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
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.
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:
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
- Business Accounts
- Investment Funds
- Home Equity Line of Credit
- RSP Loan
- Line of Credit
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 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 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.