Scotia Moneyback Account Review

I’m always mystified as to why Canadians love paying for everything with their debit cards.  We pay for the privilege of using our debit cards through excessive bank fees and limited monthly transactions.  Not only that, but we don’t earn rewards for using our debit cards the way we do with rewards credit cards.

So enter the Scotia Moneyback Account, the only chequing account that pays you a 1% rebate with every purchase on your debit card.  Let’s take a look at how it works:

Scotia Moneyback Account

With the Scotia Moneyback Account, every purchase you make on debit gives you 1% cash back.  Your account also comes with other features, including:

  • Unlimited self-service transactions
  • Two free non-Scotia ABM transactions/month
  • One teller assisted transaction/month
  • Free paperless statements
  • Free text and/or email alerts to help you manage your account
  • Monthly fee of $14.95/month

The maximum annual rebate for the Scotia Moneyback Account is $300, meaning if you spend $30,000/year on your debit card you will receive the full $300 rebate.

But with a steep monthly fee of $14.95, that only works out to a $120 profit for the year.  In fact, Scotia Moneyback Account holders would need to spend at least $18,000/year ($1,500/month) on their debit cards just so the rewards would cancel out their monthly account fees.

Worst Chequing Account Ever?

Most banks offer a chequing account with unlimited monthly transactions plus some additional features, which is essentially what the Scotia Moneyback Account is trying to do here.  The problem is that the math just doesn’t add up.  Even if you maximize this account to earn the $300 rebate, you’re still out $180 in bank fees for the year.

Scotia’s marketing tactic is to try and mimic a rewards card by offering a rebate back on your every day spending.  I’m all for rebates, but with the PC MasterCard I wouldn’t have to pay an annual fee and if I spent $30,000/year I would earn $300 worth of PC Points.

With a cash back credit card like the MBNA Smart Cash MasterCard you could earn $372 in cash rewards with no annual fee for that amount of spending.

The Scotia Moneyback Account definitely had the right idea by trying to capitalize on the popularity of rewards cards and integrating it into an unlimited debit card program.  They might lure some loyal debit card users to try it, since it might save them money vs. their existing account.

I just don’t see any benefit to using a chequing account like this one over using a no fee rewards credit card for all of your purchases.  If I was able to spend $30,000 a year on stuff, I could certainly make a lot more than $120 in rewards at the end of the year.

What do you think of Scotia Moneyback?


  1. Bill on October 10, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    I saw a commercial for this this weekend, where the couple are trying to give back $107 and a few cents due to “bank error”. Since the account is so new, they are no doubt trying to leave the impression that you could get $107 back in a month or two (sure, on $10,700 in debit card transactions).

    What I found particularly distasteful is how they drop $20 when leaving, and the banker leaves the impression that it is an additional $20 – stating that its “theirs” well after the couple scurries out.

    Sly. Portrays their customers as idiots. thanks Scotia, but no thanks!

    • Mike on October 11, 2011 at 4:10 pm

      @Bill – yes, the commercial is deceiving and this account is not impressive when you look at the kind of rebates that can be earned through a cash back rewards card.

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