Charles Schwab


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Charles Schwab is a well-known financial investment firm founded in 1973 and headquartered in San Francisco, California. The company offers its customers a comprehensive arrangement of financial products and services to choose from. Charles Schwab also offers American Express credit card options that include a comprehensive membership program, investor benefits, and financial education resources. The company's brokerage products are not FDIC-insured or bank-guaranteed.

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The Good

  • Membership rewards program
  • Investor benefits
  • Financial education and resources

Membership Rewards Program

Cardholders are able to receive one point for every dollar spent on qualified purchases with the company's Membership Rewards program. The Schwab Investor credit card offers new account holders with a $100 statement credit after spending at least $1,000 in purchases within the first three months. This card also includes no annual fee and a 0 percent introductory APR for six months. The American Express Platinum Card for Swab gives new cardholders 40,000 reward points after $3,000 is spent on eligible purchases within the first three months. This card also includes no foreign transaction fees and no interest charges when balances are paid in full each month.

Investor Benefits

Cardholders can also earn up to 1.5 percent cash back on eligible purchases, a Schwab Appreciation Bonus, and numerous travel and entertainment benefits. According to the company's website, the Schwab Appreciation Bonus is earned when qualified account holdings are over $250,000, and a $200 bonus is earned when account holdings are over $1,000,000. Membership rewards can be automatically deposited into Schwab investments accounts. A complete list of all rewards can be found directly on the corporate website.

Financial Education and Resources

Charles Schwab provides customers with a wealth of financial information and resources. There are a number of free financial articles on a wide range of topics on the company's website, as well as several types of financial calculators. The company provides investment advice, trading strategies, mortgage advice, and more. The company also offers personal banking services, personal loans, and tax help.

The Bad

  • Average APR rates
  • Additional fees
  • Service limitations

Average APR Rates

Charles Schwab offers a 0 percent introductory APR only for six months, which is a relatively short introductory term. Once this offer expires, cardholders are charged an APR rate ranging 14.24 percent to 17.24 percent, depending on the individual's past credit history. These rates are average for the industry but are higher than rates charged by some similar competitors. Cash Advance APRs are priced at 25.74 percent and Penalty APRs are 29.74 percent. These rates are much higher than those charged by most other companies.

Additional Fees

The annual fee for Charles Schwab's American Express Platinum Card® is $450. A $38 fee will be assessed on late and returned payments for all available credit cards. A 2.70 percent fee will be charged on all foreign transactions as well. Transaction fees for balance transfers and cash advances is either $5 or 3 percent of each transfer, whichever amount is greater. Customers who wish to consolidate debt may want to consider an alternative option from another credit card company.

Service Limitations

The credit card offers are only available to clients who are able to maintain eligibility for a Schwab brokerage or IRA account. Full disclosure regarding eligibility requirement can be found directly on the company's website. The company also does not offer free credit scores for clients. No information could be found on its website about any safeguards on the available credit cards to protect against potential fraudulent activity.

Customers must acquire at least 1,000 points in order to be eligible for redemption. According to the corporate website, it can take six to eight weeks for statement credits to be posted to a cardholder's account. Return protection on purchases is limited to a period of 90 days. Certain restrictions also apply to the travel and entertainment rewards and cardholders should read all terms and conditions carefully.

The Bottom Line

Charles Schwab offers its clients with a couple of choice of American Express credit card offers with exclusive membership rewards on qualified purchases. Cardholders must have an IRA or brokerage account to qualify and rewards can be deposited as funds in held investment accounts. The company also provides clients with numerous financial products, services, and resources.

APR rates are standard for the industry but feature additional fees that are higher than those charged by many similar competitors. Accessing earned rewards can take longer than redemption times offered other similar credit cards as well. The available offers are best suited for individuals with excellent credit histories. Individuals with less than perfect credit or seeking to consolidate large amounts of debt will want to consider alternative credit card options with lower overall rates.

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