Each popular investment company has a branded rewards credit card that offers cash back rewards on all purchases that you make.
And you can maximize these rewards if you deposit them into a qualifying investment account with the firm.
It’s a hassle-free way to increase the amount of money in your investment portfolio by simply swiping a card for your everyday purchases.
Both cards made our list of the best credit cards for saving or investing your rewards, but which is best for your wallet?
This article includes all the details to help you make a smart decision. And make sure to read to the end to see which card money expert Clark Howard likes best.
Table of Contents
|Credit Card Perk||Fidelity Rewards Visa||Schwab Investor Card from American Express|
|Cash Back Rewards||Unlimited 2% when invested in a qualified Fidelity investment account||Unlimited 1.5% when automatically invested in Schwab investment accoutn|
|Cash Back Balance Redemption Minimum||$50 (automatic deposit into linked investment account)||No minimum, automatically deposited based on monthly spending|
|Cash Back Redemption Method||Investment account credits, statement credits, gift cards, travel rewards||One linked eligible Schwab account|
|Intro Period for 0% APR on New Purchases||None||6 months|
|Intro Period for 0% APR on Balance Transfers||None||None|
|Welcome Bonus Opportunity||None||$100 after $1,000 in spending during first three months|
|Foreign Transaction Fees||1%||2.7%|
|Apple App Rating||4.8 out of 5||4.9 out of 5|
|Google App Rating||4.3 out of 5||4.2 out of 5|
Card Overview: Fidelity Rewards Visa
This card is targeted at Fidelity investment account holders as a passive way to grow the amount of money they contribute to those accounts.
To earn the 2% cash back, which accrues in $50 increments, all you have to do is set up an eligible Fidelity investment account and choose for the rewards money to be deposited there.
Clark says this the top card for people who are looking to invest their credit card rewards.
Here are the different types of Fidelity accounts where you can deposit your credit card rewards:
- Brokerage account
- Fidelity® Cash Management Account
- Fidelity®-managed 529 College Savings plan
- Retirement account (IRA, Roth IRA, etc.)
- Fidelity Go® account
- Fidelity Charitable® Giving Account®
Fidelity has other ways you can redeem your rewards, but in some cases, that means you drop below 2% in earnings.
Here’s a quick look at some of the other perks to consider with this card:
- Zero Liability Fraud Protection: If your card is lost or stolen, you will not be held responsible for unauthorized charges.
- Travel and Emergency Assistance Services: Through the Visa Signature program, you can contact the number on your card for help coordinating medical, legal or travel services. You’ll also have access to Roadside Dispatch, Travel Accident Insurance and Lost Luggage Reimbursement programs as part of this card’s travel perks.
- NortonLifeLock Benefit: Cardholders now receive complimentary access to ID Navigator Powered by NortonLifelock. This is a subscription service that provides you with tools for staying informed of potential threats to your identity. You must visit this website and complete the eligibility verification to receive the benefit.
- More Visa Signature Perks: You can access special offers and discounts (specialoffers.visa.com) on shopping and dining. You’ll also have access to the 24-hour Visa Signature concierge (800-953-7392) and can gain special access to sporting, entertainment and dining events (visa.com/signature).
This Fidelity card also used to carry an auto rental collision damage waiver and extended warranty coverage, but those were eliminated as benefits in March 2021.
For more details on the Fidelity Rewards Visa, you can read Team Clark’s full review of the card here.
Card Overview: Schwab Investor Card from American Express
The Schwab Investor Card from American Express is a cash back rewards credit card that is offered exclusively to Charles Schwab customers.
The rewards platform is very straightforward: 1.5% cash back on all purchases. But those rewards must be deposited into your qualifying Schwab investment account. There are no other redemption methods.
Here’s Schwab’s list of the kinds of accounts where you can deposit your credit card rewards:
- Schwab One or Schwab General Brokerage Account held in your name or in the name of a revocable living trust where you are the grantor and trustee
- Schwab Traditional, Roth or Rollover IRA that is not managed by an independent investment advisor
In addition to your cash back rewards, you’ll also get some nice benefits from American Express, which is the issuer of this credit card.
Here’s a look at some of the perks available to cardholders:
- Welcome Bonus: The Schwab card offers you a $100 welcome bonus if you spend at least $1,000 within the first three months. That’s a pretty small bonus, but it’s also a pretty easy spending threshold to clear at just $334 per month.
- 0% APR Period: This card offers a six-month period for 0% APR on new purchases. (The card does not currently offer a 0% period for balance transfers.)
- Amex Offers: One of the top benefits of having an American Express card is access to its revolving offering of rebates. All you have to do is use the Amex app or website to opt into a deal that interests you, and it could bring you a statement credit for spending you were planning to do anyway. Read more about the program here.
- Free ShopRunner Membership: This provides free two-day delivery from more than 100 popular retailers through the ShopRunner service.
Key Differences Between the Cards
Now that you have a good understanding of what each card brings to the table, let’s examine a few key differences that may help you make your decision.
Both of these cards do a good job of offering unlimited cash back without spending caps or category restrictions. But the Fidelity card’s 2% return rate is obviously better than the 1.5% offered by Schwab.
The difference may seem small on the surface, but it adds up over the long run.
Let’s say you spend $10,000 per year with one of these cards. If you’re carrying the Fidelity card, that’s going to net you $200 in rewards applied to your investment account but just $150 with the Schwab card.
Now do that same annual spending for five years, and the totals are even more noticeable: $1,000 from Fidelity and only $750 from Schwab.
This is the area in which the Schwab card really shines compared to Fidelity.
Schwab’s card offers both a six-month period for 0% APR on new purchases and a $100 welcome bonus if you spend $1,000 or more within the first three months of membership.
In the grand scheme of credit card welcome bonuses and 0% periods, these are not the best offers. But it’s actually pretty rare that a straight cash back credit card offers both of these. Many popular ones don’t offer either.
Fidelity does not offer any welcome bonuses. That means no 0% APR spending opportunities and no chance to make some quick cash for using the card right away.
Visa vs. American Express
If you’re serious about the details of your credit card perks, it may make a difference to you that the Fidelity card runs on the Visa Signature platform while the Schwab card is an American Express.
Differences can include both the types of perks available (warranties, discounts, etc.) and the amount of time or terms on the offers.
From a spending perspective, Visa is going to carry a slight advantage as one of the most accepted card payment methods in the country.
While American Express has made great strides in this area in recent years, it’s still not quite as widely accepted as Visa.
For many people, the decision between these cards may come down to your existing investment accounts.
If you’re a loyal customer to either Fidelity or Schwab, it likely makes sense to simply tack on to your existing investment vehicles with the branded cash back card that goes along with your brokerage of choice.
However, if you’re looking at opening a new brokerage account, you may want to consider choosing Fidelity.
Money expert Clark Howard told me that he believes Fidelity is a good company and the Fidelity Rewards Visa is a great option for tacking on to your investment or savings account.
“Fidelity, Fidelity, Fidelity and Fidelity,” Clark said when asked about choosing a credit card for investing rewards.
“Get that 2%. Fidelity is a brilliantly run company. They have this ability to cut through the clutter and offer certain things that are clearly better than the competition. The 2% credit card is a perfect example.”
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