Scotiabank Banking Review 2021
If you're even slightly familiar with banking in Canada, it’s a given that you have a close familiarity with what is known as the “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 Scotiabank.
Strange as it may seem, these names are as synonymous with the country as maple syrup or a giant group of Canada geese honking (you know the sound).
The fact that these banks all tend to blend in with one another means that it can be hard to know what is unique about each institution. However, every single “Big Five Bank” is going to offer its own perks.
In this Wealth Rocket article, we will shed some light on what Scotiabank has to offer its customers, from what’s included in its banking accounts to what it’s like to rely on Scotiabank online banking.
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A Scotiabank Review for 2021
Scotiabank, formerly known as the Bank of Nova Scotia, has operated 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 as far-flung as the Caribbean, Asia, South America, and Europe.
However, in Canada, Scotiabank is best known for its renowned “SCENE” points program, as well as its inexpensive student accounts. In this review, we’ll get into the nitty-gritty, covering personal finance products, such as chequing and savings accounts, as well as credit cards.
Scotiabank Chequing and Savings Accounts
There is no shortage of Scotiabank chequing account offerings, ranging from no-frills basic chequing accounts, that come with low transaction numbers and low monthly fees, to their aptly-named “Ultimate Package”, which comes with unlimited funds transfers, among other perks.
Scotiabank also offers what is known as the “Student Banking Advantage Plan”, as well as the “Getting There Savings Program for Youth”. Each of these account types is unique and deserves a review of its own.
Here is a breakdown for 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. However, the Scotiabank Basic Plus Bank Account is the exception to this rule and a pretty great one at that!
While the account does require a monthly balance of $3,000 or more to waive its $11.95 monthly fee, considerably less than the majority of chequing accounts from other financial institutions.
This account offers its holder unlimited Interac e-transfers and 25 free debit card transactions every month — a pretty fair deal for anyone who does the majority of their banking online anyway.
Any Scotiabank customer can enjoy 24/7 access to their account by logging in to ScotiaOnline with their username and password (or account information or account number), where they can view account balances, make bill payments, or transfer funds between accounts.
Scotiabank OnLine is known for having some of the strongest security measures out there, with 128-bit SSL encryption and automatic timeouts. The bank also runs a highly-rated mobile app.
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 a 0.05% interest savings account.
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 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 0.10%.
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.
Student Banking Advantage Plan
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.
Scotiabank Credit Cards
We would be remiss to talk about Scotiabank without mentioning their credit card offering, which is among the most impressive on the market.
Here are 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 around these parts — and what’s not to love?
This card offers its new users an unfathomable 10% back on all purchases within the first three months, which turns into a still-impressive 4% on bills and groceries. A cashback rate of 2% applies to gas and transit costs, and 1% on all other purchases.
As if these generous cashback rates weren’t enticing enough, the card also comes with travel insurance as well as mobile device insurance.
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. It allows you to earn Scotia Rewards points.
Not to be confused with SCENE points, Scotia Reward points can be redeemed for a variety of purchases or are applicable towards your outstanding balance.
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.
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.