EQ Bank Review 2019


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The Bottom Line

  • Online-only
  • Consistent, high interest rate
  • Features of a chequing account
  • Features
  • Interest & Fees
  • Ease of Use
  • Support
4.8

Our take

If you prefer no-fee online banking and are tired of chasing the highest promotional rate from bank to bank, we recommend EQ Bank and their Savings Plus account. As long as you don’t mind the occasional extended downtime and don’t need a registered account.

Now offering 2.3% interest – high rate held steady since May 4, 2017!

Quick overview

Pros

  • Steady high interest rate
  • No account minimum or monthly fee
  • Unlimited free e-Transfers
  • Free electronic funds transfers (EFT)
  • Support 7 days a week and live chat

Cons

  • No cheques, debit card or ATMs
  • No TFSA, RRSP or joint accounts
  • Periodic downtime for maintenance
  • $200,000 maximum balance per customer
  • App updates can be unreliable

Features

Unlimited e-Transfers, EFTs, mobile cheque deposits, bill payments and withdrawals.

Interest & Fees

Great interest rate and no hidden account fees.

Ease of Use

Open and activate an account within 3 business days. Intuitive user interface.

Support

They unlocked my account over live chat in 5 minutes.

What is EQ Bank?

Launched on January 14, 2016, EQ Bank is an online-only bank that provides high interest savings accounts and GICs to everyone across Canada except for Quebec. As of July 2018, they had $2 billion in deposits and 60,000 customers.

Their Savings Plus account provides chequing account-like features such as free e-Transfers, free EFTs, cheque deposit and bill payments but they do not have debit cards, cheques, ATM access or physical location

EQ Bank does not currently offer registered accounts, such as Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs) or Registered-Retirement Savings Accounts (RRSPs). They currently do not offer joint account options either.

Who owns EQ Bank?

EQ Bank is a trademark of Equitable Bank, one of the 30 federally regulated Schedule I Banks (domestic-owned) in Canada with total assets of approximately $31 billion and over 800 employees.

Founded in 1970, Equitable offers single family residential and commercial lending services such as Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) and construction loans as well as investment products such as TFSAs and GICs.

Is EQ Bank safe?

Deposits with Equitable Bank & EQ Bank are eligible for deposit insurance from the CDIC as Equitable Bank is a member of the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC). Your funds are up to a maximum basic protection limit of $100,000 per customer with each separate CDIC member institution.

If you also bank with Equitable Bank, it is important to note that the $100,000 limit applies to the combination of your deposits at both Equitable and EQ.

Account security

After entering your account username and password, EQ Bank requests 2-factor authentication (2FA) in the form of a six-digit passcode sent to your mobile phone via text message. Once you enter this code you can access your accounts.

Note of annoyance: The Remember this device, I trust it and use it often. option on their 2FA doesn’t seem to work for me, so I have to receive and enter a code every time I log into my account which isn’t very often, but their website automatically logs you out after a couple of minutes of activity so it can get annoying if you’re multi-tasking.

Their Security Guarantee states: If Unauthorized Activity is conducted on your account through our mobile and online banking services, you are protected and will be reimbursed 100% for any resulting losses to your account, provided you have met all of your responsibilities under the terms of your Account as described.

EQ Bank interest rates

AccountRate
Savings Plus Account2.3%
GICs
3 Month2.33%
6 Month2.35%
9 Month2.38%
1 Year2.40%
15 Month2.40%
2 Year2.41%
27 Month2.41%
3 Year2.42%
4 Year2.47%
5 Year2.55%

Interest begins to accrue on every dollar the day your account becomes active. Interest is calculated daily on the total closing balance and at the rates per annum, as offered. Interest is paid monthly.

See: Current GIC rates

EQ Bank high interest savings account

The EQ Bank Savings Plus account is their highest interest account that allows for 2 withdrawals a month with no monthly fee.

Interest rate

The interest rate of their Savings Plus account is:

  • 2.3% up to a balance of $200,000

This rate has been effective since May 4, 2017.

Account, e-transfer and transaction fees

  • No monthly fee
  • Free e-Transfers
  • Free transfers between EQ Bank customers
  • Free transfers between your linked accounts at other banks
  • No inactive/dormant account charge (unclaimed balance for 10 years is transferred to Bank of Canada)
  • No account closing fee
  • Paper statements not available

Transaction limits

  • Link up to 10 accounts
  • e-Transfers:
    • $3,000 daily
    • $10,000 weekly
    • $20,000 monthly
  • EQ to EQ:
    • $30,000 daily
    • $100,000 weekly
    • $250,000 monthly
  • Electronic Funds Transfers (EFT)
    • $30,000 outbound to linked external bank per transaction
    • $100,000 inbound from external bank account per transaction
    • It typically takes one to two business days for an EFT to arrive in your EQ Bank account or to your external account after the request is made
  • Cheque Deposit $25,000 per cheque
  • Bill Payment $25,000 per payment

See: Complete list of fees

Ease of use

Online user interface

Their website is clean and easy to navigate with clear calls to action for the most popular features:

  • Direct deposit: Generate a void cheque image so that another institution or organization such as Motive Financial or your employer can deposit directly into your account.
  • Tax documents: Download your current and past T5 slips for tax time.
  • Bank statements: Download historical monthly statements.
  • Transfer between accounts: Schedule one time or recurring electronic funds transfer (EFT) to accounts at other banks. I have my Simplii personal account and RBC business account linked.
  • Send Interac e-Transfer: Send free e-Transfers through an external website run by MemberDirect® Services which is owned by a group of Canadian credit unions.
  • Transfer to EQ Connections: Transfer funds to another EQ Bank customer’s account for free.
  • Pending transfers: An overview of your upcoming and recurring transactions.
  • Manage EQ connections: Link to another EQ Bank customer by entering their email address.
  • Manage externally linked accounts: Link a bank account at another financial institution. You need the other bank’s transit number, institution number and account number in order to link it to your EQ Bank account.
  • Pay bills: Send a one time or setup recurring bill payments.
  • Pre-authorized payments: Generate a void cheque image so that another institution or organization can withdraw the funds to pay your bills automatically.
  • Pending payments: An overview of your upcoming and recurring transactions.
  • Manage billers: They don’t provide a list of possible payees, you have to search for them one at a time but it seems like they have quite a few in the system. When I checked, PC Financial Mastercard, CRA, my town’s utilities and Questrade were all available.

Alerts

You can set up email or text message alerts for the following:

  • Account balance drops below
  • Large deposit made for more than
  • Interest has been deposited
  • A scheduled bill payment was made
  • Large withdrawal made for more than
  • Your bank statement is available
  • Recurring transaction was processed

Downtime for maintenance

Like every other bank, EQ Bank occasionally has to go down for maintenance and upgrades. However, as was discussed in this Reddit thread, all banking activities were recently inaccessible for an entire weekend:

Starting on Friday, October 11th at 10:00 p.m. EST, our online and mobile banking platforms will be unavailable, estimated to last until Monday, October 14th at 10pm EST. In this maintenance window, your EQ Bank account (including Interac e-Transfer® and bill payments) will be inaccessible.

They have a status tracker at eqbankstatus.ca to keep everyone up-to-date on when their services will be back online, but if you’re using your account as anything other than a set it and forget it savings account, extended downtime like this could be highly inconvenient.

App user interface

It has a 3.3 rating on the App Store and 3.3 on Google Play. Reviewers appreciate the simple design, ease of use and fingerprint ID compatibility, but have concerns about the effectiveness of the cheque deposit feature, and “update to latest version” glitches.

Customer service

Available from 8 AM to midnight, Eastern Time, 7 days a week via live chat on their website, email and phone.

Email: contact@eqbank.ca

Phone: 1-844-437-2265

Response time after account lockout

After entering the 2FA one-time passcode incorrectly too many times, I was locked out of my account:

Without leaving the page, I opened a live chat conversation and the representative was available to help within a minute. After a few minutes, they sent an email containing a one-time passcode (instead of by text). As requested I entered the passcode directly into the chat window which verified my identity. They then reset my account’s status and I was able to login again.

How to open an account

Setting up an account very quick and easy. It took me 15 minutes to sign up and the account was active and fully functional within 3 business days – all from my computer.

Eligibility

  • Resident of Canada (excluding Quebec)
  • Be 18 years of age or older
  • Have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN)
  • Have an email account

Process

  1. The first step is to visit their registration page and create an account which took me 5 minutes. They will ask for your employment status, occupation and Social Insurance Number. They ask for consent to do a soft credit check which will not impact your credit score.
  2. They will also ask for a utility bill, internet provider statement, mobile phone statement or cable provider statement in PDF form to verify your name and address. It can’t be a scan, fax or photo of a document.
  3. Verify your email address by entering the code they send you and then set 3 security questions.
  4. Link an external bank account to move funds to and from EQ Bank. Enter the account’s institution, transit and account number and EQ Bank will deposit two small amounts to that account in 2-3 business days.
  5. Once you receive the deposits, log in to your EQ account and confirm the amounts.
  6. Create an funds transfer from your other bank account to EQ.

That’s it!

How to link an external account and transfer funds

You need the other bank’s transit number, institution number and account number in order to link it to your EQ Bank account:

Their system will make two small deposits to it (this may take up to 3 business days). Once the deposits appear, log into online/mobile banking, enter the amount on our verification page and you’re good to go create a transfer.

The transfer takes another 2 to 3 business days to complete.

EQ Bank contact information

Email: contact@eqbank.ca

Phone:
1-844-437-2265 (toll-free within North America)
1-416-551-3449 (outside of North America)

Mail:
EQ Bank – Digital Banking
30 St. Clair Avenue West, Suite 700
Toronto, ON
M4V 3A1

EQ Bank Reviews

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