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Fact Checked: Amy Tokic

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Updated: December 27, 2023

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

Being a student is expensive. Books, rent, beer (don’t worry, we won’t tell mom and dad) – for many, being a student is the first time they have to manage their own finances. Lucky for you, if you're a student, there’s a credit card made with you in mind. With the  Scotiabank Scene+ Visa Card for Students, you earn one Scene+ point for every $1 you spend on everyday purchases. Even better? You can earn two Scene+ points when you spend at participating grocery stores, Home Hardware and Cineplex. Think about how quickly those movie nights and popcorn treats can add up to sweet rewards.

As a student, you're mindful of expenses, right? Okay, you may not be – but you should (and could) be! This card will help with that, offering no annual fee, it makes a budget-friendly choice. Plus, the welcome bonus is a sweet deal – up to 5,000 Scene+ points in your first year (if you spend $750 in your first three months of opening your account). The downside to this card is that if you don’t tend to spend at the participating retailers, you won’t benefit from the supercharged rewards structure. 

Who is this card for?

The Scotiabank Scene+ Visa Card for Students is ideal for, you guessed it, students who frequently enjoy movies and entertainment. It's especially beneficial for those who often visit Cineplex theatres, use cineplex.com, Home Hardware, or grocery stores such as Safeway, Foodland and Sobeys as it offers higher rewards for these purchases. With no annual fee, it's a budget-friendly option for students mindful of expenses. However, it's less suited for those seeking broader reward categories or additional perks like travel insurance. This card is a great fit for students looking to earn rewards on their entertainment and grocery spending while keeping costs low and building credit history.

Scotiabank Scene+ Visa Card for Students pros and cons

Pros

Pros

  • No annual fee

  • Generous rewards with 2X points at Cineplex and grocery stores

  • Low redemption thresholds for various rewards

  • 5,000 bonus Scene+ points as a sign-up bonus

  • Points don't expire

  • Car rental savings up to 25%

Cons

Cons

  • Limited earning potential for high spenders

  • Limited travel-related benefits compared to travel cards

  • Focus on entertainment and dining rewards may not suit all users

  • Limited sign-up bonus compared to cards with annual fees

  • Car rental savings limited to specific locations

Welcome bonus

  • Earn up to 5,000 bonus Scene+ points within your first year.
  • To be eligible, you must open a new account by February 29, 2024.
  • You need to have at least $750 in eligible purchases posted to your new account in the first three months.
  • The 5,000 Point Bonus will be credited to the primary cardholder’s Scene+ account within approximately two to three business days after the qualifying purchases.
  • The account must be open and in good standing to receive the bonus points.

How to earn points

  • Earn 2 Scene+ points for every $1 spent at Sobeys, Safeway, Foodland and Participating Co-ops, FreshCo and more.
  • Earn two Scene+ points for every $1 spent at Home Hardware, Home Building Centre, Home Hardware Building Centre, Home Furniture locations in Canada, and online at homehardware.ca.
  • Earn two Scene+ points for every $1 spent at Cineplex theaters or at cineplex.com.
  • Plus, earn one Scene+ point for every $1 spent on all other eligible everyday purchases.
  • Note: Points are not awarded for cash advances, balance transfers, Scotia Credit Card Cheques, returns, refunds, payments, fees, interest, service, or transaction charges.

Key benefits

  • No annual fee, making it budget-friendly for students.
  • A generous welcome bonus of up to 5,000 Scene+ points.
  • Accelerated earn rate on purchases at select stores and Cineplex.
  • The card is tailored for students, helping them build credit history while earning rewards.

Insurance coverage

The Scotia Scene+ for students comes with no insurance coverage, but you can opt for credit card balance protection insurance. Balance protection insurance is not a great financial product. 

For the Comprehensive Protection plan, the monthly premium is charged at a rate of $1.09 for every $100 of your daily credit card balance. Similarly, the Basic Protection plan charges a monthly premium of $0.89 per $100 of your daily balance.

Let's say you have a balance of $1,000 on your credit card. Here's how the premium would be calculated for each plan:

  • Comprehensive Protection: With a rate of $1.09 per $100, for a $1,000 balance, the calculation would be $1.09 x 10 (since $1,000 is 10 times $100). This results in a monthly premium of $10.90.
  • Basic Protection: At a rate of $0.89 per $100, for the same balance of $1,000, the calculation would be $0.89 x 10. This equals a monthly premium of $8.90.

Should you face unfortunate circumstances, Scotiabank will pay your $1,000 balance off if you’re paying $10 month. Or, for around the same price, you can get a 20-year term life insurance policy with a $100,000 payout. 

Extras

  • Discounts on car rentals: Cardholders can enjoy up to 25% off base rates at participating AVIS and Budget car rental locations in Canada and the U.S. This can be particularly beneficial for students who may need rental cars for road trips or when traveling back home during breaks.
  • Scene+ Points flexibility: The Scene+ points earned with this card are quite versatile. You can redeem them not just for movies at Cineplex, but also for dining, entertainment, travel through Scene+ Travel and even for groceries. This flexibility allows students to use their rewards in a way that best suits their lifestyle and needs.
  • No fee for additional cards: Students can add additional cardholders, such as family members, without incurring any extra fees. This can be useful for managing household expenses or for parents who want to support their children's expenses while they’re studying.

What people have to say about this card

Based on the discussions from Reddit users on the Scotiabank Scene+ Visa Card for students, here are some insights and experiences shared:

  • Difficulty in approval for first-time credit users: A user on r/PersonalFinanceCanada shared their frustration about being declined for the card due to a lack of credit history. They were advised to get a co-signer because they had government loans, which is a common situation for many students. This indicates that first-time credit users or those with limited credit history might face challenges getting approved for this card, despite the fact that it’s meant for those with limited or no credit history.
  • Uncertainty about card status after graduation: Another Reddit user in this thread expressed concerns about the card being closed upon graduation. They were starting a new program and wanted to continue using the card to build credit. This suggests there might be uncertainty or lack of clarity regarding the card's status for students who graduate or transition to a different phase in their education.

These Reddit discussions provide a glimpse into the real-world experiences and considerations of potential and current cardholders, particularly students, regarding the Scotiabank Scene+ Visa Card. Issues like approval challenges for those with limited credit history, the card's status post-graduation and the practical value of the rewards offered are among the key points discussed by users.

How this card compares

Scotiabank Scene+ Visa Card for Students vs. BMO CashBack Mastercard for Students

The Scotiabank Scene+ Visa Card is for students who frequent movies and enjoy a variety of entertainment options. This card is particularly appealing for movie enthusiasts and those who prefer redeeming points for entertainment, dining, or travel. Additionally, it offers a welcome bonus of 5,000 Scene+ points after the first purchase within the first three months, enhancing its initial appeal.

On the other hand, the BMO CashBack Mastercard for Students might be more practical with a straightforward cash back reward system. It offers a welcome bonus of 5% cash back for the first three months and then 3% cash back on groceries (up to $500 spend per month), 1% on recurring bill payments (up to $500 per month), and 0.5% on all other purchases with no limit. This card is ideal for students who prefer cash rewards and spend a significant portion of their budget on groceries and recurring bills. The BMO card's cash back system is simple and flexible, allowing students to redeem cash back at any time as long as they have accumulated at least $1, making it a practical choice for students who value ease of redemption and immediate rewards.

Both cards have no annual fee, making them financially accessible for students. However, the choice between them largely depends on individual lifestyle and spending patterns.

Scotiabank Scene+ Visa Card for Students vs. American Express Cobalt Card

As mentioned, the Scotiabank Scene+ Visa Card is for students. We’ve covered at length at this point, so let’s talk about the Cobalt card.

The American Express Cobalt Card is targeted towards a broader audience with a focus on everyday spending and travel. It offers 5x the points on eligible eats and drinks in Canada, including groceries and food delivery, 3x the points on eligible streaming subscriptions, 2x the points on eligible ride shares, transit & gas, and 1x point for every $1 spent on other purchases. Plus, 1 additional point on eligible hotel and car rental bookings via American Express Travel Online. The card also provides access to hotel bookings with benefits, the ability to transfer points to several frequent flyer and other loyalty programs, and access to exclusive events and experiences. However, it comes with a monthly fee, which might be a consideration for budget-conscious students. 

The TLDR is that the Scotiabank Scene+ Visa Card is ideal for students looking for a no-fee card with entertainment-focused rewards, while the American Express Cobalt Card caters to a wider audience seeking a comprehensive rewards program with a focus on travel and dining, albeit with a monthly fee.

Scotiabank Scene+ Visa Card for Students vs. CIBC Aeroplan Visa Card for Students

Two student cards enter with no clear winner.

While the Scotiabank Scene+ Visa Card is focused on entertainment rewards, the CIBC Aeroplan Visa Card for Students leans more towards travel rewards. It offers a welcome bonus of 10,000 Aeroplan points upon the first purchase, which can be significant for students looking to travel. The card earns one Aeroplan Point for every $1 spent on groceries and gas, and 0.67 Aeroplan Point for every $1 spent on all other purchases (or, to put it another way, one point for every $1.50 spent). Either way, that fractured point breakdown is a little weird.

Still, this card is great for students who travel frequently or plan to do so, as the Aeroplan points can be redeemed for flights and other travel-related expenses. Additionally, it includes travel insurance benefits, which are not offered with the Scotiabank card. Also, like the Scotiabank card, it has no annual fee, making it accessible for students.

Is this card worth it?

If you’re a student who loves movies and values a variety of entertainment options, it sure is. This card caters precisely to that lifestyle, offering 1 Scene+ point for every $1 spent on everyday purchases and 5 Scene+ points for every $1 spent at Cineplex theatres or cineplex.com. Imagine accumulating points quickly and redeeming them for movie tickets, dining, or even travel experiences. The welcome bonus of 5,000 Scene+ points after your first purchase within the first three months is like a cherry on top, giving you a head start in enjoying these benefits. Plus, with no annual fee, you keep your expenses in check, a crucial factor when you're managing a student budget.

Now, consider the flip side. If your spending habits don't align with entertainment and dining out, or if you're looking for a card with broader reward categories and additional perks like travel insurance, this card might not be the best fit. 

FAQs

  • What rewards can I earn with the Scotiabank Scene+ Visa Card for students?

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    Earn one Scene+ point per $1 on everyday purchases, and two Scene+ points per $1 at Cineplex theatres or cineplex.com. Redeem points for movies, dining, or travel.

  • Is there an annual fee for this card?

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    No, the Scotiabank Scene+ Visa Card for Students has no annual fee, making it a cost-effective choice for students.

  • Can I get a welcome bonus with this card?

    +

    Yes, you can earn a welcome bonus of 5,000 Scene+ points after your first purchase within the first three months of card membership.

  • Does Scotiabank keep collateral for student credit cards?

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    No, Scotiabank does not typically require collateral for their student credit cards, including the Scotiabank Scene+ Visa Card for students. Student credit cards are generally unsecured, which means they don't require a security deposit or collateral.

About our author

Justin da Rosa
Justin da Rosa, Freelance Writer

Justin is a writer and editor who has been covering personal finance for over 10 years. He's written for companies such as KOHO, Ratehub, BMO, Zoocasa, and Questrade, among others. Justin also created a course in Content Creation, which he taught at York University for four years. When not writing, Justin can be found at a live concert, on the golf course, riding a motorcycle, or sailing.

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