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At a glance

EQ Bank vs. Tangerine
Accounts Savings Plus Account, GICs, TFSA and RSP Savings, TFSA, RSP, U.S dollar accounts, Chequing account, RIF accounts, various investment accounts, including stocks and ETF portfolios, HELOC, mortgages, speciality business accounts, credit cards and more.
Saving Account Interest Rate 2.50%* 1.00%
TFSA / RSP Interest Rate 3.00%* / 3.00%* 1.00%
Withdraw Cash from ATMs No Yes
Interac e-Transfers® Free Free
Everyday Banking Fees $0 $0
NSF Fee $0 $40
Account Minimum None None
Discounted International Money Transfers Yes No
Linked External Accounts Up to 10 Up to 3
CDIC Insurance Yes Yes
  • Interest is calculated daily on the total closing balance and paid monthly. Rates are per annum and subject to change without notice.

EQ Bank vs. Tangerine: savings accounts

Online-only EQ Bank made a big splash when it first hit Canada’s banking scene back in 2016, offering EQ Bank’s Savings Plus Account with a record-breaking standard interest rate of 3.00% and no fees. Presently, the interest rate stands at 2.50%*, which is still leaps and bounds above the normal rate offered by traditional and even online-only banks.

While EQ Bank doesn’t offer a chequing account or the ability to withdraw money from an ATM, its Savings Plus Account acts as a kind of hybrid chequing account where you can easily move money in and out of your account, pay bills and make no-fee, free Interac e-Transfers®. There are also no daily or monthly fees for everyday banking and no account minimums. There is an account contribution limit of $200,000, though that is likely not a problem for most customers. You can also open your EQ Bank’s Savings Plus Account as a joint account. Additionally, it’s also important to note that you’ll need to open a Savings Plus Account before you’re able to take advantage of EQ Bank’s other offerings, like its GICs and TFSAs.

Tangerine, a subsidiary of Scotiabank, offers a competitive Savings Account which can also be held as a joint account. Its standard interest rate of 1.00% on its Savings Account is a little better than that offered by the Big Five banks, though eclipsed by EQ Bank. Tangerine’s Savings Account also features no minimum deposit, no account fees for most transactions, and unlimited free bill payments and Interac e-Transfers®. Unlike EQ Bank, Tangerine does frequently offer new bonus interest rate promotions (that usually never last longer than six months) and once the promo period is over the rate drops significantly.

It’s also worth noting that, unlike EQ Bank, Tangerine does offer a Chequing Account, though the interest rate is very low (as low as 0.01% depending on how much you hold in the account) though it does give clients a way to immediately withdraw money using Scotiabank-affiliated ATMs.

Winner: EQ Bank. EQ Bank rises to the top for its savings account that comes complete with generous interest rates, unlimited transactions, and no fees.

  • Interest is calculated daily on the total closing balance and paid monthly. Rates are per annum and subject to change without notice.

Open a Savings Plus account at EQ Bank

EQ Bank vs. Tangerine: TFSA and RSP accounts

EQ Bank now offers TFSA and RSP accounts with some of the country’s best savings rates on cash holdings. EQ Bank’s Tax-Free Savings Account (3.00%) and RSP (3.00%) have some of the best standard rates in the country—that rate is all the more appealing given the tax benefits!

Tangerine also has TFSA and RSP accounts. The bank offers the same interest rate for both the accounts as it does for its Savings Account: 1.00%. There are also no minimums and no banking fees for both accounts.

Winner: EQ Bank. With its incredibly high interest rates on cash holdings (that are more than ten times what Tangerine offers) and no fees, EQ Bank is the clear champ.

  • Interest is calculated daily on the total closing balance and paid monthly. Rates are per annum and subject to change without notice.

EQ Bank vs. Tangerine: guaranteed investment certificates (GICs)

EQ Bank is almost as well known for its outstanding GIC (Guaranteed Investment Certificates) rates as it is for its high-interest Savings Plus Account. It offers very flexible short and long-term GICs with rates that go from 2.65% to as high as 5.00%, and terms start as low as 3 months up to 10 years. A minimum $100 contribution is required. EQ Bank also offers TFSA and RSP GICs, with rates and terms that may differ for non-registered GICs, currently ranging 3.10% to 5.00%, so check the EQ Bank website for rate details.

Tangerine’s GIC rates go up to 4.85%. Terms start with three months and go up to 5 years. There are no fees. Tangerine also offers RSP and TFSA GICs. Unlike EQ Bank, however, Tangerine does offer U.S. dollar GICs (at different rates) and RIF (Retirement Income Fund) GICs. You can invest in a Tangerine GIC for as little as $1.

Winner: EQ Bank. You can’t beat those GIC interest rates! EQ Bank also has a slightly wider selection of GICs available

EQ Bank GICs: Rates are calculated on a per annum basis and are subject to change at any time.

EQ Bank vs. Tangerine: ease of use

EQ Bank

As an online-only bank, EQ Bank is incredibly user-friendly. The website is easy to follow and it’s a very straightforward process to add external bank accounts. It only takes a few minutes to apply for an account and you can be up and running in just a few days once your first deposit from your external bank clears. I personally like that you can have up to 10 external banks from which you can transfer money to your EQ Bank Savings Plus Account.

It’s also worth noting that EQ Bank does not charge an NSF fee (Non-Sufficient Funds Fee), this can make it easier and less of a risk to move money around. If, for some reason, there’s not enough money in your account for a transfer you won’t get dinged. If you happen to transfer more than you have by accident (it’s happened to the best of us), EQ Bank doesn’t charge you a fee, whereas most banks do. Rather EQ Bank just lets you know the transfer was not successful.

The major downside to EQ Bank is that you can’t directly withdraw money. If you want cash in hand, you’ll have to transfer money from your EQ Bank account to an external bank to be able to withdraw funds. You can’t withdraw money from an EQ account via an ATM.


Tangerine has a slick, easy to navigate website that’s ideal for an online-only bank. Even a newbie to online banking would feel at ease using the colorful site. The application process and connecting an external bank account is also fast. However, Tangerine only allows you to connect three external bank accounts. I have more than three bank accounts I’d like to connect to my Tangerine account, but it can’t be done. That being said, the fact that Tangerine offers credit cards while EQ Bank doesn’t have that option is more convenient.

Tangerine charges a $40 NSF fee. I once tried to transfer money from my Tangerine Savings Account to my EQ Savings Plus account but I forgot to move the funds from my Tangerine Savings Account to my Tangerine Checking Account. TL;DR, I didn’t have enough money in my Chequing Account and Tangerine charged me a NSF fee. By contrast, EQ Bank didn’t charge me a fee. I do, however, have to give kudos to Tangerine because when I phoned them to explain my mistake, they reimbursed me half of the NSF fee.

Winner: EQ Bank. While both websites are incredibly user friendly, EQ Bank allows you to have more than double the number of connected banks Tangerine permits. The lack of an NSF fee makes transferring money stress-free.

Open a Savings Plus account at EQ Bank

EQ Bank vs. Tangerine: account security

Both EQ Bank and Tangerine are members of the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC), which means that your deposits are fully insured up to $100,000 per account type (i.e. saving account, TFSA account, GICs, etc).

Winner: A tie. Both banks are members of the CDIC and thus provide equal account safety.

EQ Bank vs. Tangerine: account extras and other financial products

Aside from its EQ Bank’s Savings Plus Account, TFSA, and RSP account, they do not offer any other kinds of personal accounts. They do, however, have a great deal on international money transfers with TransferWise. Customers can send money to many locations all over the world, like India, Asia, the U.S., Europe, and more for a fraction of what it costs to send money transfers with traditional banks or money transfer services.

Though Tangerine is an online-only bank, it offers an incredibly impressive array of products in line with those offered by traditional brick-and-mortar banks. With Tangerine, customers can also get mortgages, home equity loans, lines of credit, investment products, RSP loans, business accounts, and more. Tangerine also offers one of Canada’s best cash-back no-fee credit cards as well.

Winner: Tangerine. Its full suite of financial and investment products rivals that of a traditional bank.

The verdict

If you’re in it just for the money, EQ Bank, which offers some of the highest interest rates in Canada, is hands down the bank for you. If, however, you like having a one-stop bank with all the fixings, then go with Tangerine.

I would like to suggest another approach that makes YOU the customer, the overall winner. Personally, I recommend keeping the largest chunk of your cash savings (not already invested in the market, perhaps with WealthSimple) in an EQ Bank Savings Plus Account. There, you’ll get the best returns and possibly earn hundreds of dollars a year in interest.

Then, also open a Tangerine Savings account so that you can easily access Tangerine benefits and make ATM withdrawals when needed. With this method, you get to enjoy the best each bank has to offer and you come out the winner.

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About the Author

Sandra MacGregor

Sandra MacGregor

Freelance Contributor

Sandra MacGregor has been writing about finance and travel for nearly a decade. Her work has appeared in a variety of publications like the New York Times, the UK Telegraph, the Washington Post, and the Toronto Star.

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