Tangerine Bank review: Everything you need to know

Tangerine, with its “Forward banking” tagline, is one of the many banking options in Canada. Having a choice is a good thing—but it can be tough to navigate which bank (and its full range of services) is best for you. That’s why, in this complete bank services review, we’re covering all the bases with what Tangerine offers, from chequing to high-interest savings accounts, GICs, TFSAs, RRSPs and much more.

What is Tangerine Bank?

Tangerine, a subsidiary of Scotiabank, is an online bank; meaning it doesn’t operate brick and mortar branches. Or at least they don’t call them branches. Tangerine has five “cafés” in some urban centres; two in Toronto, one in Montreal, another in Vancouver, as well as Calgary. Otherwise, all banking is done online at tangerine.ca, with the Tangerine Mobile Banking App (available on the App Store and Google Play).

The fees, or the lack of, continue to be a big selling point for this bank, which are clearly outlined in an annual schedule. Some of the banking services are free, and the biggest selling point for many is that there are no monthly or annual fees. It’s similar with investments, too. But more about that below.

Who owns Tangerine Bank?

Tangerine, originally known as ING Direct, launched in Canada in April 1997, introducing the country’s first no-fee, high-interest saving account. Scotiabank acquired the online bank in 2012 for $3.1 billion. And in 2014, the name was changed to Tangerine

Scotiabank, also known as the Bank of Nova Scotia and Banque Scotia, first opened on August 29, 1832. Scotiabank is a part of the “Big Five,” the five largest banks in Canada, which also includes the RBC, BMO, CIBC and TD Canada Trust.

 Tangerine Bank’s Chequing Account

Tangerine’s No-Fee Daily Chequing Account offers an interest rate of 0.05% to 0.15%, with no daily chequing fees, which is a big plus. Transactions are free and unlimited, so you shouldn’t have any unexpected fees at the end of the month. You can also set up pre-authorized payments and direct deposits for your paycheque, as well as opt in for overdraft protection ($5 per use with opt-in, or a $45 charge for non-sufficient funds without).

  • Fees: No monthly or annual fees, but there are fees for other services, like drafts
  • Number of transactions: Unlimited
  • Number of Interac e-Transfers: Unlimited
  • Debit card: Yes, unlimited free transactions, and it can be used at ABMs and used for debit purchases
  • Chequebook: First 50 cheques are free; additional chequebooks are $50 each
  • ATM network: Tangerine ABMs and Scotiabank’s Global ATM Alliance ABMs 
  • Mobile app: Yes

Compare Canada’s best chequing accounts*

Tangerine Bank’s Savings Accounts

Tangerine offers five different savings accounts, including its savings, tax-free, U.S.-dollar account, as well as RRSP and RRIF savings.

Tangerine Savings Account

Tangerine’s Savings Account currently comes with a fixed 0.25% interest rate with a limited-time promotional interest rate of 2.80% for the first five months (when you join before July 30, 202). There are no monthly fees or minimum balances.

 Interest rate: 0.25%

Promotional rate: 2.80% for first five months if you open an account before July 30, 2020

Compare Canada’s best high-interest savings accounts*

Tangerine Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA)

The Tax-Free Savings Account from Tangerine* gives you what you may expect from a TFSA – earn interest without taxes, if you keep within the contribution limit of $6,000 per annum or maximum limit of $69,500. A big bonus is that the promotional interest rate offer we just mentioned applies to this account as well. And if your other accounts are with Tangerine, transferring money is easy–no fees.

Interest rate: 0.25%

Promotional rate: 2.80% for first five months if you open an account before July 30, 2020

Tangerine Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP)

Save money for later in life, with the Tangerine Retirement Savings Plan. Again, you’ll notice a pattern by now, there are no monthly fees and a high interest rate at 0.25%. The same promotional offer applies to this account as well.

(Note: Tangerine refers to RRSPs as RSPs, and RRIFs as RIFs.) 

 Interest rate: 0.25%

Promotional rate: 2.80% for first five months if you open an account before July 30, 2020

Tangerine RRIF Savings Account

Like an RRSP, the Tangerine RRIF Savings Account allows you to save for retirement, but at a lower tax rate. And the same promotional interest rate mentioned above applies.

Interest rate: 0.30%

Promotional rate: 2.80% for first five months if you open an account before July 30, 2020

Tangerine US$ Savings Account

The US$ Savings Account from Tangerine is another way to earn high interest (0.20%) on your savings, but with U.S. currency. But you cannot access this account outside of Canada, say for example, when you’re south of the border and need to withdraw cash. 

Interest rate: 0.20%

Promotional rate: 2.80% for first five months if you join before July 30, 2020

Tangerine Bank’s GICs

Tangerine offers five types of GICs: its standard GIC, RRSP, tax-free, U.S. dollar and RRIF. Each offer the interest rate of up to 1.85%, except for the U.S. dollar GIC which is up to 1.20%

 There are no monthly fees for the GICs, and fees are scheduled here. A $125 fee does apply if you transfer funds to another financial institution.

GIC Term GIC Interest Rate (%)
90-day term 0.50%
180-day term 1.50%
270-day term 1.60%
1-year term 1.85%
1.5-year term 1.85%
2-year term 1.70%
3-year term 1.75%
4-year term 1.75%
5-year term 1.80%

Compare Canada’s best GIC rates*

Additional products offered by Tangerine

Tangerine’s additional products include credit cards, loans and lines of credit.

Tangerine Money-Back Mastercard

Tangerine’s Money-Back Mastercard is a cash back credit card with an unlimited 2% cash back. When you set up the card for cash back, you choose three of the following 10 categories: grocery, furniture, restaurants, hotels, gasoline, bills, drug store, home improvement, entertainment, and public transportation/parking. Being conscious of how you habitually spend money will help. There is no annual fee with this credit card, but the interest rate is 19.95%.

Tangerine World Mastercard

The Tangerine World Mastercard offers the same above cash-back deal with no annual fee, and the same interest rate of 19.95%. The difference is, however, in the exclusive key features, such as free Boingo Wi-Fi anywhere in the world, access to Mastercard airport lounges and its travel reward program, insurance (car rental and mobile device), and more. Eligibility is more strict, though, such as gross household income of $100,000 or more and total balances of $250,000 in Tangerine savings or investment accounts.

Line of credit

Tangerine’s Line of credit is a way to borrow money to pay off at your discretion, with a low variable interest rate and no annual fee. 

Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)

Tangerine’s Home Equity Line of Credit lets you borrow against the equity of your home with a 2.35% interest rate. The Fixed Payback Plan of monthly payments is set up so you pay the principal quickly.


With a Tangerine mortgage, you have multiple options for fixed mortgage terms up to ten years (3.09%) and a five-year variable mortgage (2.45%). It is also penalty-free if you move and take your mortgage with you at the current rate, term and amount. 

RRSP loan

To make use of your maximum contribution, Tangerine offers a 3.75% interest rate for an RRSP loan, when used for Tangerine for RRSPs. You can choose between a nine- or 12-month repayment term with no early repayment penalties.

Investment portfolios

When you invest at Tangerine you have five types of investment portfolios to choose from: The Balanced Income, Balanced, Balanced Growth, Dividend and Equity Growth (listed from lowest to highest risk). Each is set up with different allocation models, with varying amounts in Canadian bonds, and Canadian, U.S. and international stocks.

 Investment accounts

Tangerine offers four different investment accounts: RRSPs, TFSAs, non-registered investments and RRIFs. Tangerine’s low-fee approach applies to each (as outlined above), and you only require $25 to start an investment account, excluding RRIFs.

Is Tangerine Bank a good banking option for me?

Tangerine can be ideal for anyone who doesn’t care about visiting a physical bank, but want to support a Canadian-owned business. But the biggest selling point is the low/no fees.

However, if you like personal service from your bank, know that you can contact Tangerine Bank by phone, mail or its bot chat service that responds to key words. The last one isn’t very user friendly, unless you have general inquiries. However, once you’re a client, you have access to a secure chat system when you sign in to your account. It’s managed by both bots and humans, and can access your account information.

Fees and rates are scheduled annually on January 1. So you’ll know what you’re getting into. Also, being a direct bank, Tangerine makes banking easy and convenient and offers options for saving, spending, borrowing and investing. Like most banks in Canada, Tangerine favours clients who have multiple accounts with them, making transactions efficient (and cheaper!). 

If you’re digital savvy and don’t mind managing your money via your smartphone, then you can reap the benefits of attractive interest rates and no/low fees on your savings and chequing accounts, as well as investments, credit cards and loans.

The post Tangerine Bank review: Everything you need to know appeared first on MoneySense.

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