- 1 Review: Charles Schwab Credit Cards
- 2 Why American Express Is Still The Best Credit Card For Investors
- 3 The 12 Best Cards and Documents for Luxury Travel, on a Budget
- 4 American Express Bank, FSB Reviews
- 5 American Express Small Business Saturday 2016
Review: Charles Schwab Credit Cards
Investment company Charles Schwab, in partnership with American Express, offers two credit cards exclusive to Charles Schwab customers. While both offer perks good for certain Charles Schwab customers, neither is so special that we would recommend it over other cards on the market. See our overview/review of each card below:
- The Charles Schwab Investor Card offers a 1.5% cash back rebate, with the rebated amount going straight into your Charles Schwab brokerage account. If you use the card for at least $1000 in purchases in the first 3 months you have it, you’ll get an extra $100 statement credit. There is no annual fee. In our view, the 1.5% cash back rebate is competitive with the top cash back credit cards on the market, but forcing you to take that rebate as a deposit into your brokerage account is less flexible than competitor cards. The card’s interest rate ranges from 14.24% to 17.24%, depending on your credit history, a decent but not noteworthy rate for a rewards credit card.
- The American Express Platinum Card for Schwab has a $450 annual fee. It is a charge card that must be paid off every month. It offers points in the American Express Membership Rewards program, with a Schwab-exclusive redemption offer that allows you to redeem points at an effective 1.25% rate (e.g., 10,000 points = $125 when deposited in a Schwab account). Otherwise, the perks here are mostly travel-related, including access to many airport lounges, a yearly $200 airline fee credit (for checked bags, in-flight purchases, etc.), and more. For the frequent traveler, the $450 fee could make this card worthwhile, but for others the fee is difficult to justify.
Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® for Building Credit - See if you Pre-Qualify without harming your credit score. +This fully unsecured credit card with no deposit requirement can be helpful in growing or building credit. Your account activity will be reported monthly to all three major credit bureaus. +All the features you want in a credit card are included. Get 1% cash back on eligible purchases, take advantage of free online credit score tracking, and enjoy credit line increase opportunities. Terms apply.
Why American Express Is Still The Best Credit Card For Investors
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The 12 Best Cards and Documents for Luxury Travel, on a Budget
These are some of the best credit, ATM, and perk cards for traveling.
There are others—which I also own for their frequent flyer mile benefits—, but generally I travel with only four sources of money: a main credit card, a main ATM card, a backup credit card, and a backup ATM card.
This article discusses how to create your own card set-up to:
- Avoid international ATM fees
- Avoid credit card foreign transaction fees
- Bypass US customs and TSA security lines
- Access airport lounges
- Obtain a personal concierge
- Get student discounts
TRAVEL ATM CARDS
This is my main ATM card. With no account minimums, no monthly service fees, no ATM withdrawal fees, and free online transfers, it’s the perfect international bank account (except for its low interest rate). I’ve lost my ATM card three times, in three different countries, and Schwab shipped a new one every time. For free.
This is my backup ATM card that also has no ATM withdrawal fees. I keep it separate from my Schwab card in my hidden pocket. Before international trips I load it with US$500 in case my main ATM card is lost or stolen.
TRAVEL CREDIT CARDS
This is my main credit card. It earns two highly valuable Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on travel and dining purchases, which are the majority of my transactions on the road. With no foreign transaction fees, I use it exactly as I would within the United States. The sign-up bonus is also enough for a free international round-trip ticket—but that’s a rabbit hole we’ll go down at a later date.
This is my backup credit card. It offers so many benefits that I need to use bullet points:
- No foreign transaction fees
- Chip-and-Pin Enabled — required for many European transactions
- US$200 in airline credits per calendar year — I received US$200 in 12/2012, then US$200 in 1/2013
- Free international round-trip ticket with the Membership Rewards sign-up bonus
- Free Global Entry and TSA-Pre Program — the US$100 fee is reimbursed
- Free access to 600 airport lounges with Priority Pass
- Free Platinum Concierge Service
- Full list of benefits: here
TRAVEL PERKS CARDS
Priority Pass – FREE with American Express Platinum cards; plans from US$99 to US$399 without
Gain access to 600 airport lounges around the world. This card makes you feel First Class…even when flying economy. Free food, free drinks, fancy lounges, and leather couches are my new norm during long layovers. During short layovers I always enter to grab juice and a snack too.
Get student discounts around the world. While working at a Costa Rican university I was issued the teacher version, which conveniently leaves off the expiration date. For the past seven years I’ve saved hundreds and hundreds of dollars on discounted museum, movie, sporting, transportation, and accommodation fees. The card is not pictured above.
Passport, Printed Photocopy, and Digital Backup — FREE
My passport has been stolen twice. Luckily, I had both physical photocopies and scanned copies in my inbox. You cannot fly or cross borders with a copy, but it will expedite the reissuing process at your local consulate. When going out at night I carry only a photocopy, unless in country like Japan where by law you must have a passport with you at all times.
Driver’s License — Prices vary, usually less than US$30
To rent cars is the obvious reason to travel with a driver’s license. The not-so-obvious reason is to have a second official ID should your passport disappear. Imagine being unable to return home or missing a flight because you can’t prove you are the name on your ticket. International Driver Licenses are a scam. If renting a car abroad, contact AAA to learn about International Driver Permit requirements.
Global Entry Identity Card — FREE with American Express Platinum cards; US$100 without
This is a government ID, though I doubt bartenders and doormen would recognize it officially. Homeland Security personnel, on the other hand, will allow you to bypass their security lines when you flash it — as long as you entered your Trusted Traveler membership number into your flight’s booking reservation or airline’s frequent flyer profile.
Visa Photos — FREE if printed at home
Many countries process “visas on arrival,” which means you pay fees and fill out forms at the airport/border crossing. These forms almost always require photos. You don’t have two passport-sized head shots? No problem, they’ll happily charge you exorbitant prices for their photography skills. Since entry requirements are ever-changing I always carry two photos with me.
American Express Bank, FSB Reviews
From Account Holders in the last year
ADDITIONAL RATINGS YOU MIGHT FIND HELPFUL
3.5 out of 5 stars
3 out of 5 stars
These reviews were written by current and former account holders in the last year.
Just read the last review by savingsguy
Was this review helpful?
Personal Savings account has been good
I have had this account for several years. It has a high interest rate compared to the market though not the highest. I also have several other savings accounts so I don't depend on this for everything. I largely put money in this for keeping and not spending. I also like companies that have great customer service. After Amex started a relationship with Charles Schwab for a co-branded credit card, I applied for that credit card and now I can access my amex personal savings from clicking to my amex account from schwab. It is almost like my amex personal savings is a Charles Schwab savings account :). That is great because Charles Schwab, while great for investing and checking, doesn't have a great savings account. Likewise, the Amex personal savings doesn't have investing or checking. That said, the Amex Schwab Credit Card and Amex Personal Savings are a perfect fit for the Charles Schwab checking and investing accounts.
Was this review helpful?
I've had my account for several years and haven't had a problem. I do have to plan my withdrawals and allow about 3 days for the funds to appear in my local bank, but they pay one of the highest interest rates I've found.
Live only had to call customer service once, to get a form to designate a beneficiary. They sent the form right out.
American Express Small Business Saturday 2016
This year, Small Business Saturday will be on November 26th, 2016. Although it was started in 2010 by American Express on the Saturday after Thankgsiving, since 2011 this day has been officially recognized by Congress.
As was the case last year, there will be no flat statement credits in 2016 for shopping at a small business. Instead, American Express is offering double points or double cash back through the end of 2016 for shopping at small businesses from now until December 31st, 2016. You must register here first. Find local, participating small businesses on their Shop Small map.
The 2X promotion works these various flavors of American Express. When you use your enrolled Card at small businesses:
- Membership Rewards cards will earn 1 additional Membership Rewards point per dollar spent.
- Delta Skymiles cards will earn 1 additional mile per dollar spent.
- Blue Cash cards will earn an additional 1% back per dollar spent.
- Blue Sky cards will earn 1 additional Blue Sky point per dollar spent.
- Hilton Honors cards will earn 3 additional Hilton HHonors points per dollar spent.
- Starwood Preferred Guest cards will earn 1 additional Starpoint per dollar spent.
- Plenti cards will earn 1 additional Plenti point per dollar spent.
- Schwab Investor cards will earn an additional 1.5% cash back per dollar spent.
Rewards cap applies; 2X Rewards valid on up to $100,000 in purchases per enrolled consumer card and $250,000 in purchases per enrolled business card.
American Express has also been adding a lot of new offers – including local small businesses! – to their AmEX Special Offers. Log into your account online and see what you have targeted in your area. You may also see 10% off your cable or Satellite TV bill, 10% off your cellular phone bill, $25 off Verizon Wireless, $20 off $100 at Staples.com, or double/triple points at merchants like Amazon, Target, and Home Depot.
If you have a small business and accept American Express but aren’t shown on on their Shop Small map, here’s how to get yourself added:
Please contact the Shop Small Team at 1-800-235-8916, Mon-Fri 9am-6pm, EST and have your federal tax ID handy. We look forward to hearing from you!
Participating small businesses can also sign up for additional marketing materials here.
This Fortune article discusses the positive impact that American Express’s statement credits from 2010-2014 had on small businesses after the 2009 recession. It felt good that this promotion supported independent retailers, whereas most promotions go towards the big chains. Small Business Saturday was also a clever way for American Express to tell the public that they’ve increased acceptance of their cards at small businesses, which has always been their relative weak spot due to their slightly higher fees for the merchant.
Original post from Small Business Saturday 2014:
American Express has confirmed that they will bring back Small Business Saturday (SBS) on Saturday, November 29th, 2014 – two days after Thanksgiving. The significant change this year is that now it is up to three separate $10 statement credits, for a total of up to $30 per eligible card. Details:
- Limit three (3) $10 statement credits per eligible American Express Card. To receive the offer, Card Members must register any eligible American Express Card for this offer. Corporate Cards and all prepaid Card products (other than American Express Serve® and Bluebird®) are not eligible.
- The number of registrations is limited. Registration opens at 12:00 A.M. MST (“Mountain Standard Time”) on Nov 16, 2014 and will continue until 11:59 P.M. MST on Nov 29, 2014, unless the registration limit is reached sooner.
- To receive the $10 statement credit, the Card Member must use his or her registered Card to spend $10 or more in a single, in-store transaction at a qualifying small business location on Saturday, Nov 29, 2014.
Remember that authorized users of eligible cards are also eligible for this promotion. Given that it is three separate $10 credits per card, it’ll make your live easier if you plan out your purchases ahead of time. Here’s my list:
- Local grocery stores. There’s one where I can find the sunflower seed butter for my kid, and the one with the good raw lasagna.
- Local restaurants and coffee shops. Just make sure they take AmEx!
- Local doggie bakery. Usually too pricey for me, but a good place for gifts!
- Local sporting goods stores and bike shops. Buy some tennis balls, some little things for my bike, etc.
- Local hardware stores. These are a dying breed, but there are still some non-Home Depot small business hardware stores in my area.
- Local bookstore. Another rarity, but there happens to be one next to a local restaurant we like!
If they sell gift certificates, buy them! If you only want to spend $10, you can say those can make good stocking stuffers. If you would otherwise buy a $25 certificate for a gift, hey that’s still 40% off what you would have paid. Also don’t be shy about using more than one card at a place. AmEx is paying those $10 credits, not them, so the merchants should still appreciate your patronage.
Other important terms and tips:
- Qualifying small business locations appear on the Shop Small Map.
- If you don’t have anything specific in mind, even gift cards to a local non-chain restaurant, grocer, hardware store, or clothing boutique count.
- In all previous years, additional authorized user cards have been eligible for their own $10 credit. (Authorized user cards with AmEx get their own unique card number.) I see nothing that changes that in this year’s rules. Many American Express cards offer additional cards for free to authorized users like your spouse, partner, or older children.
- Most prepaid cards are not eligible, but American Express Bluebird and Serve cards are eligible. Given that these cards are free to obtain (officially you can only have one or the other, though) this is another path to an additional free $30 of small business patronage in 2014.