Charles Schwab Debit Card Now Chip+Signature and $100 Sign-Up Bonus

The Charles Schwab debit card available through its High Yield Investor Checking account is a must-have for US-based international travelers.

Charles Schwab Debit Card with EMV Chip

Frequent Flyer University found a $100 sign-up bonus for $10,000 account minimum (including investment accounts) and succintly lists the great benefits, “NO FEES, NO MINIMUMS, NO DIRECT DEPOSIT REQUIREMENTS, FREE CHECKS, FREE ATMS WORLDWIDE, NO FOREX, & EXCELLENT CUSTOMER SERVICE.” The $100 bonus is part of a Schwab referral program of which there is little online explanation, see here (this link to my knowledge does not provide compensation to me or anyone else and is available by public Google search).

I have had this account for several years and only have positive things to say about Schwab. I also have a companion business Sole Proprietorship account with its own debit card as my travel decoy and backup, the ‘rob me’ card with $100 on it.

My debit card expires this month and the replacement arrived today. To my surprise the card includes an EMV chip which I believe is the first publicly available chip-equipped debit card for US bank accounts. This is Chip + Signature, not Chip + PIN, so I am not sure how useful it will be for situations such as Europe unattended gas stations.

I referred over to the FlyerTalk USA EMV cards available today thread. No surprise the enthusiasts there uncovered this last week when a contributor had a replacement for a lost card. Summarizing hundreds of posts in a sentence: Schwab debit card now EMV chip, you can request a new one so don’t report as lost when it isn’t, though it is currently only for High Yield Investor Checking not other Schwab One Brokerage or other accounts, but this may not be a big deal, and here’s how card readers process it.

The FT thread is a great resource, these are people who have obtained their own card readers to test these cards. See the first page Wiki and the detailed spreadsheet of available cards.

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  • E

    Do you know if having a retirement brokerage account disqualifies you. It says for new customers without a brokerage account.

  • E – they are a pretty reasonable company so in this case it is probably worth a call. I have never previously heard of any bonuses for their checking account so if this doesn’t work for you, I wouldn’t expect to find another offer to try.

  • David

    thanks for summarizing the ft thread.


  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @David – those Wiki’s on FT threads are great, however it would be nice if there were a way to collapse them, when they get so long as that thread it becomes even more tedious to attempt to read through a thread page by page. I appreciate the dedicated contributors on that thread, unearthing and testing all these chip cards.

  • purcitron


  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @purcitron – yes.

  • purcitron

    @Rapid Travel Chai
    lol i hope the atm fee reimbursements dont require jumping through hoops… opening the account sure did.
    -do you transfer funds into this acct before travel?

    -tried to open the “High Yield Investor Checking account”. was told that schwab does a hard EQ credit pull
    -then was told that it only works in conjunction with a “brokerage” acct which will also be opened automatically
    -opened “brokerage” acct
    -but was told “High Yield Investor Checking account” will only be opened once funded with any amount from an outside bank
    -however, there a 5 biz day hold on funds transferred to the checking acct. only 3 days for brokerage acct
    -transferred $ to brokerage acct from another bank. waiting for 3rd day.
    -after transferring broker brokerage to checking.. must wait 24hrs before billpay feature is available.
    -wait another 10-17 days for debit card. another 7 days for checks (dont need them).
    -itll be 3 weeks before acct is ready for use in earnest

  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @purcitron – thanks for the detail. I did it long ago and did not remember the timeline. Good point for people to plan ahead for a trip. In practice I don’t think it will take so long, how long do banks say a card will take X days and it shows up much sooner.

  • purcitron

    @Rapid Travel Cha
    i agree that the actual debit card processing time will probably be less than the 10-17 days, but.. all of the aforementioned hoops still require jumping.

    do you keep X amount of $ parked in this account in the schwab checking acct, since it takes time to transfer & the interest rate isnt very competitive? or do you fund it as needed?

  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @purcitron – I have one that is my primary and one (sole proprietorship) that I fund as needed for travel.