Best Scotiabank credit cards
money.ca / Scotiabank
Fact Checked: Scott Birke
Updated: September 05, 2023
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Scotiabank credit cards have greatly expanded their offerings over the years. The first major bank in Canada to offer a no foreign transaction fee card also offers a variety of benefits and rewards credit cards that appeal to Canadians' unique needs and priorities.
Scotiabank is a Canada-based international bank that provides full banking and financial services to Canadian and international customers through over 900 branches, as well as an online banking platform. Along with top Scotiabank savings and chequing accounts, business banking, and wealth management, Scotiabank offers one of the biggest ranges of credit cards in Canada. Scotiabank credit cards include many kinds of reward cards and cashback cards from all three major processors in Canada: Mastercard, Visa, and Amex.
To make life easier for you, we’ve compiled a list of the best Scotiabank cards for different kinds of Canadian consumers. Check out our assessment below and discover the best Scotiabank credit card for your needs, lifestyle, and spending habits.
What are the best Scotiabank credit cards for 2023?
|Card||Best for||Annual fee|
|Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite* Card||Cash back||$120|
|Scotiabank Gold American Express® Card||Travel rewards||$120|
|Scotiabank Passport® Visa Infinite* Card||No foreign transaction fees||$150|
|Scotiabank® Scene+™ Visa* Card||Students||$0|
|Scotiabank Value® Visa* Card||Low interest||$29|
Best Scotiabank cash back card
Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite* card
Those seeking a cash back card will want to consider the Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite* Card. The earn rate is 4% cash back on groceries, subscription purchases, and recurring bill payments, 2% on gas and daily transit, and 1% on everything else. The increased earning rates of 2% and 4% are both capped at $25,000 spending each year. Once you reach that limit, you’ll earn a base rate of 1% cash back.
If the regular earnings rate didn’t get your attention, the welcome bonus of 10% cash back on all purchases for the first 3 months (up to $2,000 in total purchases) might. The Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite* card waives the annual fee of $120 for the first year. Offer ends Oct. 31, 2023.
Other benefits of this Scotiabank cash back card include mobile device insurance, travel insurance, and concierge service. A minimum annual personal income requirement of $60,000 or $100,000 for households is required to be approved. Alternatively, you'll also be considered if you have a minimum of $250,000 assets under Scotiabank management.
You can learn more about the card by reading our complete Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite* card review.
¹ Conditions apply. Visit here for the Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite* Card to learn more.
Scotiabank Visa Infinite at a glance
|Welcome offer||10% cash back on all purchases for the first 3 months (up to $2,000 in total purchases) might. Annual fee of $120 waived for the first year. Offer ends Oct. 31, 2023.|
|Earn rate||4% cash back on groceries, subscription purchases, and recurring bill payments, 2% on gas and daily transit, and 1% on everything else. The increased earning rates of 2% and 4% are both capped at $25,000 spending each year. Once you reach that limit, you’ll earn a base rate of 1% cash back.|
Best Scotiabank travel rewards card
Scotiabank Gold American Express® card
The Scotiabank Gold American Express® card is one of the most lucrative and flexible travel rewards cards in Canada. It generates a very high rate of 6X Scene+ points for every $1 CAD at eligible grocers like Sobeys, FreshCo, Safeway, and more eligible grocery stores¹; 5X on every $1 CAD spent on other eligible groceries, dining, and entertainment at eligible merchants—a very large number of eligible categories compared to competing cards—and 3X Scene+ points for every $1 CAD you spend at eligible gas stations, on eligible select streaming service purchases, and daily transit. All other spending outside these categories generates 1 point per $1.
Redeeming your points for travel is easy since you can use them immediately on any travel booked through the Scotiabank travel portal. Alternatively, you can charge a travel purchase directly to your card and redeem your points later. This card also won’t charge you foreign transaction fees.
The minimum annual personal income for this card is just $12,000. That’s significantly lower than other premium Scotiabank credit cards.
Right now, if you apply for the Scotiabank Gold American Express® card, you can earn up to $650* in value in the first 12 months, including up to 40,000 bonus Scene+ points. You’ll get 20,000 bonus Scene+ points when you make at least $1,000 in everyday eligible purchases in your first 3 months of card membership. Plus, for a limited time, you can earn another 20,000 Scene+ point bonus when you spend at least $7,500 in everyday eligible purchases in your first year. Offer ends October 31, 2023.
You can learn more about the card by reading our complete Scotiabank Gold American Express® card review.
¹ Conditions apply. Visit here to read our review of Scotiabank Gold American Express®.
Scotiabank Gold American Express® card at a glance
|Welcome offer||Up to $650 in value in the first 12 months, including up to 40,000 bonus Scene+ points. 20,000 bonus Scene+ points when you make at least $1,000 in everyday eligible purchases in your first 3 months of card membership. 20,000 Scene+ point bonus when you spend at least $7,500 in everyday eligible purchases in your first year. Offer ends October 31, 2023.|
|Earn rate||6 Scene+ points for every $1 spent at eligible Empire-owned grocery stores. 5 Scene+ points on other eligible groceries, restaurants, and entertainment. 3 Scene+ points on gas, eligible daily transit, and streaming services. 1 point on everything else.|
Best Scotiabank credit card with no foreign transaction fees
Scotiabank Passport® Visa Infinite* Card
Frequent travellers will want to look at the Scotiabank Passport® Visa Infinite* Card. Not only does it have no foreign transaction fees, but you also get great travel benefits, such as a complimentary Visa Airport Companion Program membership, plus six complimentary lounge visits per year, and comprehensive travel insurance. For context, those lounge passes are worth more than the annual fee of $150.
While the earn rates are better than some other Scotia bank credit cards, the travel benefits more than make up for it.
Like all other Visa Infinite* Cards Scotiabank offers, you need a minimum personal income of $60,000 or a household income of $100,000. Alternatively, you may qualify for this card if you have at least $250,000 of assets under Scotiabank’s management.
The current welcome offer is up to 35,000 Scene+ points. You can earn an annual 10,000 Scene+ point bonus when you spend at least $40,000 on your card. Offer ends Oct. 31, 2023.
You can learn more about the card by reading our complete Scotiabank Passport® Visa Infinite* Card review.
¹ Conditions apply. Visit here for the Scotiabank Passport® Visa Infinite* Card to learn more
Scotiabank Passport® Visa Infinite* Card at a glance
|Welcome offer||Get 35,000 Scene+ points. Earn an annual 10,000 Scene+ point bonus when you spend at least $40,000 on your card. Offer ends Oct. 31, 2023.|
|Earn rate||Scene+ points per $1 spent at eligible Empire-owned grocery stores. 2 Scene+ points on other eligible grocery stores, dining, entertainment, and daily transit purchases. 1 Scene+ point on all other eligible purchases.|
Best Scotiabank student credit card
Scotiabank® Scene+™ Visa* Card
You’re not required to be a student to qualify for the Scotiabank® Scene+™ Visa* Card, but the $0 annual fee and movie rewards scheme, is great for students.
For students, many of whom might be looking for their very first credit card, Scotiabank offers a card with no annual fee or minimum income requirement. The Scotiabank® Scene+™ Visa* Card also allows you to earn Scene+ points on every purchase. Your Scene+ points can be redeemed for free movies at Cineplex, which is a great break when you’re not studying. You can also redeem your Scene+ points at select restaurants, such as Harvey’s, Kelsey’s, Swiss Chalet, Montana’s, and East Side Mario’s.
Scotiabank® Scene+™ Visa* Card also offers a welcome bonus of 5,000 Scene+ points when you spend at least $750 in the first 3 months. Offer ends October 31, 2023.
¹ Conditions apply. Visit here for our complete review of the Scotiabank® Scene+™ Visa* Card.
Scotiabank® Scene+™ Visa* Card at a glance
|Welcome offer||Earn 5,000 Scene+ Points (5K with $750 spend in first 3 months).¹ Offer ends Oct. 31, 2023.|
|Earn rate||2 pts / eligible grocers; 2 pts / $1 spent at at Cineplex™ theatres or at cineplex.com; 1 pt / $1 on the rest|
Best Scotiabank low interest card
Scotiabank Value® Visa* Card
Anyone who carries a balance on their credit card should consider a low-interest credit card. The Scotiabank Value® Visa* card has an interest rate of just 12.99%, which is significantly less than many other credit cards, which typically charge 19.99% interest or higher.
The Scotiabank Value® Visa* card is best for applicants with a good credit score. You must have a minimum annual personal income of at least $12,000 to be considered for the Scotiabank Value® Visa* card.
While this low interest card comes with limited other benefits, you will get up to 25% off base rates at participating AVIS locations and at participating Budget locations in Canada and the U.S. when you pay with your card.
When you sign up for the Scotiabank Value® Visa* Card, there’s a balance transfer option where you’ll pay 0% interest for the first 6 months. That said, a balance transfer fee of 1% does apply. Once the promotion period ends, the interest rate defaults to the standard 12.99% In addition, the annual fee of $29 is waived for the first year. Offer ends October 31, 2023.
¹ Conditions apply. Visit here for our review of the Scotiabank Value® Visa* Card to learn more.
Scotiabank Value® Visa* Card at a glance
|Welcome offer||0% introductory interest rate on Cash Advances, including Balance Transfers, for the first 6 months (12.99% after that; annual fee $29).¹ Plus no annual fee in the first year.¹ Offer ends Oct. 31, 2023.|
|Earn rate||Save up to hundreds of dollars a year on interest|
How to get a Scotiabank credit card
If you’re interested in getting a Scotiabank credit card:
Read our Scotiabank credit card reviews to see which one best suits your needs and goals
Click ‘apply now’
See if you meet the requirements for the card
Enter your personal info
If you’re not instantly approved, contact Scotiabank and provide any additional information
Wait for your card to arrive
Once your card arrives, activate it
You can also apply so over the phone or in person at a branch. Applying at a branch can benefit students who bank with Scotiabank and are applying for their first credit card as bank employees may be able to approve your application in person based on your banking history with them.
Scotiabank credit card eligibility
To be considered for a Scotiabank credit card, you’ll need to meet some minimum requirements to be considered.
- You are a Canadian resident
- You’re at least the age of majority in the province or territory in which you reside
- You haven’t declared bankruptcy in the past 7 years
- You meet the minimum personal, household, or total assets under management requirement (varies by card)
- You must consent to allow Scotiabank to access your credit profile
Although Scotiabank doesn’t expressly state what credit score is required to be approved for a Scotiabank credit card, your credit score should be at least 700, meaning your credit is in good standing.
How do Scotiabank credit cards work?
When you use a Scotiabank credit card, you’re borrowing money from Scotiabank. This loan is interest-free for a set number of days. Once your bill arrives, you must pay the full balance by the due date to avoid interest charges. If you make any payment that’s less than the entire amount, you’ll be charged interest from the time of the purchase.
Scotiabank offers two types of credit cards: Visa and American Express. As long as the merchant where you’re shopping accepts Visa or American Express, you can use your Scotiabank credit card to make a purchase.
It doesn’t matter if you’re shopping in-store or in person, you’ll be able to use your credit card to pay as long as the payment network is accepted. That said, when shopping in-store, you may be required to insert your card and enter your PIN. For online purchases, merchants will ask for your card’s expiration date and CVV as an added security measure.
Scotiabank credit cards allow you to withdraw cash directly from ATMs. However, this is considered a cash advance, and you’ll immediately be charged interest that’s typically higher than the purchase interest rate. Needless to say, you should avoid cash advances unless it’s an emergency.
Scotiabank credit cards rewards programs
Scotiabank has two types of rewards programs: cash back and Scene+. The type of rewards you’ll earn depends on the credit card you have.
Scotiabank cash back
With Scotiabank’s cash back program, you’ll earn cash back on all eligible purchases. The amount of cash back you’ll earn depends on the card you have and where you’re making the purchase. Any cash back you’ve earned will appear on your monthly statement. Your cash back gets paid out once a year on your November statement. In December, your cash back earning starts over again.
Scene+ is Scotiabank’s rewards program that allows you to redeem your points for various products such as:
- Groceries. Use your points at Empire-owned grocery stores like Sobeys, Safeway, Foodland, Fresh Co, IGA, Voila, and more.
- Travel. Redeem your points instantly when booking travel through the Scene+ travel portal. You can apply points (5,000 points minimum) to travel charged directly to your Scotiabank credit card as a statement credit.
- Movies. Purchases made at Cineplex theatres or Cineplex.com can be offset with your Scene points.
- Dining. Select restaurants such as Montana’s, Swiss Chalet, Harvey’s, and East Side Marios allow you to redeem points to get cash off your meal.
- Gift cards. The Scene+ website has dozens of gift cards available to some top retailers such as Amazon, Costco, Esso, and Canadian Tire.
- Merchandise. If you prefer something physical, you can use your points on merchandise, such as electronics, small appliances, perfume, and more.
- Statement credit. Use your points to offset your current credit card balance.
Although Scene+ has many redemption options, they don’t all offer the same value. Redeeming your points for groceries, travel, movies, and participating restaurants gives you the best value. Gift cards, merchandise, and statement credits offer less value for your earned points.
Besides earning Scene+ points with a Scotiabank credit card, you can also earn points at participating grocery stores, Cineplex, participating restaurants, and Rakuten.ca. Scene+ points expire after 24 months of inactivity.
Pros and cons of Scotiabank credit cards
- Variety of credit card options to best meet your needs, preferences and lifestyle
- Scotiabank offers credit cards by all three major credit card providers
- Opportunity to avoid foreign transaction fees and high interest
- Double-dip points at merchants that allow you to earn Scene+ points by scanning your Scene+ card and then paying with a credit card that earns you Scene+ points
- Rewards cards can have higher interest rates than traditional credit cards
- Most rewards cards have annual fees
- The credit cards with the best rewards have high annual fees
- If you struggle with money management, rewards cards can encourage unnecessary spending
How can I apply for a Scotiabank credit card?+
You can apply for a Scotiabank credit card online, in person at a Scotiabank branch or over the phone.
You must be a Canadian resident who is at least the age of majority in the province or territory in which you reside. Some cards also have a minimum personal or household income requirement. Scotiabank will check your credit score as part of the approval process.
What’s the difference between Scene+ points and Scotia Rewards?+
Scotia Rewards was Scotiabank’s old rewards program.Scene was Cineplex’s loyalty program. In late 2021, the two programs merged to become Scene+. This was a welcome partnership providing more ways to earn and redeem points for members.
In June 2022, Empire Company bought an ownership stake in the loyalty program, which later allowed members to earn and redeem Scene+ points at Empire-owned grocery stores.
What’s the best Scotiabank credit card?+
The best Scotiabank credit card depends on what your needs and goals are in a credit card.
Consider your income, the annual fee, and your credit score when considering which Scotiabank credit card is the best option for you.
A high welcome bonus may be tempting, but if you can’t reach the minimum spend requirement to get the bonus, or if you don’t want to be encouraged to spend, then it’s not the right card for you.
What’s the best Scotiabank credit card for newcomers?+
Newcomers to Canada are likely to be without a credit profile in Canada, which will make it difficult for them to be approved for a credit card.
Scotiabank offers a newcomer banking package that includes a bank account, safety deposit box and credit card, which will allow newcomers to build their credit score. Once they have an established credit history, they can consider applying for other Scotiabank credit cards.