Editorial Disclosure: Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.
- Cut the Crap: The Fidelity Investment Rewards Credit Card is THE BEST cash back card!
- Is the Fidelity Amex the best cashback card in the universe?
I’ve written lots about the AMEX Fidelity card. It’s such a great addition to any wallet. (Too bad they’ve lost the WorldPoints mall, though.)
Now that the Barclaycard Arrival Plus is a Barclaycard Arrival Minus, I recommend the Fidelity AMEX as a card to take its place.
BUT, before you sign up, remember you can get an easy $600 with the Discover It card – and the double cash back promotion has been extended until September 30th! (I’m signing up this weekend, on August 1st. And it’s available via my links!)
For non-bonused spend – think oil changes, dentist, post office – the AMEX Fidelity card is great. That’s because when you hit 5,000 points, you can redeem for a $50 statement credit to your Roth IRA (which is tax-fee forever!), college savings account… or cash management account.
Why cash management?
Really, the Fidelity Cash Management Account is a bank account like any other, with a few key differences.
First, there are no branches. But there are also no fees.
And everything is free.
There are no minimums to think about, no X number of transactions required. And you get unlimited ATM withdrawals at ANY ATM in the US.
Note: In practice, however, I’ve gotten ATM fees reimbursed globally. It’s not a stated benefit, but in action, it’s effectively world-wide.
You get free checks (if you still use those), and a free debit card.
I also like that checks deposited via the mobile app clear within a day (or two at the most) and direct deposits show up the next day. Usually mid-morning, and oddly enough at around 10:15 am Eastern Time.
The bill pay functions are as robust as any other bank. You can pay utilities, credit cards, student loans, individuals… all within a few clicks.
I’ve used Fidelity’s bill pay hundreds of times and have never had an issue with on-time payments or a payment not being received. So, after many successful payments, I trust it.
I actually have an account at Chase that I opened in college in 2005. I got a good deal, it’s free, and I’m grandfathered into it for as long as I want it. I value my relationship with Chase because they have the BEST credit cards on the market right now. I’d also like to get a mortgage soon and will see what they offer.
But I’ve been using the Fidelity Cash Management account as an unofficial business account for my Airbnb side hustle. It’s essentially an operating account, in that I only use the account for Airbnb cash flow – and if there’s any left over, I pay bills, or transfer it out. Then reset this cycle each month.
I’ve grown to love having a cash flow separate from my Chase account. It’s easier to manage because it’s independent of my “daily life” cash flow.
- Collect reward money from the AMEX Fidelity card
- Budgeting a la the envelope method
- Transfer money into it when you travel to get cash for free at ATMs
- Separate direct deposits from more than one job
- Any other reason why you’d want money kept on the side
- As a main bank account – make the leap to online-only
This account would be great for the envelope method.
If you’re on a budget and you allow yourself to spend $X on something each month, when the money runs out, that’s it. You could automate deposits into the account and stick to a budget once and for all.
And if you’re traveling beyond the realm of your bank, make any ATM “yours.” Any and all fees related to withdrawing money are reimbursed the same day the withdrawal clears. When you pull out $60, that’s it, regardless of how much the ATM charges.
The other upside is that it’s completely free to have the account. And, obviously, if you invest with Fidelity, this account makes it super easy to make trades, add to your IRA, etc.
Things to be aware of
My biggest concern was, “What if I need to get a certified check?”
Here’s what happens. You go into any bank, ask for a cashier’s check. They’ll usually charge $10 to $12 for the service. Fidelity charges nothing extra on their end.
I’ve only had to do this once or twice under unusual circumstances. Bill pay and ATM access has been flawless.
Even though I have a “regular” banking account, I only ask for a check once in a blue moon. Once I let this idea go, and realized I had the option if I ever needed it, the rest was easy.
There are limits on the account for your first 30 days. You won’t find this written anywhere on the Fidelity website, but there are. You can’t access bill pay and there are extreme daily limits with the debit card.
I recommend opening the account, putting the debit card away, and pulling it out a month later once the initial limits are removed. I guess this is so you don’t open an account, launder a whole lot of money right away, and then close the account. It sucks until after the initial period, then it’s great.
The daily transaction limit is $10,000, and you can withdraw $500 a day at ATMs (which is typical).
When you pay a bill to an individual, the money isn’t taken out until the other person cashes the check. Some banks take the funds out right away, some don’t. This one does NOT.
They say use any ATM “in the US.” I’ve withdrawn money in Ireland, Italy, England, Canada, etc. and never paid a fee. As long as you use a bank ATM (as opposed to a currency exchange service) and pull out local currency, I think you’ll be fine.
I’ve never not had an ATM immediately credited the same day. I’ve only had to call once or twice. They’re quick to answer and help. But I haven’t had any issues with the account.
The inevitable question is, “How does it compare to the Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking Account?”
They’re essentially the same.
- Schwab uses a hard pull when you open their account
- Fidelity uses a soft pull
- Schwab requires you to open an investment account, although you do NOT have to use it – ever – if you don’t want to
- Fidelity doesn’t require any other accounts
- Schwab used to have a 2% cash back card that linked to the account
- Fidelity has a great 2% cash back card that can link to your account if you want it to
- Both have no fees
- Both reimburse all ATM fees (yes, worldwide)
- Both have free bill pay
- Both are great if you invest with the respective firms
If I didn’t have such a good deal with Chase, I wouldn’t think twice about dumping them for Fidelity’s Cash Management Account as a bank replacement.
Be sure to read the customer reviews! They’re really insightful.
My favorite use of this account is to utilize the envelope method for budgeting. But I’m using it as an unofficial business account for my side hustle, to keep the cash flow separate. I’m enjoying it a lot, using it this way.
In conjunction with the AMEX Fidelity card, it’s a great account to have, if only to collect the cash rewards. It’s free, easy to manage, and a soft pull on your credit report.
Leave it open for 30 days before you start using it, because they have strict daily limits for new accounts.
Anyone else like/use the Fidelity Cash Management Account? Anything I missed, or any questions about how it works?
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