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Motive Financial Review 2023

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Updated March 6, 2023
Cansumer rating

Review summary

If you’re saving up for short and medium term goals such as a house down payment, vacation, emergency fund and won’t need the money for a while, I recommend Motive Financial and their Savvy Savings Account. As long as you don’t mind waiting for your account to activate and don’t plan on checking your account everyday.

  • Features
  • Interest & Fees
  • Ease of Use
  • Support


If you’re saving up for short and medium term goals such as a house down payment, vacation, emergency fund and won’t need the money for a while, we recommend Motive Financial and their Savvy Savings Account. As long as you don’t mind waiting for your account to activate and don’t plan on checking your account everyday.

Quick overview

  • Features: The usual: schedule recurring external EFTs, pay bills, e-transfers and alerts
  • Interest & Fees: Highest interest rates in Canada with no monthly fees.
  • Ease of Use: Long wait for account activation and the app could use some work. Transfers are straightforward.
  • Support: They approved my Money Transfer Authorization within 3 business days.


  • No account minimum or monthly fee
  • Website is uncluttered and functional
  • Withdrawal limit is $150,000.00 per transaction
  • Link up to 5 Canadian financial institutions


  • Application took over a month
  • App is slow and clunky
  • No branches
  • Only 2 free withdrawals
  • $20 inactive account fee after 2 years

What is Motive Financial?

Motive Financial is an online-only bank that provides high interest savings accounts to everyone across Canada except for Quebec because they do not provide services in French.

Founded as Canadian Direct Financial in 2008, they rebranded to Motive Financial on April 18, 2017 and opened their digital doors to all Canadians.

They currently offer the highest interest savings account in Canada, as well as some of the best TFSA, RSP and GIC rates in Canada. They do not offer USD or business bank accounts.

Who owns Motive Financial?

Motive Financial is owned by Edmonton-based Canadian Western Bank (CWB), one of the 30 Schedule 1 (domestic-owned) banks in Canada. Founded in 1988, CWB has $22.8B in assets.

It is important to note that even though they are the parent company, CWB branches do not have access to Motive accounts.

Is Motive Financial safe?

Your chequing, savings and investments with Motive are eligible for deposit insurance through CDIC up to a maximum basic protection limit of $100,000 per customer with each separate CDIC member institution. If you also bank with Canadian Western Bank, it is important to note that the $100,000 limit applies to the combination of your deposits at both CWB and Motive.

Account security

Your Personal Access Code (PAC) functions as your password and is initially mailed to you. You can change it after you log in for the first time.

In addition to your PAC, your account is protected by selecting 3 of the 10 pre-defined security questions (10 other questions are available for joint account holders to choose from).

You can also set up email or text alerts if you want notifications when your PAC is changed, someone logs into your account or there was an incorrect answer to a security question.

Motive Financial does not offer 2-Factor Authentication at this time.

Motive Financial interest rates & fees

Interest rate

The Motive Financial Savvy Savings account is their highest interest account that allows for 2 withdrawals per calendar month with no monthly fee.

The interest rate of their Savvy Savings account is 1.55%.

Motive Savvy Savings Account1.55%
Motive Savings Account1.25% up to $5,000,000.01 then 0.50% after that
Motive RRSP Savings Account0.25% up to $2,500.01 then 1.25% after that
Motive TFSA Savings Account1.75%
Motive Chequing Account0.60%
Motive Cha-Ching Chequing Account0.25%

See: Current interest rates

Account, e-transfer and transaction fees

  • No monthly fee
  • Transfers between your Motive accounts is free
  • 2 free withdrawals* per month. Additional withdrawal transactions are $5.
  • THE EXCHANGE Network ATM (primarily found at Manulife banks and credit unions) withdrawal is free.
  • Non-Exchange Network ATM withdrawal fee is $1.50.
  • Fee to send an Interac e-transfer is $1.00 (Free to receive)

*Withdrawals include:

  • Online bill payments
  • Automated Teller Machine (ATM) withdrawals
  • Interac® Direct Purchase payments
  • Interac e-Transfers
  • Electronic funds transfers to another financial institution
  • Automatic payments
  • Other electronic debits.

Me-to-Me transaction limits

Transfer to and from Motive account(s) with linked bank accounts at other financial institutions:

  • No fees
  • Personal accounts only (Savings or Chequing accounts only)
  • Link up to five 5 Canadian financial institutions
  • Outgoing limits of $150,000.00 per transaction (max $999,999.99 a rolling 24 hour window)
  • Incoming limits of $999,999.99 per transaction (a rolling 24 hour window)
  • Minimum limit of $10.00 per transaction
  • Canadian Financial Institutions only
  • CAD funds only  
  • Business and US accounts excluded
  • Transfers to external accounts can’t be completed through the Mobile App.

Note:  Transfers to/from RRSP & TFSA accounts are not available.

Additional service fees

  • Items charged back $6.00
  • NSF cheques and loan payments $45.00
  • Unauthorized overdrafts (minimum per item) $5.00
  • U.S. item deposited as a Canadian item $15.00
  • Stop Payment – Complete details $15.00
  • Stop Payment – Incomplete details $20.00
  • Account Closure and Transfers:
    • Within 90-days of opening $15.00
    • RRSP Plan within one year of opening $50.00
    • RRSP transferred to another financial institution in full or in part $50.00
    • TFSA Plan within one year of opening $50.00
    • TFSA Plan transferred to another financial institution in full or in part $50.00
  • Printed monthly statement with cheque images mailed $2.00/ month
  • Inactive Account Charge:
    • Two year $20.00
    • Five year $30.00
    • Nine year $40.00
  • Transaction history printed and faxed per page $1.00

See: Complete list of fees


The Savvy Savings account does not come with a debit card, cheques

  • Pay bills online
  • No cheques
  • No debit card

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.

Ease of use

Online user interface

Their website is minimalist with plenty of white space.

The Pay Bills page is also sparse, but functional. I took a half a star off because PC Financial Mastercard wasn’t on the list. The CRA, my town’s utilities and Questrade were all available.

App user interface

The Motive Financial app could use some work. It does not allow for Me-to-Me transfers to and from your external linked accounts or mobile deposit. The design is dated and so slow that you get to see this screen every time you click a link which gets annoying:

It has a 1.7 rating on the App Store and 2.5 on Google Play due to complaints of cluttered design, slow loading times and lack of fingerprint support.

You need your full account number and PAC to log in which I had to look up. It would be better if just a username/email and password were required like other banking apps.

I had changed my PAC to a 6 letter password using the website as it said it had to be between 5 and 7 characters. However, after trying unsuccessfully to log in to the app (the warning said “use the correct format”), I changed my PAC to 6 digits and the app let me in. I believe it only authorizes the PAC if it is 5 to 7 digits.

Customer service

Agents are available to help you with password resets, account inquiries and other general inquiries Monday to Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. MT (9AM to 6:45PM EST).

Phone: 1 877 441 2249

Email: info@MotiveFinancial.com

For 24-hour support, call 1 866 673 3918.

How to open an account

Setting up an account is pretty straightforward, but it involves some paperwork, and it took about 5 weeks between signing up online and the day my funds hit the account and I started collecting interest.


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


The first step is to fill out a Customer Application online which took me about 15 minutes.

About 3 weeks later I received a letters in the mail that included my 16 digit Personal Access Number and notice that my Personal Access Code (PAC) would follow in the next few days.

3 days later I received a second letter with my 6 digit PAC and was able to use them to log in to my account after scrolling through and accepting a long terms & conditions document.

How to link external accounts and transfer funds

To link an external account, you must complete their Me-to-Me Money Transfer Authorization Form which doesn’t open in Google Chrome. It is only usable of you download it and open it with an official Adobe product such as Adobe Reader.

You then email that form along with a copy of a void cheque to their ‘info’ email address.

I linked my Motive Savvy Savings Account to my EQ Bank account in order to quickly and easily transfer my emergency funds to whichever account is paying the highest interest.

In my case, I received a response 5 days (3 business days) later with the following instructions:

Please be advised, two small testing transfers have been set up to be deposited to your external bank account.  Please allow 2 days for the testing funds to be credited to your external bank.  Once received, please call Motive Financial to verify the amounts Monday-Friday 7:00 AM – 4:45 PM MT, then your link will be completed.

Sure enough, 2 days later I received two deposits of $0.01 and $0.04 in EQ Bank.

I called their toll-free number 1 877 441 2249 and was asked to confirm the following to verify my identity:

  • Client number
  • Postal code
  • Date of birth
  • Account security question
  • Amounts of the 2 deposits

The representative said the connection would be finalized and accessible within 20 minutes. I checked an hour later and was able to start a transfer from EQ Bank to Motive Financial after confirming the following warnings:

  • Outgoing external transfers can take up to 2 business days to be processed to your accounts.
  • Incoming transfers are posted immediately but are subject to a 5 business day hold as per Motive’s hold funds policy.
  • NOTE: If you are transferring funds to or from your accounts at another financial institution, the other institution may impose a transaction fee.

Motive Financial contact information

Email: info@motivefinancial.com

1 877 441 2249 (toll-free within North America)
1 866 673 3918 (24/7 support)

Motive Financial
Suite 3000, 10303 Jasper Avenue NW
Edmonton, AB T5J 3X6

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Leave a review

If you bank with Motive Financial I’m interested to know your thoughts. How long have you been with them and what do you think about their fees, rates and customer service? Let us know by leaving a review below!

bureaucratic and not helpful

Rated 1 out of 5
August 13, 2020

I am in Toronto and, attracted by their 2% TFSA rate, have been trying for about 4 months to open such an account. I have lived at my present address for 17 years and have solid banking records but for some reason they could not/would not validate my identity. I send copies of documents and they (after a long delay) requested originals, which I then also dutifully sent them. Today after another long delay (why use Canada Post when today there are phones, faxes??) I got another refusal, because the name on the utility bill I sent them is my former (pre-marriage) name, which I indicated on the form. I am done with them and do not recommend dealing with them if you can avoid it.

Lisa Newman Bereskin

Over to you

I’m interested to know – what bank account(s) do you currently use and what concerns do you have about Motive Financial? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

About the author

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Alex Wideman
Alex Wideman is a consumer rights advocate, serial entrepreneur and the editor-in-chief of Cansumer. He has a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Queen's University. He is passionate about helping others save time and money and has been creating consumer-focused online resources for over 10 years. More about Cansumer Read more

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