STACK vs motusbank

April 26, 2021
Banks
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STACK is an online bank that hasn't been making that many waves since its release back in 2018. However, this doesn't mean it isn't interesting. So far, STACK is the only Canadian online bank that focuses on foreign use, keeping your spending in check and more importantly, offering ample discount and cashback rewards.

Motusbank is an online bank that focuses on being just like traditional banks but without any physical branches. It's got a very broad range of products from which it includes GICs, savings accounts, RRSPs and even investing. It's basically the online bank for people who can't leave brick & mortar behind.

 STACKMotusbank
Domestic Fees87
International Fees52
Everyday Usage104
Interface and Usability10
Mobile App Functionality64
International Usability45
Customer Support1010
Security & Regulation78
Savings/Premium Benefits77
Extra Features37
Total7054

Now that you've seen their overall scores, here's a more detailed look at how each bank scores on those ten categories.

 StackMotusbank
Total Score54
1 Domestic Fees
ATM feesmotusbank cardholders have access to over 43,000 surcharge-free ATMs in North America with THE EXCHANGE® Network in Canada and the Allpoint Network in the US
Otherwise $3-5 ATM fee depending on the ATM
Monthly feesFree
Card FeeFree
Additional Cards Fee$5
Card Delivery FeeFree
Kids AccountX
Minimum balance required$0
Inactivity Fee$30 per year (Starting after 1st year)
Free Interac e-Transfers?Chequing Accounts: Free
Savings Accounts: $1.25
2 International Fees
Foreign ATM feesUS: Free with Allpoint
$3.00 for out of network ATM withdrawal
Other countries: $5.00
Foreign spending fee2.5%
Foreign exchange fees2.5%
Cross Border Transfer FeeX
3 Everyday Usage
Apple PayX
Google PayX
Does it accept cash deposits?✔️
Spending/Transaction CategoriesX
Real Time Notifications?✔️
Built-In DonationsX
4 Interface and Usablity
Spending limits in the appX
Withdrawal limits in the appX
Sub-savings accountsX
Bill splitting / Shared ExpensesX
Subscription trackingX
5 Mobile App Functionality
Toggling payments in the appX
Toggle Foreign PaymentsX
Signup Speed> 10 minutes
Mobile App Ease of UseNot that intuitive
Apple Appstore Score /53.5⭐
Google Playstore Score /53.3⭐
6 International Usability
Hold Multiple CurrenciesX
International Money TransfersX
Can The Card Be Used Abroad?✔️
Is The ATM Network International?✔️, but only works in the US
7 Customer Support
In-app support chat✔️
Telephone supportToll-free: 1 (833) 696-6887
International: 1 (416) 925-7373
Priority Customer SupportX
Email support[email protected]
Email Response Time2 hours, not that helpful
8 Security & Regulation
RegulatorCDIC insured through the Meridian Credit Union
Freeze/Unfreeze Card In The AppX
PIN resets in the appX, only at ATMs
Biometric login and authentication?✔️
Does it do a credit check?Hard credit check for chequing account, soft for savings
9 Savings/Premium Benefits
Metal CardX
CashbackX
Partner Discounts?✔️, with Price Drop, up to 150+ retailers available
Gain interest rate?No-fee Chequing: 0.15%
HISA: 1.00%
TFSA: 1.10%
RRSP: 1.00%
10 Extra Features
Get Paid early?✔️, up to $100 of their direct deposits early
Network ATM Finder✔️, in website
Overdraft Availability✔️, $45 fee for a NSF transaction.
+ $5 for Overdraft handling fee (Accepted overdraft)
Overdraft ProtectionX
21% Overdraft Interest Rate
Stock TradingMotusbank users have access to 2 special investment accounts through Qtrade and VirtualWealth, which deal in stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, bonds, GICs, and options, plus new issues/IPOs
Commodities Trading✔️
Cryptocurrency Trading?X
Referral program?X

STACK Review: Breakdown

#1 Domestic Fees:

Stack is probably the bank that has one of the best performances in this category. This is thanks to the fact that Stack simply… doesn’t charge for anything. No ATM fees, no monthly fees, no fee for replacement cards, no inactivity fees, no minimum required balance, nothing.

On top of that, STACK also offers free receiving and sending of Interac e-Transfers, which is always a nice feature to have.

However, STACK may not charge for ATM withdrawals, but it doesn’t have an ATM network. This implies that most, if not all, ATM withdrawals will incur a fee of around $3-5 from the owner of the ATM.

STACK Domestic Fees Score: 8/10

#2 International Fees:

In our opinion, there’s not a clear best bank in this category, rather than some better than average performances. STACK is one of those thanks to the fact that, once again, it doesn’t charge any kind of fees for its services. Foreign ATM withdrawals are free and foreign spending and exchange fees are non-existent with STACK.

However, the same principle of not having an ATM network also applies here. STACK also doesn’t feature a way to send international money transfers, which would have been the cherry on top for it to perform better in this category.

STACK International Fees Score: 5/10

#3 Everyday Usage:

STACK absolutely blazes through this category, being one of the two banks, the other being Tangerine, that offers all of the features we looked for in this category.

The first thing to mention is that STACK users will be able to use both Apple Pay and Google Pay by pairing their STACK prepaid Mastercard in both apps.

STACK users can also have more of their spending in control via the spending insights that the mobile app offers, from which they can thoroughly check where their money is going. This comes paired with real-time spending notifications, which let users know how much they spend and their current balance at that time.

On top of all those benefits, STACK users are, along with both Tangerine and Simplii Financial, able to load their accounts up with cash. STACK users can do this at any Canada Post location, which is a feature rarely seen in online banks.

Definitely one of the most solid performances out of all banks.

STACK Everyday Usage Score: 10/10

#4 Interface And Usability:

Here we can claim that STACK is the best performer in this category out of all banks we reviewed. This is the product of having all the features we looked for and then some more, which we’ll describe shortly.

STACK users are able to set up their own spending/withdrawal limits from the app with a feature called “Weekly Budgets”. This lets users control their spending beyond just telling themselves not to spend anymore. Any user who wants to can limit the amount that can be spent/withdrawn from their accounts at any time, which is a feature that’s sorely missing from all other banks.

Another important feature to mention is that users can also open a single sub-savings account for a specific goal. This consists of separating a certain amount of money aside from the main balance so a user can save for a certain goal without using those funds.

Users can also split their bills with their contacts by just selecting a transaction and then the people who owe them, easily reminding friends and family to repay a debt. Adding more to the customizable experience of STACK, users can also track their online subscriptions in-app to see how much money is being spent on a monthly basis just on these.

By far the most thorough bank in terms of letting users analyze and customize their spending.

STACK Interface And Usability Score: 10/10

#5 Mobile App Functionality

Here’s where STACK runs into its second hitch. This is mainly thanks to STACK’s app missing some features but having a somewhat intuitive interface.

First off, signing up with STACK takes no longer than 10 minutes, which is great. The app scores a total of 4.5/5 in the Apple App Store and 3.8/5 stars in the Google Play Store, which are not the best scores out there. In fact, according to our scores, STACK has the 3rd highest-scoring mobile app out of all 8 online banks we reviewed, just behind EQ Bank and KOHO.

The feature that STACK is missing is being able to toggle on/off recurring local and foreign payments through the app, which not many other banks offer either.

STACK Mobile App Functionality Score: 6/10

#6 International Usability

Even though STACK has great international fees, it lacks in terms of its overall usability. First off, Stack isn’t able to send international money transfers, which is a highly-sought feature in online banks.

Aside from that, as we had mentioned earlier, STACK has no ATM network to speak of, so there’s no way to waive ATM fees when travelling abroad.

STACK does get some points thanks to its card being available to use when abroad, but that’s a benefit that comes with Mastercard and not something particularly unique of STACK.

STACK International Usability Score: 4/10

#7 Customer Support

Few banks get bad scores in this category and luckily STACK isn’t one of those. The online bank features all three main customer support channels, chat, phone lines and email. We got in touch through every means possible to use and came up with the conclusion that STACK’s customer support is pretty good.

If there’s one thing to mention about it is that it’s quite fast. Chat support took less than 5 minutes for us to get in touch with an agent. The same thing happened with phone support and in both instances we were directed to very informed and polite agents that happily answered our curious questions.

Email on the other hand is also really fast, taking only 3 hours to get back to us. However, it didn’t answer any of our questions and only directed us to phone support. Bummer.

If you need to get in contact with STACK to ask them some of your own queries, you can do so through the following channels:

STACK Customer Support Score: 10/10

#8 Security & Regulation

In terms of regulation and security, STACK is partnered with Peoples Trust (same partner as KOHO), which automatically grants it the same CDIC regulation and protection. CDIC regulation gives STACK the benefit of having all of its eligible user’s deposits insured for up to $100,000 CAD.

STACK also offers the feature to freeze/unfreeze its card through the app at any moment and time, but that’s the only security feature it offers.

STACK has some clear weaknesses in this category because it doesn’t let users change their card’s PIN through the app, only through its phone lines. It also doesn’t have the feature to set up biometric authentication upon signing in, being the only online bank lacking this feature.

Something to add in the same vein of this category is that STACK doesn’t report to any credit bureaus at all. This means that opening a STACK account won’t even generate a soft credit check upon a user’s credit score, which is neat, but it also means that users can’t make their score better through the use of STACK.

STACK Security & Regulation Score: 7/10

#9 Savings/Premium Benefits

One of the juiciest parts of STACK is its discounts, which come into play exactly in this category.

First off, STACK is a product thought for people who travel a lot, to which STACK complements partnering with travel agencies. From these partnerships, users can book travel plans directly from the app. Although, that’s not the biggest part since whenever a user books a trip from these partners, STACK offers up to 20% cashback.

In terms of partner discounts, STACK has partnered with some Canadian retailers, from which users can get up to 40% discounts during certain dates. However, it’s worth noting that STACK is setting these partnerships on a state-by-state basis, which means that some STACK users in some states might have access to some offers that other STACK users in other states might not be available to participate in.

However, and a big one at that, STACK has one major weakness that no other online bank has, which is interest. STACK doesn’t offer any kind of interest percentage to any of its users, which means that people who are engaged in looking for great interest rates might have to look somewhere else.

EQ Bank, Neo and Tangerine are great fits for this feature alone, but it’s a shame that STACK misses what’s really the most important feature for some users out there.

STACK Savings/Premium Benefits Score: 7/10

#10 Extra Features

If you’ve been paying attention, you may have noticed that we’ve already mentioned the juiciest parts that STACK has to offer. This means that STACK doesn’t really have a lot to offer in terms of this category.

The two most important features that STACK’s left with are Direct Deposits and its referral program. Its referral program works in a curious way that will let users earn a bit if enough referrals are invited, but there’s a hard limit to it. Here’s how it works:

  • $5 For the first 5 referrals (1st to 5th)
  • $10 For the 5 referrals after that (6th to 10th)
  • $15 For the 5 referrals after that (11th to 15th)

This means that if a STACK user invites 15 new clients, they will earn a total of $150, which is a lot, but nowhere near the highest-earning referral programs like that of Simplii Financial, Tangerine or EQ Bank, the likes of which can generate that same amount with 5 referrals or less.

These are not bad features at all but it also means that STACK has to make do without features like overdraft, overdraft protection and trading/investing. These are another of those highly sought features by some users, so not having them might turn heads somewhere else in the long run.

STACK Extra Features Score: 3/10

Now let’s talk about our next bank in question:

motusbank Review: Breakdown

#1 Domestic Fees:

Motusbank gets off to a strong start thanks to its approach to some of its fees. The most important details to mention are that motusbank does have an ATM network, “The Exchange”, which means that motusbank users get access to free withdrawals in both Canada and the US with up to 43,000 ATMs in both countries.

Aside from that, motusbank users aren’t charged any monthly fees nor need to maintain a certain account balance to keep their accounts open or fee-free. Any user’s first card will also come for free, the same of which applies to the delivery of the card. However, any replacements will run for $5, and motusbank doesn’t offer any free replacements per year.

It’s also important to mention that motusbank does charge an inactivity fee of $30 per year of inactivity. Although all accounts are protected from this fee in their first year of use, however, it’s still something worth keeping in mind.

Motusbank also offers free receiving and sending of Interac e-Transfers, but only from the bank’s chequing accounts. Doing so from a savings account will incur a $1.25 fee. Either way, a solid performance still.

motusbank Domestic Fees Score: 7/10

#2 International Fees:

Most online banks we reviewed ran into their first hitches here, and motusbank isn’t the exception.

This category consists of evaluating how well a bank performs in terms of being used abroad, specifically in terms of fees. Motusbank charges rather high fees, like Tangerine, something that seems to be the standard in terms of the most popular online banks. Here’s how these fees work:

  1. In terms of foreign ATM fees, motusbank works with the “Allpoint” network in the US, which means that if motusbank users withdraw from one of those ATMs, they will completely waive fees. Otherwise, a $3 CAD fee will be charged for an out-of-network withdrawal in the US and $5 in other countries.
  2. In terms of foreign spending and exchange fees, motusbank charges a base fee of 2.5% for each transaction, which is high but seems to be the standard.

motusbank International Fees Score: 2/10

#3 Everyday Usage:

Motusbank is known for being probably the closest online bank to traditional banks in terms of how it works and interface, which explains its lack of some more modern features.

What strikes us the most is motusbank's lack of compatibility with Apple Pay and Google Pay. It’s certainly bizarre, even more considering that motusbank’s card is nothing more than just a debit card.

Another big flaw in this scenario is the lack of spending insights inside the motusbank app. Users can’t quite follow or easily categorize what their money is being spent on in order to create a savings plan.

However, motusbank does offer two highly sought features, with one of those being accepting cash deposits. Since the bank has its own ATM networks it can do so without any fees, elevating the number of ways available to load up its accounts.

The other feature is real-time notifications, which notify a user when their card/account is used and sends the user a reminder of the amount spent/transferred and the current overall balance.

motusbank Everyday Usage Score: 4/10

#4 Interface And Usability:

Along with Neo, motusbank doesn’t offer any of the features we looked for in this category. This means that motusbank doesn’t offer the following features:

  • Setting spending/withdrawal limits from the app
  • Being able to open sub-savings accounts (often referred to as “Goals”)
  • Splitting bills/Sharing expenses with friends or family
  • Tracking online subscription services (Spotify, Netflix, Hulu, etc…)

This means that motusbank’s mobile experience is by far one of the less customizable out of all online banks in Canada. There’s still room for motusbank to grow and add features here, but it’s been 2 years since its release and this doesn’t seem like the direction the bank is aspiringto go in.

motusbank Interface And Usability Score: 0/10

#5 Mobile App Functionality

One of the biggest parts of online banking is what your bank’s app lets you do. However, that is not the case for motusbank. One of the most important details that motusbank lacks in this category is being able to toggle on/off both local and foreign recurring payments from the app.

On top of that, signing up with motusbank usually requires more than 10 minutes thanks to their verification system and how it works on a case-by-case basis. Motusbank is also the worst scoring bank according to popular app stores, garnering a score of 3.5/5 in the Apple App Store and 3.3/5 stars in the Google Playstore.

Overall, motusbank still has a lot to work out in this category, since a lot of user reviews are letting people know that it doesn’t have the most developed user interface out of all online banks. Motusbank has only had 2 years in the banking market, which is more than enough to have fixed problems like these.

motusbank Mobile App Functionality Score: 4/10

#6 International Usability

Motusbank has some edge over other banks in terms of its international usability thanks to its partnerships with ATM networks. As we had already mentioned, motusbank is partnered with “The Exchangenetwork in Canada and with Allpoint in the US. However, motusbank hasn’t partnered with other networks outside of North America, which means that users who travel to other countries won’t be able to waive fees.

Aside from that, thanks to both Visa and Mastercard, motusbank’s cards can be used in any place where both of those flags are accepted.

Motusbank does an alright job in terms of its international usability, but we would have liked to see more features like international money transfers or even being able to hold multiple currencies in it.

motusbank International Usability Score: 5/10

#7 Customer Support

Banks have to try really hard to get a bad score in this category, but thankfully that isn’t the case with motusbank. The bank scored a perfect 10 due to its present support over all possible channels.

Phone and chat support are good and don’t take that long to answer, which is relatively impressive. Email, however, is the worst out of all three support channels. Not because it took ages to answer, it was actually one of the fastest out of all banks, but it’s just not helpful at all. When we emailed motusbank some questions regarding its service, we heard back from them in just 2 hours, but their email only directed us towards phone support, ignoring our questions.

If one of the main support channels is there just to redirect users to other channels, then why have it in the first place?

If you need to get in contact with motusbank to ask them some of your own queries, you can do so through the following channels:

  • Phone support:
    • 1-833-696-6887 (Toll-free)
    • 1-416-925-7373
  • Email: [email protected] (We don’t personally recommend it)

motusbank Customer Support Score: 10/10

#8 Security & Regulation

Motusbank is one of the highest performers in this category because it’s backed by solid regulation and because it offers some great security features. The first thing to point out is that motusbank is partnered with Meridian Credit Union, which in itself is a CDIC (Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation) member. This means that all eligible deposits inside motusbank will be insured for up to $100,000 CAD.

In that same vein, motusbank users can set up biometric login authentication on their accounts to make signing in both faster and safer.

Another important thing to mention is that motusbank does perform credit checks of different types depending on the account a user is trying to open. A savings account will incur a soft credit check while chequing accounts will incur in full hard credit checks, which might not be convenient for a big portion of users.

Although motusbank’s performance is good, it still runs into some hitches, specifically when it comes to certain security features. Motusbank users have no way to freeze/unfreeze their card at their own will from the app, depending only on phone customer support to do that from them. The same problem arises with changing the cards’ PIN, which will need the user to make the trip to an ATM, which is the same inconvenience that online banks are trying to get rid of.

motusbank Security & Regulation Score: 8/10

#9 Savings/Premium Benefits

Here’s where we get into one of the flashiest parts of motusbank and the benefits that most people are looking for in a bank.

First off, motusbank doesn’t offer partner discounts as other banks do, rather it offers a service called Price Drop. This service matches the price a user paid for a certain item with the lowest price available at up to 150+ retailers. If the original price a user paid is higher than the price at other retailers, the system will automatically refund the user as if the item was paid for the lowest available price.

Motusbank also offers another highly-sought feature, which is interest. Here’s how much interest each type of account earns:

  • NFCA: 0.15%
  • HISA: 1.00%
  • TFSA: 1.10%
  • RRSP: 1.00%

Motusbank’s interest rates are higher than average, which is completely beneficial to all users of the bank. However, its NFCA or No Fee Chequing Account’s interest is one of the lowest overall, which is a bit bizarre when compared to other banks that offer savings/chequing hybrid accounts with higher interests.

Motusbank is a great performer in this category. Sure, it doesn’t have the highest interest out of all online banks we reviewed, but they’re still solidly high. However, we would have liked to see some kind of cashback promotion so we could give motusbank a 10 in this category.

motusbank Savings/Premium Benefits Score: 7/10

#10 Extra Features

Motusbank’s biggest interest point probably lies here because it features most of the extra features we were looking for in Canadian online banks.

The first feature that motusbank can boast of is probably overdraft. Motusbank users can overdraft their accounts, but only if it’s a chequing account.

The thing is, motusbank doesn’t offer overdraft protection, which means that whenever a user overdrafts his or her account, they will incur an NSF fee of $45.

On top of this, another fee of $5 will be charged for each charge on the account when in a negative balance. It’s also worth mentioning that all negative balance will start growing bigger with motusbank overdraft interest rate of 21%

Aside from that, motusbank users can also enjoy features like accessing up to $100 of their salary early with Direct Deposits. An ATM finder is also available on motusbank’s website, which can be handy but we preferred if it was added to the app.

But by far, the most important “extra” feature that motusbank can boast of is definitely trading and investing. Users of this online bank have access to two special investment accounts through Qtrade and Virtualwealth, which are online brokers. From any of these accounts users can invest in the following products:

  • Stocks
  • ETFs
  • Mutual funds
  • Bonds
  • GICs
  • Options
  • IPOs

It’s worth noting that Qtrade is meant for people who want to execute and manage their own trades. Instead, Virtualwealth is “a fully automated digital investing servicemeant for people who want to invest in an automatized way.

However, as great as motusbank is in this category, it doesn’t feature a referral system, which is something a lot of people might have looked for when learning about it. But either way, definitely one of the best performers in this category by far.

motusbank Extra Features Score: 7/10

STACK Or motusbank?

When recommending a certain product, here at Yore Oyster we always strive to really give our readers the best advice. This is why we always give a final recommendation comparing the products we talked about. So, here's our final take on both banks:

motusbank has one of the best sets of extra features we've seen in any bank. However, it also has some of the worst fundamental features. Its app is one of the less-developed out of all online banks and its interface can be described as outdated and very strict, which doesn't bode well for an online bank that works only through its mobile app.

STACK is really good, surprisingly good. This is due to its great domestic fees, a great and well-developed app and the volume of rewards it offers. It's definitely a great contender for a spending account if anyone is thinking mainly in foreign use. It's really a one of a kind online bank account.

Whereas motusbank tries to do the same as traditional brick & mortar banks, STACK tries something completely new. With a no-fee chequing account meant for foreign use with amazing perks it simply is better and more convenient as an online bank. motusbank tries to emulate something that people were trying to move from in the first place, which, to us, is everything we're not looking for in an online bank.

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