EQ Bank vs Tangerine: The Ultimate Showdown

By Athanasia Nikolakakis | Published on 17 Jul 2023

Difference between EQ Bank and Tangerine

Over the past few years, many online banks have built reputations for offering competitive financial products. Tangerine and EQ Bank are no exception. In fact, if you decide to constantly hunt down the most competitive rates for every single financial product, chances are that you will eventually sign up for both banks.

That being said, many people prefer to keep their finances simple. Since Tangerine and EQ both have a variety of competitive offerings, it may be easier to sign up for one bank and stick with them for most financial products. Although you will miss out on other institutions’ perks, you will also save a lot of time and energy. 

If you do wish to stick to one bank, it is important to select one whose products cater to your needs. To help you narrow down the choices, we will be comparing EQ Bank and Tangerine’s financial products, category by category. Before going into the specifics, let’s dive in this EQ Bank vs Tangerine comparison table, that covers the highlights of each bank’s main financial products.

EQ Bank vs Tangerine

EQ BankTangerine
Chequing Account– No chequing account, need to use Savings Plus account or load EQ Bank Card (see cells below)– 0.01-0.10% interest rate
– Free ATM withdrawal at Scotiabank/Global Alliance, $1.50/withdrawal for other Canadian ATMs, $3/withdrawal everywhere else
– Must be 16+ to register
– Can request 50 free cheques
Savings Account– 2.5% interest rate for CAD accounts, 3% for USD
– No fees when using Canadian ATMs
– Up to 4 users per account
– Must be an adult to register
– 1% interest rate for CAD accounts, 0.10% for USD
– Automated savings goals
– Must be 16+ to register
Payment Cards– Bank account comes with prepaid credit card
– 0.5% cashback on all prepaid credit card purchases
– 2.5% interest on unused loaded funds
– Bank account comes with Visa Debit card
– Can apply for credit cards
Investments– Supports RSP, TFSA, FHSA, and non-registered accounts
– Can purchase GICs (3-month to 10-year terms)
– Supports RSP, TFSA, RIF, and non-registered accounts
– Can purchase GICs (90 day-5-year terms) and mutual funds (1.06-1.52% fees)
Sending and Receiving Money– Supports Interac e-Transfer, ETF, digital bill payments
– Can load up to $10,000/day and spend $5,000/day
– $500/day ATM withdrawal limit
– Supports Interac e-Transfer, ETF, digital bill payments
– Can spend up to $2,500/day
– $1,200/day ATM withdrawal limit
Mobile App– View balances and transaction history
– Deposit cheques
– Pay bills, use EFT
– View balances and transaction history
– Deposit cheques
– Pay bills, use EFT
– Budget tools
– Savings goal tracking
– Create automated transfer rules

EQ Bank vs Tangerine: Chequing Accounts

The humble chequing account is a staple financial product. It is also one of the most difficult categories to compare EQ Bank and Tangerine across. While Tangerine offers its No-Fee Daily Chequing Account, a relatively traditional Canadian dollar chequing account, EQ Bank only offers one type of (Canadian dollar) bank account: their Savings Plus account. The Savings Plus account is meant to combine the advantages of traditional chequing and savings accounts. EQ clients may also move money from their Savings Plus account to their EQ Bank Card (which is essentially a prepaid credit card), but since the Bank Card is not technically a bank account, we will focus on the Savings Plus account in this section of the showdown.

Review of perks

Both the No-Fee Daily Chequing Account and the Savings Plus account come with a number of perks: they are free to open, do not charge users to send Interac e-Transfers or move funds between their own Canadian bank accounts, and allow users to make an unlimited number of transactions each month. However, EQ’s Savings Plus account features a 2.5% interest rate, which is competitive even for a savings account. In comparison, the No-Fee Daily Chequing Account’s 0.01-0.10% interest rate falls short.

Plus, EQ guarantees that they will not charge any fees for using an automated teller machine (ATM) to withdraw funds — and will even refund fees that third-party machines charge users. Tangerine charges $1.50 for non-Scotiabank or Global Alliance ATM withdraws within Canada and $3 for international ATM withdraws, which can quickly add up if you use cash on a daily basis. EQ also makes it easy to add up to 4 people to a single Savings Plus account, making the product ideal for couples or families.

Unfortunately, the Savings Plus account has a couple of downsides. Most notably, account holders cannot order cheques directly from EQ bank. Additionally, only adults are eligible to register for the account, whereas 16 year olds may register for Tangerine’s Daily Chequing Account. Still, if you are an adult and do not anticipate the need to use cheques, the Savings Plus account may be too sweet to pass up.

Winner: EQ Bank

EQ Bank vs Tangerine: Savings Accounts

The playing field starts to level when we compare EQ’s Savings Plus account to Tangerine’s Canadian dollar Savings Account. The 2.5% EQ Bank interest rate is still significantly higher than Tangerine’s 1% interest rate. However, the fact that Tangerine has separated its chequing account from its savings account makes it easier to save money on a regular basis. Plus, Tangerine allows users to automate transfers to their savings account. They also allow clients to create savings goals and visually see how close they are to achieving them. 

On paper, Tangerine’s savings-orientated features may sound trivial — especially in comparison to the extra 1.5% in interest that EQ offers. Ultimately though, some people will find that sharing a single bank account for both chequing and savings purposes is easier said than done. If you think that you might be tempted to dip into the ‘savings’ portion of your balance (or to avoid funding it altogether), separate accounts might save you significantly more money than 1.5% of your balance.

It is worth noting that both EQ Bank and Tangerine offer US dollar savings accounts in addition to their standard Canadian dollar savings accounts. Tangerine’s US Dollar Savings Account is incredibly straightforward. Users can expect few fees, few frills, and a 0.10% interest rate. In comparison, EQ’s US Dollar Account is a bit more exciting: it features no monthly fees and a 3% interest rate. The account also allows you to transfer money to USD bank accounts or send money outside of the United States via Wise integration. At the end of the day, EQ’s US Dollar Account takes the cake — even though Tangerine has the more compelling Canadian dollar savings account.

Winner: EQ Bank

EQ Bank vs Tangerine: Payment Cards

Both Tangerine and EQ Bank automatically issue debit-like cards that allow you to make purchases in-store and online. Tangerine also offers a number of credit cards, including the Money-Back Credit Card (heads up: Hardbacon readers currently qualify for a 10% cash back offer when signing up for a new Money-Back Credit Card). However, for the sake of keeping the comparison as fair as possible, we will only focus on the debit-like cards that are linked to customers’ bank accounts in this section.

[Offer productType=”CreditCard” api_id=”5f34494292ec22115033b302″ id=”176550″]

Tangerine’s Client Card is a straightforward debit card that allows you to make purchases via your bank account’s balance. It uses the Visa Debit network, so you can expect the card to work at any vendor that accepts Visa, regardless of whether you are in Canada or abroad. 

EQ’s Bank Card is not actually a debit card, but a prepaid credit card. Users must load money onto the card via their Savings Plus account before they can make purchases. They will then earn 0.5% cashback on all purchases and a 2.5% interest rate on any unused funds that have been loaded onto the card. Purchases made with a Bank Card are processed as credit card payments on the vendor’s end.

[Offer productType=”CreditCard” api_id=”63d2cb6a18196b6d2e1928c2″ id=”198047″]

On paper, EQ’s Bank Card is more competitive than Tangerine’s Client Card. However, depending on your lifestyle, the Client Card may be a better pick. Establishments that do not accept credit cards may refuse the EQ Bank Card — and you will have to remember to reload the card when the balance gets low. EQ still wins this showdown section, but with an acknowledgement of its pitfalls.

Winner: EQ Bank

EQ Bank vs Tangerine: Investments

EQ currently offers four investment account types: Retirement Savings Plan accounts (RSPs), Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs), First Home Savings Accounts (FHSAs), and non-registered accounts. Since RSPs, TFSAs, and FHSAs are regulated by the government, each account type comes with its own perks and requirements. At the moment, EQ does not offer any tradable investment products (e.g. index funds). However, they do offer guaranteed investment certificates (GICs) with terms ranging from 3 months to 10 years. Current interest rates include 3% for a 3-month term, 5.5% for a 1-year term, and 5% for a 5-year term.

Tangerine also offers four investment account types: RSPs, TFSAs, Retirement Income Fund accounts (RIFs), and non-registered accounts. The bank also sells two types of investments: GICs and mutual funds. Tangerine’s GIC terms range from 90 days to 5 years; current rates include 1.5% for a 90-day term, 5.25% for a 1-year term, and 3.85% for a 5-year term.

Each of their mutual fund portfolios fall into one of three categories: Core, Global, or Socially Responsible Global. Core portfolios mostly feature Canadian companies and have 1.06% Management Expense Ratio (MER) fees. Global portfolios feature a wider variety of international companies and charge 1.41% in MER and management/administration fees. Similarly, Socially Responsible Global portfolios are made up of Canadian and international companies that avoid “controversial business activities”, human rights violations, environmental damage, and more. These portfolios charge 1.52% in MER and management/administration fees. Within each category, you can select a specific plan whose risk level aligns with your financial goals.

Winner: Tangerine

Since EQ Bank and Tangerine offer such radically different investment products, it is tough to declare a winner for the investment category. Ultimately, we selected Tangerine as the winner (largely because they offer a wider variety of investment products). Still, many people will find that EQ’s investment accounts are a better fit for their specific financial situation. We highly recommend reviewing your investment goals before opening up an account with either bank. 

EQ Bank vs Tangerine: Sending and Receiving Money

Both EQ and Tangerine make it easy to deposit and access money. Clients at either bank may move their money around via Interac e-Transfer or an Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT). Both banks also support mobile cheque deposits and online bill payments. They also have similar withdrawal options, though daily limits and ATM policies vary.

Tangerine clients may spend up to $2,500 on their debit card each day. They may also take out up to $1,200 from an ATM (and can temporarily increase this limit online). However, if Tangerine clients use a Canadian ATM that is not operated by Scotiabank or Global Alliance, they will have to pay a $1.50 fee. If they use a non-Scotiabank or Global Alliance ATM outside of Canada, they will have to pay a $3 fee.

EQ clients may load up to $10,000 onto their EQ Bank Card and can spend up to $5,000 in a single day, but can only withdraw $500 per day from an ATM. They can also enjoy a unique perk when withdrawing money: EQ customers can use any Canadian ATM without having to worry about fees (if the ATM machine charges the fees of its own, EQ will issue a refund). In other words, say goodbye to hunting for a machine that is owned by a specific bank to save a bit of extra money. At the end of the day, both EQ and Tangerine make it easy to move money around but the ATM perk tips the scales in EQ’s favour.

Winner: EQ Bank

EQ Bank vs Tangerine: Mobile App

The quality of your bank’s mobile app can cause (or prevent) a lot of headaches. Fortunately, EQ and Tangerine clients have access to relatively useful mobile apps. Both apps allow you to view your balances and transaction history, deposit cheques, pay bills, and transfer money between different linked bank accounts.

Still, Tangerine’s app is packed with more features. Most notably, the app allows you to set up and monitor a budget. You can also create and track savings goals, locate partnered ATMs near you, and set automated transfer rules. Plus, the app is responsive and has an intuitive layout, ultimately leading to a stress-free experience for users.

Winner: Tangerine

EQ Bank vs Tangerine: Which Bank is Best Overall?

If you tally up the results of each section, you might have noticed that it’s tight race, with EQ Bank winning in four categories and Tangerine, in two. At the end of the day, EQ Bank’s perks are a bit more appealing than Tangerine’s, making it the winner of our banking showdown. Still, as we have already mentioned, each bank’s products come with their own pros and cons. We recommend keeping your own lifestyle and habits in mind before opening an account.

Athanasia is a personal finance writer. Whenever she has to make a purchase, she takes pride in hunting down stackable discounts and finding great deals. She recently graduated from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Cinema Studies.