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Tangerine vs. Desjardins Review

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If you’re interested in comparing Tangerine with Desjardins, you’ve come to the right place. Both banks have lots to offer in terms of chequing accounts, savings accounts, credit cards, and more. But which one is right for you? Let’s compare Tangerine vs. Desjardins.

Tangerine vs. Desjardins: Overview

Tangerine and Desjardins are two of Canada’s most reputable financial institutions. While both are used by many Canadians, the online bank and credit union have a lot of qualities that make them unique to each other. Let’s take a look at each institution below.

Overview of Tangerine

Tangerine is a Canadian digital bank, offering a variety of bank accounts, credit cards, investments, and mortgages across the country. A subsidiary of Scotiabank, Tangerine caters to Canadians who value low fees and are comfortable using self-service options online and over the phone.

Tangerine is about as close to free banking as you can get. It offers a no-fee chequing account with no limits on transactions, a high-interest savings account with no transaction fees, and some of the best no-fee credit cards in Canada.

Overview of Desjardins

Desjardins the first and oldest credit union, or caisse populaire, in Canada, as well as the largest in North America, with 7.5-milllion members and clients.

It is a popular banking choice in Quebec, offering a full suite of banking products including chequing and savings accounts, credit cards, loans, lines of credit, mortgages, and investments.

Desjardins is Quebec’s largest financial institution, with 219 branches and 851 points of service. It also has a small presence in Ontario, and members have access to online and telephone banking anywhere in the world. While its personal banking products are mostly regional, its wealth management and insurance arms are active across the country.

Tangerine vs. Desjardins: Banking features

Both Tangerine and Desjardins have a wide variety of features when it comes to their banking accounts.

Let’s look at how Tangerine vs. Desjardins stack up against each other when it comes to banking features.

Tangerine banking features

When you bank with Tangerine, you get access to many of the features you would get from one of the big banks’ paid chequing accounts. Clients get:

  • Access to Scotiabank’s network of 3,500+ ABMs in Canada
  • Free Interac® e-Transfers (send and receive)
  • 50 cheques included
  • Included Visa Debit to pay with your debit card online
  • The ability to use Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay with your account
  • Some of Canada’s strongest online and mobile banking services
  • “Cheque-in,” Tangerine’s mobile service that lets you deposit a cheque with your smartphone
  • Overdraft protection, which is available for a fee
  • Live support via telephone banking and online chat

Additionally, you can get a wide variety of other services from Tangerine. You can save for the future with Tangerine’s high-interest savings accounts, GICs, and other investments.

You can earn cash back rewards with a no-fee Tangerine Money-Back Mastercard. And you can even get a mortgage to buy a home.

Desjardins banking features

Depending on which plan you subscribe to, your Desjardins account will come with a variety of features. At the highest tier, Desjardins members get:

  • Unlimited included transactions
  • Access to teller services, as well as online and telephone banking
  • Included money orders, drafts, and certified cheques
  • Mobile cheque deposit
  • Free access to some out-of-network ABMs (ABM operators may still charge a fee)
  • Access to more locations in Quebec than any other financial institution
  • Exclusive discount offers for Desjardins partners
  • Discounts for students, seniors, and new Canadians
  • Membership in the credit union with voting rights and annual dividends

Tangerine vs. Desjardins: Fees

Tangerine and Desjardins both have their own set of fees when it comes to their financial products. Below, we’ll take a look at Tangerine and Desjardin’s fees.

Tangerine fees

Tangerine specializes in no-fee daily banking. Its no-fee chequing account comes with no monthly fee, no transaction fees (or limits), free cheques, and free Interac e-Transfers.

Account-holders get access to Scotiabank automated banking machines (ABMs) at no charge, too. Even services like replacing a lost or stolen card are performed for free.

Tangerine chequing customers will pay some fees for other services, however. Using an out-of-network ABM will cost $1.50 every time. Bank drafts, which are similar to certified cheques, cost $10. And a $45 NSF fee is charged every time your account is overdrawn.

Tangerine also offers high-interest savings accounts with no fees and the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card which is one of the most fully-featured no-fee credit cards in Canada.

Desjardins fees

For daily chequing, Desjardins offers a variety of plans to meet its members’ needs.

Monthly chequing account fees range from $3.95 for up to 12 transactions to $21.95 for unlimited transactions and premium services. Transactions above your monthly limit are $1.25 each.

Members can save the monthly fee by maintaining a minimum balance in their account, and discounts are also offered to students and seniors.

Desjardins also offers savings accounts with no fees for transfers to other Desjardins accounts, and a wide variety of credit cards with great features and annual fees ranging from $0 to $395.

Tangerine vs. Desjardins: Pros and cons

Like any financial service, Tangerine and Desjardins come with their own share of pros and cons. Learn more about what those pros and cons are below.

Pros and cons of Tangerine

Tangerine is a great choice for Canadians who don’t want to pay fees for banking, but there are some downsides as well. Consider these pros and cons when choosing Tangerine:


  • No minimum investments: With Tangerine, you can do all of your daily banking without paying any fees. Its chequing accounts, savings accounts, and credit cards all have no annual or monthly fees, and no transaction fees.

  • Free ABM access across Canada: Tangerine is owned by Scotiabank, and as such its customers have free access to the over 3,500 Scotiabank ABMs across Canada to perform daily banking transactions like deposits and withdrawals.

  • All your banking in one place. Tangerine’s chequing accounts, savings accounts, GICs, investments and mortgage products all work together. If you prefer to keep all your banking in one place, Tangerine can do that.


  • Limited customer service: Tangerine doesn’t have any branches, so you can’t get help from a teller if you want it. Instead, you’ll have to use online banking or dial in to Tangerine’s call center.

  • Mortgages are more expensive: Tangerine’s chequing and savings accounts are of great value, but its mortgages come with higher rates than many competitors. If you’re in the market for a mortgage, make or get in touch with a mortgag best ratebroker who can help you find the right lender for your needs.

  • Wait times for certain services: With a traditional bank, you can walk in any time and get help with those things that just can’t be done with online banking such as getting a bank draft for a large purchase, for example. With Tangerine, you’ll need to call in and wait for it to be delivered.

Pros and cons of Desjardins

If you’re considering banking with Desjardins, keep these pros and cons in mind:


  • Great customer service in Quebec and in French: If you live in Quebec and/or want to do your banking in French, Desjardins is a great choice. Almost all of its 219 locations and 1,687 ABMs are in Quebec, and excellent customer service in both official languages.

  • Lower fees than the Big Banks: As a credit union, Desjardins’ purpose is to provide services to its members. As such, its accounts come with lower fees than its Big Bank competitors.

  • Everything you need in one place. Desjardins has everything you need for personal finance. You can get a chequing account, savings account, credit card, loans and lines of credit, investments, mortgages, and even insurance.

  • Member of the EXCHANGE Network. Desjardins is a member of the EXCHANGE Network, which allows account withdrawals and deposits from thousands of credit union and independent bank ATMs, such as Meridian, VanCity, Manulife, HSBC, and many more.


  • No free services: Desjardins members have to pay a monthly fee to have a chequing account. While the fees are lower than many big banks, and profits are returned to members as dividends, there are no free rides at Desjardins

  • Limited service outside of Quebec: With just 13 locations in Ontario and none across the rest of the country, Desjardins members have limited options outside of Quebec. Despite this limitation, online banking and telephone banking are available everywhere, and members can access ABMs around the world on the Interac and EXCHANGE networks.

Our final thoughts

The choice between Tangerine and Desjardins depends primarily on where you live and what you value.

If you live in Quebec and value in-person customer service en Français, Desjardins is a great choice. Desjardins is Quebec’s largest financial institution, established in 183 towns and villages in Quebec and Ontario. Its fees are competitive with the big banks. And it offers a full range of services for all of your banking needs.

If you live outside of Quebec, or value low cost over customer service, Tangerine is a better choice. Tangerine has no branches, but customer service is available online or by telephone across the country. It offers no-fee chequing, savings, and credit card options. And, clients have free access to Scotiabank ABMs throughout Canada.

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