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Fact Checked: Amy Tokic

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Updated: January 08, 2024

We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Please be aware that some (or all) products and services linked in this article are from our sponsors.

We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Please be aware this post may contain links to products from our partners. We may receive a commission for products or services you sign up for through partner links.

Quick overview

The “looking for my daily spender credit card” category is a busy one, and the Scotia Momentum® Visa* Card doesn’t exactly stand out from the crowd. You’ve got a pretty basic 2% cash back on daily spending categories like gas, groceries, drug stores and recurring bill payments, and 1% on other purchases. But offsetting this relatively meager cash back offering is the $39 annual fee – not a high one by any means, but for an entry level cash back card?

There are some other bonuses that may tempt you, notably saving up to 25% on AVIS and Budget car rentals in the United States (though this is the case for all permutations of the Momentum cards). The Scotia Momentum Visa also comes with additional perks like purchase security and extended warranty insurance, providing a bit extra value. Its interest rates are pretty standard at 19.99% on purchases and 22.99% on cash advances.

But the shine is diminished on the insurance because it's comparatively limited – there’s a $10k limit per claim and a $60k lifetime total. So there’s quite a bit of bandwidth there, but still less than other cards in its categories. Plus, the cash back rewards on the Scotia Momentum Visa are only paid out annually as a statement credit, limiting flexibility. If you’re not exactly overwhelmed by this card, I don’t blame you.

Who is this card for?

This card is for someone who is already a Scotiabank customer, doesn’t mind an annual fee, wants to have one daily-spender type card and not think about it at all. This ignorance will be rewarded by a surprise at the end of the year with a statement credit that reflects your spending in every day categories.

Pros and cons

Pros

Pros

  • Cash back rewards: Earn 2% cash back on gas, groceries, drug stores, and recurring bill payments, and 1% on all other eligible purchases.

  • Annual cap benefits: The 2% cash back applies up to $25,000 spent annually in key categories, allowing for substantial rewards accumulation.

  • Purchase security and extended warranty: Offers protection for new purchases against theft, loss, or damage and extends the manufacturer's warranty.

  • Supplementary cards available: Although there's a fee, additional cards can be useful for shared expenses.

Cons

Cons

  • Annual fee: The card has an annual fee of $39.

  • High interest rate: The card has a high interest rate of 19.99% on purchases and 22.99% on cash advances.

  • Limited rewards categories: The card’s rewards categories are limited to groceries, gas, and recurring bill payments.

  • Rewards paid out annually: Cash back rewards are paid out annually as a statement credit.

  • $25,000 annual cap for 2% cash back: The 2% cash back rate applies up to the first $25,000 spent annually on gas station, grocery store and drugstore purchases, and on recurring payments.

Welcome bonus

  • Get a 2.99% introductory interest rate on balance transfers for the first six months. 

How to earn cash back

  • 2% cash back on eligible categories: Earn a full 2% cash back on all eligible gas station, grocery store and drugstore purchases.
  • 2% cash back on recurring bill payments: This includes payments such as phone, cable, utilities, car or home insurance, and subscriptions.
  • 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases: After reaching the 2% $25,000 annual spend max, and on all other eligible purchases made with the card.

How to redeem cash back

Luckily, there’s no action Scotia Momentum® Visa* cardholders have to take to redeem their cash back. Unluckily (as I mentioned above), the rewards are redeemed as a statement credit, not as cash, limiting their flexibility. Further limiting their use is the fact the cash back rewards are only paid out once a year.

Key benefits

  • Higher cash back rate: The 2% cash back on key categories and recurring payments is a notable benefit, especially for students who frequently spend in these areas.
  • Introductory balance transfer offer: At 2.99% on a balance transfer, it helps you pay off credit card debt faster
  • Cash back accumulation: Cash back accumulates each month and is awarded at the end of each 12-month period, either into an eligible Scotiabank account or as a credit on the card statement.

Insurance coverage

Purchase security and extended warranty insurance: Offers protection against loss, theft, or damage for new purchases for 90 days and extends the manufacturer's warranty by up to one year. Limited to $10,000 per purchase and $60,000 lifetime total.

Extras

  • Discounts on car rentals: Cardholders may be eligible for discounts up to 25% off at participating AVIS and Budget car rental locations. 
  • Scotia credit card protection (optional): While this is an optional service with an additional cost, it offers protection against the financial impact of certain life events like disability, job loss, critical illness, or loss of life.
  • Flexible credit limits: The card offers flexible credit limits suitable for students, helping them manage their finances more effectively and avoid overspending.

How this card compares

Scotia Momentum® Visa* Card  vs. Scotia Momentum No-Fee Visa Card

These are both pretty “meh” cards, but I think the No-Fee might be the worse of the two. While you’ll save 39 bucks a year, its cash back rewards are literally halved. So consider this – if you’re using this as your daily spender and planning on putting at least $2,000 on it a month, you’re likely to be earning well over $300 with the regular Momentum Visa.

Now half that for the No-Fee Visa. Even though you’ve saved the $39, at the end of the year, you’re coming up way short. I suppose if you have few expenses but need a credit card from time to time, the No-Fee may make more sense. But, given that all other perks are pretty much the same for these cards, in almost every other case I’d recommend the standard Momentum Visa in this head to head.

Scotia Momentum® Visa* Card  vs. Student BMO CashBack Mastercard

If you’re a student, this is a no-brainer. The Student BMO CashBack Mastercard is actually pretty decent for a student card, although it may require a little more thought and planning to maximize the rewards on categories.

The big difference (other than having no fee) is that the BMO card gives 3% cash back on groceries, 1% back on recurring bill payments, and only 0.5% back on all other purchases. For students without a car, groceries almost certainly represent one of the largest lines in their budget, making the 3% a tempting bonus.

That said, if you’re not a student… well, I guess the Momentum is your only option here! But that’s not so bad, since the varied eligible purchases on the 2% rewards means a bit more flexibility for chasing cash back.

One downside of the BMO CashBack card students need to think about is its high interest rate – it starts at 20.99% and 22.99% for cash advances. While only 1% higher than the Momentum, it’s extra incentive to pay it off every month.

Scotia Momentum® Visa* Card  vs. RBC Cash Back Mastercard

The RBC Cash Back Mastercard is comparable in quality to the Momentum, though might offer fewer opportunities to earn cash back. It has no annual fee, but you only earn 2% cash back on groceries and 1% cash back on other purchases and recurring expenses. So if groceries aren’t a big thing for you, the rewards might be limited here.

One thing to note is there is some shockingly shady and misleading Marketing copy for the RBC Cash Back card. It literally says “get unlimited cashback” in its header, but if you click through to the terms and conditions, you only get the 2% on groceries up to $6,000 worth of purchases. The same goes for other purchases in the 1% category. Seems pretty limited to me, no?

Is the Scotia Momentum® Visa* Card worth it?

Not really, no. It has a small annual fee, but it has an annual fee. It offers relatively flexible cash back on daily purchases, but they’re not awe inspiring, especially when you take into account the fee eating into them.

You need at least a “good” credit score of 660 to qualify for the Momentum® Visa*, meaning there are way more competitive cash back cards you could likely access, with no fee (the Tangerine World Mastercard comes to mind). 

Taking into account the limited insurance coverage and the fact that the cash back rewards are paid out as a statement credit at the end of the year, my recommendation is shopping around for a better card.

FAQs

  • Can I change the pin on my Scotia Momentum® Visa*?

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    You can easily change the PIN on your Scotia Momentum® Visa* card through several convenient methods. One option is to use a Scotiabank ATM, where you can enter your current PIN and follow the prompts to set a new one.

    Does Scotia Momentum® Visa* have travel insurance?

    The Scotia Momentum® Visa* Card, including the version for students, doesn’t offer travel insurance as one of its benefits. This card focuses more on cash back rewards and other benefits like purchase security and extended warranty insurance, but it lacks the travel-related insurance benefits that are often found in other credit cards, such as travel medical insurance, trip cancellation/interruption insurance, or lost baggage insurance.

  • Does the Scotia Momentum® Visa* have a currency exchange fee?

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    Yes, it includes a foreign currency exchange fee. This fee is usually around 2.5% of the transaction amount when you make purchases in a currency other than Canadian dollars. It’s applied to both the standard version of the card and the student version.

  • How is cash back from Scotia Momentum® Visa* applied?

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    The cash back earned with the Scotia Momentum® Visa* Card is typically applied directly to your credit card balance, reducing the amount you owe. This occurs on an annual basis.

  • How do I get the Scotia Momentum® Visa* for free?

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    To potentially get the Scotia Momentum® Visa* Card fee waived, look out for promotional offers from Scotiabank, which might include waiving the annual fee for the first year as a sign-up incentive.

    How do I cancel a Scotia Momentum® Visa* Card?

    To cancel your Scotia Momentum® Visa* Card, start by ensuring your card balance is fully paid and any accumulated rewards are redeemed, as these are typically forfeited upon account closure. Contact Scotiabank's customer service, which can be reached via the number on the back of your card or through its website, and inform them of your decision to cancel.

About our author

Cameron Smonk
Cameron Smonk, Freelance Writer

Cam is a content marketer with a passion for saving, financial independence, and pulling off elaborate credit card point schemes. He has worked in Fintech and Finserve (specifically Group Retirement) and loves researching and writing about finance. When not writing about money, Cam writes about booze on his blog called Sublime Imbibing, dedicated to wine, whisky and craft beer.

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