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KOHO vs. Tangerine 2024: Which is Best For You?

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KOHO and Tangerine are popular for their high-interest savings accounts and other financial product offerings that help Canadians save on banking fees.

I use KOHO to earn cash back on debit purchases, and I like that its new savings account offers a rate that beats the big banks.

Tangerine is my go-to for a no-fee cash back credit card, and it offers a complete suite of financial products, including investments, mortgages, chequing, and more.

This Tangerine vs. KOHO comparison covers what you need to know about both financial institutions.

KOHO vs Tangerine

FeatureTangerineKOHO
OwnershipSubsidiary of ScotiabankKOHO Financial Inc. has partnerships with Peoples Trust and Mastercard
Account TypesChequing, Savings (regular, TFSA, RRSP), Business, Investments, Mortgages, Credit Cards (two types), LoansEasy, Essential, Extra and Everything plans; Credit Builder
Interest RatesUp to 0.70% on savings accounts; up to 0.10% on chequing balanceVaries
ATM AccessScotiabank ATMs in Canada, Global ATM Alliance abroadKOHO does not own ATMs
Monthly FeesNo monthly fees for standard accounts; no annual fee for credit cardsKOHO Essential: $0* monthly; otherwise, premium accounts cost $4 to $19/mo.
Other FeesDrafts, overdraft protection, NSF fee, paper statement, Non-bank ATM withdrawals, FX feeKOHO Cover overdraft protection; ATM out-of-network fees; no hidden fees
Credit CardsTangerine Money-Back Credit Card and Tangerine World MastercardNone; only prepaid cards (KOHO Essential, KOHO Extra and KOHO Everything Prepaid Mastercard)
Mobile AppYes, with robust featuresYes, seamless, user-friendly with various tailored plans
Customer ServicePhone, Chat, EmailIn-app or web chat support, KOHO’s web platform, Email, Phone
SecurityCDIC eligibleCDIC eligible
Rewards ProgramCash back rewardsCash back on purchases
Credit BuildingCredit products available for credit buildingKOHO Credit Building
Promotions10% cash back bonus on first $1000 credit spend ($100 value)$20 bonus after first purchase

What is KOHO?

KOHO is a fintech company that was established in 2014. While it is not a ‘bank,’ it offers many innovative financial products designed to help Canadians save money and improve their financial lives.

The company offers prepaid debit cards in partnership with Peoples Trust and Mastercard.

What is Tangerine?

Tangerine is a subsidiary of Scotiabank and one of the most popular online banks in Canada.

KOHO vs. Tangerine: Financial Products

Below is a detailed comparison of the various financial products offered by KOHO and Tangerine Bank.

KOHO vs. Tangerine: Prepaid Credit Cards

Cash back Prepaid Card: KOHO’s primary offering is a reloadable prepaid card that’s one-of-a-kind in Canada.

Using the entry-level KOHO Mastercard, you enjoy the following benefits:

  • 1% cash back on grocery, restaurant, gas and transportation purchases
  • $0* monthly fee
  • Up to 5% cash back at partner stores
  • 5% savings interest earned on account balance
  • Access to free credit score checks and monitoring
  • Automatic savings plan using “Roundup’
  • Budgeting tool mobile app with support for Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay
  • Access to joint accounts
  • Savings interest rate
  • $20 welcome bonus after first purchase

You can upgrade your account to the KOHO Extra Card and take advantage of all the standard benefits plus unlimited 1.5% cash back on transportation, groceries, and restaurant purchases. Premium (Extra) users also pay no FX fees.

Tangerine does not offer prepaid credit cards.

KOHO vs. Tangerine: Credit Cards

The Tangerine Money-Back Mastercard is one of the best no-annual-fee credit cards in Canada. It offers an unlimited 2% cash back on up to 3 categories of spending and 0.50% on everything else. Tangerine also offers a World Mastercard.

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

Rewards: Earn up to 2% unlimited cash back in up to 3 spending categories and 0.50% on all other purchases.

Welcome offer: Get an extra 10% cash back on up to $1,000 in spending in the first 2 months ($100 value); 1.95% balance transfer rate for 6 months.

Interest rates: 19.95% for purchases, balance transfers, and cash advances.

Annual fee: $0

KOHO does not offer credit cards; it only offers prepaid cards.

KOHO vs. Tangerine: Chequing Account

No Fee Chequing Account: Tangerine Bank’s chequing account has no monthly fees and offers:

  • Free Interac e-Transfers and debit transactions
  • Access to 3,500 Scotiabank ATMs
  • Up to 0.10% interest rate on your balance
  • Visa Debit card
  • Mobile cheque deposits
  • Supports Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay

KOHO offers a hybrid account with chequing and savings features. It does not provide regular chequing accounts.

KOHO vs. Tangerine: Savings Accounts

KOHO Earn Interest: The standard account pays 5% interest on your balance (both spending and savings). Your funds are held at a CDIC-member financial institution and are eligible for insurance up to $100,000 per depositor.

Tangerine Savings Account: This free savings account pays 0.70% interest and is available for TFSA, RRSP, and RRIF plans.

KOHO vs. Tangerine: Credit Building

KOHO Credit Building is an optional service that helps improve your credit score. This subscription service is available monthly at $10/month.

KOHO sends reports to the credit bureaus on your behalf, and it is possible to see significant improvements to your credit score within six months.

Get your free credit score here if you want to know what your credit rating looks like.

Tangerine does not offer any specific credit building program but provides credit products for building credit.

KOHO vs. Tangerine: Investments

Tangerine customers can invest using its Core Portfolios, Global ETF Portfolios, and Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs).

KOHO does not offer investment products.

KOHO vs. Tangerine: Borrowing

Tangerine offers RSP loans, HELOC, and mortgages.

You can also compare other loan providers for personal loan rates.

KOHO does not offer loans, mortgages or regular lending products. But under its Credit Building program, it opens a line of credit dedicated solely to Credit Building.

Other Factors To Consider

While Tangerine and KOHO overlap in many areas, there are significant differences you should be aware of.

Cash back

KOHO allows you to earn cash back when you pay cash for purchases. If you want to avoid credit cards, a free KOHO Mastercard pays 1% cash back on groceries and transportation purchases (up to 5% cash back at partners). When you opt for KOHO Extra, you earn up to 1.5% cash back in three categories.

To earn cash back with Tangerine, you can apply for one of its two credit cards.

Savings Interest

KOHO Save currently pays 5% interest on your savings and spending balance. Tangerine Savings also pays a regular interest rate. For a higher savings rate, you can check out EQ Bank’s Personal Account or the Neo Financial Savings Account.

Chequing Account

While Tangerine has a chequing account, KOHO is more of a hybrid account with a mix of chequing and savings features. KOHO does not offer chequebooks.

Convenience

Both financial institutions are fully digital and do not offer physical branches you can walk into. That said, they support Interac e-Transfers, pre-authorized debits, and direct deposits.

Tangerine customers can use Scotiabank ATMs for free; however, KOHO does not own any ATMs, so you may have to pay out-of-network fees ($2-$3).

Referral Program

When you sign up for a KOHO account using a valid referral link, you get a $20 welcome bonus. You can refer up to 20 friends to KOHO via KOHO’s referral program.

Tangerine’s referral program pays up to $50 per referral, and you can refer up to 3 people each year.

Fees

You can get KOHO for free by setting up a recurring direct deposit to your Essential account. Subscription fees apply if you upgrade to KOHO Extra or sign up for Credit Building.

Tangerine’s savings and chequing accounts have no monthly fees. Depending on the transactions you conduct, service fees may apply (e.g., NSF, chequebook, stop payments, FX fee, drafts, etc.).

Customer Support

Tangerine’s customer service is available by phone 24/7 and chat (10am – 7pm ET on weekdays only). KOHO offers support by email and via chat in-app 7 days a week.

Are they safe? Deposits in both Tangerine and KOHO Save are eligible for CDIC protection up to $100,000 per beneficiary.

 Savings AccountsKOHO SaveTangerine Savings
Monthly fee$0$0
Savings interest rate5%0.70%
Free Interac e-TransfersYesN/A
Free debitsYesN/A
Credit cardsN/A (offers prepaid cards)2 types
Mobile appYesYes
Learn moreVisit KOHORead review

KOHO vs Tangerine: Which One To Choose?

KOHO and Tangerine are excellent and serve different purposes.

You could use KOHO to earn competitive cash back when spending cash or debit and use its credit-building program if you do not qualify for a traditional credit card. Your balance also earns high interest rates.

The Tangerine credit cards are excellent for earning cash back without paying annual fees. If you want to cut your banking fees, its no-fee chequing account offers unlimited transactions, and you get access to Scotiabank ATMs for free.

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Author

Gravatar for Enoch Omololu, MSc (Econ)
Enoch Omololu, MSc (Econ)

Enoch Omololu, personal finance expert, author, and founder of Savvy New Canadians, has written about money matters for over 10 years. Enoch has an MSc (Econ) degree in Finance and Investment Management from the University of Aberdeen Business School and has completed the Canadian Securities Course. His expertise has been highlighted in major publications like Forbes, Globe and Mail, Business Insider, CBC News, Toronto Star, Financial Post, CTV News, TD Direct Investing, Canadian Securities Exchange, and many others. Enoch is passionate about helping others win with their finances and recently created a practical investing course for beginners. You can read his full author bio.

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