Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card Review
Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card
CardRatings Editor's Analysis: Pros & Cons
- With 2% back on every eligible purchase, this card keeps it simple and straightforward, which are great features for the person looking to keep it simple.
- The 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and eligible balance transfers (those made within 120 days of opening the account) means this card can both earn you rewards and save you money (after the intro, the APR becomes 14.99%-24.99% Variable APR).
- Earning the welcome bonus isn't a heavy lift: spend just $1,000 in three months from account opening to earn a $200 cash-back bonus.
- Like many cash-back rewards card, Active CashSM charges foreign transaction fees, making it not a great option for traveling abroad or shopping online with foreign merchants.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
When browsing the market for credit cards that offer cash-back rewards, some of the most important factors to consider are rewards (Are top rewards offered for purchases that fit into your current budget and lifestyle?), extra features (Are there "fine print" perks that will save you money or make your life better?) and fees (Are the fees reasonable based on the rewards and perks of the card?).
The new Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card answers "Yes!" to all of the above for a wide array of customers by offering 2% cash back on every eligible purchase, an easily attainable (though modest) welcome bonus, a $0 annual fee and a 0% introductory APR for purchases and qualifying balance transfers for 15 months (then, 14.99%-24.99% Variable APR) among other features.
Accumulating cash-back rewards with the Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card is as simple as making a purchase. Cardholders earn unlimited 2% back on every eligible purchase made. For example, if you use your Active CashSM Card for $1,500 in purchases each month, you would accumulate $360 in rewards over the course of a year. That earning puts this card on our list for best no-annual-fee credit cards.
Looking for something a little extra? You can earn bonus rewards (usually 1-2%, but up to 10%) when you make in-store or online purchases with vendors featured in the Wells Fargo Earn More Mall. At any one time, the site features more than 100 vendors and offers are updated daily. Earn bonus rewards by using your Active CashSM Card (or any rewards-earning Wells Fargo card) to make your purchases.
Rewards accumulate in the Wells Fargo Go Far® Rewards program, which offers a variety of simple options for redemption, including statement credit, bank check, gift cards, Wells Fargo ATM withdrawal, air travel, hotel stays and car rentals. You can even use them toward a qualifying Wells Fargo mortgage or share them with other Wells Fargo cardholders.
- Enjoy a one-time bonus of 60,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $600 in travel
- Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
- Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
- Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✔®
- Redeem on travel-including flights, vacation rentals, car rentals and more. Plus transfer your miles to over 15+ travel loyalty programs
- No foreign transaction fees
In addition to its rewards program, the Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card features other attractive benefits to put cash in your pocket or help you save money.
Right out of the gate, you can earn a $200 cash rewards bonus when you make just $1,000 in qualifying purchases over the first three months from account opening. While it's advertised as a "cash back bonus," the bonus is issued as Go Far® Rewards, so you can redeem through that program in any of the ways mentioned above.
The Active CashSM Card also offers an introductory 0% APR on new purchases and qualifying balance transfers for 15 months from the time you open your account. If you happen to be carrying a significant balance at a high rate of interest on another card, this offer could save you hundreds of dollars in interest over the course of those 15 months. Note that balance transfers must be made within 120 days of opening your account and are subject to a balance transfer fee. After the 15-month introductory period, the interest rate shifts to 14.99%-24.99% Variable APR.
One thing that won't change, however, is your annual fee. The Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card has a $0 annual fee.
In addition to the benefits and features specific to the Active CashSM Card, it being a Visa card opens up a whole other slate of benefits. Cardholders qualify for zero liability protection for unauthorized purchases, roadside assistance and auto rental collision coverage. You also qualify for Visa Signature Benefits, including 24/7 Visa Concierge Service, extended warranty protection, emergency travel assistance and perks at certain luxury hotels.
Using your Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card to pay your monthly cellular phone bill comes with a nifty benefit: Cardholders receive up to $600 in protection against covered damage or theft (subject to a $25 deductible). This can provide great piece of mind, but also saves you the cost of third-party mobile phone insurance.
Covered phones are those listed on the most recent mobile bill you've paid with your Active CashSM Card and claims are limited to two per 12-month period, with a maximum coverage of $1,200 in that time ($600 per claim).
Wells Fargo Active CashSM charges a 3% fee on all foreign transactions, meaning you might want to leave it at home when travelling abroad. Keep in mind, too, that shopping online with merchants that are based abroad could also trigger that foreign transaction fee. Make sure your purchase is in U.S. dollars if you don't want to pay extra when using this card.
Additionally, the $200 welcome bonus opportunity is nice, but there are equal or better cash-back bonuses out there for a lesser spending threshold.
Lastly, the Go Far® Rewards program has some excellent and useful features – redeeming your rewards via an ATM withdrawal, for instance – but it isn't as lucrative a program as some of the other rewards program currencies out there. If your primary goal is straight cash-back rewards, this program works just fine and you'll get the value you expect. If you're wanting to redeem for travel rewards, there are better rewards currencies on the market.
Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card vs. Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer
There are numerous similarities between the Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card and the Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer. In fact, you have to look closely to find the key differences that might influence your choice. Citi is a CardRatings advertiser
Neither card charges an annual fee and both offer unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases; however, while the Wells Fargo card offers 2% on the purchase itself, the Citi card offers 1% at the time of purchase and another 1% when you actually pay for the purchase. If you're paying your credit card balance off in full every month, this difference is really a moot point. If you carry a balance, however, just know that you won't earn that full 2% on the Citi card until you pay for the purchase.
Both cards also offer introductory APRs, but their terms are quite different. The Citi card offers a longer period of 18 months, but only for balance transfers (after the intro, the APR becomes 13.99% – 23.99% (Variable)).
Another notable difference is that Citi® Double Cash doesn't have a welcome bonus offer, while you can earn a $200 cash-back bonus for making $1,000 in purchases over the first three months with an Active CashSM Card.
Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card vs. Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card
These cards are identical in a number of ways: Neither charges an annual fee; both offer a cash-back bonus for making $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months after the card is issued ($200 online cash rewards for the Bank of America card); both have an introductory rate of 0% on purchases and balance transfers (15 billing cycles for the Bank of America card, then 13.99% - 23.99% Variable).
So what can consumers look at when making a choice between the Wells Fargo Active CashSM Card and the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card? The biggest difference is in the structure of the rewards. If simplicity is your goal, Wells Fargo Active CashSM is the best option with 2% cash back on all purchases. If you're more concerned with maximizing rewards, consider the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card.
With the Bank of America card, you earn 3% cash back in a category of your choice (gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drugstores or home improvement and furnishings) and 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs for the first $2,500 of combined bonus category/grocery store/wholesale club spending per quarter. Earn 1% on all other purchases. You can change your bonus category once per calendar month.
Obviously, you could earn quite a bit more cash back with the Bank of America card, but the tradeoff is that it's a much more complex system to keep up with, so you'll want to decide if simplicity or maximum rewards is best for you.
Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card vs. Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Both of these are cash-back rewards cards, both have a $0 annual fee and both have an introductory rate of 0% on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months (then, 14.99% - 23.74% Variable for Freedom Unlimited®). That means you'll want to look beyond those things to make a decision that best for your wallet.
While Wells Fargo Active CashSM offers 2% cashback on all purchases, Chase Freedom Unlimited® offers tiered rewards in a variety of categories:
- 5% cashback on groceries (not including Target and Walmart) up to $12,000 in spending your first year as a cardholder
- 5% on travel booked through Chase
- 3% on drugstore purchases and on dining (including delivery and takeout)
- 1.5% on all other purchases.
Both cards offer multiple ways to redeem your cash back, although the rewards you earn with Freedom Unlimited® accumulate as Chase Ultimate Rewards® points, a popular travel rewards currency. If you have other cards in the Ultimate Rewards® family, your rewards with Freedom Unlimited® could be worth more. You can read more in our Guide to Chase Ultimate Rewards®
Both cards offer a $200 welcome bonus, but the Wells Fargo card requires $1,000 in purchases over the first three months of membership to qualify for the bonus; whereas, Chase Freedom Unlimited® requires just $500 in purchases over that same three months to earn the bonus.
This decision could again be one of simplicity or it could be that you make a decision based on where your loyalties lie. If you already have other Chase Ultimate Rewards® points earning cards, Freedom Unlimited® likely fits better into your rewards strategy.
The Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card is an excellent card for straight cash-back rewards as it's one of very few on the market to offer 2% cash back on all your eligible purchases. Additionally, multiple redemption options allow you to take advantage in a way that best suits your lifestyle and budget even if cash back isn't your goal in a given month or season.