EQ Bank Review: The Best Place to Save Your Money?
It’s been a few short years since EQ Bank emerged onto the landscape of Canadian online banks. But while they may seem like the new kid on the block, their roots run much deeper.
Who Owns EQ Bank?
EQ Bank is brought to you by Equitable Bank, which has been providing residential and commercial lending services in Canada for over 40 years. Today, they are a Schedule I bank, with over $25 Billion in assets under management. Since its launch in 2016, deposits at EQ Bank have grown to over $2 billion.
EQ Bank Interest Rates
EQ Bank is not a full service online bank, their appeal lies in the high interest rates they offer on savings accounts and GICs.
EQ Bank doesn’t issue debit cards, accounts come without cheque writing privileges, and transferring money to and from your primary bank account can take time. You can’t even open an RRSP or TFSA account through EQ Bank.
But what they lack in services, they make up for with some of the highest savings rates available today.
At a 2.30% everyday interest rate*, their current savings account rate is much higher than anything offered by most banks, and their 1 Year GIC rate of 3.10% is among the class leaders.
Let’s take a closer look at these products.
EQ Bank Savings Plus Account
EQ Bank’s high interest savings account is their main attraction. The current interest rate sits at 2.30%*. Since Equitable Bank is a member of the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC), your money at EQ Bank is eligible for deposit insurance.
There are no monthly fees on the account, customers are not required to maintain a minimum balance, and the number of monthly transactions are unlimited. A great feature is that they allow you to make bill payments from your savings account.
Transferring Money To and From Your Account
While EQ Bank doesn’t offer debit cards, or cheques, or have bricks and mortar bank locations, they do offer three distinct ways to transfer funds to and from your EQ Bank Savings Plus Account.
For starters, you can link your primary bank account to your EQ Bank Savings Plus Account and transfer funds to and from, via an Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT). While this process is not instantaneous (it can take a couple of days), it is free of charge.
EQ Bank also allows unlimited no-fee e-transfers. This way, you can send and receive money with relative ease, just as you would do through any other bank.
Lastly, if you have a friend or family member who also deals with EQ Bank, you can transfer money back and forth using EQ Connections. These transfers are free, unlimited, and offer the same ease of use as an Interac e-Transfer®. With an email address, and by setting up a security question/answer, transfers can be easily sent and received instantaneously.
Open an EQ Bank Savings Plus Account
If you have a nest egg that is sitting in a savings account at your bank, earning almost nothing, an EQ Bank Savings Plus Account just might be the solution.
Whether you’re saving for a downpayment on your first home, or for your next big vacation, you can open an EQ Bank Savings Plus Account today, and connect it to your primary bank account.
EQ Bank GICs
EQ Bank GICs allow you invest your money securely for terms between 3 months and 5 years. The interest rate on their 3-month GIC is currently set at 2.35%, while their very popular 1-year GIC is priced at 3.10%.
One nice feature of EQ Bank’s GIC product is the low minimum deposit. You can purchase a GIC through EQ Bank with as little as $100, which isn’t possible with most financial institutions.
If you have a nest egg that you don’t require immediate access to, an EQ Bank GIC is a great option.
EQ Bank Mobile App
EQ Bank does offer clients the convenience of online banking through their award-winning mobile app. This is where you’ll manage your funds with EQ Bank.
You can pay bills through the app, including adding and modifying payees. You can set up linked accounts from your primary bank, and send money to family and friends via Interac e-Transfers® and EQ Connections.
The EQ Bank Mobile App even allows for mobile cheque deposit, just like the big banks.
For added security, the app includes facial recognition log-in from compatible iPhone devices and fingerprint sign-up from compatible Android and iPhone devices.
EQ Bank And TransferWise
Do you need to send money to friends or family overseas on a regular basis? EQ Bank has a relationship with TransferWise, a company with a unique method for making international money transfers.
When you register TransferWise as a bill payee through your EQ Bank online banking, you are then able to move funds, free of charge, to your TransferWise account, to be exchanged to a foreign currency.
To learn more about TransferWise, you can read their story here.
EQ Bank vs. Tangerine
The Canadian online bank space is a crowded one. EQ Bank faces a lot of competition, from Simplii Financial, to Wealthsimple, to Tangerine.
And while each one has some great products to offer customers, Tangerine remains the overall leader, in my opinion.
That is based on their combination of competitive rates, full range of products and services, and the strength of a large ATM network, through their affiliation with Scotiabank.
That said, even if your primary bank has your day to day banking needs covered, if what you want is a better interest rate for your savings nest egg, the EQ Bank Savings Plus Account has a lot to offer.
Is EQ Bank Right for You?
If you ask me, few people will make EQ Bank their primary financial institution.
There just aren’t enough product options available, and the lack of a debit card makes accessing your funds a bit difficult.
Another limitation is the inability to open a joint account.
What EQ Bank does so well, however, is offer no fee banking with one of the highest interest rates around.
Indeed, the EQ Bank Savings Plus Account can be a great place to park that emergency fund, or that nest egg you would rather not be dipping into. Remember, out of sight, out of mind.
If that arrangement appeals to you, head over to EQ Bank and open your EQ Bank Savings Plus Account today.
*Interest is calculated daily on the total closing balance and paid monthly. Rates are per annum and subject to change without notice.