I love the world of credit card rewards. I hate the world of credit card debt. Guess which world the credit card companies want us to live in? Many people ask which is the “best” reward card? That is an inherently difficult question because it depends on what your goal is. If your goal is domestic travel, there is a certain class of cards which would be best. If your goal is international travel, there is another group of cards to consider. And if your goal is cash back, there is a whole other set of cards to look into.
Well, I think I found the rewards card that is the “best”. Or close to it anyway. I have had it for a couple of months and it has really made the process of choosing the right credit card from my wallet a little easier. The card I speak of is the Fidelity Investment Rewards Card. It is an American Express branded card but FIA Card Services sends you the bill.
Here are the main advantages of this card:
2% cash back on EVERYTHING. That’s right. Any purchase you can think of. Especially useful for those times where no other rewards credit card seems appropriate. Paying a co-pay at a doctor’s office. Paying the ticket for the parking garage. Donating to a charity of your choice online. You will not find any card that gives you 2% back on every single purchase that doesn’t have an annual fee. Which brings me to the next perk.
No annual fee. If you want one go to card where you won’t have to worry about any fees, this would be the one. There are some travel cards which give 2% cash back, but it’s only for certain travel purchases and there is usually an annual fee involved. There are other no annual fee cash back cards that have 5% categories, but they are limited and only last for a few months. This card gives you the assurance of getting 2% back on everything and not having to worry about a fee. Priceless.
Unlimited rewards. There is no cap or time limit on any rewards. If your normal spend is $10,000 a month (which is a lot but there are ways to make it happen even if you don’t ACTUALLY spend that much), you will get a $200 reward per month. That’s $2,400 for the year. Tax free and yours to spend as you wish. Very tough to beat that.
Sign up bonus: On 3/19/14, I came across a sign up bonus offer for this card. It’s a $75 bonus after spending $500 within 60 days of opening the account. Not the greatest sign up bonus, but better than nothing.
There are some hoops to jump through to get this card, but it should only take a few steps to get through them. To get this card, you MUST have an associated account with Fidelity. This includes an IRA, 529 plan or a brokerage account to buy and sell stocks and mutual funds. Seems like a lot of work to get a credit card right? It used to be, until Fidelity allowed you to simply open a checking account with them. Their checking account is called the Cash Management Account, and opening one allows you to sign up for their amazing Investment Rewards credit card. Pretty simple process and actually a pretty good checking account. No ATM fees and unlimited check writing. I test drove it but ultimately didn’t go with it because their website is a little clunky and I already had similar features with my current checking account.
In any case, signing up for their checking account gives you the ability to apply for the credit card. Once approved, you start using it and when you hit enough rewards, you can transfer it directly into the checking account. You can transfer rewards in increments of $50. From there you can use it to do anything. Get cash from an ATM. Pay part of your credit card bill. Or transfer it to your regular checking account. It’s a pretty simple process.
Besides jumping through a couple of hoops, the only other downside I can think of with this card is that it’s an American Express branded card. Not all businesses care about their customers enough to accept AMEX (come on, I know the fees are higher than Visa but a lot of people use American Express), so it’s good to have a backup Visa or Mastercard just in case.
I love chasing credit card bonuses, but when I’m in between getting credit card bonuses, it’s really nice to have a card that consistently nets you 2% on everything. I can’t see myself not having this card in my wallet for any reason.
(I’m not making anything from Fidelity for promoting this card. It’s just my honest recommendation.)