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Reviews

Synchrony Bank Review: CD, Savings Account, Money Market, and IRA Rates

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

Year Established1988
Total Assets$90.2B
Synchrony Bank is a relative newcomer to the banking scene, having opened up right around the same time as the World Wide Web was being developed in the late 1980s. Today, it’s one of the largest online-only banks around, offering a range of products including high-interest savings accounts, CDs, money market accounts, and IRAs.

Big banks can have notoriously high fees and low rates, so since Synchrony is a smaller, online bank, we put them to the test. In general, they offered very high rates on their savings and CD accounts, but their money market accounts are a little behind in the rate department. Read on to find out the specific details. This will help you decide whether or not this bank is right for you.
Synchrony Bank’s Most Popular Accounts

APY

Account Type

Account Name

3.10%

CD Rates

Synchrony Bank 60 Month CD

on Synchrony Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

2.90%

CD Rates

Synchrony Bank 24 Month CD

on Synchrony Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

2.90%

CD Rates

Synchrony Bank 36 Month CD

on Synchrony Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

2.85%

CD Rates

Synchrony Bank 15 Month CD

on Synchrony Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

2.75%

CD Rates

Synchrony Bank 12 Month CD

on Synchrony Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

2.75%

CD Rates

Synchrony Bank 12 Month CD

on Synchrony Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

2.75%

CD Rates

Synchrony Bank 18 Month CD

on Synchrony Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

2.20%

Savings

Synchrony Bank High Yield Savings

on Synchrony Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Synchrony Bank CD rates

You might need a higher-than-average minimum deposit for these CDs, but you’ll earn a very good interest rate.

Term

APY

3-months

0.75%

6-months

1.00%

9-months

1.25%

12-months

2.75%

15-months

2.85%

18-months

2.75%

24-months

2.90%

36-months

2.90%

48-months

3.00%

60-months

3.10%

  • Minimum opening deposit: $2,000
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $2,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty:
    • For CDs of 12 months or less, you’ll pay 90 days’ worth of interest
    • For CDs of between 12 months up to 48 months, you’ll pay 180 days’ worth of interest
    • For CDs over 48 months, you’ll pay 365 days’ worth of interest

You’ll need to come to the table with a fairly hefty minimum deposit of $2,000 to open a CD at Synchrony. But, once you have it, this bank offers a fair amount of flexibility in how you are paid your dividends. You can elect to roll them over in the CD account, or have them paid out to you directly in the form of a check or an electronic deposit into another Synchrony, or other external, bank account.

Once your CD completes its term, you also have a few options. Your CD will automatically roll over into another CD of the same term length, but you’ll get a 10-day grace period to make any changes. During this grace period, you can withdraw the cash, add more cash, and/or open up a new CD with a different term length.

How to open a CD account with Synchrony

You can easily open up a CD account with Synchrony Bank online. You’ll need to provide some basic identifying information, such as your Social Security number and date of birth (this is required of all banks in order to comply with the USA PATRIOT Act). You’ll also need to provide a government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Synchrony Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

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How Synchrony Bank’s CD rates compare

While Synchrony doesn’t currently offer the highest rates, they’re still consistently among the top of the pack for the current highest CD rates. Specifically, their 12-month and 60-month CDs are among some of the best offerings out there right now.

The early-withdrawal penalties at Synchrony Bank are also right on par with many of their competitors. You can rest assured that you won’t be paying inordinately high fees should you need to withdraw your cash early.

Synchrony Bank savings account

Synchrony charges no fees and offers a very high interest rate to boot.

APY

Minimum Balance Amount

2.20%

$0

  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: None; however, the ATM’s owner may charge a separate surcharge fee in order to withdraw cash
  • ATM fee refund: Synchrony will refund up to $5 per month in ATM surcharge fees
  • Overdraft fee: None

This is one of the most accessible high-interest savings accounts for people looking for low fees and low minimum balance requirements. While most banks charge an overdraft fee if you overdraw your account, Synchrony Bank does something different: They may not honor the withdrawal, meaning that you won’t incur an overdraft fee.

Watch out, though: you’re limited to six withdrawals and transfers per month as per Federal Regulation D (not including ATM withdrawals). If you go over that amount, Synchrony Bank reserves the right to close your account for you for “misuse.”

How to open a savings account with Synchrony

You can easily open up a savings account with Synchrony Bank online. You’ll need to provide some basic identifying information, such as your Social Security number and date of birth (this is required of all banks in order to comply with the USA PATRIOT Act). You’ll also need to provide a government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license. Finally, by signing up for an account, you authorize Synchrony to run your application through ChexSystems, which checks to see if you have any negative standings with other financial institutions.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Synchrony Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

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How Synchrony Bank’s savings account compares

Synchrony currently has one of the best online savings accounts. For people looking for a no-minimum-balance account, or those looking to grow a small savings account balance into a larger one, you can’t go wrong with this account.

Synchrony Bank money market account

Synchrony’s money market account doesn’t offer very high interest rates, but does give you the power to write checks.

APY

Minimum Balance Amount

1.20%

$0

  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: None; however, the ATM’s owner may charge a separate surcharge fee in order to withdraw cash
  • ATM fee refund: Synchrony Bank will refund up to $5 per month in ATM surcharge fees
  • Overdraft fee: None

Money market accounts technically work a little differently than savings accounts. But for you, the consumer, Synchrony Bank’s money market and savings accounts essentially operate the same way. One big difference is that the money market account offers a lower interest rate than their savings account. One other important difference is that you can actually request and write checks using your money market account, whereas the savings account doesn’t come with this option.

Otherwise, you can still expect the same withdrawal limits dictated by Federal Regulation D. You’re stuck with six transactions (minus ATM withdrawals) per month, lest the bank close your account for “misuse.” You’ll also incur few, if any, fees with this account. Given that these two accounts are so similar, we recommend going with the regular savings account, because that one offers a truly exceptional interest rate with the same terms of this money market account.

How to get Synchrony Bank’s money market account

You can easily open up a money market account with Synchrony Bank online. You’ll need to provide some basic identifying information, such as your Social Security number and date of birth (this is required of all banks in order to comply with the USA PATRIOT Act). You’ll also need to provide a government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Synchrony Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

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How Synchrony’s money market account compares

Synchrony Bank offers exceptional rates on their savings accounts and CDs. However, their money market account is a little underwhelming in the interest rate department. If you’re looking for the best money market account rates, you can easily find better accounts at other banks and credit unions.

However, Synchrony Bank still does stand out in the fee department. This account — like Synchrony’s savings account — comes with very little fees attached.

Synchrony Bank IRA rates

These IRA CDs are virtually identical to Synchrony’s regular CDs — and still, the fairly high minimum deposit requirements may exclude some savers.

Term

APY

3-months

0.75%

6-months

1.00%

9-months

1.25%

12-months

2.75%

18-months

2.75%

24-months

2.90%

36-months

2.90%

48-months

3.00%

60-months

3.10%

  • Minimum opening deposit: $2,000
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $2,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty:
    • For CDs of 12 months or less, you’ll pay 90 days’ worth of interest
    • For CDs of between 12 months up to 48 months, you’ll pay 180 days’ worth of interest
    • For CDs over 48 months, you’ll pay 365 days’ worth of interest

These IRA CDs work just like Synchrony Bank’s regular CDs, with one exception: they play by the rules of IRA accounts. That means you can open them up within a Roth or traditional IRA, complete with all of the rules governing these two accounts.

Just like Synchrony’s regular CDs, these IRA CDs come with some fairly high minimum deposit requirements. This will exclude some people who can’t come to the table with a full $2,000 — but for those folks, Synchrony Bank has another option: the IRA money market account (discussed below).

If you need to withdraw your money early (if you decide to move it to another company to invest in the stock market, for example), you’ll still face an early withdrawal penalty. However, if you are at the age where you need to take required minimum distributions from CD money held in a traditional IRA, Synchrony Bank will waive the early withdrawal penalty.

How to open an IRA CD with Synchrony

You can easily open up an IRA CD account with Synchrony Bank online. You’ll need to provide some basic identifying information, such as your Social Security number and date of birth (this is required of all banks in order to comply with the USA PATRIOT Act). You’ll also need to provide a government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Synchrony Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

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How Synchrony Bank’s IRA CD rates compare

Synchrony’s IRA CDs are again very close to being the top IRA CD rates around. However, there are a few banks offering higher rates on IRA CDs, so if this is your preferred retirement savings option, it may pay to shop around.

Synchrony’s IRA money market account

This money market account — like Synchrony’s regular money market account — doesn’t offer very high rates.

APY

Minimum Balance Amount

1.20%

$0

  • Minimum opening deposit: $250
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: None; however, the ATM’s owner may charge a separate surcharge fee in order to withdraw cash
  • ATM fee refund: Synchrony Bank will refund up to $5 per month in ATM surcharge fees
  • Overdraft fee: None

If you need a bit more flexibility in your retirement savings or can’t afford the minimum deposit requirement of Synchrony’s IRA CDs, you might want to consider their IRA money market account.

You can deposit or withdraw cash at any time, however you’re still subject to Federal Regulation D that limits you to six transactions per month. Since this is an IRA account, you’ll also need to stick to the rules of whichever IRA you choose — Roth or traditional — lest you end up paying a tax penalty at the end of the year.

However, in return for this flexibility and low cash requirement to open an account, you’ll pay for it with lower interest rates. You can earn much higher rates on your retirement savings with Synchrony Bank’s IRA CDs, or even with an IRA savings or money market account at another bank entirely. In fact, many of the best money market accounts out there also offer you the ability to open them as an IRA.

How to open an IRA money market account with Synchrony

You can easily open up an IRA money market account with Synchrony Bank online. You’ll need to provide some basic identifying information, such as your Social Security number and date of birth (this is required of all banks in order to comply with the USA PATRIOT Act). You’ll also need to provide a government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Synchrony Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Overall review of Synchrony’s banking products

We really like Synchrony Bank for their low-fee, high-yielding savings products, especially their savings account and CDs. These accounts are among the top contenders for highest interest rates available.

However, Synchrony’s money market account falls a bit short in the interest rate department. Once upon a time, money market accounts offered higher interest rates than savings accounts, but today that’s often not true — and Synchrony Bank is no exception.

On the whole, however, Synchrony is a great option for people looking for high interest rates on their savings — just skip their money market account.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Lindsay VanSomeren
Lindsay VanSomeren |

Lindsay VanSomeren is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Lindsay here

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Reviews

Review of Bluebird Prepaid Debit Card

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

woman using ATM
Source: Getty Images

Bluebird card features

The Bluebird prepaid debit card functions as a prepaid debit card and a bank — well, if neither charged fees for holding your money. Bluebird sings a different tune, with no minimum balance requirement, no inactivity or inquiry fees, no monthly or annual fees and no overdraft fees, all of which can be common in the prepaid-card world.

Developed in partnership with Walmart, the Bluebird card is a financial product offering more benefits than a traditional prepaid debit card. Users can wield Bluebird like a credit card since it works at almost any location worldwide accepting American Express. Bluebirders also receive extra traditional cardholder benefits, such as fraud protection, roadside assistance and Amex Offers, which provides deals and discounts at a variety of restaurants, shops and other merchants.

The Bluebird prepaid debit card also lowers barriers to traditional bank checking account features that make life easier, such as bill pay, direct deposit and a variety of no- or low-cost ways to add funds. It’s a hybrid financial creature, offering the ease and low expenses of an online bank and the reassurance of physical plastic and paper when it’s needed.

Among the features:

  • Direct deposit. Bluebird account holders can set up direct deposit online or with the Bluebird app, but a form must be printed out for your employer, so access to a printer is necessary. Drawing on funds before payday is available if your employer deposits funds early. But, in general, direct deposit funds are available as soon as the money arrives in the account, which could be up to two days before payday. It can take up to two payday cycles for direct deposit to kick in. Direct deposit can also be set up for federal payments, such as Social Security, a Veterans Affairs pension, a tax refund or a paycheck for a federal government employee.
  • Adding money to your account. There are a variety of ways to add money to a Bluebird account. Users can add cash via direct deposit, linking an existing debit card or bank account, adding cash or cashing a check at a Walmart register (up to $1,999) or via mobile check capture.
  • Mobile check deposit. With the Bluebird mobile app’s mobile check capture, users can deposit checks in minutes using their phone’s camera. But you won’t get the cash you’ve deposited for up to 10 days while the check clears. You can, however, pay a fee to have the money instantly available: 1% on payroll or government checks, or 5% on other checks. There’s a $5 minimum fee for this service.
  • ATM access. Bluebird encourages users to use a Walmart ATM or the MoneyPass network of ATMs found in thousands of locations for fee-free withdrawals. The Bluebird app can help users locate a nearby MoneyPass ATM.
  • Bill pay. Users can pay rent or utility bills with just a click — on the website or in the app — to be delivered within two business days. (If electronically, it takes longer to send a check by mail). Although there’s no way to set up a recurring payment, you can schedule bill reminders. Bluebird offers a Bill Pay Guarantee as long as you pay your bill six business days in advance of the payment deadline.
  • Checks. Yes, Bluebird account holders can even get 40 personalized physical checks for $19.95, plus shipping. But using these checks involves an extra step that traditional banks don’t require: Users must log on to the Bluebird system and personally pre-authorize the check, which in effect, holds the money required to cash the check. On the upside, there is no possibility of overdraft fees.
  • SetAside Account feature. This allows cardholders to save money for a specific goal (a vacation or an anniversary gift, perhaps) by essentially creating another account. Unlike a traditional savings account or money market account, no interest is paid on money saved in SetAside.
  • Family accounts. Parents of teens may be intrigued by Bluebird’s family account option, which allows you to create up to four subaccounts (and cards) for other people — age 13 and older — and set permissions on those accounts. These subaccount users can pay with their Bluebird card at any merchant accepting American Express, withdraw cash (with permission) and request money from the primary Bluebird member. But they can’t pay bills, add funds or cash checks — or create their own accounts. So there won’t be any surprising, bank-breaking Fortnite purchases.
  • Money transfer. Skip the wire expenses. The Bluebird card allows users to send cash from their account to users for pickup at a Walmart store. As well, Bluebird offers user-to-user online send-and-request cash capabilities, but both must be Bluebird users.
  • Account management tools. Bluebird allows users to set up fee-free alerts for low balance, added money, bill pay and fraud, and also has a text-enabled system to get your current balance, last few transactions and SetAside balance. The app also makes it easy to check in on current funds.
  • Other benefits include 24-hour roadside assistance dispatch, purchase protection and the Global Assist Hotline for travelers needing urgent assistance.

Bluebird fees and fine print

There can be sticking points around pre-authorizations, or the amount a merchant pre-authorizes and holds for payment — even if you didn’t actually spend as much as you were pre-authorized for. This, in turn, can lead to extra funds being held hostage (although not maliciously). For this reason, Bluebird advises cardholders to pay gas station attendants inside, not at the pump, and discuss pre-authorizations with other merchants likely to charge a bit extra, such as hotels, cruise lines and rental car agencies.

A deposit limit of $100,000 a year is set for all Bluebird accounts — for linked family members as well. Only $10,000 a month can be added by mobile check deposit. The ceiling for spending, withdrawal and other expenses (including merchants, bills and online transactions) is $15,000 a month.

Wondering about whether your cash is FDIC insured, as with a traditional bank? Money added to registered Bluebird accounts is placed into a custodial account at a FDIC-insured bank. Funds should be insured by the FDIC (up to $250,000, which is more than the Bluebird deposit-per-year limit). But it does remind users that American Express Travel Related Services Co. Inc. isn’t a bank, so there’s a risk of financial complications. As well, funds placed on temporary cards are not eligible for FDIC insurance.

Additionally, American Express isn’t accepted at merchants as widely as some other card issuers. And because Bluebird isn’t a traditional credit card (neither investigated by nor reported to credit bureaus), it will not help build credit.

Bluebird Fees
Activation fee$0 if signing up online; otherwise, $5 to purchase a starter kit at Walmart, which offers a temporary card.
Reload fee$0
Check deposit feeNo charge if you’re willing to wait 10 days;
1% or 5% of a check for “Money in Minutes”
ATM feesWithdrawal at MoneyPass ATMs, $0;
withdrawal at non-MoneyPass ATMs, $2.50
Card replacement fee$0
Money transfer to Walmart store in U.S. or Puerto RicoUp to $50: $4
$50.01-$1,000: $8
$1,000.01-$2,500: $16

Using the Bluebird mobile app

Source: iTunes

The app is available for iPhone and Android devices, and offers some of banking’s most popular features, including the ability to view your balance and detailed information about individual transactions. Users can cash checks, pay bills, add money from other debit cards, send money to family account holders (e.g., your teens) and locate MoneyPass ATMs, which don’t charge fees. Users can also transfer money to their SetAside (savings-adjacent) account.

The app has a 3.2-out-of-5 rating on iTunes and a 4.2-out-of-5 rating on Google Play. Some users complain about iPhone X compatibility. The app also lacks budgeting and savings-pattern features that select banking apps are now offering. To find the Amex Offers that come with a Bluebird card, you’ll also need to download the Amex app.

Opening a Bluebird account

Applicants can sign up for Bluebird in a number of ways. Users can go to Bluebird.com to register for an account, or download and use the Bluebird app (available for iPhone and Android from the App Store and Google Play, respectively). If a registrant needs instant access to a card, they can visit a Walmart store to purchase a Bluebird account setup kit for $5, which includes a temporary card, then register on Bluebird.com for a personalized Bluebird card imprinted with the user’s name.

Users would want to upgrade to the permanent or personalized card as the temporary card has a serious limit: You can only add up to $500. After registering and verifying your email address, Bluebird sends a personalized Bluebird card with your name on it seven to 10 days later. This card should be activated immediately upon receipt, according to Bluebird.

To be eligible for a Bluebird card, you need to have a valid Social Security number, be at least 18 years old and reside in the U.S. No credit reviews are required.

Who could benefit from the Bluebird card?

If you do not qualify for a traditional bank account due to poor credit or disinterest, the Bluebird prepaid debit card is a solid, reliable alternative to check-cashing companies. The card is also an option for those pursuing debt-free living, offering the ease of plastic payment without the monthly bill.

The Bluebird card is also convenient for others:

  • Regular Walmart shoppers who want to deposit and withdraw money
  • Those who do not plan on depositing more than $100,000 a year
  • Those who are interested in helpful financial management tools, such as low balance alerts and preventive measures against check-bouncing.

This prepaid debit card may also work well for tech-savvy parents who want to offer teen kids some plastic for trips and travels — with limits.

Overall review of Bluebird

For those with simple accounting requirements, the Bluebird prepaid debit card is a good alternative to a traditional bank account or prepaid debit card, providing a new, low-cost option to cost-conscious or credit-damaged consumers who still want to manage their money using features, such as bill pay, paper checks and instant online access.

While lacking some of the benefits of a traditional bank — such as interest-bearing savings accounts and brick-and-mortar service — the card offers many card benefits to those who might not otherwise qualify.

As well, the Bluebird prepaid debit card is a great pick for parents of teens, with the option to reload, monitor and reduce funds available to kids.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Lora Shinn |

Lora Shinn is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Lora here

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Investing, Reviews

Fidelity Review 2019

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

With a whopping $6.9 trillion in assets under management, Fidelity is one of the country’s largest broker-dealers. That kind of size and power may seem like a detriment to some, but Fidelity’s focus on investor value, long-term planning, and fair and transparent pricing makes the Boston-based giant one of the industry’s more likable brands.

Fidelity offers an extensive array of investment products, including hundreds of proprietary mutual funds, index funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and access to thousands of competitor fund investments. Its brokerage platform lets you trade international stocks, stock options and shares of initial public offerings. The firm also offers margin accounts and short selling capabilities for sophisticated investors. There is investing guidance available when you need it as well as 24-hour support. The best part? Lately, Fidelity has been on a mission to reduce the fees and expenses associated with being an investor.

Fidelity
Visit FidelitySecuredon Fidelity’s secure site
The bottom line: It’s not an overstatement to say Fidelity has something for every investor, with trading costs and account minimums that can’t be beat.

  • Full-service broker with a strong brand reputation
  • Extensive options for all investor types
  • Low or no fees and commissions on most products

Who should consider Fidelity

With much to offer, Fidelity is a great fit for many investor types. Beginner investors will appreciate the amount of guidance Fidelity offers to help you set a goal, create an investment strategy, and understand the benefits and risks of different asset classes. Once you’re ready to invest, Fidelity offers mutual funds with no minimum investment and no fees as well as no-fee brokerage accounts.

For index fund investors, Fidelity has four funds with 0% expense ratios and a roster of offerings that beat even low-fee giant Vanguard on price. Trading stocks or ETFs on the regular? Fidelity has low-cost trades, access to tons of research and a great platform for active traders. One company study found that even Fidelity’s bond prices are more competitive, saving investors an average of $14.55 per bond.

Fidelity fees and features

Current promotions

Get up to 500 free trades for two years when you fund an eligible account. The number of free trades is determined by the size of your deposit.

Stock trading fees
  • $4.95 per trade
Account minimum
  • $0
Tradable securities
  • Stocks
  • ETFs
  • Mutual funds
  • Bonds
  • Options
  • Futures / commodities
  • Forex
  • Crypto-currency
Account fees (annual, transfer, inactivity)
  • $0 annual fee
  • $0 full account transfer fee
  • $0 partial account transfer fee
  • $0 inactivity fee
Commission-free ETFs offered
Mutual funds (no transaction fee) offered
Offers automated portfolio/robo-advisor
Account types
  • Individual taxable
  • Traditional IRA
  • Roth IRA
  • 529 Plan
  • Joint taxable
  • Rollover IRA
  • Rollover Roth IRA
  • Custodial Uniform Gift to Minors Act (UGMA)/Uniform Transfer to Minors Act (UTMA)
  • Custodial IRA
  • SEP IRA
  • Solo 401k (for small businesses)
  • SIMPLE IRA (Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees)
  • Trust
  • Guardianship or Conservatorship
Ease of use
Mobile appiOS, Android, Fire OS
Customer supportPhone, 24/7 live support, Chat, Email, 190 branch locations
Research resources
  • SEC filings
  • Mutual fund reports
  • Earnings press releases

Strengths of Fidelity

  • Low-cost trading. Considering its size and infrastructure, you might not expect Fidelity to offer a competitive commission rate of $4.95 per trade as well as no-commission trades on select ETFs. E-Trade and TD Ameritrade will cost you $6.95 per trade. Charles Schwab also offers $4.95 trades, but Fidelity edges ahead with lower margin rates for traders with large debt balances.
  • No-fee investing. The company made a bold move in 2018 by offering a handful of index funds with 0% expense ratios, no fees and no minimums.
  • Mutual funds. Fidelity offers more than 200 proprietary mutual funds, representing a diversity of asset classes and investment strategies. More than 100 of the firm’s funds currently have four- or five-star ratings (out of five) by Morningstar based on risk-adjusted returns. You also can access more than 10,000 competitor mutual funds, along with tools to help you screen funds according to features, ratings, returns, expenses and more.
  • Research and planning. When it comes to research, Fidelity hits the mark in multiple ways. As an asset manager, Fidelity’s global research is extensive. More than 400 analysts around the globe cover over 2,600 companies and generate tons of research. For the average investor, Fidelity offers information to help make stock trading decisions, build a fund portfolio and learn about IPOs. There are lots of tools and calculators for everyday financial planning as well.

Drawbacks of Fidelity

  • High minimums for new investor promotions. Fidelity offers between 300 and 500 free trades for two years when you open a new account with a minimum of $50,000 to $100,000. To be fair, these minimums are lower than those required for similar promotions from competitors such as Charles Schwab, E-Trade and TD Ameritrade, but it’s a hurdle for the average new investor.
  • Slow customer service. Overall, Fidelity gets fairly high marks for customer service, with its focus on investment guidance and education. But with a company this size, there are bound to be a few negative reviews. Fidelity’s tend to focus on the customer service and speed. Service representatives can be slow to respond to complaints, money transfers can take weeks, and many customer communications are sent through the mail, according to some customers’ comments.

Is Fidelity safe?

Fidelity uses sophisticated technology to safeguard client accounts and transactions. Accounts at Fidelity are encrypted with two-factor identification, requiring an extra step of replying to a text message when it comes to sensitive transactions. Voice recognition technology is used to authenticate your identity over the phone. Fidelity’s systems are under 24/7 surveillance, from security at local branches to monitoring transactions for identity theft and protecting Fidelity’s website with the industry’s strongest firewalls.

Fidelity accounts also are FDIC-insured for up to $250,000 and SIPC-insured for up to $500,000 per account.

Final thoughts

To be a successful investor, it helps to have the right tools. It also helps to understand exactly what you’re paying for so you don’t lose too much of your investment earnings to commissions and fees. Fidelity provides both to investors, which is meaningful for a company that’s been around for more than 70 years.

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Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Melissa Phipps
Melissa Phipps |

Melissa Phipps is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Melissa here

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