Scotiabank offers a wide range of credit cards for Canadian business owners. Most of their range is in partnership with Visa, with a few cards offered in partnership with both Mastercard and American Express.

With so many options, there’s sure to be one to suit your business needs and wants. In this article we provide some guidance on the best Scotiabank credit card for business owners, along with some tips on how to get the best card for your needs.

What are the Best Scotiabank Credit Cards?

Here is a quick rundown of the best Scotiabank business credit cards for different purposes.

Best Scotiabank Low Interest Card

Annual fee

$29

Interest rate

12.99% 

Currency-conversion fees

 2.5%

Rewards

25% off base rates on car rentals at participating AVIS and Budget locations in Canada and the U.S.

Why we like it?

The negligible annual fee is kind on the cash flow. The super-competitive interest rate is handy for people who know they might have to carry a balance sometimes. The discount on car rentals is a nice bonus. In short, this is a no-frills, everyday card for people who just want to keep it simple.

Best Scotiabank Cash Back Card

Annual fee

$120 (plus $50 per supplementary card)

Interest rate

20.99% (purchases)/22.99% (cash advances)

Currency-conversion fees

 2.5%

Rewards

Headline reward is up to 4% cashback. Range of other rewards, mostly travel-related.

Why we like it?

If you regularly carry a balance or make international purchases, this business credit card could get very expensive very quickly. If you don’t, however, then the cashback benefits could really add up. You get 4% on groceries and recurring payments, 2% on gas and daily transit, and 1% on everything else.

Best Scotiabank Travel Rewards Cards

Annual fee

$120 (plus $29 per year for supplementary cards)

Interest rate

19.99% (purchases) 22.99% (cash advances)

Currency-conversion fees

None

Rewards

Scotia reward points redeemable against a variety of options. Access to benefits offered by Scotiabank and/or American Express, including discounted access to airport lounges. Special deals on insurance.

Why we like it?

If you regularly travel internationally, then probably the key benefit of this card is that it has no currency conversion fees. These can otherwise become a painful expense, particularly if you have to make big-ticket purchases such as flights and hotels.  


The general, travel-related rewards may save you money. At the very least they could make your journey a bit more convenient and comfortable.

Best Scotiabank Credit Card for Perks

Annual fee

$0

Interest rate

19.99% (purchases)/22.99% (cash advances)

Currency-conversion fees

2.5%

Rewards

Points-based rewards system, largely geared to travel, but can be converted to Scene points.

Why we like it?

This one was a bit of a challenge since everyone has their own idea of what makes a good perk. The Scotiabank Rewards Visa Card gets around this by having a really broad selection of rewards. The card-specific selection is geared to travel, although there is a decent range of non-travel items. You can, however, convert your reward points to Scene points and hence access everything on offer there.

Best Scotiabank No Annual Fee Card

Annual fee

$0

Interest rate

16.99%

Currency-conversion fees

2.5%

Rewards

25% off base rates on car rentals at participating AVIS and Budget locations in Canada and the U.S.

Why we like it?

In principle, this card could be used totally for free. Even if you do carry a balance sometimes, 16.99% interest is still a very decent deal. That said, it doesn’t take much to make the regular Scotiabank Value Visa card a more economical option. Do your sums carefully before you make a final choice.

Best Scotiabank No Foreign Transaction Fee Card

Annual fee

$139 (one additional card for free and $50 for further cards)

Interest rate

19.99% (purchases) 22.99% (cash advances)

Currency-conversion fees

None

Rewards

A points-based rewards system, special deals with various travel-related merchants, and special offers on travel-related insurance.

Why we like it?

Looking at the headline figures, this option is almost identical to the Scotiabank American Express Gold card. The reason it beats out the American Express option is that Visa is accepted at more merchants. It’s hard to get exact figures, but acceptance could be up to 40% higher. This makes it a bit of a safer option in terms of making sure that you can actually use it for payment. It also makes it a more practical option for international online shopping.

FAQs: Best Scotiabank Credit Cards

Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about Scotiabank credit cards:

Why get a Scotiabank credit card? 

When you get a credit card, you’ll see a network logo and an issuer logo. The network takes care of everything needed to make the card work. The issuer takes care of the customer. They decide what deals to offer and handle any necessary communication. They are also the first point of contact for any problems such as disputes.

So, from a technical perspective, a Scotiabank credit card is exactly the same as any other credit card on the same network. What makes Scotiabank credit cards better than other banks’ credit cards is the specific deals on offer and the level of customer service.

What kind of credit cards does Scotiabank offer?

Scotiabank mainly offers Visa credit cards although it does have some Mastercard credit cards and some American Express credit cards. Depending on the specific product you choose, their credit cards may focus on travel and lifestyle, cashback, no annual fee, or low interest-rates.

What do I need to get a Scotiabank credit card?

The general criteria to get a Scotiabank credit card are as follows:

  • To be a permanent resident of Canada (not necessarily a citizen)
  • To be a legal adult (according to the definition in your province/territory)
  • To have been solvent for at least the past 7 years
  • To pass a credit check
  • To have proof of income

There may, however, be some exceptions to this. For example, if you are a foreign worker then you may be accepted for certain products, even without a credit check. There may also be some additional requirements depending on the product.  For example, there may be a minimal income level for premium credit card products.

How do I apply for a Scotiabank credit card?

The easiest way to apply for a Scotiabank credit card is on their website.

How can I get the annual fee waived for a Scotiabank credit card?

The easiest way to get the annual fee waived for a Scotiabank credit card is to go for a product that doesn’t have an annual fee, like the No Fee Value Visa card. The next easiest way is just to contact Scotiabank and ask them to waive it. Realistically, their response is likely to depend on how much your custom means to them.

How to choose the best Scotiabank credit card?

The way to pick the best Scotiabank credit card is to think, realistically, about how you will use it. Here are some points you should consider.


How likely am I to carry a balance?

The more you use your Scotiabank credit card as a line of credit, rather than a payment tool, the more important the interest rate becomes. If you’re going to go for anything other than the lowest-interest-rate product you can find, you need to be really sure that the benefits will justify the extra cost.


How likely am I to make foreign-currency purchases?

Firstly, think about whether or not you’re likely to be traveling internationally. Secondly, think about how likely it is that you’re going to be shopping internationally. Remember, currency-conversion fees are based on the currency, not the location.  

If you’re regularly carrying a balance, then you’ll have to think about the impact of the interest rate versus the impact of the currency conversion fees. If you're not, then you might want to prioritize credit cards without currency-conversion fees even if the interest rate is higher.


How likely am I to need to withdraw cash?

If you’re likely to need to withdraw cash, then you’ll need to check the fees for doing so. You’ll also need to check if a different interest rate is applied.


Where am I likely to use the card?

This question has two parts. Firstly, in what countries do you want to use the card? When thinking about this, remember to consider how much international online shopping you do. Secondly, are there any particular types of merchants you use more than others?

With regards to the first part of the question, remember that Visa and Mastercard both have higher acceptance levels than American Express. Whether or not this will matter in practice will depend on how you intend to use the card. That’s why it’s important to think about it.

With regards to the second part of the question, if you have a lot of spend in a particular area then it makes sense to see if you can reflect this in the credit card you choose. For example, you could see if you could get a good rate of cashback on your spending in that area. Alternatively, you could see if you can get reward points to reduce your need to spend actual cash in that area.


Do rewards matter to me?

A long list of rewards may look enticing, but they only have any real value if they offer some meaningful real-world benefit. If they don’t then they are, at best, irrelevant. At worst, they may tempt you into making unnecessary (and unwanted) purchases just to be able to claim a reward you neither really need or really want.

How to get a Scotiabank business credit card with no credit history or a bad credit history?

If a business has no credit history or a bad credit history, then it may be possible to have the business owner act as a guarantor. If, however, the business owner also has no credit history or poor credit history, then you’d probably have to offer some form of collateral.

Applying for a Scotiabank business credit card – common mistakes to avoid

The common mistakes to avoid in applying for a Scotiabank business credit card are largely the same as the common mistakes to avoid in applying for any other credit card.


Applying for the wrong credit card

Think about how you intend to use the credit card for the next year or two. If you then “outgrow it”, that’s fine. You can change to a different product further down the line.


Rushing the application process

Remember that getting it right the first time will probably work out less frustrating either than having to deal with a rejection you could have avoided, or being asked for more information later.

With this in mind, look at each question and think about the intent behind it. Then provide as much information as you can to fulfill that intent and to prevent the need for the reader to ask any further questions.


Forgetting that computers work differently from humans

You may be aware that applications are likely to be processed by computers before they go to a human. In fact, some credit applications may not even go to a human. You may not, however, have thought about what this means in practice.

Computers do not “fill in the blanks”, the way humans can. For example, if you write SCTBNK CND, a human will probably figure out what you mean, especially if they have a bit of context. A computer won’t necessarily do so well.

Keep this in mind when you’re filling in any forms. In particular, use consistent titles, spellings, and abbreviations, if appropriate. If you have to write in complete sentences, keep them as short and simple as possible. Basically, do whatever you can to avoid any sort of ambiguity.


About the author 

Maurice

Maurice (Moe) Muise learned the ins-and-outs of government while an employee of the Government of Canada in Ottawa for 10 years. His current focus is helping small businesses in Ontario to identify and maximize government grants to grow their business.
Click here to learn more about Moe's background and how he can help your business.

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