New Fidelity Rewards Visa Credit Card Review: 2% Flat Cash Back

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new_usbank_fido_visa_200Updated with new info for both new and existing customers. Fidelity has (mostly) converted their rewards credit card line-up to a single version – a Visa Signature issued by Elan Financial Services (subsidiary of US Bank). For new customers, the new Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card will receive a flat 2% cash back when directed to an eligible Fidelity Investments account. Here is a different link which includes a $100 bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases within the first 90 days. Here are the new card highlights:

  • Unlimited 2% cash back, when redeemed into an eligible Fidelity account.
  • No annual fee.
  • Visa Signature benefits, like Concierge service.
  • Chip-enabled and works with Apple, Android, and Samsung Pay.

Eligible Fidelity accounts. The 2% rewards value applies only to points redeemed for a deposit into the following active Fidelity accounts:

  • Fidelity Cash Management Account
  • Fidelity Brokerage account
  • Fidelity-managed 529 account
  • Fidelity Retirement account (IRA, Roth IRA, SEP-IRA, Rollover IRA)

Rewards value will be less than 2% cash back if you choose to redeem your points for other rewards such as travel options, merchandise, gift cards, and/or a statement credit.

Points redemption details. You can either choose automatic or manual redemption. With automatic redemption, once you reach $50 of rewards (5,000 points from net spending of $2,500), your balance will be automatically swept into your designated Fidelity account (or split between multiple Fidelity accounts if you wish). You can also redeem your points “on demand” either by calling in or online after you reach the same 5,000 point minimum balance.

Previous FIA Cardservices customers. You should have received your new Elan-issued cards by now, and been told what the new rewards structure is. There is no new credit check. Your credit card number will be different, but the credit card history (like age of account) should continue as before on your credit reports. Your existing rewards balance will be moved over. Re-enroll your card for online account management at Re-enroll your cards for rewards redemption after logging into your account at / Credit Card Snapshot / Manage Rewards Points. You will need your Fidelity account numbers.

There was (understandably) some angry existing customers when they were told they would only start at 1.5% cash back and not the 2% cash back offered to new customers. Some reps told existing customers that they would have apply for a new card in order to get the 2%. However, it appears that Fidelity has softened that decision. If you call up the number on the back of your card and ask them, they should upgrade you to 2% cash back without hassle. But it won’t happen automatically; you must call.

Commentary. Overall, this move makes complete business sense. They negotiated terms that could offer a Visa card with 2% cash back without any tiers. Fidelity uses this card to encourage customers to keep all their assets within Fidelity-branded accounts. You could theoretically now have your checking account, credit card, brokerage account, IRA, 401(k), all with Fidelity.

Their previous issuer, FIA Cardservices was owned by Bank of America, which is essentially a direct competitor. You could also have a Bank of America checking account, BofA credit card, Merrill Edge brokerage account, and Merrill Lynch wealth management account under their umbrella. In fact, I recently opened up a Merrill Edge account and moved over $100,000 of assets and received (1) 100 free stock trades a month and (2) an effective 2.625% back towards any travel with the Bank of America Travel Rewards card (my review). I pay no annual account fees on either product.

Elan Financial Services is a subsidiary of US Bank, but they are less of a direct competitor. You won’t see “US Bank” mentioned anywhere on this card. Elan quietly co-brands with many other financial institutions (over 1,400) who want a credit card but don’t want to handle the back-end details.

Bottom line. I believe it remains a solid cash back card for existing Fidelity customers (or those willing to open a Fidelity account). As a self-directed investor, I also like to keep my options open. I have this new Fidelity card, but I don’t use it. I use the Bank of America card mentioned above because it offers higher rewards for my situation. I also have (but don’t currently use) the Citi Double Cash card (my review) because it is a similarly solid card with no annual fee (and doesn’t require any companion account).

Why do I have all three? My experience is that good credit cards may stop taking new applicants with no prior notice, but as an existing customer you can often continue to receive grandfathered benefits for a long time. I’ve had some version of this Fidelity co-branded card earning 2% cash back since 2004. They also all have no annual fee.

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  1. “U.S. Bank has also agreed to acquire Fidelity’s existing co-brand credit card portfolio with approximately $1.6 billion in associated balances.”

    I am hoping this means that existing history will be kept during the acquisition, otherwise my credit score could take a significant hit.

    • Yes, I have received confirmation from Fidelity that your new Visa card line will show the same opening date as your existing credit card line. You should still verify this is the case on your credit reports when the time comes around July 2016.

    • Mint Waxed says:

      My recent experience with Elan Financial was dismal. My card number was compromised when Wendy’s was hacked and in addition to bogus cash being withdrawn from an ATM, I as accessed fees and interest. Every time I used the website Secure Message to get charges and fees removed, the answer was always to call their Fraud line. The problem with that is long hold times where my cell phone minutes are being eaten up. This defeats the purpose of the website having a secure message area. I had to call several time because either the bogus charges were not being credited or the amounts were wrong. Again, more cell phone minutes being wasted because their secure message area is worthless. Aside from that, my July statement did not reflect the credits finally issued to offset the bogus charges. When I sent yet another secure message using the website to request an updated statement reflecting the corrected balance, I got another useless response telling me to call the Fraud Department. To put icing on the cake, while waiting for the new replacement cards to arrive, we had to use an alternate card and missed out on the reward points. At this point, I’m ready to get the Citi Double Cash card and trash Elan.

      • Mint Waxed says:

        What a bunch of idiotic fools. We received two forms to be completed and returned to verify listed charge(s) were not made by us. Upon completing and signing the forms, they would not fit into the envelope provided because the envelope was not a standard business size. The forms had to be trimmed and re-folded so they would fit. Then, of course, the envelope was not a business reply and needed postage applied. What a bunch of amateur buffoons.

        • Honestly, you just sound like someone that complains a lot about everything. Is it really that difficult to grab a larger sized envelope? Wow.

          • Mint Waxed says:

            No. It indicates Elan does not pay attention to detail and over a year, there is a lot of wasted envelopes going into the trash. If you were my employee with that attitude, you’d be fired.

  2. Bard Ford says:

    Hopefully Elan offers better web support than FIA did. The inability to download transaction data to Quicken until the end of the bill was the prime reason I didn’t use the card more. FIA’s web system was 10 years behind Amex’s.

    • I don’t have any Elan cards right now, but I agree that the FIA’s neglected website was another reason why Fidelity left them. Especially as Bank of America has one of the better banking websites out there in terms of user interface design, in my opinion.

    • Artie McDonald says:

      Not sure about your specific case, but I get my downloads in quicken from the Fidelity Amex daily now. I hated it when it was only monthly downloads and was happy when that was finally fixed… although I think it may have been something that started in quicken 2015.. I just don’t remember now

    • If you set up your account in Quicken as Bankcard Services rather than FIA, you download transactions as they happen. Maybe they fixed it for FIA, I haven’t used it that way in a while now.

  3. lol… well, i’ve applied for and been approved for at least 10 cards I’ve heard of from your website. Anyway, I got rejected for this one. 100k+ income w/ high credit score. I’ll call for reconsideration, i suppose. 🙁

    • … and you don’t already have a Fidelity Rewards card?!? Thanks for the data point. I’m just going to wait for them to pry my MasterCard out of my cold, dead… oh wait Costco will take Visa soon. Bring on the new Visa! 🙂 Although the BofA Travel Rewards is also a Visa…

      • They said I have a lot of new cards and they’d like to see some payment history. To be fair, I have a lot of new cards… They said try again in 6 months.

  4. This is a pretty solid card but they’ve changed my card number 2 or 3 times in the past year which is a PITA. Also, being able to get the 2% redeemed as a $500 statement credit was nice, I hope they don’t get rid of that. In case they do, I just applied for the Citi Double Cash Card…seems a little easier.

    • I’ve been through those card number changes too. The idea of waiting around to accumulate $500 as statement credit always seemed a bit risky to recommend. That would take $25,000 in purchases. Although unlikely, it would really hurt if I had say $400 sitting there in rewards and they closed the card on me. Why not just open a Fidelity account?

      • I have one, just don’t use them for my brokerage services. I’d prefer the cash back in the form or a check or statement credit anyways.

        • You can get the 2% redeemed as a statement credit at $250 which is 25,000 WorldPoints. Or at least that is the case for the Fidelity Amex I opened last year according to their terms and conditions. I don’t have a Fidelity account and don’t want to open another account so I’m just accumulating for the statement credit. I should have enough points for the statement credit in the next month or two.

          • That’s correct 25,000 points is enough for $250 statement credit. I have been doing that for years now and never opened Fidelity account.

  5. Artie McDonald says:

    This is awesome for Costco members’ who carry the Fidelity Amex (which was a better card to use at Costco then Costco’s own card).

    • Exactly, although, this quarter (2016 Q3) the Chase card 5% bonus applies to Costco and Sams. That card for this quarter, then back to this new Elan, until I hit the reward max.

      3 cards are enough to juggle.

  6. Good news! I just received a note directly from a Fidelity representative that for current credit cardholders that when we are eventually converted to a new Visa card number, our credit reports will still reflect the original opening dates of our current credit cards.

  7. I was just about to give up on the Fidelity card. Maybe I’ll wait and see how the Visa card works after. My fidelity card has been compromised 2-3 times with fraud harges. THe most recent charge was on the older card # which they aparently didn’t cancel after they gave me a new number a few moths ago. The current card has a badly designed website too. But now maybe I’ll wait and see if the new bank with the Visa is better.

  8. Kenneth Venhuizen says:

    How in the world do I get on my Fidelity Am Express card account?

  9. I’m curious; whatever happened to the Merrill+ Rewards Visa Signature credit card issued by Bank of America? Why don’t they start offering that credit card again for new applicants or something similar to the Fidelity card?

  10. Wanted to ask about using the Citi Double Cash card as a complement to the Bank of America Cash Rewards card. For gas and supermarket, the BAC Card is the superior one especially with the bank deposit bonus. My question concerns the 1% tier – am I correct that even with a 75% deposit bonus, it would be better to use the Citi Double Cash card instead? Did I do the math correctly – that the 1% rate plus the 75% bonus amounts to 1.75% cash back which is less than Citi’s 2% rate? Just trying to make sure before I open the Citi card.

  11. I’ve had a Fidelity card give 2% back into my daughter’s 529 account for 17 years now. The account had no other deposits, and is now worth $27,000. This will pay for at least a semester of college, maybe a full year if the market grows from here.
    It’s amazing how 2 cents per dollar adds over time.
    I happen to have an Amex that gives 3% on gas and 5% at office stores or wireless. It’s also decent, but the money is ‘lost’ as it’s just credited to the account. The 529 savings is right there, proof that it all adds up.

  12. do you know what happens for folks with both existing FIA Fidelity Visa and Amex cards? Will they transition me to two new cards or consolidate me into one visa card (preferred)?

  13. The new Fidelity card will not have the ShopSafe feature (or anything similar, per a discussion with a USBank/Elan/Fidelity rep). At least not at this time. This is a big feature drop for me, as my card has been hacked 5 times in the last 7 years, and each time takes several hours of hassle to update all of my online and recurrent payments with my new Visa number. With ShopSafe, if a virtual number gets hacked, my real number remains uncompromised. It was a big help for my last time I got hacked in August 2015.

    • I just received a Fidelity email detailing the new Elan Visa Signature card. I chatted with a Fidelity agent about the availability of a Virtual Credit Card with the new Elan provider. No such luck.
      I too use FIA’s ShopSafe for all my online shopping and even for some recurring monthly payments to cable and phone companies. I don’t want a card that doesn’t provide similar functionality. I’ll forego the 2% and stick with FIA.
      The 2% incentive is not enough to offset the hassle of using my real credit card or PayPal for online shopping.

  14. Agree with Mike that dropping virtual card numbers (ShopSafe) will be a big loss for the new card. I use this feature quite a bit. I have two Fidelity cards (Mastercard and Amex) and, like StevenF, was wondering how this new Fidelity Visa card transition would transpire. So I called Elan to ask. The person I talked to may have been clueless BUT he said that Elan would issue two VISA cards to me (one for each of the cards being replaced). I guess that would preserve each card’s original open date and account information, but I was HOPING that they would merge both cards into one. Finally, my biggest complaint with Fia Card Services (old provider) was in the customer services department. If you EVER wanted to dispute a credit card charge on a Fidelity sponsored card, GOOD LUCK… From my experience, FIA Card Services was only interested in closing the dispute as quickly as it could. As such, I ONLY used my Fidelity card(s) at reputable businesses where I was certain that no credit card dispute would be necessary.

    • Thanks for the info. SO then if I dont want two new USBank cards, I should plan on cancelling one FIA card now – and then I wont end up with two of the same thing. Much appreciated. Will the closing of a card hurt my credit rating?

      • Well, I got the impression that the guy at Elan didn’t know for certain what would happen when the new cards were issued, but that’s what he said. I plan to wait and see what happens before I close any accounts — you never know. Even if you wind up with two cards from the same issuer, each card would still have its own limits and be treated separately for charging purposes. If that’s what happens, I might try to convince Elan to merge the two new accounts since they’re now both from the same issuer. Yes, it is my understanding that closing a credit card account may temporarily lower your credit rating. This might occur anyway if two accounts are merged since one of the accounts goes away (is closed) — I’m not sure.

  15. This is a great development. Will there be a foreign transaction fee on the new visa? How does this compare to the new Schwab American Express coming in 2016?

  16. Mary Johnson says:

    I have my credit union’s Visa Signature issued by Elan (used to be FIA), with $20K credit limit. Will it be possible to convert to this Fidelity card? Would it be a conversion, or starting all over again with credit checks, etc. I’d like to keep the $20K credit limit. Would it help if I already have a Fidelity account, or could I do both at the same time? Thanks.

    • Jerusalem Cherry says:

      I called Elan with the same exact question about my Credit Union Elan Card. They said no, you can only convert the current Fidelity Card holders and I would have to apply from scratch. Bummer

      • Mary Johnson says:

        Thanks. FWIW, my cu card has a great interest rate (8.9%) but pays 1% on purchases. So I almost never use it. Sure would be nice if they’d improve it.

  17. Will WorldPoints redemption still be an option when it transitions to Visa? I’ve always used my Fidelity Amex points this way…

  18. Dave Borland says:

    Was there ever a special to Fidelity Customers to obtain a new Fidelity VISA card and one of the
    special features of the special was to use a code when you applied and you could transfer funds from another
    institution to the Fidelity VISA with no interest on the amount transferred for I think it was a year.
    Is this accurate?

  19. Received a letter in the mail that I would be converted to the new card, but under the old benefits of 1.5% up to 15K in spending and 2% thereafter. I am considering applying for the new card and either cancelling my old card, or I may simply stop using it. Disappointed you can’t convert— but does anyone have a reason they would choose to use the old card for a lower benefit?

  20. Just got more mail communications from Fidelity and have had conversations w/ multiple reps. If you currently have a Fidelity Signature Awards card (FIA) the new Elan card will NOT have the 2% rewards, it is the same 1.5% on the first $15K annually then $2% after that. This is in direct conflict with every communication Fidelity has had w/ current card members on this. So now in addition to losing Shopsafe, the rewards program for existing card members is grandfathered to the less lucrative plan. AND they waited to tell us, and told us otherwise for months. Screwed me out of $75 ($15K*.5%).

    I will not be activating the new card and will be shopping for a new card later today.

    • Michael says:

      I received my new card. The paperwork seems to suggest that the rewards level is 2% still…. am I reading it wrong??

  21. Received the same message as above today after earlier message stating I would get 2%. Wrote Fidelity and received following response.
    “I am happy to help with this. If you do not apply for the new visa card your master card will be converted to a visa card and continue with the 1.5% back. So it is up to you on if you want to apply for the new card and get 2% back or just stay with the 1.5% card but a visa card and not a master card.”

    So after 20+ years with Fidelity this is how they treat you.

    • And I also just learned that if you had already put $15K on the existing FIA Visa (meaning subsequent tx would earn 2% for the rest of your card year), once you get the new card that is re-set and you have to go through the 1.5% on the first $15K AGAIN.

      I will not be activating this new card. Just applied and accepted for a new Citi Double Cash Back card (2% on all purchases, no annual fee, virtual card capable).

  22. Recently received the same info from Fidelity (as above) about cash back feature. Previously was told the new Fidelity/Elan Visa would be 2% cash back. Now received new mail stating the new card benefits would be the same as old FIA MasterCard at 1.5%, even though new applications would get 2% (could hurt credit score for new app.).

    Really sucks that Fidelity wouldn’t offer their current customers the best rate! Called Fidelity/Elan Customer Service to complain and the next day got a message stating I closed my account and wouldn’t get the new card. Unbelievable!

  23. After escalating within Fidelity and Elan, I received communications that I would be allowed to do a card conversion and get the full 2% on all transactions, once the card was issued and activated. But in the mean time, I applied for and received my new Citi Double Cash Back card. I like the security features of the Citi card, it has virtual card numbers and no liability for unauthorized transactions. Credit limit was about half of my previous Fidelity Visa, but I will work on increasing it over time. It is manageable.

    So I will not be activating the new Fidelity Visa.

  24. Tim & Jan says:

    We do not like losing the ShopSafe feature.

  25. Michael says:

    I was transferred to the Fidelity Visa card with Elan from the Fidelity American Express with FIA. I had 4,000+ WorldPoints with the Fidelity American Express with FIA – almost enough for a transfer at 5,000. Will those points transfer to my Fidelity Visa card with Elan?? How do I get them to do that?

  26. Camille Bradford says:

    Elan has terrible customer service. Am sorry that Fidelity cancelled the FIA cards. After reading many other complaints about Elan customer service on this and other sites, I plan to cancel the new card.

  27. I called again since we were getting closer to the switch, and my card’s last day of service was this week. Elan told me that we *would* keep the 2% program for existing card holders. All I had to do was request this over the phone. Will report back if it actually works.

  28. Jonathan and all – I’m confused about the 1.5% vs. 2% for existing customers. I previously had the Fidelity Rewards AMEX card with 2% cash back (when deposited into a Fidelity account). It was converted last month to the Fidelity Rewards Visa as expected. Nowhere does it say I am dropping down to 1.5%. In fact, the website, after logging in, specifically refers to “Your 2% Rewards”. Am I missing something?

    • Sorry for the confusion, I was trying to save some words. Former Fidelity *AmEx* customers should all be getting 2% cash back. However, former Fidelity *Visa* customers with 1.5% cash back until $15,000 in annual purchases were made were told that the same tiers would apply to them with the new Fidelity Visa card. That meant long-time loyal Fidelity Visa cardholders would be treated worse than new Fidelity Visa holders. That may have been some quirk of the Fidelity/Elan contract, but they are making adjustments upon request now so that everyone can get 2% flat cash back.

  29. I recently applied for and received my Elan (Fidelity) CC. I have been using Southwest Air Rapid Rewards CC issued by Chase Bank. I switched because I am not flying as much anymore and the 2% was enticing with my existing Fidelity Accounts. I have two major disappointments with Elan Fidelity CC.
    1. First and the most disturbing is that Elan does not support OFX which is the industry standard financial data transfer protocol. In fact I have not yet found anyone in Elan that has even the remotest knowledge of what OFX is. This is very disappointing and clearly indicates that Elan is way behind the times in financial management. Being as I am a Mac user as many are, I am forced to switch to windows (not an option) or become a Quicken user that stopped supporting Mac users many years ago. I do about 150 transactions monthly so the time consumption to manually download transactions becomes excessively time consuming.
    2. I have needed to contact Elan on two occasions. The first time it took 47 minutes to get a representative on the phone and then he had no idea of what I was talking about. His transfer of my call to technical support yielded even more disappointment. My second call to Elan (yesterday afternoon) resulted in my having to disconnect the call after 38 minutes of waiting with no response. Customer service and wait times remind me of an operation that is being managed out of a garage.
    I am amazed that a company as large as Fidelity would partner with such an operation and not provide customer assistance in getting these problems corrected. Ironically, Fidelity does support and uses the OFX protocol to transmit their financial data on all of my Fidelity Accounts. The least that Fidelity could do is get involved and train Elan on modern day financial data transmission.
    If these problems are not corrected soon, I will either revert to my Chase CC Account. I am currently looking into the Citi Card 2% offer and may have to opt for their credit card.

    • I think both FIA and Elan are a little short on the customer service side. Honestly, I wish Fidelity would bring these credit cards in-house somehow. This is starting to damage Fidelity’s reputation for good customer service on their investment accounts.

  30. Swie Jap says:

    There is a 1% foreign transaction fee (which the old AmEx Fidelity card doesn’t have) with this new ELAN Fidelity Visa.

    • Thanks. This new Fidelity Visa has a 1% foreign transaction fee. The Citi Double Cash has a 3% foreign transaction fee. My BofA Travel Rewards has a 0% foreign transaction fee.

  31. In terms of cashing out rewards, I just let the money automatically go to my Fidelity brokerage account, then transfer it upon arrival to my checking account. I even have an alert on the Fidelity account when my cash balance is more than a trivial amount to know to transfer it.

    However, one thing not discussed is that the new Fidelity account has substantially inferior protection to the previous AmEx card (and to the Citi DoubleCash Card). Damaged items are only covered in a set of small circumstances like discharge of water. And compared to DoubleCash, warranty extension is much less and return protection is not there.

  32. Jonathan, are you aware that in the transition from FIA to Elan, ALL PREVIOUS CREDIT CARD STATEMENTS HAVE BEEN EXPUNGED ONLINE? Yes, you read that correctly. Elan says they will not be available online — ever — and that cardholders who want to see any previous (FIA-era) statement will have to request that a hard copy be mailed, a process they estimate will take about a month. That includes recent statements, such as June’s and July’s.
    The inconvenience for Fidelity’s half million cardholders is enormous. Want to do a family budget for 2017, with the help of expenditure records from past credit card statements? Now impossible. Want to jog your memory about the name of a vendor who painted your house, or repaired your kitchen appliance, or sold you a gift for your kids? Now impossible. Need to access past credit card statements to satisfy legal expenditure records requirements in litigation, such as a divorce proceeding? Now impossible.

    • Thanks for your comment. I actually did notice that after trying to log into that there was nothing available. That is quite disappointing, seems like a petty thing for FIA to do… “you’re leaving? well fine get out and i’m throwing away all your stuff!”. I use paper statements so I’m really not affected but this does make a case for using an alternate backup storage for e-statements like FileLater or Dropbox and not just the original source.

    • Gone. We were warned, though. It doesn’t make it right, but I understand a company that just lost all these accounts just wants to wipe their servers.
      The transition occurred during a billing cycle for me, and I tried to log in to verify my final payment was credited, but the web access was already gone and even the 800 number said “call Elan.”
      Hopefully, Elan wont keep changing my card number as often as FIA, and we can just get back to using the card.

  33. Probably won’t use the new card, the Amex had the added benefit of being able to redeem Amex offers, which was the only reason I kept it, as they made my rewards points negative for balance transfer out. If they transfer the negative rewards to the Visa won’t benefit from 2% back.

  34. On a positive note, after re-reading this post and comments, I called Elan and asked if they could change the account to eliminate the maximum reward. FIA capped it, and sometime toward the end of the card anniversary, I’d risk losing any cash back. The rep did this over the phone, no new, new, card, just no cap now.

  35. Considering the amount of money some people have at Fidelity, they would be smart to offer a second, premium card (even if it has a fee).

    The lack of “extra” benefits is why this card is why I never put large purchases on this card.

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