Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card review: Flat 2% cash back on all purchases and no annual fee

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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.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Simple rewards program
  • Generous intro APR
  • No annual fee

Cons:

  • No bonus spending categories
  • Foreign transaction fees

Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card: Overview

APR

  • Intro: 0% intro APR on purchases and qualifying balance transfers for 15 months from account opening (then 20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% Variable)
  • Purchase: 20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% Variable APR, based on creditworthiness
  • Balance transfer: 20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99%, based on creditworthiness (plus a fee of either $5 or 3% of your transfer amount, whichever is greater)
  • Cash advance: 29.99% (plus a fee of either $10 or 5% of your transaction, whichever is greater)
  • Penalty: N/A

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.

Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card: Rewards

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.

Does the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card offer a bonus?

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.

How to redeem Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card rewards

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.

Redeem for purchases

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.

Redeem to an account

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.

Redeem for cash

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.

Redeem for gift cards

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

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.

Additional benefits

The Wells Fargo Active Cash has a few tricks up its sleeve that are shockingly valuable for a no annual fee credit card:

  • Intro APR offer: Receive 0% intro APR for both purchases and qualifying balance transfers during the first 15 months from account opening (followed by 20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% Variable APR)
  • Cell phone protection: When you pay your monthly phone bill with the Wells Fargo Active Cash, you’ll automatically get up to $600 in cell phone insurance against theft or damage. You’re subject to a $25 deductible.
  • Visa Signature Hotel Collection: Visa curates a selection of upscale hotels around the world for its Visa Signature cardholders. You’ll receive elite-like benefits, such as free breakfast for two, room upgrades (when available), and late checkout (when available).
  • Travel and emergency assistance services: If while traveling abroad you find yourself in need of medical or legal referrals, assistance with translation or transportation, etc., you’ve got a dedicated hotline to receive help. This is not insurance; any third-party assistance you get from the free hotline will cost you.
  • Roadside Dispatch: If you get a flat tire, run out of gas, need towing, lock your keys in your car, etc., you can call a number to receive assistance. Most services will incur a fee.
  • Credit Close-Up℠: Enroll to get monthly updates surrounding your FICO score. You’ll also receive direction to help you increase and maintain your score.

Is the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card right for you?

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.

Credit cards similar to the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

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.

Citi® Double Cash Card vs. Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

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.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card vs. Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

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:

  • 75,000 miles after spending $4,000 on purchases within three months from account opening (worth at least $750 in travel)
  • 2 free visits to Capital One Lounges each year
  • Up to $100 in Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee reimbursement (once every four years)
  • Rental car insurance
  • Purchase protections
  • No foreign transaction fees

This is a solid beginner travel credit card for those interested in giving award travel a whirl.

Frequently asked questions

Is the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card hard to get?

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.

Is the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Visa a credit card?

Yes, the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card is a credit card that offers cash back on certain purchase categories.

How much is a Wells Fargo Active Cash® card?

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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