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Make the Most of the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Card

Cash Back Credit Cards, Credit Cards
Making the Most of the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Card
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The Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card is a plain vanilla cash-back credit card — but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. For starters, you won’t have to do any spending acrobatics to maximize this $0-annual-fee card’s benefits.

The card offers 1.5% cash back on everything, with no bonus categories to keep track of. That makes it simple to earn decent rewards without ever having to wonder whether your favorite corner shop counts as a convenience store or a gas station. And if you can take advantage of all the card’s side benefits — the 0% APR promotion, sign-up bonus, cell phone protection and flexible redemption options — it might even be your best option.

Here are some easy ways you can adjust your habits to get the most out of this card.

Earn the bonus

The Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card rewards you for making it your top-of-wallet card after you open the account. Wells Fargo describes the bonus this way: “Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months.” The spending requirement to earn that bonus is higher than on comparable 1.5% cards, but it’s still relatively easy to hit. Use the card for all your purchases in the first few months after getting it to reach that threshold faster.

Spread out payments on a major purchase

One of the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card’s best features is its promotional APR period: You get 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 12 months, and then the ongoing APR of 14.49% - 26.49% Variable APR.

Put that 0% APR offer to good use by applying for the card before you’re about to make a major purchase — say, a new air conditioning unit or dishwasher. You’ll be able to space out your payments interest-free, while earning that sign-up bonus in short order. But be sure to set a spending limit for your shopping trip beforehand to avoid overspending.

Add your card to Android Pay or Apple Pay

The Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card gives you a good reason to hop on the mobile wallet bandwagon. It gives you 1.8% cash back on Android Pay and Apple Pay purchases in the first year after account opening.

If you haven’t used your phone to pay for anything before, start by adding your card to Apple Pay or Android Pay on your phone. Once it’s all set up, pay with your phone wherever you can.

Drop by the Earn More Mall

Wells Fargo’s Earn More Mall has an edge on competitors’ bonus malls in two ways:

  1. It lets you earn extra rewards in store, as well as online.
  2. It offers plenty of rewards on travel services, such as Southwest Airlines Vacations and Priceline.com.

Most bonus malls offer only online rewards, and they focus mainly on retailers over travel services.

Before you make a purchase on your Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card, log on to the GoFar Rewards page and click “Earn” on the top rail. If you see a good deal, follow the link to the retailer’s site, and make your purchase with your card, as usual. Your extra rewards will be posted to your account afterward.

Pay your cell phone bill with your card

Wells Fargo is one of the few issuers that offer cell phone protection on consumer cards. Its generous coverage — up to $600 per occurrence and $1,200 per 12 months, with a $25 deductible — covers you if your phone is damaged or stolen. But there’s a big caveat: You can claim the protection only if you pay your cell phone bill with your Wells Fargo consumer credit card. To make sure you qualify, log on to your cell phone account online and list your Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card as your payment method.

Pair your card with a tiered rewards card

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Tiered rewards credit cards get along famously with flat-rate rewards cards. Tiered cards give you a high rewards rate in specific categories and, usually, a pedestrian 1% on everything else. So pull out the tiered card when a bonus category applies — and use your Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card for “everything else.”

How to redeem rewards on the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card

The Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card bills itself as a cash-back card, but it lets you redeem your rewards for more than just dollars and cents. You can also redeem for travel, gift cards, digital downloads — such as e-books, movies or songs — or merchandise.

One Wells Fargo reward is worth 1 cent when you redeem in these ways:

  • Statement credit. Use your rewards to directly reduce your credit card balance.
  • Cash from an ATM. Wells Fargo banking customers can use their Wells Fargo debit card to redeem rewards for cash in $20 increments at a Wells Fargo ATM. This option isn’t offered by other major issuers.
  • Direct deposit. This way, you can funnel your rewards straight to your Wells Fargo checking or savings account.
  • Loan payments. If you have a Wells Fargo mortgage, you can apply your rewards to your mortgage principal. You can also apply rewards to other Wells Fargo loans.
  • Travel. You can book trips directly through Wells Fargo’s website with several major airlines and hotels.
  • Gift cards. Wells Fargo offers gift cards from several merchants, most of which give you 1 cent per reward. Some offer slightly less.

Because digital downloads and merchandise tend to offer lower redemption values, we recommend avoiding them.

To redeem your rewards online, use your account credentials to log on to the GoFar Rewards home page, click “Use” on the top rail and select the redemption option you want. To get cash back at an ATM instead, find a Wells Fargo ATM in your vicinity, and use your Wells Fargo debit card to redeem for cash.

Claire Tsosie is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: claire@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @ideclaire7.