EQ Bank Savings Plus Account Review
a powerful online savings account with one of the highest interest rates in Canada
No everyday banking fees
There are no monthly fees, hidden charges, initial deposit requirements, or account minimums. If you change your mind down the road, there are no closing fees either!
1.70% everyday interest rate*
With one of the highest interest rates in Canada, the Savings Plus Account is a great place to park your emergency fund, savings for your next big purchase, and money set aside for bills and expenses.
Enjoy free, unlimited bill payments and Interac e-Transfers®, invest in GICs, link up to ten external bank accounts, and deposit cheques immediately with their mobile app.
What is EQ Bank?
EQ Bank is a trademark of Equitable Bank, Canada’s ninth largest Schedule I bank. Equitable Bank was founded in 1970 and currently has over $31 billion in assets under management.
EQ Bank was launched in 2016, along with its flagship product, the Savings Plus Account. Since then, the option to invest in GICs has also been introduced to the platform.
EQ Bank operates entirely online. There are no client cards, ATMs or branches you can walk into. This may sound crazy, but it’s actually the genius of the brand. By reducing costs on things like rent and bank tellers, they can offer exceptionally high interest rates to you, while remaining competitive within the industry.
Equitable Bank is a member of CDIC, and your funds are eligible for deposit insurance.
Strong password requirements, encryption, security questions, and fraud monitoring & detection also help keep your deposits safe.
Invest in GICs
Buying a car in a few months? Saving for a down payment on a house? Planning a dream vacation?
You can invest in GICs directly through your Savings Plus Account!
GICs let you earn interest on funds that you don’t need immediately at a guaranteed, and often higher, interest rate.
You can browse current GIC rates here.
The Savings Plus Account is intuitive and easy to use.
You can access your account and complete all of your day-to-day banking transactions from your PC, tablet, or phone.
Opening additional accounts takes just a few seconds, and you can give all of your accounts nicknames and savings goals.
7 days a week Canadian-based customer service
EQ Bank offers customer support every day of the week, from 8 AM to midnight, Eastern time.
They can be reached by mail, telephone, email, or live chat.
Fees and interest
There are no everyday banking fees, period. Close your account? No fees. Forget you opened an account and go AWOL for a decade? No fees. Send a hundred Interac e-Transfers®? No fees.
I find this business model quite refreshing. There’s nothing more rage-inducing than getting nickel and dimed by your bank, especially if your account is advertised as having no monthly fees. This is never an issue with the Savings Plus Account.
There are also no gimmicks with the interest rate. Interest is calculated daily and paid monthly, and you will always earn the posted rate on your deposits. It doesn’t matter if your money has been there for a couple of years or just a couple of days.
Up to date interest rates for the Savings Plus Account and EQ Bank GICs can be found here and here. Suffice it so say, their everyday rate is among the highest in Canada, even beating temporary promotional rates from other banks.
Opening an account
Any Canadian resident over the age of majority living outside of Quebec can open an Savings Plus Account.
The age of majority is 18 in Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Prince Edward Island and Saskatchewan. In the other provinces and territories the age of majority is 19.
You’re considered a Canadian resident if you’re currently living in the country – if you have a Canadian residential mailing address you’re good to go. Canadian citizenship is not required!
Who should open an account?
A savings account is a must-have for any Canadian. Even if all of your retirement savings are destined for the stock market, there’s no reason not to get a few days of interest while waiting to fund your brokerage account.
A savings account is also a great place for money you set aside for your bills to idle. Remember, there are never any fees with a Savings Plus Account, so why not earn a few dollars in interest while you wait to pay off your monthly credit card bill?
Any savings you can’t risk in the stock market should also be in a savings account or a GIC. This includes your emergency fund, and savings for big purchases like a car or a down payment for a house.
The signup process
Signing up for a Savings Plus Account is quick and easy. I had my account open within 5 minutes, and fully functional and funded within 2 days. You are generally not required to verify your identity by uploading photo ID or by bringing a QR code to the post office, because you’ll be asked to link an external account during signup.
The signup process looks something like this:
- Create your login info (your username will be your email address)
- Enter your personal information, including name, address, phone numbers, date of birth and SIN
- If you aren’t comfortable providing your SIN, EQ Bank gives you the option of calling them directly to find a workaround.
- Verify your email address by entering the code sent to you by the bank
- Set three security questions (these are used if you login on a new device or if you reset your password)
- Link an external bank account
- This takes about 2-3 business days, but you’ll have access to your account before this is finished. Enter the number of the external bank account you want to link, and EQ Bank will make two small deposits to that account. After you receive the deposits, confirm the amounts on your EQ Bank homepage and you’re good to go. You can link up to 10 external accounts to your Savings Plus Account.
At this point your new Savings Plus Account is fully functional!
Funding your account
Funding your Savings Plus Account is easy, and there are many options available to you:
- Transfer funds between linked bank accounts
- Direct deposit (including your paycheque)
- Deposit a cheque with the mobile app
- Send an Interac e-Transfer®
- EQ Connections, a built-in system that allows you to send money to other EQ Bank account owners instantly
Deposits may be subject to EQ Bank’s Hold Funds Policy, but your balance will update and begin earning interest immediately. Unfortunately, holds are an unavoidable regulatory requirement.
Another great benefit of EQ Bank is that you’ll start earning interest on new deposits before they’ve even cleared.
Using your Account
The Savings Plus Account can be accessed from your desktop or mobile phone. Both designs have a clean look that prioritize functionality.
The EQ Bank homepage shows the balance of your account, as well as recent and upcoming transactions. New savings accounts can be opened in less than a minute from the homepage, and each account can be individually customized with a nickname and a savings goal. You can also invest in GICs and view their status from the homepage.
The menu has four main tabs:
- Accounts is the homepage, and the dropdown menu allows you to access your account statements and tax slips
- Pay & Transfer lets you set up bill payments, Interac e-Transfers®, etc.
- Alerts lets you customize messages sent to your email or phone when a variety of actions happen to your account (for example when interest is deposited or a new statement becomes available)
- Profile lets you update your personal information and change your password and security questions
And that’s it! There’s no clutter, and overall the interface is very intuitive to use.
EQ Bank offers a lightweight smartphone app for both Android and iOS. Both apps have been dramatically improved since launch, and like the desktop are clutter-free and intuitive to use.
The smartphone app has the same functionality as the desktop alternative, with the added benefit of being able to deposit cheques from home with your phone’s camera.
Here are some common questions regarding the Savings Plus Account.
Does EQ Bank offer a TFSA or RRSP?
Currently, EQ Bank does not offer a TFSA or RRSP.
Can you save in other currencies?
Does EQ Bank issue a client card?
EQ Bank does not issue client cards, and there are no ATMs or branches you can walk into. This lets them pass some of the savings on to you in the form of a higher interest rate.
Is the Savings Plus Account CDIC insured?
Yes, Equitable Bank is a member of CDIC and your funds are eligible for deposit insurance. More information can be found here.
Is it easy to close an EQ Bank account?
You can close your account at no cost over the phone.
Is EQ Bank and Equitable Bank the same?
EQ Bank is a trademark of Equitable Bank, Canada’s ninth largest Schedule I bank.
Does EQ Bank offer joint accounts?
Yes! EQ Bank recently introduced joint accounts. Up to 3 people can be added to a single account, and as always there are no additional fees or limitations.
EQ Bank international transfers explained
EQ Bank recently added the ability to send money internationally in partnership with TransferWise. This feature allows you to convert Canadian dollars into many of the world’s most used currencies without the typical 2.5% conversion fee. There is a small service charge, but, all in, exchanging funds can cost as little as 0.5%. That can mean big savings for frequent travelers or Canadians supporting family back home.
The Savings Plus Account checks all the boxes. It’s 100% free to use, the interest rate is stellar, and the desktop and mobile apps are stylish and intuitive to use. Since it’s completely free to open and close an account, and it takes very little time to do so, you can always give it a shot and make up your own mind! All in all, the Savings Plus Account is a great product and is worthy of consideration if you’re looking for a new savings account.
*Interest is calculated daily on the total closing balance and paid monthly. Rates are per annum and subject to change without notice.