For those who hold the quite lucrative Fidelity Amex credit card, changes are a coming.
Starting in July of this year, existing customers will have their FIA Card Services (a Bank of America company) issued Fidelity Amex replaced with a U.S. Bank-issued Visa credit card.
In short, this means you won’t have the perks of an American Express card anymore, though apparently nothing else is changing.
So you will continue to receive 2% back on all purchases, which you can redeem into your Fidelity account and put toward retirement. That’s the good news.
The bad news is that it’s not going to be an American Express card anymore, which presents some challenges.
I’ll get to that in a minute. As for why the change was made, Fidelity reportedly chose their new partners because of “improved technology options and customer service.”
Last I checked, Amex customer service was pretty good, though you can’t use an Amex everywhere. Not really a tech issue, more an inconvenience. Visa is, after all, accepted everywhere.
Bank of America said it was mutual, noting that they’ve been terminating many of their co-branded relationships since it doesn’t get customers into Bank of America branches in order to cross sell.
The Drawbacks to the U.S. Bank Issued Fidelity Visa
Let’s talk about those drawbacks now. For one, it’s not an Amex, meaning you won’t be able to take advantage of the awesome Amex Offers constantly being churned out (no pun intended).
This could amount to hundreds or even thousands of dollars in lost cash back, especially if you had lots of authorized users.
This obviously doesn’t affect everyone, but for those who are affected, they’ll need to find a new card that earns 2% cash back (or better).
I happen to have the old Serve account and was loading with Fidelity Amex. But I got the Discover it Miles card that earns 3% cash back the first year so I switched to that anyway.
But after a year, if Serve credit card loads still work, I’ll need to find a new alternative to maximize my cash back.
Why the U.S. Bank Issued Fidelity Visa Might Be a Good Thing
For one, it’s a Visa. So you won’t have to worry about merchants accepting it or giving you grief when you ask if they take Amex. You know the grief I’m talking about…
That’s the biggie. Secondly, you will still get the 2% cash back on all purchases, and there’s still no annual fee.
Another potential plus is that it’s being issued by U.S. Bank. Why is that a plus? Well, to me, it doesn’t get much worse than FIA. The FIA website is a joke and their customer service is questionable if not nonexistent.
I’ll be happy to partner up with any other card issuer aside from FIA, and I’m looking forward to having an app to track my spending and make payments as opposed to using the archaic FIA website.
All in all, this change shouldn’t bother too many folks, which is a good thing.
photo: Marcin Wichary)