Fidelity Brokerage -> Credit card payment BKM/ issue

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Dirghatamas
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Fidelity Brokerage -> Credit card payment BKM/ issue

Post by Dirghatamas »

I have had a Fidelity Brokerage for a long time and have been satisfied (same with VG and Schwab). I just started credit card with them because it is "integrated" so maybe more efficient and seamless. This was a baby step in seeing if I can get rid of my main bank (which serves as my payment hub, direct deposits, checks, credit card payments etc).

I ran into a problem which took 3 phone calls and > 40 minutes and I am still not sure if I have it figured out. So reaching out to Bogleheads many of whom use Fidelity as both brokerage and bank/payment hub/ credit card account. I am a fairly experienced investor and have been using brokerages and credit cards for 30 years but the issue was new to me :annoyed .

Timeline
4/28/2021: Received card and activated it. So far so good. As a baby step (to see how brokerage accounts payment to CC work), I got some gas in the morning and paid using new card (30 bucks). Worked fine. I then initiated an ACH transfer (pull from Fidelity Brokerage acct) 100$ from my main bank to the Fidelity. This link has been there for decades and works fine.

4/28/2021: 12:23 PM Pacific time I get a Fidelity alert that an EFT transaction was initiated. Good.
4/28/2021: 2:41 PM Pacific time: Another Fidelity alert saying EFT received. Brokerage account shows new cash (can be traded but not withdrawn). Good.

5/3/2021: I do a "pay bills" and initiate it from the fidelity credit card acct. The brokerage acct has been linked to it. I ask it to withdraw 30$ from my brokerage and pay the CC. This is just a test run to make sure the system works. It shows the transaction as being fine and next day shows my CC balance = 0. So far so good.

5/6/2021: My CC balance again shows 30$. Looking into it it shows "payment reversed" without any other info.

5/7/2021: I call up Fidelity to find out what's going on. First rep says it should have gone fine (enough time for settled cash) and after 10 minutes chatting with me looking to figure out what is wrong he says lets transfer you to the credit card team. I expect this is some division in Fidelity. After several minutes of verifying my ID again with the new rep, it starts becoming clear the new rep is NOT with Fidelity as they don't have my account info. I get perplexed and am told the Fidelity Credit card is NOT a fidelity card. It is actually by a company called Elan. The new rep (from Elan) has no info or insight into my Fidelity acct. They tell me the issue is with the "other company" meaning Fidelity and transfer me back. Then the Fidelity phone system gets confused and hangs up on me. My blood pressure is rising but I call them again. This third rep is more clued in and debugs my problem.

His explanation: The credit card acct is treated as an external acct (even though it shows up on the Fidelity portal). So it is NOT an integrated credit card. In his view, because I did a pull instead of a push (from my bank), Fidelity will basically sit on the money for many days and only then can I pay it to the CC.

I am well familiar with the push vs. pull BKM for ACH in many situations but this didn't make any sense. Normally for brokerages, I do a pull (as the money is immediately available to buy MF/ETF etc.). When I need to pay a check (through my bank), I normally do a push from my brokerage accounts. That makes sense if my brokerage and bank accts are separate. However, in this case, where a Brokerage is supposed to serve as both a brokerage and a bank, what am I supposed to do? It would be very confusing if each day I have to think whether I should do a push or a pull to Fidelity. The idea of bank + brokerage consolidation makes sense if it actually saves time/efficiency. What I have seen so far is MUCH worse than having a separate brokerage + a separate bank (which has its integrated credit card).

How do you folks deal with this type stuff? Is there a better BKM? Am I better off just going back to my earlier system of multiple brokerages (Fidelity, Schwab, VG) all linked to a REAL bank hub which has integrated credit card and bill pay services (which are TRULY integrated).
VictorStarr
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Re: Fidelity Brokerage -> Credit card payment BKM/ issue

Post by VictorStarr »

Fidelity Visa is a co-branded products between Fidelity and ELAN Financial Services (US Bank). ELAN is a provider credit card for 1400 banks and credit unions. Fidelity Visa is partially intergrated with Fidelity online and mobile service - unified login from Fidelity, access to current balance, reward deposit to Fidelity accounts. ELAN provides support for Fidelity Visa card, support is below average. Fidelity Visa has its own website with independent login/password - https://www.fidelityrewards.com/.

The most probable explanation of your issue - that money that you pulled from your bank were not available for withdrawal yet. First few pulls take long time to settle, money can be available to trade but not to withdraw. Check "Balances" tab and you will see "Available for trade" and "Available to withdraw". Direct deposits are available immediately, ACH push to Fidelity usually becomes available next business day. My best guess that problem you experienced is result of long hold due to ACH pull to a new account.

I used Fidelity Visa as a primary card for first two years, after I experienced issue with disputing a fraudulent charge, I scaled down my usage and use Fidelity Visa for safe recurring online charges (utilities, subscriptions).
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Dirghatamas
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Re: Fidelity Brokerage -> Credit card payment BKM/ issue

Post by Dirghatamas »

VictorStarr wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 4:07 pm My best guess that problem you experienced is result of long hold due to ACH pull to a new account.

I used Fidelity Visa as a primary card for first two years, after I experienced issue with disputing a fraudulent charge, I scaled down my usage and use Fidelity Visa for safe recurring online charges (utilities, subscriptions).
Just an update to close this (and agree with you).

A pull transaction on 5/8/2021 went through and wasn't reversed. So the money was sitting/held by Fidelity for definitely more than 5 days (5/3/2021- 4/28/2021) and somewhere less than 10 days (5/8/2021-4/28/2021).

Just to finish the baby steps, I did a push from my bank to this Fidelity acct on 5/9/2021 and money was available to withdraw next day. I also tried out their CMA debit card for a baby transaction to get cash from a random ATM (which charges a withdrawal fee). Fidelity paid back the withdrawal fee into my CMA acct promptly. Good

My Fidelity acct is > 20 years old so the only "new" piece was a credit card and I was not happy with this long wait.

Overall, I continue to be happy with Fidelity as a brokerage. I am pleased with their debit card and will use it for ATM. Their credit card is OK (2% cashback is middle of the pack). Credit card cash back directly into brokerage default is good. Their integration of credit card + brokerage acct is sub par IMO and the customer service when having an issue (having to call 2 separate companies Elan and Fidelity who each didn't seem to know what the other company's problem was) was WAY sub par in my view.

Based on my experience, too much consolidation is over rated. My main bank is significantly better for banking (simple interface, excellent credit card rewards, excellent CC+ checking integration, many more branches). The main brokerages (Fidelity/Schwab/Vanguard) are significantly better than my bank for investing. With password managers, the extra complexity in having one more or one less acct is trivial. So, I will continue to keep my investing and banking accounts separate. I will continue with the Fidelity CC as a backup card but not my main card.
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RickBoglehead
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Re: Fidelity Brokerage -> Credit card payment BKM/ issue

Post by RickBoglehead »

The Fidelity Credit card, as stated, is really an Elan card with Fidelity's name on it. It's not "integrated", except you can transfer your credit card points to your brokerage account as cash, and you can SEE and do things with the credit card on the Fidelity portal. I never use the Fidelity portal for the credit card, I do everything on the Elan portal.

Why is Fidelity not more integrated? Fidelity is not a bank. Schwab owns a bank. That's a major difference.

Payments to the card are no different than payments to any other credit card, there is zero advantage to the name "Fidelity" on the card for this function.

Prior to Elan, Fidelity was an American Express Card. But... yes, you guessed it, not an American Express card managed by American Express, it was with Bank of America (FIA). Their website, and service, was also sub-par.

As noted, Elan is nowhere near state of the art. The Fidelity card has several benefits though. 2% cashback, when sent to your Fidelity brokerage account. Other benefits include:

- 1% foreign transaction fee. Some cards charge more, some cards charge less.
- purchase security for 90 days.
- travel service.
- lost luggage reimbursement
- and more.
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gpburdell
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Re: Fidelity Brokerage -> Credit card payment BKM/ issue

Post by gpburdell »

Dirghatamas wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 11:11 am Based on my experience, too much consolidation is over rated. My main bank is significantly better for banking (simple interface, excellent credit card rewards, excellent CC+ checking integration, many more branches). The main brokerages (Fidelity/Schwab/Vanguard) are significantly better than my bank for investing. With password managers, the extra complexity in having one more or one less acct is trivial. So, I will continue to keep my investing and banking accounts separate. I will continue with the Fidelity CC as a backup card but not my main card.
I've been using Fidelity as my primary banking/direct deposit, billpay, credit card and investing (taxable, roth, rollover, hsa) for many years now and couldn't be happier with having everything in one place. I do have couple other bank accounts and credit cards but are secondary.

As someone mentioned your problem is that you are having to pull money from outside Fidelity and it's not available for withdrawal yet. The easiest thing to do is just keep money to cover your monthly expenses at Fidelity and setup automated transfers to put in new money ahead of time. Or better, just make Fidelity your hub.

There is a thread with 35+ pages discussing Fidelity being a "one stop shop" which alot if not most people agree with (along with Schwab). https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=266538

Why do you need branches? Fidelity has two here in Atlanta and haven't been to one in over 10 years. Fidelity's debit card reimburses all ATM fees so I go wherever. Unless it's a cashiers check or safety deposit box, I have no reason to visit a bank branch. We sold some land a few weeks ago, got a check for 90k. With Fidelity, I can do mobile deposit up to 100k every day if needed. Most banks only allow a couple thousand for mobile deposit and that's for the entire month unless you are a preferred customer.

The Fido credit card is 2% cash back with no limits. Sure the Fidelity-Elan CC site sucks compared to AMEX but so does Citi and Chase.

The only thing that I use frequently which Fidelity doesn't support is Zelle. Even if it did, I'd probably not use it there to keep it separate. I have a Capital One account that I use specifically for Zelle, Paypal, and Venmo. I usually only keep a few hundred in here and that account has no ability to pull from Fidelity if it gets compromised.

Also, I'm not sold on password managers for sensitive sites like banking/investing, credit cards, etc. While I'm sure it's very secure if you are using a MFA like Yubikey, I still don't like it all in one place. For now, I'd rather go through the hassle of resetting a password if I can't remember it.
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tfb
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Re: Fidelity Brokerage -> Credit card payment BKM/ issue

Post by tfb »

Dirghatamas wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 2:33 pm 4/28/2021 I then initiated an ACH transfer (pull from Fidelity Brokerage acct) 100$ from my main bank to the Fidelity.
This was the problem. Money pulled in isn't available for 4 business days. Not enough days had passed when the debit came. If you want the money available sooner, push the money into Fidelity. It won't be a problem when you use Fidelity as your primary account and you always have some cash available there.
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Nate79
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Re: Fidelity Brokerage -> Credit card payment BKM/ issue

Post by Nate79 »

I'm not aware of any brokerage that has a credit card integrated as a product even close to Fidelity.
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Re: Fidelity Brokerage -> Credit card payment BKM/ issue

Post by Broken Man 1999 »

I think Schwab might own a bank. Not sure, though.

Anyone have anything to share about Schwab's banking efforts?

When the brokerage firms actually own a bank the coordination should be seamless (ha! famous last words!).

Before Vanguard stopped offering the CMA accounts, I thought it might present an opportunity to get rid of my credit union account. One less account to manage, I hoped. However, Vanguard used PNC, as they had no bank. Still, there was a PNC branch within reasonable driving range so I though maybe I could integrate a CMA account from Vanguard and fill out my other banking needs at the local PNC branch. Nope. Two silos, PNC & Vanguard.

Until CMA accounts are serviced from beginning to end by a brokerage, with no intermediate players, they just don't seem attractive to me.

I still have my credit union account and it does every banking activity I need. And I have check writing on a Vanguard account.

Broken Man 1999
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Nate79
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Re: Fidelity Brokerage -> Credit card payment BKM/ issue

Post by Nate79 »

Broken Man 1999 wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 5:45 pm I think Schwab might own a bank. Not sure, though.

Anyone have anything to share about Schwab's banking efforts?

When the brokerage firms actually own a bank the coordination should be seamless (ha! famous last words!).

Before Vanguard stopped offering the CMA accounts, I thought it might present an opportunity to get rid of my credit union account. One less account to manage, I hoped. However, Vanguard used PNC, as they had no bank. Still, there was a PNC branch within reasonable driving range so I though maybe I could integrate a CMA account from Vanguard and fill out my other banking needs at the local PNC branch. Nope. Two silos, PNC & Vanguard.

Until CMA accounts are serviced from beginning to end by a brokerage, with no intermediate players, they just don't seem attractive to me.

I still have my credit union account and it does every banking activity I need. And I have check writing on a Vanguard account.

Broken Man 1999
Yes, Schwab is a bank and offers actual checking accounts. They do not have an I integrated credit card. Their card is thru Amex and it's not integrated directly in Schwabs portal.
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ipdiddly
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Re: Fidelity Brokerage -> Credit card payment BKM/ issue

Post by ipdiddly »

Hard to fault Fidelity over a one-time trial use. I've used Fidelity for many years and have my Fidelity card set up to automatically pay itself from my Fidelity account every month. It's seamless. I set up the auto pay so that I don't inadvertently miss a monthly payment if I'm traveling at the time. And the 2% cash back is automatically deposited to my account every month. The key, of course, is you need to have sufficient cash in your account.
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Re: Fidelity Brokerage -> Credit card payment BKM/ issue

Post by gpburdell »

Broken Man 1999 wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 5:45 pm Until CMA accounts are serviced from beginning to end by a brokerage, with no intermediate players, they just don't seem attractive to me.
I believe Fidelity is the only place that treats its own money market funds as cash. In my Fidelity CMA, I keep the cash in a Fido money market fund. As bills are paid, ATM withdrawals come in etc Fidelity automatically liquidates enough of the money market to cover the debit. No need to manually sell anything and wait for it to settle etc. With interest rates being so low, there is no advantage to the money market funds vs cash now but once rates go back up it would.
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Dirghatamas
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Re: Fidelity Brokerage -> Credit card payment BKM/ issue

Post by Dirghatamas »

tfb wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 2:58 pm
Dirghatamas wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 2:33 pm 4/28/2021 I then initiated an ACH transfer (pull from Fidelity Brokerage acct) 100$ from my main bank to the Fidelity.
This was the problem. Money pulled in isn't available for 4 business days. Not enough days had passed when the debit came. If you want the money available sooner, push the money into Fidelity. It won't be a problem when you use Fidelity as your primary account and you always have some cash available there.
I agree. As I posted above (and others said the same thing including the last Fidelity Rep), this was a push vs. a pull issue. However, how did I end up with that mistake? Its NOT because I am new to push/pull. Its because I genuinely thought a pull should be fine for an internal account. Consider a brokerage with a brokerage acct and a sister CMA acct. Or a bank with 2 checking accts (I do that setup to keep debit card separate, more secure from my main acct). I would think that for an internal transfer (say Fidelity brokerage to its CMA), there should be NO hold period (because the money is NOT actually being withdrawn out of fidelity, just moving between accts). Similarly for a banks, internal linked accts. If it doesn't work this way at Fidelity, please correct me.

So, with that understanding, I expected the Fidelity issued credit card to be another internal acct. So money wasn't actually leaving Fidelity.

Obviously, it turned out my understanding was wrong. The CC is NOT a Fidelity product at all. It is an Elan CC so obviously it is external. In that case, money is obviously leaving Fidelity and a hold period should apply.
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Dirghatamas
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Re: Fidelity Brokerage -> Credit card payment BKM/ issue

Post by Dirghatamas »

Broken Man 1999 wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 5:45 pm Until CMA accounts are serviced from beginning to end by a brokerage, with no intermediate players, they just don't seem attractive to me.
Broken Man 1999
Ding, ding, ding. Could not agree more. An integrated Brokerage + Bank + Credit Card + CMA sounds awesome but is probably a Unicorn (atleast at present).
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crystalbank
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Re: Fidelity Brokerage -> Credit card payment BKM/ issue

Post by crystalbank »

Dirghatamas wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 4:04 pm
Broken Man 1999 wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 5:45 pm Until CMA accounts are serviced from beginning to end by a brokerage, with no intermediate players, they just don't seem attractive to me.
Broken Man 1999
Ding, ding, ding. Could not agree more. An integrated Brokerage + Bank + Credit Card + CMA sounds awesome but is probably a Unicorn (atleast at present).
I think BofA/Merril comes close to what you describe but they're not the cheapest.
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Re: Fidelity Brokerage -> Credit card payment BKM/ issue

Post by ipdiddly »

I'm not sure I buy into the push/pull problem. I think much depends on the bank source or other factors.
My son recently used his Fido acct to make an ACH transfer of a very large sum from his BAC account. The funds arrived at Fido same day and he was able to wire transfer those funds out of his Fidelity account the next day for a real estate transaction. So no delay whatsoever. I wouldn't recommend cutting it that close, but it can be done. He did call Fido to make sure the wire transfer was processed timely.
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Dirghatamas
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Re: Fidelity Brokerage -> Credit card payment BKM/ issue

Post by Dirghatamas »

Nate79 wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 5:09 pm I'm not aware of any brokerage that has a credit card integrated as a product even close to Fidelity.
That may very well be true, but is not a high bar. I backpack a lot and tried a spork (spoon+ fork) when they came out so one could reduce the backpacking weight and cooking utensils a bit. It was terrible at being a spoon and terrible at being a fork. I chucked the stupid thing and went back to my trusty backpacking set up.

The bar should NOT be whether the Fidelity integration is better than say Schwab or other brokerages (it may very well be), the objective question is how is it better than a non-integrated (Brokerage + external bank+ bank's credit card) solution.

Time to pay CC: I thought integration may lead to a faster time Fidelity-> CC. That is NOT true. It is not just an issue of push/pull. Even if you have the money in your brokerage or CMA acct, the Elan side simply treats your Fidelity linked accts (brokerage/CMA doesn't matter) as a UMB bank checking account. So, the transaction time and protocol is the same as any other place.

Customer service integration in case of issues or fraud: This is the big one. I have had to deal with fraud on CC in the past (who hasn't) and having a customer service that is good makes a huge difference. For an integrated product, so far with my bank, when I have had issues the customer service was able to figure out what happened because they had access to both my CC data as well as bank acct data. For Fidelity + Elan, you are dealing with two completely separate companies. As I found out, if you have any issue, they have a firewall: neither side has any info on your situation with the other company. For the Elan service person, your Fidelity accounts are black boxes. They have no visibility. Same from the Fidelity side if the issue is with Elan. You end up wasting a lot more time with customer service than when all this stuff is under the same roof.

Cashback into brokerage: Sure that is a nice default but how is it better than others? My bank CC allows cashback either as statement credit or directly back to checking. Once it hits checking, I can do a pull from any of my multiple brokerages (not limited to just one). There is no delay, money is instantaneously available to invest at any of my brokerages (not restricted to one).

Security of links between brokerages and banks. I design VERY large computer systems where efficiency, latency and security of links is very important. So, I use that background when linking my personal brokerages, banks, credit unions accounts. I use a hub architecture for this situation. Here my main bank is the hub while brokerages as well as secondary bank/credit union accounts are the peripherals. While all accounts are linked to each other, they are NOT directly linked: they only link through the hub. I usually do ACH transactions using the periphery NOT from the hub. This was, for an ACH (push/pull doesn't matter), the account only has info about my hub (not any other accounts). Most of my money sits in brokerages, the hub is simply a traffic agent. If a bad guy breaks into one of my brokerages, they can do damage to that brokerage + my hub but nothing else.

If one architects it in a different way (to allow both push/pull from anywhere), you will need a fully connected mesh. To me, this sounds a LOT more dangerous. Lets say you provide link info to your bank and link it to multiple brokerages. If a bad guy breaks into your bank account, he can do pulls and (potentially) do damage to ALL your accounts.

With the way I have set things up, if my main bank gets compromised an/or one brokerage gets compromised, I still have banking (credit union) and brokerages (other brokerages)..so there is more safety. I realize that these are very low probability events but why not be secure..

Account Complexity/Password managers: The main remaining advantage I see is one less account to login. I have >50 now due to modern life (financials, work, IRS, shopping, credit cards, libraries, streaming services, credit bureaus...). At some point, Password managers are the obvious answer (and is what I do). Once you go there, having one less or more account is meaningless.
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Re: Fidelity Brokerage -> Credit card payment BKM/ issue

Post by RetiredAL »

Dirghatamas wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 4:01 pm
To give you a comparison to what I seen using Wells Fargo to/from Fidelity / Schwab / USAA / Wells Fargo Advisors

Background: I am the Trustee to my Dad's Trust's Brokerage Accounts at WFA/USAA/Schwab + joint owner to his checking/savings/credit-card accounts at Well Fargo Bank. I also have my accounts at WF. When I logon I see all accounts on the WF selection page.

When transferring $ from the brokerage to checking, it's a simple select from WFA brokerage on the WF Bank's input screen. I've seen it when I have moved $5K that the balance appears instantly in checking and not as pending. When I move $10K or more, it takes about 30 minutes, then shows as pending and is posted that night. I've always assumed there is some secondary validation for higher $ transfers even though it's WFA to WF.

If I select any checking/savings account as the transfer source, I can transfer to/from any WF / WFA account.

However, if I select brokerage account for the transfer source, the destination account can only be a checking/savings account.

I have never tried to transfer from brokerage and the same day transfer those same $ to a credit card. His checking balance is kept high enough a credit card payment is insignificant.

I have EFT transferred large $ from USAA to his checking. It showed as pending at WF that evening, it showed as posted the next morning, so I EFT pulled those same $ to Schwab. Schwab showed those $ received the next day and I used it to buy a Schwab fund, while WF showed it as a posted withdrawal. No one at WF blinked at this $100K+ transaction. I will add, that unlike your Fidelity hickup, all of these transfer linkages had been established for years.

Last year I re-tittled a Fidelity single owner account to me & DW's Trust in prep for it receiving our RMDs. In the process of the change, the linkage from Fido to WF was deleted. When I re-created the linkage, it took 4 days to show at Fido as available. This is the same WF account it had previously and that both my and DW's IRAs have long been linked to. The new linkage pause is just part of their validation process.

When I moved my Dad's IRAs from WFA to Schwab 2 years ago, there was a multi-day pause for the for the linkage to become established at Schwab. That linkage request had to be submitted on paper to Schwab - all checking account owners must sign the form when all are not owners of the Schwab account. That is in contrast to Fidelity who allows a linkage request online if ONE of the external owners is the Fidelity account holder.
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Re: Fidelity Brokerage -> Credit card payment BKM/ issue

Post by Broken Man 1999 »

At the end of the day, I invest at my brokerage, and bank at my credit union.

I don’t see any advantage for a half-***ed hybrid model.

Maybe when a brokerage can deliver a product that covers my investing needs AND my banking needs I might reconsider.

Broken Man 1999
“If I cannot drink Bourbon and smoke cigars in Heaven then I shall not go." - Mark Twain
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