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Charles Schwab Cash Management Account Review


2020 Charles Schwab cash management account review: CMA interest rate yield, online banking, checking, debit/credit card, online bill pay, and reimbursement of bank ATM fees.



Charles Schwab CMA Overview


Did you know that you can add banking features to your Schwab brokerage account? Yes, it’s true. In fact, Schwab operates its own bank, aptly named Schwab Bank. Here are the details:


Bank Accounts at Schwab


There are currently two accounts Schwab Bank offers: a High-Yield Checking Account and a High-Yield Savings Account. FDIC insurance is a standard feature for both accounts. Although both accounts have the term “high-yield” in their names, their current APY’s aren’t very impressive. The checking account is at 0.15%, while the savings earns just 0.18%.


Charles Schwab Cash Management


The checking account is only available to customers who already have a Schwab One® brokerage account or to customers who open them both at the same time. The savings account can be opened by itself. What the checking account policy means is that if you ever want to close a brokerage account, you also have to close its linked checking account.

Despite their low interest rates, Schwab’s bank accounts do come with some very impressive features. The Schwab mobile app has a check deposit feature that makes depositing old-school paper checks a breeze. Copies of deposited checks are shown in the account’s transaction history on Schwab’s website. Checks that are written also have virtual copies in the transaction register.

Bill pay is available on both the mobile app and the company’s website. Also standard for both accounts is a Visa Platinum debit card. The checking account comes with checks and can be linked to Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay.

Besides bill pay and copies of checks, Schwab’s website offers banking customers a lot of great features. For instance, in our trial account we also found an ACH transfer tool. Another tool allows users to send a debit card travel notice to Schwab. There is also an order form for more envelopes, deposit slips, and checks.

Either the savings or the checking account can be opened over the phone or online with a simple electronic form.


Charles Schwab CMA Fees


And what do Schwab customers pay for all these great features? As it turns out, nothing (other than the low interest rates). Neither the checking nor the savings has any monthly fees. There is no minimum balance requirement and no opening deposit anymore.

Schwab used to have a $1,000 deposit requirement for brokerage accounts. The minimum would be waived for customers who opened a checking account with the investment account. This is no longer necessary since Schwab eliminated the minimum deposit requirement.

Schwab does not have any bank branch locations or ATM’s. While it does have many brick-and-mortar offices, these are for brokerage services. What Schwab Bank does in return for its deposit customers is to offer unlimited ATM fee rebates worldwide. It is the only discount broker we know of to have this policy.

On top of the great ATM fee reimbursement policy, Schwab’s debit card also doesn’t have a forex fee for transactions that are made in a foreign currency.


Linking to a Schwab Brokerage Account


All Schwab accounts are automatically linked to each other within Schwab.com. A single login is all it takes to access them within one interface. Transferring funds between securities accounts and bank accounts is easy with Schwab’s online funds transfer tool.


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Other Banking Products


Besides its checking and savings accounts, Schwab Bank offers mortgages. Schwab customers who have at least $250,000 in assets get a 0.25% discount on the mortgage rate. In addition to regular home loans, Schwab Bank also provides home equity lines of credit and refinancing loans.

Schwab Bank offers flexible credit lines up to $100,000. Funds can be used for any purpose. Besides individuals, trustees and trustors are also eligible. Collateral must be held inside a Schwab financial account.


Charles Schwab Competitors


Broker Review Broker
Rating
Stock/ETF
Fee
Mutual Fund
Fee
Option Promotion Offer
TD Ameritrade
TD Ameritrade rating

$0 $49.99 $0.65 $0 commissions + transfer fee reimbursement.
Ally Invest
Ally Invest rating

$0 $9.95 $0.50 Up to $3,500 cash bonus + $0 commission trades.
Firstrade
Firstrade rating

$0 $0 $0 Get $0 commission in ALL trades!


Recommendation


Schwab’s checking account is the perfect companion to any frequent international traveler. It is one of the few debit cards we can find with a 0% forex fee. With a 0.15% interest rate, mobile check deposit, and unlimited withdrawals, it would also be a good all-around checking account (except for people who need to deposit cash). Because the linked investment account doesn’t need to be funded, account holders don’t necessarily have to invest in it. As for the savings account, much higher-yielding accounts can be found online, such as CIT savings that's paying 0.50% APY.