As the recession chugs along, credit card companies have been scaling back on rewards and cash-back card offerings.  There has also been a lot of behind-the-scene movement for the credit card industry, with companies ending promotion/advertising programs on certain flagship cards and products.

I was just about to write a post titled “Death of the Cash back/Rewards Credit Card,” but along came the new Schwab 2% cash back credit card.

Despite my frequent proclaim of love for credit cards (the cash back parts of it, anyway), I’m not a credit loving fiend who opens multiple account and juggles multiple reward credit cards.  It’s simply too much hassle, and too beyond my small brain capacity to handle.

So it was with some minor reluctance that I applied for the Schwab Bank Invest First Visa Card.  Here are some features that immediately attracted me to this credit card:

  • Unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases, right into Schwab One brokerage account.
  • Cash back is automatically deposited into brokerage account at end of each month.
  • No foreign exchange transaction fees (a rare feat indeed amongst credit cards).

The application process was straight forward enough, with usual information being requested.  If you already have a Schwab One brokerage account, things will move along slightly faster.

Although the card is branded as a Charles Schwab Bank credit card, you should be aware that the card is issued and administered by FIA Card Services (formerly MBNA, now a part of Bank of America).  Thus, any future customer service and card related issues will have to be dealt with at FIA Card Services.

After chugging through and submitting my application, I was unfortunately unable to get an instant decision on approval  (apparently being super cool isn’t good enough anymore).  An online application status check a day or two later still yielded the same result, so it looks like I’ll have to wait this out a bit.

Note: Discussion threads online mentioned that you can always call-in after applying online to get an instant decision from a representative, but you may be subjected to the act of some credit line swapping and/or closure if you have cards issued by Bank of America or MBNA/FIA.

Tidbits & Notes If You’re Also Considering This Card:

  • Current BoA, MBNA, FIA cardholders won’t be able to convert an existing card to the Schwab Bank Invest First Visa Card, after all, the point is for Schwab to acquire a possible new customer.
  • The Schwab One brokerage account has a $1,000 minimum balance requirement to avoid monthly fee, but this is waived when the account is linked to your Schwab Bank Invest First Visa Card.
  • Although you don’t have to immediately open a Schwab One brokerage account, you will eventually have to open one if you wish to claim your accumulated cash back and withdrawal the cash back to an external, non-Schwab account.
  • Opening a Schwab One brokerage account will get you another hard credit pull, as it is a separate and different financial product.
  • If you qualify for a credit line of $5,000 or more (and most people should if they qualify for this card), you will receive a Visa Signature card, which means you have no preset spending limit, which means the credit limit on the new card will not be reported to the credit reporting agencies.

As you can see, there are a few quirks involved if you want to apply for this card.  But at the end, you are getting 2% cash back.  When combined with another card that gives higher cash back percentage for specific categories such as gas and grocery — you’re sure to be in cash back bliss!

Of course, all of the cash back is a moot point if you don’t pay your card in full.  I’ll update the post if my application is approved, follow by an eventual future post reviewing the card.

Update: My application was approved and I’ve received the Schwab Invest First Visa card.

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