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Published January 5, 2024
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EQ Bank vs. Tangerine: Features and Differences

One of the main differences between EQ Bank and Tangerine is how the two online banks handle fees for using ATMs.

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EQ Bank and Tangerine are two of the most popular online banks in Canada. Both offer standard financial products, like chequing and savings accounts. Investing services, credit cards and mortgage loans aren’t offered equally by both banks, however. If you’re deciding between these two banks, here’s what you need to know.

What is EQ Bank?

Launched in 2016, EQ Bank has quickly become one of Canada’s most popular online banks since it consistently offers a high interest rate. Though EQ is a relatively new player, it’s actually an online-only subsidiary of Equitable Bank, which has been operating in Canada for more than 50 years and is now Canada’s seventh-largest independent Schedule I bank. 

EQ Bank does not have physical locations, deposits and withdrawals are made by linking your EQ account to another external bank account. EQ Bank doesn’t offer its own ATMs, but you can use your EQ Bank Card to withdraw cash from any ATM in Canada, and EQ will refund any fees charged.

EQ Bank account and product types

  • Personal Account. A hybrid chequing/savings account that allows unlimited transactions, earns interest and has no monthly fees.
  • U.S. Dollar account. The U.S. Dollar Account pays a respectable rate of interest and has no monthly fees. In addition, you can make USD transfers to external U.S. dollar accounts within Canada for free.
  • RSP Savings Account. You can open a registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) with EQ Bank. Every dollar you contribute reduces your taxable income by the same amount. You can also purchase guaranteed investment certificates (GICs) within your RRSP that typically offer high-interest rates.
  • TFSA Savings Account. A tax-free savings account (TFSA) allows you to save up to an annual contribution limit. Like all TFSAs, any interest earned is completely tax-free. EQ Bank’s TFSA can hold cash savings or GICs.
  • EQ Bank Card. You’ll get free withdrawals from any ATM in Canada with the EQ Bank Card. This prepaid card is similar to a debit card but offers cash back on every purchase, earns a high-interest rate on your loaded funds, and has no foreign transaction or monthly fees.
  • GICs. Choose from guaranteed investment certificate (GIC) terms ranging from three months to 10 years. All EQ Bank’s GICs can be purchased with as little as $100.
  • Mortgage Marketplace. Get access to over 2,000 mortgage products provided via a partnership with nesto, a digital mortgage brokerage.

EQ Bank customer service

To get in touch with EQ Bank’s customer service representatives, you can call 1-866-407-5859 (toll-free within North America) or 1-416-515-7001 if you’re outside of North America. The hours of operation are 8 a.m. to midnight ET, seven days a week.

Alternatively, EQ Bank also has a chatbot available 24/7 online and through the mobile app.

EQ Bank referral program

The EQ Bank referral program can be quite lucrative. Not only does the person accepting the referral get $20 when they fund their account with at least $100 within 30 days of activating their account, but the person making the referral can earn up to $500 from referring multiple new clients. You can earn:

No bonus will be paid if you refer any more people.

Noteworthy features of banking with EQ Bank

What makes EQ Bank a popular choice is its consistency. EQ Bank may not offer promotional interest rates, but its everyday interest rate is typically comparable to other high-interest savings accounts. In addition, EQ Bank has no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements. 

EQ Bank’s prepaid card gives you free ATM withdrawals in Canada — any fees charged by the ATM owner will be credited back to your account within 10 business days. The card also offers 0.5% cash back on purchases. 

Equitable Bank is a member of the Canadian Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC), which means deposits are insured up to $100,000 per eligible category. Additionally, the Forbes 2023 World’s Best Banks list named EQ Bank as the #1 bank in Canada[1].

What is Tangerine?

Tangerine is an online-only bank that was founded in 1997 as ING Direct by ING Group. In 2012, Scotiabank acquired the bank and renamed it Tangerine in 2014. These days, Tangerine has more than two million clients and has paid over $9 billion in interest to Canadians.

Tangerine bank account and product types

Tangerine offers various bank accounts, investments and credit cards. Their product range is vast and appeals to many consumers.

  • No-Fee Daily Chequing Account. With this chequing account, you’ll get unlimited transactions and earn a bit of interest without paying any monthly fees. You’ll also get a debit card that allows you to withdraw cash from Scotiabank ABMs without paying any fees.
  • Savings Account. Tangerine’s savings account often has promotional interest rates on new deposits. When the promotional rate ends, you’ll still earn interest without paying any monthly fees.
  • U.S. Dollar Savings Account. Earn interest on your U.S. dollars held within this account. There are no monthly fees or minimum balances required.
  • Business Savings Account. This account has no monthly fees, but requires that your business has a chequing account at another institution.
  • RSP Savings Account. Take advantage of the tax benefits of a registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) while earning interest.
  • Tax-free Savings Account. The interest you earn on your savings in your tax-free savings account (TFSA) is completely tax-free.
  • RIF Savings Account. Once you retire, you can open a retirement income fund (RIF) account to withdraw your retirement savings. You’ll get the same benefits as the regular savings account, but you’ll earn slightly more interest.
  • Credit cards. Tangerine offers two cash-back credit cards with no annual fees and cash-back categories of your choice.
  • Guaranteed Investment Certificates. With terms of 90 days to five years, Tangerine’s GICs offer high-interest rates. You can also purchase a GIC within your RSP, TFSA and RIF, or invest in U.S. dollar GICs.
  • Line of credit. Tangerine clients can apply for a line of credit with a variable interest rate. If approved, you can borrow money from your line of credit whenever you need it.
  • Mortgage. Prospective homeowners can get a mortgage directly from Tangerine. The bank offers portable mortgages with flexible pre-payment options.
  • Home Equity Line of Credit. If your mortgage is with Tangerine, you could qualify for a home equity line of credit, or HELOC to access the equity in your home at a good rate.
  • Investment Portfolios. Tangerine offers Canadian, global and socially responsible ETF portfolios. These portfolios are similar to mutual funds and robo-advisors but typically come with a lower management expense ratio.

Tangerine customer service

Tangerine everyday banking customer service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1‑888‑826‑4374.

Those looking to reach a Tangerine mortgage specialist can call 1-888-826-4374 from Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET.

The investment line is open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET at 1-877-464-5678.

A chatbot and FAQ are also available online.

Tangerine referral program

Current Tangerine customers can refer friends and family members with their Orange Key number. When new customers sign up with an Orange Key, deposit at least $250 within 60 days, and maintain a minimum balance of $250 for at least 60 consecutive days, they’ll get $50.

The person making the referral gets $50 deposited into their Tangerine chequing or savings account, and you can earn up to three referral bonuses per year ($150). 

Noteworthy features of banking with Tangerine

Many people are attracted to Tangerine since it offers just about everything a traditional bank offers except physical locations. You can open a chequing or savings account, and you have access to ABMs and credit cards. In addition, you can invest in Tangerine products and choose from various borrowing options. 

Tangerine is a CDIC member, so your eligible deposits are insured. Plus, J.D.Power ranked Tangerine first in overall customer satisfaction among midsize banks in its 2023 Canada Retail Banking Satisfaction Study[2]

EQ Bank vs. Tangerine: A comparison

EQ BankTangerine
Types of accountsHybrid chequing/savings, U.S. dollar savings, RRSP, TFSAChequing, savings, U.S. dollar savings, business savings, RRSP, TFSA, RIF
Chequing account interest rateN/A (Personal Account works as a hybrid chequing/savings account)Up to 0.10%
HISA rate4.00% (Personal Account)Up to 5.75% promotional and 0.70% regular interest rates
Monthly banking feesNoneNone
Account minimumsNoneNone
ATM withdrawalsFree at any ATM in Canada (fees are reimbursed)Free at any Scotiabank ABM
Cost of Interac e-transfersFreeFree
NSF feeFree$45
Referral programYes, pays up to $500 lifetimeYes, pays up to $150 per year
Credit cardsNoneTangerine Money-Back Credit Card and Tangerine World Mastercard
5-year GIC interest rate (as of May 2024)4.55%3.25%
Other bank services offeredMortgagesMortgages, investment portfolios, line of credit, HELOC
CDIC InsuranceYesYes

FAQs about EQ Bank and Tangerine

Which bank owns EQ bank?

EQ Bank is a subsidiary of Equitable Bank.

Does Tangerine have ATMs?

Tangerine customers with chequing accounts get free access to more than 3,500 Scotiabank ABMs.

Article Sources

Works Cited
  1. Forbes, “The World’s Best Banks,” accessed March 7, 2024.
  2. J.D. Power, “2023 Canada Retail Banking Satisfaction Study,” accessed March 7, 2024.


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