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The Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card is a cash back credit card with no annual fee and a rewards-earning rate of up to 2% (2 Fidelity Rewards points per $1 spent).
This card is unequivocally designed for customers with Fidelity deposit and investment accounts, such as the free-to-open, free-to-maintain Fidelity Cash Management Account. Only Fidelity accountholders can redeem cash back rewards points for direct deposits into Fidelity accounts at a value of $0.01 per point. Other redemption methods are available to non-Fidelity customers, including statement credits, but they value points at less than $0.01 apiece.
Though it has a great baseline cash back earning rate, Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature lacks some of the bells and whistles of other cash back credit cards. For instance, it doesn’t have a sign-up bonus or introductory 0% APR promotion. On the bright side, it does have a nice lineup of Visa Signature benefits and a below-average foreign transaction fee.
Earning Cash Back Rewards
Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature earns unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases, with no spending categories or restrictions. Cash back is expressed as Fidelity Rewards points, with every $1 spent earning 2 points.
Redeeming Cash Back Rewards
You can redeem your accumulated cash back rewards for deposits into several different Fidelity account types:
- Fidelity traditional brokerage
- Fidelity Cash Management Account (an FDIC-insured short term investment account that combines the privileges of a checking account with access to money markets and CDs)
- Fidelity Roth IRA
- Fidelity traditional IRA
- Fidelity rollover IRA
- Fidelity SEP IRA
- Fidelity-managed 529 college savings plan.
- Fidelity Go account (a managed investment account)
- Fidelity Charitable Giving Account (an account to hold cash earmarked for charitable giving, with possible tax advantages for those who itemize deductions)
If you wish, you can divide your rewards among multiple accounts – say, 1/3 in your Cash Management Account, 1/3 in your Roth IRA, and 1/3 in your 529 college savings plan. No matter how they’re divvied up, points are always worth $0.01 apiece when redeemed for deposits into these accounts. The minimum redemption threshold is 5,000 points ($50), and redemptions occur automatically once you hit that threshold unless you specify otherwise.
You can also redeem your rewards for gift cards, travel, statement credits, and merchandise, starting at a redemption threshold of 2,500 points. Points values are variable (and are generally worth less than $0.01 apiece) when not redeemed into a Fidelity account.
This card has no annual fee. The foreign transaction fee is 1% of the transaction amount, while the cash advance and balance transfer fees are both the greater of $5 or 3% of the transferred amount.
Visa Signature Benefits
This card comes with some useful Visa-backed benefits, including:
- Emergency assistance for travelers
- Worldwide travel accident insurance (a bare-bones form of travel insurance)
- Complimentary rental car insurance
- 24/7 concierge service for travelers
- Complimentary replacement of purchased items damaged or destroyed by theft and certain other hazards within 90 days of purchase
This card requires good to excellent credit. If there are any significant credit issues in your past, you may not qualify.
- No Annual Fee. Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature charges no annual fee. That’s great news for frugal cardholders and light spenders who don’t accumulate rewards quickly enough to offset a recurring fee.
- High Baseline Earning Rate When Redeemed Into Certain Accounts. When you redeem your points for direct deposits into Fidelity deposit and investment accounts, your points are worth $0.01 apiece – good for a 2% return on your spending. Since it’s free to maintain a Fidelity Cash Management Account, there’s little downside to opening one and using it to redeem your Fidelity Rewards points, even if you’re not a current Fidelity customer.
- No Spending Tiers or Rotating Categories. This card earns 2 points per $1 spent on everything. This simple scheme is a big advantage over cash back cards with spending tiers or rotating categories, such as Chase Freedom – both of which require you to keep track of bonus categories that change every 3 months.
- Flexible Rewards Redemption. When it’s time to redeem, this card lets you divide your cash back rewards among multiple Fidelity accounts. Most credit cards allow you to redeem rewards in increments (rather than cash out your entire account all at once), but it’s less common for cards to allow multiple bank account deposits in a single click.
- Relatively Low Foreign Transaction Fee. Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature has a relatively low foreign transaction fee of just 1%. Many competing cards’ foreign transaction fees come in at 3%. If you travel abroad often, this break stretches your tourist dollars a bit farther.
- No Penalty APR. This card doesn’t charge penalty APR. That’s good news for cardholders who sometimes miss payments due to liquidity issues or hectic schedules. Many competing cash back cards do charge penalty APR, many on an indefinite basis once you miss your first payment.
- No Sign-up Bonus. Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature doesn’t have a sign-up bonus, so there’s no way to juice your earnings right after you open your account. Most competing cash back cards have sign-up bonuses, many in excess of $100. Barclaycard CashForward has a $100 sign-up bonus, while the bonus offered by Chase Freedom Unlimited is reliably worth $150.
- High Minimum Redemption Threshold. This card’s $50 minimum redemption threshold is problematic for light spenders, who can take months to earn enough rewards to cash out. Many competing cards, including Capital One Quicksilver and the Discover it family, have low or nonexistent minimum redemption requirements.
- Full Cash Back Requires a Corresponding Fidelity Deposit Account. To realize this card’s full cash back potential, you need to open a corresponding Fidelity deposit or investment account. While this doesn’t necessarily cost anything (as the Cash Management Account is free to open and maintain), it does require an extra step, which can be problematic for busy applicants. Citi Double Cash, another 2% cash back card, doesn’t require a separate account for full cash back earnings.
- Value of Rewards Is Lower When Redeemed for Statement Credits. If you don’t want to open a Fidelity account, but do want to redeem your accumulated cash back rewards for a cash equivalent, this card allows you to redeem for a statement credit to your credit card account. Unfortunately, this option reduces the value of your points, meaning you don’t get the full 2% cash back rate. Most other cash back cards don’t force you to take a hit when redeeming for statement credits.
- No Way to Earn More Than 2% on Spending. Though it’s nice that Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature has no confusing tiers or rotating categories, it’s a bummer that it offers no way to earn more than 2% back on your spending. If you seek a card that rewards you well for purchases in certain categories, look to American Express Blue Cash Everyday (up to 3% cash back) or Blue Cash Preferred (up to 6% cash back with a $95 annual fee).
2% cash back isn’t unheard of, but it’s certainly worth noting when a new 2% card comes around. There’s some question as to whether the Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card qualifies as a true 2% card, as a Fidelity deposit or investment account is required to unlock the full value of its points. Still, if you’re an existing Fidelity customer or are considering opening an account with the company, this card definitely sweetens the deal.