Outlook Financial Review

Outlook Financial Review

Written by Bryan Daly
Fact-checked by Caitlin Wood
Last Updated August 27, 2021

Today, most banking is done online. From credit card payments, deposits and withdrawals to major investments and expenditures, almost every bank transaction is possible with an app or web account. What’s more, there are now many alternative banking institutions outside of Canada’s Big 5

The only problem is figuring out which bank or credit union works the best for you. Looking for your next online banking company? Why not try Outlook Financial?

Who Is Outlook Financial?

Outlook Financial was launched in 2000 and is a division of one of Canada’s most esteemed financial co-operatives; Assiniboine Credit Union. Based in Manitoba, they offer most of the same services and products as a regular bank, only they do all their business online. As such, Outlook Financial is able to save a lot of money in overhead costs, which leads to a decent amount of savings for their customers.

What Products Does Outlook Financial Offer?

Outlook Financial offers a range of savings and investment accounts that feature some of the best interest rates and flexibilities on the Canadian banking market.    

At Outlook Financial, you can open a variety of savings accounts, such as:  

High-Interest Savings Account (HISA)

If you want to save money and accumulate interest over the years, this account features competitive rates for every dollar you deposit, no matter what your actual balance is. It also allows you to make debit card payments, write cheques and pay bills online, all with:

  • High-interest rates (1.1% return)
  • Interest calculated daily and paid back monthly
  • Zero monthly account fees 
  • Zero minimum balance limit
  • 1 free debit transaction per month
  • 100% guaranteed protection 

Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA)

The Outlook Financial TFSA allows you to make withdrawals, invest money and generate interest free of tax, as long as your funds aren’t currently locked in for a specific maturity period or being used for loan security. Other notable features of this account include:

  • $6,000 yearly contribution limit (plus unused funds from past years)
  • Any adult who’s over the age of majority and has a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN) can qualify
  • No effect on a person’s eligibility for federal income benefits/credits, like Employment Insurance (EI), Guaranteed Income Supplements (GIS) or Old Age Security (OAS) 

Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP)

If you’d prefer to save money for the future, an RRSP shelters your funds from tax until you withdraw, typically when you retire at age 65. However, you’re allowed to contribute to the account until December 31 of the year you turn 71. RRSPs are also great because:

  • Anyone with employment income and a tax return can contribute
  • There are no minimum age requirements to open an account
  • You can choose an individual or joint/spousal account
  • Annual contributions can reduce taxable income when declared
  • Yearly contribution limits increase periodically 
  • Unused contributions can be rolled over for years to come 
  • Funds can be used to qualify for government programs, like the RRSP Home Buyers Plan or the Lifelong Learning Plan 

Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF)

A RRIF also allows you to save money in a tax-sheltered account until the end of your 71st year, only you’re meant to sit on the funds until after you retire. You can then make withdrawals at any time. Here are some other things to know about an Outlook Financial RRIF:

  • You can convert your RRSP to an RRIF once you’re ready to retire
  • Your first withdrawal must be made before the end of your 72nd year
  • Your account will have a minimum yearly withdrawal amount that you must surpass (but you can withdraw as much as you need)
  • If you have a younger spouse or common-law partner, you can extend your RRIF by withdrawing according to their age 

Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GIC)

Otherwise known as a Term Deposit, a GIC is a type of secure investment, meaning any funds in the account are guaranteed to see interest growth over time. You can also invest in a Guaranteed Investment Certificate using your RRSP, TFSA, or RRIF. 

As of May 2020, essential features of a GIC from Outlook Financial include: 

  • Minimum deposit limit of $1,000 
  • Zero monthly account fees
  • Cashable investment terms of 1 to 5 years
  • Compound interest rates ranging from 1.15% to 1.70%
  • Option to reinvest interest back into GIC or yearly payments to your HISA
  • Funds must stay in the account for a full term and can’t be redeemed early
  • Once the payout date is reached, there is no maximum withdrawal limit

Interest is calculated and paid out on the account’s maturity date, as well as each 12-month anniversary date. Here are Outlook Financial’s current yearly GIC rates: 

Fixed GIC Term (Non-Registered, TFSA, RRIF, RRSP)Compound Interest Rate
1 Year1.15%
2 Year1.35%
3 Year1.45%
4 Year1.55%
5 Year1.70%

What Does It Cost To Open An Account With Outlook Financial?

Before you sign up for any bank account, it’s important to confirm how much it costs to maintain. Normally, the more benefits you want, the more expensive the account is. But, costs can also vary according to the number of transactions and services you use.  

For example, here are some of the main costs that you’re likely to encounter when you open a High-Interest Savings Account with Outlook Financial: 

$5.00 Initiation Fee – To become an official Outlook Financial member, you’re required to purchase a $5.00 share in the Assiniboine Credit Union (one-time).

$1.00 Per Transaction – A High-Interest Savings Account gives you one free debit transaction per month. Afterward, an additional fee of $1.00 is applied to:

Depending on what type of account you have and how you use it, there are many other standard fees that you could be charged overtime, including but not limited to:

  • Debit card replacement = $10.00
  • US or international withdrawal fee = $3.50
  • Non-sufficient funds (NSF) overdraft = $5.00
  • Non-sufficient funds (NSF) return = $40.00
  • Closing account within 3 months of opening = $15.00
  • Manitoba non-credit union ATM withdrawal = $2.00
  • Full-Service transfer (Using Outlook Representative) = $5.00

Keep in mind, these are just some of the predictable costs that you could encounter with a basic savings account from Outlook Financial. Visit their website to download a full list of the account costs you may be charged as a union or non-union member.

Benefits Of Outlook Financial

As you can see, there are plenty of things to enjoy about Outlook Financial, like:

  • Zero Monthly Fees – When opening your account, you’ll have to pay a one-time membership initiation fee. From that point on, you should only be charged for specific transactions (apart from your free monthly debit) and penalties.
  • Good Interest Rates – One of the best things about Outlook Financial is that their savings and GIC accounts have competitive interest rates. In fact, Outlook Financial currently offers some of the highest rates in the country.  
  • Easy Application & Requirements – It only takes a few minutes to apply for an online bank account with Outlook Financial. Plus, their approval requirements are somewhat easier than many other top-tier banks and credit unions in Canada.
  • Zero Minimum Balances (Savings Accounts) – You don’t need to maintain a specific balance to qualify for a savings account, unlike most mainstream banks and credit unions, where you get penalized for going below your monthly limit.  
  • Safe & Easy Transactions – Not only are Outlook Financial deposits 100% insured without limit by the Deposit Guarantee Corporation of Manitoba, the debit card you get with your account lets you make speedy, secure withdrawals. 

Drawbacks Of Outlook Financial

Despite the benefits that Outlook Financial offers its members, there are a few notable downsides that you should be aware of before you open an account, such as:

  • No Service Points – Outlook Financial is better for clients who are comfortable doing all their banking online or over the phone. Their company doesn’t have any physical branches.
  • Extra Fees May Apply – After you’ve used your free monthly debit transaction, it costs at least $1.00 for most other transactions, including penalties and a $1.00 minimum startup deposit. Very few services are free, even for members.
  • GICs Have Minimum Deposit Requirements – If you want to put your money in a Guaranteed Investment Certificate, you’ll need a deposit of at least $1,000. That’s a lot of money, even if your investment is as secure as the bank claims.
  • No Free Accounts – $5.00 isn’t pricey but it’s still a mandatory fee that you might not want to pay. If you keep a minimum balance, other banks and credit unions may offer accounts with better benefits, free services and no monthly fees.

How To Open An Account With Outlook Financial 

Another great benefit of Outlook Financial is that its application process is fast, simple and involves few requirements. To qualify for a savings account, you must: 

  • Be 18 years of age or older
  • Have a valid email address & Social Insurance Number
  • Have an active bank account with another Canadian financial institution
  • Buy your $5.00 membership fee (a share in the Assiniboine Credit Union)

To complete the six-step application process, you’ll have to enter your: 

  1. Personal Information (name, address, birth date, citizenship)
  2. Contact Information (phone number, email address, security question)
  3. Employment Information (industry, occupation, employer)
  4. Account Details (initial deposit, intended use for the account)
  5. First Deposit ($5.00 membership fee + $1.00 minimum startup deposit)
  6. Terms & Conditions Agreement (third-party account details, consent) 

Once you’ve filled out your information, just click “Submit” and you should receive notice from Outlook Financial soon after. During the application process, you’ll also have the option of adding a co-applicant or larger initial deposit amount.

How To Deposit Money Into Your Account

There are 5 ways you can deposit money into an Outlook Financial savings account:

  • Using an ATM – You can deposit money virtually or physically using any ATM that accepts Acculink credit union transactions. 
  • With Direct Deposit – If you want to generate interest on your income, an employer or government provider can send payments directly to your account. 
  • By Mobile Remote Deposit Capture For added convenience, the Outlook Financial app allows you to deposit cheques by tablet or smartphone capture.     
  • By Interac e-Transfer – If you don’t have direct deposit or the Outlook Financial mobile app, you can also transfer and accept money by email or text message. 
  • By Me2Me (Me-to-Me) Transfer – You can deposit money from other financial accounts into your Outlook Financial account once you’ve linked them. 

Outlook Financial FAQs

Is Outlook Financial safe?

While the Assiniboine Credit Union doesn’t technically manage Outlook Financial, they will hold any money that you deposit in your account. Since the ACU is a longstanding institution with strict security measures, this ensures the utmost when it comes to protecting your privacy, financial information and identity.  Additionally, any deposits you make (including the interest they generate) are 100% insured by the Deposit Guarantee Corporation of Manitoba.  

What are my ATM withdrawal limits as a member of Outlook Financial?

When withdrawing money from an ATM that accepts Outlook Financial cards, you may encounter the following cash limits:
  • Standard Limit = $400 Canadian Dollars (CAD) per day
  • Standard Debit Card Purchase Limit = $1,500 CAD per day  

Why do I have to pay to become a member?

To be a member of Outlook Financial, you need to buy a $5.00 share in the Assiniboine Credit Union. While this can be a pain, membership means you’re allowed to vote and share your opinions on how the credit union is managed, who speaks for you on the Board of Directors and how your money gets reinvested into the organization.

Bottom Line

If you’re interested in opening a high-interest savings account or investment account, it doesn’t get much better than Outlook Financial. Safe, simple and effective, they can help you grow your savings and invest in your future for a low starting price of $5.             

Bryan is a graduate of Dawson College and Concordia University. He has been writing for Loans Canada for five years, covering all things related to personal finance, and aims to pursue the craft of professional writing for many years to come. In his spare time, he maintains a passion for editing, writing screenplays, staying fit, and traveling the world in search of the coolest sights our planet has to offer. Bryan uses the BMO Cash Back Mastercard to earn cash back on everything from boring bill payments to exciting excursions. He is also a strong saver, holding both a TFSA and an RRSP account in order to prepare for his future while taking full advantage of tax benefits.

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