EQ Bank US Dollar Account Review: Best US Savings In Canada

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EQ Bank US Dollar Savings account is a new high interest savings product from EQ Bank. Before now, Canadians looking to save in US dollars had very few options.

The few US dollar savings accounts available paid little or no interest, and even worse, some of them will charge you a monthly fee. The new USD account from EQ Bank is therefore a game-charger.

In this EQ Bank US Dollar Savings Account review, you’ll learn about its features, rates, how it compares to some of the other US dollar accounts out there and whether it’s a good fit for you or not.

About EQ Bank

EQ Bank was launched back in 2016 as a division of Equitable Bank, one of the largest Schedule I banks in the country with more than $36 billion in assets.

EQ Bank is arguably the best online bank available to Canadians for now. With its combination of competitive fees, product offerings and no fees on day-to-day banking, the bank has set itself apart from many of its competitors.

It offers high-interest savings account through its EQ Bank Savings Plus Account, EQ Bank TFSA and EQ Bank RSP. Both registered and non-registered GICs are also available, as well as international payment through its partnership with Wise, formerly Transferwise.

We’ll cover these products below.  

EQ Bank US Dollar Account

Whether you earn US dollars or just like to save some of your money in USD, the new EQ Bank US Dollar Account will be perfect for you.

At a rate of 1%, not only are you getting the best US dollars savings interest rate in Canada, you’ll also not have to deal with any monthly fees or transaction charges.

The features of the EQ Bank US Dollar Account include:

  • A competitive interest of 1.0%
  • Zero monthly account fees
  • CDIC protection up to $100,000
  • Send USD abroad easily at a competitive price through Wise
  • Fund the USD account using your CAD funds at a highly competitive exchange rate
  • Easy account opening process even for new EQ Bank customers

Account Fees

Unlike some of the other banks that charge up to $1.25 for transactions in the US dollar accounts, there are no transaction fees to use the EQ Bank US Dollar Account.

You’ll also pay no account maintenance charges irrespective of your account balances.

Converting money from CAD to USD or vice versa is also done at an exchange rate without the big markups.


How to Open an EQ Bank US Dollar Account

If you’re an existing EQ Bank customer, opening the new EQ Bank US Dollar Account can be done from your online banking dashboard.

For new customers, you’ll have to open EQ Bank Savings Plus Account, the CAD denominated account, first.

The requirements are the same with that or many other banks in Canada. You must be:

  1. 18 and above or the age of majority in your province
  2. A Canadian resident
  3. Have a Social Insurance Number (SIN)

Opening an account takes just a few minutes at EQ Bank if they’re able to confirm your identity using one of the credit bureaus. Note that this won’t affect your credit score.

Is EQ Bank US Dollar Account Safe?

As a CDIC member financial institution, all your deposits with EQ Bank are covered up to $100,000 in each insured category.

Your combined funds in the US Dollar account, Savings Plus Account and Non-registered GICs enjoy this protection because they are in the same insured category.

The TSFA and RRSP accounts, however, have separate categories and are both covered up to $100,000.

Check this post to learn more about how CDIC protection works and how to maximize your CDIC deposit protection.

Limitations of the EQ Bank US Dollars Account

Unfortunately, you can’t open a Joint EQ Bank US Dollars Account for now. You’re also out of luck if you’re looking for US GICs or registered accounts.

However, many of these extra features will probably be introduced at some point in the future. In the meantime though, these drawbacks are not a deal breaker.

One other drawback is that EQ Bank US Dollar is not available for Quebec residents.

Who should open an EQ Bank US Dollar Account?

Opening a new EQ Bank US Dollar Account is a no-brainer if you’re looking to earn more on your dollar savings.

Also, if you earn some income in USD or have some future expenses in USD, it makes sense to keep some of the funds in an account that does not charge a monthly fee and also pay some decent interest.

Alternatives to EQ Bank US Dollar Account

So how does the EQ Bank US account compare to the existing offering from other big banks and online banks?

EQ Bank US Dollar Account vs Big Banks

The big banks are not known for offering high interest rates, even on their CAD denominated savings accounts. So the meagre rates below should not come as a surprise to you.

  • RBC U.S. High Interest Savings: 0.05%
  • TD U.S. Daily Interest Chequing: 0.01%
  • Scotia U.S. Dollar Daily Interest Account: 0- 0.05%
  • BMO U.S. Dollar Premium Rate Savings Account: 0.05%
  • CIBC US$ Personal Account: 0.05%
  • National Bank USD Progress Account: up to 0.10%

With US savings rates of between 0.01% to 0.10% at the big banks, you can get between 10x to 100x of what you currently earn by moving your funds to EQ Bank.

Also, many of the banks charge for making transactions in the accounts.

EQ Bank US Dollar Account Vs Online Banks

Many online banks don’t support USD accounts, but let’s see how EQ Bank fare against the online banks that offer USD savings accounts.

  • Tangerine US Dollar Savings Account: 0.10%
  • Hubert US Savings Account: 0.25%

Bond ETFs or Dividend Paying US Companies Stocks

Another alternative for those looking to earn decent returns on their USD funds is to invest in a bond ETF or dividend paying US stocks.

However, while these may offer higher returns, there’s also the risk of the prices of your investments dropping.

These investments may make sense if you’re savings for long term financial goals, but it’s a bad idea to invest funds you’ll need in the short term in the stock market.

Therefore, the EQ Bank US Dollar Account is perfect for short term savings and for those with US income that need a place to keep their money.

Related: Best Canadian Bank ETFs


Other EQ Bank Accounts & Products

Savings Plus Account

This is EQ Bank’s flagship savings account and one of the best high interest savings accounts in Canada. There are no minimum opening balance, zero monthly fees, zero fees on day-to-day transactions and a competitive rate of 1.25%.

Related: EQ Bank Savings Review

EQ Joint Account

With the EQ Bank Joint Account, you get all the benefits of the Savings Plus Account. In addition, you get to save and earn competitive interests with a spouse, partner or any other person you choose.

Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs)

If you’re willing to lock in your funds for longer periods, the EQ Bank GICs pays one of the highest GIC rates in Canada. The account is available as registered and non-registered and has a low minimum investment amount of just $100.

Learn more about the EQ Bank GICs here.

TFSA Savings Account

With EQ Bank TFSA Savings Account, you get to earn those high interests tax-free. The account pays 1.25%, the same rate on the non-registered Savings Plus account.

RSP Savings Account

Like the TFSA account, the RSP Savings account is a registered account and pays a competitive interest of 1.25%. There are no monthly or annual fees to administer the account.

Learn more about the EQ Bank TFSA & RRSP Accounts here.

International Money Transfer

Through its partnership with Wise, EQ Bank customers can quickly send money international from within their EQ Bank online banking. They enjoy competitive rates on money transfers to more than 75 countries across 46 currencies.

Some FAQs

Can I open a joint EQ Bank US account?

You can not open a joint account for now. Each person has to open their own EQ Bank account. However, the CAD denominated account is available as joint account.

Are registered accounts supported?

Not yet. Only non-registered accounts are available for now. That means you’ll receive a T5 tax slip each year for you to file your taxes.

What is the maximum amount I can have in the EQ Bank US Account?

You can have a maximum combined balance of C$200,000 in both the US dollar account in the Canadian dollar denominated Savings Plus Account.

Can I pay bills from the US Dollar account?

Bill payments are currently not supported. To pay bills, you’ll have to transfer the funds to your Savings Plus account to complete the transaction.

Are funds in the EQ Bank US Dollar account covered by CDIC?

Effective 2020, CDIC extended its coverage to US dollar accounts. That means your savings are covered up to a combined total of $100,000 in the US account, Savings Plus and non-registered GICs.

EQ Bank US Dollar Account Review

Overall, this EQ Bank US Dollar Account review is positive. The account offers a combination of high interest rates and zero fees on your US dollar funds. It is a great alternative to the existing US$ savings accounts from the big banks and perfect for saving and making international remittances.

And with the ability to fund the account from your CAD account at competitive exchange rates, the account makes it simple for any one to start diversifying their savings.

Like this EQ Bank US Dollar Account review? Also check the posts below for related reviews.

Related:

EQ Bank US Dollar Account Review
4.9

Summary

EQ Bank US Dollars Account offers a competitive rate and zero monthly and transaction fees.

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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