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Which Wells Fargo credit card is right for you?

By , Site Editor
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    A Wells Fargo banking centerEven if you aren't already familiar with the services and products of Wells Fargo, you are likely familiar with the iconic image long associated with the bank: six galloping horses pulling a quintessential stagecoach.

    The image hearkens to the bank's Old West history – it was founded in 1852 in San Francisco to meet the banking and delivery needs of the gold rush industry – but Wells Fargo has spent the past century expanding well beyond those early roots and today provides extensive financial resources and services to customers throughout the United States.

    In fact, Wells Fargo now maintains banking centers and ATMs in 40 U.S. states thanks, in part, to its acquisition of Wachovia Corporation in 2008. In addition, the company now counts among its products a dozen personal credit cards that cover a gamut of features and benefits for the discerning credit card customer.

    The only problem is that a number of these cards look remarkably similar in name, perks and features, so which one (or ones) are right for you? Here's a head-to-head comparison of several Wells Fargo personal credit cards.

    Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card vs. Wells Fargo Propel 365 American Express® Card

    Both the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card and the Wells Fargo Propel 365 American Express® Card are points-based reward cards that offer cardholders three times the points at U.S. gas stations, two times the points at U.S. restaurants and one point per dollar on other purchases. Both cards also offer cardholders an opportunity to earn a "relationship bonus" annually if they maintain deposit accounts with Wells Fargo.

    Here's where the differences come in: The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card doesn't come with an annual fee, certainly a plus. The downside with this card, however, is that your potential relationship bonus level, no matter what other Wells Fargo deposit accounts you hold, is capped at 10 percent.

    With that in mind, if you have Wells Fargo accounts and spend enough on your credit card to offset a modest annual fee, then you might be better off with the Wells Fargo Propel 365 American Express® Card (it does feature a $0 annual fee for the first 12 months). Wells Fargo Propel 365 American Express® Card members can earn up to a 50 percent points bonus annually depending on the types of deposit accounts they carry with Wells Fargo.

    If you're particularly interested in travel rewards or earning points for your travel, you may want to check out the other member of the Propel family, the Wells Fargo Propel World American Express® Card, which comes with a heftier annual fee but also more substantial rewards and features for regular travelers.

    Wells Fargo Home Rebate Visa® Card vs. Wells Fargo Home Rebate Visa Signature® Card

    These cards offer a unique perk: your rewards automatically go toward paying down your qualifying Wells Fargo home mortgage loan. It’s certainly something worth considering if you're the kind of credit card person looking for a simple and practical rewards program. The catch, of course, is that you need to have an eligible mortgage with Wells Fargo in order to benefit from the rewards offered by these cards.

    With the Wells Fargo Home Rebate Visa Card and the Wells Fargo Home Rebate Visa Signature card, you earn a 5 percent rebate on gas, groceries and drugstore purchases for the first six months; all other purchases earn 1 percent back, as do gas, groceries and drugstore purchases after the first six months of card membership. Neither card comes with an annual fee.

    Your rebates with both cards are automatically applied in $25 increments to your eligible Wells Fargo home mortgage loan principal or you can elect to receive a paper check or redeem your rebates for travel and other products and services through Wells Fargo’s online portal.

    The difference here comes down to the added perks of a Visa Signature® card vs. a standard Visa® card.

    Visa Signature cardholders enjoy a number of special privileges, like discounts from some retailers as well as advanced ticket sales and preferred seating at some concerts and events. Additionally, Visa Signature cardholders have access to special services, like free continental breakfast, automatic room upgrades when available and a $25 food and beverage voucher, at properties included among the Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection. 

    Wells Fargo Rewards Visa® Card vs. Wells Fargo Visa Signature® Card

    Neither of these cards comes with an annual fee, and both the Wells Fargo Rewards Visa® Card and Wells Fargo Visa Signature® Card offer cardholders the opportunity to earn substantial rewards on gas, groceries and drugstore purchases for the first six months – five times the points. Other purchases earn one point per dollar spent, which is the standard rate for all purchases after the intro period.

    Both cards also offer a 15-month introductory 0 percent APR for purchases and balance transfers, a nice feature if you're in the market for a big purchase or two and want to spread out your payments.

    When it comes to differences, it could pay to look beyond the standard differences between Visa and Visa Signature cards (see above). In this case, the Wells Fargo Visa Signature® card offers an added perk for frequent fliers: 50 percent more value when you redeem your points for airfare through Wells Fargo's "Go Far Rewards" website.

    Wells Fargo Secured Visa® Credit Card vs. Wells Fargo Cash Back College Visa® Card

    These cards are geared toward individuals who need to build or rebuild their credit. Beyond that, the similarities are slim and where they differ matters a great deal.

    The Wells Fargo Secured Visa® Credit Card is what it says it is: a secured credit card. That means you'll need to put down a security deposit, at least $300, in order to establish your line of credit. The amount you put down becomes your credit limit. The card comes with a $25 annual fee (many secured cards feature a much higher annual fee), but it also comes with the opportunity to be upgraded to an unsecured card once your credit improves.

    If you happen to be a college student looking to build your credit, the Wells Fargo Cash Back College Visa® Card is perhaps a better option. The card doesn't come with an annual fee, but it does come with the opportunity to earn cash back redeemable in $25 increments to a Wells Fargo savings account, a credit card statement credit, a paper check or for travel and more through an online portal.

    You can even boost the cash back earned by shopping on the Wells Fargo "Earn More Mall" website.

    And, since the Wells Fargo Cash Back College Visa® Card isn't a secured credit card, there's no need to pull together the cash for a security deposit.

    Which card is right for you?

    As with any credit card decision, which Wells Fargo credit card might be right for you comes down to what you hope to get out of your credit card and your credit history. While you consider the options, also know this: Wells Fargo is one of only a handful of credit card issuers that offers cardholders cellular telephone protection if you pay your cellular bill on your Wells Fargo credit card. Cardholders are protected up to the value of the phone (a maximum of $600) in the event the phone is damaged or stolen.

    Just something else to think about.

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