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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.
- Citi® Double Cash Card: Best for Citi cardholders who use Citi ThankYou Points for award travel.
|Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card||Citi® Double Cash Card|
$0 annual fee
$0 annual fee
Unlimited 2% cash rewards
Unlimited 2% cash back
$200 cash rewards bonus
No sign-up bonus
Up to $600 per claim in cellphone insurance
0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers,
Intro APR of 0% for 18 months on balance transfers,
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?
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
- Our Rating 4.0/5 How our ratings work Read the review
- APR20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% (Variable)
- Annual Fee$0
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.
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.
- 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
- Points don't transfer to travel partners unlike other card currencies
- No bonus earning categories
Who Should Get the Citi® Double Cash Card?
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, 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
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.
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.
- No category bonuses to remember, unlimited 2% cash back on everything
- Earns ThankYou Points, which gives the potential to unlock valuable travel rewards
- Foreign transaction fees are applied
- Limited perks
Comparing Welcome Bonuses
Winner: Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card
Why we picked it: It’s pretty easy to pick a winner for this category since the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card is the only one between the two that comes with a welcome bonus.
The Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card offers new cardholders a welcome bonus, while the Double Cash does not. With the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card, you’ll earn a $200 cash rewards bonus when you spend just $500 on the card within your first three months of card ownership—one of the lowest spending requirements in the credit card sign-up bonus game.
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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.
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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 to earn a welcome bonus.
- 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.