Motive Financial: A 2021 Review

October 31, 2020
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Founded in 2008, Motive Financial has been offering its services to clients who look for a simple, easy-to-register banking option. Its wide array of account types offered and low fees make it a great choice for all Canadians, especially those looking for a quick online bank that allows to them register without leaving their houses. Find all you need to know about it in this Motive Financial Review.

What Is Motive Financial?

Motive Financial is an online-only bank in Canada that was founded as Canadian Direct Financial in 2008 but rebranded to Motive Financial in 2017, offering its services across most of Canada, except for Quebec.

Currently, Motive Financial offers one of the highest interest savings account in Canada (2.80%!) along with some of the best TFSA, RSP and GIC rates in the country.

How To Open An Account With Motive Financial?

The registration process takes roughly 15 minutes and is done through their website. 

To be eligible for an account you must:

  • Be a resident of Canada (excluding Quebec)
  • Be 18 years of age or older
  • Have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN)
  • Have an email account

As for the actual process, you’ll be required to answer some pre-qualifying questions, provide your basic personal/employment information and select the desired account.

To set up an RRSP or TFSA account you will need to complete the forms available online, print, sign, and mail the forms to them to their address:

Motive Financial

Suite 3000

 10303 Jasper Avenue NW

Edmonton, AB T5J 3X6.

It’s important to mention that, once the online form is sent, the waiting period can vary. 

Does this bank have a referral program?

No, as of right now, Motive Financial does not offer a referral program.

Motive Financial Review: An Overview

We've analyzed all the nitty-gritty details about the different features of this online bank and scored it on a 10 points scale on 10 different categories. The following table summarizes Motive Financial's scores.

Account Type & Credit Cards8
Interest Rate on Savings Account9
Investment Options3
Account Fees10
Deposit & Withdrawal Options7
International Usage5
Balance Protection (CDIC/DGCM coverage)10
Customer Service4
We recommend Motive Financial if: You’re okay with fewer investment options because you value having a bank that does not require you to visit their physical location. 
We don’t recommend Motive Financial if: You require more human assistance in your day-to-day banking, in which case we advise that you check our post on Tangerine

#1 Account Types and Credit Cards

Account Types

Motive Cha-Ching Chequing Account™

With this account you’ll not only be getting a very competitive interest rate but also access to the second largest ATM network in Canada. You’ll be able to get your money when you need it, no matter where you are. Furthermore, transferring between your Motive Financial account to other Canadian banks is also very simple, so forget about complicated processes. 


  • No monthly fee
  • Unlimited free deposits and withdrawals
  • Unlimited Interac® e-Transfers
  • Rate: 0.25%

Motive™ Chequing

With Motive Chequing, you’ll be getting your first 50 cheques for free along with earning a competitive rate on your entire balance.


  • Unlimited deposits and withdrawals
  • No fee daily banking
  • No minimum balance required
  • Rate: 0.60%

Motive Savvy Savings Account™

With the Motive Savvy Savings account you’ll be getting their highest interest rate along with two free withdrawals per month and no monthly fee.


  • Additional withdrawal transactions – $5.00
  • Free transfers between your Motive accounts
  • Free THE EXCHANGE® Network ATM withdrawals fee
  • Non-EXCHANGE Network ATM withdrawal fee – $1.50
  • Rate: 2.80% up to $1,000,000.01 then 0.50% after that

Motive™ Savings

With this account you can pair a chequing account to save even more. With no monthly fees and free deposits as well as unlimited monthly withdrawals, this account is ideal for those who perhaps aren’t as new to saving.


  • Free transfers between your Motive accounts
  • Free THE EXCHANGE® Network ATM withdrawal fee
  • Non-EXCHANGE Network ATM withdrawal fee – $1.50
  • Rate: 1.50% up to $5,000,000.01 then 0.50% after that

Motive Financial Account Types And Credit Cards Score 8/10

#2 Interest Rate on Savings Account

The interest rate on the Savings account for Motive financial is 2.40%, a very good rate especially since it beats motusbank’s 2.25%, Oaken’s 2.30% and EQ’s 2%

Motive Financial Review Interest Rate on Savings Account 9/10

#3 Investment Options 

Motive GIC

For those who aren’t in a rush to get their funds back, a Guaranteed Investment Certificate is a great choice since it helps to generate good returns over time. 


  • Term: 1 to 5 years
  • Minimum investment: $1,000
  • Interest rate: Guaranteed for length of term
  • Interest paid: The holder has the option to receive interest paid annually into a Motive Savings Account or to have the interest compounded annually and paid at maturity.

Motive RRSPs

A Registered Retirement Savings Plan is an account that you can use to save or invest for retirement while deferring taxes until you withdraw the savings in the future. Motive offers both the regular and Spousal RRSPs.

  • Easy to start your retirement savings
  • Low minimum contributions
  • flexibility to transfer funds to a GIC

Motive TFSAs

With Motive’s Tax-free Savings account your savings will remain tax-free for life and get a 2.40% rate.

  • Deposit any amount, any time you want (subject to contribution limits, of course)
  • Ability to withdraw at any time
  • Earn tax-free returns with a great rate


  • the security of a GIC without paying income taxes on your interest earned
  • guaranteed returns
  • terms from one to five years

Motive Financial Review Investment Options 3/10

#4 Loans

As of right now, Motive Financial doesn’t offer loans.

Motive Financial Review Loans 0/10

#5 Account Fees

Motive Financial does not charge any monthly or yearly fixed fees. They only charge for specific services like $1 per each Interac E-transfer and overdraft handling, among others. Some of those details include:

Items charged back$6.00
NSF cheques and loan payments$45.00
Overdraft handling – unauthorized overdrafts$5.00 minimum per item 
U.S. item deposited as Canadian item$15.00 
Bank confirmation to auditor (GST included)$25.00
Posting of non-encoded item (E.g. cleared counter cheque)$5.00

Motive Financial Review Account Fees: 10/10

#6  Deposit & Withdrawal options

These are the options that Motive offers their clients for deposit and withdrawal of their money. For Deposit:

  • Bank transfer
  • ATMs
  • Interac E-tranfers

As for deposit, they offer:

  • Banks transfers
  • Cheques
  • Interac e-transfers
  • ATMs

Here’s some details on the way the Interac e-transfers work:

Interac® e-Transfer

With the e-Transfer you can send and receive money quickly and all you need is an email or a mobile phone number along with your account to a Canadian financial institution. When you send money, you don’t have to worry about which bank the person uses and they won’t know where you do your banking since all account details remain confidential. 

Service fees
  • Sending – $1.50
  • Receiving – Free

Easy Transfers

With Motive’s Easy Transfer, moving money between your account and other Canadian financial institutions has never been easier! 

How it works:
  1. Download the Me-to-Me Money Transfer Authorization form for each bank account that needs to be linked.
  2. Complete form MOT4312 to provide account information, a void personalized cheque or pre-authorized debit agreement authorization and all account holder(s) authorization.
  3. Once your send the form and the account details are verified, the account will be activated. This can take up to five business days.
  4. Within 5 business days of receiving your completed authorization form, Motive will set up the external bank account.
  5. You will need to contact Motive and confirm the nominal transfers made into your linked bank accounts.

Motive Financial Review Deposit & Withdrawal options 7/10

#7 International Usage

The cost for ATMs withdrawals abroad is $3 + the exchange rate which will depend on where you are + the amount that the actual machine charges. 

As for the foreign transaction fees when making purchases abroad, it works the same as with the ATM withdrawal, meaning that you pay a flat fee of $3 plus the exchange rate and the actual amount of the purchase. 

Motive Financial Review International Usage 5/10

#8 Usability 

The Motive Financial app is really great for day to day banking on your phone, it covers all your basic needs on the go. The app allows you to:

  • View your balances and activity.
  • Pay bills and send transfers.
  • Find ATMS that are close by.
  • Contact customer service through direct message using the app.
  • Check prevailing interest rates.
  • Access multiple financial calculators like the retirement planner, TFSA calculator, FOREX calculator, mortgage affordability, and loan calculators.

Their app is user-friendly and all you need for day-to-day banking is your phone, so you’ll be good on the go.

Motive Financial Review Usability: 6/10

#9 Is The Bank safe?

Yes, you won’t have to worry about security with Motive Financial. Chequing, savings and investments made with Motive are eligible for deposit insurance through Canadian Deposit Insurance Corporation up to a maximum base protection limit of $100,000 per customer.  

As for account security, you PAC (Personal Access Code) works as a password and will be initially mailed to you. Once you log in for the first time, you can change it. Your account is also protected by 3 predefined security questions and you can set email and text alerts for when your PAC is changed.

Motive Financial Review Balance Protection: 10/10

#10 Customer Service

Motive Financial offers various ways to get in touch with them. Their customer service working hours are Monday to Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. MT.

They also offer a 24-hour line which is: 1 866 673 3918. This number is to report stolen or lost debit cards along with other emergencies or any bank support needed.

And finally, you can also get in touch with them via email: [email protected].

Or via mail, to their address: 

Motive Financial

Suite 3000, 10303 Jasper Avenue NW

Edmonton, AB T5J 3X6

Motive Financial Customer Service: 4/10

Another Big Contender In The Online Bank Niche

With great account rates and a rather complete catalog of products, Motive Financial comes to the digital banking scene with big expectations. The Savings and Chequing accounts offer a great choice for students and people with low-income since they do not require a minimum balance.

However, if you’re looking for a more complete bank with more account options and actual physical locations, we advise that you check our posts on Oaken and Tangerine for more information on them. Don’t forget to also check our mega comparison post on Online Banks.

On the other hand, if you’re saving for short or medium-term goals, maybe a house down payment or an emergency fund, the Savvy Saving account is a great option to consider.  As for its investment options, the rates are competitive and the GICs offer options that adapt to the investment needs of the customer.

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