A couple years ago there was perhaps no better credit card to carry than the Schwab Invest First Visa. The card was, quite frankly, superb. No foreign exchange surcharge well before all the others got on board with this benefit. A 2% cash back credit across the board. They even included a pretty solid travel insurance offering included. And no annual fee. I’m sure there are some other benefits, too, but these were the most significant for folks on the road.
Then Schwab decided to get out of the credit card business and they sold their portfolio to FIA Card Services, formerly known as MBNA. For a while the benefits continued and, with the exception of a move to a completely horrendous website for managing an account, the overall effect was pretty minimal. Keeping the card was still a reasonable thing to do.
The past couple weeks, however, have seen a number of letters sent to card holders informing them that the card is effectively dead. The Invest First card is being terminated and replaced with a Bank of America card of some sort. And the great travel benefits that come with it are no more.
- That 2% cash back benefit? Gone. If you want anything even close you’re now looking at a hefty annual fee.
- Foreign Exchange? Get ready to pay an extra ~3% on every transaction.
- ID Theft and Price Protection? No mas.
- Travel insurance? Slashed by 75% for the max payout.
The worst part of all these changes is that they are being doled out one or three at a time. I haven’t actually been notified that the f/x rate is going up, for example. I only found out when I got a letter telling me that the 2% was disappearing and I called in to ask about it. The agent insisted that by telling me little bits over time I was more likely to understand the changes. Apparently they really do think their customers are idiots.
I’ll most certainly be canceling my card. No point in using a product that provides such poor value. Doubly so when they think that by dribbling out the changes customers won’t notie the cuts. Farewell, Invest First. It was great while it lasted.
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