Tangerine Review

Disclaimer: I’m a Tangerine banking client, but I am not being compensated by Tangerine for writing this review.

What do you get with Tangerine?

Everything that you need for your everyday banking needs and more. There are only a couple physical Tangerine “branches” in Canada (2 “cafés” in Toronto and one each in Vancouver, Montreal and Calgary). You would think that such a limited number of physical locations would limit Tangerine’s ability to serve their client’s banking needs, but it doesn’t. Tangerine is my primary bank and I’ve never been to a physical Tangerine location! Tangerine has saved countless dollars on the costs of building and maintaining brick-and-mortar branches, and pass on those savings to you. Tangerine offers everyday banking services without any monthly account fees. There are unlimited transactions and no minimum balances. Most major banks will charge you between $10-16 a month or require that you maintain a minimum balance in your chequing account for unlimited debit transactions, but this is free with Tangerine.

It’s close to free banking but not completely free. For example, Interac e-Transfers cost your $1 each. Tangerine charges you $40 if your account has Non-Sufficient Funds, and there is an Overdraft fee of $5.

You also get great savings rates on your deposits. Even Tangerine’s chequing accounts have noticeable and quantifiable interest rates that rival some of the interests on big bank savings accounts! Up to $50,000, Tangerine offers 0.15%, increases it up to 0.55% on every dollar from $50,000 to a $100.000 and tops out at 0.65% on every additional dollar. The standard rate on savings account deposits is 1.1%, and is significantly higher than any savings account interest rates of the big banks. Periodically, Tangerine will offer short-term promotional interest rates on new deposits into your savings accounts.  You can maximize these promotional rates by moving your savings account deposits to your chequing account at the end of a promo period, so that you’re entire balance is eligible for the higher promotional interest rate. It does make a difference, as my most recent promotional interest rate bumped me up to 2.4%.

You also get worry-free banking. Tangerine is owned by Scotiabank so there is very little risk of Tangerine failing. And even if it were to fail, you won’t lose your money because up to $100,000 of your deposits are covered by CDIC.

If you intend to have accounts at more than one bank, Tangerine offers you the ability to “link” the accounts together. This gives you the ability to not only transfer money between your different accounts at Tangerine, but also between your accounts at Tangerine and accounts at other banks (for free as well).

You get MoreBang4YourBuck with Tangerine. You have minimal if not no practically no fees to bank plus you yield far more in interest than what you can get from a big bank.

What drew me to Tangerine?

I was tired of paying monthly account fees and earning negligible interest on my deposits. Once I discovered what Tangerine offers their clients, it didn’t take much for me to open up an account with Tangerine and make it my primary every day bank account.

My experience:

From what I’ve seen, Tangerine is quite aggressive in its pursuit of new clients and retention of existing clients.  I mentioned earlier the recurring promotional interest rate boosting the yield on savings accounts from 1.1% to 2.4%. I’ve also benefitted from a referral bonus, where existing Tangerine clients and new clients they have referred both receive a bonus worth $50. The third bonus I received was a welcome bonus from Tangerine worth $100, for setting up a direct deposit. Tangerine had one more bonus for new clients that had increasing rewards for the amount new clients contributed to their investment funds.  I didn’t qualify for this bonus because I manage my investment account using Questrade.

I have been really pleased with my experience with Tangerine so far.  It seems like Tangerine has done the little things well. Tangerine seems to have compensated for the absence of physical branches, by making it a easy for their clients to be able to contact them by phone or chat. I’ve only needed to contact Tangerine a couple times, but it was really easy to set up an instant messaging chat, and the wait times to talk on the phone have been all but immediate for me. You can also contact Tangerine 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. No complaints there.

Mobile Cheque Deposit Screen

Tangerine has also created a cheque deposit system that I feel quite secure with. First off, their app is quite easy to use. After declaring the cheque balance, you take a picture of the frontside and backside of a cheque. The app can also tell you if your pictures aren’t correct (i.e. you’ve taken two pictures of the front instead of one of the front and one of the back). Within a minute, you will get an email confirmation that the cheque has been received. The email lists the cheque total, the account it will be deposited into, the date you submitted the pictures and the cheque number and asks you to keep the cheque safe until Tangerine has had an opportunity to process and clear the cheque. Then, a couple days later, you will get another email with the same information (cheque balance, account it is destined for, submission date and cheque number), along with the instruction to destroy the cheque (preferably with a shredder). I’ve found the process to be really convenient. It is so fast to use – it’s way quicker than the amount of time it takes to get to a bank and have a teller deposit your cheques the old-fashioned way. – and the email system makes my quite comfortable that it is secure.

There are a couple features that to Tangerine that I have not used yet: the Tangerine MasterCard and the Tangerine Investment Funds. The MasterCard seems to be an excellent option for people looking for a no-fee cash back credit card, giving you 2% cash back on your choice of three categories. You can choose between Groceries, Furniture, Restaurants, Hotel/Motel, Gas, Recurring Payments, Drugstore, Home improvement, Entertainment, and Public Transportation and Parking. If you’re having trouble deciding on your categories, Tangerine will suggest the best options for you to pick based off of your spending habits. The ability to pick your 2% categories (with 0.5% cash back on the rest) allows you to personalize the rewards to match the categories you spend the most on, or, makes it a good secondary credit card giving you 2% cash back on the categories you don’t get on your primary credit card.

Tangerine also offers good (though not great) investment options with their Investment Funds, which you can hold in an RRSP, TFSA or non-registered account. The investment funds are index-based mutual funds that are perfect for the investors that are looking for an easy-to-use automatic investing solution. Investors can set up preauthorized contributions to the fund they pick and Tangerine does the rest. Tangerine has 5 different funds (Balanced Income Portfolio, Balanced Portfolio, Balanced Growth Portfolio, Dividend Portfolio, and Equity Growth Portfolio) that are varied to match a range of risk tolerances and asset allocations. They range from 100% equity and no fixed income in the “Dividend Portfolio” and “Equity Growth Portfolio” to 30% equity and 70% bonds in the “Balanced Income Portfolio.” All five of these funds have an MER of 1.07%, which is quite reasonable in comparison with the typical MERs that are higher than 2% on conventional actively-managed mutual funds. I mentioned that the Tangerine funds are good but not great, because the fees are a little higher than comparable options on the market, such as WealthSimple.

There are two things that I think would really add to Tangerine. The first thing that I would like to see, is for Tangerine to offer RESP accounts. As Tangerine is one of the few banks that do not offer Interac email eTransfers for free, that would be the only other thing that I would like to see from Tangerine.

I have not been with Tangerine for years yet, it’s only been a matter of months. That being said, I’m quite happy having made the switch and wish that I had moved my banking to Tangerine sooner. But, seeing as it’s been recent, I will write a follow-up on this review after I’ve been a client for a year.

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