EQ Bank and Tangerine are two of the most popular online-only banks in Canada.
More Canadians are choosing to go digital with their banking, with recent stats showing that more than three-quarters of Canadians now use online and mobile interfaces for conducting their banking transactions.
This increasing adoption of online banking is a boon to relatively newer entrants into the banking industry, i.e. online banks.
Not many people like to pay the ever-increasing banking fees charged by traditional brick-and-mortar banks. Forget about ATM fees, NSF, overdrafts, account transfers, transaction fees, etc. What usually irks me is the monthly chequing account maintenance fees.
I am simply unable to rationalize paying to keep money in my account when the bank is already making money off of it. Canadians pay more than $200 per year on average in banking fees!
Online-only banks come with their own pros and cons.
One differentiating feature between them and traditional banks is that they usually offer a no-fee, no-minimum balance chequing account and/or a high-interest savings account. They also offer very little in the way of in-person assistance.
In this post, I compare EQ Bank vs Tangerine, including their financial products, fees, pros, cons, and everything else you need to make an informed choice.
What is Tangerine Bank?
Tangerine is a subsidiary of Scotiabank and was formerly known as ING DIRECT.
It does not have branches; however, in addition to having access to a 24/7 call centre, you can walk into the few Tangerine pop-up locations and cafes around the country if you must speak to someone in person.
As a customer, you also have access to over 44,000 ATMs worldwide through Scotiabank’s Global ATM Alliance.
Tangerine Bank offers a suite of financial products, including:
1) Savings: Multiple savings accounts are provided for personal and business clients.
2) GICs: Tangerine GICs are available with terms ranging from 90 days to 5 years. You can hold these GICs in both registered and non-registered accounts
3) Spending: A no-Fee Chequing Account and Tangerine 2% Money-Back Credit Card that’s one of the best cash back credit cards in Canada.
4) Investing: You can hold Tangerine Investment Funds in TFSA, RRSP, RRIF, and non-registered investment accounts.
5) Borrowing: Mortgage, HELOC, and RRSP Loans are available.
The general features you can expect on Tangerine’s chequing account include the following:
- Zero monthly bank fees
- Interest earned on chequing account balance (up to 0.10%)
- Free and unlimited debit transactions, bill payments, and pre-authorized payments.
- No minimum account balance
- Automated Savings Program
- Free mobile cheque deposits
What is EQ Bank?
EQ Bank is the online-only arm of Equitable bank – a Schedule I bank with total assets of approximately $42 billion.
The bank operates strictly online, and they have no brick-and-mortar branches you can walk into. It is the overhead saved from not having to pay for building and other maintenance costs that they pass on to customers through higher savings interest rates.
Although it is without a physical location, you can always reach someone to talk to via phone or chat if you have any questions.
- No monthly fees
- No minimum balance
- High-interest savings rates (2.50%*)
- Free unlimited electronic fund transfer
- Unlimited bill payments
- Unlimited FREE Interac e-transfers per month
- Free mobile cheque deposits
- Joint accounts available
- Cheap international money transfer
EQ Bank also offers several other products, including:
1. EQ Bank GIC: Get some of the best GIC rates with EQ Bank, with terms ranging from 3 months to 10 years and GICs for TFSA and RSP accounts.
2. US Dollar Account: Save your USD cash and earn 2% interest on every dollar. You can also use this bank account for international money transfers.
3. Join Accounts: You can open an EQ Bank savings account with friends or partners.
4. Mortgage Marketplace: EQ Bank customers can find competitive mortgage rates from more than 2,000 mortgage products.
Tangerine vs. EQ Bank: Savings Account
As of today (November 7, 2022), EQ Bank offers a 2.50%* non-promotional interest rate on its general savings account, while Tangerine offers a 4.50% promotional rate for 5 months and 1% after.
Let’s drill down into the numbers using a savings account with $10,000 and a 1-year term:
EQ Bank: $10,000 x 2.50%
Interest earned = $250 per year.
Tangerine ⇒ First 5 months ⇒ $10,000 x 4.50% x 5/12 year
Interest earned during the first 5 months: $187.5
Remainder of year (7 months) ⇒ $10,000 x 1.00% x 7/12 year
Interest earned during the last 7 months = $41.67
Total interest earned for Year 1: $187.5 + $41.67 = $229.17
EQ Bank wins this round versus Tangerine by offering a significantly higher interest rate overall. If we assume rates stay the same in Year 2, EQ Bank will still pay $250 interest on a $10,000 savings, while earnings on a Tangerine account drop to $100 (no promo rate in the second year).
The same scenario applies to GICs, with EQ Bank offering higher rates. Compared to the pittance offered by the big banks, these rates are reasonable.
EQ Bank vs Tangerine: Chequing Account
EQ Bank does not have a chequing account; however, its savings account works like a hybrid account, and you can deposit cheques into it and make bill payments. You can connect up to ten accounts from other banks, and transfers are FREE.
The EQ Bank Savings Plus account includes unlimited bill payments, debit transactions, and Interac e-Transfers.
Regarding ATMs, Tangerine customers have access to over 44,000 ATMs worldwide. EQ Bank does not issue a debit card; therefore, all transactions are completed online.
Tangerine Bank has the edge over EQ Bank when considering its spending account options.
EQ Bank vs Tangerine: Convenience
Tangerine and EQ Bank have mobile apps accessible on Android and iOS devices, and both banks do not have a brick-and-mortar presence.
For customer support, you can contact a service rep using chat, email, or phone.
While EQ Bank now also offers TFSA and RRSP accounts (savings and GICs), with Tangerine, you can move all your banking needs over as it also provides loans and investment funds.
EQ Bank vs Tangerine: Security
EQ Bank (via Equitable Bank) and Tangerine are insured by Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC).
What this means is that your deposits are insured by CDIC up to $100,000 per account category (i.e. Savings, Chequing, and GICs).
EQ Bank = Tangerine for this feature.
The factors that individuals consider when choosing a digital bank will vary based on their needs and expectations.
For some people, any monthly banking fee is anathema, and they want an online bank that can handle all their day-to-day banking needs – such as with Tangerine.
If you are looking for the best savings rates for your money or are looking for high-interest rates GICs, TFSA, or RRSP savings accounts, EQ Bank is an excellent choice.
You can also combine both banks to enjoy the benefits they offer.