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EQ Bank vs. Equitable Bank: What’s The Difference?

eq bank vs equitable bank

    Sick of the Big Six? Then you’ve likely come across EQ Bank on your hunt for fee-less banking and unbeatable interest rates. But wait, isn’t there also an Equitable Bank? Are they the same, or are they two entirely different entities? With both sporting the same bright yellow emblem, it’s no wonder you’re confused. EQ Bank and Equitable Bank are related, but they’re not the same. One offers digital-only retail banking, the other is focused on savings, lending, and institutional services. Let’s explore the difference between EQ Bank vs Equitable Bank. 

    The Identity Crisis

    The most critical distinction is this: EQ Bank is a digital retail bank serving Regular Joe’s like us, whereas Equitable Bank is a federally regulated Schedule I bank with more niche clientele. How are they related? Equitable Bank is the parent, and EQ Bank is the child. 

    Launched in 1970, Equitable Bank emerged as a Big Six challenger offering Canadians residential lending, commercial loans, and savings solutions. Since then, it has grown into one of Canada’s largest federally regulated banks, managing $66 billion in assets.

    Its baby, EQ Bank, was born in 2016 to offer us an innovative and branchless alternative to the Big Six. EQ’s flagship product, the EQ Bank Savings Plus Account, offers 2.50% interest on deposits and free unlimited transactions. Today, EQ Bank remains the digital arm of Equitable Bank and holds over $8 million in customer deposits. 

    Pixels & Code vs Brick-and-Mortar 

    In the ‘EQ Bank vs Equitable Bank’ comparison, the differences in how they operate and who they serve cannot be overlooked. Equitable Bank mostly operates behind the scenes and is a traditional bank in many ways, with a tangible presence in the financial sector. In 2022, it acquired Concentra Bank, Concentra Trust, and Wyth Financial. 

    Today, through its newly adopted kids, Equitable Bank provides various banking products and services to most credit unions in Canada. They’ve also partnered with up-and-coming fintechs like Neo Financial to provide deposit services and insurance for the Neo Money Account, as well as issue the Neo Money Card

    EQ Bank, on the other hand, thrives in the digital world of essential daily banking services. Without physical branches, EQ Bank slashes overhead costs and passes the savings on to us. In turn, we get one of the highest savings interest rates in Canada, along with free unlimited transactions, and a bank card that earns 0.5% on every purchase. If you’re glued to your phone or computer (like me!), EQ Bank offers an experience tailored to the tech-savvy penny pinchers. 

    Offerings & Zone of Genius: EQ Bank vs Equitable Bank

    While EQ Bank revels in its digital-centric solutions, Equitable Bank showcases a broader spectrum of traditional and contemporary services. Let’s explore their respective zones of genius a little deeper to see what sets them apart.

    EQ Bank

    [Offer productType=”SavingsAccount” api_id=”5f3e766e0c35c17fad9db85f”]

    EQ Bank’s zone of genius is everyday banking services for people like us. Their star product has always been the iconic EQ Savings Plus Account. This chequing-savings hybrid is like the Swiss Army knife of bank accounts – versatile and packed with features. 

    Besides its attractive 2.50% interest rate, you can also make bill payments, mobile cheque deposits, and Interac eTransfers, all without monthly fees. Add to this mix their US Dollar Account, GICs, international money transfers, registered accounts, and a small business bank account – you’ve got a compelling digital banking suite.

    New to the platform is the EQ Bank Mortgage Marketplace and the EQ Bank Card. From your dashboard, the Mortgage Marketplace can help you find the lowest possible rate from over 2,000 mortgage products on the Canadian market. 

    And the EQ Bank Card is a rising star in the payment world, offering you quick access to the money in your account with 0.5% cash back on every purchase, no foreign transaction fees, and no Canadian ATM fees – even the ones levied by the network providers are reimbursed to you by EQ Bank. 

    Equitable Bank

    On the other hand, Equitable Bank focuses heavily on residential & commercial mortgages, various commercial loans, and savings products like Canadian and USD Guaranteed Investment Certificates, as well as High Interest Savings Accounts (HISAs). They also offer personal estate, trust, and corporate trust services. It’s a full-fledged bank with a broad portfolio of offerings, but if you’re looking for a daily chequing account, you won’t find that here. 

    However, if you’re a real estate investor, a high net-worth person, or a financial services provider, here’s some of what you will find: 

    services offered by EQ Bank vs Equitable Bank
    services offered by EQ Bank vs Equitable Ban

    Safety Net: Regulating EQ Bank vs Equitable Bank

    I know what you’re thinking, “How safe is my money at EQ Bank vs Equitable Bank ?'(especially the digital one!). Even though EQ Bank operates in the cloud, it’s grounded by the solid foundation of Equitable Bank. This means that when you park your money with EQ Bank, it comes with the same security and insurance backing as with Equitable Bank.

    Both institutions are regulated by the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) and are members of the Canadian Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC). In simple terms, your deposits are insured up to certain limits. Sleep easy knowing your funds are snuggled safely!

    Spread The Word About EQ Bank vs Equitable Bank

    Equitable Bank is a long-toothed institution offering both traditional and sophisticated banking services. Their primary clientele are mortgage borrowers, businesses, and financial service providers. EQ Bank, its digital offspring, brings you a nimble, online-only banking experience with a suite of competitive products. They serve the rest of us.

    If you’re a digital native or anyone who values, well, value –  EQ Bank is one of the best digital banks in Canada. But if you’re dipping into more diverse and complicated financial products, the comprehensive services offered by Equitable Bank are an excellent choice. As branches of the same family tree, they might cater to different audiences but they both hold the shared promise of quality, trust, and you-first service.

    So, the next time someone brings up the topic of EQ Bank vs Equitable Bank, you’ll not only know the difference but can also share your newfound knowledge. Thanks for helping me make the Canadian banking scene a tad less confusing for everyone!

    Your friends will think you’re a genius. You’re welcome.

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    Heidi Unrau is a senior finance journalist at Hardbacon. She studied Economics at the University of Winnipeg, where she fell in love with all-things-finance. At 25, she kicked-off her financial career in retail banking as a teller. She quickly progressed to become a Credit Analyst and then Private Lender. This hands-on industry experience uniquely positions her to provide expert insight on loans, credit scores, credit cards, debt, and banking services. She has been featured in publications such as WealthRocket, Scary Mommy, Credello, and Plooto. When she's not chasing after her two little boys, you'll find her hiding in the car listening to the Freakonomics podcast, or binge-watching financial crime documentaries with a bowl of ice cream. Fun Fact: Heidi has lived in five different provinces across Canada and her blood type is coffee.