EQ Bank Review 2023 – Best Rates in Canada
EQ Bank Rating
- High Interest Savings Rate
- GIC Interest Rate
- Low Bank Fees
- Ease of Use and Customer Service
- Mobile App
- FREE Interac e-Transfers® and EFT
- Account Options
EQ Bank Review Summary:
As one of the first EQ Bank customers in Canada, I feel I’m uniquely qualified to pen the authoritative EQ Bank Review. My years of hassle-free banking and top-ranked interest rates confirm what the MDJ editorial team has felt for years now: The EQ Bank Savings Plus Account is the best online banking option in Canada.
I never worry about shifting from account to account to take advantage of teaser rates – because EQ always makes sure they are at the top of the interest rate pyramid.
Check out our full EQ Bank review below to see why we think the combination of elite rates, a flawless platform, excellent customer service, free EFTs + Interact e-Transfers®, and low-cost currency exchange just can’t be beat. With interest rates and GICs looking more attractive than at any point in the last 15 years, don’t delay in opening an EQ account.
- 2.5%* Everyday Interest Rate
- Top Canada GIC Interest Rates
- ZERO Monthly Account Fees + Daily Banking Fees
- No Minimum Balance to Open Account
- Excellent Mobile App
- Unique High Interest TFSA and RRSP Accounts
- Ranked #1 Bank in Canada by Forbes
- No Debit Card (But a prepaid card is being introduced and using a credit card for in-store purchases works as well)
- No Corporate Accounts
EQ Bank Account Options and Interest Rates
|Account Type||Interest Rate||Best For|
|Daily High Interest Account||2.50%*||People who want the highest consistent interest rate in Canada + free e-transfers + super cheap international money conversion + FREE BANKING + USD Accounts for Canadians|
|EQ GICs||2.75% – 5.00%||Folks looking to get a high ultra-safe return|
|EQ TFSA Account||5.00%||The highest guaranteed rate of return in a TFSA in Canada.|
|EQ RRSP Account||5.00%||The highest guaranteed rate of return in an RRSP in Canada.|
EQ Bank Review by a Longtime Customer
I am proud to say that I was one of EQ’s first clients they launched seven years ago. I mean, I was even part of the early-bird group that got to access the platform before the popular EQ Bank High Interest Savings Plus Account existed in its current form. Consequently, I feel like I have some authority in writing and updating the most authoritative EQ Bank Review for Canadians.
At this point I have a hard time understanding why most Canadians aren’t using EQ Bank.
What do people have against the best interest rates in the country (5.15% GICs!), user-friendly platforms AND no Monthly Fees?!
I’ve personally saved over $700 in monthly fees versus the big name bank that I used to use seven years ago. (That’s $700 I would have paid just to access my own cash!)
I understand if you’re running a corporation and need a special business bank account with all the bells and whistles (like being able to pay your corporation’s HST bills online).
But for us regular people that want to bank for free – while earning a high interest rate on our savings – I have consistently found EQ Bank online banking to be the best option.
Here’s the highlights of being an EQ Bank customer that I can speak to after more than half a decade. I’ve also asked some other members of the MDJ editorial team to help brainstorm some “areas for improvement” since I might admittedly be a bit biased.
- EQ Bank Account Options and Interest Rates
- EQ Bank Review by a Longtime Customer
- EQ Bank’s Savings Plus Account
- Do I Need to “Lock In” Money Within a Savings Plus Account to Get 1.25%*?
- EQ Bank Fees
- The Million Dollar Journey Ultimate EQ Bank Hack
- EQ Bank RRSP and TFSA GIC Accounts
- EQ Bank’s Savings Plus Account Review: Minimum Balances
- Savings Plus Account Free Interac e-transfers® and Electronic Funds Transfers
- EQ Bank’s Savings Plus Account Unlimited Transactions
- Is EQ Bank Safe?
- Drawbacks to Your Savings Plus Account
- Common Questions About EQ Online Banking
- Pay Less than 1% on Foreign Currency Transfers
- Signing Up for EQ Bank’s Savings Plus Account
- Final Recommendation
EQ Bank’s Savings Plus Account
The main attraction for most Canadians when it comes to EQ Bank, is the high amount of interest that the bank offers you on your savings.
At the time of this EQ Bank Review (January 2023), the interest rate that they provide is 2.50%* – which is more than quadruple what many of the major banks in Canada offer.
We all need emergency funds and some ready cash for our day-to-day expenses, so why would you settle for less than 1% (which is fairly common at Canada’s big banks), when you can easily earn more than double that with a free account at EQ Bank?!
To me, this was a no-brainer, and EQ Bank has become my primary location where I keep our emergency fund, spending money, and the part of my investment portfolio that I want ultra-safe and guaranteed. Hence, it is rated #1 on our Canada’s Best High Interest Savings Account comparison.
Do I Need to “Lock In” Money Within a Savings Plus Account to Get 2%*?
The answer is simply put –
You can use your money whenever you want.
Before EQ Bank came along, there was a traditional approach of everybody having two bank accounts:
1. The first would be a “chequing account” where the money is available at all times. But the downside was that it earned you almost no interest.
2. The second account would be a “savings account”. This would be where you would receive a slightly higher interest rate than a chequing account (although still nowhere near what EQ Bank offers), but the downside was that the money wasn’t available for day-to-day spending.
If you needed it, you had to initiate a transfer to your chequing account, wait for a day, and then finally you would have access to the money.
The additional annoyance that you would have to endure is that banks typically impose limits on how many transactions like this you can do, and there are fees charged if you exceed your allowed number of transactions.
The neat thing about EQ Bank is that this old-school way of thinking about your accounts goes out the window. Instead, you can just have one account which is called the Savings Plus Account. Here, you earn the high interest rate AND the money is available to you at all times.
Need to send someone money immediately?
No problem, you can do that for free.
You don’t have to play the game of transferring money from your savings account, to your chequing account, waiting for a day… and then finally moving the money over while being charged some e-transfer fee.
This added convenience with EQ Bank is great, as you no longer have to manage how much you have in your savings vs your chequing accounts.
All the money is simply available at all times – and it’s all earning that high rate of interest.
If you want to supercharge your EQ Bank high interest rates, I recommend scrolling down to check out my thoughts on the EQ Bank GIC options.
In other words, you no longer have to trade-off between having instant access to your money, and earning a higher interest rate.
EQ Bank Fees
There is almost no way to pay fees to EQ Bank!
In short, EQ’s Savings Plus Account has:
- No monthly account fees
- Unlimited Interact e-Transfers®
- No fees for bill payments
- No overdraft fees
- No dormant account fees
If you’re wondering what the catch is – there is no catch.
EQ Bank makes money by taking your cash and lending it out to others at a higher interest rate. The difference between what they pay you, and what they lend out on the other side, is large enough to make substantial profits.
EQ Bank doesn’t rely on monthly account fees, or “nickel & diming” you on individual transactions in order to make a dollar. Instead they cut their operating costs to the absolute bone by streamlining their product offerings, and not having to pay a ton of costs to open bricks-and-mortar banking branches.
The Million Dollar Journey Ultimate EQ Bank Hack
One of the tradeoffs for EQ’s excellent Savings Plus Account Interest Rate of 2%*, is the lack of a debit card option. Here’s a little secret through:
You shouldn’t be using a high interest savings account to make daily payments!
If you want to maximize your daily spending habits, don’t use a debit card.
Instead, use a credit card – snag all of the free stuff that comes with using a credit card – then simply pay off the credit card balance each month!
EQ Bank makes this as easy as possible, by allowing you to set up a free pre-authorized payment each month. This will allow you to keep your money earning interest with them as long as possible, and then automatically transfer the cash needed to pay your credit card bill each month.
All credit cards offered by the major Canadian banks, AMEX and MBNA have the ability to set this pre-authorized payment up. All you have to do is make sure that you keep enough money in your Savings Plus Account each month to cover the cost of your credit card bill.
My 2021 free credit card travel rewards are going to top $4,000, after earning just over $3,700 in 2020 – plus kept earning the highest interest rate in Canada on all of the cash in my everyday account!
EQ Bank Review: RRSP and TFSA GIC Accounts
In 2021, EQ Bank rolled out one of their most long-awaited innovations – an RRSP and TFSA option that Canadians can use for mid- and long-term savings growth.
The EQ Bank TFSA GIC Account is offering an initial rate of 5.10% for a 1 year term – and because it’s sheltered in a registered account, your interest gains will not be taxed!
The EQ Bank RRSP GIC Account runs along a similar track and has the same 5.10% interest offer. As with an RRSP contribution, using the EQ Bank RRSP will lower your taxable income, and for most people, will trigger a nice little tax refund.
As with all things EQ Bank the following noteworthy characteristics apply to both the EQ RRSP and EQ TFSA accounts.
- $0 Fees for any account
- No minimum Balance
- Super easy sign up experience (minutes)
- All deposits in your EQ Bank TFSA or RRSP are covered by Canadian Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC) protection.
- With seamless account linking, setting up an easy automated contribution plan only takes a few minutes.
EQ Bank’s Savings Plus Account Review: Minimum Balances
No minimum required to open an EQ Bank Savings Account.
I see a lot of other banks offer incentives such as: If you keep a large amount of money in an account, you won’t have to pay the banking fees and you’ll get a high interest rate.
Yet, I found that even if you meet these conditions, the rate you get is still typically much lower than what you get with EQ Bank.
With EQ Bank, you don’t have to worry about minimum balances, and about all of a sudden being charged some monthly fee if you fall below that minimum balance threshold. Keep reading below for more information on EQ Bank Fees.
Savings Plus Account Free Interac e-transfers® and Electronic Funds Transfers
While the high interest rate is definitely the thing that initially attracts most people to EQ Bank (at least that was the case for me), I also found tremendous convenience in being able to send money for free through unlimited Interac e-Transfers® and Electronic Funds Transfers.
Yes, there are other banks that offer free Interac e-transfers® now too, but I find that the combination of this feature plus the much higher interest rate that EQ Bank provides, make EQ Bank the clear winner.
EQ Bank’s Savings Plus Account Unlimited Transactions
No longer do you have to worry about keeping track and going over your “transactions” limit which results in you having to pay additional bank fees.
This is another major reason why I don’t understand why people still use banks that impose such limits on them.
We’re all busy and have enough things to remember and track in our day-to-day lives. Why would you want to also have to remember how many transactions you have left in a month?
With EQ Bank, such limits never enter your mind. You just use your money however you see fit, pay whatever bills you need to pay, send money to whoever you need to send, and buy whatever it is you need to buy. All this with no concerns of hitting some arbitrary transaction limit and getting charged some additional fees set out by the bank.
Is EQ Bank Safe?
Equitable Bank is a member of CDIC, which means your deposits with Equitable Bank & EQ Bank are eligible for deposit insurance from the CDIC.
Trustworthiness in Troublesome Times
While the idea of online banking still receives some scepticism, there’s no doubt that it gained in popularity during the pandemic.
More and more Canadians are placing their trust in online banking given the current situation, and EQ bank seems to be the top choice for many.
In early June 2020, just three months since the start of the global pandemic, EQ Bank indicated that they have seen a massive growth rate in new accounts. According to this news release, the daily signups have tripled during this time.
EQ has continued the onboarding momentum and now has over 250,000 customers, as well as over 7 billion dollars in deposits. Given their current growth rate, they have positioned themselves to be a major name in Canadian banking for the foreseeable future.
Both of these achievements speak to the quality of EQ Bank products, but also consumer trust and safety. The fact that so many Canadians are willing to trust EQ bank at such a stressful time speaks volumes on the company’s reputation as a safe and reliable banking option.
EQ’s commitment to helping clients was further recognized when they were awarded the title of #1 Bank in Canada in 2021 by Forbes. This big win was based on 43,000 consumer surveys and asked customers to rank banks based on Trust, Terms & Conditions, Customer Services, Digital Services, and Financial Advice.
Andrew Moor, the President and CEO of EQ Bank noted that, “As Canada’s first-born digital bank, it’s a remarkable achievement to rise to the rank of Canada’s #1 Bank in just a few years. Being recognized alongside not only our Canadian peers, but also globally is a testament to the success we’ve had in challenging what’s always been done and changing the way people think about everyday banking.”
Moor went on to say that, “We live and breathe our commitment to change banking to enrich people’s lives. Knowing that these awards are based on such elements as trust, customer service, and digital services instills great pride in seeing that we’re following through on those commitments. We’re truly honoured to receive this award.”
October 2022 Update:
EQ Bank continues to grow and build on post-pandemic momentum. Our top-ranked Canadian banking option was again recognized in 2022 by Forbes as the best bank in Canada. Mahima Poddar, Group Head of Personal Banking stated in a recent press release:
“Being able to offer meaningful value on an everyday bank account can be a real benefit to the average customer. When we look at the rates offered on accounts in the market, EQ Bank stands out as providing Canadians one of the best values, both now and long term.
With a high everyday interest rate, customers can earn on their balances when money comes in and before it goes out, whether it’s for bills, their mortgage or other daily spending needs. We also stay away from promo rates; always offering our best rates to everyone, not just new or preferred customers.
It’s all part of what we’re doing to create a banking experience that allows our customers to get ahead while they meet their everyday banking needs.”
How to Sign Up for EQ Bank’s Savings Plus Account
You can sign up for free using this link.
On the main page, simply click the “Join Now” or “Set up an account” button.
Once you do that, just enter your email address and the password that you’d like to use.
EQ Bank will need to confirm your identity (for tax purposes and security purposes), so be ready to answer some identification questions. For instance, they will need your Social Insurance Number (SIN) as they have to report the interest you earn each year to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
If you are having trouble signing up, use their live chat feature, or click on the phone icon at the top of their page.
Keep in mind that EQ Bank is not available to residents of Quebec, and you must be a Canadian resident to open an account.
EQ Bank will also pull a credit report for you to verify your identity, but this is a “soft” credit check which means it won’t affect your credit score, and it won’t be visible to anybody else that views your credit report.
Drawbacks to Your Savings Plus Account
No Savings Plus Account for Business
EQ’s Savings Plus Account is intended for personal use. At the time of this writing, they do not have Business Chequing/Savings accounts that you can use for your business.
I definitely advise against trying to use your personal account as a corporate business account. You’ll eventually run into problems like when you try to pay your GST/HST bill to the government.
Not available in Quebec
Pretty self-Pretty self-explanatory. If you are in Quebec, consider using which is also a great low-cost way to bank (although their interest rate isn’t as high as EQ’s Savings Plus Account).
Common Questions About EQ Online Banking
EQ Bank GIC Rates
If you’re looking to receive even more interest out of your savings, then an EQ Bank GIC is another option to consider.
The main difference between a Savings Account and a GIC, is that the GIC will give you more interest, but the money will be locked-in/unavailable for a certain period of time that you specify.
The longer you are willing to lock-in your money, the higher the interest rate that you’ll receive:
Registered (TFSA & RRSP) GIC Rate
Non-Registered GIC Rate
A common strategy is to have a portion of your cash in a savings account to fund your day-to-day expenses and your emergency fund. Any cash that you have left over (which you are not going to be investing in the markets) can go into a GIC to earn that higher rate of interest.
Are GICs risky? No. You receive a guaranteed rate of return for the term that you select. For EQ Bank, the terms range between 3 months and 10 years.
The money that you put into the GIC is also eligible for deposit insurance from the CDIC.
Overall, GICs can be a great tool to help maximize the interest that you receive on cash that you know you won’t need for a certain period of time.
They can also be great for large expenses that you have coming up, as you can lock-in a higher rate for a term that finishes right before you have that large expense.
New GICs do fluctuate with interest rates, so be sure to check the most recent GIC rates and promotions.
EQ Bank Card 2023 – Stay Tuned
One of the only proverbial flies in the ointment when it comes to using EQ Bank is the current lack of a debit card. EQ did state in April of 2022:
“EQ Bank will launch its own card, making point of sale payments and access to funds even more convenient. This is just one of many enhancements planned to keep making banking smarter for Canadians.”
While the company hasn’t made any official announcements or press releases yet, we did come across this:
It looks to me like EQ is soft launching a prepaid card similar to the PC Money or Koho cards.
We’ll be sure to update this as it evolves in 2023, because it would solve a final piece of the puzzle for EQ Bank users.
Pay Less than 1% on Foreign Currency Transfers
Another unique area that we wanted to highlight in our EQ Bank Review is that the online-only bank offers substantial savings when it comes to currency transfers.
Canada’s large banks charge you once with a $15 wire fee, and then hit you again when you exchange your Canadian dollars into American (or any other currency you require) with a spread averaging at more than 2%. In layman’s terms, it means that for each $1,000 transfer you’ll pay $35. If you need to make a sizable transaction of $100,000, you will leave between $2,000 and $2,500 on the table.
EQ Bank now makes it easier to transfer money abroad with a discount, using one of the world’s most sought-after money transfer systems – Transferwise!
On December 12, 2019, EQ Bank launched an international money transfer service powered by
Transferwise (now “Wise”). Clients will be able to access it through their bank platform without any additional hurdles – and transfer money abroad quickly, cheaply and efficiently.
About Wise: UK’s most recognizable startup company has been funded by prominent VCs and angel investors like Peter Thiel, PayPal’s founder. The company has raised in excess of USD$400m, and has positioned itself as an industry leader over the course of its 7 years of operation. The company nowadays boasts more than 1,900 employees globally, with a transaction volume of more than CAD$7bn each month.
The fees charged by EQ Bank’s international transfer service, powered by Wise:
- Approximately 0.85% of small transfers of up to $1,000.
- Approximately 0.77% of medium transfers of $1,000 to $2,000.
- Approximately 0.73% of large-medium transfers of $5,000 to $10,000.
- Up to 0.7% for really large, six figure, transfers.
Transfers inbound to Canada from the UK, EU or Australia will incur approximately 0.5% in fees regardless of size (that’s how their pricing works in the majority of countries). To learn more about Wise, Check out this in-depth Transferwise review.
EQ Bank Has USD Accounts for Canadians
As you can tell if you’ve made it this far down our detailed EQ Bank review, we’re big fans of the constant commitment to innovation and new products the company has.
One cool useful product EQ introduced in 2021 is their United States Dollar Account (USD).
As a continuation of their currency transfer arrangement with Wise, EQ is now able to offer an account that allows you to keep your USD in USD (avoiding the need to open an American account or convert your money back and forth) – PLUS earn a nice 1% interest rate on that money.
Canadian Financial Summit All-Star and Group Head of Personal Banking at EQ Bank, Mahima Poddar stated:
“Our EQ Bank US Dollar Account solves several problems for Canadians: from combating notoriously low interest rates to figuring out a better way to send money to loved ones or move it between accounts.
We wanted customers to have a US account option that was both rewarding and headache-free, and now we’ve successfully done that with another no-nonsense EQ Bank product. We’re listening to our customers and working hard to bring them the highest value banking possible. We’re proud of that.”
EQ Bank Mortgage Marketplace (2021 Update)
EQ Bank recently launched a cool new feature called the Mortgage Marketplace.
Basically, it functions as a place for EQ Bank’s “parent company” – Equitable Bank (the ninth largest Schedule I Bank in Canada) to show how competitive their excellent mortgage rates are.
You won’t be “getting a mortgage through EQ Bank” can instead instantly compare over 2,000 mortgage products offered by lenders across Canada. Equitable Bank is betting that after seeing how they compare to the competition, you’ll choose them.
Here’s how you can see what your best personal mortgage fit is.
1) Apply online after signing into EQ.
2) Fill out the Mortgage Marketplace questionnaire.
3) Let the EQ Mortgage Marketplace work it’s algorithmic magic – and recommend the best mortgage options for your specific situations.
4) Speak to a mortgage broker to confirm that you have the right fit.
5) The mortgage broker will get you a pre-approval or submit your mortgage application to the chosen lender.
I haven’t used the Mortgage Marketplace feature myself, but it seems like a great idea. You can always check the recommendations you get against some of the other rate-comparison sites out there after all.
EQ Acquires Concentra (Wyth Financial) – 2022 Update
EQ Bank expanded its footprint last week by announcing that they were completing their takeover of Concentra Bank (operating name Wyth Financial).
EQ’s parent bank – Equitable Bank – paid just under $500 million on the deal, and acquired the seventh largest independent bank in Canada. Concentra had $13.6 billion assets under management and worked with many of Canada’s credit unions.
The deal pushes EQ over 5 million clients!
CEO Andrew Moor touted the new advantages resulting from the acquisition saying, “Banking is a bit of a game of scale, especially in this digital world. So when we put Equitable and Concentra together we will be the seventh largest bank in Canada. That’s a pretty meaningful jump.” He went on to add, “There’s a wide range of activities that we are deeply enmeshed with the credit union world and I’m looking forward to trying to build those capabilities.”
Overall, while this might not make an immediate different to most customers, the bigger EQ is able to get, the more economies of scale work in their favour, and the more innovative they can afford to be going forward.
EQ Bank Review: Final Recommendation
EQ Bank is a no-brainer for personal banking.
It’s as simple as that.
Every few months our MDJ editorial updates this EQ Bank Review and we continuously arrive at the fact that it is consistently the best banking option in Canada.
In the seven years that I’ve been with them, they have consistently had one of the highest interest rates available to us Canadians.
Don’t be fooled by other banks that try to tempt you with temporary higher rates. You’ll see ads like that all the time. When you look deeper into those promotions though, you’ll quickly learn that when a rate looks too good to be true, it’s typically because the rate is only valid for a few months.
They just use these teaser rates to get you in the door. Unless your time is worth very little to you, it’s not worth it to switch banks and climb mountains of paperwork every few months just to get a few extra dollars of interest on your cash.
While the interest rate from EQ Bank is great, I also love how it doesn’t come with a load of restrictions and additional fees like many of the other banks.
The unlimited transactions and unlimited Interac e-Transfers® are so convenient, that I love just being able to bank, and never have to worry about racking up transaction fees or not meeting some arbitrary limit like a minimum balance.
Once you get used to free and unlimited, it’s hard to go back somewhere else.
Definitely try out EQ Bank by opening up a free Savings Plus Account. Enjoy the high interest and convenience, and in the spirit of keeping our EQ Bank Review as updated as possible, feel free to leave a comment with your recent experience or questions.*Interest is calculated daily on the total closing balance and paid monthly. Rates are per annum and subject to change without notice.