A Scotiabank Review for 2021
If you're even slightly familiar with banking in Canada, you're likely well aware of Canada's “Big Five Banks.”
If not, Canada's "Big Five" banks include TD Canada Trust, the Bank of Montreal (BMO), the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), the Canadian Bank of Commerce (CIBC), and, last but not least, Scotiabank.
In this Wealth Rocket article, we'll shed some light on Canada's third-biggest bank: Scotiabank. We'll also assess what the bank has to offer when it comes to daily banking and investing products, along with a general overview of the bank in this Scotiabank review.
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A Scotiabank Review for 2021: Banking, Investing, and More
Scotiabank has a lot of products. In fact, it has too many to count. Below, we’ll attempt to cover Scotiabank's most popular spending and saving products, including chequing accounts, savings accounts, and credit cards, with an overview detailing the nitty-gritty of the Canadian banking institution.
Scotiabank, formerly known as the Bank of Nova Scotia, has operated in Canada since 1832 when it was founded in — you guessed it — the province of Nova Scotia.
Since then, the banking corporation has acquired several overseas banks in regions all over the world, including Asia, South America, the Caribbean, and Europe. Still, it is primarily most prominent on Canadian soil.
Scotiabank is known for various sponsorships across Canada, its “SCENE” points program, as well as its ownership of one of Canada's best online banks, Tangerine.
Scotiabank: Chequing Accounts
There is no shortage of Scotiabank chequing account offerings, with options ranging from the no-frills, basic chequing account to their aptly named “Ultimate Package”.
If you're a senior, student, or looking to open a bank account for your kids, Scotiabank also offers chequing accounts tailored to these life stages.
Seniors citizens have access to reduced monthly fees, while students can utilize the “Student Banking Advantage Plan”. Youth can use the “Getting There: Savings Program for Youth”.
Needless to say, Scotiabank has a chequing account perfect for all types of Canadians.
Here is a breakdown of Scotiabank’s most popular and best chequing accounts.
- Scotiabank Basic Plus Bank Account
One of the most common complaints that consumers have about large banks in Canada is the high monthly account fees that come with most chequing accounts.
However, the Scotiabank Basic Plus Bank Account is the exception to this rule and a pretty great one at that!
While this chequing account requires a monthly balance of $3,000* or more to waive its $11.95* monthly fee, it costs considerably less than the majority of chequing accounts from other financial institutions.
This account offers its holders unlimited Interac e-transfers and 25 free transactions every month, a pretty sweet deal for anyone who does the majority of their banking online.*Rates current as of August 2021
- Scotiabank Preferred Package
The Scotiabank Preferred Package account likely resembles what you think of when you picture a standard banking account, with a monthly account fee of $16.95* (waived for balances of more than $4,000*) and unlimited transactions across the board.
This is a great option for somebody who wants to start a savings account, as account holders can benefit from access to up to 1.75%* interest savings account.
The account also comes with unlimited transactions, Interac e-Transfers, international money transfers with a flat rate of $1.99*, and the option of SCENE or Scotia Rewards.*Rates current as of August 2021
- Scotiabank Ultimate Package
The Scotiabank Ultimate Package account is for anyone who subscribes to the adage of “go big or go home”.
Not only will this impressive chequing account provide you with access to savings accounts with 0.10%* interest-earning potential, but it also grants you access to free ATM withdrawals around the world (Scotiabank or not), annual fee waivers on select credit cards, free cheques, desirable rates on Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs), and free overdraft protection.
It has the price tag to match, too. This account costs $30.95* per month if you don’t keep a minimum balance of $5,000*.
Perhaps the most compelling pull factor towards the Ultimate Package is its access to the Momentum Savings account and offering unique to Scotiabank that offers an interest rate of up to 1.80%*.
Additional perks include unlimited debit transactions, no-fee international money transfers, unlimited Interac e-Transfers, no overdraft protection fees, and the option between the choice of SCENE or Scotia Rewards.*Rates current as of August 2021
- Scotiabank Ultimate Package
Student life, though fun in many categories, can be quite tumultuous financially.
Individuals who are enrolled in post-secondary education in Canada or the United States can benefit from free unlimited transactions on a $0* a month bank account, courtesy of Scotiabank’s Student Banking Advantage Plan.Rates current as of August 2021*
Scotiabank: Savings Accounts
Scotiabank offers various registered and non-registered savings accounts, including, but not limited to, the Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) and the Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP). Traditional savings accounts are also available through Scotiabank. Let's take a look at these accounts below.
- Scotiabank Tax-Free Savings Account
The Scotiabank TFSA works like any tax-free savings account. However, interest rates for this TFSA are tiered depending on the account balance.
Scotiabank TFSA balances under $250,000 earn 0.050%*, while balanced over earn 0.100%*.*Rates current as of August 2021
- Scotiabank Registered Retirement Savings Plan
The Scotiabank RRSP is subject to the same regulations as any other RRSP account. Rates are exactly the same as other Scotiabank savings accounts, whether they are registered or non-registered.
Scotiabank RRSP balances under $250,000 earn 0.050%*, while balanced over earn 0.100%*.*Rates current as of August 2021
- Scotiabank Savings Account
Scotiabank offers various savings accounts with tiered interest rates. Rates depend on the time and amount invested, differing with each account. Rates also depend on the type of chequing account that the customer opens with Scotiabank, which grants the account holder special rates.
Rates for Scotiabank savings accounts and high-interest savings accounts range from 0.10%* to 1.80%*.*Rates current as of August 2021
- Scotiabank Getting There Savings Program For Youth
Do you remember how old you were when you got your first bank account? For many of us, this special milestone happens pretty early on in adolescence.
Although the experience should not be discounted — saving up for that first important purchase is important — there are also a lot of things that a young bank account holder will not require (they likely aren’t signing personalized cheques on a daily).
Scotiabank’s answer to a basic bank account for youth is a $0* a month chequing and savings account combo that allows young earners to benefit from 0.05%* or 0.10%* interest.*Rates current as of August 2021
Scotiabank: Credit Cards
We would be remiss to talk about Scotiabank without mentioning their credit card offerings, which are among the best credit cards in Canada.
Below, you'll find some of Scotiabank’s staple credit card products.
- Scotiabank Momentum Visa Infinite Card
It’s no secret that we are big fans of the Scotiabank Momentum Visa Infinite Card.
After all, this credit card offers new users an unfathomable 10%* cashback on all purchases within the first three months. Thereafter, the amount turns into a still-impressive 4%* on bills and groceries and 2%* to gas and transit costs, and, finally, 1%* on all other purchases.
There is no annual fee in the first year, either. However, the next year will come with a yearly fee of $120*. The interest rate sits at 20.99%*.
As if these generous cashback rates weren’t enticing enough, the card also comes with travel insurance as well as mobile device insurance.*Rates current as of August 20214
- Scotiabank Gold American Express Card
The Scotiabank Gold American Express card stands out among Amex offerings in Canada, mostly thanks to its fair rewards systems.
This credit card allows you to earn Scotia Rewards points. Not to be confused with SCENE points, Scotia Reward points are redeemable for a variety of purchases or are applicable towards your outstanding balance.
As a rewards card, the Scotiabank Gold Amex Express comes with:
- 5x* the Scotiabank Rewards for restaurants, fast food, groceries, delivery, and drinking, as well as meal subscription services (Chef's Plate, HelloFresh, trueLOCAL), SkipTheDishes and Cineplex
- 3x* the Scotiabank Rewards on transportation and streaming, including Uber and Netflix, and
- 1x* the Scotiabank Rewards on everything else
The true standout attribute of the Scotiabank Gold American Express card, however, is its free foreign transactions. Not only is this hard to find in Canada, but having a card without foreign transaction fees that also earns you rewards is virtually unheard of. This, of course, comes with some caveats.
The Scotiabank Gold American Express comes with an annual fee of $120* and a 19.99%*.*Rates current as of August 2021
Scotiabank Pros & Cons
Pros: The Good Stuff
Wide variety of account offerings for various financial situations
Secure online banking options and access to your account 24/7 through ScotiaOnline
Flexible options for students and seniors, unique within Canada
Cons: The Not So Good Stuff
Lack of high-interest savings accounts
Accounts require a high daily balance to avoid monthly fees
Accounts with low monthly fees come with few perks
Our Final Thoughts
Scotiabank is a good bank and it’s clear its popularity is not just a matter of coincidence.
If you are a student, a senior, or a small business owner, the large bank’s flexible account options are sure to hold something for you.
If you are a banker with ordinary needs, don’t pass up Scotiabank too quickly either, as the bank’s Ultimate Package is particularly attractive, especially for anyone who wants to connect their credit cards and saving accounts to Scotiabank as well.
Frequently Asked Questions
One of the benefits of choosing a large trustworthy bank within Canada is the peace-of-mind that comes with account insurance. Scotiabank is a member of the CDIC, which means that they can offer insurance for all deposits up to $100,000. This includes all chequing and savings accounts, as well as foreign currency deposits and GICs. It does not include ETFs, mutual funds, stocks, or bonds.
Tangerine Bank is one of Canada’s most popular online-only banks (although they do operate several “cafes” across the country).
Tangerine was acquired by Scotiabank in 2012 and is a subsidiary of Scotiabank, which makes Scotiabank their parent company.
Tangerine customers can benefit from this fact by accessing Scotiabank ATMs around the world, free of charge. That's a great benefit, considering that there are an estimated 44,000 Scotiabank ATMs or partner ATMs around the world.
The Global ATM Alliance is an initiative shared by some of the largest banks around the world that allows its customers to use their ATMs without being charged international ATM fees.
This is especially handy for any international traveler who would otherwise find themselves paying a hefty fee for accessing their money through a foreign bank’s ATM.
Scotiabank is one of the founding members of the Global ATM Alliance which means that customers can access tens of thousands of ATMs, across not only North America but the world, without paying a dime in additional fees. The Scotiabank mobile app provides an interactive map of all nearby eligible ATMs.