Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card Review

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Are you ready for a Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card review? Tangerine credit cards have become incredibly popular since they launched since they allow you to pick up to three categories of your choice where you can earn extra cash back

While giving you more choice on how much cash back you can earn is definitely a huge advantage, that’s not something you should rely on alone when picking a credit card. 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 Money-Back Card

  • No annual fee
  • 10% cash back up to $1,000 in spending ($100 cash back) for the first 2 months
  • 2% cash back on up to 3 categories
  • 0.5% cash back on all other purchases

Welcome bonus and earn rate

The Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card often has a welcome bonus where you can earn 10% cash back in the first two months. This amount is usually capped between $100 and $200 in cash back.

As for the earn rate, you’ll earn 2% cash back on two categories of your choice. However, if you select to have your cash-back deposited right to your Tangerine savings account, you can choose a third bonus category that gives you 2% cash back. All other everyday 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. With this card, you get 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 cash-back categories, which means you can’t earn any bonus cash back with them. You’ll earn the base earn rate.

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 money-back rewards categories are diverse, so it shouldn’t be hard to find the three 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 transactions.

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.

Entertainment purchases refer to 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 can change your categories whenever you want to, but they don’t come into effect until the start of your next billing cycle. 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.

Benefits and perks

Since the Tangerine Money-Back credit card is an entry-level card with no fee, it comes with limited benefits. You get the following as a cardholder:

Purchase insurance

The Tangerine Money-Back Card provides you with the following insurance:

  • Purchase assurance – This covers your purchases from theft, loss and damage for 90 days from the date of purchase.
  • Extended warranty – Purchases charged to your card get the manufacturer’s warranty doubled, up to one extra year.

Balance transfer

With this card, you can make a balance transfer request that gives you a 1.95% interest rate for six months. This is a decent rate if you have an existing credit card balance you want to pay down. A 1% balance transfer fee applies, and you must do it within 30 days of account approval. Even though the interest rate goes up to 19.95% after the promotional rate period ends, the card is still one of the best balance transfer credit cards in Canada

How to redeem your cash back

The cash back you earn with your Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card is paid monthly. It can be redeemed into your Tangerine Savings Account or applied directly to your credit card balance. There is no minimum balance requirement for your cash back redemptions.

Purchase protection covers your purchases in the event of loss, theft or damage for 90 days from the date of purchase. As for the extended warranty, any purchases charged to your Tangerine Money-Back Card see its manufacturer’s warranty doubled by up to one 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.

Tangerine Money-Back Card eligibility

To qualify for the Tangerine Money-Back Card, you must meet the following conditions:

  • The age of majority in the province or territory in which you reside
  • Be a permanent resident of Canada
  • Have a gross annual income of $12,000 or more
  • Have not declared bankruptcy over the past seven years

Although there’s no mention of the credit score required, it’s safe to assume that you need to be at least in good standing, so about 670+.

How the Tangerine Money-Back Card compares

Tangerine Money-Back Card vs. American Express SimplyCash Card

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 purchases. The Tangerine card gives you a higher earn rate on up to three categories, so it 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.

Tangerine Money-Back Card vs. Tangerine World Mastercard

Another card worth considering is the Tangerine World Mastercard, a higher-tier version of the Money-Back Card that comes with mobile device and rental car insurance. It also has no annual fee, but one of the eligibility requirements is to have a gross annual income of at least $60,000 or a household income of $100,000.

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 card is ideal for people in the following situations:

  • You want customization – You get to choose up to three categories where you earn 2% cash back. All other purchases earn you 0.5% cash back.
  • You don’t have a high income – The income requirement for this card is just $12,000.
  • You don’t want to pay an annual fee – This is one of the best no fee credit cards in Canada.

The Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card keeps things simple by offering straightforward cash back that is paid out monthly. Although it may not have many additional benefits, the card will still be very attractive to many people, including students.

About Barry Choi

Barry Choi is a Toronto-based personal finance and travel expert who frequently makes media appearances. His blog Money We Have is one of Canada’s most trusted sources when it comes to money and travel. You can find him on Twitter:@barrychoi

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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