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How I Use the Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature Card

Dec. 5, 2016
Credit Cards, Rewards Credit Cards
How I Use the Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature Card
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NerdWallet’s mission is to provide clarity for all of life’s financial decisions. But when the company started out, it focused on one particular decision: picking the best credit card.

So you’d think the co-founder and CEO, Tim Chen, would have a wallet full of cards and be a wizard at maximizing rewards.

Nope.

Chen keeps things simple. “I’m not actually a huge points optimizer,” he says. He carries just two credit cards: the Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card for day-to-day spending and the Chase Sapphire Reserve® for travel-related purchases.

Here’s why Chen calls the Fidelity card his “top-of-wallet” credit card and how he uses it.

Why is the Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card your everyday card?

Until very recently, Chen carried the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card and the Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card — only it used to be an American Express card, not a Visa. He used the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card for everyday purchases instead of the Fidelity card.

Tim Chen

Tim Chen

“In San Francisco, there’s a lot of places that don’t take AmEx, so it used to be my backup card,” Chen says.

When Fidelity switched from American Express to Visa in 2016, Chen was able to use it just about everywhere. But it didn’t become his favorite card until he decided to propose to his girlfriend.

Though he’s not a big optimizer, Chen didn’t want to pass up the rewards he could get by using a credit card to pay for an engagement ring. He called Capital One to ask it to raise his credit limit. “I got rejected multiple times,” he says.

With his Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card, it was a different story. The issuer agreed to the credit limit increase right away, almost tripling his available credit.

“It was a pretty fast process,” Chen says. “I think they just did it right then and there.” 

Chen paid for the ring with the Fidelity card, and the rewards were automatically deposited into his Fidelity account.

Any other cards you carry?

Recently, Chen snapped up a new premium travel card that’s been generating a lot of buzz: the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. He still plans to use the Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card for most of his purchases, with a couple of notable exceptions:

  • He’ll pay for all travel and dining with the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. Those purchases earn 3 points per $1 spent. When redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, points are worth 1.5 cents apiece. That gives him an effective 4.5% rewards rate — much higher than the flat 2% rate on the Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card.
  • He’ll use the Chase Sapphire Reserve® when traveling abroad because it doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee. The Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card charges 1% on all purchases outside the U.S. That’s low compared with most other credit cards, but the Chase Sapphire Reserve® still beats it.

Aside from those instances, Chen expects to pay for everything using the Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card.

What do you like about the Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card?

“It’s so simple and straightforward,” Chen says.

The $0, and Chen’s rewards are automatically deposited into his Fidelity checking account, so there’s no need to log in and redeem points or miles.

Anything you don’t like?

Chen hasn’t been a fan of Fidelity’s online interface for managing the card, but he says the card’s features have gotten better. Recently, Fidelity added the feature he wanted most: the ability to set up automatic payments, so his checking account would directly pay his credit card bill every month.

I’ve forgotten to pay my bill maybe two or three times over the past five years,” Chen says. Late payments can trigger fees and possibly damage your credit scores. But Chen won’t have to worry about that anymore.

He has just one remaining complaint about the Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card.

“I think it’s really ugly,” Chen says. “Other than that, it’s a great card. I love it.”

Information related to the Chase Sapphire Reserve® has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.

Interview by Virginia C. McGuire. McGuire is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: virginia@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @vcmcguire.