The Best Scotiabank Credit Cards in Canada for 2024

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Deciding the best Scotiabank credit cards in Canada is an easy task. Generally, every bank has cards for specific reasons, and Scotiabank is no different. Scotiabank has you covered whether you’re looking for travel rewards, cash back, or a low-interest credit card.

Since every card Scotiabank offers is different, it’s always in your best interest to compare things before making a decision. Quite often, you may realize there’s a perk included with one of the cards that may appeal to you. Here are the best Scotiabank credit cards in Canada.

Credit cardBest for
Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite CardTravel rewards
Scotiabank Gold American ExpressEarn rate
Scotia Momentum VISA Infinite CardCash back
Scotiabank Scene+ Visa CardStudents
Scotiabank Value Visa CardLow interest
Scotia Momentum No-Fee Visa CardNo fee

Best Scotiabank card for travel

Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite* Card

  • $150 annual fee
  • 30,000 Scene+ points when spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • 10,000 points when spending $40,000 in the first year
  • Earn 3 Scene+ points per $1 spent at Empire owned supermarkets
  • Earn 2 Scene+ points per $1 spent on eligible grocery stores, dining, entertainment, and daily transit purchases
  • Earn 1 Scene+ point per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases
  • Visa Airport Companion Program membership + 6 passes per year
  • No foreign transaction fees

It’s not hard to make a case that the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card is the bank’s flagship product. It has a high earning rate and it comes packed with benefits. You’ll earn 3 Scene+ points per dollar spent on Empire-owned grocery stores (Sobeys, FreshCo, Safeway, etc.), 2 points on all other grocery stores, dining, entertainment, and transit purchases, and all other purchases get you 1 point.

As for the benefits, there are no foreign transaction fees, so you’ll save 2.5% in fees compared to most other credit cards in Canada. You also get airport lounge access and six free annual visits via the free Visa Airport Companion Program membership. Finally, a comprehensive travel insurance package that covers travel medical, trip cancellation, flight delays, lost luggage, travel accidents, and more is also provided.

Admittedly, there are better travel credit cards from other providers, but this is easily the best all-in-one travel card since it includes many perks. It’s ideal for people who don’t want to carry multiple credit cards in their wallet.

Eligibility: A minimum personal income of $60,000 or a household income of $100,000 or at least $250,000 in assets under management. A credit score of 700 is also recommended.
Welcome bonus: You’ll typically get 35,000 to 50,000 Scene+ points as the welcome offer. In most cases, you’ll need to spend a minimum amount in the first three months and another in the first 12 months for the full bonus.

Best Scotiabank card for earn rate

Scotiabank Gold American Express® Card

  • $120 annual fee
  • 20,000 Scene+™ points when you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • 20,000 Scene+ points when you spend $7,500 in the first year
  • Earn 6 Scene+ points per $1 spent at Empire owned supermarkets
  • Earn 5 Scene+ points per $1 spent on grocery, dining, and entertainment
  • Earn 3 Scene+ points per $1 spent on gas, and daily transit purchases
  • Earn 1 Scene+ point on all other purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees

Those who want to maximize their rewards should look at the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card. You’ll earn 6 Scene+ points per dollar spent at Empire-owned grocery stores, 5 points on other eligible grocery stores, dining, and entertainment purchases, 3 points on gas, public transportation, rideshares and streaming purchases, and 1 point on all other purchases. 

This card also has no fees for foreign currency purchases. That said, any foreign purchases you make with this card only give you the base earn rate of 1 Scene+ point per dollar spent. Whereas, the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card still gives you the multipliers on foreign purchases.

The other benefits you get with this card include a comprehensive travel insurance package and mobile device insurance, which covers your cellphone or tablet up to $1,000.

Eligibility: There’s no minimum income requirement. A credit score of at least 700 is recommended.
Welcome bonus: Typically worth between 40,000 and 60,000 Scene+ points when. To get the full bonus, you usually need to meet multiple minimum spending requirements.

Best Scotiabank card for cash back

Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite Card

  • $120 annual fee – first year free
  • Earn 10% cash back on all purchases for the first 3 months (up to $2,000 in purchases)
  • Earn 4% cash back on groceries, recurring bills, and subscription purchases
  • Earn 2% cash back on gas and daily transit purchases
  • Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases with no cash back limit
  • Travel and mobile device insurance included

The Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite Card is the way to go for those who want to earn a lot of cash back. You’ll earn 4% cash back on grocery, recurring bills, and subscription purchases, 2% cash back on gas and daily transit purchases, and 1% cash back on everything else. It’s worth noting that your cash back is only paid out once a year in November. This may not bother some people, but many people prefer monthly payments.

You may have noticed that the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card arguably has a better earning rate. However, with the Gold card, you earn Scene+ points, and those are best used for travel, movies, and participating restaurants for maximum value. If you want a statement credit, which is like cash back, the value of your points drops considerably.

You do get some decent benefits with this card. You get an excellent travel insurance package that covers all the essentials. You also get mobile device insurance, which protects your tablet and cellphone as long as the full cost is charged to your Scotiabank Momentum Visa Infinite Card.

Eligibility: A personal income of $60,000, household income of $100,000 or a minimum of $250,000 of assets under management. A credit score of at least 700 is recommended.
Welcome bonus: Usually 10% cash back for the first three months, up to $2,000 in spending, and no annual fee for the first year.

Best Scotiabank card for students

Scotiabank Scene+®* Visa* Card

  • No annual fee
  • 5,000 Scene+ points when you spend $750 in the first 3 months
  • Earn 2 Scene+ points per $1 spent at Cineplex™ theatres, cineplex.com and Empire owned grocery stores
  • Earn 1 Scene+ point per $1 spent on all other purchases

The Scotiabank Scene+ Visa Card can be highly appealing to students. That’s because Scene+ points can be redeemed at Empire-owned grocery stores, Cineplex theatres, and participating restaurants, such as Swiss Chalet, Kelseys, Montana’s, and more.

When it comes to the earning rate, you’ll get 2 Scene+ points per dollar spent at Cineplex theatres, cineplex.com and Empire-owned grocery stores, and 1 Scene+ point on all other eligible purchases. While this earning rate isn’t as good as other cards on this list, it’s reasonable for a no fee card. 

Even though this card has a minimum income requirement of $12,000 to be approved, many students without an income are often approved for this card if they bank with Scotiabank.

Eligibility: A personal income of $12,000 is required, but students may be approved without income. The recommended minimum credit score before applying is 660.
Welcome bonus: Typically worth 5,000 Scene+ points when spending $750 in the first three months.

Best Scotiabank card for low interest and balance transfers

Scotiabank Value Visa Card

  • $29 annual fee – First year free
  • 0% interest rate on balance transfers for the first 10 months
  • 12.99% interest rate after the promotional period ends
  • Up to 25% off at participating Avis and Budget car rental locations

Instead of focusing on rewards, some people may be more interested in reducing their debt. The Scotiabank Value Visa Card is a low interest credit card with a balance transfer option that could save you hundreds of dollars.

New cardholders have the option to perform a balance transfer with a 0% introductory interest rate for 10 months. Once the promotional period ends, the regular interest rate of 12.99% applies. Although a 1% balance transfer fee applies, you could potentially save hundreds of dollars.

Balance transfers are appealing since you can transfer an existing balance on a different credit card with a high interest rate and then transfer it to your Scotiabank Value Visa Card. If you were to focus on debt repayment during the promotional period, you would greatly reduce how much interest you’re paying. You won’t get any other benefits with the card, but the balance transfer alone is worth it for the low interest rates.

Eligibility: No income requirement, but you must be a Canadian resident and the age of majority in the province or territory in which you reside.
Welcome bonus: Usually, 0% interest on balance transfers for the first 10 months (1% fee applies), and the annual fee is waived for the first year.

Best no fee Scotiabank card

Scotia Momentum No-Fee Visa Card

  • $0 annual fee
  • Earn 5% cash back on all purchases for the first 3 months (up to $2,000 in purchases)
  • 0.99% interest rate on balance transfers for the first 6 months
  • 1% cash back on gas, groceries, drug stores and recurring payments
  • 0.5% cash back on all other purchases

If you want a no fee cash back card, then the Scotia Momentum No-Fee Visa Card is the top choice for the best Scotiabank credit cards in Canada. The earning rate is 1% cash back on gas, groceries, drug stores and recurring payments. All other purchases get you 0.5% cash back.

Since this is a no fee card, you don’t get any meaningful perks besides up to 25% off at participating Avis and Budget locations. The Scotiabank Scene+ Visa Card also has no fee, but comes with a higher earning rate.

Eligibility: A personal income of $12,000. A credit score of at least 660 is recommended.
Welcome bonus: Typically 5% cash back for the first three months (Up to $2,000 in spending)

How do Scotiabank credit cards work

As you can see from above, Scotiabank has a range of different credit cards. Here’s how the different category options work.

Scotiabank Cash back Cards

Scotiabank Cash back cards start their year in December and accumulate points monthly. However, the actual Cashback is only given out annually. Each year in November you will be paid out your total Cashback for the previous year and then it will restart again in December.

Scotabank Scene+

Scene+ is the Scotiabank rewards program. As mentioned earlier, Scotia Rewards Points merged with Scene points a couple of years ago to create this encompassing rewards platform. Scene points can be earned by using your Scene+ credit card when shopping at eligible brand partners for everyday purchases. 

Scene+ points can then be redeemed either in store with brand partners or online/via the app. Your points can be used to book travel, purchase gift cards, for free movies, and more. As long as your account is in good standing and you remain active your Scene+ points won’t expire.

Scotiabank Low Interest Cards

Most credit cards have a typical interest rate of around 20%. Then you have balance transfer cards or even just low interest cards that offer lower values than that, making it easier for individuals who typically carry a balance on their credit card to pay it off. In the case of the Scotiabank Value Visa card, you do get a promotional period where the rate is 0% and then it goes to 12.99% which is still significantly lower than normal rates.

How to pick the best Scotiabank card

Since there are quite a few options when it comes to Scotiabank credit cards, you’ll need to figure out exactly what your needs are before you apply. Here are the things to look out for.

  • Type of benefits – First off, determine the type of benefits you want when choosing one of the best Scotiabank credit cards. That could be travel rewards, cash back, low interest or even movie rewards. Once you know what you want, that makes things easy.
  • Annual fee – Do you mind paying an annual fee? If you said yes, make sure the benefits you’re earning are worth more than that yearly fee.
  • Welcome bonus – Always check to see what the welcome bonus is and what the criteria are to earn it.
  • Additional benefits – For some people, the additional benefits such as no foreign exchange fees or access to airport lounges are important so check to see what each card offers.

How to apply for a Scotiabank credit card

  1. Determine which credit card you want from the list above and click the “apply now” button. Make sure you qualify. Most credit cards will have a minimum income requirement. 
  2. Once you have confirmed you qualify, gather all the required paperwork to apply. This includes all of your personal information. You will also need information about your income and possibly your SIN so have that handy.
  3. Complete the form as required. Online applications are very straightforward and easy. Be sure to read any fine print to ensure that you understand all the terms and conditions.
  4. Wait for approval. Many online applications offer immediate approval, but receiving the physical card could still take up to ten business days. Once you receive the card, activate it and use it as you wish.

FAQ

Are Scotiabank credit cards worth it?

If there is a Scotiabank credit card that meets your goals then sure. They have plenty of options for different needs. For those looking specifically at the Scene+ program, it’s a pretty decent rewards program. You do want to consider your shopping habits though and make sure that you already spend at partner brands, including eligible gas stations. Popular partner brands include Cineplex theatres, Sobeys, Foodland, FreshCo, Bestbuy, and Home Hardware.

Plus, if you are already a Scotiabank client, then it makes it even easier to have a credit card at the same place as your other financial products.

What is the best Scotiabank credit card?

The best credit card to pick will depend on your needs, but here’s my quick take.

If you love to travel, then the Scotiabank Passport is the best card. It’s pretty easy to earn points that you can redeem towards travel, and there are some great perks and benefits, including airport lounge passes and insurance coverage.

If you are rewards focused, but not necessarily a huge traveller, then the Scotiabank Gold will allow you to earn points the fastest.

*** Passport for all-in-one travel, Scotiabank Gold for earn rate, Scene+ for students

How do Scotiabank credit cards compare?

Scotiabank does have decent credit cards. However, if you are really looking at the best credit card rewards program, then American Express comes out on top. Their program offers great deals on travel, but points can also be used towards gift cards, merchandise, and more. Perhaps the biggest standout for American Express cards is that they have tons of partners that allow you to convert your points, adding to the programs flexibility.

Why get a Scotiabank credit card?

Scotiabank is one of the big five banks in Canada, so they have an established history that Canadians can rely on. If you have one of the premium Scotiabank chequing accounts, you can get one of their credit cards without paying an annual fee. This benefits you since you’ll be able to use a top tier card without worrying about any yearly fees. Even if you don’t bank with Scotiabank, getting one of their credit cards may be a good fit for you.

About Barry Choi

Barry Choi is a Toronto-based personal finance and travel expert who frequently makes media appearances. His blog Money We Have is one of Canada’s most trusted sources when it comes to money and travel. You can find him on Twitter:@barrychoi

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