Even with new up and comers challenging for the title of Best Online Bank in Canada in 2021, for most people it boils down to the two most popular options: Tangerine vs EQ Bank.
Tangerine vs EQ Bank Quick Comparison
Savings Account Long Term Interest Rates
5-Year GIC Rates
2.3% for 3 months
2.1% High Interest Account
Mobile App Rating
Free Interac eTransfer
Free Monthly Transactions
International Money Transfers
Cheap Exclusive Deal with Transferwise
Tangerine does not have a SWIFT/BIC code = Cannot send international transfer.
Credit Card and Cheques
Read Full Review
Tangerine vs EQ Bank – Who’s The Best in Canada?
While Tangerine does offer a couple of convenient features that EQ is still working on, I just don’t like the idea of depending on teaser rates so much. The long-term high interest savings account rate is what Tangerine was built on, and since they have been purchased by Scotiabank, the rate has been cut more and more each year. EQ has the better app, the more user-friendly website, and the MUCH higher long-term interest rate. Those are what’s most important to our way of thinking about online bank accounts.
With their shiny new TFSA and RRSP options (earn 1.25% in your TFSA) EQ Bank is a clear winner in the 2021 Tangerine vs EQ battle.
“We’d rather build your savings than bank branches.” Well played EQ… Well played.
Tangerine vs EQ Bank Interest Rates
When most people are comparing the best online banking options in Canada, the key number is the interest rate. What interest rate can I get in a High Interest Savings Account (HISA)?
There is simply no comparison when it comes to the long-term interest rate.
EQ Bank = 1.25%
Tangerine – 0.10%
EQ has always prioritized their long term savings rate and made sure that it stays at the very top of the Canadian rankings or within spitting distance.
Tangerine on the other hand used to be a market leader in this field back when they were ING Direct. Here’s an old school ING Direct commercial that caused some serious nostalgia for me.
The claim in that commercial, “Your account pays the highest rate – always will!”
Needless to say, that has not been the case since ING was purchased by Scotiabank and became Tangerine. The interest rate has steadily edged downwards ever since that point. Now Tangerine relies on short-term teaser rates to try and get you in the door, and then rely on your inertia to keep you there. It must be a profitable strategy or they wouldn’t continue to do it. I just don’t like the whole idea of “tricking people in the door”.
Massive Winner: EQ Bank
GIC Rates for Tangerine and EQ Bank
It’s not just the high interest savings account rates where EQ Bank beats Tangerine pretty soundly. Below is the comparison table for GICs.
EQ Bank TFSA GICs
EQ Bank GICs
Winner: EQ Bank
Tangerine vs EQ Bank: Fees and Account Charges
Both Tangerine and EQ Bank have built their brands on cutting fees to the bone. You won’t find any Big Bank account fees here. Both Tangerine and EQ have slashed the business expenses associated with branch locations, and pass those savings on to their customers.
While the Tangerine vs EQ bank fee battle is a close one, the edge again goes to EQ, as Tangerine charges an odd inactivity fee that probably won’t apply to many people – but nonetheless looks like a bit of a cash grab. Both companies offer complete freedom from monthly account fees, free unlimited Electronic Fund and Interac Money transfers, as well as free bill payments.
|Monthly Account Fees||Free||Free|
|Inactivity Fee||Free||$10 After One Year, $20 Per Year after that.|
|Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT)||Unlimited & Free||Unlimited & Free|
|Interac Money Transfers||Free||Free|
|Cheques||N/A||First 50 cheques free, $50 for cheques after that. $45 NSF fee.|
Winner: EQ Bank
Tangerine vs EQ Bank: Credit Cards and Cheques
When it comes to overall convenience provided by an online bank account, Tangerine simply can’t be beat. Their banking package allows clients to use debit cards, credit cards, and cheques. EQ Bank simply doesn’t try to compete in these areas.
Instead, what EQ Bank recommends as a maximizing hack, is to choose one of Canada’s best credit cards, then simply have your paycheque deposited in your EQ Savings Plus Bank Account, AND finally set your EQ Account to automatically pay off your chosen credit card balance each month.
This is what I do personally, and it maximizes the interest rate I get on my savings, PLUS optimizes the travel points I can snag on my premium American Express and Scotiabank credit card combination. I cleared roughly $3,200 in travel benefits last year – that is just waiting to be used in 2021!
Winner: Tangerine (Visit Site)
Editor’s note: If your primary focus is finding the best checquing account, Scotiabank is currently the best option by a wide margin. For as long as they have their $300 signup promo running (currently valid until August 31st, 2021), they are clearly the best choice out there. Read Kyle’s Scotiabnak review for a deep analysis of how the current promo massively outvalues any other Canadian bank, including Tangerine.
International Banking With EQ Bank or Tangerine
I was quite surprised to learn that as a “full service online bank” Tangerine does not have the ability to receive payments from abroad. Due to the fact that Tangerine does not have a SWIFT/BIC code, it is useless to people who want to transfer money.
EQ Bank on the other hand really shines when it comes to international banking. As the first bank in Canada to partner with Transferwise (the leading international money transfer company in the world) EQ is able to offer its members the cheapest possible way to convert currencies.
Most people don’t really understand how much banks charge them to convert one currency for another because it’s kind of hidden in the fine print. The basic idea is that banks take a slice on either side of the “mid-market rate” – which is the actual exchange rate you’ll see if you look it up online. The size of those slices depends on the bank, and the currencies being exchanged, but the end result is that most customers end up paying more than 800% more when exchanging through their brokerage than they do with Transferwise!
Massive Winner: EQ Bank (with an assist from Transferwise)
EQ Bank vs Tangerine: What’s Best for You?
This is actually one of the easier head-to-head matchups that we’ve written about recently. The decision tree on how to fit your specific needs is pretty straightforward.
1) If a mediocre credit card, debit card, and few free cheques are important to you, then Tangerine is the right direction.
2) Literally everyone else should choose EQ Bank.
Heading into 2021, the Tangerine vs EQ Bank interest rate battle is now quite one-sided in favour of EQ Bank – our #1 bank in Canada.
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