Accelerate Financial Review

With the ridiculously low rates from the big Banks, it is unsurprising that online banks continue to enjoy wide adoption by Canadians. And there are several of them especially from credit unions.

AcceleRate Financial is a digital-only bank from one of the largest credit unions in Manitoba.

In this AcceleRate Financial review, we’ll cover its high interest savings account, other accounts, their features, fees and how to open an account.

Let’s start…

Accelerate Financial: Key Facts

Account OpeningOnline/Downloadable Form
Credit CheckNo
Minimum Opening Deposit$5 (for membership share)
Account TypesHigh interest savings account (HISA) and GICs
HISA Rate1.20%
Registered Account OfferingsTFSA, RRSP and RRIF
Monthly Maintenance FeesFree
Deposit Insurance100% through DGCM
ParentCrosstown Civic Credit Union
Credit CardsNo
LoansNo

Who is AcceleRate Financial?

AcceleRate Financial is a Manitoba-based digital only financial institution that was launched in May 2010 and is available to all Canadians. It is a virtual division of Crosstown Civic Credit Union.

Crosstown Civic Credit Union is a Manitoba-based credit union that traces its root back to 1943. It is one of the top 25 credit unions in Canada with over 37,500 members and $2.6 billion in assets as at June 2020.

Accelerate Financial offers a competitive savings rate and one of the best GIC rates in Canada.

Accelerate financial review

Accelerate Financial Products

The bank provides a suite of deposit and investment products for its customers. All the accounts are denominated in Canada, so you can’t save or invest in USD.

Accelerate Savings

This account is for everyday or short-term savings. It has no monthly service or maintenance fees and pays a competitive interest rate on deposits.

Some of the key features of the Accelerate high-interest savings account includes:

  • Savings interest rate of 1.20%
  • No minimum balance required
  • Interest is calculated daily but paid at the end of the month
  • Free personal cheques
  • Mobile cheque deposit through the mobile app
  • Setup pre-authorized deposit from other banks

A 10-day hold is placed on deposits into the account, but interest starts accruing from the date the deposit is made. That means you won’t be able to move out the funds until after the hold period.

If you’re willing to lock in your funds for a little longer, you can earn a little more by investing in a GIC.

Accelerate GICs

The Accelerate Financial Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs) are non-redeemable and have terms ranging from one to seven years.

There are no fees, but you’ll need a minimum investment of $1,000 to get started. Interest is either compounded or paid annually into your savings account.

Here are the Accelerate Financial GIC rates:

  • 1-Year Term: 1.40%
  • 2-Year Term: 1.45%
  • 3-Year Term: 1.50%
  • 4-Year Term: 1.55%
  • 5-Year Term: 1.70%
  • 6-Year Term: 1.75%
  • 7-Year Term: 1.75%

The bank offers 14 days rate guarantee for new deposits and GIC renewals and 30 days for registered transfers from other financial institutions.

You can use the calculators here to calculate how much you’ll get at maturity on your investments.

Accelerate Financial has one of the highest GIC rates in Canada. Check the linked post for a ranking of the best GICs across different terms.

Related Post: Understanding Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs) in Canada

Accelerate Tax-Free Savings Accounts

TFSA lets your savings and investments compound on a tax-free basis. It is a great tool for saving for a variety of financial goals.

Accelerate has 2 TFSA offerings: Variable TFSA and TFSA GIC.

The Accelerate Variable TFSA works exactly like the high-interest savings account covered earlier. It has the same interest rate, no minimum opening balance and zero maintenance fees.

Accelerate TFSA GIC has a minimum deposit of $1,000 with terms ranging from one to seven years. The rates are the same as the non-registered GICs and the investment is non-redeemable.

The TFSA contribution room for 2021 is $6,000, so keep that in mind when contributing to the account to avoid TFSA over-contributions.

To learn more about TFSAs and how to use them to save towards your financial goals, check the posts below:

Accelerate Registered Retirement Savings Plans

Like TFSA, RRSP is another popular registered account available to Canadians. With an RRSP, your money will grow on a tax-deferred basis until you withdraw the funds.

In addition, you’ll get a tax deduction for your contributions up to your deduction limit.

It also has 2 variants, Accelerate Variable RRSP (Savings) and Accelerate GIC RRSP (investment), with features similar to the savings and GIC accounts we covered earlier.

Related Post: Registered Retirement Savings Plan FAQs

Accelerate Registered Retirement Income Funds

All RRSPs must be converted to RRIFs by December of the year you turn 71. So this account caters for retirees that want to convert their RRSP to RRIF.

The minimum deposit to open the RRIF savings is $5,000. You can choose to keep it in a savings account or invest in a GIC.

By CRA regulation, there are minimum amounts that must be withdrawn every year so Accelerate provides the option to withdraw monthly, quarterly, semi-annually or annually.


All the deposits are covered by Deposit Guarantee Corporation of Manitoba.

The rates above are correct as at the point of writing this post. To get the current AcceleRate Financial rates, please check their website.

Accelerate Financial Fees

The savings interest rate at Accelerate Financial is decent but you need to be mindful of its fees. There are several transaction and administrative fees, and this is one of the biggest cons of the Accelerate Financial accounts.

Here are a few of the Accelerate Financial Fees:

  • Debit Transactions: One free per month, $1 afterwards.
  • ATM Withdrawal & Transfers (Credit Union ATMs): $1
  • Interac and Out-of-province ATM Withdrawal: $2*
  • U.S. and International ATM Withdrawal: $3.50*
  • Bill Payments: $1
  • Sending Interac e-transfer: $1
  • Cancel Interac e-transfer: $1.50
  • Incoming wire: $15

* plus an additional $1 at the end of the month

Also, an interest rate of 21% is charged if your account is overdrawn, subject to a minimum of $3.

There are no monthly maintenance fees and deposit fees. Transfers between your accounts at the bank and receiving Interac e-Transfers are also free.

You can check the Accelerate Financial Fee page for the other fees.


How To Open an Account

The First step to opening an account at Accelerate Financial is to apply for membership of the credit union.

You may apply for an individual membership or Joint membership. Membership costs $5 and it is non-refundable if you close your account.

Application forms are available on the website. Once it is completed, you can mail it Accelerate Financial at PO Box 1860 Stn Main, Winnipeg Manitoba R3C 3R1.

Prospective members need to satisfy the following conditions to be eligible for membership:

  • Have a Social Insurance Number (SIN)
  • Be at least 18 (the age of majority in Manitoba)
  • Have an account and personalized cheque from another Canadian bank.

Accelerate Financial Deposit Insurance

Deposits at Accelerate Financial are 100% guaranteed by Deposit Guarantee Corporation of Manitoba (DGCM) through Crosstown Civic Credit Union.

This is a better protection than the $100,000 coverage provided by CDIC for deposits made at big banks and other federally regulated deposit-taking institutions.

In other words, your deposits at AcceleRate Financial are safe.


Pros and Cons

Pros of Accelerate Financial:

  • Competitive savings rate though you can get a little more from other banks
  • 100% deposit guarantee through DGCM
  • Zero monthly maintenance fees
  • 14 to 30 days rate guarantee for new deposits and renewals
  • One of the best GIC rates in Canada

Cons of Accelerate Financial:

  • Most debit transactions have a fee
  • High minimum investment amount of $1,000 for GICs
  • Longer hold period of 10 days for deposits

Accelerate Financial vs Peers

How does Accelerate Financial products compare to its competitors?

If you’re strictly looking for an online bank that lets you earn a decent rate on your savings account, then you might look at some of the other virtual banks that pay higher such as:

Read More: Best High Interest Savings Account in 2021

Accelerate Financial Vs EQ Bank

EQ Bank has one of the highest interest rates on a savings account in Canada. In addition, you get to bank for almost zero fees on everyday transactions including bill payments, transfers and many more.

If you want an account that is a hybrid of a savings and chequing account, EQ Bank is the better choice between the 2 banks.

You can read my full review of EQ Bank here or sign up for an EQ Bank account here.

Conclusion

This Accelerate Financial review is mixed. While the bank provides a decent rate on its accounts, you can easily get a better offer from its peers.

Also, the fees on most debit transactions is a big minus.

If you like this review of Accelerate Financial, you can also check out the posts below for other online banks in Canada.

AcceleRate Financial Review
4.5

Summary

AcceleRate Financial is a Manitoba-based digital only financial institution that was launched in May 2010 and is available to all Canadians. It offers a decent interest rate on its savings and GIC accounts.

Simon is a CPA by day and a Personal Finance Blogger by night. With over a decade experience in financial services, he's passionate about personal finance, investing and helping people take control of their financial life.

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