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Tangerine Cash Back Credit Card Review

tangerine money-back credit cardThe no fee Tangerine Money Back Credit Card is an absolute steal for cash back rookies and connoisseurs alike.

The card is the richest and most consumer friendly no annual fee cash back credit card on the Canadian market right now, offering choice, convenience and unparalleled value to cardholders.

With no annual fee, a whopping 2% cash back in up to 3 merchant categories of your choice, and 1% everywhere else, with no limits, caps or tiers, the Tangerine Money Back credit card beats out most every other no-fee cash back card in the country – hands down.

Apply Now!

What We Like About The Tangerine Cash Back Credit Card

  • No Annual Fee: With no annual fee, you’re not paying for your cash back. It also makes it risk-free to keep in your wallet as a companion to another credit card that earns you more cash back in other categories.
  • Unlimited Cash Back: Unlike many other cash back cards with bonus categories, there are no limits to how much cash back you can earn, whether it be in bonus categories or not – earn unlimited rewards.
  • 2% Cash Back In Up To 3 Categories of Your Choice: After the 90 day promotional period ends, earn 2% cash back on purchases in up to three 2% Money-Back Categories of your choice. No limits, no caps.If you redeem your cash back as a statement credit you’ll get to choose any two categories. Opt to have your cash back earnings deposited into a Tangerine Savings Account and you get to add a 3rd category absolutely free.
  • Receive 1% Cash Back On All Other Purchases: Earn 1% cash back on all other eligible spend, both in the promo and non-promo period. Again, no earning caps or limits on non-category spend.
  • You Choose The Categories: You choose 2-3 categories from any of the following 10 options:

Tangerine credit card categoriesUnlike some other cash back cards, Tangerine’s Grocery category includes ANY purchases made at Wal Mart Superstores – clothes, electronics, pharmacy, etc…

Also of note, Costco gas, is included as a merchant under the gas category for the Tangerine credit card.

Recurring bill payments are defined as any payments made on a monthly or other regular basis, and which are automatically billed by the merchant to your Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card, such as your monthly phone bill. Not all merchants offer recurring payments, and not all ongoing payments will be considered “recurring payments” for purposes of this category. Please check with your merchant to see if your recurring payment qualifies.

  • Change Categories: You can change your categories at any time after you activate your Credit Card. Changes will take effect on the first monthly statement date after the existing categories have been in place for 90 days. In fact, Tangerine will even suggest which categories you should switch to based on your spending patterns, to maximize your cash back earnings:
  • Rewards Paid Automatically: Unlike many other cash back cards, redeeming is simple and convenient. Every month, Tangerine will either apply your cash back earned against the balance on your credit card statement, or it will direct your cash back earned into a Tangerine Savings Account. Compare that to some other cash back cards which only provide you with a statement credit at the end of each year or have $50 redemption minimums.
  • 1.5% Foreign Transaction Fees: Although not as good as a no foreign transaction fee credit card, 1.5% compares favourably to most Canadian cards which charge 2.5%.

How Other Cards Compare To The Tangerine Cash Back Credit Card

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card The chart above compares the average annual savings of the Tangerine Money-Back credit card to Canada’s other leading no-fee cash back cards. The earnings were calculated based on monthly spend of $600 on groceries, $300 on gas, $100 on dining and $100 elsewhere. The Tangerine Money-Back card is the clear winner.

That said, a very nice pairing would be the Tangerine card with the Amex Simply Cash card. You can combine Tangerine’s 2% in up to 3 categories with Amex Simply Cash’s 1.25% on all other spend. A great no-fee pairing.

Who Should Use The Tangerine Cash Back Card

As we said before, we believe the Tangerine Money-Back credit card is Canada’s answer to value, choice & convenience. With no annual fee, we would really encourage people to add this card to their wallet. Getting to choose up to three merchant categories to receive 2% cash back gives you tons of flexibility to optimize your earnings.

  • People With 1% Cash Back Cards: Why have a credit card which only gets you 1%, when Tangerine’s base rate is 1%, plus 2% in up to 3 different categories, with no fee. Why leave money on the table, when it costs you absolutely NOTHING to get better value. If you have a 1% card, here’s your chance to get more at no cost.
  • People Who Can Pair It With Another Card With Different Bonus Categories: Let’s say you have the Scotia Visa Infinite Momentum card which comes with a $99 annual fee, and gives you 4% cash back on gas & groceries, 2% on pharmacy & recurring billing, 1% everywhere else. Why not pair it with the  Tangerine card, and get 2% in restaurants, entertainment and home improvement?
  • People Who Don’t Earn $60,000: Many people will look at some of the other cash back credit cards on the market, offering 2% flat or 4% bonus categories. Unfortunately, in most cases those cards are World Elite or Infinite cards requiring a minimum personal income of $60K or household income of $120K. The Tangerine cash back card is a great alternative, only requiring $15K in personal income, that in many cases can either do as well or better than the premium alternatives.
  • People Who Prefer Monthly Cash Back: Some people really don’t like having to wait for their cash back rewards once a year – especially if it’s a statement credit. The problem with that redemption method is, it forces you to keep using the card throughout the year. If you end up not using it after month 6, what good is  a statement credit in month 12? Tangerine’s method makes your convenience a priority, not the bank’s.
  • People Who Don’t Like Annual Fees: With no annual fee, and superb cash back rewards delivered automatically, there’s no reason no to give this card a try – especially with the 4% promo.

Tangerine Cash Back Hacks

One way to really exploit and max-out the Tangerine 2% bonus categories is through the use of gift cards. Let’s say you chose the grocery merchant category. Go to the gift card rack at the grocery store and buy your GAP, ITunes, Home Depot, Amazon, Canadian Tire, or Ikea gift card. Your gift card purchase will count as a purchase in your grocery category, giving you 2% cash back.

That’s an especially smart way to take advantage of your bonus categories and a great way to extend the value of your 2% categories to merchants not covered by your selected categories.

Apply Now!





  1. Nikolai Grigoriev

    This is funny. Just received that Tangerine Mastercard. Along with the old conditions, there was a notice about the changes on Apr 29th. I regret about activating the card before reading that notice. Will be canceling Tangerine Mastercard.

    • Hi Nikolai,

      Before you cancel the card, consider that the 2% in 2-3 merchant categories of your choice is STILL the best cashback value you’ll get for a no annual fee credit card. Combine the Tangerine card with the Rogers MasterCard where you get 1.75% cashback on all other spend, and 4% cashback on foreign transactions and you’re golden! Or combine it with the Amex card that gives you 1.25% cash back on all spend.

      Hope that helps,

      GreedyRates Staff

  2. Looks like the 1% cash back is dropping to 0.5% at the nd of April 2017. Card is not so attractive any more.

    • I agree Steve. Unfortunately, i can’t find another credit card offering what Tangerine was offering. If anyone finds a winner, let the rest of us know.

      • Going to switch to National Bank ECHO MC. 1% across the board plus 1.5% on gas, groceries and online purchases. That’s not as good as Tangerine used to be, but close enough for me. It’s my secondary card for Costco specifically, so effectively I’m only losing 0.5% on gas.

    • They are also upping the foreign transaction fee to 2.5%. I only got this card a month ago specifically for the 1% cash back. Now looking gonna have to look for a new Mastercard card again. Need something to use at Costco, and I don’t like the CaptialOne one.

  3. There is only 2% for two categories, according to the Tangerine site.

  4. I was in contact via email with Tangerine back in May/2016 asking about the Pre-Authorized Payments capability and at the time they said “Tangerine only offers the option to auto-pay your Credit Card from your Tangerine Accounts currently.” I was pretty excited to read on your blog that they enabled payment from another bank, so I called them and they reiterated they only support payment from their own Tangerine accounts. The woman that I spoke with had to ask someone else, so I’m cautious about the accuracy of her information. Can someone confirm that auto pay is available via another bank such as TD, BMO, RBC, etc.?

    • Hi Gerry,

      You can pay your Tangerine credit card bill online from any Canadian bank, by selecting Tangerine as a payee in online bill payments. However, unfortunately you are correct, Tangerine doesn’t accept pre-authorized automatic bill pay.

      GreedyRates Staff

  5. What category will i have to set to have costco qualify for the 2% cashback?

    I dont see a category for wholesale.

    • Hi Carmen,

      Unfortunately, there is no 2% category for wholesale / Costco. That said, you will receive 1% cashback for all purchases at Costco with the Tangerine MasterCard.

      GreedyRates Staff

    • This is because Costco wants their customers to earn cash back on their credit card rather than another company’s, so they class their merchant category as “wholesale”, which isn’t one of the 2% back categories.

  6. When an entertainment venue is not being recognized in the Entertainment category, but it obviously should, who is responsible to make the adjustment? Tangerine or MasterCard? The Entertainment center in question is Splitsville Entertainment Inc – Woodbridge, formerly Woodbridge Bowl.

    • Hi Fausto,

      Ultimately Tangerine relies on merchant SIC codes to determine if a transaction qualifies for a particular merchant category, such as entertainment. The merchant SIC code is reported by MasterCard to Tangerine. However, the merchant itself self-report its category (within reason). For example, a merchant that has a restaurant, bar and bowling alley may report as a restaurant. We would recommend having the initial conversation with Tangerine to determine your options.

      Hope that helps,

      Greedyrates Staff

  7. The 4% expiry date is listed as June 27, 2016, but it is still listed on their website.

    Any idea what is the “new” expiry date of this offer?

    • Hi Ron,

      We removed the reference. Tangerine has removed an expiry date as well, so for now it’s an “always on” promotion. Of course they can choose to end it at any time.

      GreedyRates Staff

  8. Where can I find the list of merchant names for each category (gas, grocery, etc.) on the Tangerine Cash Back Credit Card?

    • Hi Sue,

      Unfortunately Tangerine doesn’t provide a list of merchant names per se. They do provide a list of merchant SIC codes that qualify as follows:

      Drug Stores: merchants classified as “Drug Stores/Pharmacies” (MCC 5912);
      Eating Places: merchants classified as “Eating Places, Restaurants, Bars, Lounges, Discos, Nightclub Taverns and Fast Food Restaurants” (MCC 5812 – 5814);
      Entertainment: merchants classified as “Sports Venues, Theatres, Amusement Parks, Carnivals, Circus, Tourist Attractions and Exhibits, Movie Theatres, Zoos, Bands, Orchestras, Aquariums” (MCC 7941, 7922, 7996, 7991, 7929, 7998, 7832, 7829);
      Furniture: merchants classified as “Home Furnishing Stores, Furniture Reupholstery” (MCC 5712, 5719, 7641);
      Gas: merchants classified as “Service Stations” (MCC 5541/5542);
      Grocery: merchants classified as “Grocery Stores and Supermarkets” (MCC 5411, 5422, 5462);
      Home Improvements: merchants classified as “Hardware Stores, Home Supply Warehouse Stores, Lawn and Garden Supply Stores, Glass/Paint/Wallpaper Stores, Florist supplies nursery stock & flowers, Floor Coverings, Drapery and Window Coverings” (MCC 5251, 5200, 5261, 5231, 5718, 5713, 5714);
      Hotels-Motels: merchants classified as “Lodging, Hotels, Motels, Resorts or by Property name” (i.e. Fairmont, Marriott, Holiday Inn, etc.) (MCC 7011, 3500-3828);
      Public Transportation and Parking: merchants classified as “Automobile Parking Lots and Garages, Public Transportation (including Buses, Trains, Ferries), Taxis, Road Tolls” (MCC 7523, 4111, 7524, 4121, 4784);
      Recurring Bill Payment: Recurring bill payments are defined as payments made on a monthly or other regular basis, and which are automatically billed by the merchant to your Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card, such as your monthly phone bill. Not all merchants offer recurring payments, and not all ongoing payments will be considered “recurring payments” for purposes of this category. Please check with your merchant to see if your recurring payment qualifies.

      Hope that helps,

      GreedyRates Staff

  9. I don’t mean to boast, but the credit cards I use are the Tangerine MasterCard and the Amazon visa. Good combination since the reward is pretty good and also low to no foreign transaction fees. Good pair

    • Hi Stef,

      That is a nice pair. We’d also recommend people take a look at the Rogers MasterCard if you’re looking to get the upper hand on foreign transaction fees. It offers 4% cash back on all purchases in a foreign currency. You get charged the 2.5% fx fee, but you net 1.5% cash back. With the Amazon card, you only net 1% cash back on foreign purchases.

      There’s no fee on the Rogers card in the 1st year, and if your a Rogers customer, you can put your bill on the card and never pay any annual fee after the first year.

      Hope that helps,

      GreedyRates Staff

      • Costco in the states currently only takes visa and with the rogers MasterCard you get charged 2.5 if you make a refund

        • Hi Stef,

          We’re not clear on exactly what type of refund is being referred to. While there is a 2.5% foreign transaction fee, it is offset by the 4% cashback rate on foreign purchases, bringing the net benefit to 1.5% – which beats out Amazon by .5%. Then again, if you’re using it in stores that only accept Visa, then obviously it’s not optimal for you.

          GreedyRates Staff

  10. I have a TD Visa card and I want to stop having that card and have a Tangerine credit card instead. How go I change cards? How do I transfer the balance owed on my TD card to Tangerine? Will I still have the same credit limit I have at TD if I transfer to Tangerine?

    • Hi Kim,

      Simply apply for the Tangerine MasterCard. Unfortunately, you won’t know what credit limit you will have available until you get approved for the card. At that point, you will have 30 days to do a balance transfer, which comes in at a rate of 1.9% for the first 60 months, along with a 1% balance transfer fee (which is pretty good).

      That said, we always recommend you keep your balance transfer card and your credit card for new purchases separate. The reason for this is because, if you keep your balance transfer and new purchases on the same card, when you make a payment, it will get divided equally between your high interest rate on your new purchases, and your low interest rate on your transferred balance. That means, you won’t be able to get rid of your high interest balance until your low interest balance transfer is paid off in full.

      Hope that helps,

      GreedyRates Staff

  11. Can anyone please comment on what kind of credit limits are possible with tangerines MC?

    • Hi Matt,

      The minimum credit limit assigned by Tangerine is $500 and the maximum is $25,000. Obviously many factors such as your income, debt to income ratio, credit score and current outstanding lines of credit will determine what limit you will be assigned.

      Hope that helps,

      GreedyRates Staff

  12. Hi Geoff, based on your recommendation I applied for the Tangerine MC since I have been an ING customer for 17 years. I was approved quicky. I liked everything I read about it until I saw my Cashback awards from Costco counted at 1%! Apparently Costco is not classified as a Grocery merchant but a wholesaler as I was told by Tangerine customer service people when I phoned to complain. Since the majority of my grocery spending of $200-300 per month is at Costco, I thought it was a no brainer to pick the categories of grocery and gas to take advantage of the Tangerine card. To my surprise Costco does not fall under the grocery category but under “everything else ” paying only 1%. I find this very misleading and dishonest and I told them as much. Walmart falls under the grocery category! So I could be buying whatever at Walmart except groceries and I would qualify under the grocery category. How would a person who buys their groceries at Costco know Not to apply for a Tangerine MC because they are aware that Costco is a wholesaler and does not qualify under the grocery category?! I find this very dishonest and I’m considering of cancelling the card and closing all my accounts and RSPs I have with Tangerine. It sounds good on paper but it fails the reality test. I certainly do not recommend this card on principle. This is not an honest way to entice new clients. The average person would no clue as to what their options are until the results start coming in. Tangerine needs to be upfront. Groceries are groceries and gas is gas. Sorry for the rant I hope this is helpful for you too as you promoted this as the best card on the market.

    • Hi Manuel,

      Unfortunately, the only way Tangerine can identify whether a transaction is a grocery store, is through the Merchant SIC code provided to it from MasterCard. As you mentioned, Costco is classified as a wholesale merchant. Only WalMart superstores are classified as grocery stores, because the merchant code provided by MasterCard defines it as such.

      MasterCard itself uses merchant codes because it charges different interchange rates to different merchant SIC codes. For example, a wholesaler gets charged a lower interchange than a grocery store, and a grocery store gets charged a lower interchange than a general retailer.

      It does make it a little confusing, but on the whole it works pretty well. In fact, Tangerine’s list of grocery store SIC codes it covers is no different, if not a little better, than every other card.

      GreedyRates Staff

    • I was in the same situation. Lots of groceries at Costco – no extra money back. 🙁

  13. Are purchases made on Walmart.ca also included in the grocery category (as are purchases made at Walmart superstores)?

  14. Loving the Tangerine Credit Card, this is also a great article summing up all the benefits (including a couple I hadn’t thought about!) I’ve been recommending it to everyone I know, I used to use the RBC cash back card but Tangerine has better rates on the savings, better cash back %’s and more flexibility. Never been so happy with a bank before.

  15. How do the “benefits” of the Tangerine card compare to other cards i.e. price protection, rental car insurance, lost luggage protection, etc, etc??

    • Hi Catherine,

      The Tangerine card has similar benefits to other “no-fee” credit cards. It offers extended warranty and purchases assurance (protects against purchases that break, lost or stolen in the first 90 days). It also comes with one benefit not seen in most other cards, a reduced foreign transaction fees to 1.5%, from the usual 2.5%.

      Rarely will you see lost luggage, travel medical, trip cancellation, or trip interruption insurance on a no fee card. The Tangerine card does not come with car rental insurance (most no fee cards don’t, but some do), however if you already have auto insurance, you might want to check your coverage their to see if you’re already taken care of through your policy.

      Hope that helps,

      GreedyRates Staff

  16. I want to get 2% back on my amazon.ca purchases, however I am not sure what they are classified as (groceries, entertainment etc..). Does anyone know?

    • not sure about it,but if you want best of it,get amazon reward visa. its 2% with it all amazon purchases and 1% elsewhere. it also has no foreigner trans. fees.

      • Hi Rony,

        If you shop a lot at Amazon.ca, the Amazon card would be a nice no fee card to complement the no fee Tangerine cash back card. By having both, you would get 2% at Amazon.ca (not Amazon.com), and you would get 2% in another 2-3 merchant categories of your choice from Tangerine (groceries, gas & restaurants). Either card would give you 1% everywhere else.

        GreedyRates Staff

  17. The Rogers card is perfect, as a frequent traveler a no foreign transaction card is essential, but rogers has a $29.99 fee if u don’t have a rogers product billed monthly; the leading competitor in the market has a 1.25% cashback no fee while rogers is 1.75% (no adv except for no foreign transaction fees and rogers is know to give low credit limits). so to offset the difference u need to spend about $7000 year or more to break even.

    The Tangerine Card is wonderful especially for those who don’t need a no foreign transaction fee card and because its a no annual fee credit card its worth while having it in your wallet.

    • Hi Sajjad,

      Good observation. We’d like to add to your idea of having both cards. If you’re a Rogers customer, it’s optimal to get both cards, since there’s no annual fee. Use the Tangerine card in your selected 2-3 bonus categories to get your 2% and then your Rogers card everywhere else to get 1.75% cashback instead of the 1% everywhere on the Tangerine card.

      Of course the Rogers card does not come with an annual fee in the first year, and the welcome bonus of $35 covers the annual fee of $29 in the second year (if you’re not a Rogers customer), so even if you’re not a Rogers customer, you’ll have it virtually free for 2 years.

      GreedyRates Staff

  18. This is a good credit card but Beware. Any refunded amounts will debit your cash rewards by the rate in effect at the time of the refund. I just lost $24 from my cash rewards. I received $8 on an $800 purchase but lost $32 from my cash rewards on the return due to a category change and bonus in effect. Customer service read the agreement to me and refused to refund the difference!

  19. How about buying money from the Canadian Mint? No tax, free shipping = 4% cash back then use the money to pay off the card balance & keep the 4% cash back

    • Hi Bruce,

      The only problem is which category would it fall into to get the 4% as opposed to 1%?

      The other issue with the mint, is that you have to feel comfortable that you will be able to sell the coin for face value. Not all banks are required to accept them, so keep that in mind. We’d suggest you ask your bank, or any other bank branch for that matter, if they’re willing to pay you the face value of the coins you buy at the mint, and under what conditions. If they say yes, then it’s a GREAT idea!


      GreedyRates Staff

    • Did this work for you Bruce? under which category is the mint?

  20. Assuming you can retain the Rogers card with no fees, you could also combine both of these cards. With these possible combos, you would have to wonder why you would pay for any 2% reward card. Then you would only pay for a card that provided good insurance coverage.

    • Hi Geoff,

      We’d have to agree. The only other advantage of a 2% card, like MBNA’s World Elite MasterCard, is the 1 year annual fee waiver and $100 welcome bonus. Long term though, you’re spot on.

      Another option is combining some of the 4% category cash back cards with the Tangerine and Rogers card. For example, get the Scotia Momentum Infinite card with 4% on gas & groceries, 2% on pharmacy and recurring spend. Then use Tangerine for 2% on restaurants, transportation & home improvement. Use the Rogers MasterCard for all foreign transaction and all other spend. Nice package. Of course, that assumes you spend enough to justify the Scotia Momentum annual fee of $99.

      GreedyRates Staff

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