The 2 Best No Annual Fee Cashback Cards: Fidelity AMEX and Discover It

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Or, you’re crazy not to get these 2 cards. They’re free money!

I’m reviewing my cards because it’s getting to the end of the year and doing a little maintenance on what needs to get dumped or renewed.

On the dump list is:

I need to clear out some clutter because I recently added:

Out with the old, in with the new as they say.

But, there are 2 cashback cards definitely worth keeping and/or getting. And yes, there’s a distinction.

Keep the Fidelity AMEX forever

As long as the gettin’s good with the Fidelity AMEX card, I’ll keep it. I love it.

It earns 2% cash back on every purchase. Full stop. Boom.

No categories to think about, easy peezy.

And, it’s super handy to load up your AMEX Serve account up to $1,000 a month.

On April 16th, 2015, AMEX stripped the ability to load AMEX Serve with anything other than an AMEX card. And that’s when the Fidelity AMEX started to shine.

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Free money into my IRA!

As you can see, my first round of rewards started in June 2015. Before that, I let my rewards pile up, then started to dutifully load up my AMEX Serve account every month.

It’s how I pay my rent and utility bills, and I love it.

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But I love compound interest even more

Even if you only load up your AMEX Serve account for $1,000 per month, you’d earn $240 in free money each year that you can cash out or use for statement credits.

Or, you can stash it away in an IRA. 

Assuming a 7% return for 20 years, and a $240 contribution each year, you’ll end up with nearly $11,000.

Not bad for a card that’s free to keep!

I also use this card at Costco because they only accept AMEX cards (through March 2016), and it’s eligible for AMEX Offers – which can save you even more money.

While I don’t think this card will last for 20 more years, take the free money while you can. This year, I got $201 bucks – for free. (And there’s still 2 months left!)

Mostly from loading my AMEX Serve account, which is also free.

So it’s literally free money. 

Even better, I’m never taxed on the rewards and because I’m putting it into a Roth IRA, I’ll never pay taxes on it. It’s “only” $240 a year, but damn it feels good to get this little slice of cash past the government!

Get the Discover It, and evaluate it for spending

You know what’s shocked the heck outta me?

The Discover It card.

Pick a card, any card...

Pick a card, any card…

Again, I can’t overstate how much I’m loving this card.

Wowza

Wowza

Other than the cashback is pouring in like crazy. I’ve earned over $500 back since I picked up the card in August!

For a card with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees, that’s pretty dang good!

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Get $500 smackaroos from referring your frans

And, as you know, the bonus is doubled after the first 12 billing cycles. So I’ll get another $500+ bucks next August!

Even better, you can earn $500 from referring your frans. You get $50 per fran you refer, up to 10 frans each calendar year.

Which means you can earn $500 in 2015, and turn around and do it again in 2016.

$1,000 easy bucks… which will then be doubled. $2,000 (assuming you refer 20 peeps total, 10 in each calendar year).

So, feel free to post your referral links in the comments below! Or, if you want to pick up the card, it’s available via my links, too.

Discover Deals rocks

Discover Deals rocks

Then there’s the Discover Deals portal.

Combine it with Discover It‘s 5% quarterly bonus category and get 30% off certain merchants, like my beloved Kohl’s.

Here’s how the math breaks down:

  • 10% from Discover Deals
  • 5% from the category bonus
  • Doubled after 12 billing cycles
  • You get 15% back now and another 15% back later, for a total of 30% off

You essentially get a 30% discount that’s stackable with other deals, promos, etc.

At Kohl’s, I like to stack it like this:

  • 30% off with a promo code
  • Free shipping with a promo code
  • Earn Kohl’s cash
  • Earn Yes2You Rewards
  • Get another 30% off with Discover It (which is 2 “dips”)

Add it all up, and you have yourself a quintuple dip (and a huge amount of savings!)

Be careful to pay with your Discover card after you click through the portal, though. They’ve been cracking down on that recently.

So, this card is a fantastic deal for the 1st year. Because it’s easy to get at least $600 bucks out of it.

But the 2nd year? I mean 5% back is a handy category. But 1% back is lackluster.

That said, it’s free to keep, and who knows, there might be a nice promotion down the road.

At the very least, it’s good to keep to age your credit accounts for free.

Bottom line

The Fidelity AMEX is an amazing card to keep for ongoing spending, while the Discover It is an amazing card to get for at least a year.

Either way, they’re both free to have, and it’s easy to get nearly $1,000 bucks (or more) in solid cash money from these cards ($240 from Fidelity AMEX by loading to AMEX Serve, and $600 from Discover It – but probably more).

If I had to pick 1 single cashback card, it would be the Fidelity AMEX. But Discover It, man, it’s a solid card – for a year. Hence the keep vs. get with the 2 cards.

Feel free to weigh in if you agree – or think another card is better!

Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

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About Harlan

Just a dude living in Dallas.

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  1. Harlan, I would downgrade the Club Carlson Visa to the no fee version rather than tossing it. You get to age your accounts while keeping it, there are some uses for it such as get no fee checking from US Bank if you have the card, and you never know if Club Carlson might become competitive again or launch a new promotion with their credit card.

    I qualified for the 30,000 point bonus promotion this summer with the no fee card — it was not simply limited to those cards where you had to pay a fee.

    Therefore, unless there is some overriding reason why you MUST dumpt the card, I’d downgrade it and let it gather dust until such time as it may become useful again.

    • You’re right of course. I’ll be downgrading as soon as I get my 40K annual point bonus!

      Will be interesting to see if US Bank scrounges for promos/lost customers after all the Club Carlson changes for sure!

  2. HARLAN —

    Also, see my comments on your earlier thread — which I just made — with respect to the AMEX Platinum.

    Don’t be too hasty in ditching it just yet — see if you can squeeze out another $200 airline credit early next year before doing so.

    There usually is a 60 day window where you can get back the entire fee once paid, and after that, a pro rata refund. See if those dates work for you vis a vis the 2016 airline reimbursement before finally killing the card.

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