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If you’re in the market for a cash-back credit card, an unlimited 2% back on everything you purchase is a pretty great rate of return. In this article, we’ll compare two of the most popular 2% back cards right now: the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card and the Citi Double Cash® Card, from our partner Citi.  

These two cards are nearly identical in terms of benefits, lack of annual fees and earning rates. But we'll discuss a few differences between the two credit cards so you can decide which one is right for you. 

Quick Comparison Overview

  • Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card: Best for people who want to earn a welcome bonus with a lower minimum spend requirement.
  • Citi Double Cash® Card: Best for Citi cardholders who use Citi ThankYou Points for award travel.
Credit Card Annual Fee Rewards Intro Bonus Perks Learn More

Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

$0 2%Cashback More Info

Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases.

$200Cash Bonus More Info

Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $500 in purchases in the first 3 months.

Up to $600 per claim in cellphone insurance

0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, followed by a 20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% (Variable) APR

Citi Double Cash

Citi Double Cash® Card

$0 2%Cashback More Info

Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases. To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time. Plus, for a limited time, earn 5% total cash back on hotel, car rentals and attractions booked on the Citi Travel℠ portal through 12/31/24.

$200Cash Bonus More Info

Earn $200 cash back after you spend $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening. This bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back.

Intro APR of 0% for 18 months on Balance Transfers on balance transfers,
followed by a 19.24% - 29.24% (Variable) APR

For many years, the Citi Double Cash card's unlimited 2% rewards structure has been very popular among cash-back credit cards. The flat-rate rewards scheme offers a generous return rate, especially for a card that doesn’t charge an annual fee. 

However, Wells Fargo launched the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card in July 2021, bringing a serious competitor to the cash-back rewards arena. Unlike the Citi Double Cash, the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card comes with a welcome bonus and a few additional perks. 

We'll go over more in detail below how the two cards stack up and why you may prefer one card over the other.

Who Should Get the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card?

Wells Fargo atm

Unsplash

Most people seeking a flat-rate 2% back card should get the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card for its slightly better benefits, which include:

  • $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $500 within the first three months of card ownership
  • 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers (after which a 20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% (Variable) APR applies)
  • Cellphone insurance of up to $600 per claim, up to two claims per year

If you're an existing Wells Fargo customer, you'll have the ability to withdraw your cash-back rewards using your debit card at a Wells Fargo ATM.

Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

Apply Now

Secure application on issuer’s website

Rates & Fees
  • Our Rating 4.0/5 How our ratings work Read the review
  • APR20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% (Variable)
  • Annual Fee$0
  • Welcome Bonus $200Cash Bonus More Info

    Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $500 in purchases in the first 3 months.

If you’re a fan of earning cash rewards for your everyday spending, you need a credit card that rewards you for purchases outside of popular bonus categories like travel, grocery stores and gas stations. With the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card (Rates and Fees), you earn 2% back for every dollar spent without the fuss of tracking specific bonus categories.

Overview

While many rewards credit cards tempt you with bonus rewards for specific purchases, these cards invariably offer a mere 1% rewards rate on the vast majority of charges that don’t qualify for a bonus. And with many of these cards, the amount of purchases that are eligible for your bonus is capped, restricting the overall potential value.

But with the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card, you simply receive a high level of cash rewards on purchases. There’s no need to register for anything, and there are no limits on the amount of cash rewards you can earn.

Pros

  • Earn an unlimited 2% cash back on every single purchase
  • No annual fee
  • Automatic cellphone protection when you pay your monthly bill with the card

Cons

  • Points don't transfer to travel partners unlike other card currencies
  • No bonus earning categories

Who Should Get the Citi Double Cash® Card?

couple dining outdoors at mexican restaurant

iStock

The Citi Double Cash card comes with far fewer benefits than the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card. However, there are a few scenarios where this card can be a better pick compared to its Wells Fargo counterpart:

  • If you're an existing Citi cardholder who plans to redeem their rewards for outsized value on travel through Citi's many airline transfer partners.
  • If you want to leverage their strong intro APR offer for balance transfers: intro APR of 0% for 18 months on Balance Transfers on balance transfers, followed by a 19.24% - 29.24% (Variable) APR.

It’s worth noting that the Citi Double Cash card earns 2% on every dollar spent but pays out rewards in a unique way. You’ll earn 1% up front when you make the purchase, and the second 1% comes through only after you pay off the statement balance.

Citi Double Cash® Card

Citi Double Cash
Apply Now

Secure application on issuer’s website

Rates & Fees
  • Our Rating 4.5/5 How our ratings work Read the review
  • APR19.24% - 29.24% (Variable)
  • Annual Fee$0
  • Sign-Up Bonus $200Cash Bonus More Info

    Earn $200 cash back after you spend $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening. This bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back.

The Citi Double Cash® Card, from our partner Citi, is among the top cards on the market for general spending. Forget the cards that offer 1% and 1.5% cash back. The Citi Double Cash Card offers you a whopping 2% cash back for all spending. Earn 1% back when you make a purchase and 1% back when you pay your account balance.

Overview

The Citi Double Cash® Card, from our partner Citi, offers attractive and uncomplicated cash back for people who value a flexible credit card reward program. The Citi Double Cash Card gives you the chance to earn 2% cash back on your purchases. You can receive 1% cash back when you make a purchase and an additional 1% cash back once you pay your bill.

Pros

  • No category bonuses to remember, unlimited 2% cash back on everything
  • Earns ThankYou Points, which gives the potential to unlock valuable travel rewards

Cons

  • Foreign transaction fees are applied
  • Limited perks

Comparing Welcome Bonuses

Winner: Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

Why we picked it: While the two cards offer comparable welcome bonuses, the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card requires a notably lower spend to earn its bonus. $500 is one of the lowest spending requirements in the credit card sign-up bonus game, and should catch the eye of anyone who appreciates ease of use.

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Comparing the Rewards

Winner: Citi Double Cash® Card

Why we picked it: The rewards structure may be identical, but the ability to transfer Citi ThankYou Points to airline and hotel partners can make the rewards slightly more valuable.

With these two cards, the rewards system is as simple as it gets: Earn 2% cash back on every dollar spent regardless of purchase category or amount. Both the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card and the Citi Double Cash cards offer unlimited rewards, which means your annual earnings aren’t capped past a certain spending threshold. 

Since the rewards are the same for both credit cards, choose the card issuer you want to work with. For example, if you already have an account with Wells Fargo, you may favor the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card since you can check your card balance and transactions through your existing login. Or if you already have another card with Citi, you can pool your points and redeem them for travel since Citi has a long list of airline and hotel partners that can make the rewards more valuable. 

Transfer Partner Capabilities

Winner: Citi Double Cash® Card

Why we picked it: The Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card does not have transfer partners, while the Citi Double Cash’s rewards can be more valuable when used to redeem points for travel, especially if you can pool your points with another Citi card.

Rewards earned with the Citi Double Cash can be used to either purchase travel directly through Citi or by transferring your Citi ThankYou Points to a number of airline and hotel partners. With some knowledge, diligence and luck, you can find travel redemptions on Citi ThankYou Points that exceed a cash-back value of 1 cent per point. 

For example, you may be able to find round-trip tickets to Hawaii for just 15,000 points for a seat in economy. In cash-back conversion rates, that’s a value of just $150 in Citi points. In cash terms, most people can barely find a one-way ticket to Hawaii for that price, even during low season.

Recommended Travel Credit Cards

Credit Card Intro Bonus Annual Fee Rewards Rate Learn More

Chase Sapphire Preferred®

60,000Chase Ultimate Rewards Points More Info

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Dollar Equivalent: $1,380 (60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points * 0.023 base)

$95 1x- 5xPoints More Info

The card offers 5x points per dollar on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3x points on dining (including eligible takeout and delivery services), as well as 3x points on select streaming services and online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs). This card earns 2x points on all other travel spending and 1x point per dollar everywhere else. Chase broadly defines travel to include not just airfare, hotels and rental cars, but expenses like parking, tolls and public transit too.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

Companion Pass®Southwest Rapid Rewards Points More Info

Limited-time offer: earn Companion Pass® good through 2/28/25 plus 30,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening Dollar Equivalent:

$99 1x - 3xPoints More Info

Earn 3 points for every $1 on Southwest Airlines® purchases, 2 points for every $1 on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partners, 2 points per $1 on local transit and commuting (including rideshare), 2 points per $1 on internet, cable, and phone services; select streaming, and 1 point for every $1 on all other purchases.

United Gateway℠ Card

30,000United MileagePlus Miles More Info

Earn 30,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Dollar Equivalent: $420 (30,000 United MileagePlus Miles * 0.014 base)

$0 1x - 2xPoints More Info

Earn 2X United miles per dollar on United purchases, local transit and commuting and at gas stations. You’ll earn 1X mile per dollar on all other purchases.

Citi Premier® Card

60,000Citi ThankYou Points More Info

Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou Points after making $4,000 worth of purchases during the first three months of account opening. Dollar Equivalent: $1,080 (60,000 Citi ThankYou Points * 0.018 base)

$95 1X-10XPoints More Info

10X total ThankYou® Points per $1 spend on hotel, car rentals and attractions (excluding air travel) booked on the Citi Travel℠ portal through June 30, 2024. 3X -- Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Other Hotels 3X -- Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets 1X -- Earn 1 Point on All Other Purchases

Which Card Should You Get?

At the end of the day, the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card and the Citi Double Cash are two of the easiest cards to choose between because of their high flat-rate rewards and unlimited earning potential. But each card has certain factors that may make it more appealing to some individuals:

  • Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card: Better for strict cash-back cardholders who need an everyday card and want a welcome bonus with a lower spend requirement.
  • Citi Double Cash® Card: Better for existing Citi cardholders who use Citi ThankYou Points for award travel.

It’s relatively easy to recommend the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card for most consumers. The generous intro APR period, welcome offer for new cardholders and complimentary cellphone insurance are fantastic benefits for a daily card without an annual fee.

But the Citi Double Cash is an easy choice for existing Citi cardholders. Not only can you combine your ThankYou Points for travel without tapping into your cash, but you can also earn points twice as quickly as you normally would if you pair it with the right Citi card.

Citi Double Cash vs Citi Premier Related Article

A Dynamic Duo: Why the Citi Double Cash and Citi Premier Cards Make Such a Powerful Combination

Read More
KF

Katherine Fan

Katherine Fan is a Personal Finance writer, travel journalist, and small business owner with over 6 years of experience writing for the top rewards travel and personal finance publications. Katherine has written more than 1,500 articles on personal finance and travel for media publications such as NerdWallet, The Points Guy, CreditCards.com, LendingTree, Forbes Advisor, USA TODAY and Upgraded Points in addition to Slickdeals.