Tangerine’s No-Fee Cash-back MasterCard – The Cash Back King? (2023 Update)
Tangerine MasterCard Rating
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Tangerine’s original no-fee money-back credit card gives cardholders excellent earn rates and the ability to choose which categories earn more cash back. No other card in Canada, besides Tangerine’s World Mastercard, offers this kind of flexibility.
Although Costco purchases do not qualify for accelerated points earning and the card doesn’t offer a particularly generous welcome bonus, the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card is still an excellent no-fee cash-back card and well worth checking out.
- No annual fee
- Earn unlimited cash back
- The ability to choose excellent 2% bonus categories
- Costco earns the base rate of 0.5% cash back
This was originally a guest post by credit card enthusiast and regular reader – Elbyron, written back in 2015. Now, it’s the time to re-evaluate this card and see if it’s still the best cash back card in Canada.
Our no-fee Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card Review takes a detailed look at the ins and outs of this highly praised and much-awarded no-fee cashback credit card. Flexibility is the name of the game for Tangerine’s credit cards, as both cards offer users a unique opportunity to choose the categories that receive bonus rewards.
Is the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card a good fit for you? Let’s take a closer look:
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card Review: The Numbers
Annual Fee: $0. The Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card, like the Tangerine World Mastercard, has no annual fee.
Minimum Income: The Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card has a low annual income requirement of $12,000. This, plus the lack of annual fees, makes it an excellent starter card for students or people who are just starting out and may not qualify for the higher income limits of many other cards.
Interest Rate: 19.95% on purchases, balance transfers, and cash advances.
Tangerine Mastercard Welcome Bonus
Tangerine have a new promotional offer for new clients who sign up for either the Money-Back Credit Card or the World Mastercard. If you apply before January 31, 2023, you’ll be able to earn an extra 15% cashback on all purchases. This promo applies when you spend at least $1,000 on your first 2 months – for a total of $150 in value.
Earn Rate and Rewards
Tangerine boasts the only cards on the market today which allow you to choose your bonus earning categories. Cardholders can tailor the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card to their own needs and habits by choosing two categories out of the following to receive 2% Money-Back Rewards:
- Recurring Bill Payments
- Drug Store
- Home Improvement
- Public Transportation and Parking
Cardholders who elect to have their Money-Back Rewards deposited monthly into a Tangerine savings account can select a third 2% earning category. Check out our Tangerine Bank review for more information about banking with Tangerine.
There is no spending cap on the rewards – you’ll earn 2% cash back on your chosen categories no matter how much you use your card. All other categories earn Money-Back rewards at a rate of 0.5%.
If you realize after opening the card that your choice of categories isn’t working for you, you can make one change at any time. However, if you need to change more than one category, you will need to wait for 90 days after the previous change has been implemented to make the next change, and so on.
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card cardholders receive the following coverage, up to a $60,000 lifetime maximum:
- Purchase Assurance automatically covers purchases against loss, theft, or damage for up to 90 days from the date of purchase.
- Extended warranty coverage may double the period of repair services, up to one year.
The Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card does not provide any travel insurance or rental car coverage.
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card vs. The Competition
If you’re in the market for a no-fee cash-back credit card, there are plenty of excellent choices. In the end, as always, it’s going to come down to personal preferences. During our Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card review process, our editorial team assessed the various offerings on the market to see how they compare:
- The Amex Simplycash card is a no-fee flat-rate card that offers 1.25% cash back on all purchases, period, with no earning limit. It currently has a welcome bonus of 2.5% cashback on all purchases made in the first 3 months (up to $6,000 in spending, which equals $150 cash back).
Verdict: The generous welcome bonus and flat earning rate make this card appealing. However, keep in mind that Amex is not as widely accepted as other credit cards.
- The BMO Cashback Mastercard is a no-fee flexible category cashback card that offers 3% cashback on groceries, 1% on recurring bills, and 0.5% on all other purchases. However, it does have spending caps for the rewards: up to $500/month on groceries, $500/month on bills and up to $1,500/month on everything else.
Verdict: The BMO Cashback Mastercard does have a welcome bonus: 5% cashback on all purchases in the first month, which we appreciate. However the spending limits also apply to the welcome bonus period, which seriously limits the benefits.
- The Rogers World Elite Mastercard is a no-fee Mastercard which offers unlimited 1.5% cash-back on all eligible purchases. It currently offers a welcome bonus of $25 in cash back rewards if you make your first purchase within 3 months of opening your card, and it includes emergency medical travel insurance as well as trip cancellation and interruption insurance.
Verdict: We love a card with travel insurance, not to mention unlimited cash-back potential. However, the downside (for some) of the Rogers World Elite Mastercard is that it has a minimum required income of $80,000 as well as a minimum annual spend of $15,000 to maintain eligibility.
These are just a few of the options—for more information, check out our review of the top cash-back credit cards.
When compared against the rest of the field of no-fee cashback cards, the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card holds up extremely well. The 2% bonus category earning is generous compared to some of the other offerings, especially when paired with unlimited earning potential (unlike the BMO Cashback Mastercard, which caps eligible spending).
We appreciate the unparalleled flexibility of the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card, plus the relatively low minimum income requirement means that it remains an option when other cards may be financially out of reach (for now).
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card vs. Tangerine World Mastercard
When Tangerine released their second no-fee card, the Tangerine World Mastercard, three years after the Money-Back Credit Card, it’s clear that they knew they were already onto a good thing.
When you break it down, the World Mastercard is identical to the Money-Back Credit Card in terms of:
- earn rates
- interest rates
- reward structure
- zero annual fees
The first notable difference is the required minimum income ($60,000 personal/$100,000 household income for the Tangerine World Mastercard vs. $12,000 for the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card).
The Tangerine World Mastercard also offers additional perks associated with Mastercard (airport lounge access, international WIFI hotspots, and rental car insurance). If you have the required income, it doesn’t hurt to apply for the World Mastercard, but really, if the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card is more within your reach financially, you’re not losing out on much.
You can read our full Tangerine World Mastercard review for more detailed information about the card.
The Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card Review: Things to consider
When you’re looking for a good no-fee cashback card you need to consider a number of factors:
- What do you use the card for?
- How much are you likely to spend?
- Do you want any kind of extra insurance coverage?
Depending on your specific circumstances, one card may come out on top that wouldn’t for another shopper.
That being said, the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card stands up well to the competition and is well worth considering. And its $0 annual fee and lower annual income requirement make it a good bet for just about anyone.
One strategy for maximizing cash-back possibilities would be to use the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card for purchases in your three bonus categories only, and to use another card with a higher base rate for other purchases. A card like the Amex SimplyCash card would give you twice the cash back on purchases outside the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card’s bonus categories.
Tangerine No Fee Mastercard Review: FAQ
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card Review: Final Verdict
In a world where most bonus category cashback credit cards dictate which categories can earn you more money, the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card (and the Tangerine World Mastercard with it) stands out as the card with the most flexibility. You can design the card to save you money exactly where you spend the most.
The Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card is praised by industry experts and appreciated by consumers for its flexibility and lack of both fees and caps on earning.
The base rate of 0.5% cashback is relatively low and the lack of a significant welcome bonus is unfortunate, but this card is still a strong contender in the ranks of no-fee cashback cards.
In addition, your earning potential could be increased by using the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card in tandem with another card that has a higher base rate for purchases outside the Money-Back card’s bonus categories.
The official MDJ one-sentence Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card review: Worth a solid look, excellent no-fee option (especially for lower income levels).