Motive Financial review

Earn some of the highest interest rates in Canada on a number of financial products when you sign up with this reputable online bank. 


motive financial

Motive is a well-known digital banking provider in Canada that offers competitive interest rates and no monthly account fees. You won’t need to have a minimum balance to get started and you can open an account in a matter of minutes. Find out more about the rates and services that Motive Financial offers, then decide whether this bank is the right fit for your financial needs.

What is Motive Financial?

Motive Financial is a reputable digital bank that was launched by Canadian Western Bank. It acts as the division of this bank in charge of online deposits. This means all of its business is carried out exclusively over the Internet.

Although Motive Financial runs as a separate business, any money you invest with the online service will be held at Canadian Western Bank. This means it will be subjected to the type of security measures you would expect to see at any large Canadian bank.

How does Motive Financial work?

Motive Financial works just like any other bank, except that all of its business is carried out online. This won’t be ideal for you if you prefer personalized service or you’d rather go into your branch to deposit or withdraw cash.

It may be a good fit for you if you want to build up your savings and avoid out-of-pocket expenses. This is because Motive Financial saves money on overhead costs that it can pass on to its customers in the form of discounted fees and above-average interest rates.

What financial products does Motive Financial offer?

Motive Financial offers several types of chequing and savings accounts for you to choose from. It also provides a comprehensive suite of guaranteed investment certificates (GICs). All of these investments can be held as registered TFSAs or RRSPs (or as non-registered cash accounts).

Motive chequing accounts

Motive offers two different chequing accounts based on how much interest you want to earn. Both accounts offer zero monthly fees, unlimited withdrawals and free personalized cheques. They also come with free ATM withdrawals on the EXCHANGE network.

  • Motive Cha-Ching Chequing Account. This account offers an interest rate of 0.25% in return for free Interac e-transfers. You'll also get your first 2 non-EXCHANGE ATM withdrawals for free before you have to pay $1.50 each.

  • Motive Chequing Account. You'll get a higher interest rate (0.60%) with this account, but you'll pay $1 every time that you want to send money using an Interac e-transfer. You'll also have to pay $1.50 for every non-EXCHANGE ATM withdrawal (with no freebies).

Motive savings accounts

Motive offers two types of savings accounts with different interest rates. Both accounts come with no monthly fees, free ATM withdrawals on the EXCHANGE network and free transfers between your Motive accounts. These accounts can also be held as registered accounts such as RRSPs and TFSAs.

  • Motive Savings Account. This account offers an interest rate of 1.25% in return for as many free withdrawals as you want every month.

  • Motive Savvy Savings Account. You'll get a 2.05% interest rate with this account, but you'll only get 2 free withdrawals per month. Once you've reached this limit, you'll have to pay $5 for every withdrawal you make.

Guaranteed investment certificates

GICs come with interest rates as high as 2.2% for a 5-year term, which is around the industry average. Terms range from 1 to 5 years and you’ll need to deposit at least $1,000 to get started. You won’t be able to access your money until your term is over so you’ll need to make sure you only put away savings you won’t need. These accounts can also be held as registered accounts such as RRSPs and TFSAs.

Length of term

GIC rates (as of May 19, 2020)

1 year

2 years1.9%
3 years2%
4 years2.1%

5 years

*These rates are subject to change – you can find Motive’s current GIC rates here.

Is Motive Financial safe?

Motive Financial is very safe because it’s backed by the financial power of Canadian Western Bank. This is a large regional bank that has been around for over 30 years and is insured by the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC).

This means it’s well-versed in protecting its customers’ personal and financial information at all times. It also means that any money you put into your account will be protected up to $100,000 in the unlikely case that Motive Financial (or its parent company) becomes insolvent.

Pros and cons


  • Easy application. It’s easy to apply for all of Motive Financial’s accounts using a simple online application.
  • No monthly fees. There are no monthly fees for any of Motive Financial’s bank accounts or GICs.
  • Competitive interest rates. Motive Financial offers some of the highest interest rates in Canada for its bank accounts (though GICs are less competitive).
  • Deposit insurance. Any deposit you make will be protected up to $100,000 by the CDIC.
  • Mobile app. You can check your account balances and make transfers on your Motive accounts using your mobile phone.


  • Minimum deposit requirement for GICs. You’ll have to make a minimum deposit of $1,000 if you want to put money into a GIC.
  • Fees for withdrawals. You’ll pay a high fee to make withdrawals on some accounts, though you’ll get a higher interest rate in return.
  • Additional fees. There’s a long list of additional fees you’ll have to pay for a number of Motive’s services.
  • No physical locations. You won’t be able to visit Motive Financial in person to deal with any issues you might have with your account.

How does the Motive Financial mobile app work?

Motive offers an integrated mobile app that lets you do your banking on the move. You can easily download it from Google Play or the Apple Store and use it to do just about everything a normal banking app will let you do. This includes viewing your bank balance, transferring your funds and managing your deposits.

How can I open an account?

Eligibility requirements

To open an account with Motive Financial, you’ll need to meet a couple of requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Have a bank account at another Canadian financial institution
  • Have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN)
  • Have a valid email address

How can I apply?

You can apply for a savings account with Motive Financial using its easy online application. Just follow these steps to get started:

  1. Go to the Motive Financial website to be directed to your Motive Financial account application.
  2. Complete the application, which includes providing your name, email address, social insurance number and birth date.
  3. Verify your ID and deposit funds into your account.

How can I get in touch with customer service?

Motive Financial’s customer service team is readily available throughout the day to help you with your account. You can get in touch with it at 1-866-673-3918 at any time of day or night. You can also email at its customer service department through its website.

Bottom line

Motive Financial is a well-known digital bank that offers competitive interest rates on a number of different financial products. These include registered and non-registered savings accounts, chequing accounts and GICs. Learn what you need to become a member of Motive Financial and apply online today to get started.

Frequently asked questions

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