The default type of RSP offered
- RRSP Account will open automatically upon opening an account
- Zero fees
- Limit of 1 per person
- Can make contributions online
- GIC rates will mirror non-RRSP products
Like with the TFSA account, you must be an existing customer of EQ Bank with a Savings Plus Account to access RSP products, and you can only set up your RSP in your name. Spousal RSPs and LIRAs are not available at this time. It’s also worth noting that there are no online withdrawals available. You can withdraw funds into your Savings Plus Account or if you have a Joint Account with EQ Bank.
EQ Bank Guaranteed Investment Certificates
GICs are some of the safest savings options in Canada, boasting a guaranteed yield on your deposit and terms that last between a few months and ten years. EQ Bank offers the full range: from great interest rates, starting around 1.60% for a 3-Month GIC and up to 4.40% for a 10-Year GIC. That’s quite competitive, also considering that EQ Bank has 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 10-Year GICs, which give you the option of paying interest annually, if you prefer regular income from your GICs, or at maturity.
|GIC Term||Rate||Interest Paid Annually||Interest Paid at Maturity|
EQ Bank GIC Details
The maximum number of GICs that any single customer can open is 20, though this still provides enough for those who use the common strategy of laddering their GICs to mature at different dates. Additionally, like with the Savings Plus Account there’s a maximum investment limit as well, with $500,000 being the ceiling for how much you can invest across all your GICs and $100,000 set as the limit per GIC. In terms of the lowest one can spend on a GIC with EQ Bank, the $100 minimum makes them quite accessible, which was nice to see.
How to Open an EQ Bank Savings Plus Account
Opening a Savings Plus Account or purchasing a GIC with EQ Bank is easy, as long as you’re the age of majority in your province and a Canadian resident. It starts by going to the EQ Bank website and clicking “Join Now”.
You’ll give some basic contact information and then no matter which product you’re interested in, be required to verify your identity and banking details with the following items:
- Your SIN
- Link to another Canadian bank to verify your identity and transfer funds faster
It is important to note that if you have an account at any other existing bank that is not listed below, you will likely be prompted to visit a Canada Post office to verify your identity.
- ATB Financial, BMO, CIBC, Coast Capital Savings, Desjardins, HSBC, Laurentian Bank, Meridian, National Bank, RBC, Scotiabank, Simplii, Tangerine, TD Bank, Vancity
EQ Bank’s Security
EQ Bank meets the highest standards in banking security expected by Canadian financial regulators, as well as by customers. The company incorporates a wide variety of security features like 2-Factor Authentication and web and mobile protection required for modern banking. In addition, deposits up to $100,000 with EQ Bank are eligible for CDIC (Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation) coverage‡‡. This insurance is across all deposit products such as GICs and the Savings Plus Account, but the extra reassurance is no surprise for those who know the reputation of Equitable Bank.
EQ Bank Customer Service
As an online-only bank, there are no EQ Bank branch locations that you can visit yourself, but if you need customer support, you can talk to a representative on the phone, through live chat, or via email from 8AM to midnight Eastern Time, 7 days a week. This is more available than most banks make their customer service representatives, and in our experience, we found the team prompt and super helpful whenever we got in touch.
Should I Go with EQ Bank?
- Everyday interest, no everyday banking fees, flexible savings account
- High interest GICs with annual or at-maturity payment
- Funds eligible for deposit insurance through CDIC
- Excellent customer service
- Savings account maximum of $200,000
- No debit card or chequing account options
Who Is EQ Bank Right For?
If you’re looking for a place to park your money safely for a short time and earn excellent interest, EQ Bank is your best bet. It can be for retirement or tax-free savings, given that it currently has RRSPs and TFSAs. Still, younger individuals without a career-long net worth will find EQ Bank’s GICs and HISA account amazing for making money using their money. Apart from steady financial growth, EQ Bank also provides the level of accessibility you would definitely want, with the rare offering of no everyday banking fees and free transactions.
EQ Bank definitely makes up for its lack of account type variety with its strong everyday interest Savings Plus Account and GICs. With CDIC eligibility ‡‡, free transactions of all kinds and no everyday banking fees, EQ Bank is a rare and reliable bank offering a much needed high level of access and security for its users. It’s especially relevant for those who have more basic, short-term savings needs such as new families or young professionals, and is an excellent way to add a high-interest safe zone to complement their other bank accounts and credit cards.
* Interest is calculated daily on the total closing balance and paid monthly. Rates are per annum and subject to change without notice.
** Conditions Apply. For complete details and terms and conditions, please see the EQ Bank $150 Sign Up Bonus Offer Terms and Conditions.
‡ Based on research conducted by Equitable Bank comparing exchange rates and transaction fees from Wise, Canada’s ‘Big 5’ banks and Simplii Financial. Research considered comparable online global money transfer services and was conducted using the following transactions for $500 CAD: total cost to send CAD to INR in India, total cost to send CAD to USD in the United States and total cost to send CAD to EUR in France. Research took place on February 16th, 2022. Promotions excluded.
‡‡Equitable Bank is a member of CDIC, which means your deposits with Equitable Bank and EQ Bank are eligible for deposit insurance from the CDIC.