Motive Financial Review (2024): The Savvy Savings Account

I’ve been using Motive Financial for a few years.  Here’s my Motive Financial review.  I recently heard about Motive Financial from a commenter, so I thought I would take a closer look at this high interest savings account option in Canada and provide my own Motive Financial review.  I use it to park my emergency fund.

Motive FInancial Review

Motive Financial Review
Source: Motive Financial

What struck me initially was the high annual interest rate of 2.8%- I must say that’s a very attractive rate and it’s one of the highest in Canada.  Now the Motive Financial rate is 4.10% which is pretty comparable to some of the highest interest rates in Canada.

Updated May 2024

Related: The Best High Interest Savings Accounts in Canada

What is Motive Financial

Motive Financial is a division of Canadian Western Bank, which is a member of the CDIC (Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation).  There was a CWB (Canadian Western Bank) online division called Canadian Direct Financial which was originally in place since 2008, and in April 2017, they rebranded to Motive Financial.

Motive is based at the headquarters of Canadian Western Bank in Edmonton, Alberta and you can reach the representatives by email or phone.  Motive also has a Facebook Page where they share some personal finance tips curated from around the Internet.

Motive Financial has two different chequing accounts and two different savings accounts that are non-registered.  Motive Financial also has TFSA savings accounts and RRSP accounts.

Related: How does a Savings Account Interest Works

One huge plus is that even though the rate for the Motive Chequing Account is very low at 0.25%, you can keep most of your money in the savings account and transfer to the chequing account when needed.  The great thing about the Motive Cha-Ching Chequing Account is that you can get 50 free personalized cheques and unlimited withdrawals.

As you know, I think high interest savings accounts are a safe and great income producing asset.

Motive Financial Rates

For the Motive Savvy Savings Account, the rate (effective as of January 2024) is:

  • 4.10% on any balance above $0 up to $5,000,000
  • 0.50% on any balance over $5,000,000.01

Here’s a link to the current Motive Financial rates.

Motive GIC Rates

Here are the Motive GIC Rates as of May 2024.

These GIC rates are comparable to other banks right now offering GICs.

1 Year GIC5.400%
2 Year GIC5.200%
3 Year GIC4.650%
4 Year GIC4.500%
5 Year GIC4.350%

Motive Savvy Savings Account

The Motive Financial Savings Account rates are for their non-registered accounts.  The have a Motive TFSA Account that is also 4.10% on any balance over $0.

For the Motive Savvy Savings Account at the rate of 4.10%, here’s what you get with the account, including some of the Motive Financial fees associated with the account:

  • No monthly fee
  • 2 free withdrawals per month (it will cost $5 each per additional transaction).
    • This is what Motive Financial considers a withdrawal:
    • online bill payments
    • Automated Teller Machine (ATM) withdrawal
    • Interac® e-Transfers
    • Electronic funds transfers to another financial institution
    • Automatic payments
  • Free to withdraw (up to two times) from any THE EXCHANGE® Network ATM.  Here are the participating financial institutions- mainly credit unions.
  • Free to transfer between Motive Accounts (which means you can take advantage of the 50 free personalized cheques if you have your name to yourself)- this is unlimited so you can transfer to the Motive Chequing account
  • If you withdraw at an non THE EXCHANGE® Network ATM it’s $1.50

For the Motive Savings Account, it is more flexible though the rate is lower up to $5,000,000.  After a balance of $5,000,001 it is 0.50%.

For the Motive Financial TFSA Savings Account, the rate is 4.10%

Motive also offers joint high interest savings accounts too.

Is Motive Financial Safe?

Is Motive Financial safe?  Since Motive  is a division of Canadian Western Bank, and Canadian Western Bank is a member of the CDIC (Canadian Deposition Insurance Corporation), money deposited in the Motive account up to $100,000 is covered.

Again with CDIC, you don’t need to sign up for this protection, but it is automatic and free.  Just make sure you are aware that any deposits over $100,000 are not covered under CDIC, if the bank were to become insolvent.

Where are the Motive Bank Locations?

This is a trick question, because there are none!

Motive Bank a completely online bank (transactions are done online or via telephone).

Since there are no brick and mortar stores to go to, it is a much more economical experience and that’s why they can give such a high rate and pass it onto the consumer.  This is similar to other online only Canadian banks.

To reach the customer service representatives at Motive Financial, the contact and hours are:

  •  1-877-441-2249 Monday to Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Mountain Standard Time.
  • And for 24-hour support (urgent stuff like technical support for online banking, lost or stolen cards), you can call 1-866-673-3918

The customer service representatives take call from the Canadian Western Bank head office, which is located in Edmonton (this is why Motive Financial has hours in Mountain Standard Time).

I have called a few times and they are quite responsive, sometimes I waited around 20 minutes to speak to someone, but they can follow up by email and are quite responsive by email as well.

Pros of Motive Financial

Here are some of the pros of Motive Financial Savvy Savings Account:

  • One of the highest rates out there right now.
  • There’s no monthly fee (in fact, one of my favourite no fee banks in Canada)
  • It’s been around for a long time (just rebranded) and is a division of Canadian Western Bank
  • There’s no minimum balance
  • It’s free to transfer between Motive Accounts– which means you can transfer your money for free to your chequing Motive Account and write cheques for free if you have the 50 free personalized cheques- this is unlimited transfer to your chequing account

Cons of Motive Financial

Here are some of the cons or Motive Financial Savvy Savings Account:

  • You’re only allowed 2 free withdrawals.  I don’t withdraw much from my savings account but sometimes I transfer funds around between my multiple savings accounts and this would count as a withdrawal.  It would be hard to keep track for me. However transferring to the Motive Chequing account is unlimited so this is not really a downside, you just have to be cognizant of your transfers out of your Savvy Savings Account.
  • I’ve been transferring money to my chequing account and then doing interac e-transfers from there with no troubles.
  • I keep forgetting to transfer money into my chequing before I write a cheque so I’ve been hit with the $5 overdraft fee and overdraft interest (18%!) a few times (in total it has been 5 times.  When you call the customer service representatives they are not friendly about waiving the fee like a bigger bank would be)
  • According to this Reddit forum, they do a hard credit check when you open up an account and start a Motive application.  Interesting that they do this since you’re not applying for credit.  Hard credit checks lower your credit score (at least temporarily, similar to a credit card application).
  • I can verify that Motive (Canadian Western Bank) did do a hard credit check on my credit report after applying for this bank account.  The hard credit check happened.  Here’s a screenshot of my Borrowell credit report from Molly the credit coach, showing my score decreasing by 12 points because of the hard check on my credit score.  You can check your credit score here.
Motive Financial Hard Check Credit Report
  • Additionally, in the Motive Financial RedFlagDeals forum, people with their own Motive Financial review seem to complain of a slow process of setting up an electronic fund transfer and executing it.  Personally I didn’t find this very cumbersome at all and it was a similar process with EQ Bank (the micro deposits)
  • According to this review by highinterestsavings.ca, it takes around 3 weeks to open up an account with Motive Financial
  • It is not available to Quebec residents
  • There is a Motive Financial fee, specifically the inactive account fee of $20 after two years.
Inactive Account Charge, Motive Financial
Source: Motive Financial

This post may contain affiliate links.  Please see genymoney.ca’s disclaimer for more information.

That’s my review of Motive Financial.  I might consider moving one of my savings account to Motive once I run out of my current cheques, since the rate is so good AND you get 50 free cheques.

Here are more Motive Financial reviews by reddit users.

Genymoney.ca’s Motive Financial Reviews:

I did ended up applying for a Motive Savvy Savings Account even though there was no Motive Financial promotional offer or promo codes or anything (I’m a sucker for things like that). 

There is high volume of applicants for the Motive Savvy Savings Account when I applied, so it took about 2 weeks for me to get my Motive Account approved, after needing to “Motiverify” my account for additional verification.  They sent me an email to ask my to Motiverify my account.

Motiverify Account

Once you get your application approved, there are forms to fill out that Motive Financial emails you, including:

  • Your signature card
  • A money transfer authorization form (so you can transfer money from another account to this account)
  • A cheque order form (this was the main reason I got this account I know no one uses cheques anymore but I’m old school I guess)
  • A declaration of tax residence for individuals

You can complete these and send by fax, email, or mail.  Then you will get an email confirmation that they have received all this.

Then you have to wait another 7-10 business days for your client card and personal access number (PAN) and your personal access code (PAC).

Finally, you have to call Motive once you have both PAN and PAC to activate the card if you want to use it for the ATM or as a debit card.  The client card’s last 8 digits is your account number that you will use to login to the Motive Financial login.

Within a few business days, after sending the cheque order form (you can customize how you like your cheque to look, e.g. if you want to include an address in there you can), I got my cheques in the mail, they look great and I can’t wait to use them.   The cheques are supplied by Davis and Henderson and arrive via Canada Post.  I know cheques are getting obsolete, but I still like to use them.

Afterwards, Motive also mails you a Personal Identification Number (PIN) for your Motive debit card for ATM transactions and point-of-sale purchases.  You can change your PIN using an ATM on the EXCHANGE network to something that you can remember more easily.

You can transfer your funds through the Motive Financial login and transfer funds page (after you have set up a link to another account so you can fund your Motive account):

Motive Review

Motive Financial vs EQ Bank

Personally, I like using EQ bank more than Motive Financial (I have both accounts) but right now Motive Financial has the higher interest rate.

If you like to have access to free cheques and you are diligent about not overdrafting on your chequing account, perhaps Motive Financial is for you.

The EQ Bank Personal Account is a hybrid account, which is a chequing account and savings account all rolled into one.

What’s my final verdict on Motive Financial?  I’ll admit, this is probably the most detailed and paperwork heavy application for a high interest savings account I’ve ever done, especially a high interest savings online only account.  I have never had a hard credit check on a savings account application before.

This was more paperwork especially in comparison to applying for EQ Bank– which was a breeze to open up and only took a few minutes.  However, the free cheques with Motive Financial is worth a bit of paperwork, I suppose.

The whole process to apply for a Motive savings account took about a month between application online and getting my Motive login and access card.

Motive Financial is super high security!  I’m still unclear why Motive Financial (or Canadian Western Bank) does a hard check on your credit report, but given that my credit report is more of a vanity measurement for me and my credit score is good to excellent, I am not too fussed about it.

Related: Canadian New Bank Account Promos (A Free iPad or $350)

Also, the Motive Financial App is not very good- it even has a 1.7 star rating (out of 5) on the iOS App store.  It seems a bit rudimentary and it was slow to load.  I also needed to have my account number to login to the app (some banks like EQ Bank just need your login username or email address).

Related: Tangerine Bank Review

This is what the main home page of the Motive Financial app looks like.

Motive Financial App

There we go, hope that helps you decide whether or not to take the plunge and sign up for Motive Financial and their very attractive interest rate that rivals the passive income of some dividend paying stocks.

I am happy with the cheques and since I will not be using this as my main ‘chequing’ type account, I don’t mind the extra hassle it took to sign up for this savings account.  Hope you enjoyed this Motive Financial review!

You might also be interested in:

Do have you have a Motive Savvy Savings account? 

What’s your Motive Financial Review?

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27 thoughts on “Motive Financial Review (2024): The Savvy Savings Account”

  1. I don’t have an account with them, but it is an attractive rate. When interest rates were zero a few years ago I think high yield savings was the way to go. Now I think money market accounts are just as competitive. No FDIC insurance, but the risk is low. Tom

    Reply
    • @Tom- 2.8% is indeed very attractive! I don’t have an account either. I might add one when I run out of cheques, haha.

      Reply
  2. Oh wow 2.8% interest rate!! That’s higher than all the ones in the US. Sounds like a nice place to store your emergency account where you will just let it sit and collect interest. Maybe to avoid the inactive fee, probably do a transaction at least once a year.

    Reply
    • @Kris- Yeah, it’s kind of tricky, to not be too active and withdraw more than twice a month to trigger a fee, and not be too inactive that you also get triggered a fee!

      Reply
    • @Sherry- I know, it’s not super handy but if you transfer out a certain amount once a month to the chequing account it’s much more flexible.

      Reply
    • @Meredith- Yup, it’s a great rate. As long as you don’t withdraw or move money more than twice a month! I do like the cheques (I am so old school, haha).

      Reply
      • Great review of Motive Financial’s current offers, though I have noticed two possible errors here.

        I recently just opened a Savvy Savings account with them a month ago, and it took around a week from when I initially applied to when the account got approved. Three weeks seems a bit off there. The only thing I could think of that might have taken that long is that, when your account gets accepted, your initial account and login information is mailed to your house (I don’t really get why they do this – it seems a bit unnecessary, but the extra security is appreciated). This did take some time to arrive for me. However, you can just call Motive and have them give you your login info right away as soon as your account gets opened, which is what I did.

        The second incorrect piece of information is the hard credit check. I read the same reddit post before I applied, and it freaked me out a bit since a hard credit check seems wholly unnecessary for a savings account. I called them to check this and they confirmed that it is, in fact, a soft credit check. This is true, and it did not negatively affect my credit score.

        It’s too early to tell whether this account will be worth it or not, but at least here in Alberta, it is by far the best interest rate on offer (as far as I’m aware)!

        Reply
        • @Andrei- Thanks so much for sharing your experience and for clarifying! I’m glad it’s not a hard credit check since that doesn’t make sense because you’re opening a savings account.

          Reply
        • I was also told that only a soft credit check would be done but when I applied a hard check was performed; curiously, not only did it not impact my credit score, it actually increased by a few points. So, it would appear that there is something unique about how they perform their check in that in appears on the ‘hard’ list but doesn’t impact the score.

          Reply
          • @JRM- Just checked my credit score and a hard check was also done but it decreased by about 12 points. I should just ask Motive, lol. Their process is indeed very different from other high interest savings accounts.

  3. If you need to make more than 2 withdrawals in any given month, could you not just transfer funds for free to a Motive chequing and then withdraw it for free from there? I assume you get free eTransfers and free bank to bank transfers from the chequing account

    Reply
    • @Frank- Yes you could! But transferring the funds to Motive chequing would count as one transaction (each time you transfer funds, I believe). However, that would be a great workaround, but you would need to be pretty exact in how much you want to transfer out and not have too much cash sitting in chequing, I suppose.

      E transfers with the Motive Chequing are $1, but they have unlimited electronic fund transfers and there’s the 50 cheques.
      https://www.motivefinancial.com/Accounts/ChequingAccount/

      Reply
  4. Thanks. I had thought that transfers from one Motive account to another would not count as one of the two free ones! But you must be right that it would. So my strategy has limited value…

    Reply
    • @Frank- actually you might be right.. it says free transfers between Motive accounts… let me ask them on Twitter and I’ll get back to you 🙂

      Reply
    • @Frank- clarified and the transfers are unlimited between Motive accounts- so you are right! I’ll update my post, thanks!

      Reply
  5. Thanks for the great review! I especially appreciate the bit about what they consider a withdrawal – forgot to read the fine print when I was on their website.

    On another note, and this may seem like a stupid question, but receiving an e-transfer from another institution wouldn’t count as a withdrawal right? I would want to deposit into that account with e-transfers weekly, but not sure if that would be subject to extra fees.

    Reply
  6. Note: you can only transfer in funds from another financial institution, there is no other way to get funds into this account. You cannot deposit a cheque to speed things up. I have one bank linked but I deal with multiple banks so I have to go through the process of linking multiple accounts and that whole process is quite convoluted. ie provide a void cheque etc.

    Would be a lot simpler if I could just deposit a cheque from one of my other banks.

    Reply
    • @KamWest- Thanks for sharing. Transferring from another financial institution didn’t take very long for me but if you have a number of banks you deal with I can see why it takes a while- same here. I have one financial institution I use as the main bank, but yeah, it can take a while if you’re transferring for example: from LBC Digital to BMO bank to Motive account (haha that’s exactly what I did, it took a number of days).

      Reply
      • I literally have dozens of accounts at financial institutions. THe process to add them to Motive is prehistoric, everything is manual and the process can take up to 2 weeks. By comparison LBC (as mentioned by you) is able to add account relatively quickly but you still have to wait for silly deposits. Motus financial has the best system for linking bank accounts, it’s almost instantaneous and I use the Brick & Mortar Meridian Credit Union as well and linking accounts take 2-3 minutes.

        With the manual adding of bank accounts at Motive I find myself having to transfer funds from one bank to my linked bank and then to motive. That adds dramatically to the hold times so being able to deposit a cheque directly would be a huge plus instead of having to manually link a number of accounts.

        Reply
  7. The Motive Financial bank does hard credit pulls for all applications not just credit applications, it does have an impact on your score and it is also disclosed to creditors even though you’re not applying for credit.

    They also lie about it and have a letter from somebody at Equifax named, Julie Kuzmic saying that it does impact your score when it does.

    The mere fact that it is being disclosed to creditors does have a negative impact on your credit.

    Motive Financial said they don’t know why that inquiry is being disclosed to creditors so this is an Equifax problem, it does not happen with Transunion.

    Reply

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