Review: Charles Schwab Credit Cards

schwab-amexInvestment company Charles Schwab, in partnership with American Express, offers two credit cards exclusive to Charles Schwab customers. While both offer perks good for certain Charles Schwab customers, neither is so special that we would recommend it over other cards on the market. See our overview/review of each card below:

  • The Charles Schwab Investor Card offers a 1.5% cash back rebate, with the rebated amount going straight into your Charles Schwab brokerage account. If you use the card for at least $1000 in purchases in the first 3 months you have it, you’ll get an extra $100 statement credit. There is no annual fee. In our view, the 1.5% cash back rebate is only somewhat competitive with the top cash back credit cards on the market, but forcing you to take that rebate as a deposit into your brokerage account is less flexible than competitor cards. Plus, the signup bonus is worse than you would get with American Express’s Cash Magnet Card, which is otherwise the same card.
  • The American Express Platinum Card for Schwab has a $550 annual fee. It is a charge card that must be paid off every month. It offers points in the American Express Membership Rewards program, with a Schwab-exclusive redemption offer that allows you to redeem points at an effective 1.25% rate (e.g., 10,000 points = $125 when deposited in a Schwab account). Otherwise, the perks here are mostly travel-related, including access to many airport lounges, a yearly $200 airline fee credit (for checked bags, in-flight purchases, etc.), and more. For the frequent traveler, the $550 fee could make this card worthwhile, but for others the fee is difficult to justify. However, it is worth noting that if you were already considering the American Express Platinum Card, this is essentially the same card but with that attractive option of redeeming points toward deposits into a Schwab account with a 25% bonus.