EQ Bank Review

EQ bank offers its clients competitive rates and an entirely online banking experience.

WRITTEN BY
Lisa Rennie
Updated October 9, 2020


RATING

There are a handful of 100% online banking platforms out there, but most are not associated with more established banks. That’s not the case with EQ Bank, which is a trademark of Equitable Bank, a large Canadian Schedule I Bank that’s been around for about 50 years. 

EQ Bank promises not only to provide convenience in the name of banking entirely online, but it also delivers high-interest rates on savings thanks to the minimal overhead since there are no physical branches. Not only that, but their customer service is pretty impressive, especially when considering how there are no brick-and-mortar branches to visit for face-to-face communication. 

Let’s look at EQ Bank in a little more detail to help you determine if this is the right digital platform to do your banking with. 

What Accounts Does EQ Bank Offer?

EQ Bank currently offers a high-interest savings account and the opportunity to buy GICs.

Savings Plus Account

A high-interest savings account (HISA) offers a way to save money to meet your financial goals. With the competitive rate that EQ Bank offers, it rivals some low-risk investment vehicles that are available. It certainly beats the rate you’d be offered on a chequing account. 

  • 1.50% interest 
  • No banking fees
  • Cheap international money transfers
  • Unlimited transactions (up to certain monetary limits)
  • No minimum balance
Learn More

GICs

GICs can be purchased through EQ Bank’s parent company, Equitable Bank. 

  • GICs are easily accessible.
  • Can be bought for as little as $100 per GIC. 
  • Maximum you can invest in these GICs is $100,000, and up to 20 GICs can be purchased. 
  • Different term lengths can be chosen from, ranging from 3 months to 10 years. 
  • Rates range from 2.10% to 2.55.

Pros and Cons of Online Banking at EQ Bank 

Pros 

  • High maximum balances allowed. You can hold as much as $200,000 in your account before you decide where you’d like to invest or spend it. 
  • High-interest rates. EQ Bank boasts an everyday interest rate of 1.50%, helping you earn as you save. 
  • No minimum balance. Many banks require that you have a specific minimum balance in order to keep your account open and avoid fees, but EQ Bank does not have such restrictions.  
  • Unlimited e-transfers. Sending and receiving money is a cinch with Interac e-transfers. With EQ Bank, there are no limits to the number of these transfers you can make in any given month. 
  • Unlimited withdrawals. You can withdraw as many times as you like without incurring any fees for going over a certain amount. 
  • Cheap international money transfers. Some banks charge a hefty fee for sending or receiving money internationally, but with EQ Bank, you can benefit from affordable rates. You can look up the various exchange rates on the EQ website, which also provides a calculator to help you determine the exchange. 
  • No monthly fees. It can be frustrating to see monthly fees come out of your bank account, but you won’t get stuck with these pesky fees with EQ Bank. 
  • Security. Up to $100,000 of your money is insured by the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC), so even if something happens to EQ Bank, your money is secure. 
  • Set and track the progress of your goals. EQ Bank offers account holders a free online tool that allows you to keep tabs on your progress towards reaching up to four goals you may have.  
  • Can be used anywhere in the world. Your EQ Bank account is easily accessible from wherever you happen to be through the mobile app or online banking.

Cons: 

  • You can’t spend it with a debit card.
  • No joint accounts. 
  • Only savings accounts and the ability to buy GICs are currently available. 

Overview of Accounts

EQ Bank Savings Plus Accounts

FeatureDetails
Monthly Fee$0
Minimum BalanceNone
Maximum Balance$200,000
Number of E-Transfers PermittedUnlimited
Interest Rate1.50%
Joint Accounts Permitted?No
Mobile App Available?Yes
Special FeaturesDeposits insured up to $100,000 by CDICTools that allow you to set and track the progress of your goalsCan be used anywhere in the world

EQ Bank GICs

TermRate
3 month1.5%
6 month1.6%
9 month1.60%
1 year1.70%
15 month1.70%
2 year1.80%
27 month1.80%
3 year1.90%
4 year2.00%
5 year2.15%
6 year2.40%
7 year2.40%
10 year2.70%

What Customer Support Does EQ Bank Have Available?

EQ Bank can be contacted through the following channels:

  • Online chat from 8am to midnight (EST), 7 days a week
  • Phone: 1-844-437-2265 toll-free within North America or 1-416-551-3449 outside of North America
  • Email: contact@eqbank.ca
  • Mail:

EQ Bank – Digital Banking

30 St. Clair Avenue West, Suite 700

Toronto, ON

M4V 3A1

How to Open an Account With EQ Bank 

To open an account with EQ Bank, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a Canadian resident
  • Be the age of majority in your province (not available in Quebec)
  • Have a Social Insurance Number (SIN)
  • Provide a copy of a government-issued photo ID with your current address (if the ID does not have your current address, you’ll also need to supply a document  as proof of address document, like a utility bill)
  • Have a bank account with an approved financial institution

Using your savings account. After opening an account with EQ Bank, you’ll link a bank account that you have with a conventional bank and transfer funds into your EQ account via an electronic funds transfer, Interac e-transfer, or cheque through the mobile app. The money you have in your account can then earn 1.50% interest or can be used to buy GICs or pay bills. 

International money transfers. To transfer money to someone through an international money transfer, you’ll use TransferWise to facilitate the process. TransferWise is integrated with EQ Bank, so the transfer is streamless. A TransferWise account will need to be created through your EQ Bank account or mobile app, as long as you have an EQ Bank Savings Plus Account. 

You’ll also be able to check on the status of the transfer on the website or the app. A maximum of $9,500 CAD can be transferred per transaction every 24 hours, and you can send money to over 70 countries in 32 different currencies.

Is It Safe to Bank With EQ Bank?

Yes, it is safe to park your money with EQ Bank. The main reason is because of its affiliation with the well-established Equitable Bank, which is a Schedule I financial institution that has been around for decades. Further, up to $100,000 of your money will be insured by the CDIC, which means if EQ Bank goes belly up for whatever reason, you won’t lose that money.

Who’s Best Suited For Online Banking With EQ Bank?

EQ Bank is great for people who meet the following criteria:

  • People who want a more convenient way to do their banking
  • People who want to make more money with a higher interest rate on their savings
  • People who like the security of an online bank with CDIC insurance
  • People who don’t want to deal with annoying monthly fees on their bank accounts

However, EQ Bank might not be suitable for those wishing to save for retirement or who are looking for a tax-sheltered savings account, as the bank does not currently offer RRSPs or TFSAs.

Final Thoughts

EQ Bank is a great option for those looking to get a competitive rate on their savings account while enjoying the convenience of banking entirely online. The bank also provides some peace of mind thanks to funds being insured by the CDIC. However, if you’re looking for a tax-free savings account or RRSP, you may have to look elsewhere.