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Tangerine vs. Simplii Financial: Which is the Better Online Bank for Canadians?


Tangerine and Simplii Financial are among the most popular online banks in Canada. It is no surprise that both online banks are neck to neck for the title of the best online bank in Canada. 

Tangerine and Simplii Financial operate in the same way and offer the same services to Canadians who need low-cost banking options. 

However, they do have several perks and options which are more beneficial for some customers than others. 

In this article, we will be reviewing both the Tangerine and the Simplii Financial online banks. 

Tangerine Bank 

Tangerine Bank is the best mid-sized bank according to the 2021 JD Power Canada Retail Banking Satisfaction Study. 

The bank offers most if not all of the services and products most commercial banks offer. That is:

  • Mortgages-first time buyers, HELOC, and RRSP loans.
  • Chequing account- no monthly fees, free first cheque book, and mobile deposits.
  • Savings account- 0.10% interest rate. No monthly fees, and no minimum balance.
  • Credit cards- 2% cashback and no fee.
  • Investment account like TFSA, GIC, RRIF, RRSP

Here are some of its outstanding features 

Domestic Fees 

Tangerine operates in the same way as other online banks and traditional banks. However, it doesn’t charge monthly maintenance fees nor require a minimum balance to ensure one’s account is kept open. 

It also waves ATM fees provided the user withdraws money from any of the 3500 Tangerine/Scotiabank’s ATMs. However, when the users opt to use other ATMs, they incur a fee of $1.5. 

International Fees

Tangerine charges a base percentage fee for all its foreign transactions. It charges a 2.5% foreign currency conversion fee on any foreign ATM. However, the withdrawals will incur $3 if the ATM is not from the Global ATM Alliance network or Visa Plus. 

Additional fees

  • $10 fee if you’re inactive for one year, $20 for 2-9 years, and $40 for 10 years and above.
  • You’re entitled to only one free replacement per year, but you will pay $15 every other time you replace your card within the year.

Usability and Interface 

Tangerine is quite strict when it comes to allowing users to customize their spending as it never allows them to set their withdrawal/spending limits from the applications. There is no feature to share the expenses, split the bills with colleagues or even track online transactions. 

Nevertheless, the bank allows users to open goals also referred to as sub savings accounts to help in facilitating saving for a particular goal. 

Regulation and Security 

Tangerine is part of Scotiabank hence counts with the same insurance and regulations offered by CDIC. That means all the eligible deposits are insured to a maximum of CAD 100,000. 

Also, users are capable of resetting their card PINs directly from the app and its sign-in process can be configured using biometric authentication. 

Simplii Financial 

Previously referred to as PC Financial, Simplii Financial is a financial institution with all its operations online. Although there are no physical branches, the bank offers similar products as other banks or credit unions. 

  • Savings account-0.10% interest rate, no minimum balance, and no monthly fees.
  • Chequing account-no monthly fees, free cheques, and free Interac e-Transfer.
  • Credit card-no annual fees
  • Mortgage-first time buyers, HELOC, and personal line of credit.
  • Investment account- GICs, registered and non-registered accounts.

Domestic Fees

Simplii Financial does not have any monthly fees nor is no minimum balance required to keep your account open. The bank also offers free ATM withdrawals from all 3400 CIBC ATMs in Canada. You will pay a $1.5 fee if you use any other ATM.

Also, this bank charges $4.97 for every card replacement you do within a year, although, the first replacement is free. If your account is inactive for two years, then you will pay an inactivity fee of $20 for every year the account remains dormant.

International Fees

Simplii Financial is among the few online banks in Canada you can use to transfer money internationally. However, this unique feature is overshadowed by Simplii Financial heavy foreign fees.

 The bank charges $3 for any foreign ATM withdrawal done on any non-CIBC ATM. A base fee of 2.5% is charged as a foreign currency conversion fee. 

Simplii Financial contains unique features where account holders can purchase foreign currency from the application and receive it at a future time on any local Canada post. This is a big relief for users who are planning to travel overseas.

Usability and Interface 

Simplii Financial does not perform as it should when it comes to having a fluid interface. It is among the few banks known to have few features to help in customizing spending. 

It does not have features like withdrawal limits and setting spending from the app, splitting bills/ sharing expenses, and tracking online subscriptions. However, you can open a sub savings account.

Regulation and Security 

Simplii Financial is also associated with CIBC meaning it is also insured and regulated by CDIC. Consequently, the CDIC will always make sure all deposits in Simplii Financial are insured to a maximum of CAD 100,000. 

Simplii Financial lacks certain security features like resetting card PINs from the app and freezing/unfreezing debit cards from the app. Simplii Financial users can sign in using biometric login authentication making it safer and more convenient. 

Tangerine vs. Simplii Financial

  • The interest rates for both banks stands at 0.10% for savings account.
  • Both offer free withdrawal from their over 3000 ATMs but charge a small fee when you withdraw from other ATMs.
  • The two have excellent 24/7 customer service and are regulated by Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CIDC)
  • Tangerine and Simplii have the backing of established Canadian banks; Scotiabank and CIBC respectively.
  • The two have a referral program where you can earn up to $50 per referral.


In conclusion, Tangerine is the most reliable and solid online bank as voted by Canadians in 2020 and 2021. It helps in merging most of the traditional banking benefits with online banking conveniences. 

Despite the two online banks sharing lots of features, Tangerine still manages to outdo Simplii Financial in terms of performance on both its online banking fundamentals and rewards making it a reliable and perfect institution. 

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