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CIBC vs Scotiabank: What's the Best Cash Back Card?

June 7, 2012
3 mins
A close-up view of a credit card and a laptop computer

It must be so annoying for those standing behind me in the grocery line. “And how will you be paying today, Miss?” Ummm. Uhhh. Hmmm. That’s the sound of me weighing out my rewards points, travel points and cash back options while trying to choose the card that I want to collect on.

If it’s annoying for the people behind me, you should be inside my head - I just can’t seem to make a decision. Lately, though, it's been easier for me to narrow it down - since I’ve got a big trip coming up, I reach for the card that gives me the most travel points. When it comes to choosing the best credit card for you, ask yourself: what are your needs? Which features offered by your card serve you best?

To help you weigh in, I'll be comparing CIBC to Scotiabank cards to determine which one best meets certain needs, whether you’re looking for a low-interest card, points at the pump or cash back.

Low interest

If you’re looking for a low interest card, one thing’s for certain - you’ll need a great credit score. Let’s see how these two cards weigh in:

CIBC Select Visa card

According to CIBC’s site, this is the credit card for you if you want a low interest rate and the freedom to occasionally carry a balance without paying high interest. It's an everyday card with a low annual fee, plus additional benefits, such as car rental discounts and guaranteed hotel reservations.

While most credit card interest rates range between 18 and 28 per cent, this card offers you a rate of 11.99 per cent. Assuming you carry a balance for one year, this is how much you could save in interest when compared to the CIBC Select Visa Card:

Balance Annual Interest at 18% Annual interest on CIBC Select Visa Potential Annual Savings
$1,000 $180 $119.90 $60.10
$3,000 $540 $359.70 $180.30
$5,000 $900 $599.50 $300.50

This card requires a household minimum income of $15,000, there’s an annual fee of $29, and you can get up to three more cards for free.

Scotiabank Value Visa card

With an annual interest rate of 11.99%, the Scotiabank Value Visa will help you to keep those interest costs down. You can switch balances from a higher interest rate card to save hundreds of dollars in interest. Scotiabank offers a 0.99% introductory interest rate, plus an annual rate of 11.99% -- all for just $29 per year. This card’s minimum credit limit is $500 and has an interest-free grace period of 21 days. Supplementary cardholders pay $0.

Weigh-in results: With both cards offering the same annual interest rate, Scotiabank edges ahead with lack of minimum income requirement and $0 fee for supplementary holders.

Cash back

Cash back is definitely becoming a more popular feature on rewards cards. Instead of racked up rewards that may remain stagnant on a card, cash back offers an easily accessible incentive - no one I know would turn down free money!

Keep in mind that most cash back cards charge an annual fee that sometimes outweighs the amount you get back, so choose the card that best fits your spending needs.

CIBC Dividend card

This is an everyday card that can earn you up to 1 per cent back on cash purchases. Additional benefits include 25% off of car rentals, $100,000 Common Carrier Accident Insurance, and Purchase Security and Extended Protection Insurance. To get this card, the applicant must have a minimum household income of $15,000. There is no annual fee, and your interest rate is the standard 19.99%. The cash interest rate is a little higher at 21.5%, and you can get up to two additional cards for free. If you spend $1,000 on your card per month, you’ll earn $101 by the end of the year.

Scotiabank Momentum VISA Infinite card

The Scotia Momentum VISA Infinite card rewards you with cash back on all of your monthly spending. On gas station and grocery store purchases, you earn a full 4% cash back. You earn 2% cash back on eligible drug store purchases and recurring bills. Finally, you earn an additional 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases.

The key benefits of this card include special offers, complimentary concierge service, and rental car collision insurance. Your minimum credit limit with this card is $5,000, with an interest free period of at least 21 days and an annual fee of $99. Supplementary cardholders pay $30. A minimum annual personal income of $60,000 is also required, or a household minimum annual income of $100,000.

Weigh-in results: For true cash back flexibility, Scotiabank wins out - especially with 4% cash back on gas and groceries, made even sweeter with additional concierge perks and rental car coverage.


CIBC Petro-Points Mastercard

Looking to save money at the pump? With this card, earn a welcome bonus of 15,000 PETRO-POINTS and an instant savings of 2 cents per litre at Petro-Canada stations across Canada.

You can also earn Petro points on almost all of your other card purchases, including 50% more on eligible card purchases, and 50% more at grocery and drug stores. This card requires a minimum household income of $15,000. There is no annual fee, and the interest rate is the standard 19.99%. The cash interest rate is 21.5%, and additional cards (up to two more) are free. The card also gets you discounts of 25% on car rentals and guaranteed hotel reservations.

Weigh-in results: Since Scotiabank doesn’t offer a rewards card for gas, CIBC wins this one.


The results are in! For low interest rates, both cards tied at 11.99 %, but when it comes to being rewarded,  Scotiabank wins with that enviable cash back flexibility. Of course, the card you choose will depend heavily on you, your goals, and how much you mind paying per year for the privilege of collecting those rewards. Always choose a card that best fits your needs.  


The RATESDOTCA editorial team are experienced writers focused on sharing stories and bringing you the latest news in insurance and personal finance. Our goal is to provide Canadians with the information and resources they need to make better insurance and financial decisions.

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