fidelity

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Exploring Amex Serve for free money and handy uses after April 16th

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Since I’m without REDbird and just have Serve as an option here in NYC, I’ve been thinking a lot about how to best use Serve following its move to Amex-only cards after April 16th.

They’re really not leaving consumers with a whole lot of options, but there are a few ways to get some great value and/or handy uses out of Serve using just American Express cards.

But don’t get them from American Express

In this post, I produced a list of all the Amex cards that are not issued by American Express.

Why?

Credit cards issued by American Express will not earn points and will not count toward minimum spend when used to load Serve. Which is so lame. I’d love to be able to use the Amex EveryDay Preferred to load this puppy up.

But alas, we take what we can get.

The FIA Fidelity Amex (!!!)

Why don’t other bloggers talk about this card more? This is my number one use of this card following April 16th. I’ve written about this card in detail many times before.

The transactions post flawlessly and are coded as purchases and earn free money.

I loaded up my Serve this month with my Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Red MasterCard for $990 to take AAdvantage of the 50% bonus that I was targeted for a few weeks ago to earn some extra free miles.

But then I loaded up the remaining $10 to my FIA Fidelity Amex to see how it would post.

Serve reloads code as purchases with FIA

Serve reloads code as purchases with FIA

And points post without any issue

And points post without any issue

What does this mean?

You can earn an extra completely, totally 100% free $240 to credit toward an IRA, brokerage account, or checking account for 1 minute of “work” each month. I use the Serve iPhone app to blearily load up my Serve account from bed the first 5 days of each month. It takes me literally seconds. This is the easiest money I’ve ever earned in my life, I think. I consider this, by far, the best use of the Serve card after April 16th.

Why?

The FIA Fidelity Amex has no annual fee and earns an unlimited 2% cash back on every purchase… including Serve reloads.

Say you get the FIA Fidelity Amex, which is free, and the Serve card, which is also free, and load up $1,000 each month and then pay it off.

You’d be stashing away a free $240 annually into a retirement account with very little effort.

I plugged in my own numbers into Bloomberg’s retirement calculator, and, assuming I contribute nothing but the $240 each year (and it grows at 7% annually) between now and when I’m 68, I’d have a totally free $40,000+ waiting for me on the other side.

My $240 a year would grow to over $40,000 for my retirement

My $240 a year would grow to over $40,000 for my retirement

This whole Serve reload thing probably won’t last for the next 38 years, but take the free money while you can. I like to stash away at least $200-$400 per month into my IRA, and the extra $20 isn’t much but with compound interest on your side, a little truly goes a long way. And this is completely free money. Which is awesome, and there is no reason not to take advantage of this if you can.

Get some free miles

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5% cash back promo from Fidelity Amex – up to $25

Who says the Fidelity American Express doesn’t ever have bonus offers?

Fidelity 5% cash back categories

Now, admittedly, this isn’t an earth-shattering bonus. It’s only offers a bonus for travel-related categories, and only up to $500 in spend until March 31st, 2015.

But, enrollment is easy (literally one click), and it seems like they’re targeting a lot of their cardholders for this.

A quick comparison

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Cut the Crap: The Fidelity Investment Rewards Credit Card is THE BEST cash back card!

Fidelity-Amex

You da best

Had to get this off my chest.

There’s always a lot of talk in the points and miles world about which cashback card is “the best.” The speculation is constant, rampant.

  • Bank of America recently introduced a card where one could get 2.65 points per dollar so long as they dump $100,000 into an investment account.
  • The Barclaycard Arrival always gets mentioned because it’s an effective 2.22% cashback on travel purchases.
  • Citibank has a new one too: the Citi Double Cash card.
  • Freedom gets a mention due to its rotating 5% categories, which yes, is a good deal, and yes you can cash it out (but keep them for Ultimate Rewards transfers!).
  • Then there’s the Fidelity Investment Rewards Amex.

Why it’s the king

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The BEST cashback card now has a signup bonus

Fidelity_investment_card

A+

I’ve written at length about the Fidelity Investment Rewards American Express card.

Two choice quotes (yes, I am quoting myself):

“The unsung hero of cashback cards.” 

“The best cashback card on the market.” 

This card is good for:

  • Unbonused spending categories since it offers a flat 2% back on every single purchase
  • Keeping forever to boost credit history since it has no annual fee
  • Everyday spenders that don’t need/want to meet exorbitant spend requirements
  • Those who want to invest in the long-term instead of short term travel ventures

I have this card and find myself using it quite a lot. I keep it in my wallet and use it when I’m somewhere that is not in a bonus spend category (hardware stores, big box stores, random services) which happens more than I thought it would. It’s a nice way to “give myself” a bonus since I like to earn 2 points on every dollar I spend.

I also LOVE their shopping portal. It regularly offers larger payouts than other portals, including the already generous Chase Ultimate Rewards shopping portal. Except these points go right into your brokerage/IRA/college savings account for you to invest however you want, which is pretty cool. I always check this portal and am sometimes blown away by how large their payouts are. They also have more online stores than the other portals.

This card is quite the anomaly in the points and miles world: it’s an American Express card issued by a Bank of America subsidy that plugs directly into your account at Fidelity… what? How did those partnerships produce this card? 

But what about the Barclaycard Arrival?

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One More New Credit Card: Fidelity Investment Rewards American Express

Fidelity_investment_card

This signals a shift in my spending patterns and way of thinking, for sure. I thought about this a lot and decided this would be a good decision, for now and for the future.

The Fidelity® Investment Rewards American Express® offers 2% cash back into an investment account on every purchase: no categories, no minimum spend, no signup bonus, but no annual fee. I thought about it. My average spend is about $5K a month. That’s 10,000 points or $100 in cash each month. But then that $100 will be invested and will turn around a further 6-20+% return, depending on where I invest it. In 20 years, that $100 could be worth a few thousand, which is pretty cool to think about and to behold the power of compound interest.

The reason I got this card now is because I have my travel (and all my vacation days) planned out for the next six months:

And that’s in addition to my courier work. I also have a healthy amount of Avios, AAdvantage miles, Skymiles, and Ultimate Rewards points in case I need/want to go anywhere in the months beyond January. So, I’m set with points and miles for now. But thinking further, much further, I’d like my spend to be working for me even more.

This card is quite a hybrid. It’s an Amex issued by a Bank of America subsidy and partners with Fidelity investments. Pretty cool. It gives me the benefits of Amex and the investment power at Fidelity, a company I really like. It didn’t count for or against my relationship with Chase or Barclays or Citi, which is a positve. And, I  have investments at USAA, Betterment, and MetLife, and would like to diversify even more. So I took the plunge, opened a mutual fund account, and got approved for this card. With my travel set, I can set aside some free money for my future just for using this card. That kind of blows my mind. Literally – FREE money.

With some creative manufactured spend, it truly is free, and though I’m giving up points in favor of invested cash for a while, I feel good that I took some time to make a thoughtful decision.

Anyone else have or heard of this card? Do you like it?