Finance, Personal

AcceleRate Financial Review 2022: Is It Worth It?

Credit unions have been one of the best alternatives to banks due to their low-cost services and competitive interest rates on savings and credit-related products.

While they usually have limited offerings and branches, credit unions tend to be cost-saving as they share their profits with their members who own them.

AcceleRate Financial is one of the best online credit unions in Canada with competitive interest in savings and GICs. 

Like online-only banks, AcceleRate Financial doesn’t also charge monthly fees or deposit fees, nor does it require a minimum account balance. 

But is AcceleRate perfect for you? What are the pros and cons of AcceleRate Financial? Who is eligible to join AcceleRate Financial? 

To help you make an informed decision, this AcceleRate Financial review covers everything you need to know about the credit union including how it compares.

AcceleRate Financial Review

Who is AcceleRate Financial?

AcceleRate Financial is an online-only credit union operating as a division of Access Credit Union. AcceleRate was founded in 2010 to offer a convenient online banking experience with high-interest rates and excellent customer service.

The credit union offers high-interest savings accounts and GICs that are available in registered and non-registered accounts. 

Deposits and interest on AcceleRate Financial are covered 100% by the Deposit Guarantee Corporation of Manitoba (DGCM).

By joining AcceleRate Financial, you will automatically become a member and shareholder of Access Credit Union with just a $5 share investment.

Keep reading to learn more about what AcceleRate Financial entails to decide if it’s perfect for you. 

Is AcceleRate Financial Safe?

AcceleRate Financial is safe as per the standard of online-only credit unions in Canada. First, the credit union uses multiple security measures to protect your information on its platform. This includes: 

  • Protective firewalls
  • International-level Information Security Management Systems
  • Login Authentication
  • Automatic logout banking session following 15 minutes of inactivity

In addition, deposits and interests on AcceleRate are guaranteed 100% by the Deposit Guarantee Corporation of Manitoba (DGCM).

As a division of Access Credit Union, joining AcceleRate Financial will give you a sense of banking with a highly managed credit union in Canada.

Who Owns AcceleRate Financial?

AcceleRate Financial is currently owned by Access Credit Union, a full-fledged credit union in Winnipeg with over 168,000 members, 

Access Credit Union has over $10.15 billion in assets under management, 52 branches, and 795+ employees.

Based on its 2020 profits, Access Credit Union distributed $8.2 million as cashback to its members in 2021.

When AcceleRate Financial was founded in 2010, it operated under Crosstown Civic Credit Union. Following the merger of Crosstown Civic Credit Union with Access Credit Union in 2021, AcceleRate Financial became a division of Access Credit Union.

On July 1, 2022, Access Credit Union merged with Sunova Credit Unions and Noventis. This makes Access Credit Union one of the largest credit unions in Canada.

Currently, Access Credit Union is planning to merge with Casera, Carpathia, and Amaranth credit unions. 

AcceleRate Financial Products 

AcceleRate Financial offers two financial products — savings and GICs. The following is a brief overview of each of the products.

1. AcceleRate Savings Account

This is a high-interest savings account with a 2.85% interest rate that accumulates daily. The high-interest rate also applies to the AcceleRate registered accounts (TFSA, RRSP and, RRIF).

As with other HISAs of online-only credit unions, the AcceleRate high-interest savings account doesn’t have a minimum balance, monthly fees and deposit fees.

The AcceleRate savings account also offers access to a free debit card and free personal cheques.

Finally, your savings and interest earnings on the account are 100% covered by the Deposit Guarantee Corporation of Manitoba (DGCM).

2. AcceleRate Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs)

AcceleRate also provides non-redeemable guaranteed investment certificates (GICs) that are available in registered and non-registered accounts.

The AcceleRate GICs don’t have monthly fees and they are available in 1-7 terms with a 100% investment guarantee by the DGCM.

The minimum investment amount on the AcceleRate non-registered account is $1,000 and the minimum investment for registered accounts is expressed below: 

  • $1,000 on TFSA GIC
  • $500 on RRSP GIC
  • $500 on RRIF GIC

That being said, below are the current registered and non-registered GIC rates of AcceleRate Financial.

1-Year 4.40%
2-Year 4.40%
3-Year 4.55%
4-Year 4.75%
5-Year 5.00%
6-Year 5.00%
7-Year 5.00%

Unlike other financial institutions, AcceleRate offers a 14-day rate guarantee for new investments and another 14-day rate guarantee for term renewal.

AcceleRate Financial Rates 

AcceleRate Financial has two different types of rates as of the time of writing. That’s, savings rate and GIC rate.

As of September 19, 2022, the AcceleRate savings rate is 2.85%. This rate applies to both registered and non-registered savings accounts. Compared to other HISAs in Canada, Accelerate has one of the most competitive savings rates.

Within the same time frame (September 19, 2022), Accelerate Financial offers the following GIC rates on registered and non-registered GICs.

1-Year 4.40%
2-Year 4.40%
3-Year 4.55%
4-Year 4.75%
5-Year 5.00%
6-Year 5.00%
7-Year 5.00%

Again, the AcceleRate GIC rates are among the best in Canada. Bear in mind that both the savings and GIC rates can change at any time without notice.

AcceleRate Financial Fees

Like other online credit unions in Canada, AcceleRate doesn’t charge monthly fees or deposit fees.  

In addition, Accelerate doesn’t charge fees for a personal cheque order and the first transaction per month. There’s also no fee on transfers between AcceleRate accounts and Credit Union ATM deposits and inquiries (ACCULINK).

This is expected since online credit unions have low operational costs compared to brick-and-mortar credit unions. 

However, AcceleRate has the following fee schedule which has been in effect since September 1, 2022. 

Additional debit per month$1
Credit Union ATM withdrawals and transfers (ACCULINK)$1
INTERAC e-transfer$1 to send and free to receive
Bill payments$1 plus a $1.00 monthly fee
NSF withdrawal$50
Incoming wire$15
Outgoing wire$15 (Canadian financial institutions) $25 (US financial institutions) and $40 (international institutions)
Membership closure$10 (for a closing account within 3 months of opening)

Click here to learn more about AcceleRate Financial fees. 

The AcceleRate fees are also subject to change at any time. Compared to other online credit unions, the AcceleRate fees are on the high side.

AcceleRate Financial Pros and Cons

So far we have discussed what AcceleRate Financial entails. By now you must have noticed some of its pros and cons. Let’s take a brief look at them below: 


  • High-interest rates: No doubt, AcceleRate rates on savings and GICs compete significantly with other rates out there. 
  • GIC rate guarantee: Accelerate offers a 14-day rate guarantee for new investments and another 14-day rate guarantee for term renewal. This is uncommon among most financial institutions in Canada.
  • No minimum balance: The AcceleRate high-interest savings account doesn’t require a minimum balance, allowing you to save at your own pace.
  • Freebies: AcceleRate doesn’t charge fees for monthly maintenance or deposits.   personal cheque order, the first transaction in a month and fees on other services.
  • Ultimate deposit protection: Your deposits and earnings on AcceleRate are 100% guaranteed by DGCM.
  • Helpful calculators: AcceleRate offers helpful calculators for determining deposit value and future savings deposits.
  • Wide coverage: Unlike many financial institutions in Canada, AcceleRate is available in all parts of the country including Quebec.


  • Limited products: Although this is common among many credit online unions in Canada. So if you’re looking for a full-fledged financial institution, you have to look elsewhere. 
  • High fees: AcceleRate charges fees on debits, receiving e-Transfers and so many other services that are not available elsewhere.
  • Minimum initial deposit: When opening an AcceleRate Financial account, you will be required to make a minimum initial deposit of $100 through which AcceleRate will deduct the one-time membership fee of $5.

How to Open an AcceleRate Financial Account

You can open an AcceleRate Financial account within a few minutes online. But before you can open an AcceleRate Financial account, you must: 

  • Reach the age of 18 or older
  • Have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN)
  • Have an account from another Canadian financial institution with a personalized cheque 
  • Fill out the declaration of tax residency form attached to your application
  • Be willing to make a minimum initial deposit of $100 (out of which AcceleRate will deduct a one-time membership fee of $5 to make you a shareholder of Access Credit Union)

Once you meet the above eligibility, you can proceed to open an AcceleRate Financial account through the following steps:

  • Click this link to visit the application page 
  • Provide your personal details (full name, phone number, email address and postal code) 
  • Select your province
  • Select your favourite account 
  • Read and accept the AcceleRate Financial terms and conditions 
  • Follow the prompts to complete your application

In the process of the application, you will be required to provide your SIN and a copy of a valid personal photo ID such as:

  • Passport
  • Valid Driver’s License
  • Provincial Enhanced
  • ID Card

Note that you can also open an AcceleRate account through mail. All you need is to download the membership application form here and send it to the following mail:

  • PO Box 1860 Stn Main, Winnipeg, MB R3C 3

If you require any clarification or assistance during the application process, you can contact AcceleRate support centre on phone at 1-888-954-9543 or email them at [email protected].

How AcceleRate Financial Compares

While AcceleRate Financial ranks as one of the best online-only credit unions in Canada, you have better options to consider.

As noted in the introductory parts of this review, credit unions usually have limited offerings compared to banks. As such, we have to focus on other factors when determining the best alternative credit union to AcceleRate.

Below I present the best alternatives to Accelerate Financial based on interest rates, fees, minimum initial deposit and other factors

AcceleRate Financial vs Saven Financial

Key FeaturesAcceleRate FinancialSaven Financial
Year founded20102021
Parent companyAccess Credit UnionFirstOntario Credit Union
Membership fee$5$25
Minimum deposit on account opening$100None
ProductsHISAs and GICsHISAs and GICs
Interest on savings2.85%3.50%
Cheque availabilityYesNo
Debit cardYesNo
1-year GIC rate4.40%4.80%
Monthly feeNoneNone
Interac e-Transfer fee$1 to send and free to receiveNone
NSF fee$50$50
Areas coveredAll parts of CanadaOntario
Deposit protectionDeposit Guarantee Corporation of Manitoba (DGCM)Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA)
Mobile appNoYes

Saven Financial is a relatively younger online credit union that was launched in 2021. It operates as the online division of FirstOntario Credit Union, one of Ontario’s leading credit unions.

AcceleRate and Saven share more differences than similarities. Both online credit unions offer high-interest savings accounts and GICs with no monthly fees or deposit fees.

However, Saven has higher interest rates than AcceleRate Financial. Saven offers 3.50% interest on savings compared to the 2.85% rate on AcceleRate. Below is a highlight of how the two credit unions differ in GIC rates.

TermAcceleRate FinancialSaven Financial
1-Year 4.40%4.80%
2-Year 4.40%4.85%
3-Year 4.55%4.90%
4-Year 4.75%4.90%
5-Year 5.00%5.00%

In addition to that, Saven doesn’t require a minimum initial deposit, unlike AcceleRate. Although Saven has a relatively high membership fee of $25.

Moreso, Saven doesn’t charge e-Transfer fees and it has online and mobile banking access, making it more flexible.

Notwithstanding, AcceleRate Financial outshines Saven Financial in terms of cheque and debit card availability.

Additionally, Saven is only available in Ontario while AcceleRate is available in all parts of Canada.

Finally, deposit and interest on AcceleRate Financial are covered 100% compared to the limited $250,000 coverage on Saven Financial.

AcceleRate Financial vs Achieva Financial

Key FeaturesAcceleRate FinancialAchieva Financial
Year founded20101998
Parent companyAccess Credit UnionCambrian Credit Union
Membership fee$5None
Minimum deposit on account opening$100None
ProductsHISAs and GICsHISAs and GICs
Interest on savings2.85%2.95%
Cheque availabilityYesYes
Debit cardYesYes
1-year GIC rate4.40%4.50%
Monthly feeNoneNone
Interac e-Transfer fee$1 to send and free to receive
NSF fee$50$45
Areas coveredAll parts of CanadaAll parts of Canada
Deposit protectionDeposit Guarantee Corporation of Manitoba (DGCM)Deposit Guarantee Corporation of Manitoba (DGCM)
Mobile appNoYes

Achieva Financial,  a division of Cambrian Credit Union, is one of the oldest online credit unions in Canada having been established in 1998.

Like AcceleRate, Achieva also offers HISAs and GICs with competitive interest rates. Both credit unions offer cheques and debit cards and they are available for all residents of Canada. 

Deposits and interests on both Achieva and AcceleRate credit unions are also covered 100% by DGCM.

That being said, the two online credit unions differ considerably. Achieva Financial has a higher savings interest of 2.95% with competitive GIC rates as shown below: 

TermAcceleRate FinancialAchieva Financial
1-Year 4.40%4.50%
2-Year 4.40%4.55%
3-Year 4.55%4.70%
4-Year 4.75%4.80%
5-Year 5.00%5.00%

Unlike AcceleRate, Achieva doesn’t require a minimum initial deposit and membership fee when opening an account with it. 

With online and mobile banking access, you will find Achieva Financial more flexible than AcceleRate Financial.

But as with online banks, it’s essential to have a comprehensive view before choosing an online credit union. This involves considering your banking needs, and the following factors: 

  • Products
  • Account type (registered and non-registered) 
  • Fees
  • Interest rates
  • Accessibility
  • Account limits  

Verdict on AcceleRate Financial Review

No doubt, AcceleRate Financial is a leading online credit union in Canada that competes significantly with other financial institutions in the country.

However, I wouldn’t recommend AcceleRate Financial for serious savers and those looking for a low-cost full-fledged online bank.

If you’re looking for a combo, I will suggest you go with Saven Financial and your favourite financial institution. 

But if you’re just starting or looking to switch to a better financial institution, you can’t go wrong with one of these best online banks in Canada

Hopefully, this AcceleRate Financial review improved your understanding of the credit union. If you need more clarification, kindly notify me in the comment or reach out to our expert team at [email protected]

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About John Adebisi

John Adebisi is a CPA, FCCA and MBA holder with a Bachelor's degree in Accounting & Finance. He has over a decade of experience in writing personal and business finance content for audiences across North America, Europe, the UK and Africa. In addition to his writing experience, he also has a strong background in financial research and analysis, giving him a unique perspective of the financial markets. John derives pleasure in helping people make smart financial decisions, and he believes that knowledge and experience can be valuable resources for anyone who wants to learn how to manage their money.

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