Should You Get the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card? Here’s What to Consider

It's one of the best 2% cash-back cards on the market, but there are a couple of caveats to keep in mind.

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The Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card is as straightforward as credit cards come: Customers earn an impressive 2% cash-back rate on all purchases without having to jump through hoops.

Wells Fargo Active Cash Card
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Whether you’re looking to earn simple rewards or maximize them, this $0-annual-fee card works well solo or paired with other cash-back credit cards.

While the Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card plays well with other cards, it may not jibe as well with your spending habits. Here’s what you need to know to determine whether you should apply for this card.

Reasons to get the Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card

It’s not uncommon for rewards credit cards to require a good credit score (a FICO score of 690 or higher). A spokeswoman for Wells Fargo declined to identify the credit rating needed for approval for this card, but mentioned that the issuer considers a variety of factors not limited to the customer’s credit score and income. Assuming you can qualify for it, the Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card can offer a lot of value.

Low-maintenance 2% cash back

There aren't tons of cash-back credit cards that earn 2% on all purchases. There are fewer still that offer the full amount all at once or without extra requirements. The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer, for instance, offers 1% when you buy and 1% when you pay off the bill. The PayPal Cashback Mastercard® requires a PayPal account to qualify. The SoFi Credit Card and Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card offer a 2% rewards rate only if you redeem rewards as a deposit into an eligible account.

The Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card on the other hand, offers 2% back on everything without any strings attached.

A healthy sign-up bonus

A 2% cash-back credit card that offers an introductory sign-up bonus is rare. The Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card is an exception. Wells Fargo phrases the bonus this way: "New! Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months."

Among $0-annual-fee cash-back credit cards, that's a generous amount.

A way to finance purchases or get out of debt

The Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card can provide some interest-free breathing room if you plan to make a large purchase or several small ones. It offers a 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 14.99% - 24.99% Variable APR.

If paying down debt is the goal, the long interest-free period can potentially help you pay off your balance faster. The card has an intro balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% (whichever is greater) per balance moved within 120 days of opening an account. After that, a fee of up to 5% or a minimum of $5 for each balance transfer applies. Weigh the cost of the fee versus the interest you’ll pay over time to determine whether it’s right for you.

A cell phone protection benefit

When you use the Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card to pay your cell phone bill, you’ll receive cell phone protection insurance, which can cover your phone if it is damaged or stolen. This means that you can save yourself the cost of paying your cell phone provider for insurance.

If you have coverage through a cell phone provider, though, the card's phone protection benefit acts as supplemental insurance for expenses not covered by your provider's policy. The benefit limit is $600 per claim (minus a $25 deductible), with a maximum of two claims per 12-month period. You must exhaust all other forms of insurance before using the credit card's benefit. Terms apply.

So, let's say your cell phone is damaged and needs to be replaced. In this scenario, you have insurance through your phone provider, but there's a $100 deductible you have to meet in order for it to take effect. You pay the $100 and get a new phone. Now that you've exhausted the primary insurance, the cell phone protection benefit on the Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card can be used. You can receive $75 toward the cost of the deductible you paid — $100 toward the cell phone provider's deductible, minus a $25 deductible for the credit card's protection benefit.

When you shouldn’t get the Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card

Even though the Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card is a low-maintenance option that’s easy to use, it may not be for you, especially if the following criteria apply.

You've opened a Wells Fargo credit card in the past six months

If you’ve opened a Wells Fargo credit card in the past six months, you may not qualify for the Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card, according to the issuer’s terms. Give yourself some padding between those applications to improve your odds of approval.

You want redemption flexibility, but not a Wells Fargo checking account

When it comes to redeeming cash back, the Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card is best suited for Wells Fargo members with an eligible checking or savings account.

If redemption flexibility is important to you, consider the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer. It allows you to redeem for a check, statement credit, ThankYou points or a deposit into a checking account from which you’ve paid a Citi credit card bill at least two times.

You tend to carry a balance

If you’re in the habit of keeping an ongoing balance on your credit cards, a rewards credit card like the Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card isn't right for you. The high ongoing interest rate will cancel out the value of any rewards earned. When maintaining a balance is your norm, consider a low-interest credit card to save more money over time.

You're seeking travel features and benefits

If you plan to travel frequently with the Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card, the 3% foreign transaction fee will get expensive. This fee is charged on every international transaction you make, as well as ones you make online with foreign merchants.

Frequent travelers will get more value from a travel credit card that doesn’t charge these fees. A travel credit card that is part of the Visa or Mastercard network will be widely accepted abroad, and you may even find one that packs money-saving travel benefits.

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