EQ Bank Review

eq bank
  • Easy to open online 
  • No monthly fees 
  • Cheap international transfers 
  • US dollar account 
  • Joint account 
  • 1.25% interest rate 

Finding a convenient and mobile savings account in Canada can be difficult. But EQ Bank is one of the newest players on the market that is slowly changing that. Read our EQ Bank review to find out all about the interest rates, money transfers, fees, and pros and cons. But first, here’s our short verdict: 

We love how easy it is to apply for an EQ account. Sign up in minutes for a great interest rate, joint, TFSA, and USD account, as well as Retirement Savings Plan. Although you won’t be able to withdraw physical cash, transfers are generally free to other EQ users and bank accounts.

About EQ Bank 

EQ Bank is a personal banking brand of Equitable Bank. A well-known Canadian bank that was founded in 1970 and is a member of Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC). 

On the other hand, EQ was launched in 2016 and is an entirely mobile challenger bank without any branches. It’s snowballing, and it has well over 150,000 customers with more than $4 deposits. They reached 4 billion only three months after getting the 3 billion dollar mark. 

Why is EQ Bank so special? 

EQ bank is changing the banking landscape in Canada with its savings and investment accounts. With barely any fees, you can keep all your hard-earned money to yourself. The possibility to open a US dollar account is also a popular option. 

What we liked is the 1,25% interest rate and cheap international money transfers that are done through Wise

Pros and cons 

Pros 

  • No monthly fees 
  • $200,000 maximum deposit 
  • 1,25% interest rate 
  • Free transfers and bill payments 
  • Cheap international transfers 
  • CDIC insured up to $100,000 

Cons 

  • No debit card 
  • No ATM withdrawals 

Fees 

  • No monthly fee 
  • No EFT fees 
  • No opening or closing fees 
  • No bill payment fee 
  • No everyday banking fees

Who can open an EQ Bank account? 

Only Canadian residents that meet their province’s age of majority with a Social Insurance Number can open an EQ Bank account. This excludes Quebec because EQ isn’t available there. 

How to open an EQ Bank account? 

You can open an EQ account by going to their website or downloading their app from Google Play Store or the Apple Store. You’ll have to input all the usual personal details such as name, email, address, SIN, and you can choose a password and recovery questions. 

You’ll also be able to link your other bank accounts at that point. And that’s it, basically. You’re ready to save some money. 

How to add funds to the account? 

There are three ways to deposit funds into your EQ Bank account: 

  • Interac e-Transfer 
    • Best for smaller amounts 
    • Immediately available 
    • Other banks might charge a fee 
  • Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) through your linked accounts 
    • Up to $100,000 per transaction 
    • A hold period will apply 
  • Mobile Cheque Deposit through the EQ Bank mobile app 
    • Done through app 
    • Up to $100,000 per cheque 
    • Available by the sixth business day 

Savings Account 

This is the main account. You access it through the EQ app or on the desktop. And you can, in fact, open up to five accounts. The most notable feature, though, is the 1.25% interest rate on your deposits. 

To access your funds, you won’t be able to use an ATM as there’s no debit card. You also aren’t able to pay with the app. You can transfer from EQ to EQ for free, pay bills, do e-transfers, and so on.

Joint Account 

Up to three people can open a joint account with EQ. You should, of course, know the other people very well since you’ll all have full access to the account. 

You can even convert your personal account to a joint account, although that’s not recommended. 

The joint account has all the benefits of the personal account, including the CDIC deposit protection. There’s one thing that’s different. You can deposit up to $500,000 to the account. 

In addition to your main account, you can open up to four other accounts for a total of five accounts. These can be all individual, all joint, or a hybrid of both. 

US Dollar Account 

If you need a US dollar account, you can get one for free with EQ Bank. Not only that, but it can earn you some more cash with the 1% interest rate. There’s no minimum deposit required, and you can make as many USD to USD transfers within Canada as you need to for free. And fund your USD account from your CAD one. 

Retirement Savings Plan 

Ready to save for retirement? Open EQ’s RSP online in a matter of minutes and start saving with 1.25% on every tax-deferred dollar. There are no fees, and you can set up regular contributions. 

How is RSP different from a regular saving account? Well, you won’t pay tax on what it earns until you withdraw the funds at retirement. You should be in a lower tax bracket by then. You can also deduct what you contribute from your taxable income that year. 

TFSA Savings Account 

All Canadians aged 18 and over can contribute up to $6,000 annually. Furthermore, if you’ve never contributed to a TFSA, and you were eligible to contribute since they were introduced in 2009, you can contribute a total of up to $75,500. 

The interest rate is still 1,25%, but it’s tax-free, and as long as you don’t over-contribute, there are no fees. If you over-contribute, you’ll be penalized 1% on the excess every month until you withdraw it.

Money transfers 

When you need to transfer some money to other people, you’ll be happy to know that EQ to EQ transfers are free, as well as Interac e-Transfers, electronic fund transfers, and bill payments. 

EQ uses Wise for its international money transfers. That means that you’ll be getting the real exchange rate without the costly markups. The transfers are also instant in many cases, and in others, it takes three business days. At this moment, 46 currencies are supported, with more on the way. 

Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs) 

If you want to see higher interest rates, you can lock your deposit for up to 5 years and get up to a 2.40% rate. The minimum term deposit is for 3 months with a minimum of $100. 

You can buy up to 20 GICs. Each GIC purchase can be up to a maximum of $100,000. Customers can hold up to $500,000 in GICs, excluding interest earned. After the cancellation period has passed, you won’t be able to withdraw the funds. 

Once your GIC reaches the maturity date, the funds will be placed in your Savings Plus Account. Here’s the term and rate overview: 

  • 6 Month: 1.30% 
  • 9 Month: 1.30% 
  • 1 Year: 1.30% 
  • 15 Month: 1.30% 
  • 2 Year: 1.35% 
  • 27 Month: 1.35% 
  • 3 Year: 1.65% 
  • 4 Year: 1.95% 
  • 5 Year: 2.10% 
  • 6 Year: 2.10% 
  • 7 Year: 2.10% 
  • 10 Year: 2.40% 

Credit score 

When you’re opening an EQ account, the bank will do a “soft” credit check that won’t affect your credit score. Also, what your credit score is at the moment doesn’t affect the opening of an account as they don’t consider it.

Who owns EQ Bank? 

EQ Bank was founded in 2016 by Equitable Bank. Its headquarters are in Toronto, Canada. The parent company was founded in 1970 and has around 900 employees in Canada. 

The deposits from EQ Bank are used to furnish Equitable Bank’s residential and commercial loans and earn interest. 

How is EQ Bank regulated? 

EQ Bank is a trademark of Equitable Bank, which is a member of the CDIC. Equitable Bank is a federally regulated Schedule I bank. 

Is my money safe with EQ Bank? 

The CDIC insures all your deposits up to $100,000. For joint accounts, you would be provided coverage for up to $100,000 in each of the following scenarios: 

  • Your individual savings account 
  • Your joint savings account with a spouse 
  • Your joint savings account with your parents 

Customer Service 

You can get in touch with EQ Bank using the following methods: 

  • Live Chat on the EQ app or website 
  • Email at contact@eqbank.ca 
  • Call at 1-844-437-2265 (NA), 1-416-551-3449 (outside NA) 
  • Write to: EQ Bank – Digital Banking, 30 St. Clair Avenue West, Suite 700, Toronto, ON, M4V 3A1 

Competiton 

KOHO 

KOHO is an excellent alternative to the big banks of Canada. It doesn’t offer anything groundbreaking, but no fees, cashback, budgeting tools, and distinct Visa cards are more than enough to lure in younger crowds that are proficient at digital banking.

Tangerine 

tangerine bank

Formerly known as ING Direct, the company was acquired by Scotiabank in 2012 that rebranded to Tangerine in 2013. They have many different savings accounts, chequing accounts, investment products, and lending products. 

Motusbank 

motus bank
motusbank (CNW Group/motusbank)

Founded by the Meridian Credit Union, Motusbank offers a full service that includes saving and chequing accounts, investing, loans, and mortgages. Their chequing account has no monthly fees, free access to 43,000+ ATMs in North America, and CDIC insured deposits up to $100,000. 

The bottom line 

EQ Bank is a good way to diversify your portfolio by investing short or long-term or as a way to hold your funds without any fees in a CDIC insured bank.