Scotiabank vs RBC: Comparison of Canadian Banks

Scotiabank and RBC are two of the largest and most well-established banks in Canada.

When it comes to choosing a bank, it is essential to consider various factors such as services offered, fees and charges, online and mobile banking experience, customer service and support, interest rates, rewards programs, and overall reputation and market presence.

Differences in Services Offered

From banking products and services to credit cards and direct investing, each bank has its own unique offerings and perks.

Chequing and Savings Accounts

When comparing Scotiabank and RBC, consider their basic day-to-day banking offerings.

Both banks offer an array of different chequing and savings accounts for your unique needs—whether you’re a student, newcomer to Canada, or just in need of somewhere to store your money.

RBC offers 4 different chequing accounts ranging from $4 a month to $30 a month based on your banking needs.

Each account comes with free Interac e-Transfers, the ability to earn Avion points when you spend money using your debit card, and personalized insights on where you spend your money to help with budgeting.

You can have the monthly fee waived by linking an account through direct deposit.

For example, setting up your work pay to go into your chequing account would be considered a direct deposit.

RBC and Scotiabank both also offer attractive accounts for full-time students, youth under 18 years old, and newcomers to Canada.

Scotiabank also offers 4 different chequing accounts ranging from $3.95 to $30.95 a month, which all include unlimited free Interac e-Transfers.

However, in order to collect Scene+ points, you need to have at least the Preferred Package, which is priced at $16.95/month.

The minimum balance required to waive monthly fees is also higher with Scotiabank’s accounts.

When it comes to savings accounts, both banks offer competitive interest rates.

However, Scotiabank offers an incentive with its Momentum Plus Savings account, with higher interest rates the longer you keep your money in the account.

Credit Cards

Both Scotiabank and RBC offer various credit cards.

As of September 2023, RBC offers 21 different credit cards, catering mainly to frequent flyers and business owners and highlighting its own Avion rewards program.

Scotiabank offers slightly less options, mainly featuring its Scene+ rewards program.

Both offer great incentives, so the better choice depends entirely on your needs.

For example, if you’re a frequent traveler and your goal is to collect points, RBC’s travel focused Avion program may suit you better.


Credit cards can improve your credit score when used responsibly.

Making timely payments and keeping credit utilization low positively impacts your creditworthiness.

Direct Investing

With RBC Direct Investing, you can invest in stocks, mutual funds, ETFs, bonds, GICs, and options in both registered and non-registered accounts.

They also offer plenty of investment analysis tools to help you stay knowledgeable on the markets.

In terms of pricing, each trade will cost you $9.95 for stocks, mutual funds and ETFs.

For options trading, it’s $1.25 per contract in addition to commission fees.

Scotiabank’s iTrade offers some of the cheapest commission fees for active traders out there, at just $4.99 if you do over 150 trades in the quarter.

Otherwise, it’s $9.99 per trade—similar to RBC.

Overall Reputation and Market Presence

Scotiabank stands out with its strong reputation and notable market presence, both domestically and internationally. 

On the other hand, RBC is also highly regarded as one of the leading banks in Canada and globally, contributing to its solid reputation.

Both banks boast a wide network of branches and ATMs, ensuring convenient access for customers.

They possess a strong customer base and maintain a favorable financial standing, consistently ranking among the top institutions in terms of assets, profitability, and market capitalization. 

Both banks offer a diverse range of products and services to cater to the unique needs of their clientele.

Both institutions have a robust online and digital presence, providing customers with convenient banking solutions that further enhance their overall banking experience.

Regardless of which you choose, you’re in good hands!

Scotiabank mobile app open on phone

Frequently asked questions

  • What are the main differences between Scotiabank and RBC in terms of their presence and reach?
  • Are there any differences in the types of accounts offered by Scotiabank and RBC?
  • Yes, both banks offer a variety of account options. Scotiabank provides a wide selection, including savings accounts, chequing accounts, and credit cards from major providers like Visa, Mastercard, and Amex. RBC also offers similar account options, including savings and chequing accounts, credit cards, mortgages, loans, and investment services.

  • Which bank offers better savings accounts, Scotiabank or RBC?
  • Scotiabank’s savings accounts have higher interest rates and additional options for foreign currencies. RBC, on the other hand, offers four types of savings accounts with no monthly fees or fees waived with a minimum balance.

  • What are the main differences between the credit cards offered by Scotiabank and RBC?
  • RBC offers 21 different credit cards across Visa and Mastercard with a focus on travel benefits and rewards, offering their own Avion Rewards program. Scotiabank offers 17 credit cards across Visa, Mastercard and Amex, with a focus on their own Scene+ reward program.

  • Are there any differences in the online brokerage services provided by Scotiabank and RBC?
  • RBC Direct Investing and Scotia iTrade both have similar fees, however iTrade’s active trader fee is slightly lower than RBC. Both have comparable, modern platforms and capabilities, so your individual use case is important to assess against each platform to find the correct fit.

  • Which bank is the largest financial institution in Canada?
  • RBC, also known as the Royal Bank of Canada, is the largest financial institution in the country. It holds the top position among the Big Five banks in Canada in terms of market capitalization.

Tara Al-Khudairi

Tara Al-Khudairihas worked in the financial services industry since 2017. She graduated from McMaster University with a degree in Finance and is pursuing her CFA.

She has worked at a major Canadian financial institution in various client-facing advisory roles, starting as a bank teller and working up to a Client Services Associate within the Asset Management division. She specializes in simplifying concepts of personal finance for people of various financial backgrounds.

When she’s not examining the markets looking for the next SHOP.TO, she’s either practicing yoga, planning her next vacation, or has her nose buried deep in a book.