Tangerine vs. PC Financial Review 2021
If you’re looking for a new online bank in Canada, Tangerine and PC Financial are two of the oldest and most trusted brands in the digital banking space. But which should you choose to do your daily banking?
In this Wealth Rocket article, we'll compare Tangerine vs. PC Financial, examining how they stack up when it comes to fees, features, perks, and more.
Table of Contents
Tangerine vs. PC Financial: Overview
Tangerine and PC Financial are both online banks with a lot to offer Canadians who are tired of traditional banking options. But before you rush to their websites to sign up, let’s take a look at a dedicated overview of Tangerine vs. PC Financial and how each bank can amplify your finances.
Tangerine’s origins go back to its days as ING Direct, the Canadian arm of one of the Netherlands’ biggest banks. In 2012, the bank was bought by Scotiabank and subsequently rebranded as Tangerine.
Today, Tangerine is still owned by Scotiabank but remains relatively independent from its owner. Rather than having a vast network of branches, Tangerine is an online bank; it offers Canadians investments, mortgages, and everyday banking products like savings accounts, chequing accounts, and credit cards entirely via telephone and online banking.
Tangerine customers love the bank’s straightforward products, low fees, and free access to Scotiabank’s 3,500 automated banking machines (ABMs) across Canada.
PC Financial: Overview
PC Financial has its roots in Canadian grocery stores that sell delicious frozen lasagna by the same name.
After PC Financial’s brand licensing agreement with CIBC ended in 2017, most of its products were rebranded as Simplii, and only PC Insurance and the PC Financial Mastercard remained.
A few years on, PC Financial is slowly expanding once again and competing with its former self. It recently introduced PC Money, its hybrid savings account that also allows customers to earn rewards points on any PC Financial products.
Tangerine vs. PC Financial: Fees
Fees! Fees! Fees! Luckily, neither of these online banks really comes with any monthly fees or transaction limits. Still, nothing in life is entirely free. Let's take a look at Tangerine and PC Financial's fees.
As an online bank, Tangerine has some of the lowest fees in Canada.
For daily banking, the Tangerine No-Fee Chequing Account lives up to its name. Tangerine has no monthly fee or transaction fees and offers clients free Interac® e-Transfers, free cheques, and free transactions at Scotiabank ABMs.
Clients will pay fees ranging from the small to the extravagant for features like withdrawals at non-Scotiabank ABMs ($1.50 each), bank drafts (similar to a money order or certified cheque at $10 each), and Non-sufficient funds (NSF) penalties ($45 each time your account is overdrawn).
For your other banking needs, Tangerine also offers a no-fee high-interest savings account and its award-winning no-fee Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card.
PC Financial: Fees
PC Financial’s answer to daily banking is the PC Money Account, which offers many features you would expect from a chequing account except for cheques.
PC Money Account clients pay no monthly fee and no transaction fees and get free Interac® e-Transfers.
To get access to cash, transactions are free at PC ABMs, almost all of which are located inside grocery stores like Loblaws and Real Canadian Superstore as well as Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacies. For more flexibility with daily spending, PC Financial offers three no-fee Mastercard cards.
With a PC Money Account, you might find yourself paying fees for things like out-of-network ABM withdrawals ($1.50 each) and penalties for things like NSF ($40 each).
Tangerine vs. PC Money: FeaturesTangerine and PC Money have an abundance of features for no fee, online banks. Let's compare each bank by its features.
Tangerine’s top feature is its no-fee daily banking that includes everything you would expect from a premium bank account, except access to a branch.
The Tangerine Chequing Account has features like:
If you want to do all your banking with one company, Tangerine has everything you need. It also offers high-interest savings accounts, GICs and other investments, mortgages, and no-fee credit cards.
PC Financial: Features
PC Financial offers many, but not all, of the features you would expect from a traditional chequing account. With the PC Money Account, you get:
If you frequent any Loblaws brand supermarkets or drugstores, you’ll find the PC Money account particularly beneficial.
Tangerine: Pros and Cons
As with every bank, Tangerine has its pros and cons.
No-fee daily banking. With Tangerine, you can open a chequing account, savings account, and credit card, and use them all liberally, without worrying about monthly fees, transaction fees, or transaction limits.
Access to Scotiabank’s ABMs. Tangerine customers get free use of Scotiabank ABMs to make unlimited withdrawals and deposits across Canada.
Lots of products to meet your needs. Tangerine offers a full complement of banking products, including chequing accounts, savings accounts, credit cards, GICs and other investments and mortgages.
No bank branch. Tangerine is an online bank and doesn’t offer clients access to a branch. If you rely on help from a teller to do your banking, you’ll need to find a different bank.
Longer wait time for some services. Need a bank draft ASAP for a major purchase? A bank branch can get that done for you right away. Tangerine will need at least a day or two to turn it around.
Not the best rates on investments and mortgages. While Tangerine offers exceptional value for daily banking, it doesn’t do the same for investments and mortgages. You’ll find higher savings account and GIC rates elsewhere, and lower mortgage rates, too.
PC Financial: Pros and Cons
If you’re considering opening a PC Money Account for your daily banking, there are some pros and cons to keep in mind.
PC Financial: Pros
No-fee daily banking. The PC Money Account has no monthly fee, no transaction fees, and no transaction limits. If you want to use debit to buy a pack of gum, it won’t cost you a thing.
Earn PC Optimum points. When you use your PC Money Account or any other PC Financial product, you’ll earn PC Optimum points you can put toward purchases at participating retailers.
Good digital security features. In addition to standard security features like 2-factor authentication, PC Financial offers helpful features like the ability to temporarily lock your account.
Cons: The Not So Good Stuff
No chequing available. The PC Money Account behaves like a chequing account but doesn’t offer actual cheques. If you need cheques to pay your rent, for example, this account won’t work for you. You also won’t be able to get a bank draft if you need to make a large purchase. Mobile cheque deposit is also unavailable, but you can deposit a cheque using an ABM.
Lack of other financial products. While PC Financial has what you need to go about your day-to-day business, it’s not set up to cover all of your banking needs. PC Financial currently doesn’t offer chequing, savings accounts, investments or mortgages.
No bank branch. Like most online banks, PC Financial doesn’t have branches you can visit for in-person banking. Its pavilions offer customer service but most of your banking will be conducted online.
Our Final Thoughts
Tangerine and PC Financial are two options for Canadians, but it’s clear which bank you should choose if you’re looking to make the switch.
Tangerine offers a fully-featured no-fee chequing account, as well as award-winning credit cards, savings accounts, investment products, and even mortgages.
By comparison, PC Financial offers a good chequing account alternative and a few no-fee credit cards.
What’s more, Tangerine is backed by Scotiabank, and clients get access to one of Canada’s most robust ABM networks.
PC Financial is limited to its resources, and ABMs are hard to find outside of Shoppers Drug Mart and Loblaws locations.
The category where PC Financial wins, however, is rewards. PC Money Account clients can earn PC Optimum points every time they use their accounts. If you make a lot of transactions, you could earn a lot of lasagnas.
Frequently Asked Questions
PC Financial is owned by Loblaw Companies Ltd., the grocery giant responsible for brands like Loblaws, Real Canadian Superstore, Shoppers Drug Mart, Joe Fresh, No Name, and President’s Choice.
Tangerine is owned by Scotiabank, one of Canada’s Big Five Banks, and naming sponsor of no fewer than two NHL arenas.
For travelers, Tangerine takes the lead. While both banks offer debit cards that can be used around the world (both with a 2.5% foreign transaction fee), neither offers travel rewards points.
As a member of the Global ATM Alliance, Tangerine (and Scotiabank, for that matter) allows its customers to access affiliated ATMs around the world at no additional cost.
For example, Tangerine customers in the UK can bank with Barclay's at no additional cost. Customers in the USA can bank using Bank of America ATMs at no additional cost. Customers in South America can bank at Scotiabank ATMs at no additional cost. There are many other participating banks in many other countries; you get the idea!