Jul 19, 2023
Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card review: Flat 2% cash back on all purchases and no annual fee
Why we like this card: The Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card’s best feature is its 2% cash back return on all purchases. Add its solid benefits such as cell phone insurance and lengthy 0% intro APR terms,
Why we like this card: The Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card’s best feature is its 2% cash back return on all purchases. Add its solid benefits such as cell phone insurance and lengthy 0% intro APR terms, and it’s one of the best no annual fee credit cards on the market.
Annual fee: $0
Foreign transaction fee: 3%
Late payment: Up to $40
The Wells Fargo Active Cash scores at the top of the class among no annual fee cash back credit cards. And that’s saying something—competition is fierce in this particular category. But with an excellent return rate on all purchases and an intro APR offer that puts most other cards to shame, it’s a no-brainer choice for anyone with cash back as their primary credit card goal.
The Wells Fargo Active Cash is an excellent card for those who can’t be bothered with bonus categories. The card offers a flat 2% cash back on all purchases with no cap.
That’s a solid return for your spending, and considerably higher than the base earning rate you’ll find on most other cards—even those that charge an annual fee.
If you’re after a foolproof way to earn cash back rewards in a hurry, the Wells Fargo Active Cash could perfectly complement your goals.
However, the simplicity of this card’s rewards structure could deter anyone that doesn’t mind juggling bonus categories, activating limited-time increased earning rates, etc. Other cards provide significantly higher earnings in select categories, such as dining, supermarkets, travel, etc.
The Wells Fargo Active Cash comes with a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $500 on purchases within the first three months from account opening. This is above average for a no annual fee cash back credit card.
Wells Fargo cash back rewards can be used in several different ways. You’ll always receive the same value, no matter how you choose to redeem them.
You can cash out your rewards online as a statement credit to offset purchases you’ve already made—effectively erasing previous transactions from your bill. You can redeem as little as $1 at a time, which is a big advantage over several competing cash back cards that tend to enforce redemption minimums of around $25.
The only caveat is that you must have enough rewards to cover the full amount of whichever transaction you’re trying to offset. Also note that these redemptions don’t count as payment. You’ll still owe a minimum payment each month if you’re carrying a balance.
If you’ve got other loans with Wells Fargo, you can use your rewards for credits toward those accounts, as well. If you’ve got a mortgage, personal loan, or credit product, your rewards will be applied toward the principal. Again, this doesn’t count as a payment.
You can use your rewards to get cash either online or by phone in increments of $25. You can also redeem your rewards at a Wells Fargo ATM in increments of $20.
To redeem rewards at an ATM, you’ll also need either a debit card or ATM card issued by Wells Fargo.
Wells Fargo gives you the ability to trade your rewards for gift cards from well-known merchants in varying amounts. While this is a popular choice, it’s not particularly wise.
Here’s why: When you buy a gift card with your credit card, you’ll earn rewards for that purchase. But when you redeem your cash back for a gift card, you’re not using your card to make a purchase—and you’re effectively forfeiting rewards. It’s a better idea to purchase the gift cards you want and then use your rewards via the “redeem for purchases” feature to offset the price.
Pay With Rewards is a nice feature that allows you to shop online with millions of stores through PayPal. You can redeem rewards at checkout to lower the price of your cart.
Redeeming your cash back for online shopping is equally unprofitable to purchasing gift cards. Better to charge items to your Wells Fargo Active Cash and then redeem rewards as a statement credit later. That said, if you don’t have enough rewards to fully cover previous charges, Pay With Rewards could be a viable option.
The Wells Fargo Active Cash has a few tricks up its sleeve that are shockingly valuable for a no annual fee credit card:
The Wells Fargo Active Cash has a lot going for it. Its flat 2% earning rate makes it a strong competitor for your everyday purchases; its simple redemption options require no learning curve and are easy and flexible enough to fit anyone’s goals; its cell phone protection is top-notch.
If you want to earn rewards for your spending with minimal effort, this is the card for you.
However, if you don’t mind exerting a bit more effort, there are far more valuable rewards credit cards out there. Some credit cards earn points that can be transferred to airline and hotel programs for (nearly) free travel. Others offer useful statement credits to help you save money on everyday purchases.
There are a handful of other credit cards that you should consider before you lunge toward the Wells Fargo Active Cash. With similar earning rates and easy-to-use rewards, these cards offer versatility that the Wells Fargo Active Cash does not.
The Citi® Double Cash Card is a $0 annual fee credit card that earns 1% back on all purchases and 1% back when you pay off those purchases. In other words, you’ll effectively earn 2% on all purchases—just like the Wells Fargo Active Cash.
To boot, the Citi Double Cash offers impressive intro APR terms: 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months (after that, the variable APR will be 18.99%–28.99%, based on your creditworthiness).
Instead of cash, the Citi Double Cash technically earns Citi ThankYou points which can be redeemed for cash at a rate of 1 cent each. But if you’ve also got either the Citi Premier® Card or Citi Prestige® Card (not available to new applicants), you can transfer the rewards you earn with the Citi Double Cash to airline and hotel partners such as JetBlue, Singapore Airlines, and Wyndham.
It’s possible to get significantly more than 1 cent per point in value from your rewards when using them this way. If you want to keep it simple and redeem for cash back, the card is still worth considering.
If you’d prefer to earn travel rewards instead of cash back, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card offers a return rate similar to the Wells Fargo Active Cash. You’ll get a flat 2 Capital One miles per dollar on all purchases—and 5 miles per dollar when reserving rental cars and hotels through Capital One Travel. You can choose to redeem your miles at a rate of 1 cent each to offset nearly any travel purchase, or you can transfer them to travel partners for cheap airfare and hotel stays.
This travel credit card charges a $95 annual fee. But it comes with a few things that the Wells Fargo Active Cash can’t compete with, such as:
This is a solid beginner travel credit card for those interested in giving award travel a whirl.
The Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card is not particularly hard to get. For rewards credit cards, it’s best to not apply unless your credit score is at least “good.” FICO stipulates that you must have a credit score of at least 670 to be considered good.
Yes, the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card is a credit card that offers cash back on certain purchase categories.
The Wells Fargo Active Cash is a no annual fee credit card. You’ll only pay for the card if you incur fees such as interest charges, balance transfer fees, cash advance fees, etc.
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EDITORIAL DISCLOSURE: The advice, opinions, or rankings contained in this article are solely those of the Fortune Recommends™ editorial team. This content has not been reviewed or endorsed by any of our affiliate partners or other third parties.Why we like this card: Pros:Cons:APRAnnual fee: Foreign transaction fee:Late payment: Intro APR offer: Cell phone protection: Visa Signature Hotel Collection: Travel and emergency assistance services: Roadside Dispatch: Credit Close-Up℠: