Best ATM Card – Is Fidelity A Contender With Schwab & SoFi?

This post may contain affiliate links; please read our advertiser disclosure for more information.

Best ATM Card - Is Fidelity A Contender With Schwab & SoFi?

Best ATM Card – Is Fidelity A Contender With Schwab & SoFi?

You can’t be a contender for the best ATM card unless you waive fees for accessing cash–including in other countries. Standard-bearers for the best ATM card are typically Schwab and SoFi. I even bluntly proclaimed that if you don’t have a no-fee ATM card you’re getting ripped off. The Fidelity debit card also offers reimbursement for all ATM fees for certain customers. Let’s take a look at the Fidelity debit card and whether it’s a contender with the best ATM card heavyweights.

Fidelity debit card - is it a contender for the best ATM card

Fidelity Debit Card Details

Here are the key details of the Fidelity debit card:

  • Access to more than 1 million ATMs with fees waived / reimbursed
  • ATM surcharges waived for: users with Fidelity Cash Management Account, Fidelity Account Premium, Private Client Group, Wealth Management, or household annual trading activity of 120 or more stock, bond, or options trades
  • No annual fee
  • Additional perks:
    • Extended warranty services for first 90 days from date of purchase
    • Travel and emergency assistance
    • Worldwide travel accident insurance
    • Auto rental collision damage waiver

Fidelity Cash Management

As noted, Fidelity debit card is available only to those with the Fidelity Cash Management or other premium account services. Let’s look at the Fidelity Cash Management account to see what it is and whether it makes sense to get one.

Fidelity Cash Management is a brokerage account that includes FDIC insurance, which is not common. The cash balance in the account also earns interest, because it functions like a hybrid brokerage-checking account. The account also provides access to other investment accounts besides stocks and trading. This includes mutual funds and CDs.

On top of all of that, you can link the account to external accounts to move money around easily. You can open the account with no minimum, and there’s no monthly fee. Just pay per trade.

Comparing With Schwab & SoFi

Now that we know about Fidelity’s offering, let’s compare it to the no-fee ATM card options from SoFi and Schwab to see if it deserves a spot in the discussion of best ATM card options.

Comparing the Fidelity debit card to SoFi

SoFi

Online-only newcomer SoFi has a fee-free network of over 55,000 ATMs. That’s on top of their no-fee policy on foreign transactions. You even earn interest on top of all of this, though it varies depending on account balances and activity. You can see more about it here.

The plus for SoFi is that you don’t have any account minimums or need to do any trades etc. to qualify for ATM fee reimbursement. The plus for Fidelity is that you have access to more types of services, along with the FDIC insurance.

Comparing Schwab to Fidelity debit card

Schwab

We once described the Schwab debit card as the one card everyone should get. There are no ATM fees, no foreign transaction fees, AND they reimburse you for any fees tacked on by the ATM you used (including insane amounts). It also gives you access to the Charles Schwab Amex Platinum Card, which you can use to cash out your Membership Rewards.

The plus for Schwab is the access to the extra version of the Amex Platinum Card. In many respects, these 2 cards are really similar. You need to have an investment account, but neither has a monthly fee or minimum balance.

Fidelity Debit Card – Is It a Best ATM Card Contender?

In my view, the short answer is “yes”.

Yes, it requires more work to set up the accounts needed for the perks and access to the card. The easiest option out of any is SoFi. You can open this account online in 5 minutes and get it over with. With Fidelity and Schwab, you need to open investment accounts, wait for those to get approved, and transfer money into the account. However, I think it’s worth the effort for the perks offered by the Fidelity debit card. No fees on the account, no minimum balance, and the perks outlined above are a good combination and worth the effort I foresee.

Final Thoughts

The Fidelity debit card is a new one to me, but I’m glad I learned about it. It’s surprising to find a debit card that offers travel perks. I’m even more surprised by their FDIC insurance on this hybrid brokerage-checking type of account. The fact it has no fees for ATM use, for account maintenance, or even low balance/low activity fees really surprises me. If I didn’t already have the Schwab account and my USAA account, I’d honestly sign up for the Fidelity account. It seems like a contender for the best ATM card.

Do you have the Fidelity debit card? Any other perks you love about it? And if you haven’t heard of it until now, are you thinking about signing up? Let us know.

Ryan S
Travel hacker in 2-player mode, intent on visiting every country in the world, and can say "hello" or "how much does this cost?" in a bunch of different languages.

More Like This

40 COMMENTS

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

40 COMMENTS

  1. In regards to Fidelity ForEx fee of 1%, am I correct that this only applies if one uses the Fidelity Visa Debit card for purchases and this fee doesn’t apply when taking money out of ATMs?

  2. Kind of surprised nobody has mentioned State Farm bank. I’ve had them for years and they charge no fees at all (domestic or international) and even reimburse for any third party ATM fees (including the annoying per ATM withdrawal in Thailand). I don’t recall if there are any account fees, but usually as long as you have a direct deposit at least once a month, all fees waived. Only problem is the bank side deposits were just bought by US Bank or BofA (can’t remember) so we will see what happens. Was the best bank card for travel for me…but now I have both a Schwab and State Farm.

      • State farm no longer a player…US Bank just said they won’t keep waiving fees, so I’ll be closing my account. Now need to find a new bank…like having two different banks for fee free ATM access both domestic and international. Will have to take a look at Fido.

  3. It’s always just preference between Schwab and Fidelity. I’ve had the Fidelity CMA debit card for about 9 years, the USAA for 9 years and the Schwab for about 6 years.

    – USAA only gives a reimbursement up to $15 so it’s not a real contender with Schwab & Fidelity
    – Fidelity was extremely easy to open and deal with (although I did work there so I have a slight bias)
    – Schwab was a hassle open and verify information, so much so that my wife ended up not fully opening her account.

    Assuming you have Fidelity and Schwab one advantage of Schwab over Fidelity is use overseas (away from US). Overseas, Fidelity charges a 1% ForEx fee, Schwab does not.

    Knowing that, I use Fidelity exclusively stateside and internationally I use Schwab. You really couldn’t go wrong with either but I prefer Fidelity for ease of use.

    • Derek – I was sad when USAA went from unlimited to $15/mo, but I haven’t exceeded it, so it hasn’t mattered in practice for me at least. Great points on everything you said.

  4. Best ATM Card? I would say the Chase Sapphire debit card.
    No fees on ATMs worldwide, including refunds on fees charged by non-Chase ATM owners
    No fees on everyday banking, including foreign exchange fees, outgoing wire transfers and stop payments
    Higher ATM limits ($1,000)
    Access to Sapphire lounges at concerts, sports and special events, early ticket sales and premium seats

    • That account requires $75,000 in assets or charges fees to the user. I’d say that immediately takes it out of the contest, since the others have no fees and no balance requirements. You get the ATM perks without paying for them.

  5. Fidelity cash management is a most if you have a fidelity 2% visa cash back credit card. Most everyone that had this credit card know the benefits of the cash management and international fee free debit card. I had the fidelity combo before schwab however the schwab won because of the online and in app travel alert for the debit card where fidelity have no automated travel alerts.

  6. I’ve had the Fidelity atm card for a few years, and had no issues with it internationally as long as I call and let them know about my travel ahead of time. I’ve also used it on cruise ships (where the atm fee is often $6+) numerous times, and as long as I tell them I’m going on a cruise, there are no issues. The atm fees are reimbursed in a couple of days. Bill payments are easy to set up, and money transfers to/from my other checking account with a different bank process in one day. Mobile check deposits post in about a day too. It’s also a chip card and tap-and-pay. Frankly, it’s saves me hundreds of dollars per year, and is the best atm card I’ve ever had.

  7. I actually made Fidelity my primary banking card 5 years ago. Used it literally all over the world. Value proposition just can’t be beat. I love Fidelity

    • Sean – someone commented about having trouble using Fidelity if you don’t notify them in advance about international travel. How’s your experience?

      • I have never once told them of my travel ahead of time. Probably used in 30 different countries without letting them know in advance. So not sure what that reader is talking about. Maybe they just do it because they think they have to but I don’t think it’s necessary

        • I ran into a problem once on a cruise ship where they flagged an atm withdrawal as a potential fraud. A quick call straightened it out, and ever since I just proactively call them to put in a travel notice (you can’t do travel notices online for some reason). I’m not sure it’s even required, but it only takes a few minutes.

      • You never need to call, just go to fidelitydebitcard.com to add travel notifications. I even saw it in their mobile app. I did it before a Italy trip and had no issues. I love how they digitized everything.

  8. i have tried to use my fidelity atm card all over europe and never succeed. when i ask fidelity about it
    they say you didn’t let us know you were traveling to xyz country. that may have been true the 1st time
    it failed but not subsequent times. so don’t rely on the fidelity card when overseas.

    • I’ve had it before SOFI was big. Setting the account up was easy but transferring funds was a challenge. I have had the account go to $5 and have never used it for trading. No fees withdrawals is awesome. I have used in London 2x, Istanbul 1x and Hong Kong 1x, never had an issue even if I didn’t tell them I was going international. Exchange rate was decent. I’ve looked into SOFI and Schwab but didn’t see any additional benefit for me.

  9. The Schwab card is FDIC backed. The banking products (ie the checking account and ATM/debit card) are true banking products through a registered NA bank and backed by the FDIC. Even the cash sweep feature in some Schwab investing accounts can be covered by FDIC if set up appropriately. Given the ATM rebates I think the Schwab card is still the clear winner here.

    • As far as I can tell, Schwab and the Fidelity cash management account are similar products. Both go through a NA bank (Fidelity was using US Bank as one of them last I checked), both refund all ATM fees, have no FTX charges, and neither seem to need a minimum balance.
      So how is it superior?

      • Small ForEX fee with Fidelity of 1%. That tips the favor to Schwab for use overseas. Domestically it comes down to preference as they are both FDIC insured, free checks, large deposits, transfer, free withdrawal.

      • Fidelity runs similarly to Sofi where they sweep deposits to program banks to gain FDIC coverage. If you’re keeping more than 250K in cash and wanted all of it FDIC insured, Fidelity has the advantage since they automatically sweep to multiple program banks so everything is FDIC insured. Schwab has a separate banking corporation they own that is FDIC insured rather than sweeps to another bank, so the insurance caps out at 250K on their checking product. For the 99% of us not in the first boat, I personally think Schwab wins this battle for the lack of forex fees.

  10. Have used the Schwab card from Tanzania to Japan to Costa Rica. Winner winner chicken dinner. Also have the SOFI card. No Fidelity account for me but when I start traveling again soon will likely get one. Thank you.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

7,227FansLike
16,027FollowersFollow
7,470SubscribersSubscribe

SoFi Money $50 Bonus!

Super easy bonus! Sign-up and deposit $500 or more and they'll pay you $50! That's it!
Grab Your $50 SoFi Bonus Now!

moomoo - 2 Free Stocks!

Brokerage app moomoo is offering 2 Free Stocks! Just open an account and fund with $500 to get your stocks! Super easy.
Grab your 2 free stocks now!
BoardingArea

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join thousands of MtM readers who are subscribed to receive a once daily email with all of our posts. Never miss out!

You have Successfully Subscribed!