Motive Financial Review For 2024

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Are you looking to open a Motive Financial account? Or just comparing some of the best online banks in Canada. Whichever the case, this Motive Financial review will help you make an informed decision.

Online banks like Motive Financial are the alternative way of banking today as they make everything easier and cost-effective. But since online banks are not the same, you want to choose the perfect one out of the best options out there.

In this Motive Financial review, I cover everything you need to know about the bank such as its banking products, interest rates, fees, alternatives and more.

What is Motive Financial?

Motive Financial is an online-only bank and a division of Canadian Western Bank (CWB) that has been around since 2008.

The bank was formerly known as Canadian Direct Financial. But in 2017, it was rebranded as Motive Financial. As a neo bank, Motive Financial doesn’t have any physical branch but its staff are based in Edmonton, the headquarters of the Canadian Western Bank. 

Motive Financial sets itself apart in the industry with its high-interest savings accounts, no-fee chequing accounts and competitive registered and non-registered GIC rates.

This and many other factors make Motive one of the best online banks in Canada. But is this the perfect option for you?

As you continue reading, you will learn more about what Motive offers and how it compares to its peers, helping you determine if it’s the perfect online bank for you. 

Motive Financial Products

As of the time of writing this Motive Financial review, the bank offers savings, chequing and GIC accounts. Let’s take a detailed look at each of the Motive accounts below:

1. Savings Accounts

Motive Financial has two-tier no-fee savings accounts that offer access to free ATM withdrawals on THE EXCHANGE Network.

In addition, both Motive Savings Account and Motive Savvy Savings Account have no minimum balance and deposit fees. 

Below is a highlight of how the two Motive Financial savings accounts compare:

FeaturesMotive Savings AccountMotive Savvy Savings Account
Monthly fee$0$0
Interest on savings1.00% for $0 – $5,000,000 deposits; 0.50% for deposit above $5,000,0004.10% for $0 – $5,000,000 deposits; 0.50% for deposits above $5,000,000 
Monthly withdrawals limitUnlimitedTwo free monthly withdrawals. $5 fee for additional withdrawals
ATM withdrawal feeFree at THE EXCHANGE Network. $1.50 at Non-EXCHANGE NetworkFree at THE EXCHANGE Network. $1.50 at Non-EXCHANGE Network
Interac e-Transfer$1$1

That said, Motive also offers registered savings account with competitive interest as shown below:

  • TFSA savings account = 4.10% interest for $0 and above deposit
  • RRSP Savings Account = 0.25% for $0 – $2,500 deposits and 2.60% for deposits above $2,500.

While the savings interest on both Motive Savings account variants are quite competitive compared to the big banks, you can get higher rates from other online banks offering better savings rate on HISAs.

2. Chequing Accounts

Like savings accounts, Motive Financial also offers two no-fee chequing accounts that come with a chip debit card.

You can use the debit card to make unlimited ATM withdrawals at THE EXCHANGE Network within Canada and also make international transactions through the Cirrus network.

Both the two Motive Financial chequing accounts offer 50 free personalized cheques for your first order. 

The following is a highlight of the key differences between Motive Chequing Account and Motive Cha-Ching Chequing Account.

ServiceMotive Chequing AccountMotive Cha-Ching Chequing Account
Monthly fee$0$0
Interest rate0.15%0.25%
ATM withdrawal feeFree at THE EXCHANGE Network. $1.50 at Non-EXCHANGE NetworkTwo free monthly withdrawals. $1.50 per additional withdrawal
Monthly withdrawals limitUnlimitedUnlimited
Interac e-Transfer$1$0

It is rare to get paid some interest on a chequing account in Canada, but Motive is an exception. Therefore, this is a big plus for Motive Financial.

3. GICs 

If you’re looking to earn guaranteed returns on your savings, Motive has 12 to 120-month  non-redeemable GIC terms for you.

Unlike regular savings interest rates which can fluctuate at any time, a guaranteed investment certificate (GIC) offers you consistent interest throughout your savings term.

With different GICs terms available, Motive Financial offers some of the competitive rates for registered and non-registered (TFSA and RRSP) GICs.

Below are the current Motive GIC rates on registered and non-registered (TFSA and RRSP) accounts.

GIC TermGIC Rate
1 year5.40%
2 years5.10%
3 years4.65%
4 years4.50%
5 years4.35%
6 years4.30%
7 years4.60%
8 years4.60%
9 years4.60%
10 years4.60%
Motive GIC Rates

Note that you need a minimum balance of $1,000 to invest in the Motive non-registered GIC accounts. On the other hand, you need a minimum balance of $500 to invest in the Motive registered GIC accounts.

Motive Financial Fees

While Motive doesn’t charge monthly fees, deposit fees and ATM withdrawal fees, it charges the following fees on savings, chequing, and GIC accounts.

Items charged back$6
Unauthorized overdraftsMinimum of $5.00 per item
Non-sufficient funds loan payments and cheques$45
Printed and faxed transaction history $1 per page
Printed monthly statement plus mail for cheque image$2 per month
Interac e-TransferFree for receiving and $1 for sending 
International cash withdrawals$3 (USD)
Inactivity fee$20 for two years of inactivity, $30 for five years, and $40 for nine years of inactivity
Balance transfer fee to another financial institution$20
Complete or partial RRSP transferred to another financial institution $50
Fee within the first year of opening a TFSA plan $50

Motive Financial Pros and Cons

To help you make an informed decision, below is an overview of the major pros and cons of Motive Financial based on the above review.

  • High-interest rates: Motive Financial savings and GICs accounts have one of the best interest rates in Canada. 
  • Free deposits and ATM access: In addition to zero monthly fees, Motive also gives you access to free 50 personalized cheques, Interac e-Transfer deposits and unlimited free ATM withdrawals through THE EXCHANGE Network.
  • No minimum balance: The Motive no-fee savings accounts don’t require a minimum balance. This means you can start earning high-interest rates with as little as $1 in your account. 
  • CDIC protection: Should Motive run out of business, you have nothing to worry about because your deposits are covered up to $100k per insured category by the CDIC.


  • Limited products: Unlike other online-only banks in Canada, Motive only limits its financial products to savings, TFSA, RRSP, chequing and GIC accounts. This may not be suitable for individuals looking for an all-in-one online bank. 
  • No special offers: Motive doesn’t currently have any special offers for new users as is the case with other online banks in Canada. 

How to Open a Motive Financial Account

You can open a Motive Financial account within five minutes online or through the Motive Financial mobile app. But before then, you must meet the requirements below:

  • Be a Canadian resident (except Québec)
  • Have a valid email and phone number
  • Have a driver’s license and a Social Insurance Number (SIN)

If you meet all the requirements, Great! You can start the application process by visiting the Motive website or downloading the Motive mobile app available on App Store and Google Playstore.

Once you complete the application process and log in to your Motive account, you can fund your account right away and start banking. 

Is Motive Financial Safe?

Motive Financial is safe as per the security standards of the CWB, a federally regulated Schedule I bank.

Since Motive’s parent company, CWB is Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC) member, your deposits are insured for up to $100,000 per coverage category. 

As per your personal information, Motive uses 128-bit encryption, an advanced Secure Socket Layer (SSL) to protect you against Internet fraudsters.

In addition, your Motive account can only be accessed with a Personal Access Code (PAC) and your online banking session will be automatically ended after 20 minutes of inactivity.

Motive Financial Alternatives

If Motive Financial doesn’t suit your needs or you want to know how it compares to other banks, the following are some of the top alternatives to consider.

1. Motive vs Tangerine

Tangerine Bank has a long history in the online banking industry of Canada. The bank was formerly known as ING Direct Canada when it was founded in 1997. However, following its acquisition by Scotiabank, the name Tangerine emerged in 2014. 

Besides its reputable years of experience, Tangerine distinguishes itself from other online banks in Canada by offering comprehensive banking solutions.

Whether you’re looking for a savings account, chequing account, lines of credit, credit cards, mortgages, HELOC or personal loans, Tangerine got you covered.

Tangerine also offers registered accounts (RRSP and TFSA), GICs, mutual funds, and business accounts in one dashboard.

Currently, new Tangerine users can enjoy a 5.75% high promotional interest on savings, a $500 cash bonus on chequing accounts, and 10% promotional cashback with the Tangerine credit cards.

However, the Tangerine standard interest rate on savings is 0.70% which is much lower compared to Motive’s 4.10% maximum savings rate. 

Notwithstanding, you may find Tangerine more suitable for its robust banking and investment collections which are not easy to find in one place among most online banks in Canada.

2. Motive vs Neo Financial

Are you looking for an online bank for spending and savings in Canada? Neo Financial could be your best option. 

Neo Financial ranks among the top of the best online banks for savings and cashback credit cards in Canada.

This is because its savings account offers a high interest of 4.00% with no minimum balance, monthly fees, Interac e-Transfer fee and inactivity fees.

When you make a purchase at partner stores with one of Neo credit cards, you will earn a cashback of up to 5%.

For more information about Neo Financial products, fees and other features, read this comprehensive Neo Financial review.

3. Motive vs EQ Bank

In 2016, Equitable Bank launched EQ Bank to offer Canadians low-cost banking solutions. Since then, EQ Bank has been a household name in the Canadian online banking industry.

EQ Bank came into the limelight with its high-interest savings account that currently offers a 4.00% interest on savings with no minimum balance requirement, monthly fees and everyday banking fees.

Subsequently, EQ Bank became known as a top contender among Canadian providers of the best GIC accounts

EQ Bank offers not only high-interest savings accounts and GICs accounts but also high-interest USD, TFSA and RSP accounts. 

While EQ Bank doesn’t have a chequing account, you can make a mobile cheque deposit and bill payment through its Savings Plus Account.

For more information about EQ Bank products and features, read this EQ Bank Review.

4. Motive vs Simplii

Simplii Financial is another online bank that offer a full suite of banking products and services to Canadians.

There is high interest savings account with one of the best promotional interest rates, chequing account, cash back credit card, USD savings account, mortgages, investments and more.

Whatever your financial needs, Simplii has a product to meet your needs. And as a division of CIBC, one of the largest banks in Canada, you can be rest assured that your funds are safe and backed by a top bank.

Learn more about all its offerings in this Simplii Review.

Some FAQs on Motive Financial Review

Is Motive Financial legit?

Motive Financial is a legit online-only bank that’s backed by a federally regulated Schedule I bank, the Canadian Western Bank (CWB). In addition, your deposits on Motive Financial are covered by the CDIC and your personal information is protected with advanced encryption. 

How long has Motive Financial been around?

Motive Financial has been around since 2008. However, it was named Canadian Direct Financial at inception but was rebranded to Motive Financial in 2017.

Who owns Motive Financial?

Motive Financial is owned by the Canadian Western Bank (CWB), a federally regulated Schedule I bank with over 30 years of experience.

Is Motive covered by CDIC?

Yes, deposits on Motive are held by the Canadian Western Bank, a CDIC member. As a result, your deposits on Motive are covered by the CDIC up to $100,000 per insured category. 

How do I close my Motive Financial account?

Depending on your Motive account, you can close your account at any time by contacting a Motive representative through any of the following channels: 
Email: [email protected] 
Toll-free call:  1-877-441-2249 
Fax: 1-877-441-2250

Verdict on Motive Financial Review

Motive Financial is no doubt one of the best online banks shaking the Canadian online banking industry. 

From the above review, you have learned the pros and cons of Motive Financial and how it compares with other online banks in Canada.

The bottom line is that you can’t make the wrong choice with Motive Financial so far you’re looking for high-interest savings and competitive GIC rates in Canada.

But if you want to make an informed decision, it’s essential you compare your banking needs and Motive current offerings before taking the final step.

Finally, the ball is in your court to decide if Motive is ideal for you but my Motive Financial review is positive.


Motive Financial Review


Motive Financial is an online bank, owned by Canadian Western Bank (CWB), offering high-interest savings accounts, no-fee chequing accounts and competitive registered and non-registered GIC rates.

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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