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Tangerine review

Tangerine review

I’m that guy that used to have no idea what he was doing with his money. I have been with RBC since I was… 8? I literally had a children’s Leo account until I was 17. Into my adult years I still had very little idea about investing or even just simple saving.  I kept my money in a normal savings account and had no idea that I was probably losing money due to inflation.

Last year I decided to read up on investing basics and how to properly save for retirement in Canada. I read. A lot. And I came out with one key take home:  index investing makes the most sense for me.

Take a quick look at the Reddit community /r/personalfinancecanada or the book The Wealthy Barber and you’ll start to see the overwhelming evidence that it actually makes very little sense to go with an active investment (ie. the ones that big banks try to push on you at every chance). These are the investment plans where you pay a financial advisor to…  What do they do again?  Basically the idea is that these advisors can beat the market. They can bring in returns that consistently beat the average return in the stock market. The unfortunate truth is that VERY RARELY do they even come close to achieving this.  Not only that, but the fees that you pay them to try end up negating these gains.

If you’re a seasoned investor you might want to stop reading here. I’m the kind of guy that just wants to sort of set it and forget it when it comes to saving money. That is why Tangerine was so attractive to me.

Tangerine review – a great place to start

I knew nothing about investing a year ago. In fact, I am still a beginner. And that’s sort of where I want to stay.  I don’t want to tinker with my investments and obsess over how they are doing daily. That’s why I chose Tangerine as the place I would setup my first investment fund.

In November 2014 I logged onto and started the process.  And be damned if it didn’t take like 20 minutes to get the bulk of the work done.

I had done some reading about TFSAs and knew that I wanted to setup one with some kind of investment plan attached to it as a retirement fund. The first thing I noticed about Tangerine is that they have really nailed the online interface. As an RBC customer, I was used to really mediocre, borderline 1990’s types interfaces that didn’t do a lot to convince me of their dedication to customer service.  Tangerine was night and day.

The Orange Key

I have a friend that recommended Tangerine as a place to start investing. And they mentioned this thing called an “orange key.” I’ll admit that I thought it was rather pyramid-scheme sounding.  But it’s actually legit. It’s just a referral system that Tangerine uses to entice new customers. I was intending to join anyway but I’m not one to pass on free money.

Basically, if you are setting up a new account with Tangerine you can get an instant free $50 bonus if you use an orange key when you sign up.  You can use mine below to get started:

When you’re doing the initial sign-up process simply click on the “Referred by a Friend?” section and enter the following Orange Key to claim your $50 bonus:


Where you enter your Tangerine Orange Key

Setting up an investment account

This was the reason why I came.  So once I put in my initial information and added my friend’s Orange Key I was ready to start setting up my accounts.  It was all rather painless.  I started with a simple Tangerine chequing account which I think took 3 minutes to setup. The best part is that they allow you to download a void cheque and print it off at any time.  I used this to bring to my office’s HR department to get my direct deposit switched over. At RBC this would have take an afternoon of waiting in line at a cranky teller…

Tangerine also made it super simple at the time of signing up to setup an automatic savings plan.  This is basically a setting that gets your chequing account to automatically forward money off to another account (in my case a TFSA investment account). It takes the effort out of saving. I made it so it grabs $300 off each paycheque and automatically deposits it in my TFSA. Boom. Savings.

The last piece of the pie was obviously setting up the actually investment account at Tangerine. I knew I wanted to setup a TFSA since I already had a good RRSP with my workplace and I wanted to take advantage of the tax savings it brings. Again, this was super easy. It did require a quick phone call with Tangerine to actually walk through my risk profile to setup the account. But it really shows you that if you want to talk with a real-live person at Tangerine, it’s really very easy. In about 15 minutes they had me setup with a Balanced Growth Tangerine investment fund which would deposit into my newly setup TFSA. Easy as pie.

Learn about all of the steps in setting up a TFSA here.

Moving my money over from RBC

This was actually the part that was the most time consuming.  RBC did everything they could to drag their feet in sending MY MONEY over to my new account. Of course it is in their favour to hold onto my cash as long as they can, but it was annoying to have to wait 3 weeks for my money to finally show up.

The whole process that I went through was rather important because it involved moving money from and RBC TFSA to a Tangerine TFSA.  If I just took out that money and re-added it to my Tangerine TFSA I would have taken a hit on my TFSA contributions. What I ended up doing was faxing the folks at Tangerine a special form that they sent me that essentially just transfers the money between TFSAs without ever removing it from the TFSA account.  Did that make sense?  I hope so.

Overall experience

The main thing I was nervous about when moving my main banking to Tangerine was whether I would miss the brick and mortar branches. Nope.  I think I may have walked into RBC once in the past year (to get some American cash for a trip). Everything else was super simple to do online or rarely on the telephone. Cheques can be cashed with Tangerine’s nifty smartphone integration where to just snap a photo of the cheque! Interac e-Transfers are even easier than before for paying my rent. Shifting money around between my accounts has never been easier. The Tangerine website has better security than RBC. I am also still able to very easily pay all of my bills (including my RBC VISA card). All of these things contribute to a very happy customer experience.

But the most important piece here is that I have been saving and investing without even really paying attention. I invest twice every month into my Tangerine index funds tied to my TFSA. It is this idea that Tangerine really prides itself on: making saving easy. And by golly, they have done it. Some day I may get really intensely into investing in ETFs or another more involved form of investing.  But right now I am super happy with my “set it and forget it” system with Tangerine.

Next year Tangerine will be introducing their new MasterCard which will even further remove me from the neon clutches of RBC. And I couldn’t be happier to do it.

Happy saving!


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