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Updated: January 29, 2024

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Motusbank review: the new player in Canada’s virtual banking sector

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Updated: January 29, 2024

We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Please be aware that some (or all) products and services linked in this article are from our sponsors.

We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Please be aware this post may contain links to products from our partners. We may receive a commission for products or services you sign up for through partner links.

4

Wise Reviews™

Our rating - 4

4

Wise Reviews™

Here’s a new player hoping to inject some excitement into Canada’s virtual banking arena. motusbank (note the Millennial-targeting, lower case moniker) is the country’s newest, full-service, discount, online bank. It’s hoping to win over clients with a customer-focused ethos that touts high interest rates and low-to-no fees. As a subsidiary of Meridian, one of Canada’s largest and most popular credit unions, motusbank benefits from instant credibility when it comes to offering more customer-driven service than traditional banks, and its user-friendly website and bold, colourful branding make it stand out from Canada’s staid Big Five financial behemoths.

But the real question is: How does motusbank stack up to its direct competitors—discount, online banks like TangerineEQ Bank, and Simplii Financial—in terms of its fees and interest rates, the two indices that matter most to virtual banking customers?

Bank
Chequing Account
HISA
TFSA
GIC (5-year term)
motusbank
0.15%
2.5%
2.5%
4.05%
Up to 0.10%
1.00%
1.00%
4.05%
N/A
2.50%*
3.00%*
4.50%

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

Chequing accounts

Chequing accounts offered by traditional banks typically provide an almost unnoticeably negligible amount of interest on the account balance. In addition to these abysmally low rates, many chequing accounts with the big banks also charge fees for transactions, charges that can only be avoided by keeping a minimum deposit amount or paying a monthly service fee.

Not only does motusbank’s chequing account not charge a fee for most transactions, it also one-ups traditional accounts with its 0.15% interest rate. Sure, that interest rate isn’t a head-turner compared to what you’ll find with savings accounts (see below), but it’s certainly among the highest in the country within the chequing sector.

High-interest savings accounts

Motusbank offers an impressive 2.5% interest rate for its HISA. It’s important to emphasize that this is a permanent rather than promotional rate, i.e. a higher-than-usual rate that some banks offer for a short period of time to hook new clients before reducing the rate significantly after the promo ends. motusbank’s HISA also includes no minimum balance or monthly fees for self-serve transactions, like transfers and withdrawals. On the other hand, Tangerine’s savings account (which also charges no fees for a variety of services) offers a comparatively ho-hum interest rate. EQ Bank’s Savings Plus Account, however, ekes ahead as the overall (no fees, no monthly balance) HISA winner with a rate of 2.50%*.

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

Tax-free savings accounts

Canadians love their TFSAs. And why shouldn’t we? As a flexible account (TFSAs can hold investments like stocks, bonds, ETFs, and more) it’s one of the best methods Canucks have of earning tax-free income. motusbank offers a no-fee, no minimum balance TFSA that earns 2.50%. Tangerine, by comparison, offers the same rate on its TFSA that it does their HISA, at 1.00%. Simplii Financial’s rate on its TFSA is 0.40% while its HISA extends up to 2.00%.

GICs

GICs are a popular way to save for those who favour a slowly-but-surely form of investment. Currently, motusbank is offering a 5-year fixed rate GIC at 4.05%; the bank also offers TFSA GICs. With Tangerine, you’ll get a 5-year GIC at the rate of 4.05%. EQ Bank has a five-year GIC rate at 4.50%.

EQ Bank GICs: Rates are calculated on a per annum basis and are subject to change at any time.

Mortgages

Buying a home is a significant financial milestone for many Canadians, and finding a reasonable mortgage rate is the first important step in any house-hunting expedition. Mortgage rates vary widely depending on whether you’re looking for a variable or a fixed rate, and according to the timeline you’re working with. Banks also occasionally offer special rates, so be sure to always check with individual financial institutions to get the most up-to-date mortgage rates.

About our author

Sandra MacGregor
Sandra MacGregor, Freelance Contributor

Sandra MacGregor has been writing about finance and travel for nearly a decade. Her work has appeared in a variety of publications like the New York Times, the UK Telegraph, the Washington Post, Forbes.com and the Toronto Star. She spends her free time travelling, and has lived around the globe, including in Paris, South Korea and Cape Town.

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