Tangerine is a relatively new name in the credit card game, having released their first and only credit card in March of 2016.

But it proved itself to be a game changer for many Canadians with its unique ability to let you pick and choose the categories in which you can earn extra rewards, shooting itself to the top of the list of best Canadian no-fee cash back credit cards.

Let’s dive into just what makes this card one of the best in its class.

Related: Meet The New Tangerine World Mastercard

Easy cash-back rewards

The is a cash back card, meaning for each purchase you make, you earn a small percentage of cash back.

It’s perhaps one of the more care-free, easy-to-use types of rewards compared to travel rewards, which can vary in value depending on what you redeem them for. Some elbow grease is definitely required in order to get the best value possible.

But with cash back rewards, you know that a dollar is worth a dollar, there’s no guesswork, no complicated redemption options, and no stress.

Your spending, your choice

What’s probably the most notable feature of the cash back rewards the offers is your ability to pick and choose the categories on which you want to earn increased rewards.

On 2 categories of your choice (or 3, if you get your Money-Back Rewards deposited into a Tangerine Savings Account), you get to earn 2% cash back. On everything else, you’ll earn 0.5%.

Here are the categories that you get to choose from:

  • groceries,
  • furniture,
  • restaurants,
  • hotel-motel,
  • gas,
  • recurring bill payments,
  • drugstore,
  • home improvement,
  • entertainment, and
  • public transportation and parking.

Most of the big spending categories are there – gas, groceries, drugstore, recurring bills, etc., and some unique options like home improvements and furniture. If you’re planning big home renovations and redecorating, these categories come in handy.

What if you realize your chosen spending categories aren’t right for you?

No problem!

You can switch them up at any time. Your changes will take effect in 3 billing statements.

Redeeming cash back rewards

When it comes time to start redeeming your rewards, it’s even more smooth sailing.

Your rewards balance is paid out monthly. They can be applied to your credit card balance as a statement credit, or deposited into your Tangerine savings account (if you have one).

The downsides

Now, let’s talk about some of the card’s shortcomings.

No category for Costco spending

In a perfect world, we’d love to see a spending category just for Costco spending. This would easily make it one of the best options for Costco shopping, if not one of the best no-fee options.

Limited insurance coverage

As for insurance, this card leaves much to be desired.

It comes with some basic purchase insurance, extended warranty and purchase protection, and that’s it.

We’d love to see some hotel-motel burglary insurance since this is one of the spending categories this card offers. Or maybe some price protection insurance for those home reno and furniture spending.

0.5% on other purchases

Despite the increased rewards for your 2 (or 3) chosen categories, 0.5% on everything else is quite low.

Which brings us to our next point…

Complimentary cards

What’s great about a no-fee cash back card is how well it can pair with other credit cards. Use the Tangerine card on your selected spending categories, and for everything else, use another card that will allow you to max out your rewards earnings.

American Express SimplyCash

The is a perfect match for the .

It’ll earn a flat earn rate for all your purchases – 1.25%.

This way, you can earn 2% cash back on your categories, and 1.25% on all of your other purchases.

Scotiabank Momentum Visa Infinite

The offers:

  • 4% cash back on recurring bills and grocery purchases, 
  • 2% on gas and daily transit, and
  • 1% on everything else.

If you choose your categories accordingly, it’s a great way to almost never earn anything under 2% cash back on most of your purchases.

TD Cash Back Visa Infinite

The is another great cash back option to pair with the .

You’ll earn:

  • 3% cash back on gas, groceries, and recurring bills, and
  • 1% on everything else.

Getting the most rewards possible is as easy as coordinating your Tangerine spending categories to best match your spending habits while optimizing the higher earning categories of both cards.

Your card your way

Though it has its shortcomings, there’s no denying the Tangerine Mastercard is a game-changer when it comes to no-fee cash back cards.

Is this a card you’d consider getting? Do you already have it?

What’s your favourite part about this card?

Let us know in the comments below.