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Outlook Financial Review: Canadian Online Banking Made In Manitoba

Outlook Financial Review: Canadian Online Banking Made In Manitoba

There are several online banks owned by credit unions in Canada. Outlook Financial is one of them. A division of Winnipeg-based Assiniboine Credit Union, Outlook offers banking products and services to customers across Canada. In this Outlook Financial review, I’ll let you know what they have to offer, how their rates and fees compare to other online banks, and how you can open an account.

Outlook Financial Products

Most digital banks have a limited product offering, and Outlook Financial is no different. They don’t offer lending products like credit cards, loans, or mortgages, nor can you buy market investments, like mutual funds or ETFs. Here is a list of the available products:

  • Outlook Financial High-Interest Savings Account
  • Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs)
  • Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA)
  • Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP)
  • Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF)

Outlook Financial Savings Account

Outlook’s primary account is a high-interest bank account, which can be non-registered or registered. From an interest standpoint, it’s one of the better savings accounts in Canada.

At this writing, the interest rate is 1.10%, and there are no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements. Interest is calculated daily and paid monthly. Outlook intends for the account to be for savings only, so there is a $1.00 transaction fee after using your one free monthly debit.

Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs)

Outlook offers a fixed-term Guaranteed Investment Certificate with terms ranging from 1 to 5 years. You can have the interest compounded or paid annually into your high-interest savings account. GICs are eligible for non-registered or registered plans (TFSA, RRSP, RRIF.) The minimum deposit amount is $1000, and you must hold the GICs until maturity; they cannot be pre-encashed. Here are the GIC rates (as of November 11, 2021):

1-Year Term: 1.25%

2-Year Term: 1.45%

3-Year Term: 1.65%

4-Year Term: 1.70%

5-Year Term: 1.95%

Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA)

Tax-Free Savings Accounts are a popular way for Canadians to invest without paying income tax on the interest earned. Outlook Financial offers a TFSA account similar to the savings account, aside from the annual contribution limit.

You can easily transfer funds between your Outlook TFSA and your Outlook savings via the Outlook Mobile App. E-transfers are not available on the TFSA account, so you would have to move the money over to savings first.

Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP)

Outlook can help you save for retirement with an RRSP savings or GIC account. I don’t recommend this for anyone with a long time horizon to retirement. Unless you have zero risk tolerance, long-term savings should have exposure to the markets to reach your retirement goals. That said, if you need a place to park your RRSP funds for a short period, an Outlook RRSP is more than suitable.

Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF)

Any Canadian with an RRSP account must withdraw the funds or convert it to a Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF) by December 31st of the year they turn 71 years of age. If you have an Outlook RRSP, you can convert it to an Outlook RRIF account.

Outlook Financial Rates

These are the interest rates offered by Outlook Financial, as of Nov. 11, 2021. For comparison, Tangerine’s regular savings interest rate is 0.10%, although they do have a limited-time, introductory rate of 2.00%. EQ Bank’s standard savings rate of 1.25% is slightly higher than Outlook’s.

Savings: 1.10% (non-registered, TFSA, RRSP, RRIF)

GIC Rates (as of Nov. 11, 2021)

1-Year Term: 1.25%

2-Year Term: 1.45%

3-Year Term: 1.65%

4-Year Term: 1.70%

5-Year Term: 1.95%

Outlook Financial Service Fees

While there are no monthly account fees on Outlook accounts, they do charge fees for various services that they offer. I’ve included their service fee schedule below, or you can view it online.

How to Open an Outlook Financial Account

You can open an account with Outlook Financial from their website. You must be at least 18 years of age, and be able to provide the following information, but if you qualify, the process only takes a few minutes:

  • Personal details (Name, address, residency status, employer/occupation, etc.)
  • A void cheque from your primary bank
  • Make a minimum $1 deposit to your new Outlook savings account.
  • Purchase a $5 equity share to become an Assiniboine Credit Union member

Outlook Financial Mobile App

You can bank online from your desktop or by downloading and logging into the Outlook Mobile App. It’s free to transfer between your Outlook accounts online or via the mobile app, but sending an e-Transfer will set you back $1.50. Incoming e-Transfers are free.

About Assiniboine Credit Union

As I mentioned at the outset of this article, Outlook is a division of Assiniboine Credit Union. Founded in 1943, they now operate 16 branches in Manitoba, including 14 in Winnipeg. They have more than 450 employees and manage more than $5 billion in assets. As a customer of Outlook Financial, you can rest assured knowing that it has strong financial roots through Assiniboine.

Is Outlook Financial Safe?

The prospect of dealing with an online bank can sometimes prompt people to ask whether or not it’s safe. In the case of Outlook Financial, it is perfectly safe. Not only are they backed by a well-established Canadian financial institution, but deposits are 100% guaranteed by the Deposit Guarantee Corporation of Manitoba (DGCM).

In addition, Outlook’s online banking platform is provided by Central 1 Credit Union, which adheres to ISO 27001 international standards for Information Security Management Systems (ISMS). According to Outlook, their security measures are reviewed every six months.

Outlook Financial Pros and Cons

If you’re not being offered competitive interest rates from your primary financial institution, Outlook Financial is a convenient place to store short-term savings, while getting a good interest rate. But it also has some drawbacks, mainly in the limited product offering. Here’s my list of pros and cons:


  • High interest rates compared to the big banks
  • Deposits are 100% guaranteed
  • No monthly fees
  • No minimum balances required (non-GIC)
  • Backed by Assiniboine Credit Union


  • Limited product range (no loans, credit cards, etc.)
  • No online chequing account options
  • Savings account limited to 1 free monthly debit

Outlook Financial Review: Final Thoughts

Online banks like Outlook Financial are perfect for the age in which we live. Without the high overhead of a brick-and-mortar branch network, they can offer low fees and better than average interest rates on everything from savings accounts to GICs. If you’re shopping around for an online bank and are considering names like Tangerine and EQ Bank, or even Oaken Financial, I recommend that you give Outlook Financial a look before making your final decision.

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