Wouldn’t it be great to have a checking account’s flexibility with the high interest rates of a savings account? It seems banks always offer us one or the other, but never both. That isn’t the case with EQ Bank.
It has a high-yield savings product that acts like a checking account. You get to pay bills and withdraw money when you want, all while earning a high rate of interest. That may all sound too good to be true, but it’s definitely a reality.
Unfortunately, those of us in the U.S. won’t be able to benefit. EQ Bank is a Canadian bank and requires that its account holders maintain Canadian residence. But if you live in Canada and have a Social Insurance Number, you’ll be able to take advantage of this unique product.
- High-yield savings with unlimited free transactions
- Cheap international money transfers
- Must be a Canadian resident to open an account
Savings and Guaranteed Investment Certificates
Who Is EQ Bank?
EQ Bank is a Canadian bank. EQ Bank is the online version of Equitable Bank, which has been around for over 45 years. EQ Bank has assets under management of approximately $33 billion. It is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Equitable Group Inc.
What Do They Offer?
Savings Plus Account
EQ’s savings product allows you to withdraw funds and pay bills just like you would with a checking account. But unlike most checking accounts, you’ll also earn a 2.00% APY. There’s no monthly fee or minimum balance. Interest is calculated on a daily basis and is paid out monthly.
In addition to free account transfers, you also get free Interac e-Transfers. Bill payments also do not cost anything. While the account does not include a debit card, you can transfer money for free to an external account that does have a debit card.
With EQ Bank’s mobile app, you can deposit checks on the go. Note that overdraft protection is not available. The maximum bill payment is $25,000 per payment. The maximum Savings Plus Balance is $200,000.
Guaranteed Investment Certificates
A guaranteed investment certificate is similar to a savings account, except the money must remain in the account for a certain period of time. It’s like the Canadian equivalent of the certificate of deposits (CDs) that many U.S. banks and credit unions offer.
There are several terms available, ranging from 3 months to 10 years. All of the following terms have a 1.50% interest rate:
- 3 months
- 6 months
- 9 months
- 1 Year
- 15 months
- 2 years
- 27 months
- 3 years
Going with terms above 3 years allows you to earn higher rates!
With all of EQ Bank’s certificates, interest is paid at maturity. Compare EQ Bank’s Guaranteed Investment Certificate rates with today’s top CD rates.
Cheap International Transfers
Through its partnership with TransferWise, EQ Bank offers international transfers that are 8X cheaper than other Canadian banks. You’ll be able to see the exact exchange rates being used, how much the recipient is receiving, and have full transparency into the transaction.
For example, if you want to send 1,000 CAD to someone in the EU, your CAD will be converted to Euros. The transaction will look like this:
EQ Bank uses the mid-market exchange rate. This is the same rate that banks charge each other for currency conversions. It does not mark up the rate at all, which results in the recipient receiving more money.
The mid-market exchange rate does fluctuate but you can lock in the current rate for 24-48 hours. You’ll only ever pay one fee when transferring currencies. The maximum that can be transferred within 24 hours is $9,500.
Are There Any Fees?
Many of the fees charged by other banks won’t be found at EQ Bank. If you need to transfer money internationally, there is a TransferWise fee, which we covered above.
How Do I Open An Account?
You can visit EQ Bank’s website to open an account. You’ll need to meet the following requirements:
- Canadian resident
- Have a Social Insurance Number (SIN)
- Meet your province’s age of majority
- Be able to link to another Canadian bank to verify your identity and transfer funds into your EQ Bank account
Is My Money Safe?
Yes. EQ Bank is a member of the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC). Deposits are eligible for CDIC protection up to $100,000, per insured category, per depositor. Additionally, EQ Bank uses bank-grade encryption.
Is It Worth It?
For Canadian residents, there’s a lot to love about EQ Bank. It’s created a unique product that provides the flexibility of a checking account with the interest rate of a savings account. Additionally, EQ Bank’s TransferWise service is a cost-efficient way to move money internationally.
However, if you live outside of Canada, you won’t be able to open an EQ Bank account. If you don’t meet EQ Bank’s eligibility requirements, there are still plenty of free checking and high-yield savings accounts to choose from. Or you may be able to get access to both at one of the top online banks.
EQ Bank Features
Savings and Guaranteed Investment Certificates
Savings Plus: 2.00%
GICs: 1.50% to 2.70%
International Transfer Fees
Real exchange rate (zero markups)
8am-midnight (EST), 7 days a week
Yes, up to $100,000 per insured category