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Compare online banks in Canada

Learn how digital banking could benefit you and how you can get started today.

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EQ Bank Savings Plus Account

EQ Bank Savings Plus Account logo

Interest rate of 1.5%

  • Zero everyday banking fees
  • Free transactions
  • No minimum account balance
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Online banking has become a staple in many Canadian lives. There are a number of new online banks in Canada, including challenger banks, promising to revolutionize the financial industry through the use of world-class technology and digital services. But are they worth the hype? Learn about some of these virtual banks and what makes them different.

What is online banking?

Like the name suggests, online banking is the activity of dealing with your finances through the internet using virtual accounts. An online or digital banking provider operates digitally, usually from an app or website, rather than from a physical branch or office. Digital banking is a fairly loose, umbrella term that includes online banking, mobile banking, budgeting apps, and challenger banks (which we’ll explain below).

See the breakdown on how Canadians are adopting digital banking

Compare digital banking products in Canada

Interested in opening your first online bank account? Compare the products below from some of the best online banks in Canada.

Name Product Interest Rate Promotional Interest Rate Min. Bal / Min. Deposit Account Fee
EQ Bank Savings Plus Account
1.50%
N/A
$0 / $0
$0
Enjoy zero everyday banking fees, free transactions and no minimum balance with a Savings Plus Account from EQ Bank.
Tangerine Savings Account
0.10%
2.1%
$0 / $0
$0
Earn 2.10% interest for 5 months (up to a maximum of $1,000,000) as a new Tangerine client when you open your first savings or chequing account and use the promo code EARNMORE. Plus, get up to a $150 bonus when payroll requirements are met. Apply online by January 31, 2021.
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Other digital banking providers in Canada

There are a number of digital and online banking providers already operating in Canada or about to launch. Many are not actual banks – instead, they are private financial companies partnered with banks, credit unions and other financial institutions to bring similar products and services.

  • Impak Finance. Based in Quebec, this digital banking provider’s focus is on ethical banking and social responsibility.
  • Quest Bank. Based in Toronto, Quest Bank is the banking division of online brokerage Questrade. Their application for a banking license is currently being reviewed (as of November 2019).
  • NorthOne Business Banking. This challenger bank is based in the US but is headquartered in Toronto. Its focus is small businesses and startups.
  • motusbank. Newly opened in 2019, this Ontario-based bank is the digital banking arm of Meridian Credit Union. It is a full service bank. Read our review of motusbank’s savings accounts here.
  • ATB Brightside. This is an Alberta-based, mobile-first digital banking provider that was setup by ATB Financial.
  • Mogo. Based in Vancouver, Mogo offers a prepaid Visa card along with a digital banking account and other traditional financial products.
  • Koho. Full-service digital banking provider based in Toronto. it also offers a prepaid VISA card with its individual and joint banking accounts. Read our review of Koho Save here.
  • Oaken Financial. This digital bank that was launched in 2013 as the direct “deposits” arm of Home Bank. Read our review here.
  • Outlook Financial. This digital banking provider was launched in 2000 as a division of the Assiniboine Credit Union, one of the most respected financial co-operatives in Canada. Read our review here.
  • Oaken Financial. This digital bank that was launched in 2013 as the direct “deposits” arm of Home Bank. Read our review here.
  • AcceleRate Financial. This digital banking provider that was launched in 2010 as a division of the Crosstown Civic Credit Union, which is a well-established financial institution in Manitoba. Read our review here.
  • Achieva Financial. This is one of the oldest digital banking providers in the country (launched in 1998). It was opened as a division of the Cambrian Credit Union, based out of Manitoba. Read our review here.
  • Simplii Financial. This is a popular digital banking app in Canada that has over two million clients. It was launched in 2017 to act as the digital banking arm of CIBC. Read our review here.
  • Implicity Financial. This is a digital banking provider that was created by Entegra Credit Union to meet the digital banking needs of its customers. Read our review here.
  • Alterna Bank. This is a digital banking provider Alterna Bank was launched in 2000 to act as the digital banking arm of Alterna Savings. Read our review here.
  • Motive Financial. This is a reputable digital bank that was launched by Canadian Western Bank. Read our review here.
  • Hubert Financial. This is a well-known digital bank that was launched by Sunova Credit Union (which is one of the top 100 credit unions in Canada). Read our review here.

What’s the difference between an online bank and a challenger bank?

Online banks, like Tangerine or EQ Bank, are digital banks that usually don’t have physical branches (or they rely on the branches of other physical banks) and customers use mobile banking apps to control their money. These online-only banks are built on existing infrastructure and closely mimic traditional banks.

A challenger bank, like Revolut or N26, is a completely digital bank that doesn’t use any existing legacy systems to operate. Unlike regular online banks, challenger banks don’t use any physical infrastructure or digital operating systems that are already being used by existing financial institutions. The technology used by these fully digital banking providers is developed from scratch. They get their name from their roles as challengers to traditional banks, like the big 5 Canadian banks.

Learn more about challenger banks here

What is app-based banking?

App-based banking is any sort of financial institution or tool that you control primarily through an app. There are several advantages to app-based banking:

  • Banking access in your pocket
  • Many companies offer 24/7 access to banking support
  • Instant spending notifications
  • Many banking apps offer ways to automatically save money

Things to know about app-based online banking

Using your phone as your main point of contact with your bank can save you time and give you more control over your finances, but there are a few things to be aware of.

Different types of app-based banking

App-based banking encompasses a lot of different financial products, including:

  • Traditional bank apps. App-based online banking doesn’t only apply to challenger banks, it has also become increasingly possible to bank on your smartphone with traditional banks like the big 5. Check out the top 5 banking apps in Canada here.
  • Apps that help you save. One of the most common reasons for people heading away from traditional banks and towards app-based online banking is how easy app-based banking makes it for people to track, save and manage your money at a glance. Budgeting apps like Emma and Mint are examples.
  • Prepaid card apps. Some companies, like KOHO and Stack, let you control a prepaid debit card from an app so you can track your transactions and see exactly how much money you have left.
  • Investment apps. Some apps help you save and let you invest in stocks from your phone so that you have more control over your finances, like Moka and Wealthsimple.

Compare apps offering rewards

Name Product Reward Fees Participating Brands Min. to Cash Out
Ampli
1-10% cash back, or a set $ amount
$0
50+
$15
Link your debit and credit cards to the Ampli app and earn cash back at 50+ big retailers across Canada. Enter promo code AMPLI5 to receive a $5.00 cash back bonus on signup.
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Is digital banking safe?

Digital banking providers need to have the same banking licenses and approvals as existing Canadian banks before they’re able to offer products and services to consumers. These new banks will be regulated by the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) and the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) in the same way that existing banks are regulated.

Your deposit of up to $100,000 with an Canadian Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC)-insured bank is protected by the Canadian government. This means if something were to happen to the bank, your money (up to this amount) would be safe. Note that some of the digital banks mentioned in this guide are not yet considered banks and haven’t yet been licensed or CDIC-insured.

How to get started with digital banking

If you’re interested in digital banking, simply visit their website and sign up. If you want to join one of the new digital bank providers that have yet to open in Canada, you can join their waitlist by visiting their website. When they launch products, those on the waitlist will be the first to know and the first to receive access to these new products.

EQ Bank Savings Plus Account

EQ Bank Savings Plus Account

1.50 % APR

rate

  • Zero everyday banking fees
  • Free transactions
  • No minimum account balance

EQ Bank Savings Plus Account

With no everyday banking fees and free transactions, open an EQ Bank Savings Plus Account and get an interest rate of 1.50%.

  • Account fee: $0
  • Interest rate: 1.50%
  • Min. deposit to open account: $0
  • Transactions: Unlimited & free
Go to site
Promoted

Bottom line

Online banking is becoming more and more popular – and for good reason. Besides the convenience they provide, digital banks often cater to specific niches and groups and they’re known for offering innovative apps. But before you ditch your current traditionally bank, take the time to read through all of the fine print to make sure the bank you’re interested in is as good as it sounds then compare digital banking providers to find the right one for you.

Frequently asked questions

More on digital banking

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