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My apologies if this is a duplicate; I searched and didn't see anything about this.

I just received a letter in the mail that the Emigrant Direct 1.4% Cash Back MasterCard CC is going away at the end of June 2011. It will be replaced by some Barclaycard Rewards MC that gives points instead (ugh).

I was a big fan of this card since:

(1) It is a MC, and I find AMEX and Discover are not always accepted. I like to use 1 credit card for all purchases (saves a lot of time when checking receipts or looking up account history), and I hate trying to pay with AMEX/Discover and the server comes back and tells me the card isn't accepted.

(2) Easy, no caps, no max or min, no amount that needs to be spent before you see your cash, no fees, no worrying about what category Wal-Mart falls into, etc. Just straight 1.4% on everything, automatically deposited into your EmigrantDirect account every 6 months. Truly hassle-free.

(3) Their website allows you to auto-pay the card each month on the due date from a checking account. No hassle, no bills in the mail, no late payments or fees. Perfect for someone who pays the full balance every month.

In other words, the entire reward process is completely automated, with no "catch," from reward to payment. I'm really sorry to see this card go; I was very happy with it.

My question is, does anyone have a recommendation for a replacement card? Yes, I've read the huge "What CC should I get" FAQ thread. But I'm as interested in convenience as total Cash Back. I don't want miles, or an AMEX/Discover, or a convoluted reward collection process. And I really like the linked bank account auto-pay feature. I'd really appreciate any suggestions to replace this card, and I assume there will be others in my situation. Thank you very much in advance.

P.S.: I'm leaning toward opening a Fidelity MySmartCash account for their 2% card. Can that be auto-paid from a bank account like I currently do? Is it as hassle-free as the Emigrant card?

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I've liked the PenFed Visa, but it's only 1%. Just credits your Cash Back to your statement every month, no points/miles/etc. Not sure about the auto pay from bank account feature.

Chase AARP card w/ 5% back for 6 months. rinse and repeat every 6 months.

AlwaysWrite said:   P.S.: I'm leaning toward opening a Fidelity MySmartCash account for their 2% card. Can that be auto-paid from a bank account like I currently do? Is it as hassle-free as the Emigrant card?

Yes, you can set up autopay to draw from any bank account to pay your statement balance or minimum payment (this feature is relatively new for FIA cards). You can also set it up to auto redeem your Cash Back rewards into your Fidelity account whenever you hit the $50 minimum amount (technically, the card rewards points that need to be redeemed for Cash Back but the intermediate step is easy to accomplish and can be automated). I have found it to be pretty painless.

fidelity 2% is AMEX

the fidelity 1.5% is visa/mc (not sure which). It is 1.5 for the first 15K or something, and then 2%. You basically lose $75 while reaching that threshold.

I carry the 2% AMEX and my penfed visa for gas/places that don't take AMEX.

Thank you for all the responses so far.

therivler1 said:   fidelity 2% is AMEX

the fidelity 1.5% is visa/mc (not sure which). It is 1.5 for the first 15K or something, and then 2%. You basically lose $75 while reaching that threshold.

I carry the 2% AMEX and my penfed visa for gas/places that don't take AMEX.


Yeah, that's definitely a downside for me. I might either do the 1.5% Visa, or perhaps get both the 1.5% Visa and the 2% AMEX from Fidelity. Dealing with 2 cards might not be as bad if they're from the same issuer.

And if it offers auto-pay, it looks like a decent replacement for my Emigrant card (1.5% instead of 1.4%). Of course, the interest earned in their MySmartCash account is abysmal (0.1%), but I don't have to leave very much money in there (which is actually better than leaving $10K in Emigrant to get a not-so-competitive-anymore 0.8%).

The Fidelity cards offer auto-pay. You have to send a form and a voided check to set it up.

Just in case it's interesting, Emigrant Direct has a new Visa (+ $25 bonus) with Elan : https://online1.elancard.com/oad/catalog/learnMore.controller?productId=05

Looks pretty standard, 1% Cash Back, doesn't seem to need a minimum EmigrantDirect.com balance. (Not sure if the accounts are linked at all?) It's also ambiguous if it's 1% Cash Back + 1 point per $1 spent, or either/or. If it's just 1%, it's maybe not that interesting.

I used to have the Emigrant Direct card years ago but when the Charles Schwab 2% Visa came out, it was a no brainer to switch. If you don't mind me asking, what took you so long to switch? It meets all of your criteria (visa is just as widely accepted as mastercard, etc.).

sublimebri said:   I used to have the Emigrant Direct card years ago but when the Charles Schwab 2% Visa came out, it was a no brainer to switch. If you don't mind me asking, what took you so long to switch? It meets all of your criteria (visa is just as widely accepted as mastercard, etc.).

Well, the Fidelity Visa is just 1.5% (unless you get over a large spending limit I probably won't reach), so switching (opening a new account + new credit card, changing my CC info for any recurring bills I have, etc.) wasn't worth 0.1%. Plus, I liked many features of the Emigrant card, including that the money gets auto-deposited into my Emigrant account (which used to pay a very competitive interest rate), and I could auto-pay my full balance each month. It was truly hassle-free. With Fidelity, I'll have to manually cash out when I reach a certain amount of rewards, then transfer the money out (since the MySmartCash account pays almost no interest). And I think the Fidelity just added auto-pay recently, which is a big deal to me.

I guess I missed out on the Charles Schwab Visa, and it seems to be unavailable now. I guess I was just happy with my card at the time and wasn't really looking around to switch, and I'm not sure if Charles Schwab had (or has) auto-pay. But if I had to do it over again I probably should have gotten it. A flat 2% Visa is pretty sweet.

For anyone who might be following this my two Fidelity cards arrived today (Visa + AMEX). I logged into the FIA website and added both cards so they both show up under the same login. It was fairly easy to set up auto-pay for both cards. And it appears they're both connected to my Fidelity MySmartCash account and will automatically convert my reward points into cash and deposit them to Fidelity (monthly, I think?). So far, it certainly seems to be a great replacement for my Emigrant card. I probably should have done this sooner.

Now all I have to do is try them out and make sure it all works properly so let me head on over to the Hot Deals forum



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