EQ Bank Personal Account Review

EQ Bank logo on computer screen

EQ Bank is one of Canada’s best digital-only neobanks. That allows them to cut overhead costs and pass those savings onto us. Are you ready to put your hard-earned bacon to work without breaking a sweat? I signed up for the EQ Bank Personal Account and here’s everything you need to know about it. 

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  • Registration

  • Interest on deposits

  • Cash back on purchases

  • Customer service

At a glance

The EQ Bank Personal Account is what you’d get if a traditional chequing and a savings account had a baby. It’s free and offers unlimited transactions, high interest rates on deposits and a card that earns cash back on every purchase.

Join EQ Bank

How I joined EQ Bank 

I have to mention that I did not like the sign up process to open an EQ Bank account. It took longer than advertised: 4 business days instead of 2. Also, I kept getting logged out for no reason. During the process, EQ Bank asked questions to verify my identity, then ask me to choose a password. I also received a code to verify my email and phone number.

But then more problems happened. After creating my account, I couldn’t log in to explore my account’s features. I had to wait until my application was approved. I tried getting more information via chat but they asked me to call them directly. I called them twice and it seemed the delay was caused by verifications with TransUnion (a credit bureau).

To open an account, you must be a Canadian resident with a social insurance number (SIN) and be the age of majority in your province or territory. Your SIN is required to open an account because EQ Bank runs a soft credit check on you. Your credit score should be at least 600. Don’t worry, this credit check will not affect your score.

Overall, it took 4 days to get access to my account. If you’re in a rush, this account may not be for you. It might be faster to just go to a traditional bank and open an account in person!

Message saying my application is complete
EQ Bank message after being logged out
EQ Bank chat with Michelle asking me to call

Funding the account

Once my application was approved, I received a confirmation email. To really get things going, I had to fund my account and order my EQ card. I chose to link my traditional bank account to my EQ Personal Account. All major banks are already listed and linking my account was quick and easy. You can link up to 10 external accounts and all deposits are free. 

EQ bank list of banks to connect accounts
EQ bank account linked confirmation message
Email from EQ bank stating the main ways to fund my account are Interac and linking an account
Summary of my EQ Bank account including holdings and balance available

A faster way to transfer funds is to use Interac eTransfer, but I couldn’t ask to received funds directly from the EQ bank app. I would have had to log in to my traditional bank account and initiate the transfer from there. It is also possible to deposit a cheque through the app to fund your account.

To spend from my EQ savings account, I have to wait until I receive my physical EQ bank card and transfer funds from my EQ account onto the card.

Features & benefits

The EQ Bank Personal Account used to be named the Savings Plus Account. It is still the same great account. It’s free with no monthly fee and offers unlimited transactions, super high interest rates on deposits, a bank card that earns cash back on purchases, and mobile cheque deposits through the app.

EQ Bank has been around since 2016, offering the same bank-level protection you’re used to and CDIC insurance on your eligible deposits.

This no-fee account packs quite a punch. Let’s break down the top perks of the EQ Bank Personal Account, like free transactions, high-interest rates, and cash back on purchases to show how it can level up your money.

Free daily banking

Hands down one of the best features is the ability to instantly access your cash without getting nailed with charges. Free and unlimited transactions include: 

  • EQ Bank Card Purchases 
  • eTransfers
  • Mobile Cheque Deposits
  • Bill Payments 
  • Pre-authorized Debits (PADs)
  • Electronic Funds Transfers (ETFs) between EQ Bank accounts, linked external accounts, and recurring transfers
  • Transfers between EQ Customers
  • Transactions through the Customer Care Centre

Unlike most banks, EQ Bank does not charge penalty fees for rejected transactions due to Non-Sufficient Funds (NSF), like a bounced cheque for example. On the downside, there is no overdraft protection available on the EQ Bank account. But with no fees on returned items, you probably don’t even need it. 

On the downside, if you need physical cheques drawn on your account, you should consider other digital banks like Tangerine or Simplii Financial.

High interest on deposits

Steps 1 to 3 to direct deposit your pay with EQ: choose account, download void cheque, send it to your employer

Here’s where EQ really gives away the farm. Every dollar in your account earns up to 4% annual interest until the second you spend it. That’s about 400x more interest than the Big Banks give you. With your EQ Bank Personal Account, you don’t have to choose between the accessibility of a chequing account or crushing your savings goals – do both! Every dollar earns bank-beating interest without having to move money around from a chequing to a savings account.

Right now, I earn 2.50% on my balance. To get 4%, I would have to direct deposit my pay. The process is very simple: I selected my account, downloaded the void cheque and now I can send it to my employer whenever I want to earn 1.50% more interest.

Better yet, there’s no minimum balance required to earn that juicy rate. Interest is calculated daily on your total closing balance and the funds are deposited into your account monthly. Keep in mind that rates are subject to change without notice. For the most up-to-date info, visit the EQ Bank website. 

While this rate certainly is aggressive compared to the big brick-and-mortar banks, it’s certainly not the highest rate among digital-only banks. Always compare banks before opening an account.

EQ Bank Card

[Offer productType=”CreditCard” api_id=”63d2cb6a18196b6d2e1928c2″ id=”198047″]

One of the major drawbacks of the EQ Bank Personal Account used to be the inability to access your money with a bank card. They finally solved that pain point with the launch of the EQ Bank Card in early 2023. It’s a reloaded prepaid Mastercard that works everywhere Mastercard is accepted  – online, in store, and abroad.

The EQ Bank Card comes with some juicy perks. You get 0.5% cash back on almost all card transactions, both in Canada and abroad. The downside of the EQ Bank card is that you have to load it by transferring money from your account to a separate account linked to the card. So while your money is now more accessible, it still requires money management to use the card.

Withdrawing from EQ Bank accounts

Again, you have several options to access your cash quickly and easily. For instant daily access, you can use your EQ Bank Card to make purchases and withdraw money from ATMs. You can also eTransfer or link external bank accounts to move money to other financial institutions. 

Unfortunately, EQ does not provide chequebooks. But if you’re a millennial or younger, you’ve probably never needed to write one anyway.

If you need to provide banking information for pre-authorized payments, you can print or download a void cheque. Select the account you want the money to be debited from, then click “More Options.” From the drop-down menu, select “Set up direct deposit.” Then choose either “Download as PDF” or “Print.” 

What if I want to send money abroad? 

Although EQ Bank offers International Money Transfers powered by Wise, I could not use this feature. I tried to chat with them about it and they did not understand what was wrong. I have to say, their staff is there to answer all your inquiries, despite the many problems you may run into! They kept telling me International transfer should be under Transfers, but it was not.

Menu list under Transfers in my EQ bank account
Example of conversion from cad to usd when sending money via EQ bank and Wise

If it works for you, type in the amount you want to send and your recipient’s currency. You’ll instantly see the exchange rate, the fee, and how much your recipient will receive. Then click on “Next,” follow the prompts and fill in the necessary info.  

You can send over 40 currencies to over 160 countries. While EQ does not charge any fees for international transfers, Wise will charge its own fee for processing the transaction. 

Does EQ offer joint accounts?

Yes! If you want to blend finances or share expenses with someone, you can easily open a Joint EQ Bank Savings Plus Account or invite someone to become a co-holder on an existing account.

You can share an account with up to two other people, so 3 account holders total. And you don’t all have to be together at the same time to open a joint account. One person can start the process and fill out the necessary information about themselves. Just add the contact information of the other person/people you want to share the account with, and EQ will email an invitation link from them to finish the process. 

If you already have an EQ Bank account and want to make it joint, select “More Options,” then select “add co-holder(s)” from the drop-down menu. If they’re already an EQ Bank customer, make sure to use the email address linked to their existing account. Otherwise, provide the email address they plan to use when registering with EQ Bank. They’ll get an invitation email with a link to finish the process. 

Tangerine also offers joint accounts, but the process is overly complicated. It requires both you and the other user to be present at the same time and you have to call the customer care centre – you can’t open a joint Tangerine account yourself online like you can with EQ. And while Neo Money offers better cash back on their prepaid Mastercard, they do not currently offer joint accounts.

Who is the EQ Bank Personal Account for?

The EQ Bank Personal Account is a great choice for anyone who wants to spend less and save more. Sure, that sounds like literally everyone but this account is best suited for people who are very comfortable doing all their banking online because there are no physical branches available for in-person services. Not to mention, if you want to earn high interest on every dollar without having to money between a chequing and savings account, EQ Bank is the way to go.

So, if you’re tech-savvy, grossed out by the cost to access your own money, and the interest rate is underwhelming, the EQ Bank Personal Account is both simple and rewarding. But EQ is not a one-trick pony. They offer tons of other services to meet your investing, borrowing, and payment needs, too. 

Even if EQ Bank doesn’t have what you need to replace your current financial institution, it’s a great option to complement your current banking and kick your savings into hyperdrive.

Remember, it’s not all or nothing. When it comes to your money, flexibility pays off. 

Maude Gauthier is a journalist for Hardbacon. Since completing her Ph.D. in communications at University of Montreal, she has been writing about finance, insurance and credit cards for companies like Fonds FMOQ and Code F. As a responsible user of credit cards, she can spend hours reading the fine print to fully understand their benefits. Because of their simplicity, she developed a preference for cash back cards. After suffering steep increases with her former insurer, she can now proudly say that she saved hundreds of dollars by shopping around for her auto and home insurance. In her free time, she reads novels and enjoys streaming popular shows (and possibly less popular shows, like animal documentaries).