Credit Card Battle: Tangerine Money-Back vs. SimplyCash from American Express

Jordann Brown
by Jordann Brown February 22, 2017 / No Comments

As more Canadians reach for their credit cards for everyday spending, rewards credit cards have surged in popularity. In the past, if you wanted to earn rewards for daily spending on your credit card, travel was your main choice. But recently, an alternative has emerged: cash-back credit cards.

Cash back credit cards allow you to earn a percentage of your spending in different categories back as a rebate reward. This option is ideal for anyone who wants to benefit from spending on their credit card but doesn’t travel often.

Here’s a quick comparison of two of the best cash-back credit cards in Canada: the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card and the SimplyCash Card from American Express.

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card SimplyCash Card from American Express
Annual fee $0 $0
Sign-up bonus None 5% cash-back on groceries, gas, and restaurants up to $250 for the first six months
Percentage of cash back earned 2% in chosen categories, 0.5% on everything else 1.25% on all purchases
Available categories Groceries, gas, recurring bill payments, drug store, home improvement, entertainment, and public transportation and parking No categories
Number of rewards categories Two1 or three2 No categories
Annual income requirement Any amount $15,000 per year
Interest rate 19.95% 19.99%
Special features Free cards for authorized users, 2.5% foreign conversion fee No annual fee for supplementary cards, travel accident insurance, car rental collision insurance, zero liability, extended warranty

1If you choose to have your rewards deposited back onto your credit card.
2If you choose to have your rewards deposited into your Tangerine Savings Account.

Both of these credit cards are good options if you are looking for a no-fee credit card with a low annual income requirement. The Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card allows you to earn 2% cash back rewards on several spending categories of your choice and 0.5% on everything else. The SimplyCash Card from American Express is simpler and rewards your spending with 1.25% cash back on all spending, except for the first six months when a 5% promotional rate applies to spending on groceries, gas, and restaurants (up to $250).

Both credit cards have a low annual income requirement, a competitive interest rate, and free cards for extra cardholders. The SimplyCash Card from American Express gives you additional insurance coverage in the form of travel accident insurance, car rental/collision insurance, zero liability coverage and extended warranty coverage.

Since the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card requires you to pick your rewards spending categories, the amount of cash back you earn with this credit card will depend on your unique spending habits. Here, we’ll take a look at how much you’ll earn with both credit cards using a monthly spending profile of $1,500:

Category Amount
Groceries $400
Gas $200
Restaurants $150
Bills $250
Travel $100
Entertainment $100
Pharmacy $100
Everything Else $200
Total $1,500

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

Apply Now Button-small

  • No annual fee
  • Earn 2% cash back on purchases in up to three categories of your choice, and 0.5% cash back on everything else
  • No limit on how much cash back you can earn

The Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card allows you to maximize your rewards based on how much you spend in different categories. You can choose two categories or three categories to maximize your spending depending on how you claim your rewards. The categories are groceries, furniture, restaurants, hotels, gas, recurring bill payments, drug store, home improvement, entertainment, and public transportation and parking.

With the spending profile above you would do best if you chose groceries, gas and bill payments as your three categories. These categories will help you earn $243 in rewards every year.

Annual fee Sign-up bonus Spending rewards Monthly spending First year return Subsequent years
$0 $0 $243 $1,500 $243 $243

SimplyCash Card from American Express

SimplyCash Card from American Express

Apply Now Button-small

  • No annual fee
  • Earn 5% cash back on eligible purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants for the first 6 months (up to $250)
  • Earn 1.25% cash back on all other purchases once welcome rate ends
  • 0% interest rate on all balance transfers for the first 6 months
  • No limit on the amount of cash back you can earn

The SimplyCash Card from American Express lets you earn 1.25% on all of your spending. There is no need to choose categories. In the first six months, there is a promotional rate that allows you to earn 5% cash-back on gas, groceries, and restaurants, up to a maximum of $250. With this promotion, you’ll earn $393 in the first year, which is more than the Tangerine credit card.

Annual fee Sign-up bonus Spending rewards Monthly spending First year return Subsequent years
$0 $0 $393 $1,500 $393 $225

However, in subsequent years you’ll earn $225, less than the Tangerine credit card. So while it may at first seem like the SimplyCash Card from American Express is the better rewards credit card, with this spending profile, the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card wins in the long run.

Of course, this is dependent on your unique spending profile. Compare multiple credit cards side-by-side with RateHub’s rewards calculator to determine which card is right for you.

Also read:

Flickr: KMR Photography