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Fidelity Rewards Signature Card?

edited May 14 in Other Investing
(I can move this into OT later. Kind of a “borderline” issue.)

Received an offer to apply for “Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature Card” today.

If I understand correctly …

(1) No annual fee?

(2) 2% cash back on all purchases?

(3) 0% interest on all purchases until November 2025?

(Doesn't state a credit limit at this point.) Sounds too good to be true. What an I missing? And, importantly, can you pay off the balance in part or in full anytime you want to?

I’m planning a home related infrastructure project for late summer that will top 15K. And the provider says he accepts credit cards. Geez - that kind of $$ interest free for 18 months certainly has appeal, if I understand this correctly.


  • You’re not missing anything. Been available forever.
  • Hank, sounds similar to the Capital One card I got a couple years ago. Cap-1 also gave me $200 if you charged 'x' amount in 'y' amount of time. That limit wasn't hard to reach, so a free $200. I try to use this card as my primary means of paying. I think I've accumulated $5-600 cash back so far. I don't travel a lot, other than visiting the kids in Columbus and Pittsburgh. I don't remember any problems.

    I used to be a primarily cash person also, but I now find it very handy and useful to have a record of purchases at your finger tips. I also have a MM with Capital One and use that transfer feature to pay off the card monthly, fwiw.

    @hank, are you on Credit Karma? There are a bunch of options there for new cards based on your credit score, fwiw. Most with about the same benefits as the Fidelity card you describe. Many will give you a bonus as I described.
  • @hank

    I've had the Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature Card for several years.
    It has no annual fee and it offers 2% cash back on all purchases.
    Foreign transaction fees for international purchases were removed last year.
    My current APR for purchases and balance transfers is 19.24%.
    I pay off the monthly balance in full.
  • edited May 14
    Naw @Mike … I prefer generally to pay cash for most things. (Just sent the propane company a $420 check for a tank top-off.) But for airfare, hotels, rental cars etc. I rely on credit. I could make an exception and charge the home project if Fido really wants to lend me 10 or 15K interest free for a year. Doesnt’t take rocket science to know you can invest that amount for 5%.

    I’d rather not name my current Visa provider. Been with the firm 20 years. Large well known financial services company. But they will no longer accept “travel notes” ahead of domestic travel. So … after ending up stranded out of state in the early AM hours in January due to a flight delay, they declined a purchase for food (as “suspicious”). And the food / delivery provider would only accept credit at that time of night.

    I do have a debit card tied to my Fido cash management account. And, thankfully, they allow you to leave travel notes, as I would expect their signature credit card would.

    Thanks for the thoughts folks. I was thinking maybe there’s a hidden fee with the Fido card? Or maybe they’ll low ball me by offering only a small initial credit limit? Won’t know until I apply. Offer’s good until some time in July.
  • @hank,

    (You can obviously do this manually, but automating it is kind of cool) This card can also have the cash back redeemed into a Fidelity account (mine goes into my son’s account minor brokerage account) every month. Just an added feature/benefit. Plus I think there may not be a cap on cash back.
  • edited May 14
    Glad to hear you use this card @Observant1 … Thanks for the info.

    I use Identity Guard following an identity theft over a decade ago. And, using IG I keep my credit files locked. Probably reason I get so few offers. Fido is obviously reaching out because I have assets invested with them.

    BTW - The offer does mention a 19.24%+ APR on unpaid balances. Obviously that’s after the introductory term. And 29+% on cash advances (thought Jesse James was dead).
  • My Visa card bank also says that it doesn't require travel notifications anymore because of its intelligent systems, but when my wife recently traveled overseas with it, I informed them anyway via their secure system.

    When travel requirement was in place, once I forgot to notify & had it denied. Good that I had another card.

    Year ago, when first issued, Schwas ATM/debit had no limit. I called to add limit, but they said that it was backed fully by the brokerage a/c & I shouldn't worry about fraud as there was a max $50 liability. But it worried me & I didn't carry it me except when going to ATM for withdrawal.
  • There are a few small gotchas.

    In 2016, Fidelity changed bank providers from BofA (FIACardServices) to Elan. Do a little web searching and you will find many less than kind things said about Elan's customer service. If you don't run into a problem with the card, that isn't a big deal.

    If you had a Visa Signature Card before that switch, it paid only 1.5% until you hit $15K of charges in a year, then it paid 2%. When Fidelity switched to Elan, it didn't automatically up the rebate to a flat 2%, you had to ask for it.

    In order to get the full 2% back, you need to have a Fidelity account into which the rebates can be deposited. Not an issue for @hank who opened accounts there, but still it is used as a hook to reel in customers.

    Personally, another gotcha is that I've got enough Visa cards in my wallet already. If Fidelity offered this as a MC, I might look into it. (There are still some vendors, like Costco, that take one brand of card but not others.) That's specific to me, though.
  • edited May 14
    It was actually Elan (which I declined to name earlier) that has caused my angst. But honestly, I’ve been treated like royality by them for 15-20 years except for the recent change not allowing domestic travel notes. Sorry to hear people have said unkind things about them.

    Everyone is moving more and more to automation. Humans are too expensive. I suspect that’s where this travel-notes change stems from. Carrying extra cash in your sock or wherever doesn’t work very well at 2:30 AM and you’re stranded somewhere ordering food online.

    I carry 3 debit cards counting the Fidelity C/M card. Just one real CC.

    My plan: Keep the current Elan for what I use it for. Call Fido to get a specific dollar offer before applying for their card. If it’s close to the 15K the planned infrastructure project will require, I’ll be glad to put that on their card, invest the money elsewhere, and pay them back a year later. (And maybe pocket the extra 2% as well).

    And - Oh. Thanks for the help everyone.
  • edited May 16
    I agree with pretty much everything said above. Something to add:

    1. Elan is a real pain to deal with if you ever have a problem with an incorrect charge or, say, a refund that does not go through. I have had such issues on several cards and, in spite of an ultimately successful resolution, Elan was by far the most difficult to deal with.

    2. You likely know this already, but in case somebody is not aware: even though they are offering this as a 0% APR promo, it will still count as a CC balance which may cause a larger hit on your credit report than other loan types.

    @msf Citi is running a 75K mileage promo on their AAdvantage Platinum Select MC w $0 fee for the first year (spend $3,500 over the first 3 months). Depending on which estimate you believe, this is a $915 to $1,275 value. After the first year, you can switch to Citi AAdvantage MileUp MC, which - unlike most mileage cards - has $0 annual fee. (The conversion is free, preserves credit limit, and does not go on the credit report.) If you fly American Airlines only occasionally, any activity on these cards stops AAdvantage miles from expiring.
  • @yugo is correct. If you use your credit card line in full, there is a penalty on the credit score. You should keep the usage % low, around 20-30% of the credit limit (per card). And 0% card offers may have initial 3-5% fee and duration of 12-18 months only.

    Look into HELOC for home improvement loans.
  • My experience is that the credit hits are at least that bad. When my current balance across all cards approaches 10% of my total credit limit across all cards (and not more than 25% on any given card), my credit scores take 20 point hits. I have a good enough credit rating that this doesn't worry me, but this is still crazy.

    A hard pull can stay on your record for two years. Even if you abort an application before completing it. (I suppose one could contest that part of one's credit file, but what seems to matter is the fact that a credit inquiry was made, not so much whether it was justified.)

    So I'm not too inclined to play the credit card application bonus game. If there's an offer on a card I wouldn't consider holding long term, I'll usually pass.
  • @hank : Did you happen to ask the contractor if he up charges for payment with the card? That wouldn't make you happy if he did ! Say 3% on $15K.
  • edited May 14
    Sure, it's a personal choice. Just to add my 2c: a CC application itself normally causes a hard pull on the credit report which can, indeed, 'stay' on your report for 2 years but 'affects' your score for 1 year. I did this offer last year - it cost me 12 points w one of the agencies (I did not track It did not go on the other two).
  • A problem with relying on a one year impact rule is that the institutions saying this almost always equivocate - "may" affect your score, "usually", etc.

    Experian recently (2023) wrote: "While a hard inquiry will stay on your credit report for two years, it will usually only impact your credit for up to a year, and usually by less than five points."

    Likewise, FICO writes: "In general, credit inquiries have a small impact on your FICO Scores. For most people, one additional credit inquiry will take less than five points off their FICO Scores."

    That doesn't seem to match the experience you had. If Experian got the size of the impact wrong (or at least wrong for you), can one expect Experian's estimate of the duration of the impact to be any more reliable? All these "usually" statements from the industry seem designed more to calm critics than to provide actionable information.

    There's a thread on MFO now about how fast insurance rates are going up. I'm disinclined to throw another variable (credit score) into the mix. As you wrote, it's a personal choice.

  • I recall my Fidelity Visa card had been 2% from the getgo, but evidently my memory is faulty. Never had to ask for 2%. Have dealt w Elan a lot and no problems, except that the card gets hacked a lot. I have replaced ours maybe 4 times the last year-plus; one time the new one that came in the mail was hacked within a day or two.

    The best simple card deal I know, if you're a Verizon wireless customer, is their Visa card, which lets you apply 4% of all food / dining purchases (3% gas and maybe some other things) toward your wireless bill. Some months we pay 1990s-level totals for three cellphones, or even lower.
  • I recall my Fidelity Visa card had been 2% from the getgo, but evidently my memory is faulty. Never had to ask for 2%. Have dealt w Elan a lot and no problems, except that the card gets hacked a lot. I have replaced ours maybe 4 times the last year-plus; one time the new one that came in the mail was hacked within a day or two.

    The best simple card deal I know, if you're a Verizon wireless customer, is their Visa card, which lets you apply 4% of all food / dining purchases (3% gas and maybe some other things) toward your wireless bill. Some months we pay 1990s-level totals for three cellphones, or even lower.

    4x in one year? Jeez, that would be a giant red flag to bail on them no matter how good the rewards are. That reeks of deeper problems with their back-end systems. It's like how after the 4th or 5th data breach @ TMobile I bailed on them both on principle and practical reasons .... not to mention, I have enough credit monitoring to my name to last a few lifetimes already.
  • edited May 15
    Some great insights. The project’s funding (hopefully late summer) was already incorporated into my IRA withdrawal planning. I actually shifted some $$ Friday into cash as I noted on the “buy / sell” thread. If the Fido offer received yesterday by mail was indeed “free money” it would make more sense to leave the funds growing for another 12-15 months inside the 2 IRAs (Roth / Traditional)

    But little is free in life. And there are the risks mentioned (mainly a possible hit to my insurance premiums) plus the unknown risk of assuming next year would be a better year to pull the IRA funds than this year. At 5% compounded, 15K would net something north of $750 over a year. Not a big deal in the whole scheme of things. Possibly, I might max the card out and pull the funds monthly to repay. When you’re mostly fully invested all the time as I tend to be, pulling money in stages is a bit easierl

    Fortunately the project is 1-3 months away. No start date yet. Labor shortage here as has been for many years now.

    Yuppers - As someone noted, some merchants (including one of my physicians) charge a fee for using credit cards. I’d be willing to bet that’s the case with this company. Just displaying credit card symbols on its webpage doesn’t mean they won’t charge a fee.

    This “deal” is fast losing its luster.:)
  • I recall my Fidelity Visa card had been 2% from the getgo, but evidently my memory is faulty. Never had to ask for 2%.

    It all depends on timing. Fidelity had offered a MasterCard paying 1.5% and an Amex card paying 2% through FIA Card Services. Somewhere around 2015 Fidelity switched from MasterCard to Visa. That Visa, still with FIA, paid 1.5%.

    When Fidelity moved to Elan in 2016, it upped the Visa rewards to 2% for new accounts and for accounts where the customer requested the better rate. Only then did I switch my Fidelity Amex account (paying 2%) to the Fidelity (Elan) Visa card (also paying 2%).

    The "getgo" for the Fidelity Visa card was not long before the move to Elan, so it is quite possible that you only started with Fidelity Visa after that. Or you might have converted cards as I did. Or ...
  • We’ve had the Fidelity rewards VISA through Elan for several years with few problems. We use our credit card for almost all purchases, so the rewards add up — $1,245 over the past year. Our account has had false charges several times, which were immediately caught by Elan and refunded if applicable. In those cases, they’ve sent us new card right away.
  • Our account has had false charges several times, which were immediately caught by Elan and refunded if applicable. In those cases, they’ve sent us new card right away.
    We have cards from a local CU and don't have problems. As noted otherwise here, too; more than 'normal' problems with the 'Elan' card would be a problem that our house would not want to deal with....
  • edited May 15
    There’s also an offer to get $150 back after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days but only 12 months of zero interest:

    If you’d rather deal with another bank than Elan, there are other similar cards and offers including:
    Citi Double Cash: 2% back, $200 bonus, 18 months zero interest

    Wells Fargo Active Cash: 2% back, $200 bonus, 15 months zero interest

    I wouldn’t worry so much about the hit to your credit score. As an semi-irregular credit card churner, I can say that your score might drop a few points but bounces back pretty quickly.

  • Just got my Fidelity offer in the mail. These come so frequently that I usually just toss them without looking. My offer is for only 12 months 0% interest, though with a $150 bonus if I charge $1K within 90 days. As MrRuffles observed, that's exactly the same offer that Fidelity has online.

    And here I was hoping Fidelity thought I was someone special:-)

    Like hank's current card, BofA does not let you record travel notices. This has concerned me ever since BofA denied a $300 car repair charge. Best guess is that they flagged it as suspicious because I was having repairs done at a gas (service) station. Who charges $300 worth of gas?

    At least I could call the bank from the service station. It's more of a problem internationally, though BofA lets me clear these holds online. Nevertheless, it's a reason I keep an eye out for a backup card (preferably MC) with no foreign transaction fee and decent cash back/no fee.

    I may just have to go along with Meat Loaf here:

  • I have had a Fidelity credit card for decades and as I say I was pretty sure I never requested anything. I am now recalling when it was Amex and how very nice a situation that was. Long ago.

    Roger what @Tarwheel posted. Everybody is fast at detecting theft charges. In fact the previous record with us for quick serial fraud charges was with Amex, 2-3 replacement cards needed within a couple of months.
  • edited May 15
    I’ll have to confess … in several hundred flights over 50+ years I’ve never found myself ordering pizza delivery at 2:30 AM from some outfit in a Chicago suburb. Flight was more than 7 hours behind schedule. Missed a connection home. Booked a room near O’Hare. All 4 of my cards were declined the first try. One local bank debit card went through the second time. I had called the bank before leaving and left travel notes. The pizza was great. I never eat it except under the most stressful travel situations. Last one was 4 or 5 years earlier when got stranded in NYC an extra night. Which was better? I’d give a slight edge to NYC pizza.

    Sorry to deflate your balloon @msf. Go ahead and use your “special offer.” I don’t think I want any part of this.:)
  • Oh, I wasn't talking about Fidelity/Elan. I was thinking, perhaps of one of the AAA cards, though they are provided by Bread Financial/Comenity Bank. That is not well regarded either. So a AAA card may not be a better alternative.

    I'm looking for a backup card for foreign travel. Backup means it won't be used frequently but reliability is important. It seems that QuickSilver (Capital One) changed from Visa to MC a couple of years ago. It checks all my boxes.

    It pays only 1.5% cash back, but for an infrequently used card a half percent difference isn't important. What does matter is that it has no annual fee or foreign transaction fee. And MC means it complements the Visa card I use for foreign travel. A modest signup bonus ($200) is a small plus. Not to mention half off coffee drinks in their cafes.

    Obviously, each person's criteria are different. The Fidelity card works nicely for many.
  • edited May 16
    I have the Fido 2% cash back for many years. The first time I did a dispute was last week, what a pain in the A$$. You must talk to a rep and it took 30 minutes for a simple dispute.
    I joined Penfed 15-20 years ago, (anyone can) and have 2 cards
    1) 5% cash back on all gas stations, you must fill at the pump. I use it only for gas. It also pays 3% for supermarkets, food and more. But Walmart and Aldi where I shop are not included.
    2) 2% cash back worldwide on everything.
    Both cards have a real zero fee worldwide and good customer service. You can dispute online in minutes.
    Last year they helped me with a tough case against a car rental in the Netherlands, I got all the money, they canceled the card and got me a new one so the merchant could not charge me again.
    Wow, I just talked myself out of using the Fidelity CC.

    See it at

    Other than that I'm not interested in points and/or limited cards and/or gradually increasing cards. Give it to me simple.
  • edited May 19

    Thanks. I’ve saved the link to penfed. Just wondered … Do they have 24-hour live phone support? Easy to call? How well do they treat clients who call with inquiries, issues, etc?

    I don’t think the live support at Elan is as good as it was a few years ago. I had a Citibank MC up until about 2005. Not only was the support lacking, but back then they besieged you with promotions. Can’t remember the exact nature of these. But it was annoying to call in. There may have been some “hard-sell” tactics by the phone reps trying to sell you unwanted services. Can’t remember the details. But that was the main reason I moved to Elan.

    I appreciate that many people are reaping profits in the form of cash back, bonuses, travel points, etc. Never been my goal. Just good service w/o pressure tactics is what I’ve always cared about. And, of course, I pay balance off at the end of each cycle.
  • hank, they have a good service. I already gave a difficult issue they solved for me.
    Not sure about the hours, maybe 8 to 8.

    Cashback is the easiest way to have an ongoing reward based on how much you spend...why not use it?
  • edited May 19
    I searched for credit cards with good overall cash-back policies and minimal hassles.
    I didn't want to play games with rotating categories, travel rewards, or some other BS.
    Show me the money!
    I found two good cash-back credit cards years ago (newest is >6 yrs. old).
    I haven't had customer service problems with the corresponding card issuers
    and plan to hold these cards long-term barring any unforseen circumstances.
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