Tangerine Bank Review: 2020 Updated

Whether you are an earning member of the workforce or a student training to enter the workforce, no part of your day is complete without money. For your daily needs and requirements, it is important to have a bank account that will allow you to park your money safely and withdraw when the need arises. Now, the merits of banking do not need explaining. Most people understand the importance of a bank account and the need to find a bank that offers a good interest rate which will keep your money on terms favorable to you. The quest for finding that bank, however, is not always easy. There are a volley of fees and charges you may have to incur when you open a bank account. You may also be required to maintain a minimum account balance to use the account for your everyday needs. At times, these requirements may seem excessive and not everybody can keep up with them. Your savings take a hit and your daily spending limit is curbed though expenses do not reduce. Tangerine Bank is a Canadian bank that is fast gaining a reputation for being an easy and friendly bank to do business with. The bank offers several features that make it easy to do daily banking with it. What are these features and do they really deliver what they promise? The following review is an attempt to find out exactly that.

What Is Tangerine Bank?

Tangerine Bank is a Canadian direct bank that operates as Tangerine. The bank is a subsidiary of Scotiabank and is headquartered in Toronto, Canada. The bank prides itself on being user friendly and is one of the few financial services establishments that offer no-fee chequing and savings accounts. The bank offers a few different account options and makes several attractive deals for clients to enjoy the benefits 0f.

The bank was acquired by the Bank of Nova Scotia or Scotiabank in 2012. Before this, Tangerine Bank was known as ING Direct, Canada. Founded in 1997, the bank formerly operated as a telephone banking service that offers savings accounts. Today, it is gaining a fairly positive reputation as a bank that provides unique features and makes banking, online or otherwise, easier. But do the features the bank offers really make banking that much more convenient? The following review will help unpack what the bank has to offer and whether it is truly of value.

How Does It Work?

Tangerine Bank has a more or less straightforward way of working. When you sign up with the bank, you can select among the many account options it offers. The following are some of the common steps you will need to follow to set up an account with the bank and enjoy its services.

Account Options

There are a few different account options you can choose from when it comes to banking with Tangerine Bank. The following are the account options you have:

No-Fee Chequing Account

Tangerine Bank is one of the few establishments that offers convenient no-fee chequing accounts. You can avail the benefits of no-fee daily chequing and also earn interest on every dollar that goes into your account. If you apply for it, you can also get Overdraft Protection, apart from availing free access to 3,500 ABMs (automated banking machines).

No fees mean that you are exempted from paying fees on unlimited debit transactions, on bill payments and on automated transactions. You can also avail free Tangerine email money transfers with a no-fee chequing account.

High-Interest Savings Account

There are a variety of savings accounts where you can keep your money. There is the opportunity to earn high interest on these savings accounts so you will be earning money even as it stays safely in your bank account. There are regular savings accounts, tax-free savings accounts, RSP savings accounts, US$ savings accounts, and RIF savings accounts.

In a chequing account, Tangerine pays an interest of 0.15% on account balances under $49,999. However, it may be a better idea to keep balances more than $49,999 in a savings account. This way, you have the opportunity to earn a higher interest rate while also building your savings. If you want to use the money in your savings account, you can always transfer it to your chequing account. You can also set up automatic transfers from your Tangerine chequing account into your savings account, every month. The bank has also introduced a new goal feature which allows you to track how much you have saved as well as projected savings, giving you a proper incentive to save for a specific goal.

Investing Account

You can also choose to create an investment account. There are four types of investment accounts you can open with Tangerine Bank — Tax-Free Investment Funds (TFSA), RSP Investment Funds (RRSP), Non-Registered Investment Funds and RIF Investment Funds. The last type of account can be converted into an RSP when you retire.

When you sign up for any of these accounts, you can choose from the five investment funds that Tangerine offers.

Each fund levies a flat 1.07 percent management expense ratio. If you are engaged with a robo adviser the fee may be lower but what Tangerine is charging is still lower than what you would pay for most funds at a different bank.

The process of investing in a fund and putting your money on the market is also fairly straight forward. You only need to open an online account, fill out a form and then choose the fund you want to invest in. There are also designated guides who will help you navigate your investments so there are no confusions about whether your money is going to the right places.

Common Fees

Though there are options for no-fee savings and chequing accounts, there are still some common fees that you will be charged, depending on the services you have availed. The following are a list of the common fees you may be charged if you opt for a few specific services:

  • Interac e-Transfers — $1.00
  • NSF Fee — $40
  • Overdraft Fee — $5 per use
  • Canadian Drafts — $10
  • Non-Tangerine/Scotiabank ATM (but within Canada) — $1
  • Non-Scotiabank ATM (foreign) — $2
  • Stop Payments — Free once a year, $10 every subsequent time
  • Checkbooks (50 cheques) — the first checkbook is free, $20 per book after


One of the most important features that a bank should provide is the ease of borrowing. In taking out a mortgage, the bank assures you of getting a great rate upfront. You will also get a dedicated account manager who will help you navigate the process of borrowing and make it less stressful for you. There are also meant to be flexible prepayment options.

You can also take out RSP loans and borrow what is required from the bank for topping up your RSP contribution. This allows you to make use of your RSP tax benefits. The bank guarantees you a great rate, offers flexible prepayment options and has no fees or service charges.

There is also a home equity line of credit which allows you to borrow at a low interest rate by making use of the equity you have managed to build in your home. You are promised a low rate of interest, a fixed payback plan and online access around the week.

Documents Required

To sign up with Tangerine Bank, you will be asked to provide certain documents and information. Any bank is required by law to ask for this information. Some of the common requirements include:

  • Contact Information: This includes your street address, phone number, and email address.
  • Social Security Number
  • Orange Key: This will be provided to you if you have been referred to the bank by another member or if you were led to the bank via a promotion offer.
  • Employment Information


Above the basic provisions offered by the bank and how it works have been highlighted. The following section sheds greater light on the various features the bank has to offer:

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

The Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card is a MasterCard that is meant to facilitate all your banking transactions. This is a no-fee cashback card and has been ranked as one of the best in Canada by authorities that compare credit cards, like Ratehub. The card can be used as a daily credit card and offers several benefits.

You will not be charged with any annual fee so you can spend as much or as little on the card without worrying about fees. There is also a 2% cashback on up to three categories. These include public transportation, parking, groceries, medical, etc. You can pick any three categories to avail a cashback on. To begin with, you can even choose two high-reward categories and then see if you feel the need to include a third category for cashbacks. On the categories that are not among your selected three, you will get a flat 0.5% cashback.

The cash back MasterCard is also compatible with mobile wallets so you can easily integrate it with Apple Pay, Google Pay or Samsung Pay.

Cash Bonuses

There are a variety of cash bonuses that you can avail at practically every step. At the stage of account signing up itself, you can be eligible for a $200 cash bonus for both savings as well as chequing accounts.

If you refer a friend to the bank, you can earn a $50 cash bonus when your friends or someone you referred to the bank makes a deposit over $100. You can earn up to $2,000 in cash from referring your friends alone!

This can be done easily using the Orange Card. An Orange key will be provided to you when you sign up for an account with the bank. You can give this key to friends and family and encourage them to join the bank. If they sign up using your key, the bank will be notified and you will be eligible for a cash bonus when they make their first deposit above $100.

Bank Locations

The flexibility of banking with Tangerine Bank is another big feature. You can bank with Tangerine anywhere.

There are Tangerine Cafes, located in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and Calgary. You can simply walk into these cafes and take advice from officials on Tangerine’s products and services. You can open an account from a Tangerine Cafe directly, without depositing a cheque from a different bank account.

Tangerine also tours around Canada so you can look out for the pop-ups and kiosks that make frequent visits across the country. These pop-ups also serve as temporary Tangerine Cafes. There is also 24×7 telephone banking if you cannot find a pop-up in your town.

However, ABM banking is one of the most popular ways of banking with Tangerine Bank. There are more than 3,500 ABMs across the country. You can use the Scotiabank ABM network to get your banking work done.

Finally, the mobile app is certainly one of the biggest features and pros the bank has to offer. More details have been provided on the app in the following section.

Mobile App

If you are a member of Tangerine Bank, the mobile app is where you are likely to do the bulk of your banking. The mobile app is a convenient way to do banking with Tangerine and can provide you all the benefits of a Tangerine Cafe, and more. In fact, with the mobile app, you can also carry out cheque-in deposits which are not possible with the desktop app. You can simply take a photo of a cheque to deposit it into your Tangerine account. This avoids standing in long queues.

With the mobile app, you can also pay your bills, carry out monetary transactions, send money via email transfers, etc. The windows are easy to use and navigate. You can see the balance in your account and other information at a single glance but to actually carry out banking functions, you can change the settings so that a full login is required. This will ensure that your Tangerine Bank account is safe from fraud.

Overdraft Protection

As mentioned above, the bank also offers Overdraft Protection. This is an optional feature and you can opt for it on your daily chequing account. There are certain requirements you will need to fulfill in order to qualify for Overdraft Protection. But what is the Overdraft Protection feature? To put it simply, in case your account goes into overdrive, an overdraft protection will buy you some extra time to get your balance back to a positive. If, despite the spare time, you are not able to restore the account balance, you will be charged $5. At the beginning of the subsequent month, if your account balance is still in overdraft, you will be charged another $5.

Orange Alerts

The mobile and desktop app both seem to be quite user friendly. With the applications, you can set up and customize email notifications for different conditions. Orange Alerts is a good way to go about this. You can select instances when you would like your app to notify you. For example, if your account has depleted beyond a certain level, you can configure your settings such that the app will trigger an email notification. Similarly, Orange Alerts can be used to notify you of several other activities and changes related to your Tangerine account.

How Does the Customer Care Hold Up?

In general, most reviews for the bank seem to point to positive feedback for the customer service. The customer service is accessible through a few different lines. The following are ways in which you can reach their customer service:

  • In-Person: This is probably the method one might use the least as it is not feasible for everyone to be present in person while making a complaint to the bank. However, if you are in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal or Calgary — the four locations in Canada with Tangerine Cafes — you can stop by and consult customer care executives in person.
  • Text/Chat: You can send in your questions by text or have a live chat with a customer care service official. The line for messages and texts is open from 8 am to 8 pm EST during weekdays, and 8 am to 5 pm on weekends.
  • Phone: This is the easiest and most popular way of reaching out to the customer care service of the bank. The phone lines are open 24/7 if you want to talk about your Tangerine account in general. If you have specific queries about topics like investment, mortgage, etc, you can contact the customer care helpline from 8 am to 8 pm on weekdays. The phone line can be reached at 1-888-826-4374 (for an English operator) or 1-844-826-4374 (for a French operator).

Pros of Using Tangerine Bank

With the features and characteristics of Tangerine Bank defined, you are now in a better position to assess the pros of using the banking services provided by the Canadian bank. The following are the advantages of using the bank’s services:

Ease of Use

Convenience and ease of use is one of the biggest plus points that are working for the bank. The mobile app makes it extremely easy to carry out banking transactions. In fact, you can even deposit a cheque using the mobile app, therefore, circumventing long and unnecessary lines. The bank allows you to transfer money via email and also check your balance and other aspects of your account from the convenience of your mobile phone.

If, for some reason, the mobile app does not suffice, you can use one of the 3,500 ABMs situated across the country. Since Tangerine Bank is a subsidiary of Scotiabank, you can use any of the Scotiabank ATMs. The bank also offers 24/7 telephone banking. In other words, there are plenty of avenues for banking, you only need to pick the one that is most convenient for you.

High-Interest Savings, Promotions and Cash Backs

When you open a savings account with Tangerine Bank, you are guaranteed a high-interest rate. On account balances under $49,999, you can earn an interest of 0.15%. Other than high-interest savings accounts, there are frequent promotions that allow you to earn cashbacks and rewards. Every time a referral of yours uses your Orange key, you come close to a cash reward. When your referral makes a deposit of more than $100 you automatically get a cash reward of $50. In this way, you can earn as much as $2,000 just from bringing referrals to the bank. Even at the stage of creating your account, you can be eligible to earn a cash reward of $200.

No-Fee Chequing Accounts

This is one of the biggest plus points of the bank. Very few financial services establishments offer no-fee chequing accounts with such little hassle. Tangerine Bank means it when it asserts there will be no fees for opening and using a daily chequing account. There is no fine print that you need to be warned of. The only fees that are levied are on extra features, all of which have been mentioned above under ‘common fees’. You can also apply for Overdraft Protection on your Tangerine daily chequing account, deposit a cheque from your phone, and avail of a variety of services from Tangerine Bank chequing account.


The cashback MasterCard credit card is one of the best things about banking with Tangerine Bank. Clients of the bank often use the MasterCard as a daily credit card. By using the card, you are guaranteed 2% cashback in at least three high-reward categories of your choosing. So your everyday purchases, like groceries, provisions, medical bills, etc. will guarantee you a cashback. The categories that have not been chosen as one of your three preferred categories, you will get a flat cash back of 0.5%. The cashback categories you can apply for include:

  • Gas
  • pharmacy/Drug store
  • Eating out/Restaurants
  • Hotel/Motel stay bills
  • Entertainment
  • Public transportation
  • Public parking
  • Furniture
  • Other recurring bill payments
  • Home improvements

Cons of Using Tangerine Bank

Not everything is rosy and perfect with the bank, which carries out the bulk of its transactions online. The following are some of the drawbacks of the bank and areas that require improvement:

No Local Bank Branch

While there are Tangerine Cafes in Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto and Calgary, there is no local bank branch that you can rely on for carrying out all your banking transactions. This is primarily an online bank that expects you to make use of the mobile or desktop app for taking care of your banking needs. There are the occasional pop-ups and kiosks that serve as Tangerine Cafes in the cities that do not already have them, but this is still not a replacement for a local, brick and mortar bank branch.

Limitations on Cash Deposits

You can deposit cheques very easily using the mobile app. You simply need to take a photo and upload the relevant details. But if you are someone who prefers to or needs to make a lot of cash deposits, especially if the deposits involve small coins, the process may become slightly more complex. A bank that deals primarily in online transactions may find it cumbersome to accept too many cash deposits. You will need to make frequent trips to Scotiabank ABMs in your area to make cash deposits and this may not always be possible or even convenient.

Limitations on Cash Withdrawals

In a similar vein, since there is no local bank branch, there is no option of depositing a cheque and withdrawing large sums of money. This may be possible in some cities (like the ones that host Tangerine Cafes) but anywhere else where you do not have a local kiosk, big cash withdrawals may be a problem. You can only withdraw a stipulated sum of money from an ABM or ATM and cannot go beyond the withdrawal limit. In these situations, the mobile app and the online banking solutions of Tangerine Bank do not seem to help so much.

So, Who Should and Shouldn’t Use Tangerine Bank?

With all the factors, features, pros and cons of the bank laid out, the question is who should and who shouldn’t use Tangerine Bank. Let’s take this step by step:

Who Is Tangerine Bank Review Suited For?

Tangerine Bank, predominantly, is an online bank. So the bank is best suited for somebody who does not mind carrying out most of their banking chores online. While the mobile and desktop applications have an easy learning curve, there may be some people who find the technology daunting to use regardless. Tangerine Bank is a perfect fit for you if you are looking for a debit account that does not charge unnecessary fees. Tangerine Bank makes additional debit transactions more easy to carry out as it does not levy fees on additional debit transactions. After all, you should not have to incur a fee on withdrawing from your own account more than a stipulated number of times! There are also either no fees or very little fees in some cases, so you will manage to save more money. Plus, you will also be earning interest for each day that you maintain a certain balance in your account.

For all these reasons, Tangerine Bank is the perfect online bank to do business with. Those who are savvy with technology and do not mind doing banking online, Tangerine Bank is a great option to consider.

Who Should Refrain from Using Tangerine Bank?

If you are used to in-person services and prefer to keep it that way when you are banking, Tangerine Bank is likely not the best fit for you. As has been adequately described above, this is a predominantly online bank with the Tangerine Cafes and kiosks coming closest to a local branch. If that is not something you are comfortable with, Tangerine Bank is not for you.

If you require certified cheques regularly and do wire transfers frequently, the Tangerine daily chequing account will not fit the bill. Even if you need to make frequent cash deposits and in large amounts, you may prefer to do this at a local bank branch which Tangerine cannot always provide. For these reasons, if you do not feel comfortable carrying out all or at least most of your banking transactions online, Tangerine Bank is not the right fit for you. You should look for a more “traditional” financial services establishment, in that case.

Final Thoughts

What has been described above is an in-depth review of the features that Tangerine Bank offers. The Canadian bank boasts of no-fee chequing accounts, high-interest savings accounts and incredible ease of use. From the assessment above, it seems to be clear that the features that the bank is proposing as its strengths and plus points are indeed justified.

The bank does make it extremely easy to do daily transactions through AMBs across the country, the mobile app and the cash back credit card. While the online bank may not be for everyone, if you are comfortable with carrying out your banking transactions predominantly online, with occasional visits to Tangerine Cafes and pop-ups, you should have little to complain about. Even if there are things you wish to register complaints about, it is easy to contact the customer care service. You can address your complaints to the customer care service and general feedback seems to say that the department is helpful and will tend to your needs.

Finding a bank that can preempt your needs, that is accommodating when you need to borrow money and is flexible when you need to repay the loan, can be hard to come by. Banking, especially when there are large sums of money involved, can be daunting. You want to keep your hard-earned money not only somewhere safe but also somewhere profitable. Tangerine Bank seems to be a good option if you are open to online banking and want to avail of the cash rewards it offers.