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EQ Bank has released its card product today.
January 10, 2023
7:14 pm
HighInterestWinner
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Just saw a post on Personal Finance Canada's reddit that it was released today. And the perks are good. The list includes

No FX fees
No ATM fees in Canada
Same 2.50% interest rate on money on the card (As the savings plus account)
Cashback (0.5%)

I just applied for mine today in the mobile app.
I am excited for it.

January 11, 2023
10:37 pm
Loonie
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It's a debit card.
Personally, I'd much rather use a credit card, where I can push the payment forward a month or so, don't have to keep my cash in a crappy 2.5% account, and will get better cashback.sf-smile

I would expect that the "no forex" provision will be curtailed or eliminated within a year or so, as all other FIs have done already. That's really the only advantage I see. Does anyone know how their USD exchange rate compares to MC and Visa?

January 12, 2023
6:19 am
MAC99
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Yes, The Fx rate = the Mastercard Fx rate. There is a Fx fee, just no additional fee from EQ.

"Foreign currency transactions will be subject to the Mastercard Currency Conversion rate. EQ Bank does not charge any additional FX fee or markup."

And you're right, it is a debit card, though EQ is stating "The EQ Bank Card is a prepaid reloadable Mastercard issued by Equitable Bank".

I assume reloadable in the sense it can load and spend up to your maximum EQ account balance.

January 12, 2023
6:51 am
Norman1
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It is not a debit card.

One needs to load the EQ Bank Card with funds from one's savings account. Funds aren't taken automatically from the savings account through the card.

I suspect the interchange to merchant will be the higher interchange for Mastercard prepaid cards and not the Mastercard debit card interchange.

January 12, 2023
7:21 am
dougjp
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I can't see any comparative practical value for this, except perhaps the lack of FX fees, but how often is that worth the lack of features. Having to transfer from savings first kills it. Even the cash back isn't competitive.

It's not so bad being senile; you get to meet many more people.

January 12, 2023
8:08 am
Norman1
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There is tremendous value in the EQ Bank card for those who cannot obtain a credit card and have to use prepaid Mastercard or Visa cards.

One friend was like that. Had to get a prepaid Mastercard from one of those cheque cashing places. Something like $9.99 fee for the card. $5 monthly fee afterwards. 50¢ for each spending charge. $3 fee for each reload!

Such people would save $60+/year.

Not so much for those who can get a regular credit card, like a Capital One Aspire Platinum MasterCard with no annual fee, no transaction fee, and 1% cash back.

January 12, 2023
12:39 pm
wcg66
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I just ordered one, it's really no big deal if I don't end up using it much. I like the idea of free ATM access in a pinch. With the EQ app you could easily load up cash on the card while you're in a store, for example.

I recommendeded it to my kids who are also EQ customers. Might be a good choice for them.

January 12, 2023
3:36 pm
HighInterestWinner
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wcg66 said
I just ordered one, it's really no big deal if I don't end up using it much. I like the idea of free ATM access in a pinch. With the EQ app you could easily load up cash on the card while you're in a store, for example.

I recommendeded it to my kids who are also EQ customers. Might be a good choice for them.  

Exactly, I think the target demographic is not people in there later years but for people just beginning there lives / careers / young people. Which is why I think they released this product, and since it has the backing of EQ bank and Equitable bank, I see no reason (at this stage) for them to get rid of the NO additional FX fee. Stack did but they were a startup. Wealthsimple has 1% back and no FX fees on there prepaid card which is arguably better since that cashback can get invested into my investment account as well as cashback on the card. But wealthsimple is not really known for it's card (or its transaction account / banking products) but EQ is. So it could be the best thing EQ can do to remove young people from the big banks or at least, add a bunch of customers.

January 12, 2023
4:08 pm
uniQChick
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I wonder how the card works with their US accounts...

January 12, 2023
4:31 pm
Norman1
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The EQ Bank Card isn't a debit card. It's a Canadian dollar prepaid Mastercard that can be loaded from a Savings Plus account.

From the card's FAQ, I don't think the card can be loaded directly from an EQ Bank US Dollar Account:

What does ‘linked account’ mean?
Your linked account is the Savings Plus Account or Joint Savings Plus Account you use to move money to and from your EQ Bank Card. The Savings Plus Account and the Joint Savings Plus Account are the only types of accounts that can be linked to a card.

January 13, 2023
12:38 am
Loonie
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You're right, Norman.
It's just that in my mind I equate it with a debit card. It's even worse than that as you have to pay BEFORE you spend, which is an inconvenient nuisance.

Looks like it's basically for people who live paycheque to paychque and sometimes save up a little money for cross-border shopping etc.. OK for kids, as someone said, so they can't rack up debt for mom. Most others would do better with a good credit card

January 13, 2023
6:04 am
Doug
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Loonie said
It's a debit card.
Personally, I'd much rather use a credit card, where I can push the payment forward a month or so, don't have to keep my cash in a crappy 2.5% account, and will get better cashback.sf-smile

I would expect that the "no forex" provision will be curtailed or eliminated within a year or so, as all other FIs have done already. That's really the only advantage I see. Does anyone know how their USD exchange rate compares to MC and Visa?  

It's actually not a debit card. It's a prepaid credit card, linked to an EQ Savings Plus account. You earn 2.5% interest on card balances, the same as your EQ Savings Plus account. You also earn 0.5% cash back on purchases. I'm not sure whether the CBA voluntary code of conduct for consumer debit card services or the MasterCard Zero Liability Policy is more consumer friendly, but it's the latter that applies here.

It uses the MasterCard International conversion rate, which, according to Wealthsimple, the MasterCard and Visa conversion rates include a roughly 1% built-in premium, but there is no additional conversion surcharge charged by the card issuer. I actually expect this feature to stick; Home Trust Preferred Visa has not eliminated it, nor has Brim Financial MasterCard, and Wealthsimple has a Cash Card with no FX added fee. 🙂

They've now added joint accounts a year or two ago, launched in Quebec, launched their prepaid credit card, and their next product to launch this year will be the EQ Bank Savings Plus Account for Business. I suspect then they'll launch an EQ Card for businesses.

Their competition here is chequing/day-to-day banking accounts. This is game-changing, and I see them taking significant share from digitally-savvy HSBC Advance and even HSBC Premier customers, looking to front-run the eventual forced migration into existing RBC Royal Bank products and their stupid Value product rebate.

I now see no more products they need to launch; I just wish they'd focus on the minor things, like transaction narrative detail. 😉

Cheers,
Doug

January 13, 2023
6:13 am
Doug
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Norman1 said
I suspect the interchange to merchant will be the higher interchange for Mastercard prepaid cards and not the Mastercard debit card interchange.  

Correct, though I wasn't aware there were separate interchange rates between MasterCard debits and credit cards. MasterCard and Visa would like to offer debit cards in Canada, for physical in-store transactions, but have so far been prohibited from doing so as the business friendly Competition Tribunal has relaxed or even repealed the Consent Agreement Interac Corp. operated/operates under.

Merchants cannot charge surcharges on Visa and MasterCard prepaid cards. If they do, they're in violation of their agreements with Visa and MasterCard, and anyone charged a surcharge should serve notice to the merchant they will be formally complaining to Visa and MasterCard and their license to process Visa and MasterCard transactions would likely be revoked.

Cheers,
Doug

January 13, 2023
6:16 am
Doug
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Norman1 said
There is tremendous value in the EQ Bank card for those who cannot obtain a credit card and have to use prepaid Mastercard or Visa cards.

One friend was like that. Had to get a prepaid Mastercard from one of those cheque cashing places. Something like $9.99 fee for the card. $5 monthly fee afterwards. 50¢ for each spending charge. $3 fee for each reload!

Such people would save $60+/year.

Not so much for those who can get a regular credit card, like a Capital One Aspire Platinum MasterCard with no annual fee, no transaction fee, and 1% cash back.  

Agreed. The regulatory structure is different than with debit cards, certainly, but I actually see this as a net positive to helping to bust up the Interac Corp. monopoly on physical debit card purchases.

Thankfully, those fee-laden prepaid credit cards' market share is declining, with some companies like Vancity even exiting the business after profiteering in it for years, and they've been replaced by smaller players like the Joker MasterCard and PayPower Visa, but you're right, prepaid cards offer superior, instantaenous online payments.

Personally, I'm seriously considering this as a replacement for my Tangerine chequing account. Sure, I won't be able to write cheques, but I have a ScotiaLine personal line of credit I could use that for in the rare occasion I need to write a cheque, and even add a credit balance to the account to avoid interest charges. I may actually switch my payroll direct deposit to my EQ Plus Savings Plus Account, and then just allocate my discretionary spending to my EQ Card.

Cheers,
Doug

January 13, 2023
3:53 pm
Briguy
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Doug said

Agreed. The regulatory structure is different than with debit cards, certainly, but I actually see this as a net positive to helping to bust up the Interac Corp. monopoly on physical debit card purchases.

Thankfully, those fee-laden prepaid credit cards' market share is declining, with some companies like Vancity even exiting the business after profiteering in it for years, and they've been replaced by smaller players like the Joker MasterCard and PayPower Visa, but you're right, prepaid cards offer superior, instantaenous online payments.

Personally, I'm seriously considering this as a replacement for my Tangerine chequing account. Sure, I won't be able to write cheques, but I have a ScotiaLine personal line of credit I could use that for in the rare occasion I need to write a cheque, and even add a credit balance to the account to avoid interest charges. I may actually switch my payroll direct deposit to my EQ Plus Savings Plus Account, and then just allocate my discretionary spending to my EQ Card.

Cheers,
Doug  

You should compliment this with a Brim credit card and a WealthSimple cash card and have alternatives available when you go travelling for free FX. Or if you go to USA only, then a Rogers credit card would do the trick too instead of Brim. Or keep 5K in your Scotiabank Ultimate Package chequing account and get a free Scotiabank Passport Visa instead of Brim card for travelling.

January 13, 2023
5:20 pm
Doug
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Briguy said

You should compliment this with a Brim credit card and a WealthSimple cash card and have alternatives available when you go travelling for free FX. Or if you go to USA only, then a Rogers credit card would do the trick too instead of Brim. Or keep 5K in your Scotiabank Ultimate Package chequing account and get a free Scotiabank Passport Visa instead of Brim card for travelling.  

Brim is a decent alternative, and I'd forgotten Home Trust Preferred Visa added an annual inactivity fee, so I'd favour Brim. Users on RFD report not being able to apply for Brim's regular credit card, though, so if I couldn't apply via phone, I might go with the CWB credit card, which is issued by Brim.

Rogers cards are a non-starter for me, due to (a) Rogers having a habit of launching things, then shutting them down, (b) Rogers likely having lost interest in their bank subsidiary and there being a high likelihood they'll sell out to Fairstone Bank of Canada, and (c) it's not a true FX fee-free card. They just compensate you with extra points, which they can pull back at a moment's notice, whereas they have to give you 30-60 days notice to change your credit card fees.

Scotiabank's Ultimate Package I don't like, as I've said before. They should make it like the CIBC Smart Plus Account and take into account Scotia iTRADE or Scotia Securities account balances to waive fees.

It's kind of moot, though, since I really don't travel internationally. Last time I was outside the country I was 15 or 16 and it was in the Dominican Republic, with my parents, grandparents, and sister. That was 23-24 years ago. sf-cool

Cheers,
Doug

January 13, 2023
6:06 pm
HighInterestWinner
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Doug said

Brim is a decent alternative, and I'd forgotten Home Trust Preferred Visa added an annual inactivity fee, so I'd favour Brim. Users on RFD report not being able to apply for Brim's regular credit card, though, so if I couldn't apply via phone, I might go with the CWB credit card, which is issued by Brim.

Rogers cards are a non-starter for me, due to (a) Rogers having a habit of launching things, then shutting them down, (b) Rogers likely having lost interest in their bank subsidiary and there being a high likelihood they'll sell out to Fairstone Bank of Canada, and (c) it's not a true FX fee-free card. They just compensate you with extra points, which they can pull back at a moment's notice, whereas they have to give you 30-60 days notice to change your credit card fees.

Scotiabank's Ultimate Package I don't like, as I've said before. They should make it like the CIBC Smart Plus Account and take into account Scotia iTRADE or Scotia Securities account balances to waive fees.

It's kind of moot, though, since I really don't travel internationally. Last time I was outside the country I was 15 or 16 and it was in the Dominican Republic, with my parents, grandparents, and sister. That was 23-24 years ago. sf-cool

Cheers,
Doug  

I applied for the No annual fee brim card back in September. Got approved. Still have not received the card :/ Phoned and emailed, said it's because of delays with the welcome package.

January 13, 2023
6:48 pm
Briguy
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Doug said

Personally, I'm seriously considering this as a replacement for my Tangerine chequing account. Sure, I won't be able to write cheques, but I have a ScotiaLine personal line of credit I could use that for in the rare occasion I need to write a cheque, and even add a credit balance to the account to avoid interest charges. I may actually switch my payroll direct deposit to my EQ Plus Savings Plus Account, and then just allocate my discretionary spending to my EQ Card.

Cheers,
Doug  

This card/all-in-one bank account combo does look really good but there's still no opportunity to deposit cash or write cheques, or have wire transfers or bank drafts, so you're going to need a backup account somewhere. There's no way you could make a major purchase without a bank draft/money order/certified cheque.

January 15, 2023
8:03 pm
Doug
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Briguy said

This card/all-in-one bank account combo does look really good but there's still no opportunity to deposit cash or write cheques, or have wire transfers or bank drafts, so you're going to need a backup account somewhere. There's no way you could make a major purchase without a bank draft/money order/certified cheque.  

Writing cheques is increasingly becoming passé and with the proposed Real Time Rails payments clearing system, there's a very real possibility of paper-based cheques being phased out completely now by the year, say, 2030. I think there may be a lengthy transition period, perhaps where we maintain a separate clearing system for paper-based cheques, but folks should now prepare for the end of paper-based cheques. They may well be replaced with some form of electronic cheque, that would be real-time like an e-Transfer but more like an EFT in form. Also, are cheques even needed with free and unlimited Interac e-Transfers? While it's true you can't deposit cash, for that sort of thing, I would still main a basic no fee chequing account with Tangerine or a single-purpose HISA with a credit union. I could also make a deposit to my Money Master Savings at Scotiabank, then transfer fee-free to Scotia iTRADE, then push money out to EQ Bank. No holds at any step of the process. 🙂

Cheers,
Doug

January 16, 2023
5:42 am
canadian.100
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Doug said
While it's true you can't deposit cash, for that sort of thing, I would still main a basic no fee chequing account with Tangerine or a single-purpose HISA with a credit union. I could also make a deposit to my Money Master Savings at Scotiabank, then transfer fee-free to Scotia iTRADE, then push money out to EQ Bank. No holds at any step of the process. 🙂
Cheers,
Doug  

Isn't EQ one of the FIs that still holds the funds even if you had pushed the funds into EQ from an external linked FI? I believe Hubert also holds funds even if pushed into Hubert from an external linked account.

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