Scotiabank Review: Chequing, Banking & Credit Card Package

Scotiabank Reivew
  • Chequing Account
  • Savings Account
  • Free Premium Credit Card
  • Banking Convenience
  • Asset Safety
  • Fees
  • Promotion
3.9

Scotiabank Review Summary:

Our review of Scotiabank bank accounts highlights their feature packages, which include a chequing account, savings account, and credit card, as well as their high interest savings account options.

While all major Canadian banks offer similar “all-in-one, elite” packages, Scotiabank stands out as the best among the Big Banks in terms of overall value due to the value of its perks and points.

However, despite Scotiabank’s superior all-in-one packages, their individual services fall short compared to our top pick for chequing accounts and recommended savings account. EQ Bank continues to lead with its unbeatable combination of no fees and high interest, which Scotiabank cannot match.

Pros

  • Free premium credit cards with select banking packages
  • Great perks and rewards
  • Fantastic $350 cash bonus for new accounts
  • Additional $50 cash bonus for opening an investment plan

Cons

  • Monthly fee unless you keep a 4-6K chequing balance or a 30K total balance
  • HISA interest rates are much lower than EQ Bank
  • Better sign up for multiple services to get max value

What is Scotiabank?

Scotiabank, officially known as the Bank of Nova Scotia, is one of Canada’s Big Five banks. Established in Halifax in 1832, it has grown to be considered as Canada’s most international bank, serving over 25 million customers worldwide. It is one of Canada’s oldest and most trusted banks with a full range of banking products. 

In this Scotiabank review, I’m going to focus on Scotiabank’s Ultimate Package and Preferred Package, which offer the most value to customers.

Scotiabank is known for its ease of use, combining the convenience of numerous branch locations with an excellent online platform. As expected from one of Canada’s top banks, it provides a comprehensive range of banking products as an “all-in-one” bank. 

While Scotiabank’s savings account interest rates don’t match those of EQ Bank (our top pick for high interest savings accounts), they are the best among the other Big Banks (RBC, TD, BMO and CIBC). If you prefer popping into the branch for in-person banking or want all your financial services under one roof, Scotiabank is a great choice. 

However, if you:

  • are comfortable with online banks
  • don’t mind managing your finances across different institutions
  • don’t qualify for waived fees

…then you will find better value elsewhere. 

Is Scotiabank Safe?

Many wonder if Scotiabank is a good bank for online safety. 

The quick answer? Yes. 

Their platforms are as safe as online banking and mobile apps can be. 

Scotiabank takes a number of steps to ensure that your account and information are kept safe and secure. This is done through methods including 128-bit SSL, firewalls and monitoring, timeouts, time stamps, masked numbers, security software, and more. 

Scotiabank also has a security guarantee. As per their website: “We will fully reimburse you in the unlikely event that you suffer direct financial losses due to unauthorized activity1 in your accounts through Scotia OnLine Financial Services2 or through Mobile Banking, provided you have met your security responsibilities.”

Of course, like all major Canadian chequing accounts, your Scotiabank accounts are covered by Canadian Deposit Insurance Corporation insurance coverage (CDIC) on your first $100,000 per account.

Scotiabank Fees

We’ve put together this table on the fees for Scotiabank’s most common accounts – for both the Ultimate and Preferred Packages, as well as for some of their standalone chequing and savings accounts.

We’ve already discussed at length the value of the monthly fee for the packages if you’re someone who will make use of most of the features. However, for the regular chequing and savings accounts, while you may notice a low or no monthly fee, you’ll see that there are high additional fees for the use of these accounts (e-transfers, ATM withdrawals, etc.).

If you’re looking for a no-frills chequing, savings, or combined (hybrid) account, you’re going to be best off with one of our top-rated online banks. You’ll have lower or no fees and much higher interest rates. And yes, you can even find a free chequing account that will pay you interest!

AccountMonthly FeeMonthly Fee for SeniorsAdditional Fees
Ultimate Package$30.95 (or $0 if you maintain a minimum daily closing balance of $6,000, or have a combined balance of $30,000 across Scotiabank accounts)$23.95
Preferred Package$16.95 (or $0 if you maintain a minimum daily closing balance of $4,000)$12.95$5 per month for overdraft protection
Basic Bank Account$3.95$0After 12 debit or ATM transactions, $5 each$1.99 for Scotia International Money Transfer$5 per month for overdraft protection
Basic Plus Bank Account$11.95 (or $0 if you maintain a minimum daily closing balance of $3,000 for the entire month)$7.95After 25 debit or ATM transactions, $5 each$1.99 for Scotia International Money Transfer$5 per month for overdraft protection
Momentum PLUS Savings Account$0$0$1 for Interac e-transfers$5 for debit transactions & ATMs$5 per month for overdraft protection
Money Master Savings Account$0$0$1 for Interac e-transfers$5 for debit transactions & ATMs$5 per month for overdraft protection
Savings Accelerator Account$0$0$1 for Interac e-transfers$5 for debit transactions & ATMs$5 per month for overdraft protection

Scotiabank Welcome Bonus 2024

Scotiabank often has generous promos for both the preferred and ultimate package accounts. At the moment, they’re offering $350 to new clients who open the Preferred or Ultimate packages plus an additional $50 if you also open an investment plan (RRSP, TFSA, or FHSA)..

To enjoy Scotiabank’s generous $350 offer, open a new account and complete two of the following actions within 60 days:

  • Make a bill payment of $50 or more
  • Set up and clear at least 2 separate recurring pre-authorized transactions that are $50 or more, which will each recur monthly for a minimum of 6 consecutive months
  • Set up and clear at least one automated and recurring direct deposit, such as payroll or pension, which will recur monthly for a minimum of 6 consecutive months.

For the additional $50 bonus, open a new RRSP, TFSA, or FHSA within 60 days of opening your new Package account, then complete one of the following actions within 60 days:

  • Set up and clear a pre-authorised contribution of $50 or more, which will recur monthly for a minimum of 6 consecutive months from your Scotiabank personal account
  • In your new eligible Registered Account, make a deposit of $3,000 or more, and maintain it for 6 consecutive months

Offer is valid until July 31, 2024.

Scotiabank Account Types

As one of Canada’s Big Five banks, Scotiabank has no shortage of account types to choose from including the following:

  • Chequing accounts
  • Savings accounts including high interest savings accounts
  • GICs
  • Seniors accounts (which includes discounts for seniors)
  • Student accounts (which include $0 monthly student account fees)
  • US accounts
  • Small business accounts
  • And, of course, products like TFSA, RRSP, FHSA etc. 

Under these different account categories there are further options depending on your banking needs.

Scotiabank Chequing Accounts

When it comes to chequing accounts, Scotiabank has a handful of options. 

These packages span from basic to upscale. The higher-end options feature unlimited withdrawals and many additional perks. While these upscale packages entail substantial fees, there’s a way to avoid them, which we detail below.

We outline the most common and best value options for you here. Discounts for seniors are available, and they also have some student & youth accounts (Student Banking Advantage Plan and Getting There Savings Program for Youth).

Scotiabank Ultimate Package

For those who are really looking to get everything they can out of an all-in-one banking package, then the Scotiabank Ultimate Package is the ideal choice. There are many all-in-one bank packages that give you unlimited this or that, but the perks in the Scotiabank Ultimate Package are simply second to none.

The package costs $30.95 per month but if you maintain a balance of $6,000 in your chequing account, or if you carry a combined balance of $30,000 across your Scotiabank chequing and savings accounts the fee is waived. Further down, we outline the considerable monetary value you receive with this account.

With the Scotiabank Ultimate Package, you will receive: 

  • An unlimited amount of free transactions and e-transfers.
  • Any withdrawals from non-affiliated and global ATMs will also be free. 
  • Account holders will also have the fee waived for the Basic Plus Bank Account and the Scotia US Dollar Daily Interest account (if you have or want them). 
  • Plus, if you have a Momentum Plus Savings Account, you will receive an additional 0.10% interest. 
  • Account holders can also earn SCENE Points (read Scotiabank SCENE Visa review for information about the SCENE program) on every transaction (1 reward for $5 spent).
  • 10 free equity trades at Scotia iTRADE in your first year, 5 free in subsequent years.
  • Special select GIC rates.
  • Unlimited FREE international money transfers.
  • FREE monthly overdraft protection.
  • FREE cheques and bank drafts.
  • FREE safety deposit box.

PLUS – perhaps the top perk in Canadian chequing account deals today – Ultimate Package holders will pay NO fees (up to a $150 value) for one of a selection of Scotiabank credit cards. This includes the Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite, a top-rated cashback card.

Scotiabank Preferred Package

If the Scotiabank Ultimate Package seems like you’re paying for a few options that you might not use, you can also consider the Scotiabank Preferred Package.

The Scotiabank Preferred Package isn’t quite as all-encompassing as the Ultimate package, but it still offers some great perks and discounts for Scotiabank products. As such, the Scotiabank account fees for this product are significantly lower at $16.95 per month. For the preferred package, as long as you maintain a minimum daily closing balance of $4,000 in your account – the monthly fees will be waived.

The preferred package includes:

  • An unlimited amount of debit transactions and e-transfers.
  • Account holders will also have the fee waived for the Scotia US Dollar Daily Interest account (if you have or want it). 
  • Plus, if you have a Momentum Plus Savings Account, you will receive an additional 0.05% interest. 
  • Account holders can also earn SCENE Points on every transaction (1 reward for $5 spent)
  • With Scotia iTRADE: trade 1, get 1 free. This applies to 20 free trades on the mobile app in your first year, and 10 free trades in subsequent years.

PLUS – perhaps the top perk in Canadian chequing account deals today – Preferred Package holders will receive a first-year fee waiver (up to a $150 value) for one of a selection of Scotiabank credit cards.

How to Avoid Paying Monthly Fees on a Scotiabank Package

The Scotiabank Ultimate Package comes in at $30.95 per month – BUT – there is an easy way to avoid that pesky fee.

If you maintain a balance of $6,000 in your chequing account, or if you carry a combined balance of $30,000 across your Scotiabank chequing and savings accounts – you get the entire Scotiabank Ultimate Package for the grand total of $0.

Quantifying the Value of the Scotia Ultimate Package

Sometimes it can help to see the value of an offer in terms of dollars and cents, so we totalled up the value of the Scotia Ultimate Package.

Here’s the value you get as part of that package:

  • Free premium credit card ($150 value)
  • Free withdrawals from non-Scotia ATMs around the world – (Average $20 per year value to me)
  • Free Safety Deposit Box ($60 value)
  • Free Overdraft Protection ($60 value)
  • Extra .10% interest ($30 value on $30,000 savings)
  • Free Cheques ($25 value)
  • Free International Money Transfers (Average value $0 – $200)
  • Rewards points on chequing account spending (Value – depends on your spending, but at least a few free movie tickets per year = $50)
  • The full slate of available Scotia accounts (At least $180 with any major Canadian bank).

Grand Total: $575! (And that’s assuming $0 in value for international monetary transfers.) So if you take advantage of the full package, you’re saving money even if you do end up paying the monthly fee.

Basic Bank Account

This is Scotiabank’s most basic chequing account with a low fee of $3.95 per month, or free for Seniors.

The account can be used for everyday banking such as purchases, ABM transactions and deposits for payroll. You have up to 12 free debit transactions per month included and Interac e-transfer transactions are free.

Basic Plus Bank Account

This is a step above the basic account with up to 25 free debit transactions per month. You also have the option to send money globally with Scotia International Money Transfer for $1.99.

The monthly fee is $11.95 (or $7.95 for seniors), although if you have a daily closing balance of $3,000 for the entire month then the fee is waived.

Scotiabank High Interest Savings Accounts

Scotiabank offers 3 options for “High Interest” Savings Accounts. While each of them have no monthly account fees or minimum balance required, they don’t offer high interest rates. There are sometimes promotions with teaser interest rates that reduce over the course of a few months. 

If you’re looking for a high interest savings account with a great interest rate you will likely be better off with an online bank’s competitive rates. 

You can make free transfers between Scotiabank accounts with the following account options, but they do not include free transactions or free Interac e-transfers. Interac e-transfers cost $1, while debit transactions and ATMs cost $5.

Momentum PLUS Savings Account

An account allowing you to save for multiple goals. 

This account is interesting because the longer you save, the more interest you can earn, hence the moniker, “momentum” account. While you can withdraw your money at any point, you’ll lose the bonus entirely. How strong is your willpower to not withdraw your money? 

The “Savings Goal” periods are for 90, 180, 270, or 360 days. Each saving goal can have a different savings goal period. For example, maybe you’re saving for a phone (90 days), and a vacation (270 days). 

The regular interest rate for the account is 1.30% but it will go as high as 2.55% if you keep your money in there for 360 days. This increase is boosted slightly higher if you are a customer of a Scotiabank Preferred or Ultimate Package (+0.05% or +0.10%, respectively).Given the fact that withdrawing your money makes you lose the increased interest rate, you’d probably be better off with a short-term GIC with a higher interest rate.

Money Master Savings Account

A savings account with an interest rate lower than some chequing accounts: 0.01%. 

It’s as basic as you can get, although if you have a debit card and chequing account with Scotiabank you can authorize the “Bank The Rest Savings Program”, which rounds your purchases on your debit card up to the nearest $1 or $5 and then deposits the difference into your savings account. It’s an easy way to boost your savings with almost no effort.

Savings Accelerator Account

This account is unique in that you can include it as part of an investment plan (registered or non-registered). If you include it as part of a registered investment plan then you can profit from tax savings with TFSAs, RRSPs, RESPs, and FHSAs. 

However, the interest rate with these accounts is very low in the 0.75%-0.80% range. 

For a non-registered account, you can get 1.40% on balances up to $249,999. Beyond that, you’ll earn 1.50%.

Scotiabank Long-term Non-Redeemable GIC Rates

TermCompounded annually
1 year4.50%
18 months4.30%
2 years4.10%
3 years4.00%, 4.47% (Preferred Package customers), 4.57% (Ultimate Package customers)
4 years4.00%
5 years3.95%

Scotiabank Credit Cards

Scotiabank offers many credit cards – as of June 2024, they had 16 different cards available, many of which include a generous sign up bonus. With a selection like that, there are cards for all different spending habits. Their website divides the cards into categories for, Travel & Lifestyle, Cash back, Scene+ points, No annual fee, Low interest, and Student cards. They even have a, “Help me choose” feature that takes you through a series of questions to help determine the best card for your needs.

If you’re a customer of the Ultimate or Preferred Package, you will have the annual fee waived (up to $150 annually).

Some of their award-winning cards include:

CardDetailsAnnual Fee
Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite Cardcash back card earning you 4% on eligible recurring payments, subscriptions, and groceries$120
Scotiabank Gold American Express Cardtravel & lifestyle card with no foreign transaction fees and up to 6x Scene+ points on every $1 spent on eligible purchases$120
Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Cardaward-winning card for travel with benefits of 6 complimentary airport lounge passes, no foreign transaction fees$150
Scotiabank Scene+ Visa Cardearn 2x Scene+ points on every $1 spent at Sobeys, Safeway, Home Hardware & CineplexNo annual fee

Scotiabank Mobile App Review

Considering the skyrocketing numbers of people who do their banking via smartphone, the last thing you want when you pick a new bank account is a bad app. Luckily, the Scotiabank app seems pretty solid. As of the time of writing, Scotiabank’s mobile app has a 4.7 star rating on the Apple store and a 4.6 rating on Google Play. Recent reviews are split between rave reviews and specific technical complaints. 

Users who left recent negative reviews have been struggling with required 2-factor authentication (inconvenient but increasingly necessary), bill payments, and cheque deposits. Others have had no problem at all, so the complaints are likely something to be aware of but not a deal breaker. 

How to Open a New Scotiabank Account

If this Scotiabank Review has you convinced that one of these packages is for you, then you can easily sign up to open an account online. Opening an account online can be done in about five minutes. 

To open an account, you do need to meet the following requirements:

–       You must be at least 16 years old

–       You must be a Canadian resident or in Canada to work or study

–       You must be opening the account in your own name

–       You must be ok with paperless document delivery

To start, visit the Scotiabank web page of the package you are interested in and click the button to get that specific package.

You will then be asked if you have any other services with Scotiabank. If you do, this makes life a lot easier as they can link your profile and get your information. So go ahead and sign into Scotia OnLine banking through the designated link.

You will then be asked what you plan on using the account for. For most people, it will be daily banking. The next step will require you to fill in your personal information. You do need your SIN so make sure you have that on hand.

Again, this process should only take about five minutes. However, if you decide to apply on the app, you can speed up the process by using your driver’s license as Photo ID verification.  

Scotiabank Review FAQ

Is Scotiabank The Best Canadian Bank?

With so many options in the Canadian banking scene for fee-free accounts, the idea of paying a monthly fee for a banking account is hard to wrap my mind around. It’s even more difficult to imagine when this paid account may not come with the highest interest rate.

When looking at the value of Scotiabank Ultimate Package though you can’t deny that it is an excellent option for Canadians who want an all-in-one package as well as access to in-person banking. Plus, if you hold a chequing account balance of $6,000 or $30,000 across all Scotiabank accounts, you’ll be off the hook for the monthly fee of $30.95.

However, if you don’t meet those minimum balance requirements and don’t plan to use all the items in the package, then the value of the Scotiabank Ultimate Package decreases significantly.

For those seeking a reliable bank account for everyday transactions or savings, EQ Bank offers substantially better value, along with a much higher everyday interest rate. You can learn more in our EQ Bank review or by checking our list of the best online banks in Canada.

But as you read here in our updated 2024 Scotiabank Review, this is where you’ll find the best value for an all-in-one package from a Big 5 Bank

Kyle Prevost

Kyle Prevost is Canada's Top Personal Finance Teacher and an author/speaker/advisor when he is not in his classroom. His writing has been featured across Canada’s most-read publications. When he isn’t nerding out about P/E ratios or MERs, you can find Kyle on a basketball court or in a boxing ring trying to recapture something he isn’t sure that he had in the first place.
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