Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Review

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Earlier this year, Fidelity made a big announcement about its popular rewards card: It would be offered in a partnership with Visa Signature going forward, while keeping in place the bulk of benefits offered by the previous American Express version.

Since Visa cards are more widely accepted than American Express, this is considered a positive move for consumers. Beyond the move to Visa, however, there are a ton of reasons this card is a valuable option for almost anyone who wants a rewards card.

Not only does the Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card offer 2% cash back on every purchase you make, it also comes with no annual fee. No matter how you shake it, that’s a pretty hard combination to beat. After all, who couldn’t benefit from free cash back?

The Simple Dollar’s Key Takeaways

  • Earn an unlimited 2% back on every purchase. With the Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card, there are no special categories to keep track of. Earn an unlimited 2% back on every purchase you make.
  • No annual fee. You can earn cash back without ever having to worry about paying an annual fee.
  • Points never expire. Rack up as many points as you want without keeping track of expiration dates or special terms. Earn unlimited points that never expire.

Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card

Highlights:

  • Unlimited 2% cash-back
  • Every net $1 spent equals 2 rewards points
  • No limits on reward points and no restrictive categories
  • Points will not expire
  • No annual fee

Review: The Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card is Excellent for Cash Back Enthusiasts

If you’re looking for a card that offers a flat rate of cash back with no annual fee, it’s hard to find a card with more ongoing value than the Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card. With this card option, you’ll earn a flat 2% back on every purchase you make. There are no rotating categories or bonuses to keep track of, and you earn the same amount of points no matter what you use your card for. If you don’t like keeping track of categories or where you use your card, it doesn’t get any better than that.

The fact that this new version of the card will be issued by Visa is a huge boon to consumers. Visa is widely accepted all over the world, where retailers who accept American Express can be somewhat limited.

Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card: Where It Falls Flat

The only real downside to this card is the fact that you don’t earn actual cash back, but “points” instead. These points correlate with cash back, but can’t be redeemed directly for cash. Instead, you can have your rewards deposited into your Fidelity account then cash them out from there. And since this card doesn’t come with a signup bonus, its first-year value is also slightly lower than some other cards that offer anywhere from $300 to $500 in signup bonuses.

If you travel often and might get more value from one of the top travel cards, you could also be missing out with the Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card. And although you earn “points” with this card, they don’t transfer to any airline or hotel partners that could help you extract more value. Even though you’re earning 2% cash back on every purchase you make, the value is somewhat limited since you can only redeem your points for cash in a Fidelity account.

Add to that the fact that the Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card charges a 1% fee on foreign transactions, and you’ll see that this card isn’t all that great for people who travel a lot. If you’re constantly making purchases overseas, you’ll be much better off with a card that doesn’t charge any foreign transaction fees at all.

Who This Card is Good For:

  • Someone who wants to earn a flat 2% back on every purchase.
  • Anyone who never wants to pay an annual fee.
  • Someone who already has an account with Fidelity, or doesn’t mind signing up for one.

Who Should Pass:

  • Anyone who wants points that are transferable to airlines or hotel loyalty programs.
  • Someone who might benefit more from a specific travel program.
  • A person who wants the option to earn more with a cash-back card that offers rotating bonus categories.

How Does It Compare to Other Cash Back Cards?

While the new Fidelity Visa card has plenty to offer, there are many other solid cash-back cards to choose from. One such card is the Chase Freedom® card. To see how these particular cash back cards compare, we took a look at their benefits side by side. Here’s what we found:

 Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® CardChase Freedom®
Annual Fee$0$0
Earning TiersEarn a flat 2 percent back for every purchase you makeEarn 1 percent back on all purchases, plus 5 percent back on your first $1,500 spent in categories that rotate every quarter
Redemption OptionsRedeem your points for cash back in a Fidelity accountRedeem your points for statement credits, gift cards, or purchases made on Amazon.com

As you can see, the cards take a different approach when it comes to how they dole out points. Where the Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card comes out ahead is in its long-term game. Most people who use their card regularly would gain a lot more by earning a flat 2% back on all purchases, instead of the standard 1%. Since both cards come without an annual fee, the Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card is the clear winner in that respect.

The fact that the Chase Freedom® card offers 5% back in categories that rotate every quarter is compelling, but the value of this benefit is limited by its earning cap. Since you only get 5% back on your first $1,500 spent in bonus categories each quarter, you can really only earn an extra $75 four times per year. If you only want to use one card for almost all of your ongoing expenses, you’ll be a lot better off earning a consistent 2% and forgoing the rotating bonus categories altogether.

Best Strategy with the Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card: Pair it With the Chase Freedom®

If your main goal is earning cash back, there’s no reason you can’t have more than one awesome cash-back card in your wallet. Consider pairing your new Fidelity card with the Chase Freedom® in order to take advantage of both card’s perks.

Focus the majority of your spending on the Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card to earn a flat 2% back on all of your purchases. Then, whip out your Chase Freedom® card when it comes to purchases made in each quarter’s bonus category.

By using both cards, you’ll always earn at least 2% back on every purchases, but as much as 5% in the rotating categories offered by the Chase Freedom® card. If you want to learn more about those categories, by the way, check out our review of the Chase Freedom® card.

Chase Freedom®

Highlights:

  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
  • Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.49-25.24%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open and there is no minimum to redeem for cash back.
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
  • No annual fee

Want to Earn Free Travel Instead? Consider this Card

While earning a flat 2% back without an annual fee is hard to beat, some people who travel often find more value with a travel rewards credit card. If you travel all the time and spend quite a bit on credit, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is an excellent option to consider.

With this card, you’ll earn a flat one point per dollar on every purchase you make, plus 2x points for travel and dining purchases. While this card does charge an annual fee, it also offers a huge signup bonus worth hundreds of dollars after you meet a minimum spending requirement.

The points you earn with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card are extremely versatile as well. Not only can you redeem your points for gift cards or cash back at a rate of one cent per point, but you can redeem them for travel at 25% more value through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. Plus, you can transfer them to a ton of popular airline and hotel loyalty programs at a 1:1 ratio. Top options include Southwest Airlines, United MileagePlus, Hyatt Gold Passport, Marriott Rewards, and British Airways Executive Club.

Our review of the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card goes into more detail on how each of the card’s benefits works, but suffice it to say that this is easily one of the top rewards cards out there. If you travel often and don’t mind paying an annual fee in exchange for bigger rewards, it’s definitely a card you should consider.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Highlights:

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® named a 'Best Travel Credit Card' by MONEY® Magazine, 2016-2017
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel.
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards

Final Thoughts

If you want to earn cash back, you should try to earn the highest rate you can find. The Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card offers an amazing 2% back on every purchase you make, plus no annual fee. When you compare it to other similar cards, you can see this option is extremely hard to beat.

Still, there are plenty of other cards to consider as well – both in the cash-back space and among travel credit cards. And in some cases, you might get the best combination of perks by combining several cash back and travel credit cards to take advantage of each cards’ biggest benefits.

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