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Tangerine is one of the most trusted banks in Canada. They’ve innovated and have been an industry leader over the years so there’s no surprise that their Tangerine Money-back card was built with customers in mind. It’s a straightforward cash back card but it offers a few unique features that will likely get Canadians excited.

Read my Tangerine money-back credit card review now to find out how much cash back you can earn, what other benefits are included, and how the card compares to others.

tangerine credit card review

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card benefits

  • No annual fee
  • 2% cash back on up to 3 categories
  • 0.5% cash back on all other purchases
  • Automatic monthly redemption with no minimum balance required
  • Instantly pause your card
  • Adjust your credit limit online
  • Automatic pay my balance feature
  • Purchase assurance and extended warranty

What makes the Tangerine Money-back credit card appealing is the fact that you can choose your categories where you earn 2% cash back. By default, you get to choose two categories at the higher earn rate, but if you select to have your cash-back to deposit right to your Tangerine account, you get to choose a third category that gives you 2% cash back. All other purchases earn you 0.5% in cash-back.

Picking your categories is unique since every other cash back credit card out there has defined multipliers for each category. You basically have the ability to choose the categories that will earn you the most cash back. One thing I don’t like is how travel doesn’t have its own category. Yes, there’s “hotel/motel” but that’s just part of your travel expenses. Flights don’t fall under any of the cash-back categories which means you can’t earn any cash back with them.

Other benefits included with the card are purchase assurance which covers you in the event of loss, theft or damage for 90 days from the date of purchase while the extended warranty can double your warranty up to an additional year. Both benefits are often overlooked and not usually offered with a no-fee credit card so cardholders of the Tangerine Money-Back credit card should consider this a win.

What makes the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card appealing to many people is how you get paid out monthly. It doesn’t matter how much cash back you’ve earned, you can have it deposited right into your Tangerine bank account or have it applied as a statement credit. This is significant as many other cash back cards only payout once a year or have a minimum threshold requirement.

Finally, you also get a balance transfer option of 1.95% for six months which is a decent rate if you have an existing balance you want to pay down. Even though the interest rate goes up to 19.95% after the promotional period ends, the card is still one of the best balance transfer credit cards in Canada.

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card categories

As mentioned, the Tangerine Money-Back Credit card allows you to choose up to three categories where you’ll earn 2% cash back. There are ten categories to choose from which are as follows:

  • Grocery
  • Furniture
  • Restaurants
  • Hotel/motel
  • Gas
  • Recurring bill payments
  • Drug store
  • Home improvement
  • Entertainment
  • Public transportation and parking

The categories are diverse so it shouldn’t be too hard to find the three that you spend the most on. That said, there are a few quirks. Walmart Superstores fall under grocery so any purchase you make there could earn you 2% cash back. Unfortunately, regular Walmarts and Costco don’t count as grocery purchases.

Gas at Costco does count towards the gas category since you pay for that directly at the pump. Recurring bill payments need to be automatic bill payments that are charged directly to your credit card. That means purchases like new hardware at your mobile provider wouldn’t count for the extra cash back.

As for entertainment purchases, it refers to things such as sports venues, theatres, amusement parks, tourist attractions, zoos and more. Finally, there’s public transportation which includes things such as buses, trains, taxis and even road tolls.

You do have the option to change your categories whenever you want to, but they don’t come into effect until the start of your next billing cycle. The reason for this is to prevent abusing categories or trying to game the system. This unique feature is the main reason why the Tangerine Money-Back credit card is considered one of the best cash back credit cards in Canada.

How the card compares to others

As a cash-back card, the Tangerine Money-back card is comparable to other market leaders to a certain extent. For example, the American Express SimplyCash card also has no annual fee and gives you 1.25% cash-back on all of your purchases. The Tangerine card obviously gives you a higher earn rate on up to three categories so it really depends on what categories you spend the most on. That said, since both credit cards offer no fees, you could use your Tangerine card on three categories, and then use the American Express SimplyCash card on all other categories to maximize your return.

Now let’s say you spend a lot on your credit card, you may want to consider the American Express SimplyCash Preferred Card instead. This card gives you 2% cash-back on all purchases with no limits but comes with an annual fee of $99.

If you prefer something that allows you to earn travel rewards or gives you comprehensive travel insurance, then you should consider one of the best travel credit cards in Canada over the Tangerine card.

Final thoughts

Overall my Tangerine money-back credit card review is positive. The 2% cash back is one of the highest rates of return for a no fee card and the ability to pick your merchant categories is obviously a huge advantage since you’re customizing the benefits to your advantage. This is also a great card if you’re in school as it’s one of the best student credit cards.

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card Review

21 Comments

  1. JB on March 29, 2016 at 8:56 AM

    I have groceries as one of my 2% categories and everything I buy at Wal-Mart has been getting the 2%

    • Barry Choi on March 29, 2016 at 9:09 AM

      JB,

      I believe it’s just Wal-Mart’s supercenters that people have reported don’t count as 2% groceries.

      • Adolfo Cota on March 29, 2016 at 1:34 PM

        Not true. Wal-Mart’s supercenters do count as 2%. I have the card and buy there.

        • Barry Choi on March 29, 2016 at 1:52 PM

          I did some more research and it appears that in store Wal-Mart supercentres do count as 2%, but online purchases don’t. Thanks for updating me!

  2. J.R. on March 29, 2016 at 10:33 AM

    I’ve been with Tangerine since they were called ING Direct. I’ve compared the fine print with other cash-back cards, including Costco’s, and nothing else compares. The no-fee, no-rewards-limit has already proven itself superior for my personal finances. I’ve recommended this card to everyone I’ve discussed it with and I’m glad your review is positive as well.

    • Barry Choi on March 29, 2016 at 10:45 AM

      J.R.,

      Yes when the details were first announced many of us personal finance bloggers agreed that the card instantly became one of the best cash back cards available. I expected nothing else from Tangerine / ING. Even the secondary benefits are pretty generous which is surprising for a no-fee card.

  3. K on April 3, 2016 at 12:30 AM

    Is this a review or an advertisement..!!

    • Barry Choi on April 3, 2016 at 12:36 AM

      K,

      This is a review based on my own experience with the card, no money was received. Any posts that are sponsored are clearly disclosed. That being said, if you use my affiliate link when signing up, I do earn a commission.

  4. Ray on July 24, 2016 at 12:50 PM

    I signed up a month ago and Costco doesn’t count as a grocery store so you only get 1%. I called to log a complaint and was told it was considered a wholesaler. If you have this card and shop at Costco, please log a complaint too so maybe the upper ups will eventually add them to the grocery category!

    • Carlos Canizares on August 9, 2016 at 6:19 AM

      Costco has never been and will never be considered a grocery because THEY ARE a wholesaler.

      Also, how merchants are categorized is done by the MCC.

  5. Vito on March 28, 2017 at 4:31 PM

    Hey Barry, not sure if you’re aware of the upcoming changes, here is the link for your review:

    https://www.tangerine.ca/en/landing-page/creditcardnotification/index.html

    Thoughts on the changes? I’m not so concerned about the Fx fee change, but the standard 1% to now 0.5%, that makes me wonder if its still worth it.

    • Barry Choi on March 28, 2017 at 4:34 PM

      Hi Vito,

      Yup saw the changes and the best word I would use to describe it is disappointing. It still gives decent cash back and worth considering, but it’s not the leader it once was.

  6. Jill Labbe on April 1, 2017 at 2:45 PM

    Do you know what category Canadian Tire is under?

    • Barry Choi on April 1, 2017 at 3:07 PM

      Unfortunately, Canadian Tire is considered a wholesale club so they don’t fall into any of the categories. From what I understand, that means you get 0% cashback there.

  7. Darren on August 3, 2017 at 11:57 PM

    I know a lot of Canadians who cross the border and shop at Costco in Bellingham, WA. I wonder if they’re able to use the Citi VISA by Costco? Pretty good reward categories. Costco is my go-to for shopping and eating out. I have another one for bills that is 2.5% cash back on ALL purchases. Can’t beat that duo.

    • Barry Choi on August 4, 2017 at 9:18 AM

      Darren,

      Canadians can’t get U.S. credit cards unless they have a U.S. address so unfortunately we don’t get access to that card. At least we have free healthcare.

  8. larry on October 28, 2017 at 9:52 AM

    May I now whats the card thats 2.5% cash back on all purchases.

  9. Hi on March 18, 2018 at 5:46 PM

    Do we know if bestbuy falls under any of the 2% categories? The MCC code for Electronics stores isn’t listed in the category descriptions… thx

    • Barry Choi on March 18, 2018 at 7:33 PM

      I don’t know for sure, but if I had to guess, it would be under department stores.

  10. […] guess you could compare it to a no-fee card such as the Tangerine Money-Back card. With the Tangerine card, you earn 2% cash back on up to three selected categories and 0.5% on […]

  11. KHALED yousef saleh on June 16, 2020 at 10:17 PM

    Nice

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