A Tangerine Review: All You Need To Know

Posted on February 3, 2021

Canadians pay an average of $100 per year in banking fees. With so much money bleeding out of their accounts, it's no surprise that account holders of all ages are looking for alternatives to their current banking situations. 

Online financial service providers such as Tangerine bank are drawing an increasing amount of interest. But are they really a good choice? Keep reading for our full Tangerine bank review and everything you need to know about making the switch to online, fee-free banking.

Tangerine Bank: A Review

Tangerine Bank was founded in 1997 as ING Direct. It pioneered digital banking and earned a name as one of the best online banks in the business. In 2012, Scotiabank purchased ING Direct and rebranded it as Tangerine. 

Today’s customers benefit from the extensive experience and resources of both the ING expertise in online banking and Scotiabank’s physical infrastructure, such as its generous network of ABMs. 

The combination is a winning one. Tangerine has topped J.D. Power and Associates’ Customer Satisfaction rankings for eight years running. 

Above all else, however, Tangerine is perhaps best known for its no fee daily banking. 

No Fee Daily Banking

In addition to its online model, Tangerine bank first earned fame for its no fee banking. It offers:

  • Unlimited free transactions, including money transfers and ABM withdrawals
  • Unlimited free bill pay transactions
  • No minimum balance requirements on chequing accounts
  • Overdraft protection 
  • Interest on chequing and savings account balances
  • Free cheques

Account holders may be charged a small fee for using out-of-network ABMs. But with about 44,000 Scotiabank ABMs around the world, this is likely to be a rare occurrence.

Account holders may also be charged a five dollar overdraft fee no more than once a month, even if they overdraft multiple times. The fee will occur only if their account is overdrawn and no action is taken to correct it for more than 24 hours.

Tangerine’s “Left to Spend” app feature also helps users avoid overdrafts by showing them how much money they have in their account at any given time. The ability to deposit cheques by app also ensures that users aren’t left waiting for money to hit their accounts. This reduces the risk of overdraft.

Users can also set up “Orange Alerts” to notify them when transactions go through or their balances fall below a set amount.

Other fee-free benefits include:

  • One free “stop payment” on cheques each year
  • One free replacement debit or credit card per year
  • Lower-than-average charges on returned items and out-of-network ABM use

Together these policies can help Canadians save thousands of dollars in fees over the life of their accounts.

Tangerine Mobile Banking

When it comes to good banking, today's customers are looking for more than just no fees. They need banks that understand and accommodate their busy, on-the-go lives. Tangerine recognizes this and meets customers where they are via a robust mobile banking infrastructure. 

Tangerine’s mobile app is designed to give account holders a comprehensive, single-point interface for all their banking needs. The app allows users to perform all the same functions they can on the bank’s website. 

It also enables users to remotely deposit cheques. Just snap a picture and upload it anytime from anywhere. Users can instantly deposit money whenever it is convenient for them with no runs to a brick-and-mortar bank or waiting in line required. 

Seamless Interfacing

Users can seamlessly connect their Tangerine accounts to accounts they hold with other banks for quick money transfers. They can also connect their Tangerine accounts to digital wallets and automatic bill-pay systems.  

All-in-One Functionality

Tangerine keeps a finger on the pulse of modern banking and its cutting-edge features and options reflect that. The bank offers unique options that most Canadians have to download separate apps to enjoy. For example:

  • A “track your spending” feature allows account holders to label and track their spending for easier money management 
  • A round up” feature that helps users auto-save tiny sums every time they spend money for big savings over time
  • Auto-saving functions that make extra deposits into a savings account every time a user-selected event happens, such as their favorite sports team winning a game

These features simplify banking by putting all the functions users need right in their banking app. They can play a key role in helping users achieve their financial goals fuss-free, as well.

Tangerine Chequing Accounts 

Many digital banks offer a limited array of services. Tangerine, by contrast, has the kind of range you’d expect from a traditional brick-and-mortar bank. Its offerings include:

  • Chequing accounts
  • Savings accounts (including TFSAs, RRSPs, RIFs, cash accounts, and US dollar accounts)
  • Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs)
  • Mortgages
  • Personal credit lines
  • Credit Cards 
  • Investment products

With so many options, Tangerine makes it easy to consolidate all of your banking and financial needs under one roof.  Better yet, Tangerine offers all of its products without monthly fees. 

Its chequing accounts are of particular interest to most customers, however. While they come with all the benefits of Tangerine’s no fee daily banking policies, prospective customers often have questions about the logistics of a chequing account when there is no brick-and-mortar bank involved. 

Here are the most common questions and their answers.

Yes! Cheques can be ordered online and delivered straight to your home.

Yes! Both cashier's cheques and wire transfers from your Tangerine chequing account can be ordered online. Cashiers cheques will be delivered straight to your door using a secure delivery company and prompt priority shipping.

Yes! Customers can deposit cash into their Tangerine chequing accounts at their convenience using any of Scotiabank’s 44,000 ABMs worldwide.

It will take about two weeks from the time you open your account for your Tangerine debit card to reach you by mail.

Tangerine’s Amazing Credit Cards

In addition to excellent banking services, Tangerine offers two primary credit cards: the Money-Back Credit Card and the World Mastercard. Both rank among the top credit cards in Canada. 

With a two percent cash-back rate, both are high-return cards. Equally important is the fact that the rewards are customizable. 

Cardholders can choose up to three categories to earn 2% cash back. There are no limits on the amount of rewards card-holders can earn and they can choose to funnel their rewards into:

  • Hitting their savings goals
  • Paying down their credit card balances 
  • Their chequing accounts for more spending money

Money-Back Credit Card’s low minimum income requirements make it ideal for new credit card holders, students, and others looking to build their credit on modest incomes. 

The World Mastercard comes with extra bonuses, including:

  • Free rental car insurance 
  • Free mobile device insurance 
  • Access to LoungeKey Airport Experiences

Both cards work with ApplePay and carry no annual fees.

How do I qualify for a Tangerine Credit Card?

Tangerine Money Back Mastercard Credit Card

To be eligible for a Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card, you must:

  • Have an annual gross income of at least $12,000
  • Be at least the age of majority in your province or territory
  • Be a resident of Canada
  • Have a clean credit history showing no bankruptcies during the last seven years
Tangerine World Mastercard Credit Card

To be eligible for a Tangerine World Mastercard, you must:

  • Be at least the age of majority in your province or territory
  • Be a resident of Canada
  • Have a clean credit history showing no bankruptcies during the last seven years 
  • Have an annual gross income of at least $60,000 OR a gross household income of at least $100,000 OR have a combined total balance of at least $250,000 across all of your Tangerine accounts

Tangerine's Easy Investment Tools 

Tangerine Bank makes money management easy by allowing you to do all your banking in one place. It makes managing your investments doubly easy by providing five simple investment funds to choose from. 

  • Balanced 
  • Balanced Income
  • Balanced Growth
  • Equity Growth
  • Dividend

Each fund is comprised of a combination of:

  • Canadian bonds
  • Canadian stocks
  • US bonds
  • International stocks 

The Balanced fund, for example, is:

  • 70% Canadian bonds
  • 10% Canadian stocks
  • 10% US stocks
  • 10% International stocks

The Balanced Growth fund is comprised of 25% each Canadian bonds, Canadian stocks, US stocks, and international stocks. A flat 1.07% expense applies to each of the funds. This makes them much less expensive than standard bank-managed funds. 

This model puts investing within reach of every bank account holder. It also provides a low-stress, low-risk way to build wealth. 

Tangerine’s guaranteed investment interest rates run from 0.50% to 3.25% depending on the length of the investment. With these high rates and zero fees, they are some of the best investments available. 

High Interest Rates 

Tangerine’s high-efficiency online model enables it to maintain operating costs far below those of its competitors. The company passes those savings along in the form of high interest rates on accounts. 

These include:

  • 2% cash-back on credit cards
  • Up to 0.10% interest on chequing accounts
  • Introductory 2.1% interest on savings accounts, including RSP, RIF, and US dollar accounts 
  • Long-term 0.10% interest on savings accounts (after the first five months’ introductory rate)

Additional promotional rates and bonuses are regularly available, as well. Even at their lowest, Tangerine's interest rates are routinely well above the rates their competitors offer for similar financial products.

Easy Account Sign-up and Sign-up Bonuses

Getting started with Tangerine is quick and easy. You can open an account online with your:

  • Name and contact information
  • Social Insurance Number
  • Basic employment information 

If you sign up using a referral code, you may qualify for a $50 signing bonus. A $100 signing bonus is available to customers who arrange to direct deposit their pay cheques into a Tangerine account. Another $25 bonus is available to customers who enroll in an automatic savings plan program. 

The application is easy to complete and takes less than 10 minutes from start to finish. As enrollment is done online through the website, you can enroll at any time that is convenient for you. 

The Cons of Tangerine Bank 

No establishment is perfect, of course, and Tangerine does have its downsides.

The biggest, unsurprisingly, is that Tangerine has no brick-and-mortar storefronts. This makes it a poor choice for Canadians who:

  • Who prefer banking in person
  • Regularly need cashiers cheques, wire transfers, and other in-person services 
  • Are not comfortable seeking assistance digitally or over the phone 

Tangerine does operate cafes, kiosks, and pop-up locations in Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal. These sites can provide some in-person services to customers in those areas but may be less accessible to others. Customer service for those outside these areas is readily available by phone, by mail, or online, however. 

The other primary downside is that Tangerine does not yet support Android Pay.

Is Now the Right Time to Open a Tangerine Bank Account?

There has never been a better time to open a Tangerine Bank account. According to recent surveys, most Canadians:

  • Choose their banks based on what friends and family use 
  • Keep their bank accounts for an average of at least eight years
  • Use their chequing accounts the most but do the least research on them and their terms before opening a new account

All of these habits are costing them. Never before have Canadians lost as much money on banking fees across the board as they are right now. On average:

  • Millennials have already lost $760 in banking fees 
  • Gen-Xers have already lost $2,800 in banking fees 
  • Baby Boomers have already lost $2,200 in banking fees 

Despite these already high numbers, most Canadian banks continue to raise fees and lower interest rates on their products. This further burdens account holders. It slows wealth creation and saps financial stability. 

This is a very real problem. Government research shows that more than 40% of Canadians are so stressed about their finances that their work performance is declining. 

  • 31% of Canadians feel they are carrying too much debt
  • Only 65% are staying on top of their bills
  • The number of Canadians behind on their bills has quadrupled since 2014
  • Nearly 20% of households spend more than they make each month
  • Nearly 30% of households regularly borrow money to make ends meet

With so much financial pressure already in place, the rewards for switching to financial products that better meet your needs have never been higher. Switching to Tangerine can:

  • Save you time
  • Save you thousands of dollars
  • Lower your financial stress
  • Improve your awareness and control of your financial status 
  • Help you retool your investment strategies and build wealth 
  • Make all your banking accessible from your digital devices

Unless you absolutely need a physical, local bank for some reason, now is the ideal time to make the switch.

Beyond the Tangerine Bank Review

Exploring what Tangerine can do for you is a great first step toward improving your financial health and growing your wealth. Now, move beyond our Tangerine Bank review and explore other ways to save time and get the best rates on all the financial and insurance products in your life. Visit us today to get started to get started on making even more sound investments for your future!

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