As the post-pandemic economy roars back to life, there’s no hotter segment of the credit card industry right now than cash-back cards. Wells Fargo just introduced its new Wells Fargo Active CashSM Card that offers unlimited 2% cash back on purchases.
It also features a $200 bonus after spending $1,000 within the first three months of account opening, and 15 months of 0% APR financing on both new purchases and qualifying balance transfers.
The fact that this Wells Fargo credit card offers all of these features without charging an annual fee breaks new ground in this market.
Secure application on issuer’s website.
Annual Fee: $0
Bonus: Earn a $200 Bonus
APR: Variable APR After Low Intro APR Period
Rewards Rate: 2% Cash Back on Purchases
Details: Full Review
Annual Fee: $0
Intro APR: The card offers an introductory 0% APR for the first 15 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers, then the regular APR is applied to balances. Balance transfers must be made within the first 15 months of membership to qualify for the introductory 0% APR and 3% balance transfer fee. After the promotional period, balance transfer fees increase to 5% (minimum of $5).
APR: After the intro low APR offer concludes, a variable APR will apply.
Rewards Rate: None
Sign-Up Bonus: New cardholders earn a one-time $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first three months.
Who Should Use This Credit Card? People who prioritize simple cash-back rewards and do not want the hassle of tracking bonus spending categories.
Why We Like the Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card
If you’re a fan of cash back for your everyday spending, then you need a 2% cash-back credit card to get rewarded for purchases outside of popular bonus categories like travel, grocery stores and gas stations. With the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card, you earn 2% back for every dollar spent without the fuss of quarterly bonus categories. Additionally, it’s rare for a 2% cash-back card to feature a bonus offer for new cardholders.
Plus, the introductory 0% APR offer for the first 15 months of card ownership will be appealing to households planning on expensive projects like home remodeling or big ticket purchases like appliances and vehicle repair.
Wells Fargo Active Cash Review
While many cash-back credit cards tempt you with bonus rewards for specific purchases, these cards invariably offer a mere 1% cash back 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 value of these 2% cash-back offers.
But with the Wells Fargo Active Cash card, you simply receive a high level of cash back on purchases. There’s no need to register for anything, and there are no limits on the amount of cash back that you can earn.
New applicants can earn a $200 cash bonus after spending $1,000 on the card within the first three months of account opening. This compares favorably to competitors like the PayPal Cashback Mastercard® and the Citi® Double Cash Card, which currently don’t offer any new account bonus.
Just remember that the three months you have to meet the minimum spending requirement begins when your account is opened. This is typically the day you’re approved for the card, and is not when your credit card is mailed, received, activated or first used.
However, you can immediately use the card’s digital wallet features once you’ve been approved for a new account.
With the Wells Fargo Active Cash, you earn 2% cash back on purchases. There’s no need to sign up for anything.
0% Introductory APR
New accounts receive 15 months of 0% APR promotional financing on both new purchases and balance transfers. Qualifying balance transfers must be made within 15 months of account opening (the day your new account was approved).
When you perform a balance transfer, according to this offer, there’s a 3% balance transfer fee applied to your new balance. But after the introductory no-interest offer ends, a 5% balance transfer fee applies, and transfers won’t receive the 0% APR promotional financing. There’s a minimum $5 fee for each transfer.
I would just urge readers to use caution with these types of intro 0% APR offers. Receiving financing is great, but not if it encourages you to make unnecessary purchases and incur debt.
And you should only use balance transfer offers to save money while paying off your existing credit card balance, and not to indefinitely postpone doing so.
Interest Rates and Fees
The standard interest rate for this card is variable depending on what your creditworthiness was when you applied. As with nearly all credit cards today, the variable APR can change with the Prime Rate. This is a competitive rate for a cash-back credit card, but you’re likely to find lower rates from cards that don’t offer any rewards. If you plan on carrying a balance, then you’ll probably be better off with a card with a very low interest rate, which won’t offer any cash back or other rewards.
Other fees include a 3% foreign currency conversion fee applied to each transaction converted to U.S. dollars. This appears to be slightly different from most cards’ foreign transaction fee, which applies more broadly to any transaction processed outside the United States, even in U.S. dollars. Either way, you’ll come out 1% behind if you use this card to make purchases from foreign merchants in a foreign currency, whether or not you’re actually visiting that country or placing an order from home.
There is no annual fee for this card. There are some other cash-back cards that offer a high rate of return on bonus categories that do charge annual fees. For example, both the American Express Blue Cash Preferred® Card and the Capital One® Savor® both charge a $95 annual fee. Other popular cash back cards like the Chase® Freedom Flex℠ and Chase Freedom Unlimited® have no annual fee.
Unlike some credit card issuers, Wells Fargo doesn’t list either the credit score needed to qualify for their cards, or even a description of the credit score required, such as “good” or “excellent.” Instead, Wells Fargo considers many factors when considering applications for new accounts.
In general, people who’ve had serious credit problems are unlikely to qualify for the most competitive reward cards, like this one. And those without excellent credit who are approved are unlikely to qualify for the lowest interest rates. But the fact that the Active Cash card is offered with a range of interest rates could be an indication that those with a range of credit profiles could be approved for this card.
Some card issuers, like Citi, have stripped nearly all of the once common purchase protection and travel insurance benefits from their cards. Other card issuers, like Chase and American Express have retained their benefits and even enhanced some.
Wells Fargo’s stance on cardholder benefits is somewhat in the middle. It never offered a huge amount of benefits, but in recent years, it hasn’t gone out of its way to eliminate the ones it has traditionally offered.
- Cell phone protection policy. This policy offers $600 worth of coverage if your phone is damaged or stolen. To utilize this coverage, you just have to pay your mobile phone bill with your card. Just note that there’s a $25 deductible.
- Visa Signature Concierge. This service is available 24/7 and offers you assistance with travel, dining and entertainment planning.
- Visa Signature Luxury Hotel collection. This program offers you substantial hotel discounts and benefits when booking accommodations through it. Sample offers include a third night free when you book two nights, or 30% off room rates. And when staying also receive a $25 food and beverage credit, free continental breakfasts and complimentary in-room wifi. And upon availability, you’ll receive room upgrades and a 3 p.m. late checkout.
The Active Cash card offers rewards as part of the Go Far® Rewards Program. Redemption options include travel, merchandise or select charitable donations.
Cardholders can share Go Far Rewards with other Wells Fargo Go Far Rewards customers, get gift cards for family and friends, redeem their rewards as a credit for an eligible Wells Fargo credit product or apply them as a deposit to an eligible Wells Fargo checking or savings account. There’s no annual cap on the amount of cash rewards cardholders can earn, and rewards won’t expire as long as the account remains open. You can also redeem for purchases that you’ve already made.
This is better than the Citi Double Cash, which has a more complicated system of offering 1% cash back at the time of purchase and another 1% when you pay for your purchases. The New Active Cash Card also seems to make the Wells Fargo Cash Wise® Card obsolete, as it offers only 1.5% cash back rewards and 1.8% on digital wallet purchases made within the first 12 months of account opening.
Finding the best cash-back credit card is a lot easier than trying to figure out travel rewards. With travel rewards, each point or mile is worth something different to different people, but cash back always holds value.
Some people play the cash-back rewards game at a high level, carrying several cards that they use for specific purchases that they can earn a bonus on. But the Active Cash card is designed to offer a high level of cash back for purchases, with no category limits to worry about. So you can use this as your only card, and end up with a very respectable amount of cash back.
Inevitably, some people will pair the Active Cash card with another rewards card, such as a travel card, that can offer them bonus rewards or specific benefits. But even if you do that, it’s great to know that you’ll never earn less than 2% cash back, and you’ll never have any activations or annual fees to worry about with this credit card.
There are now several cards that offer 2% cash back on purchases, in some form or another. But when you consider this credit card’s benefits and its valuable promotional financing offer, you might find that the new Wells Fargo Active Cash card is the best one yet.