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Chances are, you’re likely reading this review of EQ Bank because they caught your attention with their no-fee accounts, myriad of flexible perks, and exceptional interest rates.
Rest assured: the hype is accurate. EQ Bank is one of the best banks currently operating in Canada and rightly deserves all of the attention that it’s getting.
While EQ Bank currently only offers two products, Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GICs) and High-Interest Savings Accounts (HISAs), both accounts offer interest rates that exceed Canada’s current inflation rate.
What is EQ Bank?
EQ Bank is a digital-bank owned by Equitable Bank, Canada’s 9th largest Schedule I bank. Equitable Bank introduced EQ Bank, its online subsidiary at the beginning of 2016. Today, EQ Bank has 60,000 customers and $2B in deposits.
EQ currently offers two products: High-Interest Savings Accounts (HISAs) and GICs. They do not provide registered savings accounts, such as Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs) or Registered-Retirement Savings Accounts (RRSPs). They also do not offer chequing accounts or joint account options.
Accounts with EQ Bank come with Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC) insurance.
EQ Bank Review: High-Interest Savings Accounts and GICs
EQ Bank has a lot to offer to Canadians. This review explores all of the perks and features that come with their High-Interest Savings Account and Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs).
High-Interest Savings Accounts (HISAs)
EQ Bank’s Savings Plus account, or, in other words, their high-interest savings account (HISA), is unlike any high-interest savings account in Canada. It currently offers an interest rate of 1.25%.
But that’s not all: the bank account even permits unlimited withdrawals and transactions and free Interac e-transfers, bill payments, and transfers between accounts—with no minimum balance requirements.
The bank uniquely allows its customers to connect this savings account with their daily banking accounts for seamless fund transfer or automated bill payment options. It can also accept direct deposit from your place of employment.
EQ Bank’s Savings Plus account is CDIC insured and can hold a maximum of $200,000.
Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GICs)
EQ offers great rates on GICs. Term deposits range from as short as 30-days to as long as five years. Rates range between 2.33% to 2.60%. Purchasing GICs with EQ Bank requires a minimum deposit of $100. GICs are non-registered, and CDIC insured, with interest-paying options for annual or at maturity for all deposits.
You’ll have to open a savings account if you’d like to purchase GICs through EQ. The deposit cap for each account is $200,000.
EQ Bank Features
EQ Bank comes with a handful of unique features that put the online financial institution at the cutting edge of Canadian financial products currently on the market.
1. No Debit Cards or Chequebooks
An EQ Bank account does not come with a debit card or chequebooks. There are no ATMs or branches, either. Since EQ offers unlimited fund transfers, there is no need to provide a chequing account, rendering a debit card or chequebook unnecessary.
That said, you’ll certainly need a chequing account if you plan to bank with EQ. Our list of the best chequing accounts in Canada can help you find the ideal bank account to connect with your EQ high-interest savings account.
2. Unlimited Transactions and Interac eTransfers
EQ Bank offers unlimited transfers. This feature allows the savings account to operate like a high-interest chequing account. The bank account also allows sending money to recipients overseas at no additional cost or delay. EQ also allows its customers to make an unlimited number of transactions from their HISA each month. This means paying bills, sending money, or moving finances around.
3. International Money Transfers
The latest addition to EQ Bank’s list of features is international money transfers. In a recent partnership with TransferWise, an EQ account can also send money across the world. Customers can now send money to places like India, Mexico, China and Europe, with 17 total currency options available.
Transfers across the world are now faster, easier, and—most importantly—cheaper than ever. Money transfers up to eight times less expensive than most financial institutions. There’s also the best exchange rate available with no hidden markups on exchange rates. Additionally, an EQ Bank customer can send $9,500 every 24 hours.
4. Mobile App and Online Interface
EQ Bank offers a mobile banking app that allows you to do everything a physical branch at a bank would. You can use fingerprint or facial recognition to open the app and deposit cheques through the application. They also offer an online interface that can serve most of your daily banking needs. A digital account with EQ also comes with a savings goal feature that allows account owners to monitor their financial progress and set various goals.
5. Customer Service
EQ Bank offers telephone and online customer service. Telephone banking support is available from seven days a week, from 8 AM until midnight EST. Online customer service is accessible 24/7. As of this year, EQ has 750 employees.
Who Owns EQ Bank?
EQ Bank is the direct-to-consumer banking division of Equitable Bank, a Canadian independent bank with $29B in assets. Equitable Bank opened its doors in Canada over 45 years ago. In 2016, it introduced Canada to EQ.
Is EQ Bank Safe?
Yes! EQ Bank, like most banks in Canada, is insured by the CDIC. That means, in the highly unlikely event that a bank closes, your savings and deposits come with included insurance. Your finances are protected up to $100,000, whether they’re in an EQ Bank savings account or EQ Bank GICs.
Should I Use EQ Bank?
There’s no doubt that EQ Bank is an excellent banking and investing option. While it’s important to consider that everyone has different financial habits, goals, and needs, EQ pretty much has all of the features someone would want out of a digital bank, without the costs. Furthermore, its enhanced flexibility makes it additionally attractive to Canadians seeking high rates without restrictions.
How to Sign Up for an EQ Bank Account
Since EQ Bank has no physical branches, the only way to open a bank account is online through your web browser.
To purchase HISAs or GICs with EQ, you need to be a Canadian resident living outside of Quebec and the age of the majority in your province or territory. You must also have a Social Insurance Number (SIN).
If you’re wondering how to sign-up for an EQ Bank account, here are a few preliminary steps you’ll need to take before opening an account:
- Have access to an electronic bill or statement from your cellphone, hydro, or internet provider.
- Complete all of the sign-up forms on the EQ website with your personal information. Make sure the information you provide exactly matches the information on your statement or your account may be denied.
- Once you’ve completed registration, submit the digital copy of the bill to EQ Bank to their customer support e-mail.
- Account approval can take up to a week.