Looking for an EQ Bank Review? Is EQ Bank safe? Yup, I did it and took the plunge. I added to my high interest savings account hoarding and I signed up for EQ Bank to take advantage of the great everyday interest rate.
Table of Contents
EQ Bank Review
Here is my EQ Bank Review.
This review will go over what EQ bank is, answers the questions: Is EQ Bank safe, the accounts available (joint account, TFSA, RRSP, GIC, and US dollar) and a step-by-step guide on how to open up an EQ Bank Savings Plus account.
This EQ Bank review was last updated November 2023
EQ Bank Interest Rate
EQ Bank recently increased their rate in June 2022 to 1.65%, in September to 2.00%, and in October to 2.50%*. The TFSA and RRSP rates are 3.00%* as of December 2022.
There is an opportunity to unlock and earn bonus interest of 3.00%* for 12 months on your EQ Bank deposits by:
- Setting up $500/month or more in either paycheque direct deposit or recurring pre-authorized debits
This interest applies for the EQ Bank Savings Plus Account, EQ Bank Joint Savings Plus Account, and the EQ Bank Card balance.
More details on the EQ Bank bonus interest terms and conditions here.
What Is EQ Bank?
In this EQ Bank Canada review, you may wonder who owns EQ Bank?
EQ Bank is a trademark of Equitable Bank and they are a federally regulated Schedule I bank with over $42 billion in assets under management. It is the 7th Largest Bank in Canada by assets. Equitable Bank is a Canadian company that is based out of Toronto, Ontario and has been around for over 50 years.
It has been named as the Best Bank in Canada on the Forbes 2023 list of the World’s Best Banks.
EQ Bank has held this title for the past 3 years.
They have done really well as a company too, increasing their dividend in 2022 by 51%!
EQ Bank came out with astounding HISA (high interest savings account) rates a few years ago and I kept waiting for them to decrease their rate, thinking that it was a promotional rate like Tangerine or a rate that was ‘too good to be true’.
Well, EQ Bank still has one of the highest rates (non-promotional period) in Canada and they haven’t taken away their good rate. EQ Bank recently announced that Quebec residents may now use EQ Bank.
I decided to take the plunge to find out what the fuss is about and signed up for an EQ Bank account myself and wrote up this EQ bank review.
Is EQ Bank Safe?
People may be worried that EQ Bank is not safe because it is 100% online and there are no physical branches.
There are no physical branches, no satellite shops.
However, rest assured if you’re wondering “is EQ Bank safe”? your money is safe with EQ Bank.
All your Canadian dollar deposits made to EQ Bank (up to $100,000) are protected automatically with CDIC deposit insurance.
The coverage is free and automatic since they are a CDIC member, you don’t have to sign up for coverage but it’s good to know that your money is safe in case of company insolvency, when you plunk your hard earned cash into a financial institution.
EQ Bank’s Savings Plus Account
This is what you get when you open an EQ Bank’s Savings Plus Account:
- Free Interac e-Transfers® (email money transfer to anyone with an email)
- You can deposit up to $200,000 into the EQ Bank’s Savings Plus Account
- Free electronic fund transfers, so you can funnel your money online however which way you want without having to worry about getting dinged.
- There is also no minimum balance
- EQ Bank Card: A card that you load with money from your linked EQ account, the deposits are CDIC protected. Withdrawals are free from ANY ATM in Canada (EQ Bank will reimburse the ATM fee charged) and you get 0.5%** cash back on purchases.
- EQ Bank has mobile cheque deposit (take a picture of your cheque to deposit it)
- Interest is calculated daily on the total closing balance and paid monthly. The rate is per year and subject to change without notice
- EQ-to-EQ Transfers: You can send money to another EQ Bank customer without the hassle of passwords or confirmation. The money is automatically deposited into the intended’s bank account.
- International Money Transfers with Wise Canada. You can send money for eight times cheaper compared to a regular bank and pay no hidden fees.
- A new EQ Bank Referral Program where you can get $20 to $40 per referral and your friend can get $20 for opening up an EQ Bank Savings Plus Account and depositing $100 within 30 days. You can earn a maximum of $500.
They have 7 days a week phone coverage and they have an online chat function as well if you run into any problems using the EQ bank app or accessing your EQ bank account online.
EQ Bank Joint Savings Plus Account
As of July 2020, EQ Bank has a Joint Account option.
This is an excellent feature especially for spouses in a household who have a joint account and want to earn more interest towards savings goals like a new home, or a new car, or a trip.
Or even for shared bill payments like a mortgage, or utilities, or joint credit card bills.
- Add up to three Joint Account Holders to the account
- Complete the application for Joint Account holders entirely online
- There is a maximum balance of $500,000 per customer
- Free bill payments
- No every day banking fees
- EQ Bank card where you can withdraw from any ATM in Canada for free
If you have a joint account you should make sure you know the person very well (and trust them) because they will have full access to the funds just like you, and can clear the account if they choose to.
If you’re wondering is EQ Bank safe and the person who you opened a joint account with clears all your money out, you’ve got more important things to worry about.
EQ Bank TFSA
As of November 2020, EQ Bank has introduced registered accounts, namely a TFSA and RRSP.
The EQ Bank Tax Free Savings Account (or EQ Bank TFSA) is comprised of the:
- TFSA Savings Account
- TFSA GIC
The EQ Bank TFSA has a limit of $200,000 (well, the maximum TFSA right now is $75,500) and the EQ Bank TFSA has $100,000 CDIC coverage itself, since it is considered separate CDIC coverage from the EQ Bank’s Savings Plus Account.
Registered accounts have beneficiaries. To name a beneficiary for the EQ Bank TFSA, you would have to download a form and mail it and provide your signature.
To open up an EQ Bank TFSA, you have to have an EQ Bank’s Savings Plus Account and there is only one EQ Bank TFSA allowed per customer.
The EQ Bank TFSA is now open to Quebec residents as of December 2022.
As of writing, the EQ Bank TFSA rate is 3.00%* (Interest is calculated daily on the total closing balance and paid monthly. Rates are per annum and subject to change without notice.)
EQ Bank RRSP
The EQ Bank RRSP is similar to the EQ Bank TFSA.
The EQ Bank Retirement Savings Plan is comprised of the:
- RSP Savings Account
- RSP GIC
The EQ Bank RRSP does not offer spousal, LIRA, or RRIF RSPs at this time.
The EQ Bank RRSP has a limit of $1 million.
There is also separate CDIC coverage of $100,000 for the EQ Bank RRSP.
As of writing, the EQ Bank RSP rate is 3.00%* (Interest is calculated daily on the total closing balance and paid monthly. Rates are per annum and subject to change without notice.)
EQ Bank FHSA
The EQ Bank FHSA allows investors to:
- Contribute up to $40,000 toward the purchase of a first home through an annual tax-free contributions of up to $8,000 per year
- Earn tax-free investment income in an FHSA Savings Account at a rate of 3.00%.
- Purchase FHSA GICs to earn high interest and keep your down payment money safe
- Withdraw money toward the purchase of a qualifying first home tax-free without having to pay it back unlike the Home Buyers Plan linked with the RRSP
Personally I think that the FHSA is better suited for high interest savings accounts rather than investment brokerages.
High interest savings or GICs are great options to keep your cash safe for the short term while you wait to buy a home.
The FHSA deposits are protected with CDIC insurance.
EQ Bank US Dollar Account
Is EQ Bank safe for your US dollars, too?
In this EQ bank review, we will go over the US Dollar account too.
As of June 2021, EQ Bank now has a US dollar account and the features of it are very attractive. Seriously, EQ Bank keeps getting better and better.
- 3.00%* interest rate on US dollars (this is very very high for a USD account in Canada!)
- The conversion rate on US dollars is one of the best in Canada
- No fee for the US Dollar Account
- You can send your US dollars to another US dollar account abroad you have using Wise (formerly Transferwise)
- USD dollars to USD transfers within Canada are free (linked bank account)
- Your US dollars are CDIC covered up to $100,000 CAD equivalent (protected)
- The biggest feature is being able to transfer CAD into US dollars immediately and see the conversion rate that will be used
The EQ Bank foreign exchange rates are subject to change and include an exchange rate margin embedded within the exchange, however EQ Bank states their rates are one of the best in Canada.
How to Transfer Funds to your EQ Bank US Dollar Account
It is a two step process but very simple nonetheless.
- First you link an external account from a Canadian financial institution to your EQ Bank US Dollar Account (it can be either in CAD or USD).
- Then, you can transfer funds in CAD to your EQ Bank US Dollar Account
- The transaction will first appear in CAD in your EQ Bank’s Savings Plus Account and then will be automatically deposited into your USD account in US dollars (just like magic!)
To get your USD dollar out of the EQ Bank US Dollar account you would transfer out to a linked USD dollar account and then take the money out from that physical bank, since this is a digital bank.
To open up the US dollar account you first need to have an EQ Bank’s Savings Plus Account open.
Investing In an EQ Bank GIC (Guaranteed Income Certificate)
EQ Bank is known for its ridiculously great EQ bank GIC rates, especially for their short term 3-month GIC’s.
It has absolutely zero risks, compared to some of my favourite Canadian dividend-paying companies.
It is super easy to sign up for a GIC, and it only took about 2 minutes to do.
If you’re wondering where you should park your money, you can check out this post of High-Interest Savings Account vs GIC. I’ve always been a fan of doing things in moderation, so why not do both?
In their Bank dashboard, you click “buy a GIC” then you can see in the drop-down box what the interest rates are:
As of August 2023, EQ Bank has changed the rates of their GIC’s. Instead of the 2.50% high interest account savings rate, you can get:
- 3.75%* on a 3 month GIC
- 4.50%* on a 6 month GIC, or
- 5.55%* on a 1 year GIC in a non-registered account.
I love their short term GICs especially for cash you have sitting around anyway and 3 to 6 months is not too much of a commitment for commitment phobic people like me. Then you click on the GIC that you are interested in investing in and put in the amount of GIC that you want to invest.
You can even name your GIC. I named mine ‘rainy days’ as part of my emergency fund.
Then you click buy!
You have to make sure you are buying the GIC for the benefit of another individual by clicking on the box.
EQ Bank’s Saving Plus Account Sign Up Process
The sign-up process for an EQ Bank’s Savings Plus Account was easy and just took 3 minutes for me.
You can sign up here, go to the EQ bank login, and follow along with this if you are interested.
To open up an EQ Bank’s Savings Plus Account, you’ll need:
- To be a Canadian resident and at the age of majority when signing up
- Your email address
- Your Social Insurance Number (they ask for this to match credit bureau information and protect your account from fraud)
- Your address, contact information, etc.
- Answers to a list of great security questions (some of them I have never seen before, they are quite detailed)
After your account is opened, you’ll get an account number. Then you verify your account and then can fund your account.
There were also offers to sign up for their Guaranteed Income Certificate (GIC) through the sign-up process.
Click here to invest with an EQ Bank GIC (first you have to open up an EQ Bank’s Savings Plus Account).
How to Fund Your EQ Bank Account
During the sign-up process, EQ Bank asks you to link your account with an existing bank account that you already have.
EQ Bank will send two small ‘micro-deposits’ to your linked bank account so that they can confirm that you are the owner of that bank account, within two business days.
Don’t get too excited, the micro-deposits are like a few cents (under $0.30 anyway for me!).
Then you verify these micro-deposits and your account is ready (because it automatically links to your existing bank account) and you are able to fund your account.
Or you can fund your account by sending yourself an Interac e-Transfer®. If your employer provides this, you can also fund the account via direct deposit. Finally, you can also fund the account using an electronic fund transfer.
For me, I chose to fund my account using the electronic fund transfer since it was so easy. Since my accounts were already linked, all I had to do was input how much I wanted to transfer.
Then, it said my funds would show up within 5 business days. For me, it only took one business day (the next day I got email confirmation that my money got transferred).
This post may contain affiliate links. Please see genymoney.ca’s disclaimer for more information.
So to summarize, after you open up your EQ Bank’s Savings Plus Account, to fund your EQ Bank’s Savings Plus Account you can:
- Link your bank account with your EQ Bank’s Savings Plus Account and pay yourself like a bill payment (an electronic fund transfer)
- Send an email money transfer to yourself via Interac e-Transfer®
- Download the EQ Bank app and take a photo of a cheque you write to yourself to deposit money
Now you’re ready to earn 2.50%* everyday interest rate!
Here’s what the EQ bank micro-deposits request looks like.
Now that we’ve looked at how to fund the account and set up the account, here is my EQ bank review and some of the pros and cons of the EQ Bank’s Savings Plus Account that I have experienced so far.
Pros of EQ Bank
Is EQ bank safe? Yes it is.
It is FREE to sign up for with no minimum balance (e.g. You can leave $0 parked in there if you want). It is a great no fee banking option in Canada.
There are no everyday banking fees.
Joint Account capability (not all high interest savings accounts have this option).
It has one of the highest savings accounts rates in Canada (especially for a non-promotional rate!).
As of December 2021 recently have added Interac e-Transfer® capability. You can send an Interac e-Transfer® to anyone with an email address for zero fees. They even feature autodeposit, instant transfers, and quick-send to your contacts that you regularly send Interac e-Transfers® to.
It is entirely online (this may be a con though depending on what you prefer) so you don’t have to see anyone or go anywhere. You can fund your account in your pyjamas (which is what I did). As an introvert, this is amazing for me.
As of January 2023, they added an EQ Bank card! FREE ATM withdrawals anywhere in Canada (EQ Bank will reimburse the fees) AND 0.5%** cash back.
They have EQ Connections or EQ-to-EQ Transfers so you can send money to anyone with another EQ Bank account on your EQ Connections list without a fee. Free. And you don’t need a confirmation email or a password or secret question for them to answer too.
The micro deposits make setting up your Savings Plus Account with other banks very easy and fast.
Although the EQ bank rates are subject to change without notice, the rate seems to have stayed the same to me so far!
There are free bill payments.
The interface is very clean and minimalist looking.
The EQ Bank App on Apple iTunes is rated very well (a 4.7 out of 5 ratings). It’s a great personal finance app.
You can earn money from the EQ Bank Referral Program (your friend earns $20 if they sign up through you too).
The EQ Bank transfer time for email transfers is fast, within hours.
It is available in Wealthica’s dashboard so I can include my money in EQ bank to track my net worth.
They now have an EQ Bank US Dollar Account with a high interest rate at 3.00%*.
Cons of EQ Bank
Here are some negatives.
There are no physical branches (as mentioned earlier this may be a con for you but it is not a negative for me) but you can use an EQ Bank card.
Previously, EQ Bank’s cheque deposit technology seems not as good as the bigger banks (for example, Scotiabank and BMO who have automatic picture taking for the cheques), however this has been updated and works just as well now.
EQ Bank Referral Program
As mentioned, EQ Bank has a new referral program where you can receive between $20 to $40 depending on the number of friends that you refer to the EQ Bank’s Savings Plus Account.
You will receive a unique referral code when you sign up.
You can earn a maximum of $500 and your friend can get $20 as a new EQ Bank’s Savings Plus Account client for depositing $100 within 30 days.
You can get $20 for your first 3 friends that you refer, and then $30 for the next four friends you refer, and then $40 for friends you refer after that with the EQ Bank Refer a Friend Program.
Your friend gets $20 when they sign up for an EQ Bank’s Savings Plus Account through your link too.
Once your friend deposits their $100, they get $20 and you get $20 within a day!
It’s not like a $300 bank bonus or a free iPad for signing up a new chequing account, but it’s pretty good, and you don’t have to be setting up onerous direct deposits or automatic bill payments to qualify for the bonus money.
What’s my honest EQ Bank review? Is EQ Bank safe?
Well, I’m very happy with the 2.50%* everyday interest rate! It has been a consistent rate. The app is very easy to use and intuitive. I also like that I get email notifications with any transactions that occur to my account.
I mean, who can complain about that when my regular big bank high-interest savings account rate is just 0.05%? I’m happy with the website interface, it’s very sleek and the sign-up process was very easy.
Also since they added an EQ Bank card, you can really use it as a hybrid chequing and savings account.
The other high interest savings account in Canada that I use is Motive Financial, they have a higher rate but I like using EQ bank more because they have a hybrid chequing and savings account because I often get overdraft fees on my Motive Financial chequing account. I also tried LBC Digital but didn’t like the interface and they kept dropping the promo rate substantially.
Since I use my cash for emergency funds and also to keep cash for my investment portfolio instead of something like high interest ETFs, why not earn 2.50%* while the cash is just sitting there anyway? It’s a great and easy way to earn passive income and save for a rainy day.
To sign up for 2.50%* everyday interest rate with EQ Bank, click here!
Finally, because EQ Bank now has a US dollar account, this is icing on the cake. The 3.00%* rate is amazing and hoarding US dollars while the Canadian dollar is high was always on my to-do list (remember when the CAD dollar was at par with the USD?!).
*Interest is calculated on the total closing balance and paid monthly. Rates are per annum and subject to change without notice.
Do you use EQ Bank?
What’s your EQ Bank review?
Is EQ Bank safe to you?
GYM is a 30 something millennial interested in achieving financial freedom through disciplined saving, dividend and ETF investing, and living a minimalist lifestyle. Before you go, check out my recommendations page of financial tools I use to save and invest money. Don’t forget to subscribe for blog updates, a free dividend yield spreadsheet, and the free Young Money Bootcamp eCourse.