FI Frugality Personal Finance

Is EQ Bank’s Savings Plus Account Safe? (My Detailed, Honest Review)

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Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links. That means I may receive a commission if you open an account using my links. There’s no extra cost to you and it helps to support the blog. Thank you!

Is EQ Bank’s Savings Plus Account safe?

Most people ask me this when they first hear about EQ Bank’s Savings Plus Account. I don’t blame them—the Savings Plus Account does seem too good to be true.

For example, unlike other high-interest savings accounts, it actually pays high interest. It also has the unique feature of being a hybrid account. (In other words, it’s a savings account that functions like a chequing account! Pretty cool, huh?)

And yet, the Savings Plus Account charges no fees and has no minimum balance. How can this be? That’s what this review aims to answer—along with every question I could find about EQ Bank’s  Savings Plus Account. (I told you this review was detailed!)

My detailed, honest review

I first opened my Savings Plus Account in October 2017. While I wasn’t one of the earliest adopters (the Savings Plus Account first started in January 2016) I’ve been a customer long enough that I can confidently share this detailed, transparent review. 

This is going to be a long post, so I’ve broken up my review into six sections. You can jump to the section you’re most interested in by clicking on the links below:

EQ Bank’s Savings Plus Account: Top features

EQ Bank’s Savings Plus Account is my pick for Canada’s best bank account—for good reason. It offers a long list of customer-friendly features, with a handful that truly stand out. 

In this section, I’ve detailed the top seven features of the Savings Plus Account. After reading through the list, I can almost guarantee you’ll become EQ Bank’s newest fan!

#1: It’s a hybrid chequing/savings account

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Hands-down, this is my favourite feature of the EQ Bank Savings Plus Account. You get to earn an everyday high interest rate and pay bills and transfer money—all from the SAME account! How cool is that?! 

With most other HISAs, you first need to transfer the cash to a chequing account, then pay the bill or make the transfer from there. Why add this extra step and miss out on interest? With the Savings Plus Account, you don’t have to sacrifice simplicity or interest anymore!

Note: This post on EQ’s site gives a good overview of this unique feature. 

#2: No more hopping from offer to offer

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EQ Bank’s Savings Plus Account offers one of the best, ongoing interest rates in Canada. That means no more hopping from HISA to HISA to access temporarily-increased promotional rates.

At EQ Bank, you get the same excellent rate, every single day. Sure, you might earn a little more by making the effort to change banks every few months… but is it worth it? 

While I’ve been dubbed the “Optimizer Extraordinaire” by my friend Court, this is one step too far for me. I prefer to keep my day-to-day banking simple and boring. If it means losing out on a bit of interest, I’m okay with it.

Note: I pass no judgement on those who do the ‘HISA shuffle’ to earn extra interest and sign-up bonuses. Kudos to you if you’re happy to make the effort—you deserve the extra earnings!

#3: Fast, free EQ to EQ transfers

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While e-transfers are now commonplace and free at most banks, they still leave a lot to be desired. For one thing, they’re not instant, and can often take hours to go through. 

They’re also cumbersome in that you and the receiver need to enter a password each time. Another downside to e-transfers is the relatively low daily limit for how much you can send (typically $2,000–$3,000).

EQ to EQ transfers do away with all this. With a one-time setup, you can instantly transfer up to $30,000 per day to your EQ Connections. There are no holds on the transfers, so they’re available for use immediately.

I regularly use EQ to EQ transfers to send money to family members for IOUs and gifts. EQ to EQ transfers have also made it much easier for my dad to send birthday and Christmas money to the grandkids—no more dollar bills and cheques!

#4: Free Interac e-Transfers®

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While I love EQ to EQ transfers, I still need e-transfers for sending money to strangers and people who aren’t EQ customers. That’s why I love that EQ offers free Interac e-Transfers®.

At the big bank I previously banked with, the limit was two Interac e-Transfers® per month. Even worse: any e-transfers beyond that would cost $1 each! That may seem small, but if you’re sending a friend $10 for the lunch they paid for, that’s a 10% fee.

No thanks—I’ll happily choose free e-transfers and a high interest rate from my Savings Plus Account.

#5: Free sub-accounts

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EQ Bank allows you to open up to four additional Savings Plus Accounts in addition to your main account (a total of five accounts per person). For people who use envelope budgeting, this is a very useful feature. 

I don’t budget or use an envelope system, but I still love and use the sub-accounts. Here’s how I put them to use:

For my kids

I opened a Savings Plus sub-account for each of my kids for two reasons:

  1. To keep their cash separate from ours. 
  2. To allow them to earn some interest on their savings. (Actual kids’ accounts pay little or no interest.)

Note: EQ Bank doesn’t offer kids’ accounts. Therefore, these Savings Plus sub-accounts are actually mine. This means I report the interest and pay taxes on it. (However, I let my kids keep the interest.) 🙂

For our leveraged investing

Anyone who uses leveraged investing strategies (like the Smith Manoeuvre) knows how important it is to keep a very clear paper trail. You’ll make your life a whole lot easier if you keep all your leveraged investing transactions in one bank account.

This is why we keep one EQ Bank Savings Plus sub-account strictly reserved for our loan payments. We’re able to do this because, unlike most HISAs, you can set up automatic withdrawals and payments from the Savings Plus Account.

That means we can keep the cash ready in this account without missing out on any of the interest. This simplifies our banking and earns us interest daily until the payments are taken—how awesome is that?

For freelancing and blog income

I deposit any income I earn from freelance writing and blogging into a separate sub-account at EQ Bank. Keeping these transactions separate makes my bookkeeping much easier.

#6: Free transactions

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Other no-fee chequing accounts also offer free transactions like EQ Bank, but they pay little or no interest. Other HISAs pay high interest like EQ Bank, but they limit the type and number of transactions you can make from them.

EQ Bank’s Savings Plus Account has none of these limitations. You can pay as many bills, make as many transfers, and send as many e-transfers as you’d like—all with no fees AND while earning an everyday high interest rate.

Are you starting to see why I love this account so much?

#7: Easy external account linking

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I never knew what I was missing out on until I discovered this feature in my Savings Plus Account! Being able to link to external accounts allows me to easily move money to and from my non-EQ accounts for free. I have no idea why big banks don’t allow this—it’s such a useful feature that I use all the time!

Summary: EQ Bank Savings Plus Account top features

As you can see, there’s a lot to love about EQ Bank’s Savings Plus Account. These seven top features alone make the account worthwhile for every Canadian! 

The Savings Plus Account saves you fees, simplifies your banking, and pays you more interest. What’s not to love?! 

EQ Bank’s Savings Plus Account: All the features

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Unbelievably, there’s even more to EQ Bank’s Savings Plus Account than the standout features I listed in the previous section. In fact, there’s a lot more:

  • $200,000 maximum balance (per customer).
  • Everyday high interest rate.
  • Zero minimum balance.
  • Zero everyday banking fees.
  • Free Interac e-Transfers®.
  • Free bill payments.
  • Free electronic funds transfers.
  • Free EQ to EQ transfers.
  • Free transaction inquiries.
  • No fees to open or close accounts.
  • Mobile cheque deposits.
  • Cheap international money transfers.
  • Zero NSF fees.
  • Easy linking to external accounts.
  • Up to four sub-accounts.
  • Earn interest from the first day of deposit.
  • Refer-a-friend program.
  • CDIC protected.
  • … and there’s even more—see this page for all the details.

EQ Bank’s Savings Plus Account: Downsides

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While I’m a huge fan of EQ Bank’s Savings Plus Account, I promised a detailed, honest review. That means I also need to cover the downsides. Thankfully, a lot of them are ‘good’ downsides and the rest are relatively minor. Let’s start with the ‘good’ downsides:

The ‘good’ downsides

EQ Bank is not a regular bricks-and-mortar bank. That means you won’t get the following when you open a Savings Plus Account:

  • Debit cards.
  • Cheques and bank drafts (but you can easily generate digital void cheques).
  • ABMs.
  • Tellers. 

I call these ‘good’ downsides because they were by design and a big part of what makes EQ Bank unique. They consciously chose to cut these ‘traditional’ features to minimize overhead.

As a result, EQ Bank can pass the savings onto customers by way of enhanced features and an everyday high interest rate. It’s a win-win for everyone!

To be honest, I rarely use these features anyway. In order to access these services (which is maybe once every couple of months) I keep a free chequing account at another bank—no big deal.

The not-so-good downsides

Okay, it’s time for the ugly stuff! There are a few things I find very annoying about EQ Bank. Frustratingly, they’re long-standing issues which I’ve sent feedback about, but have yet to see any resolutions for. Hopefully, they’ll get these problems sorted soon:

1. Website issues

EQ Bank’s website is… okay. It’s always improving, but I have some complaints about it:

  • It’s a bit slow (to log in, to switch from one account to another, etc.)
  • The inactivity timeout is very short and gives you no warning before it logs you out.
  • Oddly, I sometimes get logged out due to inactivity while I’m actively using the site! Why?! This is really annoying.

2. App issues

The app seems to be a little faster than the website, which is great. However, it’s not issue-free either! These are my gripes about the mobile app (I use the Android version): 

  • The fingerprint sign-in seems to work at first, but then it sends me back to the sign-in screen.
  • I tell the app not to ask for that option next time, but it never remembers my choice. It continues to ask me, almost every time, if I want to use fingerprint sign-in (which doesn’t work anyway). Argh!
  • The mobile cheque deposit is glitchy and often doesn’t work (for no apparent reason).

3. Other annoying issues

  • When making bill payments or transferring money, the date doesn’t auto-change to the next business day. Instead, you get an error with no explanation as to what the error is. Even worse, sometimes it wipes out all your transaction details, forcing you to re-enter all of it again. UGH!
  • When you receive e-transfers on a mobile device, you’re first taken to the app, then it sends you to your browser to complete the transaction. This is cumbersome and annoying. Why can’t it all be done in the app?
  • EQ Bank has more website outages than any other bank I’ve banked with! Fortunately, they usually don’t last long and are mostly late at night. Still, it can be inconvenient and frustrating. 

Even so… I still love EQ Bank!

Despite these downsides, I still think EQ Bank is awesome and continue to recommend them. Yes, the issues can be annoying, but they’re improving things all the time. I have hope for better in the future. (Are you reading, EQ Bank?)

I also feel the issues are minor enough that the good outweighs the bad… and that’s why I’ve faithfully and happily stuck with EQ Bank, even with these irritating issues!

EQ Bank versus other banks

In case you’re wondering if I’m overly biased, I added this section to put EQ Bank’s Savings Plus Account to the test. This section will show you exactly how the Savings Plus Account stacks up against other Canadian high-interest savings accounts:

  • Tangerine Savings Account
  • Wealthsimple Cash account
  • Simplii High Interest Savings Account
  • Motive Savvy Savings Account
  • Alterna Bank High Interest eSavings Account
  • Oaken Savings Account

Note: On smaller screens, scroll horizontally to view the entire table.

FeatureEQ BankTangerineWealthsimpleSimpliiMotiveAlternaOaken
Interest rate1.25%2.10%
(for 5 months, then 0.10%)
0.5%0.10%1.25%1.10%1.15%
Interest earned on $5,000 after one year$62.50$46.84
($15.66 less than EQ Bank)
$25
($37.50 less than EQ Bank)
$5.00
($57.50 less than EQ Bank)
$62.50
(Same as EQ Bank)
$55.00
($12.50 less than EQ Bank)
$57.50
($5 less than EQ Bank)
Hybrid account? (Chequing and savings)YesNoUnknownNoNoYesNo
Minimum account balance$0$0$0$0$0$0$0
Free e-transfersYesNot availableUnknownNot available$1 eachYesNot available
Monthly fees$0$0$0$0$0$0$0
Cheap international money transfersYesNoNoNoNoNoNo

Info current as of April 2021

My thoughts on the comparisons

Amazingly, EQ Bank’s Savings Plus Account comes out the same or ahead in every category! That’s why it’s hands-down my favourite Canadian bank account—it simply can’t be beat!

EQ Bank’s Savings Plus Account—FAQs

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Alright—I’ve given you the comparisons and a detailed overview of the good, bad and ugly behind EQ Bank’s Savings Plus Account. Now it’s time to cover some topics that I may not have addressed above.

Below is an exhaustive list of FAQs that I’ve been asked or have come across online. EQ Bank has their own FAQ section on their site, but I sometimes prefer to get answers from outside, non-corporate sources… so that’s what I’m giving you here!

The FAQs are sorted into the following categories (click on the categories to jump to that section):

Why I’m qualified to answer these FAQs

I’m not an EQ Bank representative, but I’ve been a customer since 2017. I access my accounts every day (often multiple times). All this is to say: I understand the inner workings of the Savings Plus account really well!

I’m also a detailed, slightly obsessive internet researcher—I will go to the ends of Google to find answers! My aim with these FAQs was to be as thorough and clear as possible. If anything is missing, let me know in the comments and I’ll make the appropriate edits.

1. Safety and security

Is EQ Bank legitimate?

Yes, EQ Bank is a legitimate Canadian bank. It is the digital arm of Equitable Bank, which is Canada’s ninth-largest Schedule I bank. Equitable Bank manages over $35 billion in assets and was founded in 1970 as The Equitable Trust Company. 

Is EQ Bank safe?

Absolutely! Your money is safe at EQ Bank and is protected by CDIC deposit insurance. This means you’re protected for up to $100,000 per depositor, per insured category should EQ Bank ever fail or close.

Is EQ Bank secure?

Yes, EQ Bank is secure. They are committed to and guarantee your mobile and online banking security when you bank with them. See their security guarantee for more details.

Can I trust EQ Bank?

Yes, you can trust EQ Bank. It is an established financial institution brought to you by Equitable Bank (which has been in existence for nearly 45 years). 

Is EQ Bank CDIC insured?

Yes, EQ Bank is a member of CDIC (Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation). Equitable Bank (EQ Bank’s parent financial institution) pays premiums to CDIC, which in turn provides free, automatic coverage for customers of their member institutions.

Is EQ Bank good?

I would say so (which is why I’m writing this very long and detailed review)! If you haven’t read my thoughts on EQ Bank yet, jump back to the Top Features section, where I discuss EQ Bank’s unique, standout features.

2. Savings Plus Account info

What’s EQ Bank’s Savings Plus Account?

EQ’s Bank Savings Plus Account is a hybrid chequing/high-interest savings account with no monthly fees. You can use it to pay bills, receive direct deposits, save money, and more—all while earning an everyday high interest rate.

See the Top Features section in this post for more info on the standout features of the Savings Plus Account. 

What is EQ Bank’s transit number?

EQ Bank’s transit number is 80002.

What is EQ Bank’s institution number?

EQ Bank’s institution number is 623.

What is EQ Bank’s branch number?

The branch number is the same thing as the transit number, which is 80002.

What is EQ Bank’s account limit?

From EQ Bank’s Savings Plus Account Fees & Features page:

For customers who joined EQ Bank before February 21, 2016, the maximum balance per customer is $500,000. For customers who joined EQ Bank on or after February 21, 2016, the maximum balance per customer is $200,000, unless the customer has at least one joint account, in which case the maximum balance per customer is $500,000 while the customer maintains a joint account.

3. Transactions

How do I withdraw money from EQ Bank?

You can withdraw money from EQ Bank in two ways:

  1. Interac e-Transfers® (instant).
  2. Electronic funds transfer (EFT) to your linked accounts at other banks (1–2 business days).

What’s the withdrawal limit at EQ Bank?

There are different limits for different types of transactions as well as daily, weekly, and monthly maximums. See EQ Bank’s Savings Plus Account Fees & Features page for more details.

Can I get a bank draft from EQ Bank?

Unfortunately, EQ Bank does not offer bank drafts.

What is EQ Bank’s bill payment limit?

The bill payment limit at EQ Bank is $25,000 per payment. The limit for payments to CRA is $100,000 per payment.

How do I assign a beneficiary for my EQ Bank accounts?

Canadian bank accounts cannot have beneficiaries assigned to them. However, you can convert your Savings Plus Account to a joint account. This will allow your joint account holder to access the account should you pass away.

Note: You can assign beneficiaries to EQ Bank RSPs and TFSAs. (See this FAQ answer for more info.)

Does EQ Bank have a debit card?

Unfortunately, EQ Bank does not offer debit cards. This is one of the ways they reduce overhead so that they can offer a competitive interest rate.

Does EQ Bank offer direct deposits?

Yes! You can set up direct deposits to your Savings Plus Account. You can find instructions to do that here.

Can I make e-transfers with EQ Bank?

Yes, you can send and receive free Interac e-Transfers® with EQ Bank. 

Does EQ Bank have an Interac e-Transfer limit?

Yes, there are different limits for sending and receiving Interac e-Transfers® with EQ Bank. The sending limits are:

  • Up to $3,000 per day
  • Up to $10,000 per 7-day period
  • Up to $20,000 per 30-day period

The receiving limits are:

  • Up to $10,000 per day
  • Up to $70,000 per 7-day period
  • Up to $300,000 per 30-day period

Does EQ Bank charge an Interac e-Transfer fee?

No, EQ Bank does not charge fees to send or receive Interac e-Transfers®.

What’s EQ Bank’s hold period?

For amounts of $1,500 or less, EQ Bank holds the funds for 5 business days after the day of deposit. For amounts over $1,500, EQ Bank holds the funds for 8 business days after the day of deposit.

What’s EQ Bank’s hold policy?

EQ Bank’s detailed hold policy is available here

What’s EQ Bank’s EFT (electronic fund transfer) time?

It takes 1–2 business days for EQ Bank to send or pull an electronic funds transfer.

What fees does EQ Bank charge?

EQ Bank does not charge ANY fees! See the full list of fees they don’t charge for here.

Can I make a wire transfer from EQ Bank?

Unfortunately, EQ Bank does not offer wire transfers.

What’s EQ Bank’s wire transfer fee?

EQ Bank doesn’t offer wire transfers, nor the ability to receive them. Therefore, they don’t charge wire transfer fees.

How do EQ Bank’s Transferwise international transfers work?

You can send a Transferwise international transfer right from your Savings Plus Account. All you have to do is click on “Transfers,” and choose “Send International Transfer.” From there, you’ll be able to send your money in a few easy steps. See this page for more info.

What’s EQ Bank’s minimum balance?

There’s NO minimum balance at EQ Bank!

What’s EQ Bank’s maximum balance?

From EQ Bank’s Savings Plus Account Fees & Features page:

For customers who joined EQ Bank before February 21, 2016, the maximum balance per customer is $500,000. For customers who joined EQ Bank on or after February 21, 2016, the maximum balance per customer is $200,000, unless the customer has at least one joint account, in which case the maximum balance per customer is $500,000 while the customer maintains a joint account.

What’s the maximum amount I can transfer from EQ Bank?

There are different limits for different types of transactions as well as daily, weekly, and monthly maximums. See EQ Bank’s Savings Plus Account Fees & Features page for more details.

How do I get a void cheque from EQ Bank?

You can easily generate a void cheque from your Savings Plus Account. Detailed instructions can be found here.

Does EQ Bank charge for overdrafts or NSF fees?

No, they don’t! EQ Bank is all about no-fee banking. You can see a list of fees they don’t charge for here.

Does EQ Bank have an app?

Yes, EQ Bank has iOS and Android apps.

4. Interest

What is EQ Bank’s interest rate?

You can find EQ Bank’s current interest rate by visiting this page.

How does EQ Bank calculate interest?

EQ Bank calculates interest daily on the total closing balance. Interest begins accruing on the day of deposit.

When does EQ Bank pay interest?

EQ Bank pays interest monthly*, on the first day of the following month. (For example: interest for January is paid on February 1st, interest for February is paid on March 1st, and so on.)

*Interest is calculated daily on the total closing balance and paid monthly. Rates are per annum and subject to change without notice.

How often does EQ Bank pay interest?

EQ Bank pays interest once a month (see previous question).

What is EQ Bank’s interest rate history?

You can see EQ Bank’s unofficial rate history at the beginning of this Red Flag Deals thread or at Canadian High Interest Savings Bank Accounts.

Does EQ Bank have an interest calculator?

No, EQ Bank doesn’t have an interest calculator. But I like and recommend this one.

5. Account types

Does EQ Bank offer joint accounts?

Yes, they do! EQ Bank started offering joint accounts in July 2020. For me, this was a long-awaited feature that I was thrilled to finally access.

As detailed in their post about joint accounts, there are many advantages to making a bank account joint. If you share finances with someone you trust, you may want to consider joint Savings Plus Accounts.

How many EQ Bank accounts can I have?

You may have up to five Savings Plus accounts. (Note that joint accounts also count towards each joint account holder’s total.)

Can I link external accounts to my EQ Bank account?

Yes, you can easily link up to ten external bank accounts to your EQ Bank account. This is one of my favourite features of the Savings Plus Account—it’s super handy and is something that the big banks don’t offer.

Does EQ Bank offer USD accounts?

Unfortunately, EQ Bank does not offer USD accounts.

Does EQ Bank offer youth accounts?

No, EQ Bank does not offer youth accounts. To hold an account at EQ, you must be 18 or 19 years old (depending on where you live).

However, in the Top Features section above, I discuss how I use sub-accounts to hold my kids’ cash savings. The interest is still attributable to me (so I pay taxes on it) but I let my kids keep the interest their money earns.

Can I open an EQ Bank account as a non-resident?

Unfortunately, you can’t open an EQ Bank account as a non-resident. You must be a Canadian resident. 

6. Other products

Does EQ Bank offer lines of credit?

No, EQ Bank does not offer lines of credit, but their parent institution, Equitable Bank does. You can find out more here.

Does EQ Bank have GICs?

Yes, EQ Bank has GICs. You can find out more here. (However, you must open a Savings Plus Account before you can purchase an EQ Bank GIC.)

Does EQ Bank have TFSAs?

Yes, EQ Bank has TFSAs. You can find out more here. (However, you must open a Savings Plus Account before you can open an EQ Bank TFSA.)

Does EQ Bank have RRSPs?

Yes, EQ Bank has RRSPs*. You can find out more here. (However, you must open a Savings Plus Account before you can open an EQ Bank RSP.)

*Technically, your EQ Bank RRSP starts as an RSP then becomes an RRSP once you fund it. Here’s an explanation.

Does EQ Bank have RESPs?

Unfortunately, EQ Bank does not have RESPs.

Does EQ Bank have a credit card?

EQ Bank does not offer a credit card.

Can EQ Bank’s Savings Plus Account be used for business?

No, you cannot use your Savings Plus Account for business.

Does EQ Bank have business accounts?

Unfortunately, EQ Bank does not offer business accounts.

Does EQ Bank offer mortgages?

EQ Bank does not offer mortgages, but their parent institution, Equitable Bank does. You can find out more here.

7. Bonuses, promos and referrals

Is EQ Bank offering a promotional sign-up bonus?

At this time, EQ Bank is not offering a promotional sign-up bonus.

Is there an EQ Bank promo code?

Unfortunately, there are no EQ Bank promo codes at this time.

Does EQ Bank have a referral program?

Yes, EQ Bank has a Refer a Friend program! To send a referral, log into your Savings Plus Account then click on the “Refer a Friend button” to find your unique referral link. 

Share it with people you know, then when they use the link to sign up with EQ Bank and deposit $100 or more into their account within 30 days, you’ll each receive $20*! 

Referring someone is easy and the payout is fast—so fast, that you’ll each get paid within a day of your friend making their first deposit!

*You could earn up to $500 in referral bonuses: $20 for each of your first 3 successful referrals; $30 for each of your next 4 successful referrals; $40 for any successful referral up to the $500 maximum.

For more details on the EQ Bank Refer a Friend program, click here.

8. Connecting to other platforms

Can EQ Bank connect to Questrade?

Yes, EQ Bank can connect to Questrade. I’ve successfully connected our Savings Plus Accounts to and from Questrade.

Does EQ Bank work with Mint?

EQ Bank states that they do not officially support access from Mint. Commenters on various forums say that the EQ/Mint connection can be glitchy and unpredictable.

Does EQ Bank work with YNAB?

Unfortunately, EQ Bank does not connect properly to the new web-based version of YNAB.

It also doesn’t work well with the legacy desktop version of YNAB. That’s because you can’t export QIF files from EQ. You only export .csv files (which are not formatted correctly for YNAB). I find it’s faster to manually enter the transactions. 

Note: This is anecdotal info based on my own experience and from Tanya from T on FIRE. I couldn’t find official info about these issues from EQ Bank or YNAB.

9. Contact info

Where is EQ Bank located?

EQ Bank’s head office is in Toronto, Ontario. However, there are no physical EQ Bank branches that you can visit.

Is there an EQ Bank near me?

EQ Bank is an online-only bank, so you won’t find any locations that you can visit or obtain services from. However, you may be able to find an Equitable Bank near you (that’s the parent institution for EQ Bank).

What is EQ Bank’s address?

30 St. Clair Avenue West, Suite 700
Toronto, ON  M4V 3A1

How do I contact EQ Bank?

  • Email: contact@eqbank.ca
  • Phone: 1-844-437-2265 (within North America) or 1-416-551-3449 (outside North America)
  • Chat: Via their website.

What are EQ Bank’s hours?

EQ Bank’s customer service is available from 8 am to 12 am EST, seven days a week. You can reach them via the contact info shown above.

10. Corporate info

What is EQ Bank?

EQ Bank is the digital arm of Equitable Bank. EQ Bank is unique in that they have no branches and don’t offer full traditional bank services and features (tellers, debit cards, cheques, etc.)

This helps to minimize their overhead, resulting in high interest rates and no monthly or transaction fees on their Savings Plus Accounts.

How does EQ Bank make money?

I can’t find info directly from EQ Bank about this, but in general, banks make money by lending out the money you deposit with them. They charge a higher interest rate for their loans than they pay for deposits. This ‘spread’ is how they make money.

Given that EQ Bank’s parent institution, Equitable Bank, offers lending products such as mortgages, commercial loans and lines of credit, we can assume that they make money the same way as other banks.

How does EQ Bank work?

EQ Bank is a 100% online bank. Therefore, all transactions are carried out online (there are no physical branches). You can access your accounts via their website or mobile app.

What does EQ Bank stand for?

I don’t believe EQ stands for anything. Rather, it’s a shortened name taken from EQ Bank’s parent institution, Equitable Bank.

When did EQ Bank start?

EQ Bank officially launched in January 2016.

Who owns EQ Bank?

EQ Bank is a trademark of Equitable Bank—a federally-regulated Schedule I bank with over 900 employees across Canada.

Who is EQ Bank associated or affiliated with?

EQ Bank is a trademark and the digital arm of Equitable Bank.

Who is behind EQ Bank?

Equitable Bank is the parent financial institution behind EQ Bank.

EQ Bank vs Equitable Bank—what’s the difference?

EQ Bank is a trademark and the digital arm of Equitable Bank, which is Canada’s ninth-largest Schedule I bank. Equitable Bank manages over $35 billion in assets and was founded in 1970 as The Equitable Trust Company. 

Why is EQ Bank not available in Quebec?

Unfortunately, EQ Bank is not available to residents of Quebec. While I can’t find an official explanation for this, it’s likely due to Quebec’s stricter financial consumer protection laws.

Can I buy EQ Bank shares?

You can’t buy shares in EQ Bank itself, but you can buy shares in its parent institution—Equitable Group. Their common and preferred shares are traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange under “EQB” and “EQB.PR.C.”

Closing thoughts

Thought bubble image by rawpixel; Watercolour texture created by kjpargeter—freepik.com

In summary, these are my favourite features of EQ Bank’s Savings Plus account:

  1. It’s a hybrid chequing/savings account.
  2. No more hopping from offer to offer.
  3. Fast, free EQ to EQ transfers.
  4. Free Interac e-Transfers®.
  5. Free sub-accounts.
  6. Free transactions.
  7. Easy external account linking.

My final verdict

EQ Bank’s Savings Plus Account is Canada’s best bank account—period.

None of the other Canadian HISAs offer all of the above features in one account. EQ Bank’s Savings Plus Account simplifies my banking while earning us more interest. What’s not to love? (Well, there are a few small things, but for me, they’re relatively minor.)

The advantages of the Savings Plus Account far, far outweigh any of the downsides. This is why I recommend this account to my friends, family and readers with zero hesitation!

Got questions?

While I’m not an EQ Bank rep, I’m a long-term customer who uses her Savings Plus Account daily (usually multiple times a day). That means I know this account really well! 

I can answer just about any question you may have, so if there’s anything I didn’t already answer in this review, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll be more than happy to help out!

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26 Comments

  • Reply
    Mr. Dreamer @ VibrantDreamer.com
    March 3, 2021 at 6:19 am

    I was so lucky to have been an EQ Customer for years. I opened it when I was in NS. When we moved to QC. I couldn’t add my wife and make our account Joint account when they started offering Joint months ago.
    However, I am enjoying my 1.5% 🙂

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      March 3, 2021 at 7:53 pm

      Hi Mr. Dreamer—that’s a shame that you couldn’t add your wife to the account. I was so excited when joint accounts were finally an option! Hopefully EQ will be available in Quebec one day. 🤞

      • Mr. Dreamer @ VibrantDreamer.com
        March 4, 2021 at 7:19 pm

        Yes! Maybe I should give them a call. I never tried talking to them to see if there is exception. I also can’t open any new account so no EQ RRSP or TFSA for me (Not that I need them but in general).
        There are many great Consumer Protections in QC not available in other provinces but there are many financial institute which aren’t offered in QC. Simplii is another example. We both had our Simplii before coming to QC. Those 3 Simplii accounts have a whooping $1.5 in total. (I keep moving couple cent between them to avoid the non-activity fee lol)

      • Chrissy
        March 4, 2021 at 9:48 pm

        Hello again Mr. Dreamer—I’d be curious to hear if they’d make an exception. My guess is no, but it’s worth a try! You’re hilarious with those Simplii accounts. I like the way you think, ha ha, so I just started following your blog. Looking forward to more uber-frugal tips!

  • Reply
    Shashi
    March 3, 2021 at 7:40 am

    Chrissy,

    Great post on EQ bank. I think this post covers everything anybody would want to know about EQ and its different accounts. Good to know that they now offer joint accounts. It was not an option when we opened accounts a couple of years back. Thank you for the detailed post.

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      March 3, 2021 at 7:57 pm

      Hi Shashi—it seems my audience is already in-the-know about EQ Bank! I found it frustrating that they didn’t offer joint accounts before. It seemed like such a basic thing that’s so important for simplified estate planning.

      If you haven’t converted your accounts to joint yet, I’d highly recommend that you do. Otherwise, if something happens to you or your wife, the surviving spouse will have to wait for the account to go through probate before they can access the funds. Not fun!

  • Reply
    Chris @ Mindful Explorer
    March 3, 2021 at 8:00 am

    Wow that is one heck of a review. I really like the idea of linking other banks and easily transferring money, yes more banks should do that. That interest rate is awesome, my Scotia Momentum Plus savings no longer pays big rates anymore and I’m down to like .4% which is crazy low compared to the 2.85 I got during the initial promotion.

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      March 3, 2021 at 8:04 pm

      Hi Chris—my dad had his cash in a Scotia Momentum Plus account as well, but the rates are low and they have that annoying thing where you can’t touch it for 90-360 days if you want the higher rates (which aren’t even that high)!

      I finally switched him to EQ Bank in January. He’s much happier with the no-strings high interest rate and extra features. 👍

  • Reply
    Court @ Modern FImily
    March 3, 2021 at 8:09 am

    Wow! As expected, you covered it ALL. Great post. I’m loyal to Motive as they’ve always had the highest rate out there. Once I FIRE and no longer need direct deposit, I plan to switch over to EQ for my everyday chequing account (simply too lazy/unmotivated to switch at this point as ridiculous as it sounds).

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      March 3, 2021 at 8:07 pm

      Hi Court—I know we’ve discussed this before, and it makes sense why you’d stick with Motive. They do have the highest rate (though that’s narrowed quite a bit in the last year).

      I totally understand about the lack of motivation to switch banks! It takes a lot of thought and effort—it took me forever to move my dad over, even though I’ve wanted to do it for years!

  • Reply
    Maggie
    March 3, 2021 at 9:04 am

    I’m already a convert but I still learned some from this very detailed post! I recently switched to Tangerine for the promo-interest rate (but only because I wanted to open a Tangerine account for other reasons) and I’ve got a calendar reminder to switch back when the promo-rate expires.

    I can also confirm EQ doesn’t link properly with YNAB but since I don’t do my daily banking with EQ it’s not too much of a hassle to manually import transactions.

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      March 3, 2021 at 8:12 pm

      Hi Maggie—I’m glad I was able to share some new info with you! I have a friend who somehow keeps getting the Tangerine promo rate by switching back and forth with her husband. I’m not sure how she does it, but she’s been doing it for years!

      Thanks for confirming about the connection to YNAB. It’s too bad! I do most of my banking with EQ Bank, so it’s a hassle for me. But the manual entry helps me get more mindful about our transactions, so maybe it’s not such a bad thing?

  • Reply
    Teresa
    March 3, 2021 at 9:45 am

    Thanks again, Chrissy – I can see why you almost did not make the deadline – so much great information! It is a no-brainer that EQ offers what all other banks do not. I have never liked the Big 5 and dealt with the Blueshore Credit Union for around 40 years because I felt they treated customers way better. Even though we get special GIC rates from our advisor at Blueshore & the offer to reimburse us for the e-transfer fees, they could not meet the EQ rate so we moved most of our savings to EQ banking use the free e-transfers to save us the trouble of having to get cash or write cheques.

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      March 3, 2021 at 8:16 pm

      Hi Mom—I was really happy when you moved over to EQ. As a retiree, you need more liquid cash on hand, so having them tied up in GICs isn’t ideal. It’s even worse when they’re paying the same or less in interest than EQ!

      Free e-transfers are such a handy feature, both for the sender and receiver. I’m glad to hear you’re enjoying and making full use of the account!

  • Reply
    Tawcan
    March 3, 2021 at 10:13 am

    Great review Chrissy. You certainly covered everything.

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      March 3, 2021 at 8:17 pm

      Hi Bob—ha ha, I tried really hard to cover every possible question! That was a lot of words (but nothing compared to your posts)!

  • Reply
    Maria @ Handful of Thoughts
    March 3, 2021 at 5:56 pm

    Wow, epic post Chrissy. I’m a loyal EQ Bank fan too. I recommend it all the time and so many people are unsrue of it because they have never heard of it before. The CDIC coverage usually helps assuage their fears.

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      March 3, 2021 at 8:19 pm

      Hi Maria—you’re totally right, EQ Bank is still unknown to so many people. I understand why they’d be leery. You’re right that the CDIC coverage helps a lot.

  • Reply
    Bob Wen
    March 6, 2021 at 9:16 am

    Fantastic post Chrissy. We have some funds in Oaken GICs, as at the time, they offered the highest interest rates we could find. The process for setting up a GIC is very cumbersome, and the online interface is pretty bad too. By contrast, EQ Bank’s GIC process is almost as easy as moving money between savings accounts. If you change your mind overnight, you can easily cancel the transaction, and the money is returned to your savings account (I assume you lose whatever interest you would have earned in that time). Last year EQ had a high interest rate offer on their three-month GICs that worked out well for us for minimal effort. Today though, their short-term (up to three years) GIC rates are actually lower than the rate for their saving accounts! I’ll keep watching for the return of their higher GIC rate offer.

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      March 6, 2021 at 7:33 pm

      Hi Bob—I had a feeling that most (if not all) my readers were already with EQ Bank! Still, it’s gratifying to know I’m not the only one who appreciates how fantastic their offerings are.

      That’s great to know about the easy GIC purchasing process. It’s yet another pro to add to the list! I also found that their GIC rates are the same or lower than their saving accounts. Doesn’t make a lot of sense to tie up the money for no extra gain.

      Thanks for sharing your experience. It may be good for me to add the GIC info to the post when I update it in the future. 👍

  • Reply
    Tara
    March 6, 2021 at 12:13 pm

    You weren’t kidding about his post being detailed — pretty sure it covers literally everything a person would ever need to know about EQ (which is a good thing)!

    Fellow EQ convert here — many of your pros are also my pros. As far as cons go, totally agree re: the inactivity timer being crazy and the overall site being a little…meh. That said, like you, I do appreciate that they do seem to take seriously the work to make improvements to it. None of the cons outweigh the benefits in my mind.

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      March 6, 2021 at 7:38 pm

      Hi Tara—I was really aiming to be thorough, and I’m happy to hear I accomplished that!

      Really glad to hear you feel the same about the pros and website issues. That inactivity timeout is maddening!!!

      Even so, as you pointed out, the cons (though annoying) don’t outweigh the benefits. I’m willing to put up with them for all the other great stuff!

  • Reply
    Rod
    March 8, 2021 at 9:13 am

    Great review….I have shared with a couple friends and family who are not yet converts. I have been with EQ for over a year now and have enjoyed their higher interest rates. Was sad to see them go down, especially the GIC rates that use to be higher than the Account rates.

    My only beef is the delay in being able to access funds when transferring in and out of the account.
    .
    Most recently I had opportunity to set up an “EQ Connection” with a family member. This allows account holders to transfer up to $30,000 instantly between accounts….better than an e-transfer that is limited to $3,000.

    I’m a very pleased EQ customer.

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      March 8, 2021 at 4:07 pm

      Hi Rod—thank you so much for sharing my review! I sincerely hope it helps your friends and family access the excellent rates and many useful features at EQ Bank.

      It was unfortunate to see the rates drop multiple times last year. However, they’ve still remained competitive with other banks. It’s simply a sign of the times, I guess.

      There does seems to be a substantial hold period when transferring in from other banks. I’ve never compared this to other banks, but I will in a future update of this post. Thanks for pointing it out.

      I also love the EQ to EQ transfers. They really come in handy for transferring larger sums of money.

  • Reply
    Mike
    March 26, 2021 at 5:26 am

    Very thorough review and appreciate the transparency! I am considering EQ Bank, but still a little hesitant from what I read on a couple discussion forums, perhaps you can share your thoughts and experience.
    People have mentioned the customer service wait times can be quite lengthily or their customer service can be difficult to deal with. Any thoughts?
    Secondly, I read complaints about the site going down upon logging in. Have you experienced this and what is the frequency and length of downtime? The account will be used for an emergency fund plus a bit of savings and my concern is not being able to access the account. If the downtime is half a day to a day, that’s what I am concerned about.
    In terms of login security, did they require you to setup a couple security questions in the event you need to prove your authentication?

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      March 26, 2021 at 8:55 am

      Hi Mike, thanks for reading and commenting. I’m happy to answer your questions:

      1) Customer service delays: The delays were caused by their popularity—a lot of people wanted to open accounts with them, and they were flooded. They’ve told me (and I’ve noticed) that wait times have greatly improved recently. However, if you’re still having a hard time getting through during the day, try calling in the evening instead or try their online chat. I’ve experienced much shorter waits with those two options.

      2) Customer service difficulty: I’ve never had difficulties with their agents. They’re always helpful and friendly. Of course, it’s always possible with any company to get a bad agent. But in my experience, I’ve never come across a bad CS agent at EQ.

      3) Site going down: I’ve never experienced the site doing down upon logging in (though there is that annoying short inactivity timeout issue). But the site does go down from time to time (more so than with any other bank I’ve banked with.) I really don’t know why this is. However, in my experience, the outages are usually at night. They can last a while at night, but of the outages I’ve experienced during the day (which have been exceedingly rare) they don’t last more than an hour or so. I’ve never experienced an outage that lasted longer than overnight (and even then, I don’t think it lasted all night—it’s just that I went to bed and didn’t check again until the morning).

      4) Yes, for sure, they ask for security questions when you set up your account! They also won’t let you get past the password setup screen until you enter a satisfactorily-secure password. Additionally, they’re very careful when you contact them for support. They won’t discuss your account details with you until you give them the email that you use to login, then they send you a security code that you read/type to them.

      I hope these answers help to ease your mind! Let me know anytime if you have more. I’m happy to help. 🙂

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