I have reviewed a couple credit cards and reward programs previously. This was the CIBC Aerogold Aeroplan cards and the BMO Mosaik Airmiles cards. Both have their pros and cons. So decided to look at ScotiaBank’s Visa.
This is the bank I am with, but I have never used their credit card. I figure it would be an easy one to review, because its reward feature is easy to calculate.
This is the first big plus. No fees. When you have a card with a fee, you need to be spending a certain amount before it pays for itself. No fees card you can leave in the safe for emergencies or not use them for long periods of time without worrying that you are throwing money away.
Simple. It is 1$ back. For every dollar you spend, you will receive a penny back. It appears like you only receive this once a year however. There are two cards as well. The standard interest rate 19.5% for the “no fees” card and 18.5% for a fee of $8/year. If you pay your card off consistently, you should be fine with the “no fees” card.
How Does This Compare to Other Cards?
You can accumluate 1 Airmile for every $15 on the best schedule and 1 Airmile for every $40 on the worst. So this would mean you would get back 20 cents for every 15 dollars down to 20 cents for every $40. This is return rate of 1.3% down to 0.5%. A large variance. You have to remember that you are paying a fee to get those higher returns as well.
UPDATE (March 22, 2007) American Express has an Airmiles card that gives 1 AirMile for every $20 and it is a no fees card. This is a straight 1% return rate if you value an AirMile at 20 cents like me.
Aeroplan points can be received at 1.5 points for every dollar down to 1 point for every $2. I value an Aeroplan point at 1.6 cents. So this would be a return rate of 1.5% down to 0.8%. The same thing applies here as Airmiles. You need to pay a fee to get the better return rate on your money.
Aeroplan and Airmiles offer better return rates if you are willing to pay the fee and put quite a bit of money through your credit card (to offset the fees). Their rewards pay out monthly (if you choose to use them) where ScotiaBank’s visa does not.
UPDATE: (March 22, 2007) If you have the American Express card, it basically matches the ScotiaBank card in rate of return (unless you think an AirMile is more or less valuable than I do).
However, Scotiabank Visa is real money. Not points that can only be used on predefined products. Their visa starts with no fees and give the medium return rate. Without fees, you do not have to worry about putting a lot of money through your card.
I put a lot of money on my mastercard because it is our primary method of paying bills and such, but the ScotiaBank visa looks like the best alternative for those who are unsure what to go with.