Fidelity Investment Rewards Visa Card Review

We here at the Investor Junkie household have multiple accounts with Fidelity, and it is the primary account for our taxable investments. In addition, our low interest “fixed” rate credit cards suddenly skyrocketed to over 9% and are now at variable rate. It was time for a new credit card strategy, because low interest rate credit cards are going the way of the do-do bird.  We primarily used the cards for their points anyways, and after thinking about it, %1 return wasn’t such a hot deal.

I thought it would be a good time to scout for a new credit card and focus on points since we primarily pay off our card monthly.  I noticed that Fidelity offers two credit cards, one American Express based and the other is a Visa Signature Card. While the AMEX card offers 2% for all purchases, we already had an American Express with Costco. We also wanted a more widely accepted card so most transactions could go on the card. The Visa card offers:

  • 1.5% cash back when spending up to $15,000 annually
  • 2.0% cash back on any purchases above $15,000
  • No limits on cash rewards
  • No annual fee
  • Direct deposit into any Fidelity account when the cash balance is greater than $50.00

Sign me up! We easily charge over $15,000 per year to our primary credit card.  The card has a somewhat high interest rate (13.99%), which is fine for us since we pay it off monthly. We charge EVERYTHING on the card: daycare, telephone bills, home repairs, grocery shopping, etc.. Heck, I would even put our mortgage payment on it if we could.  I realize that defeats the purpose of paying off the debt.  I’m just saying…

Based upon my estimates, we should get approximately $1,000 annually into our Fidelity account.

We thought it was the best credit card with cash back, especially since we already use Fidelity.  I am aware that Schwab offered a 2% cash rebate credit card.  It looks like, unfortunately, that offer is no longer available.  Right now, for us, this appears to be the best deal available that will deposit money directly into an investment account.

Comments

  1. Joe says:

    NOTE: there is a 3% foreign transaction fee (1% for the Fidelity AMEX card)

  2. Chuck says:

    I just got one of these Fidelity Rewards Visa Cards. I applied on the web site and the cards showed up a few weeks later.

    Now that I have used it for a few weeks it was time to go online any pay my first bill.

    You may pay online (that part of the web site is powered by “CheckFree”). So the online payment part of the web site is not seamlessly integrated with your statement.

    EEK – there is no provision to just simply pay the account balance in full each month. You can pay ad-hoc amounts or a fixed amount each statement period. But the “feature” for paying off the balance is not available for this card according to the fellow I talked to on the phone.

    Balance alerts by e-mail also appear to be non-existent.

    There are all sorts of features that seem nice (Virtual Numbers and extra points when buying through catalog links).

    Perhaps I’ll write a note to Fidelity and let them know they can keep their points unless the alerting and auto-pay issues are resolved.

    Bummer…

    • Investor Junkie says:

      Hi Chuck,

      Keep in mind Bank of America (actually it’s subsidiary) is the one issuing the card and the ones offering that feature. So it’s not directly Fidelity’s fault.

    • Jon says:

      You can setup an automatic draw from your Fidelity account. This has to be done from the FIA card services website….I don’t think you can do it from the mini-screen that is linked directly from Fidelity. They also say it may take up to 2 billing cycles for it to be activated, which doesn’t really make any sense.

      Bottom line, they want you to miss a payment or two, because that’s where they make their money. You definitely need to stay on top of it until you’re sure the direct draw is working.

  3. Ben Lomond says:

    Schwab card was unreal at simple 2% cash back. I’d take this 1.5% and 2% after $15k in purchases, but if BofA owns fia card services, will this card go away just like the Schwab card did?

  4. Disappointed as Well says:

    Similar to Chuck I found it surprisingly unprofessional that they do not provide an easy way to pay the balance in full each month. The standard links through Fidelity and FIA services only allow recurring payments but not payment in full. Through customer service they directed me to a separate url: fiacardservices.com/autopay which does allow setting up auto payment in full on the card, but extremely fishy and disappointing that they make you jump through so many hoops. I anticipate that it will take the same energy to ‘claim’ the rewards points (Bank of America also requires extra energy to claim reward points). If so they can say goodbye to my transaction fees too, I will stick with my Discover Card that makes recurring full payment and claiming of awards seamless.

  5. derfsky says:

    Yes, the FIA Card Services website is designed to force missed payments and be as inconvenient as possible. They recently added a security image and three question security prompt every time you login, which in itself is a minor (albeit unnecessary) inconvenience. However, they exacerbate the inconvenience by making the 3 questions very obscure: mother’s best friend’s name, favorite athlete growing up, first prom date, etc. I have enough trouble remembering the myriad password combinations for my online accounts, let alone remembering which prom date I used as the security question answer (was I thinking middle school or high school? was it my first high school prom or the most personally significant prom? Which of my mom’s best friends was I thinking of?). The site is not user-friendly which is a shame because Amex’s website has a very simple user interface: great expense tracking features, simple bill payment, simple autopay, easy to order card replacements, online chat with a rep, simple point redemption, etc.

    Also, I couldn’t find the terms in the fine print, but the 2% cash back rate converts to 1% at some point (apparently I have reached either the $ or time threshold). They don’t advertise that 2% is a teaser incentive rate.

    I assume somebody at FIA Card Services has done the cost-benefit analyst to determine whether having a user-friendly website + few customer service reps is more profitable than having a site designed to increase delinquent payment fees + many customer service reps. Unfortunately for the consumer, the terrible user interface suggests the latter must have proven more profitable.

  6. derfsky says:

    I would also add that Fidelity’s online user interface is great, but as mentioned above, you can’t access your FIA Card information via either Fidelity’s or Amex’s websites. Amex and Fidelity should be aware that using FIA’s product will negatively impact consumers’ perception of their products.

    • Larry Ludwig says:

      Not true. you can link up your Visa card (I also assume AMEX) within Fidelity’s web site.

      • derfsky says:

        I just checked and I can confirm you are correct. You can view credit card balance detail via the Fidelity.com portal. To access past transactions and make payments, Fidelity then ports you to the FIA Card Services site.

  7. Ron says:

    For the second time in as many years, FIA notified me that “…information from some credit cards may have been compromised at a merchant or service provider.” They refuse to tell me which merchant or service provider reported the breach, and they refuse to cooperate with law enforcement (saying this is an internal matter) prosecute or prevent future “compromises.” In effect, they are condoning fraud by making it impossible for us to avoid using the merchant who experienced the breach. Fidelity should be ashamed to associate with such operators. This has never happened with my Costco Amex card.
    BE WARNED!!!

  8. Scott says:

    I just got a snail-mail solicitation for the Fidelity Investment Rewards card. It screamed “2% cash back on all purchase” plus 5,000 bonus points. Sounded great, but then I read the fine print…

    It said you earn 2 points per dollar spent and points are valid for 5 years (what happens after 5 years?). It also said points are forfeited upon account closure. Which account – the AMEX card or the Fidelity account receiving the cash back?

    But here’s what really confused me:

    “…if you have at least 5,000 points available…[we will] initiate an electronic transfer…to your Fidelity account at the end of each calendar month. The deposit will be made in US dollars in an amount equal to the points balance multiplied by 1% ($0.01 USD)…”

    So it sounds like you get only 1% of your points balance each month (only 12% per year) deposited in the Fidelity account. It also sounds like you can never get the “base” 5,000 points deposited into the Fidelity account because you need “at least 5,000 points available” for them to initiate a monthly deposit.

    While you may *earn* 2 points per dollar / 2%, I don’t see any way, given the legalese, to actually *get* 2% back. I tried calling the number on the solicitation to ask about this, but they were closed on the weekend. Guess they don’t want me to sign up for the card too badly!

    • Benjamin says:

      I think that’s not quite right. They don’t mean you only get 1% of your points cashed in – they mean that the dollar amount you will earn is equal to 1% of the number of points you have (“US dollars in an amount equal to the points balance multiplied by 1%”). So 5000 points is worth 5000 * 1% = 50 dollars.

      The 5000 points requirement seems to mean that you can’t cash in anything for the month unless you’ve gathered at least 5000 points – so if you’ve only gathered 3000 points at the end of January, you won’t get $30 into your account, but if you get another 2000 points before the end of February, then you’ll have reached 5000 points and will get the $50 transfer.

  9. Sophie says:

    I agree with earlier commenter that the payment options leave a lot to be desired – and the customer service is pretty bad – not rude, just incompetent. I got this card because of the 2 points/dollar but I’m going back to Chase Sapphire. It’s not as many points but customer service is leaps and bounds ahead of Fidelity/BofA and the Chase website is so user friendly and intuitive. I value ease of use a LOT but if you can deal with some minor headaches and phonecalls, then maybe the 2 points is worth it for you. Although on chase you get double points for travel and pretty nice discounts on travel/hotels if you use their site. And no foreign transaction fees! Hah – I sound like a paid chase person. I’m not but maybe I should get my fee waived for next year:)

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