The Schwab Investor Card from American Express has an increased sign-up bonus, as reported by Doctor of Credit (H/T). Until November 6, 2019, you can earn $200 by spending $2,000 within the first three months. That’s double the normal sign-up bonus for this card.
You cannot apply for this card directly as with most other credit cards. Before applying, you must have a Charles Schwab account. Their High Yield Investor Checking account is one of the best bank accounts for travelers, especially international travelers. That’s because Schwab reimburses all ATM fees at the end of the month.
This is huge if you are in a foreign country (or even within the United States) and you need to pay with cash. Oftentimes, there are no ATMs associated with your bank in your area and you must resort to a sketchy local ATM. Many ATMs charge crazy fees, which can be a total waste of money when traveling.
The only downside is that Schwab will run a credit check because a brokerage account comes with whatever account you want to open. For example, I opened an Investor’s Checking Account and they pulled my Equifax because I also opened a brokerage account. This is how Charles Schwab works and there is no way around it unless you already have a Schwab account open.
A Quick Overview
The Schwab Investor Card is a vanilla, lesser-known American Express Card. It earns 1.5% cash back on all purchases, which is not bad. However, there are 2% cards that earn more rewards faster. Normally, this card comes with sign-up bonus worth $100 and you must spend $1,000 to get that bonus.
This card does not have an annual fee. But it does come with a six-month 0% APR period for both balance transfers and purchases. Six months is shorter than average for any 0% APR period. But having any 0% period could be a welcome addition for travelers. That’s because many of the best travel cards do not come with such a period.
All cash back is redeemed in one of two ways: statement credit or transferred into your Charles Schwab account. Furthermore, the primary benefit with this card is the ATM fee reimbursement. And there are other benefits that come with Charles Schwab bank accounts as well. They serve as ancillary benefits for holding this card.
The Schwab Investor Card is an American Express Card, which means that its subject to the issuer’s Once Per Lifetime Rule. Therefore, I would apply for this card between now and November 6 to earn the $200 bonus. Earning this $200 bonus is like getting 10% cash back on the first $2,000 that you put on the card. 10% is a fantastic rate, even if its just for the first $2,000 in expenses.
Because the Schwab Investor Card has no annual fee, you can keep it open forever to boost your credit history. But I don’t suggest putting any spend on it after earning the sign-up bonus. There are plenty of other cards that can earn you more value for non-bonus spend, especially for travelers.
The Schwab Investor Card is a decent option for those who want a quick $200 bonus. It can also be a nice segue into getting a Charles Schwab bank account, which can be beneficial for travelers. Just remember that you will receive a hard pull if you do not currently have a Schwab bank account. This is because you are also opening up a brokerage account that comes with whatever bank account you decide to open.
For those who want more perks, check out the Charles Schwab flavor of the American Express Platinum Card. It has a 100,000-Point targeted offer that expires on Monday, September 30. You must have a Schwab bank account to get the Schwab-flavored Platinum Card as well.
Apply Today: Schwab Investor Card