Category Archives: FIA

Farewell Sweet Schwab Card

Schwab Credit CardThe writing has been on the wall for quite some time. Arguably the best general purpose cash back credit card of all-time, the sweetness that was the 2% ex-Schwab card was bound to end sooner or later. Ever since the card stopped accepting new applications over a year ago, existing cardholders have been nervously speculating when the party would end. Well, doomsday now has a date: October 31, 2011.
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Schwab Visa to Stop Accepting New Applications?

According to a poster on CB, Schwab will stop accepting new applications for its Schwab Invest First Visa card after March 31.

Schwab has long since stopped marketing the credit card as it evaluates its profitability, so this news does not come as a great surprise. While existing cardholders are not supposed to be affected by this change, when a program stops accepting new customers, it’s not usually a good sign for its long-term viability.
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Fidelity Sweetens Its Credit Card Offers

As it had previously promised to do, Fidelity recently unveiled a number of improvements to its credit card offerings. The Fidelity Investment Rewards American Express and the Fidelity Investments 529 College Rewards American Express now join the Fidelity Retirement Rewards American Express in earning a 2% rebate on all purchases. As before, purchases earn points. These points can then be redeemed and converted to cash that is deposited into a Fidelity account.

In addition, the Fidelity Investment Rewards Visa Signature Card has now become a tiered card. The first $15,000 of your annual spend earns a 1.5% rebate, while all spending above $15,000 earns a 2% rebate.

The rest of the features appear to remain the same. You can find full details for the Amex cards here and the Visa card here.

Green Credit Cards: An In-Depth List

With Earth Day rapidly approaching, we have a good excuse to review our green options when it comes to plastic (or corn, if you prefer). After all, even Leo DiCaprio has recently been touting a new HSBC green credit card for the Hong Kong market. What does it mean for a credit card to be green? Well, the HSBC card is made from environmentally-friendly materials, requires the use of digital billing to cut down on paper waste, and donates a portion of each charge towards a local environmental protection project. While that card is not available in the US yet, there are a number of other green credit cards already here.

Green Credit Cards
Here’s a rundown:

  • The Brighter Planet Visa
    Every $1,000 spent in purchases with the card earns 1,000 points that will fund an estimated 1 ton of carbon offsets. In addition, you’ll earn 1,000 bonus points with your first transaction and another 1,000 points for using paperless statements. Also, until December 2008, Bank of America will match each two base points earned with the contribution of another point, equivalent to a 50% bonus.
  • World Asssets Visa Signature Card
    For every purchase made on the card, 10 cents will be donated to nonprofit groups like the Ocean Conservancy and Global Fund for Children. In addition, the card earns WorldPoints which can be used towards cash rewards, travel rewards and more.
  • Salmon Nation Visa
    A percentage of the income derived from the Salmon Nation Visa program goes directly to Ecotrust, a conservation organization aiming to strengthen communities and the environment from Alaska to California.
  • GE Earth Rewards Credit Card
    This card from GE Money allows you two rewards options: 1) You can choose to contribute either a full 1% of your net purchases to emission reduction projects or 2) 0.5% towards emission offsets and 0.5% cash back for yourself. On Earth Day each year you’ll receive a statement that shows how your reward was spent to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • World Wildlife Fund Card
    1% of each purchase will go towards the World Wildlife Fund, an organization with a mission to save endangered species and protect endangered habitats. In addition, Chase will donate $50 for each new account opened online.
  • GreenPay MasterCard
    For each net $1 spent on gasoline and household utilities, the GreenPay Rewards program will provide 10 pounds of carbon offsets. For each $1 spent on everything else, the program will provide 5 pounds of carbon offsets. In addition, 10,000 pounds of CO2 will be removed as a first purchase bonus.
  • Nature Conservancy Visa
    0.65% of your net purchases will go to the Nature Conservancy, a leading conservation organization committed to protecting ecologically important lands and waters. In addition, new card members will receive a complimentary 1 year membership and subscription to Nature Conservancy magazine.
  • Bass Pro Shops Outdoor Rewards Platinum Plus Visa Card
    With each card purchase, Bass Pro Shops and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation will make a contribution to help conservation efforts, with a guaranteed yearly contribution as high as $1.5 million, at no additional cost to you. You’ll also receive a $25 gift card after your first use.

Green Rewards Programs
Credit card issuers have expanded your rewards options recently, so that even general-use credit cards can earn green rewards. Here’s a sampling:

  • Wells Fargo Enhanced Rewards
    Wells Fargo credit card users can enroll in an optional rewards program where the points that they earn can be used towards various green rewards, such as a solar charger or a garden composter. You can also choose to redeem reward points to support renewable energy projects and receive certificates for your donations. Enrolling in the rewards program costs $19 (or 2,000 points) a year for your credit card only, or $29 a year to enroll both your credit card and Check Card.
  • Bank of America WorldPoints
    Bank of America offers any of its credit card holders who earn WorldPoints to redeem them for a wide range of eco-friendly products and projects. Any Bank of America credit card that earns WorldPoints is eligible to earn these rewards at no additional cost.
  • Citi Thank You Network
    As part of its Thank You rewards network, Citi also offers a range of environmentally-responsible rewards. For instance, your Thank You points can be redeemed in exchange for having trees planted or for energy-saving CFL light bulbs.

Another Green Alternative
There’s also another option to consider when going green: instead of selecting a credit card specifically because it is green, you can always choose the best cash back card available and donate the cash rewards to your favorite environmental cause. It is slightly less convenient, but there at least three obvious benefits: 1) any donations will be tax-deductible, 2) you should be able to earn more rewards for your charity, and 3) you’ll have more choice as to exactly how your money is spent.

Regardless of the card you choose, chances are your issuer allows and even encourages your use of electronic-only statements. That’s one sure-fire way to get greener, and save both trees and gas.

Bank of America No Fee Balance Transfer Offers

This page has application links to the Bank of America Platinum Plus Visa and Platinum Plus MasterCard with 0% on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months and no balance transfer fees. Via FW.

Note: Be sure to check the latest balance transfer offers from all credit card issuers by using the offers database at this link. You can also browse the directory of card deals here.

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