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Fact Checked: Amy Tokic

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Updated: February 09, 2024

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Tangerine vs. Simplii: Which bank is best for you?

Tangerine vs. Simplii: Which bank is best for you?

Moneywise.com / Moneywise.com

Fact Checked: Amy Tokic

🗓️

Updated: February 09, 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.

Overview of Tangerine and Simplii bank accounts

The goal here is to help you understand the ins and outs, pros and cons, benefits and drawbacks of these two online neo banks. We ultimately want to help you decide which one to go with (or not, Money.ca doesn’t play favourites).

I've broken everything down into comparison categories, so feel free to use the left rail table of contents to jump around to the content most valuable to you.

First, a quick introduction on how Tangerine and Simplii are similar but different from your traditional “big 6” bank. 

Tangerine and Simplii pros and cons

Pros

Pros

  • No fees for daily banking operations

  • Both feature high interest rates on savings accounts

  • Free access to Scotiabank ATMs (Tangerine) | Free access to CIBC ATMs (Simplii)

  • Easy-to-use mobile app and online platform

  • USD savings accounts

  • Insured by the CDIC

  • Offers a variety of financial products such as credit cards, loans and investments

Cons

Cons

  • Don't have physical branches, which might be inconvenient for some customers

  • Charges a 2.5% foreign transaction fee on purchases made in a foreign currency

  • Fees for non-network ATM withdrawals can be high

  • Don't offer a wide variety of credit cards

  • Don't offer business banking services

Tangerine vs. Simplii: High-interest savings accounts

Tangerine and Simplii consistently give you better-than-a-big-bank's interest rates while charging no fees and requiring no minimum balance.

As of this writing, Tangerine offers you 0.70% interest in its high-interest savings account.

Simplii high-interest savings account gives you 0.40% interest in its high-interest savings account.

Currently, both offer a 6.00% savings rate for five months.

You can set up automatic deposits with either bank, which are great for things like emergency and slush funds to save for specific short-term goals like vacations or car maintenance.

At the end of 2023, Tangerine launched a business savings account to complement a business chequing account at another financial institution.

There are no fees or minimum balances, and you can keep your cash stashed while earning at least 2.35% for balances under $99,999.99.

Comparing Tangerine vs. Simplii Financial: Chequing account options

Both banks offer unlimited debit purchases, bill payments and withdrawals with no fees. You can also set up direct payroll deposits and pre-authorized bill payments to automate your finances.

With either account, you can access overdraft protection if you need it. Simplii charges you $4.97 and a fixed interest rate of 19% when you go into overdraft. Tangerine charges you $5, or $0.03 more, with the same fixed interest rate.

You get free Interac e-Transfers with both Tangerine and Simplii.

Tangerine chequing account promotion: As of February 5, if you open a Tangerine no-fee chequing account and a savings or investment account, you can earn up to $500 and get a 6.00% savings rate for five months.

Get no-fee banking with Tangerine

Simplii chequing account promotion: If you open a Simplii Financial no-fee chequing account, you can earn $400 (offer expires February 29, 2024).

Get no-fee banking with Simplii

Tangerine Money-Back vs. Simplii Cash Back Visa

Forgoing the special promos and offers, we'll look at the general features of Tangerine and Simplii's credit card offerings.

Simplii Financial™ Cash Back Visa* Card

4% on eligible restaurant, bar and coffee shop purchases, up to $5,000 per year.†

1.5% on eligible gas, groceries, drugstore purchases and pre-authorized payments, up to $15,000 per year.†

0.5% on all other credit card purchases with no limit on how much you can earn.†

19.99% - 20.99% Variable APR Effective the first day of your 2024 February statement period, 20.99%

22.99% Balance Transfer Rate

22.99% Cash Advance APR

$0 Annual Fee for primary cardholder and up to 3 additional cards

2.50% Foreign Transaction Fee

Good Recommended Credit Score

Welcome Offer Ends Feb 29, 2024

Earn up to $150 of value in your first 4 months on eligible purchases with a Simplii Cash Back Visa!†, ‡, Conditions apply.

Learn more

The Simplii Cash Back Visa rewards a high 4% cash back from restaurants, bars, and coffee shops, then 1.5% cash back on gas, groceries, drug store purchases, and pre-authorized payments until closing out with 0.5% cash back on all other purchases. 

Tangerine Money-Back Mastercard

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.

19.95% Purchase APR

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

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

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

$0 Annual Fee $0 for additional cardholders

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

Tangerine's Money-Back Mastercard gives you 2% cash back on two categories of your choice: groceries, restaurants, gas, recurring bills, drug stores and more. Since we're comparing the complete offerings from both banks, you need to know that when you open a Tangerine Savings account, you unlock a third category for 2% cash back.  All other purchases earn 0.5% cash back. 

Neither card charges an annual fee, but the Simplii Cash Back Visa has a minimum income requirement of $15,000, whereas Tangerine Money-Back requires $12,000. 

This debate may rage on, but it comes down to if you go out to restaurants, bars and coffee shops. As an aging millennial, I'd opt for the Tangerine Money-Back card because you won't find me at restaurants and bars much anymore, but your personal life may opt for the Simplii cash back. 

If you're a student and plan to use this card with roommates to buy all your groceries and pay your shared bills, know that you can get an additional five cards with Tangerine and three additional cardholders with Simplii to earn cash back faster. With Simplii, you can set spending limits—a pretty cool feature. With Tangerine, you can quickly use "Pause My Card" if an "Orange Alert" pops up for more customization. 

Finally, both cards give you 90-day purchase assurance and an extended warranty to protect any purchases you make with the card.

Simplii Financial vs. Tangerine Investment options

Tangerine and Simplii offer RSPs, TFSAs, GICs and Mutual Fund accounts. 

Tangerine vs. Simplii: Savings account rates

Account Tangerine Simplii
RSP savings 0.70% 0.40%
TFSA savings 0.70% 0.40%

So, the RSP and TFSA savings rates are the same as its high interest savings accounts. Both a TFSA and RRSP should be used for long term savings (retirement or buying a home). It doesn’t make sense to earn so little over a long period of time.

Instead, you can lock in your money for nine months to 10 years when you buy a GIC and hold it in an RRSP or TFSA. 

Tangerine vs. Simplii: GIC rates

Product Tangerine Simplii
GIC Up to 5.30% (270 day term) Up to 5.00% (1-year term)

Over a one year time span, it’s not a terrible return and certainly better than the lowly savings rate. To maximize the money your money can earn with compound interest, let’s talk about your investment options. 

Tangerine vs. Simplii investment funds

As far as mutual funds are concerned, they're typically known for high fees—management fees and management expense ratios (MER) where an additional 1% can add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars lost from your investments. 

So, you're better off with a robo-advisor or a passive investment solution where you can save the fees. 

Simplii doesn't state their mutual fund fees. Instead, they tell you that as a Simplii financial customer, you'll get a discount of 10 basis points (aka not enough). For Tangerine, browsing on its website, using its search function, and trying advanced Google searches, I couldn’t find its mutual fund fees. 

When companies are private with this information, I assume the fees are high. 

However, thanks to their "Investment Fund" accounts, Tangerine does come out on top here. 

These passively managed funds invest in stocks and bonds, with quarterly rebalancing and global diversification. You can choose from its core portfolios, global ETF portfolios and socially responsible global portfolios. 

Tangerine core portfolios

Name of portfolio Investment mix and risk Average return since inception
Balanced income portfolio 70% bonds, 30% stocks; low to medium risk) 3.91%
Balanced portfolio 40% bonds, 60% stocks; low to medium risk 5.31%
Balanced growth portfolio 75% stocks, 25% bonds; medium risk 6.01%
Dividend portfolio 100% stocks; medium risk 7.12%
Equity growth portfolio 100% stocks; medium to high risk 9.46%

NOTE: Each fund charges 1.06% MER or $10.60 for every $1,000 you invest (or $1,060 for every $100,000 you invest)

Depending on your risk tolerance, you can also try Tangerine's ETF funds with low to high-risk options that invest in a range of ETFs. These ETF funds charge an MER fee of 0.76% or $7.60 for every $1,000 you invest so that you can save a little bit of money. 

Tangerine Global ETF Portfolios

Name of ETF Fund Investment mix and risk Average return since inception
Balanced income ETF portfolio 70% bonds, 30% stocks; low to medium risk -0.22%
Balanced ETF portfolio 40% bonds, 60% stocks; low to medium risk 2.66%
Balanced growth ETF portfolio 75% stocks, 25% bonds; medium risk 4.13%
Equity growth ETF portfolio 100% stocks; medium to high risk 6.66%

Finally, Tangerine also offers “socially responsible global  portfolios” that charge a 0.82% MER. 

What is a socially responsible portfolio?

According to Tangerine, it’s not investing with companies that: 

  • Controversial business activities: Companies that seem to be earning revenue from questionable activities, such as fossil fuels, tobacco and more.
  • Carbon intensity: Companies ranking in the top 25% of their sector for producing the most carbon (CO2/Revenue).
  • Established norms: Companies with alleged or verified non-compliance with established international norms (e.g. anti-corruption, human labour laws, and environmental rights).
  • Gender representation: Companies with no female representation in key decision-making positions. 
  • Controversial weapons: Companies with verified ongoing involvement in controversial weapons.

These exclusions mean that your investment in certain industries, such as energy for example, won't be as extensive as with our Global ETF Portfolios. You’ll pay a little bit more for a Portfolio that is managed to avoid companies involved in these categories. Because of these differences, the Socially Responsible Global Portfolios may perform differently than the Global ETF Portfolios.

In addition to MER, the annual management fee is 0.80% of each Tangerine Core Portfolio, 0.50% of each Tangerine Global ETF Portfolio, and 0.55% of each Tangerine Socially Responsible Global Portfolio. There is also a “fixed administration fee” of 0.15% of each portfolio’s value for all Tangerine Portfolios.

Those percentages start to cost a lot.

By contrast, Wealthsimple and Questwealth charge 0.50% MER for a similar product. Alternatively, you can check out Moka.ai, which charges a flat $4.99 monthly fee to invest in the S&P 500, which historically returns 10% annually. 

Comparing Tangerine Core portfolios to passive investment solutions and a robo-advisor

Under $100,000 Tangerine core portfolios Moka.ai Questwealth
MER 1.06% 0.09% to 0.39% (varies by ETF provider costs, average of 0.24%, for calculation) 0.17%-0.35% (varies by ETF provider costs, average of 0.26% for calculation)
Management fee 0.80% $4.99/month ($59.88/year) 0.25%
Administration fee 0.15% $0 $0
Amount invested $100,000 $100,000 $100,000
Time horizon 10 years 10 years 10 years
Ending balance (assuming annual return of 6% and no more money invested) $114,788.22 $116,726.68 $117,065.26
Total costs $3,120.26 $1,181.80 $843.22
  • Methodology for ending balance

    +

    To populate the table with the ending balance for each investment option given the specific details provided, we'll calculate the ending balance for Tangerine Core Portfolios, Moka.ai, and Questwealth over a 10-year period with an initial investment of $100,000. We'll consider the Management Expense Ratio (MER), management fee, and any administration fees specified. We'll use an average annual return rate of 6% before fees for all calculations, as no specific rate was provided in the new details.

    Let's break down the fees for each:

    Tangerine Core Portfolios

    MER: 1.06%

    Management Fee: 0.80%

    Administration Fee: 0.15%

    Moka.ai

    MER: 0.09% to 0.39% (We'll use the average, 0.24%, for calculation)

    Management Fee: $4.99/month (which translates to $59.88/year)

    Administration Fee: $0

    Questwealth

    MER: 0.17% to 0.35% (We'll use the average, 0.26%, for calculation)

    Management Fee: 0.25%

    Administration Fee: $0

    Given these details, let's calculate the ending balance for each option.

    Based on the provided fees and an initial investment of $100,000 over a 10-year period with an average annual return of 6% before fees, here are the updated ending balances for each option:

    Tangerine Core Portfolios: $14,788.22

    Moka.ai: $16,726.68

    Questwealth: $17,065.26

    These calculations take into account the management expense ratios (MERs), management fees, and any administration fees associated with each investment option. Questwealth ends with the highest balance, benefiting from its lower combined fee structure. Moka.ai follows, with its performance impacted by the flat monthly management fee but still achieving a significant ending balance due to its lower average MER. Tangerine Core Portfolios, with the highest combined fees, result in the lowest ending balance, illustrating the impact of higher fees on investment growth over time.

  • Methodology for costs

    +

    To calculate the total costs incurred from each provider over the 10-year period, we'll consider the management expense ratios (MERs), management fees, administration fees and any fixed fees as applicable. The total cost will be the difference between what the investment would have grown to without any fees and the ending balance after fees.

    Let's calculate the total costs for Tangerine Core Portfolios, Moka.ai, and Questwealth, using the same assumptions as before: an initial investment of $100,000, an average annual return of 6% before fees over a 10-year period.

    Growth without fees: This is what the investment would have grown to at a 6% annual return with no fees.

    Total cost: The difference between the growth without fees and the ending balance after fees for each provider.

    Let's perform these calculations now.

    The investment would have grown to $17,908.48 over 10 years with a 6% annual return and no fees. Here are the total costs incurred from each provider over the 10-year period:

    Tangerine Core Portfolios: $3,120.26

    Moka.ai: $1,181.80

    Questwealth: $843.22

    These total costs include the impact of management expense ratios (MERs), management fees, administration fees, and any fixed fees as applicable. Questwealth incurs the lowest total costs, followed by Moka.ai, and Tangerine Core Portfolios incur the highest total costs. This calculation highlights the long-term impact of fees on investment growth, with lower fees allowing for a higher ending balance due to reduced costs.

Read more: Wealthsimple vs. Questrade

Read more: EQ Bank vs. Tangerine

Read more: Questwealth review

Read more: Moka app review

Or, to get the most value out of investing, you can start investing in Canada's Best ETFs using some of the best trading platforms in Canada

Simplii vs. Tangerine Mortgages

You can get mortgages from Simplii or Tangerine, but you don’t have to (we’re just comparing the two banks here).

Frequently, Canadians are loyal to a fault to their financial institution of choice (or parent’s choice). With other providers, you can shop, compare and have different accounts—chequing, saving, credit cards, insurance, investments, and mortgages. 

Generally, despite all the “bundle” discounts a single provider may offer, you can find better deals (or products that suit you better financially) elsewhere. 

That said, let’s compare Tangerine and Simplii mortgages.

Compare mortgages Tangerine Simplii
Best mortgage rate (as of date of publication) 5.54% for a 5-year fixed 5.64% for a 5-year fixed
Mortgage term lengths available Fixed: 1,2,3,4,5,7, 10
Variable: 5
Fixed: 2,3,4,5, 7,10
Variable: 5
Mortgage amounts $50,000 to over $1 million $35,000 to over $1 million
Eligibility Canadian resident, purchase residential properties, proof of income, credit check. Minimum downpayment of 5% for mortgages over $500,000, plus 10% of the remaining amount. Mortgages over $1 million require 20% down. Canadian citizens, permanent residents or non-permanent residents authorized to work in Canada. Enough income to make your mortgage payments. Minimum downpayment of 5% for mortgages over $500,000, plus 10% of the remaining amount. Mortgages over $1 million require 20% down.
Lump sum prepayments ✅ Up to 25% of your original mortgage amount ✅ Yes, up to 20% on mortgages with a term of 1-year or longer
Increase regular mortgage payments ✅ Up to 25% of your original mortgage payment Fixed: Once each year by up to 25% for closed mortgages
Variable: Yes, as long as the amortization period is not reduced to less than five years
Portable ✅ Move without penalty at current rate, term, and loan amount
Open and closed mortgages Closed
Home equity line of credit
Property type Residential only Residential, investment property
Special features Lock in your mortgage for 120 days Hybrid mortgage (fixed+variable); lock in your mortgage for 120 days; cash back on your mortgage; special mortgage programs for medical professionals; resort lending; rural lifestyle, new Canadian and work permit mortgages
Fees Appraisal fee: $250
Funding processing fee: $280
No appraisal fees
You may incur fees for renewing before the maturity date, refinancing with a new term, transferring to another lender, or paying off your mortgage before the maturity date

Simplii vs. Tangerine: Current promotions

Feature Simplii Financial Tangerine
New Client Chequing Offer Earn $400 with a No Fee Chequing Account. Conditions apply. Offer ends February 29, 2024 Earn up to $500 by opening a Chequing Account and Savings or Investment Funds Account with promo code EARNMORE.
High-Interest Savings Account Earn 6% interest on eligible deposits for five months. Limits apply. Offer ends April 30, 2024. 6.00% savings rate for 5 months when signing up with promo code EARNMORE.
Credit Card Offer Earn up to $150 of value in your first 4 months on eligible purchases with a Simplii Cash Back Visa. Offer ends February 29, 2024. Earn an extra 10% cash back (up to $100) with a Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card.
Global Money Transfer Get $50 when you send your first Global Money Transfer. Use promo code GMTEVENT. N/A
GIC Offer Not explicitly mentioned. 5.30% RSP GIC rate for 270 days.
Student Bank Account Offer Not expressly mentioned. Earn up to $500 and a 6.00% savings rate by opening a Chequing Account and Savings or Investment Funds Account with promo code EARNMORE.
Investing Offer Not explicitly mentioned. Set up Automatic Transfers to get $100 by signing up with promo code EARNMORE.

The bottom line

Although Tangerine and Simpli have similar offerings, benefits and drawbacks, key differences do exist where one might be more appealing than another. 

Tangerine grabs attention with its slightly higher savings account interest rates, two credit card choices, and an extensive selection of investment products. This makes it a great pick if you're looking for a comprehensive banking solution that offers competitive returns.

Meanwhile, Simplii brings substantial value with competitive rates, particularly appealing for no-fee daily banking and attractive promotional offers. 

Both banks provide solid online and mobile banking experiences, so your choice might come down to personal preferences, like specific financial products you're interested in, the kind of customer service you expect, and the promotional offers that catch your eye. 

Ultimately, picking between Tangerine and Simplii should hinge on your banking habits, financial goals, and the features and benefits that matter most to you. Think of it as choosing the best tool for your personal finance toolkit.

About our author

Tyler Wade
Tyler Wade, Content strategist & writer

Tyler Wade has worked in personal finance for over 5 years writing for brands like Ratehub, Forbes, KOHO, and now Money.ca. He was the host and producer of the Real Money Talk podcast. He's the father of two, husband to one, and loves all things tiny.

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