Charles Schwab is a brokerage and financial services provider. They also offer a unique and powerful checking account, called the Charles Schwab High Yield Investor Checking account. Today we’ll take a closer look at this account and all the benefits it offers – as well as the Charles Schwab checking bonus (currently $100).
This checking account can be very beneficial for frequent travelers, but it’s not for everyone. Let’s learn more.
Charles Schwab Checking Bonus: At a Glance
- $100 signup bonus after depositing $1,000 if you use this link
- Account must stay open for 1 year
- No other requirements to receive the bonus
- No monthly fees or activity requirements
- There may be a hard credit pull to open the account
- ATM fee reimbursement – all ATM fees worldwide will be reimbursed.
- No foreign transaction fee – applies to purchases and ATM withdrawals
- No FOREX currency exchange fee at ATMs – Schwab uses the official exchange rate
- Charles Schwab checking bonus of $100 with very few requirements
- Makes you eligible for the Charles Schwab credit cards from American Express
Who Should Get This Account
If you travel frequently, this account can save you a ton of money in the long run. It’s most useful for international travelers, but even domestic travelers can save some money.
For domestic travel, the account can save you from out-of-network ATM fees. A recent report stated the average cost for an out-of-network ATM withdrawal was $4.69. It’s not a fortune, but it certainly adds up.
For international travel, though, the savings can be quite significant:
- ATM fee reimbursement – the bank that owns the ATM may charge you a fee of up to $5+ – Schwab reimburses these ATM fees.
- No charge from your bank – in addition to charges from ATM owners, many domestic banks will charge you to withdraw money from a foreign ATM. This varies by bank, but 1% of the transaction is quite common – for a $500 withdrawal, that’s another $5.
- No FOREX fees – if you withdraw money in another currency, many banks tack on hefty FOREX exchange fees. Schwab does not. You get the standard exchange rate and don’t have to worry about getting ripped off.
Who Shouldn’t Get This Account
If you are trying to minimize hard pulls to your credit because of an aggressive credit card application strategy, you may wish to avoid this account. Schwab typically does a hard pull to open this account.
If you don’t travel much, the benefits of the account are mediocre – but, there’s still the $100 Charles Schwab checking bonus to consider.
Lastly, if you have a bank that already refunds ATM fees, there’s little reason to get this account. See here for a list of banks that offer ATM fee reimbursement.
My Experience with Schwab
I signed up for this account about a year ago. I went ahead and opened the High Yield Checking account and a free brokerage account. I did not notice a hard pull on my report, but plenty of people have reported a hard pull from Schwab.
I transferred $1,500 in, leaving $1000 in the checking and $500 in the brokerage.
Within a month, the $100 Schwab checking bonus posted to my account – easy, peasy. I also got free checks sent to me in the mail, along with the debit card.
Since then, I’ve used the card on trips to Japan, Canada and various domestic outings.
ATM fee reimbursements always post within a week or two of the transaction in my experience.
Exchange rates on ATM withdrawals have always been nearly identical to the official exchange rates, so I know Schwab isn’t charging any fees there.
Lastly, the debit card has always worked, even when cards from other banks didn’t. And every time I’ve called Schwab, the service has been great.
So far, it has saved me maybe $40 in ATM fees/exchange fees, as well as the $100 signup bonus. I plan to keep it long-term, and definitely recommend that other frequent travelers get this account (or something similar).
What’s been your experience with Schwab? Does your bank refund ATM fees internationally? Let us know in the comments!