Best 0% APR Balance Transfer Credit Cards – May 2019 (Up to 15 Months w/ No Balance Transfer Fee)

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. Thank you for your support.

0aprIf you are paying interest on a credit card balance, your first concern should be paying down that debt. Ignore which card earns the most points or airline miles when you are paying crazy 15%+ interest! If you are ready to pay down that debt, consider transferring your balance to another issuer. Below are the best 0% APR balance transfer offers as of May 2019.

You’ll want the best combination of the longest 0% APR period and the lowest balance transfer fees. For example, if you are paying 20% APR, that’s like paying 1.66% on your balance every month. If you would like to spread out your payments, it may be better to pick a longer term with a modest balance transfer fee. Alternatively, if you are sure you can get it all paid off faster, go for a shorter offer with no balance transfer fee.

1) Amex EveryDay Card from American Express0% Introductory APR for 15 months on both purchases and balance transfers and no balance transfer fee for the first 60 days of opening the account. After the intro APR offer ends, a variable APR that’s currently 15.24% to 25.24% will apply. Plus, earn 15,000 Membership Rewards points after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases in your first 3 months. No annual fee.

2) BankAmericard Credit Card0% Introductory APR for 15 billing cycles on both balance transfers and purchases and no balance transfer fee for the first 60 days your account is open. After the intro APR offer ends, a variable APR that’s currently 15.24% to 25.24% will apply. No annual fee.

Slate from Chase Card Art 3) Chase Slate Card0% Introductory APR for 15 months on both balance transfers and purchases and no balance transfer fee for the first 60 days of opening the account. After the intro APR offer ends, a variable APR that’s currently 17.24% to 25.99% will apply. No annual fee.

4) First Tech Fed Choice Rewards Card0% Introductory APR for 12 months on balance transfers and no balance transfer fee on balances transferred during the first 90 days after account opening. After the intro APR offer ends, a variable APR that’s currently 12.24% to 18.00% will apply. There is also a sign-up bonus, but note that there is not an intro 0% APR offer on purchases. You must be an First Tech Federal Credit Union member to obtain this card, but membership is open to everyone who joins a partner organization for as little as $8. No annual fee.

5) Navy Federal Credit Union Platinum Card0% Introductory APR for 12 months on balance transfers and no balance transfer fee on balances transferred within the first 30 days after account opening. After the intro APR offer ends, a variable APR that’s currently 8.24% and 18.00% will apply. Membership to Navy Federal Credit Union is limited those with a military relationship, but anyone who is the immediate relative of an active military member or veteran can join. No annual fee.

6) Wells Fargo Platinum Visa® Card – 0% intro APR for 18 months on both purchases and balance transfers along with a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater. Balance transfers made within 120 days qualify for the intro rate and fee. This is an example of an offer with a fee, but you get a longer 18 months to pay it off and a bigger 120-day window to transfer all your external balances to this card. This card also has a unique cell phone protection feature – get up to $600 protection on your cell phone (subject to $25 deductible) against covered damage or theft when you pay your monthly cellular telephone bill with this card. No annual fee.

Updated May 2019

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

Firstrade Free Trades on Stocks, ETFs, Options, Even Mutual Funds (+New App)

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. Thank you for your support.

(Updated May 2019: Firstrade has released a newly-redesigned mobile app, which is easier to use and more similar to the other app-first brokerages *cough* Robinhood *cough*. If this is important to you, you might check it out in combination with their better customer service and free stock trades pricing. Screenshots below.)

Firstrade.com has announced free online trades on stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), options and mutual funds. All of them. As a more traditional online broker, Firstrade includes access to all stocks, ETFs, options and mutual funds currently available in the U.S. There are no limits on the number of trades allowed, no minimum holding periods, and no minimum account requirements.

Pricing comparison. Here’s their updated pricing chart, including a side-by-side comparison with TD Ameritrade, Fidelity, E*Trade, and Schwab. Note that each competitor does offer their own selected list of commission-free ETFs.

Customer service. Since they are offering free trades, you might be worried that it would be hard to get assistance. They actually offer a lot of help options including live chat and free call-back phone service:

Are they legit? Yes, Firstrade Securities has been around since 1985, and I actually have an idle account with them from an old promotion. They have been a competitive discount online broker for a while, with their only physical branch in Flushing, New York. They are unique in that they offer special service to Chinese-speaking customers by providing a Chinese language version of their site (Simplified and Traditional) and also Chinese-speaking customer service reps (Mandarin and Cantonese). But other than a few Chinese character links on their site, you wouldn’t otherwise notice.

iOS and Android apps. Both iPhone and Android apps are available. Touch ID/Face ID supported on iOS. In May 2019, they released a redesigned 3.0 version of their iOS app, which now looks more like the other app-first brokerages. Screenshot:

Up to $200 rebate of transfer fees if you switch. They will rebate up to $200 in transfer fees if you move your assets over to them from another broker. Here’s the fine print:

Firstrade will rebate the account transfer fee (ACATS only) up to $200 charged by another brokerage firm when completing a Full Account Transfer for $2500 or more (excluding mutual funds & fixed income products). The rebate will be based solely on the actual transfer fee charged by the firm you are transferring from. To receive transfer rebate, please submit (upload, fax or email) a copy of your most recent statement from your previous broker with evidence of transfer charge. Submissions must be received within 60 days of transfer date. Credit will be deposited to your account within 30 days of receipt of evidence of charge. This offer applies to Firstrade regular investment accounts and IRAs (Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, and Rollover IRA), excluding Partnership, Corporate, Investment Club, ESA Education Planning Account, and Custodial Accounts. The account must remain open for 12 months with the minimum funding or assets required for participating in the offer — if your account assets fall below $2,500 due to withdrawals or outgoing transfers, Firstrade may reverse the transfer rebate at the time of withdrawal. Offer valid from 09/19/2017 to 08/31/2018.

Firstrade is kind of stuck in the middle between the huge mega-brokers and slick startups, so this is a big move for them to get some attention. The big financial names – Fidelity, Schwab, Vanguard all have some commission-free ETFs but not all stock trades. Robinhood and WeBull are new start-ups that have free stock/ETF trades, but not free mutual fund trades.

Bottom line. Firstrade is a discount broker with real human customer service that is moving to the new world of app-centric trading, offering free online trades on all stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), options and mutual funds. No minimum account requirements.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

5% Cash Back Cards: Gas Stations, Grocery Stores, Restaurants – April thru June 2019

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. Thank you for your support.

5percentback(Updated May 2019: Discover added Paypal to its 5% list for July-September, and added Target (in-store and online) and Walmart.com (online only) to it’s 5% list for October-December.)

The credit cards below offer up to 5% cash back on specific categories that rotate each quarter. It takes a little extra attention, but it can add up to $100+ in additional rewards per year without changing your spending habits. You can also buy gift cards with the 5% back now but spend the gift cards later. New cardmembers may also get an upfront sign-up bonus.

Chase Freedom VisaChase Freedom – $150 Bonus

From April 1st through June 30th, 2019 you can earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent in the following categories:

  • Grocery Stores (excludes Wal-mart and Target)
  • Home Improvement Stores

Enroll each quarter at ChaseBonus.com. As long as you activate by the end of the quarter the rewards are retroactive. All other purchases earn 1% back, with no tiers or expiration of rewards. Technically, you earn Ultimate Rewards points which can also be converted to airline miles or hotel points instead of cash if you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve card. Currently, the Chase Freedom card is offering $150 bonus cash back if you sign up and make $500 in purchases in your first three months. No annual fee.

Discover it 14 ImageDiscover it Card

From April 1st through June 30th, 2019 you can earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent in the following categories:

  • Gas Stations
  • Uber
  • Lyft

Enroll after logging into your online account (look on the right-hand side). 5% rewards won’t apply until after you activate your rewards, so it is best to activate now before you forget. No annual fee.

New cardmember bonus details. If you are a new applicant and sign up via my Discover Card referral link, you will get a $50 Cashback Bonus after your first purchase within 3 months of being approved. You will also get Cashback Match for an entire year – a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically. During those 12 months, your $50 Cashback Bonus becomes $100, your 5% cash back rewards becomes 10% cash back, and your 1% cash back rewards become 2% cash back. You can verify this on the application by clicking on “See rates, rewards and other info” and searching for this text:

Cashback MatchTM: : No purchase minimums. After the first 12 consecutive billing periods that your new account is open, we will match all of the cash back rewards you’ve earned and apply them to your account in the following one or two billing periods. If your account is closed or no longer in the cash back reward program at the time we calculate your potential award, your cash back will not be matched. You’ve earned cash back rewards when they have posted to your account by the end of the 12th consecutive billing period. This promotional offer may not be offered in the future. This exclusive offer is available only to new cardmembers.

TERMS OF CASHBACK BONUS OFFER: Get a $50 Cashback Bonus after you make your first purchase within 3 months of being approved. Promotional award will be applied within 8 weeks. The promotional award is in addition to the Cashback Bonus earned on all purchases.

ABOC Platinum Rewards Card – $150 Statement Credit Offer

From April 1st through June 30th, 2019 you can earn 5X rewards on up to $1,500 spent in the following categories:

  • Wholesale Clubs
  • Home Improvement Stores

You must register each quarter at ABOCRewards.com or in your online account. Currently, the ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard is offering a $150 statement credit if you sign up and make $1,200 in purchases in your first 90 days. No annual fee.

U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card. You get to choose the two 5% cash back categories every quarter, out of a preset selection of specific categories:

  • Fast Food
  • Cell Phone Providers
  • Home Utilities
  • Ground Transportation
  • Select Clothing Stores
  • Electronics Stores
  • Car Rentals
  • Gyms/Fitness Centers
  • Sporting Goods Stores
  • Department Stores
  • Furniture Stores
  • Movie Theaters
  • TV, Internet, and Streaming Services

Unfortunately, you can’t pick a broad category like gas stations, restaurants, or grocery stores. Make sure to choose your categories each quarter, even if you want them to stay the same. If you do not choose your categories, all purchases revert to only earning 1% cash back for that quarter.

Currently, the U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa card is offering $150 bonus cash back if you sign up and make $500 in eligible net purchases in your first 90 days. No annual fee.

American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card. This card earns 6% cash back at US supermarkets all year long (on up to $6,000 per year) and. 3% cash back at US gas stations. New: 3% cash back on transit and 6% cash back on Netflix/Spotify/Hulu. I use this card all year long for groceries, and then in December use up the $6k annual limit on gift cards bought in the supermarket aisle. New cardholders are also eligible for a $250 statement credit after $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. $95 annual fee. See details in link.

Amazon Prime Rewards Card. Earn 5% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods all year long. Prime membership required. 2% cash back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores (yawn… see below). New cardholder bonus varies by person. No annual fee.

Citi Dividend Card. This card is no longer available to new applicants, but if you still have the grandfathered card you can activate to get 5% cash back at Gas Stations and Home Depot during Q1 2019. You are capped at $300 cash back for the calendar year. No annual fee.

Don’t settle for the “1% on everything else” that these cards offer. Get 2% cash back or higher. The following cards currently have the ability to offer cash back rewards as high as 2% or even greater. Please read my card-specific reviews for details.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card Review – $300 Bonus + 4% Back at Restaurants

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. Thank you for your support.

Does dining out and take-out describe your daily ritual? Capital One has refocused their Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card with a sign-up bonus, waived first year annual fee, and 4% cash back at restaurants. Here are the highlights:

  • $300 cash bonus after $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • 4% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • No annual fee for the first year, $95 after that
  • Capital One cardholders get access to premium experiences in dining, entertainment and more.

Capital One says that existing Savor cardholders will be upgraded to the 4% back on dining and other features of the Savor, but will have their annual fee waived indefinitely. No sign-up bonus, though!

Purchase rewards details. Notable about this card is the 4% back on dining and entertainment. 4% is higher than most other rewards cards that offer some sort of boost on restaurant purchases, such as the Costco Anywhere Visa (my review) with 3% on restaurants (amongst other rewards categories), however it does charge an annual fee. Often one of the rotating 5% cash back cards has restaurants as a category.

If you already have one of those cards above, you’d have to spend decent chunk on dining out to justify paying that $95 annual fee after the first year. That $500 first-year bonus will buy a lot of grub, though! Of course, if you do dine out often, you might actually take advantage of their free Concierge service to help you get reservations at high-demand spots.

In case you were curious, the application page provides some direct clarifications on the rewards structure.

What counts as dining?
Purchases at restaurants, cafes, bars, lounges, fast-food chains and bakeries.

What counts as entertainment?
Buying tickets to a movie, play, concert, sporting event, tourist attraction, theme park, aquarium, zoo, dance club, pool hall or bowling alley. Also, making purchases at record store and video rental locations. This excludes non-industry entertainment merchant codes like cable, digital streaming, and subscription services.

What counts as a grocery store?
A supermarket, meat locker, freezer, dairy product store and specialty market. Excludes superstores like Walmart® and Target®.

Statement credits. The rewards on this card are nice and simple. You earn cash, which can be redeemed as a statement credit or a mailed check. There are other options, but none are especially interesting or more valuable than cash.

Credit approval details. This card says it requires “Excellent credit”. Capital One is known to limit you to two consumer Capital One credit cards per person. They are also a bit unusual in that they pull your credit reports from all three major bureaus, instead of just one.

Bottom line. The Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card has a $300 sign-up bonus, waived first year annual fee, and 4% cash back on dining and entertainment. Note the $3,000 of total spending required within 3 months – maybe it’s your turn to put group dinner on your card and have everyone else pay you back to take advantage of that 4% back.

Also see: Top 10 Best Credit Card Bonus Offers.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

Chase United Explorer Card Review – 40,000 Bonus Miles

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. Thank you for your support.

The United Explorer Card is a co-branded Chase credit card that offers unique perks on United Airlines including free checked bags and expanded economy seat availability when redeeming miles for award flights. Right now, the $95 annual fee is waived during the first year. Here are the highlights:

  • 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
  • Free first checked bag for both you and a companion (a savings of up to $120 per roundtrip) when you use your Card to purchase your ticket.
  • Expanded award availability. Having this card makes it easier to find that saver award economy ticket.
  • Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck Fee Credit.
  • Priority boarding + 2 United Club one-time passes every year for your anniversary.
  • 2X miles at restaurants and on hotel stays.
  • 2X miles per on purchases from United.
  • 25% Back on United inflight purchases (Wi-Fi, Food and Drinks).
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • Your miles don’t expire as long as your credit card account is open, with no limit to the number of miles you can earn.
  • Use your miles for any seat, any time, on any United flight.
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95.

Keep in mind the following terms and conditions:

This product is available to you if you do not have this Card and have not received a new Cardmember bonus for this Card in the past 24 months.

This card is very focused on making it a better experience to fly on United. Before you board, you might use one of your free United Club lounge passes. You have the first checked bag for free on United flights, both for your and a companion traveling on the same reservation. The fee is usually $30 per person, each way, so quadrupling that is how they get the value of $120 each roundtrip. You also get Priority Boarding, which helps you find space for your carry-on. While onboard, you get 25% back on your inflight purchases of WiFi, food, and drinks.

Expanded award availability. You earn United miles for all your purchases (double miles on restaurants and hotel stays), but then they also make it easier for you to redeem those miles on Saver level tickets with no blackout dates. Expanded award seat availability is another of the top perks from this card, and I’ve found there is actually a significant difference when searching. If you’re constantly trying to find economy tickets for the entire family like me, this is a big deal. Saver Award ticket redemptions start at 12,500 miles one-way within the continental U.S. and Canada.

Another unique feature of this card is that it offers primary coverage on the Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver. On most other consumer cards, this coverage is offered as secondary coverage, meaning it only kicks in after your personal auto insurance has been exhausted.

Bottom line. The United Explorer Card offers great perks for folks that fly United even just once or twice a year. The card provides lounge passes, a free checked bag, priority boarding, and inflight discounts. A key feature for miles hoarders is the special expanded award seat inventory for credit card holders to make it easier to actually redeem those miles for economy saver flights.

Also see: Top 10 Best Credit Card Bonus Offers.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

Blue Cash Preferred from American Express Review: 6% Cash Back on Groceries ($6,000/Year), Netflix, HBO Now, Spotify

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. Thank you for your support.

New added features, bigger welcome offer. The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express has been updated with a bigger welcome offer and new 6% and 3% cash back categories. Thankfully, their best feature remains: 6% cash back at US stand-alone supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases. If you spend $65 a week at supermarkets, that alone will earn you over $200 a year in rewards. Here are the updated highlights:

  • $250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%).
  • 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations.
  • 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions. (NEW)
  • 3% Cash Back on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more. (NEW)
  • 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
  • $95 annual fee.

Basically, AmEx is trying to be trendy and cover things like Netflix, HBO Now, Spotify, and Uber/Lyft. Note that they are removing removing the ability to earn 3% cash back at U.S. department stores benefit on 7/31/2019. This works out well for my spending patterns.

Max out your benefit by buying gift cards at US supermarkets. Every December, I use this card to buy gift cards at a standalone grocery to use up the annual limit and get 6% back. My local Safeway has an entire wall of options, but I usually go with Amazon, Apple iTunes, or Starbucks. You can easily track how much you’ve spent on groceries on your online account. Just go to “Statements & Activity” > Chart logo (Graph and Filter your Transactions), and then click on “Merchandise and Supplies”. Adjust dates as necessary. Screenshot:

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Supermarkets details. “US stand-alone supermarkets” means that superstores, convenience stores and warehouse clubs are not considered supermarkets. This means no Super Wal-Mart, no Super Target, no Costco. Examples of merchants that count (and this is not a complete list!) are Safeway, Whole Foods, Meijer, Vons, Winn-Dixie, Gristedes, Shoprite, Stop and Shop, and online supermarkets such as FreshDirect.

Gasoline details. “US stand-alone gas stations” means that superstores, supermarkets, and warehouse clubs that sell gasoline are not considered gas stations. This means no Target, no Costco, no Sam’s Club. Examples of merchants that count (and this is not a complete list!) are Exxon, Mobil, Hess, Shell, Gulf, Murphy USA, Murphy Express.

US Streaming Subscriptions details. These are all included:

• Amazon Music
• Apple Music
• Audible
• CBS All Access
• Direct TV Now
• ESPN+
• Fubo TV
• HBO Now
• Hulu
• iHeartRadio
• Kindle Unlimited
• MLB.TV
• NBA League Pass
• Netflix
• NHL.TV
• Pandora
• Prime Video Unlimited
• Showtime
• Sling TV
• SiriusXM Streaming and Satellite
• Spotify
• YouTube Music Premium
• YouTube Premium
• YouTube TV

Annual fee. There is a $95 annual fee, so you’ll want to utilize that 6% cash back on groceries to maximize your value. If you spend the max cap of $500 a month at supermarkets, at 6% back that would net you $360 cash back in a year vs. $60 at 1% cash back. Note that simply spending $31 per week at supermarkets at 6% cash back will result in over $95 Reward Dollars per year to cover the annual fee.

If you don’t like the idea of paying an annual fee, the Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express offers 3% at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases with no annual fee. It currently offers a $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months. You can also learn more about this card and apply online at CardRatings.com.

Cash back is officially given in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit, gift cards, and merchandise. I always just stick with statements credit to directly pay down my monthly bill.

Bottom line. The Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express has the key feature of 6% cash back at US supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year). You can now also get 6% cash back on Netflix/Spotify/HBO Now as well as 3% cash back at US gas stations and transit (Uber/Lyft/train). New cardmembers can get a $250 statement credit after $1,000 in purchases within 3 months.

This has been a “keeper” card for me for many years now. I treat it like one of my 5% cash back cards, except there are no rotating categories or activations to worry about. Supermarket purchases (and gift cards) go on this card all year long. Then in December, I use up the rest of the $6,000 annual spending limit on gift cards for holiday presents. With the new features, I’ll also add it as default payment for any streaming apps and Uber/Lyft.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

Best Interest Rates on Cash – May 2019

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. Thank you for your support.

Here’s my monthly roundup of the best interest rates on cash for May 2019, roughly sorted from shortest to longest maturities. There hasn’t been much movement recently, and the rate curve is still pretty flat with long-term rates only slightly higher than short-term ones. Check out my Ultimate Rate-Chaser Calculator to get an idea of how much extra interest you’d earn if you are moving money between accounts. Rates listed are available to everyone nationwide. Rates checked as of 5/1/19.

High-yield savings accounts
While the huge megabanks like to get away with 0.01% APY, it’s easy to open a new “piggy-back” savings account and simply move some funds over from your existing checking account. The interest rates on savings accounts can drop at any time, so I prioritize banks with a history of competitive rates. Some banks will bait you and then lower the rates in the hopes that you are too lazy to leave.

Short-term guaranteed rates (1 year and under)
A common question is what to do with a big pile of cash that you’re waiting to deploy shortly (just sold your house, just sold your business, legal settlement, inheritance). My usual advice is to keep things simple and take your time. If not a savings account, then put it in a flexible short-term CD under the FDIC limits until you have a plan.

  • No Penalty CDs offer a fixed interest rate that can never go down, but you can still take out your money (once) without any fees if you want to use it elsewhere. Purepoint Financial has a 13-month No Penalty CD at 2.50% APY with a $10,000 minimum deposit. Marcus Bank 13-month No Penalty CD at 2.35% APY with a $500 minimum deposit. You may wish to open multiple CDs in smaller increments for more flexibility.
  • CD Bank has a 12-month CD at 3.00% APY ($10,000 minimum) but with a big early withdrawal penalty of 12 months of interest. If you have a military relationship, Navy Federal Credit Union has a 10-month special at 2.75% APY with add-on option.

Money market mutual funds + Ultra-short bond ETFs
If you like to keep cash in a brokerage account, beware that many brokers pay out very little interest on their default cash sweep funds (and keep the difference for themselves). The following money market and ultra-short bond funds are not FDIC-insured, but may be a good option if you have idle cash and cheap/free commissions.

  • Vanguard Prime Money Market Fund currently pays an 2.44% SEC yield. The default sweep option is the Vanguard Federal Money Market Fund, which has an SEC yield of 2.36%. You can manually move the money over to Prime if you meet the $3,000 minimum investment.
  • Vanguard Ultra-Short-Term Bond Fund currently pays 2.64% SEC Yield ($3,000 min) and 2.74% SEC Yield ($50,000 min). The average duration is ~1 year, so there is more interest rate risk.
  • The PIMCO Enhanced Short Maturity Active Bond ETF (MINT) has a 2.74% SEC yield and the iShares Short Maturity Bond ETF (NEAR) has a 2.75% SEC yield while holding a portfolio of investment-grade bonds with an average duration of ~6 months.

Treasury Bills and Ultra-short Treasury ETFs
Another option is to buy individual Treasury bills which come in a variety of maturities from 4-weeks to 52-weeks. You can also invest in ETFs that hold a rotating basket of short-term Treasury Bills for you, while charging a small management fee for doing so. T-bill interest is exempt from state and local income taxes.

  • You can build your own T-Bill ladder at TreasuryDirect.gov or via a brokerage account with a bond desk like Vanguard and Fidelity. Here are the current Treasury Bill rates. As of 5/1/19, a 4-week T-Bill had the equivalent of 2.42% annualized interest and a 52-week T-Bill had the equivalent of 2.39% annualized interest.
  • The Goldman Sachs Access Treasury 0-1 Year ETF (GBIL) has a 2.30% SEC yield and the SPDR Bloomberg Barclays 1-3 Month T-Bill ETF (BIL) has a 2.24% SEC yield. GBIL appears to have a slightly longer average maturity than BIL.

US Savings Bonds
Series I Savings Bonds offer rates that are linked to inflation and backed by the US government. You must hold them for at least a year. There are annual purchase limits. If you redeem them within 5 years there is a penalty of the last 3 months of interest.

  • “I Bonds” bought between May 2019 and October 2019 will earn a 1.90% rate for the first six months. The rate of the subsequent 6-month period will be based on inflation again. More info here.
  • In mid-October 2019, the CPI will be announced and you will have a short period where you will have a very close estimate of the rate for the next 12 months. I will have another post up at that time.

Prepaid Cards with Attached Savings Accounts
A small subset of prepaid debit cards have an “attached” FDIC-insured savings account with exceptionally high interest rates. The negatives are that balances are capped, and there are many fees that you must be careful to avoid (lest they eat up your interest). Some folks don’t mind the extra work and attention required, while others do. There is a long list of previous offers that have already disappeared with little notice. I don’t personally recommend or use any of these anymore.

  • The only notable card left in this category is Mango Money at 6% APY on up to $2,500, but there are many hoops to jump through. Requirements include $1,500+ in “signature” purchases and a minimum balance of $25.00 at the end of the month.

Rewards checking accounts
These unique checking accounts pay above-average interest rates, but with unique risks. You have to jump through certain hoops, and if you make a mistake you won’t earn any interest for that month. Some folks don’t mind the extra work and attention required, while others do. Rates can also drop to near-zero quickly, leaving a “bait-and-switch” feeling. I don’t use any of these anymore, either.

  • The best one right now is Orion FCU Premium Checking at 4.00% APY on balances up to $30,000 if you meet make $500+ in direct deposits and 8 debit card “signature” purchases each month. The APY goes down to 0.05% APY and they charge you a $5 monthly fee if you miss out on the requirements. There is also the TAB Bank 4% APY Checking, which I don’t like due its vague terms. Find a local rewards checking account at DepositAccounts.
  • If you’re looking for a high-interest checking account without debit card transaction requirements then the rate won’t be as high, but take a look at MemoryBank at 1.60% APY.

Certificates of deposit (greater than 1 year)
CDs offer higher rates, but come with an early withdrawal penalty. By finding a bank CD with a reasonable early withdrawal penalty, you can enjoy higher rates but maintain access in a true emergency. Alternatively, consider building a CD ladder of different maturity lengths (ex. 1/2/3/4/5-years) such that you have access to part of the ladder each year, but your blended interest rate is higher than a savings account. When one CD matures, use that money to buy another 5-year CD to keep the ladder going.

  • CD Bank has an 18-month CD at 3.10% APY ($10,000 minimum) but with a big early withdrawal penalty of 12 months of interest. Hanscom Federal Credit UnionBank has a 19-month CD special at 3.00% APY ($1,000 minimum) with an early withdrawal penalty of 6 months of interest.
  • 5-year CD rates have been dropping at many banks and credit unions, following the overall interest rate curve. A good rate is now about 3.25% APY, with First National Bank of America offering 3.35% APY on a 5-year CD with an early withdrawal penalty of 1.5 years (!) of interest..
  • You can buy certificates of deposit via the bond desks of Vanguard and Fidelity. These “brokered CDs” offer FDIC insurance and easy laddering, but they don’t come with predictable fixed early withdrawal penalties. Nothing special right now. As of this writing, Vanguard is showing a 2-year non-callable CD at 2.45% APY and a 5-year non-callable CD at 2.75% APY. Watch out for higher rates from callable CDs listed by Fidelity.

Longer-term Instruments
I’d use these with caution due to increased interest rate risk, but I still track them to see the rest of the current yield curve.

  • Willing to lock up your money for 10+ years? You can buy long-term certificates of deposit via the bond desks of Vanguard and Fidelity. These “brokered CDs” offer FDIC insurance, but they don’t come with predictable fixed early withdrawal penalties. As of this writing, Vanguard is showing a 10-year non-callable CD at 3.00% APY. Watch out for higher rates from callable CDs from Fidelity. Matching the overall yield curve, current CD rates do not rise much higher as you extend beyond a 5-year maturity.
  • How about two decades? Series EE Savings Bonds are not indexed to inflation, but they have a guarantee that the value will double in value in 20 years, which equals a guaranteed return of 3.5% a year. However, if you don’t hold for that long, you’ll be stuck with the normal rate which is quite low (currently a sad 0.10% rate). I view this as a huge early withdrawal penalty. You could also view it as long-term bond and thus a hedge against deflation, but only if you can hold on for 20 years. As of 5/1/19, the 20-year Treasury Bond rate was 2.74%.

All rates were checked as of 5/1/19.



My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

TAB Bank Kasasa Cash Checking Review: 4% APY (Up to $50k) w/ Activity Requirements

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. Thank you for your support.

TAB Bank has a Kasasa Cash Checking account that offers 4% APY on balances up to $50,000 if you meet certain deposit activity and debit card transaction requirements. However, they include some vague language that lets them withhold your interest based on their subjective opinion. Details below.

FDIC confirmation and eligibility. I was able to find TAB Bank at FDIC.gov under “Transportation Alliance Bank, Inc. D/B/a Tab Bank” with FDIC certificate #34781 and domain tabbank.com. Since this isn’t a credit union, you don’t need to worry about joining a member organization or maintain a share savings account. Anyone nationwide can apply online and fund using ACH transfer. They also say that they won’t perform a credit inquiry for a checking account.

Monthly requirements. To qualify for the 4% APY on balances up to $50,000 and up to $15 in ATM fee rebates per month, you must have the following during each monthly qualification cycle:

  • At least 1 direct deposit, ACH payment, or bill pay transaction.
  • At least 15 debit card purchases, and each must be $5 or more. When using your card, choose the credit option and bypass using your PIN.

If you don’t meet these requirements, there is no monthly fee but you lose the ATM rebates and your interest rate is only 0.05% APY.

Potential catch? Vague fine print. If you read through their Truth-in-Savings disclosure [pdf], you will find the following vague assertions:

Purpose and expected use of accounts – The Kasasa Cash account is intended to be the accountholder’s primary checking account in which payroll transactions and day-to-day spending activities including but not limited to grocery, gasoline, apparel, shopping, dining, sporting and entertainment transactions are posted and settled.

[…] You will automatically qualify for the account’s rewards during your account’s first statement cycle. If the account is closed before rewards are credited, you will forfeit the rewards.

[…] Commensurate with the spending activities identified above, we expect the account’s debit card to be used frequently throughout each month and for transaction amounts to reflect a wide dollar range. Small debit card transactions conducted on the same day at a single merchant and/or multiple transactions made during a condensed time period particularly near the end of a Monthly Qualification Cycle are not considered normal, day-to-day spending behavior. These types of transactions appear to be conducted with the sole purpose of qualifying for the account’s rewards and thus will be deemed inappropriate transactions and will not count toward earning the account’s rewards.

[…] TAB Bank reserves the right to determine if the Kasasa Cash account is being maintained for a purpose other than day-to-day, primary use. Accountholders who persist in making debit card transactions in a calculated and limited fashion in order to meet their monthly qualifications may have their accounts converted to a different checking account or closed altogether.

Basically, they reserve the right to change up the requirements to whatever they want. We know that banks make money when we use your debit card. However, if you want your customers to use it more, then just make your requirements higher. You already added the $5 minimum per transaction. Just say you want 15 transactions with a combined total of $1,000 or similar. Make the rules fair, clear, and transparent.

Good deal? The interest rate is good, but the vague rules make this account not worth the bother. They are allowed to judge what I am “supposed” to buy on a day-to-day basis as a “normal” person? Pass! If you put in a sizable balance, that’s $100+ of monthly interest that they can withhold for no solid reason (and are actually incentivized to do so as it saves them money).

For now, I would compare with the Orion FCU 4% APY checking account, which doesn’t play such games, is more upfront and understandable. If they make the rules transparent (even if more restrictive), I would reconsider.

Bottom line. TAB Bank has a rewards checking account called Kasasa Cash Checking that offers 4% APY on balances up to $50,000 if you meet certain deposit activity and debit card transaction requirements. However, they hide in the fine print that they can withhold your interest based on their subjective opinion. If they judge you ineligible, you will earn virtually no interest (0.05% APY).

Here are the rest of the Best Interest Rates on Cash.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

M1 Finance $100 Brokerage Transfer Bonus

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. Thank you for your support.

Expired. As noted in my post on best online brokers, my favorite option in the now-crowded “robo-advisor” category is now M1 Finance. Here’s a quick rundown of what makes them different:

  • Fully customizable. You pick your own ETF asset allocation “pie”. (You can add individual stocks too.) You can simply copy one of the many model portfolios out there, or tweak it as you like. You have full control! Here is my pie which I named the My Money Blog Portfolio.
  • No commissions. Free stock/ETF trades with a low $100 minimum account size for taxable accounts and a $500 minimum for retirement accounts.
  • No management fee. Most robo-advisors charge an annual management fee of 0.25% to 0.50% of assets (or force you to own something bad, like artificially low-interest cash).
  • Automatic rebalancing. M1 will rebalance your portfolio back to the target allocation for you automatically (for free). You don’t need to do any math or maintain any spreadsheets.
  • Fractional share ownership. For example, you can just set it to automatically invest $100 a month, and your full amount will be spread across multiple ETFs. Dollar-based transactions were one of the good things about buying a mutual fund, but it seems that ETFs are the future due to their lower costs and tax-efficient structure. Fractional shares solve this problem.

Short version: Free and DIY, of course I like it!

How do they make money? Here’s how M1 makes money. As commissions shrink, this is the business model for pretty much all online brokers now:

1) Interest on idle cash (can be minimized as you can auto-invest all idle cash in the investment account)
2) M1 Borrow (margin loan interest)
3) M1 Spending (debit card generates fees for them)
4) Payment for order flow (same as Robinhood and TD Ameritrade)
5) M1 Plus (premium subscription that gets you higher interest rates and debit card cash back).

$100 account transfer bonus. Now through May 7th, they will give you a $100 cash bonus if you perform a brokerage account transfer of $20,000+ over to M1. Works with both taxable and IRA accounts. Via their post on account transfer myths, this bonus should basically cover the cost of any outgoing fee. The most common transfers come from Vanguard, Betterment, Wealthfront, Robinhood, E*Trade, TD Ameritrade, Fidelity and Schwab.

Here is a PDF with detailed transfer directions. Here are the main steps:

  • First, you’ll need to open a new M1 Finance account. For a smooth transfer, your M1 account type should match your current account type. For example, a Joint account should be transferred to a Joint account and a Roth IRA should be transferred to a Roth IRA. If you choose to change account type in a transfer, it will require additional paperwork.
  • Email them at “transfers@m1finance.com” with your most recent account statement and any additional instructions, including directions on which securities you do and do not want transferred.
  • Transfers typically take 7-10 days. The $100 bonus will appear in your M1 account on July 15.

Bottom line. M1 is a new brokerage account that acts like a free, customizable robo-advisor with automatic rebalancing into a target portfolio. I am trying them out with my 2019 IRA contribution. Right now, there is also a transfer bonus if you move $20,000+ over to them from another broker.

Disclosure: I am now an affiliate of M1 Finance, and may be compensated if you click through my referral link and open a new account.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard Review – 65,000 Bonus Miles

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. Thank you for your support.

Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard Art

The Citi/AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard has an improved limited-time offer.  Here are the updated card highlights:

  • Limited-time: Earn 65,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $4,000 in purchases within the first 4 months of account opening.
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent at gas stations*
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent at restaurants*
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases*
  • Earn a $100 American Airlines Flight Discount after you spend $20,000 or more in purchases during your cardmembership year and renew your card*
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees*
  • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to four companions traveling with you on the same reservation*
  • Enjoy preferred boarding on American Airlines flights*
  • Receive 25% savings on inflight food and beverage purchases when you use your card on American Airlines flights*
  • Annual fee $99, waived for the first 12 months.

Bonus details. Note the following language for the personal card. Basically, to get the personal card bonus, you can’t have had the personal card opened or closed within the last 24 months. Having the business version is okay.

American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles are not available if you have had any Citi® / AAdvantage® card (other than a CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® card) opened or closed in the past 24 months.

To clarify, you can have one of both the consumer version of this card and the CitiBusiness® version designed for businesses under your name. The bonuses are also separate. You can get one consumer bonus every 24 months, and you can also get one business bonus every 24 months.

Baggage fee value. Currently, American Airlines recently joined the other airlines and now charges $30 one-way for the first checked bag and $40 one-way for the second checked bag in Economy. That’s $60 roundtrip for a single checked bag, per person. With this card, your first checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to four companions traveling with you on the same reservation.

Redemption tips. American Airlines MileSAAver awards are still 25,000 miles for a round-trip ticket within the contiguous 48 states. Their online system is pretty good for looking for domestic AA awards. If the trip is less than 500 miles, then it is only 15,000 miles round-trip within the contiguous 48 states. Under-500 miles routes include Las Vegas to/from Los Angeles, Charleston to/from Miami, New York to/from Washington DC, Philadelphia to Boston, and many others.

This card also makes you eligible for Reduced Mileage Awards, where you save up to 7,500 miles on roundtrip MileSAAver® awards to select destinations on American Airlines operated flights.

Bottom line.  The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® has a 65,000 mile limited-time offer. As with most of these co-branded cards, a lot of the ongoing value comes when you fly on American and utilize the free first checked bag benefit for you and up to 4 companions (recently increased to $60 per person, round-trip).

There is also a Barclays co-branded American Airlines card, and that version has its own limited-time offer of 60,000 bonus miles without a spending hurdle requirement (just make any single purchase on the card), while it does charge a $99 annual fee for the first year. You can find both that card and this card on the current list of Top 10 Best Credit Card Bonus Offers.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

Healthywage Review: Bet on Yourself, Get Paid To Lose Weight ($100 Prize Bonus)

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. Thank you for your support.

(Update: If you missed it in January, HealthyWage is offering a $100 Prize Boost for limited-time until April 22nd. This can potentially double your winnings!)

hw_logoAfter reading academic studies which found that financial incentives were effective in helping people lose weight, I joined HealthyWage.com. You tell them how much weight you want to lose, your current body details, how much time you want, and and they’ll calculate what prize to offer you based on how much you want to bet on yourself. Since I eventually lost 50 pounds with the help of HealthyWage and other weight-loss betting sites (and have kept it off since), and I wanted to share my experiences including both positive and negative aspects.

My overall HealthyWage bet was to lose 10% of my body weight over 9 months (22 pounds in my case). My offered bet was to put up $50 per month for 9 months for a potential win of $50. You may like the sound of “winning $500”, but know that a lot of it will be your own money:

healthywage500

Honestly, risking $450 to win $50 didn’t feel like a very good risk/reward ratio, but I wanted the extra motivation. Perhaps my goal was too easy and that was why the payout wasn’t as high. You can put up your own numbers and calculate your own HealthyWage offer. Your payout may be much better than mine. The quote is free, you just need to provide any e-mail address.

If I had been willing to bet that I would lose 50 pounds like I actually ended up doing, I could have earned a lot more money:

Initial weigh-in verification. There are four ways to verify your weight:

  1. Smartphone app. There is a HealthyWage app for iOS and Android. You take a clip using the app and your personal scale.
  2. Video Verification. Upload a video to their website using your personal scale.
  3. Verification by a Fitness or Health Professional – Bring a form to your “local gym, pharmacies, corporate wellness clinics, walk-in clinics, HR reps, nurses, your personal doctor, your personal trainer or your chiropractor.”
  4. Verification at a Weight Watchers Meeting.

I followed their directions carefully, uploaded my video, and both my initial and final videos were accepted with no issues or additional requests.

Every month, I would see a $50 charge on my credit card bill from Healthwage. However, that was about it. There were no encouraging e-mails. No fun tokens or prize giveaways.

Upon initial sign-up, I was given my 2-week window for final weigh-in. HealthyWage’s two-week window is definitely more generous than DietBet’s 48-hour window, with the important difference that I was never sent any reminders by HealthyWage when the time actually came. In comparison, Dietbet sent me multiple reminders beforehand. Now, I had the date marked on my digital calendar with several alerts, so I completed my weigh-in by the second day of the window. It is quite possible that if I waited until closer to the final deadline, I would have gotten a reminder. But I wouldn’t rely on it. Remember, if you forget, they keep your money!

I also did a DietBet at the same time, which is similar but different in that it collects participants into groups and then takes a cut from the pooled bets. See my separate DietBet Review.

Extra final verification hoops. Upon final weight verification, you’ll have to submit the verification video again (see above). But that’s not all. I also had to locate and upload a “before photo” and an “after photo”, which could be any photo from “around the time” of the start and end of the challenge. I also had to upload a scan of my driver’s license. Here’s a screenshot of their page asking for additional information.

Finally, I successfully referred a few people to Healthwage and received extra money added my “pot”. This referral program is nice feature to get some social support, but remember that you get the referral money only if you win your own bet.

Final payout options. There are two options to receive your winnings. A mailed check takes 3-4 weeks to process, with no fee. The other “fast” option is PayPal, which charges a 3% fee. I picked the PayPal option because I didn’t want to wait around for a check. However, they later clarified that it would still take 3-5 business days for Paypal transfer. The 3% fee is taken out by PayPal, so HealthyWage actually sends the full amount (they just choose not to subsidize the fee). In retrospect, maybe I should have just waited for the check. Here’s a screenshot:

hw_finalpay

Bottom line. I committed to a Healthywage bet to lose 10% of my initial weight over 9 months. I lost the weight, completed my verifications without hassle, won the bet, and was paid my winnings. Although I found the process a bit impersonal, they are a legit company. Calculate your own HealthyWage offer here. No obligation to get a quote. However, the fact that HealthyWage motivated me to finally lose over 50 pounds was worth more to me than the cash winnings.

(Update: If you missed it in January, HealthyWage is offering a $100 Prize Boost for limited-time until April 22nd. This can potentially double your winnings!)

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

Schwab Commission-Free ETF List Review (Updated 2019)

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. Thank you for your support.

ETFs are surpassing mutual funds as the standard building blocks of stock and bond portfolios. Here’s a closer look at the latest updates to the Charles Schwab commission-free ETF list. While the commercials often focus on quantity instead of quality, I will do the opposite. Here are the factors that I think are important:

  • Total Assets. This is a measure of popularity and reputation. A more popular ETF will have a smaller bid/ask spread and won’t have to liquidate in a bear market. A more reputably ETF manager will have lower index tracking error. However, ETF size isn’t everything.
  • Index/Asset Class. What index does it track? Does that index cover an asset class that I want to include??
  • Cost. What is the expense ratio? Low costs are important.

Schwab Commission-Free ETF full list. This Schwab ETF OneSource page includes a full list of their 503 commission-free ETFs.

Brief history of changes. In early February 2019, Schwab announced that it would increase the number of commission-free ETFs on their list to 503 as of March 1st, 2019, including no early redemption fees (no minimum holding period). Here is the list of 246 added ETFs, including 90 iShares ETFs.

Schwab’s ETF OneSource started in February 2013 with 103 commission-free ETFs including many in-house ETFs. Schwab has become very competitive with Vanguard and iShares by developing their own brand of low-cost, index ETFs. Outside providers now include: Aberdeen Standard Investments, ALPS Advisors, DWS Group, Direxion, Global X ETFs, IndexIQ, Invesco, iShares ETFs, John Hancock Investments, J.P. Morgan Asset Management, OppenheimerFunds, PIMCO, State Street Global Advisors SPDR® ETFs, USCF, WisdomTree and Charles Schwab Investment Management.

In March 2017, Schwab dropped their standard stock commission to $4.95 per trade + $0.65 per options contract. In addition, expenses for the Schwab market cap-weighted index mutual funds were lowered to match their Schwab ETF equivalents. Schwab Index mutual funds now have no investment minimum.

Largest ETFs on Schwab Commission-Free ETF list. Here are the top 20 most popular ETFs on their list, sorted by largest total assets. Also listed are the asset class and expense ratios.

ETF Name (Ticker) Asset Class Expense Ratio
iShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF (AGG) US Total Bond 0.05%
iShares iBoxx $ Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF (LQD) US Corporate Bonds 0.15%
iShares Edge MSCI Min Vol USA ETF (USMV) US Low Volatility 0.15%
iShares TIPS Bond ETF (TIP) US Inflation-Protected Bond 0.19%
iShares 1-3 Year Treasury Bond ETF (SHY) Short-Term Treasury Bond 0.15%
iShares J.P. Morgan USD Emerging Markets Bond ETF (EMB) Emerging Markets Bond 0.39%
Schwab International Equity ETF (SCHF) International Developed 0.06%
iShares MBS ETF (MBB) US Mortage-Backed Bonds 0.09%
iShares MSCI Japan ETF (EWJ) International Country Stock 0.47%
iShares iBoxx $ High Yield Corporate Bond ETF (HYG) US High-Yield Corporate Bond 0.49%
Invesco S&P 500® Equal Weight ETF (RSP) US Large-Capk 0.20%
Schwab U.S. Large-Cap ETF (SCHX) US Large Cap Blend 0.03%
Schwab U.S. Broad Market ETF (SCHB) US Total Stock 0.03%
iShares 7-10 Year Treasury Bond ETF (IEF) Interm-Term Treasury Bond 0.15%
iShares National AMT-Free Muni Bond ETF (MUB) Municipal Bond 0.07%
iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (TLT) Long-Term Treasury Bond 0.15%
iShares Edge MSCI Min Vol EAFE ETF (EFAV) International Developed Stock 0.20%
iShares Short-Term Corporate Bond ETF (IGSB) US Short-Term Corporate Bond 0.06%
Invesco S&P 500® Low Volatility ETF (SPLV) US Large-Cap Stock 0.25%
iShares Edge MSCI USA Quality Factor ETF (QUAL) US Large-Cap Stock 0.15%

 

Lowest Expense Ratio ETFs on Schwab Commission-Free ETF list. Here are the top 20 cheapest ETFs on their list, sorted by lowest expense ratio.

ETF Name (Ticker) Asset Class Expense Ratio
Schwab U.S. Broad Market ETF (SCHB) US Total Stock 0.03%
Schwab U.S. Large-Cap ETF (SCHX) US Large Cap Blend 0.03%
SPDR Portfolio Large Cap ETF (SPLG) US Large Cap Blend 0.03%
SPDR Portfolio Total Stock Market ETF (SPTM) US Total Stock 0.03%
SPDR Portfolio Developed World ex-US ETF (SPDW) International Developed Stock 0.04%
Schwab U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF (SCHZ) International Developed Large Cap Blend 0.04%
SPDR Portfolio Aggregate Bond ETF (SPAB) US Total Bond 0.04%
Schwab U.S. Large-Cap Growth ETF (SCHG) US Large-Cap Growth 0.04%
SPDR Portfolio S&P 500 Growth ETF (SPYG) US Large-Cap Growth 0.04%
Schwab U.S. Large-Cap Value ETF (SCHV) US Large-Cap Value 0.04%
SPDR Portfolio S&P 500 Value ETF (SPYV) US Large-Cap Value 0.04%
Schwab U.S. Mid-Cap ETF (SCHM) US Mid-Cap 0.04%
Schwab U.S. Small-Cap ETF (SCHA) US Small-Cap 0.04%
Schwab U.S. TIPS ETF (SCHP) US Inflation-Protected Bond 0.05%
Schwab 1000 Index ETF (SCHK) US Large-Cap Blend 0.05%
SPDR Portfolio Mid Cap ETF (SPMD) US Mid-Cap 0.05%
SPDR Portfolio Small Cap ETF (SPSM) US Small-Cap 0.05%
SPDR Bloomberg Barclays Corporate Bond ETF (CBND) US Corporate Bond 0.06%
Schwab International Equity ETF (SCHF) International Developed 0.06%
Schwab Intermediate-Term U.S. Treasury (SCHR) US Treasury Bond 0.06%

 

Commentary. Overall, Schwab’s OneSource ETF list does include a good mix of Schwab ETFs with good management, low costs, and low bid/ask spreads. There are also a few good iShares and SPDR ETFs that could be potential ETF pairs for tax-loss harvesting. A DIY investor should find it easy create a diversified portfolio of ETFs according to their desired asset allocation, if you know what you are looking for. With 500+ ETFs, many will be short-lived duds, while still others are ETFs that track a very similar index but are much more expensive than the competition.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.