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Product Review: Tangerine

** Last Updated: April 2021 **

** This journal is non-profit. You will not find affiliate codes.. nor am I paid by Tangerine or anybody else for my opinions here. Just my two cents. **

#1 Simplii Financial appears to be identical to Tangerine. So everything else on this list should be true of both.

#2 No fees, no minimums, free money transfers, Google/Apple Pay, very user-friendly mobile app. All the normal online stuff you’d expect and it's free.

#3 Tangerine is owned by Scotiabank - meaning it is well stabilized and not poised for takeover or closure. Simplii is owned by CIBC.

#4 While Tangerine appears to be an online-only account, it is still a traditional bank. You get a debit card, cheque book, ATM network and whatnot. While infrastructure is rapidly going digital, it is in my opinion still a good idea to have a fail-safe option. Your phone may go in the fritz or some people just simply want cash for some reason. Having a physical backup is always recommended. It is important to note here that online-only competitors like EQ Bank, PC Money, Wealthsimple Cash and LBC Digital are not equivalent products. Consider these limitations:

  1. EQ Bank cannot be used with Google Pay or any type of point-of-sale transactions. Since it is optimal to use credit cards for purchases anyways, this is a backup that doesn’t exist. You can’t deposit cash either.

  2. PC Money doesn’t accept cash or cheque deposits. 

  3. LBC Digital doesn’t have an app, so cheques must be deposited via ATM. Laurentian Bank (who owns LBC Digital) does have an app with this feature but I cannot tell if the two are compatible. Everything else seems sort of like Tangerine/Simplii but with less convenience (I think?) and no free cheque book.

  4. Wealthsimple Cash can’t really do anything at all except pay friends with e-transfers. However, in their FAQ they have said they will offer very conventional bank stuff, like cheque deposits, a debit card and Google Pay. I’m a huge fan of Wealthsimple so I’ll watch where they take this product and update once it’s a contender (or a bust).

#5 If it's not obvious by now, Tangerine is a solid, well-rounded pick for a bank account. They offer quite literally everything everybody else has to offer and better. Except interest rates (read #6). All other options will almost certainly require a second bank account elsewhere. Why bother?

#6 The interest rate is garbage. However, if you’re looking for great interest rates then you better buy a time machine because none exist. Until we see saving accounts with 4% or higher rates I believe it to be incredibly suboptimal to try and earn money from interest. Canadians are obsessed with interest rates for some reason, so if that’s you go to EQ Bank, LBC Digital or Motive Financial. 

#7 The Orange Key is a decent referral code. If you need to get your family on board with free banking or the topic comes up at your job, get their email and share your Orange Key. You'll both be getting $50 if they open up an account.

#8 While I don’t recommend Tangerine’s other products, their network of products are a somewhat decent 6 out of 10. It might seem less daunting to figure out mortgages or TFSA’s by first checking in with Tangerine’s offerings - and just getting started can be half the battle.

  • I think these offerings are very suboptimal to other solutions I recommend but it might be suitable to somebody with a low risk tolerance and requires plenty of handholding. Plus, the minimalist in me says it’s nice to have everything under one roof but it really is a bad idea. Getting comfortable with something that appears to be much easier (but in reality is only slightly more convenient) is a sunk-cost fallacy waiting to trap you. Just use the chequing account and keep your investments far away, in my humble opinion.

~ Affinity R.M.

Picture: Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

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