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Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite Card Review

When the Visa Infinite cards were introduced initially, Scotia Bank did not release a version of the card like the other big banks. Visa Infinite cards are Visa’s highest prestige cards with premier rewards and insurances but with an annual fee to match.

As some of you already know, my philosophy on credit cards is that they should be free (or almost free), they should offer a good return on spending, and the balance should be paid off every month.  Here are my picks for the top cash back credit cards in Canada, and the credit cards that are in my wallet today.

Just recently, Scotia Bank joined the Infinite club with the release of the Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite card and I am taking a peek since a number of readers have emailed me for my opinion and how it compares to the original Scotia Momentum Visa.

The original card had a small annual fee of $39 but offered 2% cash back on gas, groceries, drug stores and recurring payments and 1% cash back on everything else.  This Infinite card ups the ante with a $99 fee ($30 for additional card) but with a huge 4% cash back on gas/groceries, 2% on drug stores and recurring payments, and 1% cash back on everything else.

Here are more details:

The Rewards

  • 4% cash back on gas and groceries up to $25,000 in spending per year (1% cash back afterward).
  • 2% cash back on drug stores and recurring bill payments (cable, phone, internet etc.) up to $25,000 in spending per year (1% cash back afterward).
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases (no apparent limit).

Insurance Coverage

  • Purchase Protection – 90 days insurance in case of theft or damage (up to $10,000).
  • Extended Warranty – Doubles warranty up to 1 yr.
  • Rental Car Collision Insurance.
  • Travel Medical Insurance.
  • Trip Interruption.
  • Flight Delay.
  • Delayed and Lost Baggage.

The Downside

As the rewards seem tempting, the biggest downside of this card is the annual fee of $99/year (plus $30 for additional cards).  For us, in order to take advantage of the 4% cash back, we would require a secondary card bringing the annual fee to $129. However, the annual fee may be worth it if the rewards consistently pay you more (after fees) than a typical free 1% cash back credit card.  So really, it depends on your spending habits – in particular how much you routinely spend on groceries, gasoline, and recurring bills.

Update July 2015 – Scotia has waived the annual fee for the first year which makes this card very attractive to big grocery/gas spenders!  This offer is available for a limited time.  See more details here.

Another gripe is that for an Infinite card, this one really lacks the comprehensive insurances their peers offer.   Other cards offer the travel insurances like trip cancellation, trip interruption, baggage lost/delay in addition to the coverage included here.

The Competition

The thought that may come to mind is, how does it compare to my personal favorite, the MBNA Smart Cash credit card?  First, it may not be a fair comparison as one has a fee and the other does not.   In terms of insurance, the Scotia card wins.  In terms of return, it gets a little trickier to analyze as everyone has different spending patterns.

For the sake of argument lets do a common example. Assume that the average user spends $400/month in gas/groceries which maxes out the Smart Cash 2% return.  This equates to $96/year cash back with the Smart Cash but $63/year with the Scotia Infinite card after subtracting the $129 annual fee.

However, the Scotia Infinite card starts to take over when gas/grocery spending increases. At what point does it break even?  The Infinite card would require $470/month in gas/grocery spending to break even with the Smart Cash card after the annual fee ($129).  This is not counting the 2% cash back for recurring bill payments.

Final Thoughts

Overall though, I would say that the Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite is a very attractive card for the big gas/grocery spenders (greater than $470/month).  Need more info? You can find more info the about the card on the Scotia site here.

What do you think?  Is the annual fee worth the rewards offered?

Update July 2015 – Scotia has waived the annual fee for the first year which makes this card very attractive to big grocery/gas spenders!  This offer is available for a limited time.  See more details here.

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27 Comments

  1. Elbyron on September 6, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    I found it strange that you updated an old post to contain the details of the newly released Aspire Cash World card (and didn’t mention the no-fee platinum version). I do have my own review of these cards mostly written up, did you still want me to send it to you?

  2. InsureCan on September 6, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    When you’re enjoying all the credit card perks, don’t forget the ‘social’ impact of where it’s all coming from. It’s quite possibly the retailer who’s paying for all those benefits. Gail Vaz-Oxlade had a recent post where some of these issues were discussed (in the post and the comments): http://gailvazoxlade.com/blog/archives/3098

    For example, one comment talks about how sometimes wait staff get dinged the credit card fees out of their tips.

    Perhaps hypocritical of me, but I tend towards not using credit cards with smaller or local retailers, and particularly not with wait staff. The perks card comes out for the big purchases from the big retailers.

  3. Jungle on September 6, 2011 at 10:34 pm

    WHere do you think retailers recoup the money from debit and cc transactions? It’s already priced in what you buy-so it’s coming out of your pocket.

    You could say using cc or debit for rewards is like a way of getting your money back.

    Once TD finally takes control and cancels the smart cash in a couple of years, the Scotia Momentum Visa or Capital one might be the best card for cash back rewards.

  4. InsureCan on September 7, 2011 at 9:02 am

    Saying it’s priced in is simplistic and not the way any small retailer is going to price anything in, any more than they price in the cost of electricity directly into the product. It’s simply another expense born by the retailer.

    In fact, those high reward cards frequently cost the retailer more (Amex is one good example, it’s why some retailers won’t accept amex), and clearly the product doesn’t cost more when you use those cards; ergo the cost of the card isn’t directly priced into the product and it’s not as simple as getting your own money back.

    In fact, you’re not getting your money back, you’re getting more money indirectly from your retailer. You can care or not, but it’s at least worth considering where you use these cards, if in fact you do care. In situations with my local small retailers and wait staff, I do care. In situations with large retailers, I care less.

  5. SavingMentor on September 7, 2011 at 9:47 am

    Back on topic, I think this new Infinite Momentum Visa is a big step in the right direction for Canadian cash back credit cards. It is the best cash back card for high spenders we’ve seen since the Canadian Tire Cash Advantage Platinum MasterCard.

    It’s unfortunate that there is an additional fee for second cards and that the insurance isn’t top tier, but this would still be an excellent card choice for big spenders who like to have only one credit card and want to earn cash back. It’s very nice that there are so many spending categories that earn bonus cash back.

    I don’t think this is a good choice for combining with another credit card to optimize rewards though unless you spend a ridiculous amount of money on gas and groceries.

    Scotia appears to be stepping up their game and getting competitive!

  6. InsureCan on September 7, 2011 at 10:55 am

    Back off topic again (I don’t live by the rules :) ), the other consideration for these types of cards is the interest rate. There’s normally a direct correlation between the card perks and the interest rate – the high perk cards will ding you 15-20% interest. The cards with no perks, very roughly half that.

    Doesn’t matter if you pay off the balance each month but I suspect most Canadians don’t do that – they carry a balance. The end result is that you get 4% cash back then pay an extra 10% in interest. In which case it *is* the consumer paying the benefits :).

    For those that do carry a balance, here’s what to do – go through all your credit cards and determine the interest rate. Move all your balances from the high interest rate/perks cards to the low interest rate/no perks cards, then cancel the high interest rate cards. Then get rid of the high perks cards. You’ll still be carrying the same balance, but at about half the interest rate.

  7. Jenn on October 5, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    I’m really glad I saw this article, as we spend on average 16,800 annually on gas and groceries. This card, even with the fee for the two cards, will provide a much higher return. Thanks for the comparison article!

  8. Haseeb on October 1, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    I have had this card since August 2011. They refund the cashback around November.

    It’s our gas and grocery card, and so far it has paid us back easily. I drive a lot and the 4% on gas just adds up.

    Last year, I got $ 354 back from them (but bought furniture for the house). This year, purchases have been mostly gas and grocery and I am sitting at $575 cash back which I am anticipating to be in the $ 6xx by the time they apply the credit to my account.

    Definitely worth it for a joint “house” card

  9. smayer97 on January 26, 2013 at 3:25 am

    Regarding Scotiabank Momentum cards, keep in mind that some stores do not accept Visa. For example, No Frills, part of the Loblaws chain in Ontario, does notl; they only accept Mastercard.
    YMMV

  10. smayer97 on January 30, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    One caution, Scotiabanks website is very basic. You can only see one previous statement plus current month’s charges. You cannot save a statement but you can download transactions for the 2 months showing to financial software. No other history. If you want PDF statements online, you have to sign up with ePost. They send the PDF version of your statements there only (you can save them there for 7 yrs). Still worth it for the better cash benefits.

  11. Leanne on March 14, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    We got over $800 back last year with two cards, that’s a good return on the fees as long as you are paying off your balance every month!

  12. Anonymous on July 23, 2013 at 10:40 am

    This is without a doubt the best cash back card in Canada. The annual fee is easily recuperated by the +2% on gas and grocery. besides rent, gas and groceries account for the biggest spending any household has. Lets put it this way, if you have a car (and use it), and eat food from the groceries, you’ll end up spending more than 500$ per month, which means this card is better than the MBNA Smart in terms of cash back %. Plus, you get 2% on recurrent bills and pharmacy. I combine it with the no fee Apsire Mastercard Platinum (which has all the insurance plans) for all other purchases which gives me 1.5% on all other purchases. This is the best way too go

  13. Anonymous on July 23, 2013 at 10:41 am

    This is without a doubt the best cash back card in Canada. The annual fee is easily recuperated by the +2% on gas and grocery. besides rent, gas and groceries account for the biggest spending any household has. Lets put it this way, if you have a car (and use it), and eat food from the groceries, you’ll end up spending more than 500$ per month, which means this card is better than the MBNA Smart in terms of cash back %. Plus, you get 2% on recurrent bills and pharmacy. I combine it with the no fee Apsire Mastercard Platinum (which has all the insurance plans) for all other purchases which gives me 1.5% on all other purchases. This is the best way to go

  14. smayer97 on August 26, 2013 at 7:51 pm

    Consider also the CapitalOne Aspire Travel World MasterCard as a serious contender.

    See my latest review of this here:
    https://milliondollarjourney.com/top-cash-back-credit-cards-in-canada.htm/comment-page-6#comment-133434

  15. Elbyron on August 28, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    Or better yet, see my full review of Aspire Travel World here: https://milliondollarjourney.com/capital-one-aspire-world-mastercard-review.htm

  16. Dave on November 9, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    Thanks for the review, it is an interesting option. I just have to run the numbers.

    To the posters above, I honestly do not care about the fees paid by the merchants, since they recup them in their profits and price their products accordingly. Some small retailers that I know do not accept credit cards and I respect them for their decision. I have no intention to self-sacrifice and subsidize other buyers by paying debit. I am not that nice.

  17. Paul Unosawa on May 3, 2014 at 5:55 pm

    Hey starting July 1st, anyone with this card like I do, will get comprehensive travel insurance (except Cancellation Insurance), good on scotia to keep up with the Infinite card peers.

  18. Aida on July 11, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    I got this card myself, and starting july 1st they added extensive travel insurance as well. So now i benefit from 4% cash back and travel insurance!!! So pleased with the card!!!

  19. Rob on November 19, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    Just got my card in the mail last week. I just spent about 30min googling how to sign up for pre-authorized payments from my bank account to pay off this visa each month. I cannot find this info anywhere! Does anyone know if Scotiabank allows this? I have this all setup with my MBNA Smart World and Costco Amex (soon to be discontinued). I find it hard to believe that Scotiabank can’t do this…unless they just don’t want people to pay their bills on time…

  20. Dan @ Our Big Fat Wallet on November 19, 2014 at 9:53 pm

    @Rob I have the scotiabank momentum visa infinite card and I use pre authorized payments. I had to send them a void cheque so the amounts come out each month. I believe there’s a form for this. If not the local scotia branch should be able to help you out

  21. A Crock of Schmidt on December 4, 2014 at 7:04 pm

    We just passed our 1 year anniversary with our Scotiabank Infinite cash back card and we just love it. Our cash back sum for the year was $1203.30! We don’t travel a whole lot so that aspect of the cards doesn’t affect us much. The fees are significant as we too require 2 cards, but that is more than made up by the higher return on gas and groceries. I wrote about our experience in more depth on my own blog.

  22. King in Calgary on January 30, 2015 at 10:54 pm

    I got my Scotiabank Infinite 2 weeks ago and its been pretty good so far – what else can I say. Maybe you know, but I’ll probably find out after I get my first statement, does it show how much cash back accumulates from month to month? I just bought a macbook pro on it and even the Apple employee knew that this card doubled the warranty which was pretty cool, but of course I had to go through scotiabank first. Nonetheless, I feel a lot better shopping for groceries and even going to shoppers drugmart because I know I’m getting money back unlike before. I hope to get a huge return like Schmidt!

  23. Rob on January 31, 2015 at 9:56 am

    @King in Calgary;
    When you log in to online banking it gives you a breakdown of how much cash-back you’re earning, even broken down by the 1%, 2% and 4% cash-back amounts. Pretty handy.

  24. King in Calgary on February 2, 2015 at 4:40 pm

    Oh nice! thanks Rob, I think its time I logged in, eh? haha
    thanks again!

  25. Nightrider on February 25, 2015 at 11:15 am

    Scotia is offering US credit card for $35 annual fee. You can pay for the card purchases online using your US$ account. If you do not have one, it is prudent to open one. Unlike other banks where online transaction is a limitation, this one is refreshing. Annual fee is the fly in the ointment. But if you have a AMEX gold card, annual fee is waived. But then, it is six of one half a dozen of the other. Amex card costs annually. So, take your pick.

    I do not like paying annual fees for credit card. It should be free. But, this is how banks operate and there is nothing one can do about it. There is no other alternative for Canadians.

  26. Amy on August 21, 2015 at 9:40 pm

    I just started using this card and I really like it. It’s great for my family expenditures, especially with the 4% on groceries and gas, and 2% on recurring bills for TV cable, internet, and cellular bills etc.

  27. Father of Five on November 27, 2015 at 4:20 pm

    Awesome, just finished my first full year using the Scotia Momentum VISA Infinite card and earned $1206 in cash back – makes spending money almost fun, almost. With five kids my grocery bill is enormous and this card sure helps.

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