I thought I would make a separate thread on this, as I’ve been using Fidelity CMA for the last few months and I’ve been thoroughly impressed.
It is a great ACH hub, in fact better than Alliant IME, so long as you do not initiate any ACH pulls from your Fidelity account. ACH pushes from Fidelity post same-day in the target accounts I use (Alliant, CIBC, and One Finance). Pushes from One Finance in the morning are posting same day in Fidelity which is great because my direct deposits are being passed through One for their 3% APY account. When I say that they post, I mean that the cash shows up as “available to withdraw”, not just available for trade.
Just don’t ever initiate an ACH pull from Fidelity. My experience has been it takes 4 business days to clear these transactions. The cash is available to trade shortly after the pull, but you cannot actually withdraw or transfer this money (via ACH, Bill Pay, or otherwise) until the 4 business day waiting period has elapsed.
The Bill Payer seems to be run by Checkfree, and it’s been very reliable for me. I have not tried to detect the cutoff for next-day payments, but their system asks you when you want the payment delivered, and it deducts the money on the date it is supposed to arrive. All of my billers are electronic and they offer next-business day delivery. There is no Sunday evening delivery as there is with Alliant, so payments on Monday will reach the biller on Tuesday. A couple billers receive payments faster than they do with Alliant, for instance our local water district is set up with ACH with both Alliant and Fidelity’s bill payer, but Fidelity payments post 2 business days faster than Alliant’s.
They offer unlimited fee-free ATMs worldwide and free checks, if you want them. Interestingly they include ATM reimbursements in your YTD gains on the account, although those are not treated as taxable.
All in all, I am very happy with this account, particularly with ACH speed and the perks. It is a great workhorse checking account.
If you have a margin investment account, you can pull into the margin account and then do an internal money transfer to the CMA (assuming you have sufficient equity). That way, your money is available for use in the CMA without the hold.
Oh dear, today has been a long day . The lack of international exchange fees was what originally got my attention with this account pre-COVID. I usually make several small withdrawals internationally, both because credit card acceptance can be sketchy, and I don’t want to draw too much foreign currency and be stuck with it. Hopefully I can put this feature to good use soon! Alliant’s recent malarkey with their members is what ended up pushing me to sign up for it.
That is interesting. Do they charge you for that as an outstanding balance on your margin account until the ACH transaction officially clears? I don’t have margin trading enabled, just regular brokerage and employer 401k accounts, but I’m curious anyway.
I forgot to mention transfer limits, all of which are very healthy. ACH pushes have a daily limit of $100k, and pulls have a $250k limit. Outgoing wire transfers, which are also free, have a $100k max. You can increase these limits by talking to customer service for one-off transactions, such as a house closing.
For the purposes of this thread, and because I couldn’t find this information anywhere on the web, the cutoff time appears to be 7pm ET to send a payment that day, or to cancel any pending payments due to be sent on that day.
Not as good as Alliant’s 11pm ET cutoff, but still not terrible, and it is nice that the cash is retained in your account until the delivery date.
So on this page, FAQs | Cash Management Account | Fidelity footnote 3, “Please note that there may be a foreign transaction fee of 1% that is not waived, which will be included in the amount charged to your account.”
The same footnote also states, " Your account will automatically be reimbursed for all ATM fees charged by other institutions while using a Fidelity® Debit Card linked to your Fidelity Cash Management Account at any ATM displaying the Visa®, Plus®, or Star® logos." So if you pick a machine where it only has a Cirrus or MasterCard logo then you’ll be charged ATM fees…?
The reports on Bogleheads and other places indicate that the 1% fee only applies to purchase transactions, and not ATM withdrawals. I’ve never actually performed an international ATM withdrawal with this card yet, so I can’t say for sure, but there are enough data points that I believe it to be true. That is, unless Fidelity changed something up during the pandemic.
I was curious…i use to have a Fidelty Cash Management Account a few years ago and when i used the debit card at an atm i found that although i could make a withdrawal of course (which did get rebated by fidelity) you were not able to do a balance inquiry at an atm…does anyone know if that is still true?
I would expect the 1% charge to apply to all “International” transactions for Visa and its affiliated networks, whether a purchase transaction (contactless, signature or offline-PIN) or a debit (online PIN) transaction. I believe that “International” (for Visa, not necessarily for MC/Amex/DC-Discover) means any transaction where the card-issuing bank and the merchant processor’s bank are in different countries - even if you are just at home ordering online. [You would think that “international” (or “foreign”) would always mean the same thing, but it doesn’t necessarily.] I am not aware of any distinction being made for the foreign currency charges between an ATM transaction and a purchase transaction. It would be nice, but it has not been in my experience - but I only made ATM withdrawals. I did not use a debit card for merchant purchases, I always use a credit card for that. It’s safer, IMHO.
I thought this way when I first signed up with them – their sweep rates were very good (from the Fidelity account, not the Cash Management account) and I configured the accounts (I had both of them) to take advantage of the rates, and the features you noted. The problem is that the rates are now .01% (nothing) and other checking accounts are paying for example .30% up to 1.0% and for a checking account, that seemed more important than the features, especially since many of these also do ATM reimbursements (not as knowledgeable regarding the “International Fee” or “Foreign Currency Surcharge” on these accounts) as well. Unless you are actively investing the money in stocks or a purchase money fund. Hope this is helpful. Just my .02.