Alterna Bank Review 2022: Features & Alternatives

Bizreport - Bailey Schramm
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Reviewed by Randolph Vialva, MBA
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Editor Rating:
4.7
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  • Cost Value
  • Customer Service
  • Ease of Use
  • Included Features

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Alterna Bank is the online banking segment of the Alterna Savings credit union.

Pros

  • High-interest rates on savings
  • Online banking access

Cons

  • No brick-and-mortar branches
  • Not a full menu of banking services
  • Savings and chequing account
  • Alterna Bank mortgages
  • Investment services
  • Founded in 2005
  • Based in Ottawa
alterna bank review

Alterna Bank is the online subsidiary of the Ontario-based credit union, Alterna Savings and Credit Union. By saving on the costs of having physical branches, they are able to pass this through to their Canadian customers through lower fees and higher savings rates.  

Even though they are fully online, they still offer a full menu of financial services like a big bank offers, including savings accounts, mortgages, and investment options like mutual funds. Plus, they give account holders access to an ATM network of over 3,300 ATMs in Canada as part of THE EXCHANGE network. 

Alterna Bank Advantages

Let’s consider some of the top reasons why you would bank with Alterna. 

Low Fees 

Alterna Bank has made it a point that paying fees are not part of their business model. Their bank accounts support unlimited Interac e-Transfers and unlimited transactions all at no monthly fees with their no-fee eChequing account or high-interest savings account.  

A No-Fee Chequing Account And High-Interest Savings Account

Alterna Bank has a no-fee chequing account that is a no-minimum balance-free account. Account holders can make unlimited daily transactions, unlimited Interac e-Transfers, and access to over 3,000 ATMs for free. Plus, customers can access overdraft protection for just $2.50 a month, and all deposits are insured up to a maximum through the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC). 

At the same time, they offer a high-interest Alterna savings account that grows at a 2.0% interest rate. Similar to the chequing account, the account is fee-free and supports unlimited bill payments, Interac e-Transfers, and debit transactions. There is no minimum balance required, and deposits are insured up to a certain amount through the CDIC. 

Online and mobile banking

Alterna Bank is fully online, so all customers can view their accounts online, manage their money, set up debit card payments, and more all within the mobile application. This is highly convenient for customers who want a digital banking experience. 

Related Topic: Top 5 Free Bank Accounts Canada

Alterna Bank Accounts 

Here are some of the details of the bank accounts that Alterna offers. 

Alterna No-Fee eChequing Account

Alterna Bank offers a no-fee chequing account that gives you a great way to deposit cheques, make everyday payments, and more. Plus with their overdraft protection for $2.50 monthly, you can have the extra cushion and support you need no matter what your balance is at. Additionally, you can access over 3,000 ATMs as part of THE EXCHANGE network across Canada. 

Alterna High-Interest Savings Account

For customers who really want to save money, Alterna Bank offers a high-interest savings account where you can earn 2.0% on each dollar deposited. With this Alterna savings account, you can make unlimited transfers, debit transactions, and more, all while earning a high-interest rate. 

 Alterna TFSA and RRSP Accounts

These are two more types of savings accounts that Alterna Bank offers. The tax-free savings account (TFSA) and registered retirement savings account (RRSP) are both great investment tools for Alterna customers. With each account, you can earn a high-interest rate on every dollar, and conveniently transfer money to the accounts online. There is no minimum deposit or balance requirement, making them excellent options for registered savings accounts for anybody.  

Alterna Mortgages

Alterna Bank offers mortgages as well. They have competitive rates when compared to other institutions like big banks, especially with fixed-rate mortgages, though not as much with the variable-rate options. The terms range from one to ten years, which is pretty standard across the board.

Alterna Bank Quick Overview

alterna bank logo

4.7 stars

Best Overall Value

  • No fee eChequing account
  • High-interest savings account
  • Good investment choices

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Alterna Bank Customer Reviews

Alterna Bank has fairly good reviews on Trustpilot, though there aren’t many. In any case, take a look at some of the things customers have to say about this online bank.

Friendly and inexpensive banking, BUT there are many things that they can’t do easily. I just got off the phone with them telling me “Oh, it takes 2 to 3 days to get foreign currencies”. Really? I only wanted 200 Euros! They have also made me wait in the past for U.S. funds. Not impressive.

Paul

I would have to say that this bank could get up to speed with things now from my personal experience however one the I can say is the customer service is usually a little lacking?

Tim

Alterna Bank Service Review

alterna bank review

Review of Alterna Bank

Overall Pricing and Value
94%
94%
Cost Value
95%
95%
Customer Support
95%
95%
Ease of Use
95%
95%
Included Features
90%
90%

Let’s take a final look at whether Alterna Bank is the right choice for you compared to the other online-only banks. 

Is This Brand Right For You?

Alterna Bank is a great choice for anyone looking for digital banking services, competitive savings rates, and doesn’t need access to a physical branch. Given their options for savings through their registered savings accounts, mutual funds, guaranteed investment certificates, and more, Alterna Bank rates are some of the best in Canada rivaling credit unions that help customers reach their financial goals, all without needing to pay a personal finance expert. 

Cost Value 

Alterna Bank chequing and savings accounts are highly cost-effective, seeing as they’re free to use and have no minimum requirements to open. This makes their services highly accessible to customers of any financial status, like many other financial institutions operating fully online today. Plus, their high-interest rates on savings deposits are a major draw. 

Customer Service

Alterna Bank has good customer service that is available via phone service during business hours. Some customers have noted that their customer service experience was lacking, though it appears they are widely available and not just limited to chat support like some other digital banks. 

Ease of Use

Given that Alterna Bank is a digital bank, it is highly easy to access all account details and open up new accounts online. This is particularly helpful for younger customers who are used to digital services and are looking for online banks today. 

Plus with me-to-me transfers, you can link all your accounts from different institutions to easily transfer money between them and set up pre-authorized payments when needed. 

Included Features

There are many services available by Alterna Bank, so whatever personal finance needs you may have, they can likely be met by Alterna Bank’s solutions. The account features of their chequing and savings accounts are incredible, seeing how they’re completely free and include unlimited times to transfer funds, make transactions, set up online bill payments, and more. All accounts are accessed online, so you can see all the features in one place with this digital bank.

Plus, the fact that they offer investment accounts and mortgages as a digital bank is highly impressive, which many others do not. Overall, the number of features and services that can be accessed from their online account makes them one of the top options for Canadians today. 

Overall

Alterna Bank offers customers who want an online banking service excellent service. Like other financial institutions that operate fully online, Alterna passes on the savings from not running physical branches to customers through a higher savings rate and no fees. Plus, you can get fixed-rate mortgages, investment services, and more through the bank. 

If you need physical branch access, you can always visit Alterna Savings branches, the credit union of which Alterna Bank is a subsidiary. 

How To Open an Alterna Bank Account

Customers can easily open up a bank account with Alterna online. Account opening can be done by applying online in just five minutes.

2 Top Alterna Bank Alternatives

PC Financial EQ BankAlterna Bank
AwardBest Alternative to Traditional BankingBest Digital BankBest for Savings
Monthly Fee$0$0$0
Features OverviewNo fees, chequing account and prepaid Mastercard, no minimum balance, unlimited bill pay, unlimited Interac e-TransfersHigh-interest rate, no monthly fees, free Interac e-Transfers, free bill paymentsNo fees, no minimum requirements, unlimited transfers, transactions, and bill payment
Ranking
DetailRead Review Read Review Read Review
Link

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PC Financial

PC Financial is a simple banking experience for Canadians. The account mixes the features of a chequing account, prepaid credit card, and reward program all in one. Thus, it’s a great alternative to traditional banking services. This may be not the best selection for those used to a traditional banking experience, though they offer many great perks. 

EQ bank

EQ Bank aims to offer more value than a traditional banking experience. They embrace new ways of doing things and are constantly finding new ways to serve customers. They don’t charge any hidden fees, offer full protection and security through CDIC insurance, and make sure customers never pay for services they don’t use. 

Conclusion

The digital banking solution offered by the Alterna Financial Group is a great option for many Canadians. If you want to earn a high savings rate, get a mortgage fully online, or access other great investment accounts, Alterna Bank is a good choice. Account opening can be done fully online in just a few minutes, so don’t let anything keep you from checking them out and seeing all the benefits they can offer. However, if you’re looking for a traditional bank experience where you can visit the branches and meet with support staff in person, this is not the bank for you.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is Alterna Bank safe?

Alterna is a great option for Canadians looking for a digital bank, and all deposits are insured up to a maximum amount with the CDIC.

What is Alterna Savings?

Formally known as Alterna Savings and Credit Union Limited, it is an Ontario credit union with branches across Ontario, and online services through Alterna Bank. It is the second-largest credit union in Ontario, not a national bank.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bizreport - Bailey Schramm
Bailey Schramm
Business Writer
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Bailey Schramm is a writer based out of Jackson Hole, WY, primarily covering topics and trends in financial services, business, and the blockchain. With a background covering stock market developments for a major FinTech company, she now provides SEO and content strategy services to financial service companies and tech startups.

ABOUT THE REVIEWER

He is an organized and creative thinking sales management professional with experience in outside and inside sales in various markets. Working as freelancer in the Greater Boston Market, he moved to St. Louis and became an Account Executive, then a Sales Manager managing and coaching 12 sales reps covering a nationwide territory. He has developed his team with a combination of consultative selling and value before price coaching mindset which has won him a President’s Cup and many other financially rewarding awards at RICOH. His most recent role as a Continuous Improvement Manager provided insight into the importance of delivering a quality product in alignment with the value and reputation of his organization. It further enhances the aspect of selling on value as opposed to price.

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Bizreport Advisor adheres to strict editorial integrity standards avoids using tertiary references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research. To ensure the accuracy of articles in Bizreport, you can read more about the editorial process here.

  1. Alterna Savings is rated “Average” with 3.3 / 5 on Trustpilot. Trustpilot. Accessed October 27, 2022. https://www.trustpilot.com/review/www.alterna.ca