Achieva Financial Review: Digital Banking from the Heart of Canada
Canadians are fortunate to have so many choices regarding no-fee online banking and high-interest savings accounts. Names like Tangerine, EQ, and Simplii have become commonplace, to mention just a few. But if you’re shopping around for a digital bank to deal with, there’s another name you can add to your list: Achieva Financial.
What Is Achieva Financial?
Achieva Financial is a digital bank that’s based in Manitoba but does business with customers across Canada. It’s owned by Cambrian Credit Union, a well-known Manitoba financial institution with eleven locations throughout Winnipeg and nearby Selkirk.
Because Achieva is a digital bank, there are no physical branches. Instead, clients can access products online at competitive rates and prices. Let’s take a closer look at what’s available.
Achieva Account Types
The Achieva Financial product lineup comprises four savings account types and several Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GIC’s). While you can’t get a mortgage or loan, their savings rates are attractive, especially when comparing them with the Big 6 banks.
On savings accounts, there is no monthly fee, and debit transactions are free and unlimited. There is an ATM withdrawal charge, however. The minimum deposit amount for GICs is $1000, and you can choose from terms between 1 and 5 years.
Here are the current interest rates offered by Achieva Financial, as of December 12, 2020:
Daily Interest Savings
1.20% (non-registered, TFSA, RRSP, RRIF)
Terms from 1 to 5 years. Eligible account types include non-registered, TFSA, RRSP, and RRIF:
1 Year: 1.55%
2 Year: 1.55%
3 Year: 1.60%
4 Year: 1.75%
5 Year: 1.85%
How to Open an Achieva Account Online
To get started with Achieva, select “Open An Account” on their website homepage. You will be given an option to download the AchievaMobile app and open your account directly from there.
It’s a more streamlined process, in part because the app allows you to scan in your ID rather than entering the information manually on the website. You will require a personalized cheque from another Canadian Financial Institution to make your initial deposit.
How to Deposit Funds
There are six ways to deposit funds into an Achieva account.
AchievaDirect allows you to transfer funds to and from your primary financial institution electronically. Log in to your online banking and select AchievaDirect.
Automated Savings Program
You can set up a recurring transfer into your Achieva account by providing a void cheque of the sending account and filling out a request form. You can make changes to the amount and payment frequency at any time.
Achieva Mobile App
With DepositAnywhere, you can move money into your account by taking a picture of the front and back of a cheque.
You can set up a direct deposit for payroll or government benefits and have the money sent directly into your Achieva account.
You can deposit cash or cheques at any credit union ATM in Canada displaying the AccuLink logo. There is no fee for deposits.
Registered Plans Transfer-In
If you want to transfer from an existing TFSA, RRSP, or RRIF account, you can have it sent to Achieva by filling out a Direct Transfer form and then mailing it to the following address:
PO Box 2729 Stn Main
Winnipeg, MB R3C 4B3
Achieva vs. Tangerine vs. EQ
Since you can open an account with Achieva from anywhere in Canada, you may be wondering how they compare to other leading Canadian digital banks. For comparison, let’s see how Achieva stacks up against Tangerine and EQ Bank.
When it comes to the types of accounts that are available, Tangerine is the clear leader among the three. Not only do they have their own lineup of investment funds, but they also offer mortgages, lines of credit, RRSP loans, business accounts, and credit cards.
Achieva compares more closely to EQ in offering primarily savings accounts and GICs. EQ, however, has partnered with TransferWise to offer international money transfers to its clients.
Interest Rates and Fees
Achieva scores a victory over Tangerine with their standard savings interest rate of 1.20%. By comparison, Tangerine is offering a paltry .10% on most of their savings accounts.
They have an ongoing promotion that gives new customers 2.10% interest, but it’s an introductory rate that is only available for 5 months. EQ has the highest standard savings rate of the three, at 1.50%.
All three banks offer no-fee savings accounts with unlimited monthly debits. When it comes to getting cash, Achieva clients have access to the credit union ATM network, although there is a $.60 charge for each withdrawal. Tangerine customers have an edge here, with access to Scotiabank’s national ATM network.
For a complete comparison of Canada’s digital banks, check out this review of Canada’s best high-interest savings accounts.
Achieva Financial Mobile App
Achieva Financial clients can bank using a mobile app available for download on both iPhone and Android devices. You can use the app to perform the following transactions:
- Check your account balance.
- Check interest rates
- Bill payments
- Transfer money
- Deposit a cheque
- Account maintenance
- Refer a friend (including a cash bonus)
- Locate an ATM
How Is My Money Protected with Achieva?
As previously mentioned, deposits with Achieva are protected by the Deposit Guarantee Corporation of Manitoba. According to its website, DGCM insures all deposits for an unlimited amount. For Achieva customers, this includes all savings balances as well as GICs.
In addition to the deposit insurance, Achieva is backed by Cambrian, a 60+ year institution and Manitoba’s 3rd largest credit union. In other words, you can feel confident that the money you hold with Achieva is safe.
Achieva Financial Customer Service
Achieva customers can speak with a customer service agent between 8 AM and 6 PM, Monday to Friday. Their toll-free number is 1-877-224-4382. Also, you can send an email to [email protected].
Who Is Achieva Financial Best Suited For?
Existing Cambrian Credit Union customers will be most likely to open an account with Achieva Financial. It gives them access to free savings and attractive interest rates without having to change banks. As for everyone else, there may be better options through EQ, or if you are looking for a broader account offering, Tangerine. That said, the rates on savings accounts are constantly changing, so it never hurts to include Achieva wherever you’re shopping around.