It shouldn’t come as a shock that more and more Canadians from all generations are taking the time to look into online banking and high interest savings accounts these days.  We’ve gotten over two-dozen emails in the last few weeks asking about our recommendations, as people look for an attractive place to park cash during uncertain times.

While our EQ Bank Review details why it is our top pick for Canada’s best online bank and high interest savings account, the Canadian online banking scene really boils down to a two-horse race between EQ and Tangerine.  Check out our full Tangerine review to see which of the two options is the best fit for you.

Tangerine Bank Rating
  • Initial Savings Account Teaser Rate
  • High Interest Savings Rate
  • No Fee Credit Card
  • GIC Interest Rate
  • Low Bank Fees
  • Ease of Use and Customer Servic
  • Mobile App
  • Account Options
4.3

Summary

Tangerine Bank is a jack of all banking trades, but master of none.  If you’re looking for a single place to have your paycheque deposited, and then to run your life from – while pairing with a better-than-big-banks interest rate – then this is the best option for you.  But if you’re looking for the best high interest and GIC savings options in Canada, then EQ Bank is our top ranked bank in Canada.  It comes down to do you NEED access to Tangerine’s excellent credit card options, mortgages, loans, and RSPs – or are you simply looking for the perfect savings options alongside your current full-service chequing account?



About Tangerine Bank

Tangerine used to be a branch of world banking conglomerate ING Direct; however, in 2012 it was bought by Scotiabank. Despite the changes in both name and ownership, the end goal has remained the same: provide Canadians with a ‘one-stop-shop’ type of online bank with great products and friendly customer service. 

Tangerine Products

As mentioned above, Tangerine Bank aims to be an all-in-one type of bank that seeks to completely replace your previous brick-and-mortar bank while offering a wide variety of products. That being said, their most popular products are their credit cards and high interest savings account. Here’s what makes these products stand out. 

Tangerine Savings Account

The Tangerine Savings account allows account holders to earn 0.25% interest as a regular rate. Occasionally, Tangerine bank offers from enticing promotional offers with a much higher rate. Right now, new clients can earn 2.80% interest for the first 5 months.

While 0.25% definitely isn’t the highest interest rate out there, it’s important to keep in mind that Tangerine Bank has no fees, no service charges, and no minimum balance requirement.  In all honesty, this is what has moved Tangerine from my #1 most recommended online bank, to the second position behind EQ. 

Tangerine Credit Cards

Tangerine Bank now has two credit cards: the Tangerine Money Cash Back Credit Card and the Tangerine World Mastercard.  Both are excellent options:

 

Tangerine Money Back Credit Card

When it comes to free credit cards in Canada, the Tangerine Money Back Credit Card is consistently considered to be the best option on the market. 

So, what makes it such a great pick? Well, customers get to choose two of Tangerine’s money-back categories to earn 2% cash back from. That cash back will then be deposited back to the credit card statement, or, you can choose to deposit it into your Tangerine Savings Account. If you choose the second option, you will get to choose a bonus 3rd money-back category at 2%.

It’s a no-brainer really.  You get to customize your credit card rewards to fit your personal spending profile (and can switch whenever you want), and for making it as quick-and-easy as possible (by connecting it to your Tangerine Savings Account) you get to max out three separate categories!

 These categories are:

  •     Grocery
  •     Furniture
  •     Restaurants
  •     Hotel-Motel
  •     Gas
  •     Recurring Bill Payments
  •     Drug Store
  •     Home Improvement
  •     Entertainment
  •     Public transportation and parking

As for all those other purchases? Don’t worry, you’ll still earn 0.5% cash back.

Sure, it might not be the highest rate for cash back credit cards in Canada, but remember this card is free. Cards with higher rates often come with annual fees of $99 or more.  All you need to qualify for this card is a personal annual income of $12,00 or more.  It’s interest rate clocks in at the standard 19.95%.

Read more about the Tangerine Money Cash Back Credit Card here.

 

 

Tangerine World Mastercard

The Tangerine World Mastercard offers the same earning rates as the Tangerine Money-Back Credit card, but it also has a few more perks and benefits including Mastercard Travel Rewards, Mastercard Airport Experiences province by LoungeKey, Mobile Device Insurance, Rental Car Collision/Loss Damage Insurance and More. 

 Like the Money-Back Credit Card, the Tangerine World Mastercard is also free. However, you do need to have an annual income of $60,000 (or household income of $100,000) to apply for this credit card.  It’s a nice perk for Tangerine’s higher household income customers.

 

Other Tangerine Products

While the products listed above are what Tangerine Bank is best known for, they also offer the following at rates competitive to those across Canada:

  •     Chequing account
  •     GICs
  •     Business Accounts
  •     Mortgages
  •     Investment Funds
  •     Home Equity Line of Credit
  •     RSP Loan
  •     Line of Credit
  •     TSFAs
  •     RSPs
  •     RIFs

Tangerine Fees

One of the aspects that make Tangerine stand out from other banks is the fees. Or rather, the lack thereof. Tangerine’s no-fee chequing and savings accounts (both of which have great interest rates) make this online bank a stand-out on the Canadian market.

That being said, Tangerine isn’t completely fee-free. Some transactions do have a cost. However, when compared to the fees charged by traditional Canadian banking institutions, Tangerine’s fees are much lower.

Tangerine Customer Service

As an online bank, it’s easy to assume that customer service is probably lacking in comparison to a typical brick-and-mortar type of institution. However, Tangerine has a reputation for going above and beyond with their customer service. In fact, Tangerine has consistently received the highest ranking in customer satisfaction for mid-sized banks for several years. 

It’s also really easy to get in touch with the Tangerine customer service team. You can open an online chat, call a 24/7 customer service line, and even reach out online via social media. Depending on where you live, you may even be able to visit one of the Tangerine Cafes to speak to an associate in person. 

Is Tangerine Online Banking Safe?

The idea of online banking makes some people nervous. After all, this is your money and the internet does have a reputation for fraud and scams. However, Tangerine prioritizes customer safety with state of the art security features plus, they are a member of CDIC which means your deposits are insured up to $100,000. 

Tangerine Bank Review: Our Take

Tangerine really shines as the best all-in-one option when it comes to Canada’s online banks – but it’s not really the best in any one category (aside from their free money-back credit card).  

They have TFSA and RRSP investment options (and years ago, they were market leaders in this category) – BUT they’re not nearly as good as what Wealthsimple or Questrade bring to the table.

They have mortgage and loan options similar to traditional banks – but not the lowest in the field.

Finally, the most disappointing aspect of Tangerine’s evolution has been watching their daily interest rate dwindle from being a market leader when the company was first established, to a miniscule .25% in 2020.  Sure, interest rates are down across the board, but there’s just no comparison to the GIC and high interest savings rates that EQ is offering.

If you prefer to conduct most of your financial interactions in a traditional face-to-face manner, then I recommend pairing your corner-bank’s chequing account package with EQ’s long-term attractive interest rate.  If you want to go purely online, I think the best overall strategy is to open an account at both EQ and Tangerine – then use Tangerine for your day-to-day banking + credit card needs, while using free transfers to send your savings over to your EQ account to take advantage of their much higher interest rates.


Kornel Szrejber

Kornel is the host of the Build Wealth Canada Show, and has been featured for paying off his mortgage in only 6 years while still in his 20s, and becoming one of Canada’s youngest retirees at the age of 32. He now runs a top personal finance and investing podcast created specifically for Canadians, as well as Canada’s largest personal finance and investing conference. There he interviews the top personal finance experts to share their best practices, tips and tactics when it comes to investing and financial planning in Canada.

* Interest is calculated daily on the total closing balance and paid monthly. Rates are per annum and subject to change without notice.
† Equitable Bank is a member of CDIC. EQ Bank is a trade name of Equitable Bank.”
 

3 Comments

  1. vin on June 13, 2020 at 8:57 am

    I have been with Tangerine since 2009 ( it was ING then became Tangerine). Everything is awesome with tangerine except the savings rate……..until recently it was pretty competitive then in 2019 /2020 it tanked – yes i know rates went down but for online branchless banks like eq and others can give 1%+ tangerine giving 0.25% is pretty disappointing. I am thinking of throwing my towel and totally moving to EQ.

  2. GYM on June 16, 2020 at 12:14 pm

    Great post. I agree with vin, I like the different ‘accounts’ or ‘savings pots’ that you can open with Tangerine, but the rate is not very good. I like the platform of EQ bank more than Tangerine bank and the promotional rate is great for Tangerine back but I find the ‘regular’ rate not optimal.

  3. jimmbboe on June 16, 2020 at 12:53 pm

    Have used Tangerine for the day to day and EQ for savings for years! Love seeing that extra bit of cash being deposited in my account every month from my cash back credit card :)

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