I have been using the Schwab Invest First Visa credit card for several months now. It replaces the Fidelity Investment Rewards Visa I used before.
Both cards are issued by FIA Card Services, a subsidiary of Bank of America. The Schwab card pays 2% cash back to a Schwab brokerage account. The Fidelity Visa card pays 2% cash back only after you spend $15,000 in a year (1.5% cash back for the first $15,000). Fidelity also has a 2% cash back card — Fidelity Rewards American Express Card — which is also issued by FIA. More merchants accept Visa than American Express cards.
2% cash back is on everything. No tiers. No special categories. It can’t be any simpler. You also get ShopSafe, the one-time credit card number generator. ShopSafe is not available for the Fidelity American Express card.
FIA offers Bill Pay Choice. This card can be used to pay mortgage and bills from credit cards issued by other banks except Bank of America. You don’t earn cash back for Bill Pay Choice charges. You do get float and bill consolidation.
Automatic debit to a bank account for the full statement balance requires a phone call to customer service for a paper enrollment form. Once it’s set up, it works perfectly. No late fees, guaranteed.
Cash rebates are automatically deposited to a linked Schwab brokerage account every month. No manual request is required. There are no minimum balance or minimum activities requirements for the Schwab brokerage account. You can link a bank account to the Schwab brokerage account and transfer the rebate money to the linked bank account after the rebate is paid.
Schwab Invest First Visa credit card wins the TFB Award 2009 for Best General Purpose Credit Card. Fidelity Rewards American Express Card comes to a close second. Wider merchant acceptance, automatic rebate deposit, and one-time card numbers put the Schwab Visa card ahead.
There is speculation that Schwab may lower the cash back but they may grandfather existing cardholders. If that’s true and you’d like to get in before they change the program, act fast.
FIA, Schwab, or Fidelity don’t pay me in any way if you apply for a card.
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