Wells Fargo Active Cash Card Review: Consistent Cash Back and No Annual Fee

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Our Bottom Line:

The Wells Fargo Active Cash Card works particularly well as a complement to your existing cash back card, filling in the gaps for any purchase category where you don’t have a high cash back rate. Skip it if most of your spending is concentrated in a few specific purchase categories (e.g., groceries or gas) and you can’t be bothered with keeping track of more than one credit card.

Intro APR Purchases 0% for 15 months
Intro Term Purchases 15
Intro APR Balance Transfers 0% for 15 months
Intro Term Balance Transfers 0% for 15 months on qualifying balance transfers
Regular APR 17.24% - 27.24% (Variable)
Annual Fee $0
  • Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months
  • Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases
  • 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers, then a 17.24%, 22.24%, or 27.24% variable APR; balance transfers made within 120 days qualify for the intro rate and fee of 3% then a BT fee of up to 5%, min: $5
  • $0 annual fee
  • No categories to track or remember and cash rewards don’t expire as long as your account remains open
  • Enjoy a premium collection of benefits at a selection of the world’s most intriguing and prestigious hotel properties with Visa Signature Concierge
  • Get up to $600 protection on your cell phone (subject to $25 deductible) against covered damage or theft when you pay your monthly cellular telephone bill with your Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card
  • Select “Apply Now” to learn more about the product features, terms and conditions
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The Wells Fargo Active Cash Card has a very competitive flat cash back rate on all purchases and a generous introductory APR. But it doesn’t offer any accelerated cash back rates for high-volume purchase categories, like groceries, restaurants, or gas.

Because it has no annual fee, it works best when you pair it with other cash back cards that do have high cash back rates in specific categories, but a lower flat, ‘everything’ cash back rate. That way you can maximize your cash back across all spending categories.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Flat cash back rate — 2% on everything is quite competitive.
  • No annual fee — You can capitalize on the cash back without the drag of a built-in fee.
  • Sign-up bonus — $200 cash bonus when you spend $1,000 in the first three months
  • Intro APR — 0% for 15 months on balance transfers and regular purchases
  • Cell phone protection — It’s great to have free coverage for one of your most valuable possessions.

Cons

  • No accelerated cash back — You can’t earn extra cash back on major budget line items like groceries or restaurants.
  • Foreign transaction fees — This 3% fee adds up quickly when you travel outside the U.S.
  • Limited consumer benefits — No purchase protection or extended warranty coverage.
  • High-ish spending requirements for the bonus — Other cards have a lower spending threshold to get the same sign-up bonus.

Key Facts/Overview

  • Best for — Pairing with other credit cards
  • Annual fee — $0
  • Welcome offer — $200 bonus cash back after making $1,000 in purchases during the first three months
  • Cash back — 2% on all purchases (unlimited)
  • Intro APR — 0% on purchases and balance transfers for first 15 months
  • Regular APR17.24% - 27.24% (Variable)
  • Other features — $600 coverage against damage or theft of your cell phone if you pay your phone bill with the card

In-Depth Analysis

High Flat Cash Back Rate; No Accelerated Categories

Real talk: 2% on everything is really nothing to scoff at. Most no-annual-fee cards top out at 1% for their flat (all purchases) cash back rate.

That said, 2% is not a competitive rate for major, high-volume purchase categories like groceries, where you can do better (see ‘Wells Fargo Active Cash Card compared’ section below). You can learn more about the different types of cash back cards available by reading our article on how to choose a cash back credit card.

Redemption Options

The cash back you earn can be redeemed in a number of ways:

  • Credit into a Wells Fargo account (credit card, checking account, or mortgage)
  • Statement credit toward paying off your card balance
  • Cash withdrawal from a Wells Fargo ATM with a WF debit card
  • Gift cards (minimum $25 in cash back needed)

No Annual Fee

This is more significant than it seems. Because the card doesn’t have an annual fee, you can throw it into your credit card mix and guarantee that you’ll pick up at least 2% on every purchase, at no extra cost to you (provided you pay off your balance in full).

Read more: Best No Annual Fee Credit Cards

Welcome Offer

New cardholders can get $200 in bonus cash after making $1,000 in purchases within the first three months of having the card. This should be a fairly easy spending target for most to meet, but it’s not quite as easy as what some competing cards offer.

Read more: Best Credit Card Sign-Up Bonus Intro Offers

APR and Fees

You get a 15-month introductory APR of 0% on both purchases and balance transfers. After 15 months, both your purchase and balance transfer APR will increase to 17.24% - 27.24% (Variable) depending on your credit score.

For balance transfers to qualify for the 0% intro rate the transfers must be made within 120 days of opening the account. Those balance transfers will be subject to a fee of $5 or 3% of the transfer amount (whichever is greater). Balance transfers made after 120 days will be subject to a fee of 5%.

Travel fiends should be warned that the card does charge a 3% fee for foreign transactions. Some competing no annual fee cash back cards don’t charge a fee for foreign transactions, which is one of the best hacks for saving money while you travel overseas.

Other Notable Benefits

Cash back and APR aside, the only notable feature of the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card is its cell phone insurance. Pay your cell bill with the card and you’re covered for cell phone damage or theft up to $600 per claim. This feature serves as a substitute for buying à la carte insurance from your phone’s retailer or your wireless provider, so it can save you a good chunk of change if you plan on buying a new phone soon.

The benefit has a two-claim or $1,200 per month limit, which is more generous than some other cards.

Read more: Is it Worth It to Get a Credit Card Just for the Insurance Benefits?

Wells Fargo Active Cash Card Compared

 Wells Fargo Active Cash CardCapital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit CardCiti® Double Cash Card
Annual fee$0$0$0
Accelerated cash back ratesNone3% on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services, and grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart® and Target®)None
Flat cash back rate2%1%2%
Cash back welcome offer$200 cash back after making $1,000 in purchases in first three months$200 cash back after making $500 in purchases in first three monthsFor a limited time, earn $200 cash back after spending $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening.
Intro APR offer0% for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers0% for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers0% for 18 months on balance transfers

Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card has a lower flat cash back rate (1%) than the Active Cash Card. But where it outclasses the Active Cash Card is in its accelerated cash back categories. It earns 3% back in four special spending categories, two of which — restaurants and grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart® and Target®) — likely take up a huge chunk of your spending.

For those who travel internationally, another selling point of the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card is that it waives foreign transaction fees (the Active Cash Card charges a 3% fee).

If you want the best of both worlds — i.e., maximizing the cash back you can earn for groceries and restaurants + maintaining the high flat rate for everything else + saving on foreign purchases — consider signing up for both the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card *and* the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card.

See card details/apply for the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

Citi® Double Cash Card

If one of the Active Cash Card’s major selling points for you is its intro APR, consider the Citi® Double Cash Card instead. It offers a longer promotional period for 0% APR on balance transfers — 18 months compared to Wells Fargo’s 15 months. But keep in mind that the Citi® Double Cash Card offers this 0% intro period for balance transfers only, not purchases.

Like the Active Cash Card the Citi® Double Cash Card has no annual fee, and it has a high flat cash back earn rate of 2%. Its cash back is earned a bit differently than most cards though: 1% when you initially make a purchase and 1% when you pay off that purchase later.

Drawbacks of the Citi® Double Cash Card are a lack of accelerated cash back categories (all purchases earn the same amount of cash back) and it charges a 3% foreign transaction fee.

See card details/apply for the Citi® Double Cash Card

Should You Get the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card?

The Wells Fargo Active Cash Card is probably a good option for you if one or more of the below fit your profile:

  • Your spending is spread pretty evenly across a number of purchase categories.
  • You already have another credit card that earns accelerated cash back in select categories, and you’re looking for something to supplement that.
  • You don’t have insurance for your cell phone.
  • You can easily meet its $1K spending requirement to get the cash welcome bonus.

But you might reconsider if any of the following apply to you:

  • You’ve signed up for another Wells Fargo card within the last six months (in which case Wells Fargo likely won’t approve your application).
  • You spend a big portion of your money in one or two specific purchase categories, like groceries, gas, or restaurants (there are better options out there for that).
  • You’re looking for the best balance transfer deal possible (again, there are better options out there for that).

Summary

The Wells Fargo Active Cash Card is good for those who want low-maintenance cash back on everything they buy. But it won’t necessarily cover all your bases, and it’s really best used as a complementary card to fill in the gaps of another credit card (or cards) that offers accelerated cash back categories and waives foreign transaction fees.

Using two or more cards in tandem isn’t for everyone, but it’s one of the best strategies to try out if you want to grab as many dollars back from retailers as you can.

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About the author

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Chris has an MBA with a focus in advanced investments and has been writing about all things personal finance since 2015. He’s also built and run a digital marketing agency, focusing on content marketing, copywriting, and SEO, since 2016. You can connect with Chris on Twitter.