Simplii vs. EQ Bank

Simplii vs. EQ Bank: Where should you keep your money?

Money.ca / Money.ca

Fact Checked: Tyler Wade

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Updated: June 13, 2024

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These aren’t your parents’ bank accounts. In the past, there were only a handful of banking options, but today, Canadians have a wealth of choices from smaller financial companies and fintechs – such as Simplii Financial and EQ Bank. These alternatives offer a range of benefits that traditional banks may not provide. 

If you’re in the market for a new place to store your money, one of these (or both) might be on your radar. They’re great options for anyone who wants low or no fees, great interest rates, mobile-first banking and a safe place to keep your nest egg. 

Read on to see which may be the better option for you.

Pros and cons

Simplii Financial and EQ Bank pros and cons

No bank is perfect, and these two are no exception. That said, they do have some features and benefits that make them worth a look, even if you have an existing account with a traditional bank.

EQ Bank pros and cons

Pros

Pros

  • Up to 4% interest with EQ’s Personal Account

  • No monthly fees or non-sufficient fund fees

  • Unlimited transactions

  • Free and unlimited e-transfers

  • Free withdrawals from any Canadian ATM

  • Earn cash back on purchases

  • No foreign exchange fees

  • CDIC insurance on your balance up to $100,000

  • Investing account options, including TFSAs, FHSAs and RRSPs

  • No overdraft fees

Cons

Cons

  • No physical banking locations

  • Lacks some of the account options that big banks have

Simplii Financial pros and cons

Pros

Pros

  • Earn up to 5.9% interest for five months after opening your account

  • Earn up to 20% cash back for the first three months with a cash back Visa card

  • No monthly fees

  • Investing account options like TFSAs, FHSAs, RRSPs, GICs, RRIFs, RESPs and mutual funds

  • Access to over 3,400 CIBC ATMs

  • CDIC insurance on your balance up to $100,000

  • Access to personal loans, mortgages, and lines of credit

Cons

Cons

  • No physical banking locations

  • High non-sufficient funds fee of $45 (overdraft protection can be purchased for $4.97 per month)

Savings accounts

Simplii Financial vs. EQ Bank: High-interest savings

Both Simplii and EQ Bank offer competitive high-interest savings for their accounts. 

Simplii offers 5.9% interest on your balance for the first five months. However, interest rates drop dramatically after that. You’ll earn 0.4% interest if your balance is below $100,000, 0.65% if your balance is below $500,000, 1.25% if your balance is below $1 million, and 5.5% if your balance is above $1 million. So, you know, plan to earn less than 1% on your balance after the promotional period ends if you’re not part of the 1%.

EQ Bank, meanwhile, doesn’t mess around with limited interest rate offers. There, you’ll earn 2.5% interest on your account no matter what – and a bonus of 1.5% (for a total of 4% interest) if you hook up a direct deposit of at least $500 per month up to your account.

Winner: EQ Bank

Chequing accounts

Simplii vs. EQ: Chequing

Now, let’s sort out which of our small but mighty banks has the better chequing account.

Simplii offers a no-fee account that requires no minimum balance, unlimited e-transfers and free access to CIBC ATMs across the country. However, there are some fees to take note of, including:

  • Non-sufficient funds fee of $45
  • $1.50 fee for using non-CIBC ATMs in Canada and $3 for using international ATMs

Now, onto EQ Bank. Their chequing account also has no monthly fees, unlimited e-transfers and unlimited access to ATMs. Though, it does one-up Simplii on the ATM front, offering free access to all ATMs across Canada, regardless of who owns them. Oh, and there are no non-sufficient fund fees here.

Winner: EQ Bank

Credit cards

Simplii Financial vs. EQ: Credit cards

Simplii Financial™ Cash Back Visa* Card

Apply now

10% back

Good

10% cash back on eligible restaurant, bar and coffee shop purchases for your first 4 months. Up to $500 spend. Terms and conditions apply

Simplii offers a cash back Visa card, a no-fee option that’ll earn you 4% cash back on all eligible restaurant, bars and coffee shop purchases. Not bad for a free card. It’ll also earn you 0.5% on everything else. Interest rates are standard, at 20.99% for purchases and 22.99% for cash advances.

on eligible restaurant, bar and coffee shop purchases, up to $5,000 per year.†

4%

on eligible gas, groceries, drugstore purchases and pre-authorized payments, up to $15,000 per year† - after that 0.5% unlimited.

1.5%

on all other credit card purchases with no limit on how much you can earn.†

0.5%

Purchase APR

20.99%

Balance Transfer Rate

22.99%

Cash Advance APR

22.99%

Annual Fee

$0

Foreign Transaction Fee

2.50%

Recommended Credit Score

Good

Required Annual Household Income

$15,000

Pros

  • Extremely high cash back on bars and restaurants

  • Solid cash back on groceries, drug store, gas and prepayments

  • No annual fee

  • Up to three additional cards free of charge

Cons

  • Cash back applied as year-end statement credit

EQ Bank Card

Apply now

3.0

Fair

about new welcome offers by email

EQ Bank offers a prepaid Mastercard with 0.5% cash back on all purchases. You'll also earn 2.5% (0r 4% with direct deposit) on your funds held on the card as if it was in the savings account. You aren't building credit with it, but it's nice to control your spending.

cash back on purchases

0.5%

interest on your balance

2.5%

Purchase APR

0.00%

Annual Fee

$0

Foreign Transaction Fee

0.00%

Recommended Credit Score

Fair

Required Annual Personal Income

$0

Required Annual Household Income

$0

Both cards are no-fee, both earn 0.5% cash back on everything, but the 4% cash back on the restaurants, bars and coffee shops and opportunity to build credit put Simplii over the top. 

Winner: Simplii Financial

Investment options

Simplii Financial vs. EQ Bank: Investment options

When it comes to saving for the future, both Simplii and EQ offer investment accounts, where they differ is their variety. 

Investment account SImplii Financial EQ Bank
Guaranteed investment certificates (GICs)
Registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs)
Tax free savings accounts (TFSAs)
First home savings accounts (FHSAs)
Registered educations savings plans (RESP)
Registered retirement income funds (RRIFs)

Simplii also gives you mutual fund portfolios depending on your level of risk you can use to invest in your TFSA or RRSP. Quite frankly, you should not be using these funds for savings, you should be using these accounts as investment vehicles for your retirement.  

It's an interesting split to be honest. 

EQ Bank is set up to help you get started on your retirement and saving for your first home. 

Simplii is better for after you've bought your home and are interest in saving for your children's education and once you enter retirement with their RRIF. 

EQ Bank gives you a 3.75% FHSA, or you can use a GIC within an FHSA where their current 9 month registered (meaning tax sheltered in an FHSA, TFSA, or RRSP) GIC is 4.65%*. 

Simplii doesn't have an FHSA, but you could use a registered GIC and earn an APY of 5.00% over 1 year. 

Tie: Depends on your present needs and desires

Mortgages

Simplii vs. EQ Bank: Mortgages

Both Simplii and EQ Bank offer competitive high-interest savings for their accounts. 

Are you looking for a new home and wondering how to finance it? Simplii and EQ Bank have you covered—but they do it a little differently. 

Going a more traditional route, Simplii Financial offers fixed-rate and variable-rate mortgages. It also offers mortgages specifically for Canadian newcomers. 

While EQ Bank may not directly offer mortgages, it presents a unique solution with its Mortgage Marketplace. This online platform allows you to conveniently apply, explore a wide range of options and consult with a broker. It’s a novel approach that operates more like a comprehensive aggregator than a traditional lender.

Winner: Tie

Current promotions

Simplii vs. EQ Bank: Current promotions

Simplii Financial promotions EQ Bank promotions
Earn $400 when you open a no-fee chequing account and add a direct deposit of at least $100 within the first 5 months. No current promotions, but you’ll earn 4% cash back when you link a direct deposit of at least $500.
Earn 5.9% interest on your balance for the first 5 months. -
Earn 20% cash back for the first 3 months when you open a cash back Visa card. -

Winner: Simplii Financial

Which account are you choosing?

If you’re looking for the most affordable option with a high interest rate, you may want to consider EQ Bank. 

Get started with EQ Bank

If you’re more interested in a bank that offers credit cards, various investing accounts, and enticing promotions, Simplii Financial may be your choice.

Get started with Simplii Financial

Either way, both provide great value and perks. And, since they both have no monthly fees, you could always choose both and get the best of both worlds.

FAQ

  • Can Simplii link with EQ Bank?

    +

    No, Simplii Financial cannot directly link with EQ Bank. While you can transfer funds between them, you can't link the accounts for seamless transactions. To move money, you need to use Interac e-Transfer or set up an external link using another bank account.

Justin da Rosa Freelance Writer

Justin is a writer and editor who has been covering personal finance for over 10 years. He's written for companies such as KOHO, Ratehub, BMO, Zoocasa, and Questrade, among others. Justin also created a course in Content Creation, which he taught at York University for four years. When not writing, Justin can be found at a live concert, on the golf course, riding a motorcycle, or sailing.

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