We throw the name EQ Bank around here quite frequently as it is our top rated online bank in Canada. And most people have heard of Wealthsimple or know someone who uses one of their many products. So, an EQ vs Wealthsimple matchup of elite savings account options is likely to determine the take the title of best place to park your cash for Canadians.

In this review, we focus on comparing the Wealthsimple Cash Account to the EQ Bank Personal Account, as well as the new EQ Notice Account.

These hybrid chequing/savings accounts offer high interest rates, which many Canadians are actively seeking during this period of high inflation. Additionally, they are progressive online banks with great customer service and app functionality. Both EQ and Wealthsimple Cash have many account offerings.

In this article, you’ll find out how EQ Bank and Wealthsimple Cash stack up against one another when it comes to high interest savings account rates, GICs, account fees, product offerings, and more.

Wealthsimple vs EQ Bank Quick Comparison

Products
  • Hybrid chequing/ savings accounts
  • Wealthsimple cash card
  • Hybrid chequing/ wavings accounts
  • Reloadable EQ Bank card
  • GICs
ATM/Interac transactions? Yes, with the Wealthsimple Cash prepaid Mastercard. Use anywhere that accepts Mastercard. Wealthsimple doesn’t charge fees on the card but third parties may charge approximately $3 per ATM withdrawal and currency conversion rates. 1% cash back on every purchase. Yes, with the reloadable EQ Bank card. Free withdrawals from any ATM in Canada. No currency conversion fees when abroad. 0.5% cash back on every purchase.
Account transaction fees $0
    $0
Savings Account Interest Rate
  • 4% (up to $99,999.99 in assets)
  • 4.5% ($100,000 to $499,999.99 in assets)
  • 5% (over $500,000 in assets)
5% with the EQ Notice Account.
GIC 1-Year Interest Rate GICs not available with Wealthsimple. 5.05%
Sign Up Visit Wealthsimple Visit EQ Bank

EQ Bank vs Wealthsimple Cash Interest Rates

You are likely wondering what interest rate you can get in a High Interest Savings Account (HISA) with each of these banks. They both have competitive options.

Wealthsimple’s high interest savings account is known as the Wealthsimple Cash Account. It is a hybrid account with a high interest rate but with the flexibility of a chequing account. The interest rate starts at 4%. Premium clients (over $100,000 in assets), and Generation clients (over $500,000) will receive 4.5% and 5% interest, respectively.

Meanwhile, at EQ Bank, you have a few options for your high interest savings account. The first option is the EQ Personal Account. It has a base interest rate of 2.5% which can be topped up to 4% if you set up direct deposit to your account. However, for an everyday 5% interest rate with no fees or minimum balance, take a look at the new and attractive option from EQ Bank: the Notice Account!

Winner: EQ Bank (unless you have $500,000+ then it’s essentially a draw).

EQ Bank’s New “Notice Account”

A new consideration in the EQ Bank vs Wealthsimple Cash battle, is the recent introduction of the EQ Notice Account. This is a brand new offering in Canada that I’m super excited to see.

The EQ Notice Account is essentially a hybrid GIC/HISA with a flexible (10-day or 30-day) withdrawal period. You’ll receive a whopping 5% interest, all with no fees, no minimum balance requirement, and no tedious setting up of deposits. It is not a teaser rate either, so you won’t have to be continuously opening new accounts and moving your money around in search of the best current interest rate.

The account is CDIC-insured so you can rest easy knowing your money is safe. This is a perfect account to save up for a new car or a vacation.

GIC Rates for EQ Bank and Wealthsimple

It wasn’t hard to select a winner in the battle for GIC rates, as Wealthsimple does not currently offer GICs. On the other hand, EQ Bank offers some of the best GIC rates in Canada

The table below shows the various term lengths and interest rates for GICs when held in registered vs non-registered accounts.

Term

Registered (TFSA & RRSP) GIC Rate

Non-Registered GIC Rate

3 Months

3.75%

3.75%

6 Months

4.45%

4.45%

9 Months

4.65%

4.65%

1 Year

5.05%

5.05%

15 Months

4.90%

4.90%

2 Years

4.75%

4.75%

27 Months

4.70%

4.70%

3 Years

4.55%

4.55%

4 Years

4.40%

4.40%

5 Years

4.35%

4.35%

6 Years

3.80%

3.80%

7 Years

3.80%

3.80%

10 Years

3.80%

3.80%

Winner: EQ Bank (by a massive margin)

Wealthsimple vs EQ Account Options

Both EQ Bank and Wealthsimple have many different account options and are continuously offering new accounts and products for different purposes. 

In order to understand the difference in account options between the two, you have to understand the different backgrounds of the companies. EQ has been built to make day-to-day banking as simple as possible, eliminating the need for in-person transactions, and rewarding customers with elite interest rates.

Wealthsimple started life as a robo advisor, has added a mediocre discount brokerage option, and makes most of its money from commissions on cryptocurrency trades and payment-for-order flow transactions. It has recently added Wealthsimple Cash as a new way to bring in customers for its other platforms. Consequently, Wealthsimple does have certain accounts through its other platforms that are not available within Wealthsimple Cash.

We rate Wealthsimple Invest as one of the best robo advisors in Canada, while Wealthsimple Trade is not on our list of best Canadian online brokerages.

Through its robo advisor platform, Wealthsimple offers LIRAs, LIFs, RRIFs, and RESPs – accounts that EQ Bank does not currently offer.

Both Wealthsimple and EQ Bank provide choices for RRSP, TFSA, and FHSA accounts.

Wealthsimple does not have the option to hold cash within a registered account. Instead, there are options for managed and self-directed investing within these accounts

Meanwhile, with EQ Bank you can receive an easy and guaranteed interest rate of 3% for the Retirement Savings Account, Tax Free Savings Account, and/or the First Home Savings Account. You can also opt to purchase a GIC within one of these accounts and profit from higher interest rates (up to 5.05% depending on the term length). There have also been statements by top EQ executives that they are looking at expanding the EQ Notice Account availability to include TFSA, RRSP, and FHSA accounts.

For a complete list of account offerings check out the quick comparison table at the top, or our Wealthsimple Review and EQ Bank Review.

Winner: Slight edge to Wealthsimple if you want to use multiple platforms. Slight edge to EQ if you are looking at a straight Wealthsimple Cash vs EQ Savings comparison.

Fees and Account Charges

Being online banks without brick-and-mortar locations, both have cut their overhead costs to pass savings on to clients. Beyond offering high interest rates, they can also afford to keep fees low, or even free as we like to see for most items in the following table! 

Wealthsimple CashEQ Bank Personal Account
Monthly Account FeesFreeFree
Inactivity FeeFreeFree
Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT)Unlimited & FreeUnlimited & Free
Interac Money TransfersFreeFree
ATM Withdrawal$3 per ATM withdrawalFree
Account ClosingFreeFree
Bill PaymentsFreeFree
Bank DraftsN/AN/A
Overdraft FeeFreeFree
NSF Fee (Non-Sufficient Fund Fee)FreeFree

Winner: EQ Bank

EQ Bank vs. Wealthsimple Cash: Credit Cards and Cheques

Being the forward-thinking online banks that Wealthsimple and EQ are, they each offer unique cards paired with their hybrid savings/chequing accounts. Both cards can be added to your phone’s digital wallet for ease of use.

EQ Bank’s card is aptly named the EQ Bank Card, and can be used anywhere Mastercard is accepted. After transferring money to it from your EQ Bank Account you can use any ATM in Canada free of charge. With it you receive 0.5% cash back on each purchase, 4% interest on your balance (assuming you auto deposit your paycheque with EQ), and perks such as no foreign exchange fees. These benefits are close to what you’d receive with one of Canada’s best credit cards.

Wealthsimple’s Cash Card is also a prepaid Mastercard. It allows you to spend funds directly from your Cash account and can also be used anywhere that accepts Mastercard. It offers 1% cash back on purchases and 4% interest on your balance. While Wealthsimple doesn’t charge any fees for using the card, third parties will. An ATM withdrawal will cost you around $3, and you’ll have to pay currency conversion rates.

EQ Bank does not currently offer cheques to clients. Depending on your needs, this may or not be a deal breaker. 

Wealthsimple Cash offers free cheques, but with a caveat. You need to set up direct deposit and wait for the direct deposit to land in your account before you can receive a cheque book for free. Otherwise, a cheque book is going to cost you $50 plus tax.

Winner: Tie

Editor’s Note: If you’re looking for the best chequing account with all the features, Scotiabank is currently the top choice by a significant margin. As long as their $350 signup promotion for the Ultimate Package and Preferred Package is available, they stand out as the best option.

For a comprehensive analysis of why this promotion offers more value than any other Canadian bank, read our Scotiabank Review.

Wealthsimple vs. EQ Bank Ease of Use

Both banks have easy-to-use websites and intuitive mobile apps. In fact, I’d argue that both EQ and Wealthsimple are miles ahead of the big banks in Canada when it comes to building excellent websites!

When it comes to customer service, EQ Bank gets higher reviews. You’re also more likely to connect with them when trying to reach someone for service on the phone. EQ Bank’s customer service lines are open 7 days a week from 8am to midnight EST while Wealthsimple is more limited at Monday-Friday 9am-6pm EST.

As for ATMs, you have free withdrawals at any ATM in Canada using your pre-loaded EQ Bank Card, but will have to pay approximately $3 per transaction when using your Wealthsimple Cash Mastercard.

Both allow your card to be added to your mobile wallet.

Winner: EQ Bank

Mobile App Comparison

Functional and easy-to-use mobile apps are something we expect from online banks and are a feature that both EQ Bank and Wealthsimple provide. Both utilize biometric login which is very popular with users.

The Wealthsimple app has been designed to give you a full picture of all your holdings under the Wealthsimple umbrella. If you have investment accounts you’ll see them there, and you can move money between accounts, and make trading decisions in-app.

User reviews of the Wealthsimple app are impressively high at 4.6 stars on the Apple Store and 4.5 stars on the Google Play Store. 

With the EQ Bank app clients can complete all transactions within one app: transfer funds, pay bills, and purchase GICs.

The EQ Bank app is highly rated on the Apple Store at 4.8 stars and 4.2 stars on the Google Play Store. The recent low reviews on Android are for troubling logging in/staying logged in, and for issues with paying bills. EQ Bank has responded to all reviews, so we hope they are also spending time trying to improve the app for Android users.

Winner: Wealthsimple

Current Promotions and Referral Programs

Wealthsimple Cash:

  • Promotions: no current promotion available.
  • Referrals: both you and a friend will each receive a $25 cash reward (“base bonus”) when they accept your invite to sign up and fund an account with Wealthsimple. There is an “additional bonus” of up to $975 available to you, depending on your friend’s net funding amount.

EQ Bank

  • Promotions: 4% interest rate for the Personal Account for a year when you add direct deposit
  • Referrals: Earn up to $500. The more friends you refer, the greater your bonuses. You’ll earn $20 for each of your first three referrals, $30 for the next four, and $40 for any additional referrals, up to a maximum of $500. Additionally, the new client will receive $20.

Winner: Tie

Editor’s Note: Keep in mind that these promotions come with specific terms and required actions to claim the bonuses or activate the rates. For other offers, explore our list of Canada’s Best Bank Account Promotions.

EQ Bank or Wealthsimple Cash: Which is Better?

So who is the overall winner, EQ Bank or Wealthsimple Cash?

By our scoring, EQ Bank took the win in most categories. Their new Notice Account with a 5% interest rate and their industry-leading GIC rates couldn’t be matched by Wealthsimple Cash. 

That said, if you use the Wealthsimple robo advisor, I can see why Wealthsimple Cash would make more sense, as the added perks of using EQ perhaps wouldn’t make it worth the trade off in convenience of having “everything under one roof.”

While Wealthsimple Cash does have some offerings that EQ Bank does not, such as the ability to write personal cheques for example, when we are comparing the chequing/savings accounts, EQ Bank is the clear winner for most people. 

After careful consideration, we recommend EQ Bank over Wealthsimple Cash for anyone looking for a versatile hybrid chequing/savings account. You can read more about why EQ takes the top spot in our full 2024 EQ Bank Review.

FAQ

I've Completed My Million Dollar Journey. Let Me Guide You Through Yours!

Sign up below to get a copy of our free eBook: Can I Retire Yet?

FT

FT is the founder and editor of Million Dollar Journey (est. 2006). Through various financial strategies outlined on this site, he grew his net worth from $200,000 in 2006 to $1,000,000 by 2014. You can read more about him here.
Subscribe
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

3 Comments
Newest
Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Fran
16 days ago

Do you have to be a Canadian resident to open accounts at EQ bank? I have Canadian bank accounts but have moved out of Canada, which is a problem at many Canadian financial institutions.

Editor
Kyle Prevost
11 days ago
Reply to  Fran

As far as I know, you do in fact have to be a Canadian resident Fran – sorry!

Rick Boden
19 days ago

Thank you for this detailed comparison! One question, doesn’t Weathsimple currently have a 1% cash back promotion with new investments over $15k? Or am I missing something?