Top 5 Tangerine Alternatives in Canada 2024

Claire Millard
Şeyma Mektepli
Last updated
April 18, 2024

Tangerine is a subsidiary of the Bank of Nova Scotia, and offers a selection of account products as well as extras like credit cards and mortgages. Tangerine is a strong option if you want local digital banking services - but when it comes to international transactions your options can be limited or come with extra costs.

You might be looking for a Tangerine alternative if you need to send or receive international transfers, prefer to avoid foreign transaction fees, or if you want to hold a multi-currency balance. This guide covers 5 great Tangerine alternatives to consider, suited to different customer needs.

In our comparison we discovered that:

  • Wise - offers a powerful multi-currency account with no ongoing fees, which you can use to hold, spend and exchange 40+ currencies

  • KOHO - has 4 different account plans, including some with monthly fees which waive foreign transaction charges

  • Neo Financial - provides several good payment cards which offer cash back, with or without a monthly fee

  • EQ Bank - has personal accounts with no foreign transaction fee making this a good choice for CAD spending overseas

  • Canada Post Cash Passport - supports 7 currencies and can be used for spending around the world

Go to Wise

Why you should consider a Tangerine alternative

Tangerine is a digital bank, and a wholly owned subsidiary of the Bank of Nova Scotia, which has a selection of CAD accounts and a USD saving account, as well as some investment services, mortgages and loans.

With Tangerine, local banking services can be pretty cheap. Choose the no fee daily chequing account and you won’t pay for many transactions in Canada. However, you can’t send or receive international wires, and some transaction fees apply if you use your account or card internationally, including foreign transaction charges and out of network ATM fees. This might mean that using a Tangerine alternative is cheaper if you’re likely to want to send, spend, hold or receive foreign currencies.

Tangerine offers some great options in Canada - but you might want to consider a Tangerine if any of the following apply:

  • If you want to hold a selection of foreign currencies in your account to make overseas spending easier

  • If you want to send or receive wires at home or abroad - Tangerine does not support wire payments

  • If you want to avoid foreign transaction fees when using your card to spend internationally - the Tangerine fee of 2.5% is on the high side

Still not sure? Here are a few more Tangerine pros and cons - and we’ll look at some great Tangerine alternatives one by one next.

Tangerine prosTangerine cons

✅ Wholly owned subsidiary of the Bank of Nova Scotia 

✅ Lots of different account and card products

✅ Chequing accounts have limited fees when transacting in CAD

✅ CDIC insured

❌2.5% foreign transaction fee 

❌ 3 CAD international ATM fee

❌ No facility to send or receive wire payments

Online banks like Tangerine: A comparison 

This guide walks through 5 alternatives you might want to consider instead of Tangerine. These are digital account and card providers, which include banks, non-bank alternatives - and even Canada Post.

We’ve picked out a selection of different options, each with their own unique features, so you can choose the best Tangerine alternative for you, depending on the types of transaction you need to make.

Provider Best featuresAccount and cardFees
Tangerine (No Fee Daily Chequing account)Digital option which is an owned subsidiary of the Bank of Nova Scotia - this means it is CDIC insuredLots of different account products for saving, spending, investing and more

1.5 CAD out of network ATM fee

3 CAD international ATM fee

2.5%  foreign transaction fee

WiseAccounts support 40+ currencies with mid-market rates and no foreign transaction feeNo ongoing account fees, with Wise international debit cards you can use globally. Local account details in 10 currencies, including CAD.  Free to spend a currency you hold enough of, exchange fees from 0.43% for currencies you don’t have in your account
KOHO4 different account plans with different features and feesAccounts hold CAD, and all come with a linked debit card and variable cash back up to 5%, based on account type

Account monthly charges from 0 CAD - 19 CAD

1.5% foreign transaction fee for Easy and Essential plans

Neo Financial (Neo Money Account and Card)Innovative digital provider with accounts, investments, credit services and cardsNeo Financial offers various accounts including the Neo Money Account and Card which can come with or without monthly fees and which offers a good Tangerine alternative

4.99 CAD monthly fee for the Premium Neo Money card

2.5% foreign transaction fee

EQ Bank (Personal Accounts)Backed by Equitable Bank, EQ offers Personal Accounts, Joint Accounts and moreEQ Personal Accounts come with linked debit cards and very few fees

No foreign transaction fee

No ongoing fees

Canada Post Cash PassportMulti-currency digital account with a card you can collect instantly in a Post Office branchHold 7 currencies and spend any currency you hold overseas easily 

15 CAD order fee

 2.8 CAD monthly inactivity fee may apply after 12 months

1.5% fee to spend in Canada

3.25% foreign transaction fee applies if you don’t have the currency needed

Here’s a quick summary:

  • Wise - a good alternative to Tangerine if you want a flexible multi-currency account and card with no ongoing fees

  • KOHO - a good alternative to Tangerine if you want to earn cash back as you spend with your card

  • Neo Financial - a good alternative to Tangerine if you want a choice of card types, including one with no ongoing fees

  • EQ Bank - a good alternative to Tangerine if need a debit card linked to a CAD personal account with no foreign transaction fee

  • Canada Post Cash Passport - a good alternative to Tangerine if you want a multi-currency card you can collect in person, instantly

Go to Wise

1. Wise 

Wise offers mutli currency accounts and debit cards which can hold and exchange 40+ currencies, with the mid-market rate and low fees from 0.43%. You can open an account for yourself or your business, with no ongoing fees to pay.

Manage your money online or in the Wise app, send payments to 160+ countries, and spend in 150+ countries with your Wise card. Accounts offer local details to get paid with low or no fees, in several major currencies including CAD, USD, GBP and EUR.

You’ll also get some free ATM withdrawals monthly and there’s no minimum balance to maintain, making this a flexible account for occasional or everyday use.

Go to Wise

Best Wise features 

- Multi-currency account which supports 40+ currencies for holding and exchange

- Debit card available, with expense cards to issue to team members for business customers

- Fees are transparent and split out from the exchange rates you get, making it easy to see what international transactions cost you

- Exchange rate - all currency exchange uses the mid-market exchange rate

- Business account available, for Canadian registered businesses, freelancers and sole traders

Wise prosWise cons
✅Accounts support 40+ currencies
✅ Debit cards have no foreign transaction fee
✅ Mid-market exchange rates
✅ Send money overseas to 160+ countries 
❌ Transaction and currency conversion fees apply
❌ No cash back option
Go to Wise

2. KOHO 

KOHO is a Canadian provider of account services and payment cards, with several different digital account products available for personal use. All accounts come with cash back on card spending, but the exact details of the account and card will depend a lot on the tier you select. You can choose an account with no monthly fee but with more limited features, or trade up to get more options and pay a monthly fee of up to 19 CAD.

Best KOHO Features

  • Choose from 4 different account types depending on spending needs and preferences

  • Account plans with no ongoing fees are available - just pay for the services you need

  • All accounts come with cash back on card spending

  • If you choose an Extra or Everything account there’s no foreign transaction fee

KOHO prosKOHO cons

✅4 different account tiers

✅All accounts have a linked card

✅Some accounts have no foreign transaction fee

✅Earn cash back of up to 5% on all spend 

✅Extras like credit building services available

❌ Monthly fees of up to 19 CAD

❌ 1.5% foreign transaction fee applies unless you have an Extra or Everything account 

3. Neo Financial 

Neo Financial is a financial technology company which offers credit services, investments, cards, and different account plans which come with their own features and fees. As a Tangerine alternative we picked out the Neo Money account and Neo Money card. You can earn cash back on your spending, and if you choose to upgrade to an account plan with a monthly fee you’ll unlock more benefits too. Accounts pay interest, so there’s a decent chance you can earn both when you spend and when you save.

Best Neo Financial features 

- Lots of different accounts and services available including Neo Money accounts which we selected as a good Tangerine no-fee chequing account alternative

- Debit cards available, including some with no ongoing charges

- Fees include a 2.5% foreign transaction fee and monthly fees for the Premium Neo Money card

- Exchange rate includes a foreign transaction fee

- Business solutions including BaaS and card services are available - contact Neo Financial to learn more

Neo Financial prosNeo Financial cons

✅ 2 different Neo Money cards available, as well as many other account products and services

✅ Earn cash back on Neo Money card spending

✅ Cards are available with no monthly fee

✅ Neo Money accounts may pay interest depending on the product selected 

❌ Monthly fees apply to upgrade to a Premium Neo Money card

❌ 2.5% foreign transaction fee

4. EQ Bank 

EQ Bank is backed by Equitable Bank and offers personal and business services in Canada. EQ Personal Accounts hold CAD and come with linked debit cards you can use at home and abroad. There are no EQ Bank foreign transaction fees when you use your card overseas, making this our pick as a potential Tangerine alternative.

Best EQ Bank features 

- Personal, joint, savings and USD account options available

- Debit card available with very few charges

- Low fees - personal accounts have pretty much no ongoing fees to worry about

- No foreign transaction fees

- Business account available

EQ Bank prosEQ Bank cons

✅ Several different account and card options

✅ No foreign transaction fee

✅ Personal accounts have very few charges to worry about

✅ Backed by Equitable Bank

❌ Accounts can not hold foreign currencies 

❌ Not all account features available in Quebec

5. Canada Post Cash Passport  

Our final choice as a Tangerine alternative is the Canada Post cash Passport which might be a good choice if you want a card you can get instantly, which offers multi-currency holding options. You can hold and exchange 7 currencies, and there’s no extra fee to spend internationally as long as you have the currency you need in your account already. It’s worth noting that a few fees do apply including charges for using the card in Canada.

Best Canada Post Cash Passport  features 

- Multi-currency account supporting 7 major currencies

- Debit card available

- Fees - 15 CAD order fee; 2.8 CAD monthly inactivity fee may apply after 12 months; 1.5% fee to spend in Canada

- Exchange rate - a 3.25% foreign transaction fee applies if you don’t have the currency needed

- Business account services not available

Canada Post Cash Passport  prosCanada Post Cash Passport  cons

✅ Get a card instantly at a Post Office branch

✅ Supports 7 currencies for global spending

✅ Secure and easy to use

✅ No fee to spend a currency you hold

❌ 15 CAD order fee

❌ 3.25% foreign transaction fee

Cards like Tangerine

One popular Tangerine account which comes with a card is the no-fee daily chequing account. This has very few fees for local transactions in Canada, and offers free ATM withdrawals at 3,500+ in network ATMs around Canada. However, fees do apply to use your card at an out of network ATM or for spending and making withdrawals overseas.

Not sure if Tangerine cards are right for you? Here’s a summary of the cards offered by the providers we looked at earlier as a reminder and comparison:

  • Wise - spend globally with the mid-market rate, low conversion fees from 0.43%, and no ongoing card costs. Learn more: Wise card review

  • KOHO - choose from 4 different cards, and earn up to 5% cash back depending on the plan you select. Higher tier cards have no foreign transaction fees

  • Neo Financial - earn cash back on spending - upgrade to a Premium Neo Money card for get even higher earning rates

  • EQ Bank - cards can offer no foreign transaction fee and more or less no other ongoing charges to worry about

  • Canada Post Cash Passport - hold 7 currencies which you can spend overseas conveniently

Go to Wise

Online banking apps like Tangerine

Let’s round out our review with a comparison on each of our chosen alternatives against Tangerine, and a few final words on why we’ve selected them.

Wise vs Tangerine

Try Wise if you need an account to spend internationally, with no ongoing fees and some free international ATM use.

  • Wise accounts can hold 40+ currencies and have no ongoing fees

  • There’s no foreign transaction fee to pay and currency conversion uses the mid-market exchange rate

  • Get some free ATM withdrawals globally every month

Go to Wise

KOHO vs Tangerine

KOHO is a good Tangerine alternative if you’re mainly interested in a card for spending and withdrawals and want to earn cash back.

  • KOHO has 4 different card and account plans, including some with no monthly fees

  • Extra and Everything accounts have no foreign transaction fees

  • Get up to 5% cash back on spending, as well as optional extras like credit building services

Neo Financial vs Tangerine

Compare Neo Financial to Tangerine if your priority is getting cash back on your card spending, and you don’t mind paying a monthly charge.

  • Earn cash back on your card spending, including higher rates if you upgrade your account to a monthly fee option

  • Lots of different account and card types offered so you can compare and select

  • Business solutions including BaaS and card services are available

EQ Bank vs Tangerine

EQ Bank might be a great Tangerine alternative for you if you want a low cost, low commitment CAD account with no extra fee for international use.

  • No foreign transaction fee to pay when using your card abroad

  • Backed by Equitable Bank

  • Different account options available including personal, joint and USD accounts

Canada Post Cash Passport vs Tangerine

Take a look at the Cash Passport if you want a multi-currency account and don’t have time to wait for a card to arrive by mail.

  • Multi-currency account which supports 7 currencies

  • Get a card instantly by calling into a Post Office branch

  • No fee to spend a foreign currency you hold in your account

Are these Tangerine alternatives safe?

Yes. All the providers we’ve picked as Tangerine alternatives are safe. Some are backed by major Canadian banks - others are financial technology companies which may be licensed and regulated slightly differently, but which still need to follow stringent rules to keep customers and their money safe.

Tangerine competitors in Canada: Conclusion

Tangerine has a great selection of products and is backed by a major bank. For local transactions the no-fee daily chequing account is a strong choice, with few charges for CAD transactions. However, Tangerine can be limited - or expensive - if you plan on transacting internationally.

If you need to send and receive foreign currencies, or you’d prefer an account with no foreign transaction fee you might like Wise as a Tangerine alternative. Or, if you’re interested in earning cash back you may decide to look at Tangerine vs KOHO or Neo Financial.

Use this guide to help you pick a Tangerine alternative which might suit your needs - whether that’s for international transactions with low or no fees, or to get cash back as you spend with your card.

Go to Wise

Apps like Tangerine FAQs

What is the best alternative to Tangerine in Canada?

There’s no single best Tangerine alternative - which suits you will depend on how you like to transact. If you’re considering a Tangerine alternative to cut out foreign transaction fees you might like Wise or the Canada Post Cash Passport for example, while other Tangerine alternatives like Neo Financial could be a good bet for people looking for cash back options for card spending.

What is the catch with Tangerine?

Tangerine is a reputable provider in Canada backed by the Bank of Nova Scotia. There’s no catch with Tangerine - but you may find your options for transacting internationally are limited, or come with some extra fees. Compare the features and fees of Tangerine accounts carefully, or check out Tangerine alternatives to see if there’s something better for you out there.