Simplii vs Tangerine – Which Online Bank is Best in 2024?

WRITTEN BY Dan Kent | UPDATED ON: May 22, 2024

Tangerine vs Simplii

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If you're contemplating selecting an internet-based bank in Canada, Simplii Financial and Tangerine could be standout choices. Both these banks offer an array of financial services, ranging from chequing and savings accounts, to mortgages, and opportunities for investments.

As direct banking subsidiaries of two of Canada's largest banks – CIBC owns Simplii and Tangerine is owned by Scotiabank – customers can trust that their money is secure.

Simplii Financial and Tangerine have much in common: they offer a no-fee daily chequing accounts, competitive interest rates for savings accounts, and a user-friendly online banking experience.

Personally, I use Equitable Bank myself. However, after reviewing these two platforms in-depth I can certainly see why Canadians are curious as to what they offer.

But don't mistake both these banks as being the same. The differences between the two might make one a better fit for specific customers, depending on their needs.

In this article, we will explore the differences and similarities between Simplii Financial and Tangerine by comparing essential banking features such as annual fees, interest rates, ATM access, information about withdrawals, and customer service.

With that said, lets get right into it.

Overview of Simplii Financial and Tangerine

Simplii Financial and Tangerine are two prominent digital banks operating in Canada. As online-only financial institutions, they offer a range of banking services without needing physical branches.

I'm amazed, yet not surprised at all by the emergence of digital banks these days. There is just no need for the majority of Canadians to go into brick and mortar banks, and as a result they're being offered much better rates on products due to the fact these institutions do not have the overhead of traditional banks.

Simplii Financial, a subsidiary of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), was launched in 2017 as a response to the growing online banking market. The bank offers banking services, including chequing and savings accounts, mortgages, and loans.

Additionally, Simplii provides its customers with access to more than 3,400 CIBC ATM locations across Canada, enabling easy access to cash.

On the other hand, Tangerine was established in 1997 as ING Direct and rebranded in 2012 after being acquired by Scotiabank. Tangerine is known for its user-friendly online platform and no-fee solutions to attract clients.

The bank boasts a range of services, including chequing and savings accounts, credit cards, and investment options. Much like Simplii gains access to CIBC's ATMs, Tangerine gains access to Scotia's.

Both Simplii Financial and Tangerine focus on providing the rewards of a modernized online banking experience, utilizing digital platforms for account management and customer support.

As online-only banks, they both prioritize offering low-fee or no-fee banking coupled with much higher rates on products than traditional banks. These features make them attractive alternatives to traditional banks for many Canadians.

Their affiliation with established traditional banks, CIBC and Scotiabank, respectively, adds credibility to their services while providing their customers access to extensive ATM networks. 

Online banking used to be an inconvenience. It is now so easy to utilize that it is almost a no-brainer for Canadians to swap platforms and save money.

When I swapped from my credit union to Equitable Bank, I went from paying $15 a month to earning $45 a month in interest. Sure, it seems small, but it certainly does add up. 

Chequing and savings accounts

Fees and features

Tangerine Vs Simplii Fees

Institution Chequing Account Savings Account
Simplii Financial $0 $0
Tangerine $0 $0

Simplii Financial and Tangerine offer no-fee chequing and savings accounts with various features.

Their chequing accounts have the following features:

  • No monthly account fees 
  • Unlimited transactions 
  • Free Interac e-Transfers 
  • Overdraft protection options 

Both institutions have no fees for savings accounts either, and provide competitive interest rates to help grow your savings.

ATM accessibility

  • Simplii Financial: Access to CIBC ATMs
  • Tangerine: Access to Scotiabank ATMs

Paying ATM fees is a royal pain in the rear these days. So, it's nice to know where you'll have to pay and where you won't. For those interested, Equitable Bank's EQ Bank Card will refund your ATM fees on any ATM you use in Canada, making accessibility a non-factor.

Regarding ATM accessibility for both these platforms, Simplii Financial customers can access CIBC ATMs, while Tangerine clients can use Scotiabank ATMs.

Both banks have a vast network of ATMs across Canada, providing convenient access to cash and other services. Additionally, they are part of the Global ATM Alliance, which allows access to thousands of international ATMs with reduced or waived fees.

Mobile and online banking

Simplii Financial and Tangerine offer rock-solid digital banking experiences through online platforms and mobile apps.

Using smartphones, users can manage their accounts, transfer funds, pay bills, and deposit cheques. Their apps are user-friendly and regularly updated to enhance their features and security.

Overall, I found Simplii's app to be a bit better and more functional. However, both of them are outstanding.

Interest rates and investment options

Interest rates

Simplii Financial and Tangerine both offer competitive interest rates on their savings accounts. Simplii provides a high-interest savings account with a standard interest rate.

At the same time, Tangerine offers a tiered interest rate with a promotional rate for new clients. Tangerine's Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) and Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) also benefit from tiered interest rates.

Tangerine vs Simplii Interest Rates

Account Interest Rate
Simplii High-Interest Savings Account Starting at 0.4%
Tangerine Savings Account Starting at 1%
Tangerine TFSA/RRSP Starting at 1%

These interest rates are subject to change and are updated as of October 2023. Make sure to check their website for the most up to date rates.

Investments

Simplii and Tangerine have various investment options to cater to different risk appetites and financial objectives.

Tangerine boasts a more extensive lineup of investment products, including:

  • Tangerine Mutual Funds: A diverse product lineup of low-cost index funds.
  • Tangerine Portfolios: Professionally managed portfolios composed of Tangerine Investment Funds tailored to varying degrees of risk tolerance.

Simplii offers the following investment options:

  • Simplii Index Mutual Funds: A simple selection of low-cost index funds for registered and non-registered accounts, like TFSAs and RRSPs.

Overall, I'm not a huge fan of utilizing either of these platforms for investment options. I do believe that Canadians can take advantage of low-fee ETFs and gain access to the global markets in just a few clicks of a button.

GICs

Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs) are fixed-term investments that offer a guaranteed return with various terms and interest rates. You can have both normal GICs and cashable GICs.

Both Simplii and Tangerine provide a variety of GICs with terms ranging from 30 days to 5 years, allowing investors to choose their preferred investment horizon. 

With these companies being online only banks, they're able to offer much higher rates than you'd see at a traditional financial institution here in Canada. It makes these GIC's very popular options for Canadians in this high rate environment.

Tangerine vs Simplii GIC Rates

Term Simplii Tangerine
90 Day N/A 1.5%
180 Day N/A 3.25%
270 Day N/A 4.8%
1 Year 5.224% 5.7%
1.5 Year N/A 5.75%
2 Year 5.176% 4.2%
3 Year 4.889% 5.35%
4 Year 4.889% 3.9%
5 Year 4.889% 3.85%

Overall, Tangerine tends to offer more attractive short term products while Simplii offers more attractive longer term options.

However, please note that the GIC interest rates mentioned above may change over time. The rates above are current as of October 2023.

It is essential to check their websites for the most recent rates before making an investment decision.

Credit cards and loans

Credit cards comparison

Simplii Financial and Tangerine offer credit cards to their customers, with each bank providing a unique set of benefits and features. 

Simplii Financial offers the Simplii Financial Cash Back Visa Card, while Tangerine provides a Money-Back Credit Card and a World Mastercard.

Simplii Financial Cash Back Visa Card offers:

  • 4% cash back on eligible restaurant, bar, and coffee shop purchases
  • 1.5% cash back on eligible gas, groceries, and drugstore purchases
  • 0.5% cashback on all other eligible purchases

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card offers:

  • 2% cash back in up to two spending categories of your choice
  • 0.5% cash back on all other eligible purchases

Tangerine World Mastercard offers:

  • 2% cash back in up to two spending categories of your choice
  • 0.5% cash back on all other eligible purchases
  • Additional benefits such as mobile device insurance and rental car insurance

Loan options

Regarding loans, both Simplii Financial and Tangerine provide personal loans and lines of credit to their customers.

Simplii Financial Personal Loans offer:

  • Competitive interest rates
  • Flexible repayment terms
  • Borrow up to a predetermined credit limit
  • No penalty for early repayment

Simplii Financial Lines of Credit feature:

  • Access to funds when needed up to the approved credit limit
  • Interest is charged only on the amount used
  • Flexible repayment options

Tangerine Lines of Credit feature:

  • Competitive interest rates
  • Access to funds when needed up to the approved credit limit
  • Interest is charged only on the amount used
  • Flexible repayment options

Tangerine Mortgage feature:

  • Dedicated support
  • Flexible prepayment options
  • Portable

Tangerine Home Equity Line of Credit feature:

  • Pay off the loan at any time and use it again without having to re-apply, provide documents, or pay fees
  • Set regular fixed payments to help you pay off the principal amount sooner
  • Withdraw funds, make payments and completely pay off your balance at any time

Additional services

Money transfers

Simplii Financial and Tangerine both provide easy money transfer options for their customers.

They offer free Interac e-Transfers for convenient and quick transfers within Canada. Simplii Financial has Global Money Transfer services for sending money internationally, while Tangerine provides International Money Transfers.

Both banks are backed by the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC), ensuring the safety of your deposits.

Branch and customer service

While neither Simplii nor Tangerine have physical branches, they make up for it with broad access to ATMs and extensive customer service availability.

Both banks allow their cardholders to use CIBC and Scotiabank ATMs, respectively, without any additional fees.

Their customer service teams can be reached through phone, chat, and email to address any concerns or inquiries.

The one thing I would note, is that customer service does tend to lack a bit compared to major banks. Remember, we're dealing with no frills options here in an effort to earn more with more attractive products. As a result, there is some things you have to sacrifice.

It's not that the customer service is poor. It just doesn't offer the functionality and help that a major institution does, in my opinion.

Other features

  • Bill payments: Simplii and Tangerine offer simple, fast, and secure bill payment options through their online banking platforms.
  • Foreign currency services: Simplii provides foreign currency exchange services. Tangerine offers a USD Savings Account for clients who regularly deal with US dollars.
  • Overdraft protection: Both banks offer overdraft protection, helping clients avoid non-sufficient funds fees and declined transactions.
  • Cheques: Simplii and Tangerine customers can order and use cheques with their bank accounts.

Bank account types

Simplii Financial and Tangerine offer a variety of bank account types to suit their customers' needs.

Tangerine and Simplii Account Types

Account Type Simplii Tangerine
Chequing
HISA
USD Savings
RRSP
Business

Different account types allow customers to choose the best fit for their financial goals and situations.

Overall, I think Tangerine has an edge, but it's very small

In comparing Simplii Financial and Tangerine, both organizations have distinct advantages and drawbacks. When choosing between these two banks, consumers should consider their unique requirements and preferences.

Simplii could be attractive to those seeking a straightforward approach to banking. With no-fee daily banking options, free personalized cheques, and a competitive interest rate on their High-Interest Savings Account, Simplii can meet the everyday needs of many Canadians.

Additionally, their parent company, CIBC, provides reassuring financial stability to Simplii customers.

On the other hand, Tangerine provides a diverse range of products and services, such as Tangerine Savings Accounts, Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card, and investment options like Tangerine Investment Funds.

Tangerine is well-suited for individuals looking to diversify their financial portfolio while maintaining a user-friendly online banking platform, and I do think it provides a little better product base for its clients.

Both banks offer mobile and online banking, which can sometimes be much easier than dealing with brick and mortar banks.

Ultimately, the choice between Simplii Financial and Tangerine will come down to individual preferences and financial goals.

Both banks provide valuable features and a strong, no-fee banking experience, making them ideal options for those seeking a reliable, user-friendly online banking experience in a Canadian context.