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New Contributor
Posts: 51
Registered: ‎01-09-2017

Fidelity CMA vs. Charles Schwab for daily checking account

[ Edited ]

I am interested in switching my checking over from BoA to Fidelity or Charles Schwab. I don't have investments with either, but both accounts look very attractive.


I want no ATM fees, and I heard that Charles Schwab doesn't charge foreign transaction fees either. Can anyone confirm this?


Does the CS give you a debit card? I don't see the picture of it on their site.


If anyone has experience with either or both, please write about it. 

New Member
Posts: 5
Registered: ‎05-14-2016

Re: Fidelity CMA vs. Charles Schwab for daily checking account

[ Edited ]

I use Charles Schwab as my main account. ATM fees are reimbursed once a month and yes there are no foreign transaction fees. 


This is what the debit card looks like.

New Contributor
Posts: 51
Registered: ‎01-09-2017

Re: Fidelity CMA vs. Charles Schwab for daily checking account

It looks like they do an HP to open a checking account. Do you know if they require anything specific? I have a relatively short credit history and would like to use them just for checking purposes.

Frequent Contributor
Posts: 395
Registered: ‎11-10-2015

Re: Fidelity CMA vs. Charles Schwab for daily checking account

I went with Fidelity, no HP. I was HP denied by CS about a year ago.

Frequent Contributor
Posts: 392
Registered: ‎02-07-2015

Re: Fidelity CMA vs. Charles Schwab for daily checking account

I've had Bank of America for most of my life-20 years to be exact.
Then I got on with Charles Schwab and it's been a game changer. I love all the products they have to offer as well as their investment options.

Bank of America has Merrill and I'm not a fan.
Schwab makes everything so much easier when you're traveling too. No fees. Something to consider if you travel a lot and don't like searching for a bank everywhere you go. Use the Schwab card at Disney and got my fees all reimbursed! So easy!
Valued Member
Posts: 34
Registered: ‎07-05-2016

Re: Fidelity CMA vs. Charles Schwab for daily checking account

I use both. I originally wanted to compare the two, but as they both have their advantages, I have found no reason to choose one over the other. The accounts are equal in that you can order free checks, use free billpay tools, free Visa debit cards, and both provide access to brokerage services and research tools.


There are also instances where one account has an advantage over the other.


Fidelity advantages over Schwab:

  • While both accounts will reimburse you for ATM fees, Fidelity will do it within a couple of business days, while Schwab will reimburse at the end of a statement cycle. You get your money back regardless, but I can see how Fidelity's almost-immediate reimbursement may have an advantage.
  • Fidelity only does a SP, whereas Schwab does a HP to open an account.
  • As the Cash Management account is a hybrid between a brokerage account and a checking account, only need to open 1 account to take advantage of their checking and brokerage features. Schwab requires you open a separate brokerage account with the checking account (it comes as a package, and you cannot have the checking account without the brokerage account).

Schwab advantages over Fidelity:

  • Schwab does not charge foreign transaction or currency conversion fees. You are only charged the US Dollar equivalent on purchases made in a foreign currency (based on the market exchange rate of the day). Fidelity charges the fee that Visa Inc. charges for foreign transactions, which is currently set at 1%. While the fee is small, I would prefer no fee at all.
  • While Schwab Bank is not a full-service bank, they do have many of the products of a traditional bank. Schwab Bank offers mortgages and other types of loans. My understanding is that Fidelity does not have these types of services. However, both Schwab and Fidelity have life insurance products.
  • Schwab Bank offers a savings account, if the customer so chooses, and the interest rates are higher (0.1% for checking and 0.14% for savings).

As I mentioned earlier, I like both, so I am perfectly fine with having multiple types of accounts.

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Posts: 16,944
Registered: ‎12-30-2011

Re: Fidelity CMA vs. Charles Schwab for daily checking account

[ Edited ]

Just opened a checking account (and required investor account) at Schwab; waiting to see if there's an HP or not as I noticed in their default application they had "margin account" checked and that absolutely is a HP with everyone.  I unchecked it as all I want is access to their fantastic debit card for when I need cash overseas.


Wanted to thank everyone for the information about both of these, greatly appreciated!


Edit; yup, HP on Equifax, guess I should've just picked up the margin account now even if I don't expect to ever use it haha.

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