Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card vs. Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express Review

Oct 31, 2016 | Be First to Comment!

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A cash back credit card comes in handy when you want to earn back some of what you spend. The Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® card and the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express are two excellent cash back options.

Both cards allow you to earn cash rewards but depending on your spending habits, you may prefer one over the over. MyBankTracker compared the two cards side-by-side to find out which is the best. Here’s how they stack up.

Best Cash Back Program: Tied

  • Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature®

  • Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

The first thing you need to know about a cash back card is how much cash you can earn. The Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® card and the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express reward you with cash back in different ways.

The Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® has a simple rewards program. You always get unlimited 2% cash back on every purchase. Rewards are earned as points that are converted to cash when you redeem them into a Fidelity account. For example, you could deposit them in a Fidelity IRA.

Your cash back doesn’t expire as long as your account is open and in good standing. If you don’t want to roll your rewards into a Fidelity account, you can redeem them for gift cards, merchandise or statement credit instead. The only downside is that the value of your rewards is reduced so you don’t get the full 2% back.

The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express allows you to earn cash back four different ways:

  • 3% back on the first $6,000 in supermarket purchases annually (then 1%)
  • 2% back at gas stations
  • 2% back at selected U.S. department stores
  • 1% back on all other purchases

If you max out the 3% bonus each year, that adds up to $180. You’d have to spend $9,000 with the Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® card to get that same amount of cash back.

Tip: If you don’t spend a lot on groceries, use the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express at supermarkets to purchase gift cards to your favorite retailers instead.

Cash back earned with the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express comes in the form of Reward Dollars. These can be redeemed for statement credit. Gift cards are another option or you can request a check if you’re not carrying a balance.

Both cash back programs have their positives. How you spend really determines how much value you’ll get out of each card. For that reason, we’re calling it a tie.

Annual Fee: Tied

  • Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature®: None

  • Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express: None

Paying an annual fee to earn cash back may seem counterintuitive. After all, the whole point of a cash rewards card is to get money back, not spend more. Luckily, both of these cards have no annual fee.

That doesn’t mean, however, that they’re completely fee-free. The Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® charges a fee for balance transfers and cash advances. The fee for both is $5 or 3% of the transaction amount, whichever is higher. There’s also a 1% foreign transaction fee for international purchases.

The fees are similar with the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express. In fact, balance transfers and cash advances will cost you exactly the same. The foreign transaction fee is higher, at 2.7%.

Based on the annual fee alone, this one is a draw. If you’re comparing the foreign transaction fee, however, the Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® is the better choice.

Best Interest Rates: Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature®

  • Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature®

  • Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

If you carry a balance, one thing you have to look out for is the annual percentage rate or APR. A card with a higher rate will take a bigger bite out your cash rewards over time if you’re not paying in full each month.

The Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® charges a variable APR of 14.24% for purchases and balance transfers. A variable rate means it can go up or down, based on the prime rate. Cash advances have a variable APR of 24.24%.

The purchase and balance transfer APR for the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express starts slightly lower, at 13.24%. Again, that’s a variable rate. The APR can go as high as 23.24% and your individual rate is based on your credit score. Cash advances will cost you a little more, since the APR is 25.49%.

The lower cash advance rate and the fact that there’s only one APR for purchases and balance transfers gave this card the edge.

Best Card Perks: Tied

  • Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature®: Cash rewards can be used to build savings; Visa Signature benefits include travel, shopping and dining perks

  • Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express: Flexible payment options; exclusive entertainment access

Cash rewards are the most attractive feature of these cards but that’s not all you get when you sign up. Both cards offer some nice extras that add to their appeal.

Being able to deposit your cash rewards into a Fidelity account, for example, is great if you want to add to your retirement savings or put aside money for your child’s college expenses. A Fidelity Cash Management account is also a good option if you’re looking for a no-fee checking account alternative.

The Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® comes with all the benefits of Visa Signature membership. That includes things like discounts on travel and shopping as well as access to special wine and food events. You also have your own personal concierge to help with things like hotel reservations and restaurant recommendations.

With the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, the benefits are slightly different but no less valuable. Unlike some American Express cards that require you to pay in full every month, this one gives you the option to carry a balance and pay over time. That

can come in handy if you’re making a large purchase you can’t pay off right away.

This card also lets you take advantage of ticket presales to selected entertainment events. That includes Broadway shows, sporting events, concerts and more.

Both cards have some nice added features so it’s a tie once again.

Best Card Protections: Tied

  • Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature®: Zero fraud liability, EMV chip technology, travel and shopping protections

  • Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express: EMV chip technology, travel accident insurance, car rental loss and damage coverage, purchase protection, return protection

Keeping your personal information secure is a must and both of these cards feature EMV security chips. When you use your card at a store that’s equipped with a chip reader, it assigns a unique code to the transaction. That code prevents a hacker from stealing your card number.

The Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® card offers zero liability fraud protection in case your card falls into the wrong hands. If it’s lost or stolen and someone uses it to make unauthorized purchases, you won’t be held responsible for the charges. These cards also protect you in other ways.

For example, they both offer travel accident insurance, car rental damage insurance, purchase protection and an extended warranty program. Travel assistance and roadside assistance are also included with each card in case you run into trouble while you’re on the road.

The protections each card offers are virtually the same so you’re safe choosing either one.

Final Verdict

The Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® card and the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express were neck and neck most of the way and we couldn’t settle on a clear winner. Instead, we recommend getting both cards as a way to maximize your cash back.

You can use the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express to get 3% back when you’re buying groceries or gift cards at your favorite supermarket, plus 2% back on gas and trips to the department store. Then, switch over to the Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® to keep earning 2% cash back on everything else you buy.

Using a two-card strategy means you always get the most cash back possible. With no annual fee, you can test the waters to see which one you like best without any added cost.

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