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EQ Bank vs. Tangerine

EQ Bank vs. Tangerine: And the Best Online Bank is...

Money.ca / Money.ca

Fact Checked: Tyler Wade

🗓️

Updated: February 16, 2024

We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Please be aware that some (or all) products and services linked in this article are from our sponsors.

We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Please be aware this post may contain links to products from our partners. We may receive a commission for products or services you sign up for through partner links.

The Big Six Banks’ high fees and low interest rates have long dominated Canada’s financial landscape.

Over the last decade, Canadians have witnessed the rise of an impressive selection of alternative digital banks. These modern, and often online-only banks, prioritize high-interest rates and low (or even no) fees and offer real value for Canadians willing to give them a try.

Known for high-interest rate savings accounts, fair fees, and their ease of use, EQ Bank and Tangerine stand out as main contenders for the title of Canada’s top alternative bank.

To help you decide which financial institution is the best match for your money management goals, we’ve put these two alternative bank heavy hitters to the test.

At a glance

Details EQ Bank Tangerine Bank
Accounts EQ Personal Account, Joint accounts, GICs, TFSA and RSP, FHSA, U.S. dollar accounts 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%* (+ 1.50% with direct deposit for a total of 4%) 0.70%
TFSA/RSP Interest Rate 4.00%* / 4.00%* 1.00%
Withdraw Cash from ATMs Yes 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
Reviews EQ Bank review Tangerine Bank review
Open an account Get started Get started
  • 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

EQ Bank 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 Personal Account with a record-breaking standard interest rate of 3.00% and no fees. Presently, the interest rate stands at 4.0%*, 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, its Personal Account 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 Personal Account as a joint account for you and up to 3 people where you max contribution limit is $500,000.

NOTE: You’ll need to open a EQ Personal Account before you’re able to take advantage of EQ Bank’s other offerings, like its GICs and TFSAs.

Tangerine Savings accounts

Tangerine, a subsidiary of Scotiabank, offers a competitive Savings Account which can also be held as a joint account. Its standard interest rate of 0.70% 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 Saving Plus Account at EQ Bank

EQ Bank vs. Tangerine: TFSA and RSP accounts

EQ Bank 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 (4.00%) 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: 0.70%. There are also no minimums and no banking fees for both accounts.

Winner: EQ Bank. With its 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)

Term of GIC Tangerine EQ
90 day/3 month 1.00% 3.75%
180 day/6 month 3.50% 4.50%
270 day/9 month 4.70% 5.25%
1 year 4.50% 5.50%
2 year 3.70% 5.00%
3 year 3.60% 4.75%
4 year 3.40% 4.55%
5 year 3.35% 4.45%

*as of February 16th, 2024

EQ Bank GIC rates

EQ Bank is almost as well known for its outstanding GIC (Guaranteed Investment Certificates) rates as it is for its high-interest EQ Personal Account. It offers very flexible short and long-term GICs with rates that go from 4.00% to as high as 5.50%, and terms start as low as three 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 3.75% to 5.50%, so check the EQ Bank website for rate details.

Tangerine bank GIC rates

Tangerine’s GIC rates go up to 4.70% on a 9 month GIC. Terms start with three months and go up to five years. There are no fees. Tangerine also offers RSP and TFSA GICs where rates go as high as 5.30% on a 9 month RSP or TFSA GIC. Tangerine also offers 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.

Tie: Tangerine has the highest Registered GIC at 5.30% at 9 months, but you can get a 5.25% unregistered GIC with EQ Bank for 1-year.

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 Personal 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.

If you want cash in hand, you simply transfer money from your EQ Bank account to an EQ bank card where you can use any ATM in Canada free of charge, or use it like a Mastercard where it's accepted around the world. 

EQ Bank card

0.5% cash back on purchases

2.5% interest on your balance

$0 Annual Fee

0.00% Purchase APR

0.00% Foreign Transaction Fee

Fair Recommended Credit Score

$0 Required Annual Personal Income

$0 Required Annual Household Income

Tangerine

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 orange site (which colour psychology tells us is optimistic, uplifting, and rejuvenates our spirit).

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. 

Tangerine charges a $40 NSF fee. I once tried to transfer money from my Tangerine Savings Account to my EQ Personal 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 Saving 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.

Tangerine vs. EQ Bank: Credit cards

The EQ Bank Card is as versatile as any other card, allowing you to make purchases according to your needs and desires, no matter where you are. It's accepted in over 210 countries worldwide where Mastercard is valid, all without any foreign transaction fees. For even more accessibility, you can add it to your mobile wallet for contactless transactions, making spending (and earning) possible from anywhere. On the con side, you’ll need an EQ Bank Savings Account to use this card, which limits its potential user base.

EQ Bank card

0.5% cash back on purchases

2.5% interest on your balance

$0 Annual Fee

0.00% Purchase APR

0.00% Foreign Transaction Fee

Fair Recommended Credit Score

$0 Required Annual Personal Income

$0 Required Annual Household Income

The Tangerine Money-Back Card is a credit card with no annual fee that offers cash back on everyday purchases. This card stands out due to its flexibility — it allows you to choose two cash back categories. If you opt to deposit your cash back into a Tangerine Savings Account, you can select a third category to earn 2% cash back on. The cash back is paid out monthly and, most importantly, there are no caps on spending. This means you can earn unlimited cash back, whether at the base or accelerated rate.

Tangerine Money-Back Card

2% Earn 2% cash back on 2 categories of your choice (e.g. groceries, recurring bills, gas, drug stores, etc.)

3 Get a Tangerine Savings account and add a 3rd 2% cash back category.

0.5% Earn 0.50% on all your other everyday purchases.

$0 Annual Fee $0 for additional cardholders

19.95% Purchase APR

19.95% Cash Advance APR $3.50 within Canada, $5.00 outside Canada

1.95% Balance Transfer Rate 1.95% interest for first 6 months, 19.95% after that.

3.00% Balance Transfer Fee 3.00% of the amount transferred, or minimum of $5.00

2.50% Foreign Transaction Fee

Fair Recommended Credit Score

$12,000 Required Annual Personal Income

Welcome Offer Ends Apr 30, 2024

Get 10% cash back on up to $1,000 in everyday purchases made within 2 months. Pay only 1.95% balance transfer interest for the first 6 months.

Learn more

This card is not available to residents of Quebec. 

Tangerine vs. EQ Bank: Locations

EQ Bank operates without physical branches. All transactions, including deposits and withdrawals, are conducted by linking your EQ Bank account to an account at another bank. While EQ Bank does not have its own ATM network, customers can use their EQ Bank Card at any ATM across Canada, with any fees incurred being refunded by EQ Bank.

Tangerine appeals to many due to its comprehensive offerings that align with traditional banks, except for the absence of physical branches. Customers holding chequing accounts with Tangerine enjoy complimentary access to over 3,500 Scotiabank ATMs. Scotiabank owns Tangerine. 

Tangerine vs. EQ Bank: Banking app

EQ Bank mobile app

The EQ Bank mobile app allows you to perform all your regular banking tasks. You can check account balances, deposit cheques, transfer funds, pay bills and send money. As well, you can purchase a GIC within seconds and enjoy many more enhanced features to manage your finances. Here are some key functionalities of the app:

Card management: Misplaced your debit card? Simply switch off the card via the app, and when you find it, you can turn it back on. For added security, you can keep your debit card "off" and only activate it when you're about to make a purchase.

Travel alerts: Set a travel alert on your card to ensure it works when you need it. Just click on the airplane icon to add a travel notice.

Bill payments: If you're an existing online bill pay user, you can view all your current payees and schedule payments directly from the app. Once you've enrolled for Bill Pay in Online Banking, you can add or pay current payees through the app.

Mobile deposit: Click "deposit" to enroll relevant accounts, then take a picture of both sides of the check for deposit.

Pay a person: In Online Banking, click "Pay a Person" and add the person’s email address and mobile number. You can then make payments to that person using the app or online banking. Select "pay" to find the person you've set up and send a payment. Interact e-Transfers are free. 

Tangerine mobile app

Tangerine’s mobile app lets you sign up for an account in minutes by taking a photo of your ID and taking a selfie. Through the Tangerine Mobile Banking app, you can manage most of your banking needs such as:

  • Accessing account balances, transaction history and credit card information
  • Sending money at no cost using Interac e-Transfer®*
  • Setting up Orange Alerts to get notifications about account activity
  • Depositing a cheque instantly via your mobile device with Cheque-In®
  • Pausing your Tangerine Credit Card if it's lost or misplaced
  • Changing your Tangerine Credit Card PIN
  • Locating the nearest ABM in the network of over 3,500 Scotiabank® ATMs across Canada
  • Digital money management tools: Easy-to-use tools that handle the heavy lifting of saving and tracking your spending.
  • Left to Spend: By providing some details about your income and expenses, it helps you stay on budget by showing you how much you have left to spend for the month.
  • Goals: Are you saving for travelling or an event? These tools will assist you in reaching your goal – just decide how much money to allocate regularly towards your goal and it will keep you updated on your progress.
  • Money Rules: Establish 'rules' to manage your money automatically. You can set your own rules or choose from suggestions provided to develop smart money habits without any effort – like transferring a percentage of your pay cheque to your savings or rounding up your purchases to set aside a little extra.

Tangerine vs. EQ Bank: Current promotions

EQ Bank

When you refer a friend to EQ Bank, you can earn. Earn $20 for your first three successful referrals. Earn $30 for your next four successful referrals, and earn $40 for each subsequent successful referrals (up to 16). The more you refer, the more rewards you unlock. 

Tangerine

With Tangerine, open your first eligible savings account within 30 days and you can earn 6.00% interest for five months using promo code: EARNMORE. Plus, you can score a $500 when you open a chequing account too. 

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

Aside from its EQ Bank’s Personal Account, FHSAs, TFSAs, and RSPs account, they do not offer investing accounts where you can buy stocks or ETFs. They do, however, have a great deal on international money transfers with Wise. 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.

Which bank is best? Tangerine vs. EQ

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 Personal 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 (like multiple accounts). With this method, you get to enjoy the best each bank has to offer and you come out the winner.

FAQs

  • How do I contact Tangerine customer service?

    +

    You can call Tangerine 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1‑888‑826‑4374. You can also use the chat bot to answer banking questions and ask for general information.

  • How do I contact EQ bank customer service?

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    Call or chat with EQ Bank directly from 8 AM to midnight EST, 7 days a week at 1-844-437-2265. For answers to common questions, its Chatbot is available for quick and easy assistance 24/7.

  • How do I cancel my Tangerine account?

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    You can close your Tangerine account at any time – just call the toll-free number at 1-888-826-4374 to cancel.

  • How do I cancel my EQ Bank account?

    +

    You can close your EQ Bank account at any time, at no cost. To delete or close your savings account, call 1-844-437-2265 (844-4EQ-BANK) or launch Live Chat.

About our 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, Forbes.com and the Toronto Star. She spends her free time travelling, and has lived around the globe, including in Paris, South Korea and Cape Town.

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