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Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card review: One of the best flat-rate cash back cards

This top-notch, flat-rate card is more well-rounded and streamlined than rivals, making it a solid standalone or partner rewards card.

 /  14 min
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At Bankrate we strive to help you make smarter financial decisions. While we adhere to strict , this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here's an explanation for and how we rate our cards. The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

Snapshot

4.3

Bankrate rating
Info
Rating: 4.3 stars out of 5

Bottom line

This card pairs a top-of-the-line flat cash back rate with generous welcome and introductory APR offers for no annual fee. The card is more well-rounded and streamlined than rivals, making it a premier standalone or partner rewards card.

BEST FOR EVERYDAY CASH REWARDS
  • Rewards value
    Rating: 4 stars out of 5
    4 / 5
    APR
    Rating: 1 stars out of 5
    1 / 5
    Rewards flexibility
    Rating: 4.7 stars out of 5
    4.7 / 5
    Features
    Rating: 3 stars out of 5
    3 / 5
Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info
Recommended Credit

$200 cash rewards

Intro offer

Info

2%

Rewards rate

Info

$0

Annual fee

20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% Variable APR

Regular APR

Wells Fargo Active Cash Card Overview

The Wells Fargo Active Cash Card isn’t just one of the best flat-rate cash rewards cards — it’s one of the best cash rewards credit cards overall.

Cash rewards cards that earn 2 percent on purchases aren’t unheard of, but the Active Cash card comes with no strings attached and leads the pack even beyond Wells Fargo cards. In fact, the Active Cash has earned a top spot on our list of the best no-annual-fee credit cards, topping the Citi Double Cash® Card as the long-reigning MVP of flat-rate cash rewards cards.

The Active Cash card is a great pick whether you’re looking for a single, easy-to-manage rewards card or a flexible back-up card that pairs well with your current cards. However, your cash rewards may be limited compared to competing cards if you spend often in bonus categories typically included on tiered rewards cards.

  • Credit Card Cash Back

    Rewards

    • Unlimited 2 percent cash rewards on purchases

    Expert Appraisal: Good
    See our expert analysis

  • Rewards

    Welcome offer

    • $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $500 in purchases within the first three months

    Expert Appraisal: Good
    See our expert analysis

  • Credit Card Apr

    0% intro APR offer

    • 0 percent intro APR on purchases for 15 months from account opening
    • 0 percent intro APR on qualifying balance transfers for 15 months from account opening (balance transfers made within 120 days qualify for the intro APR and intro balance transfer fee)
    • 20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% Variable APR

    Expert Appraisal: Good
    See our expert analysis

  • Credit Card Search
    Rates and fees
    • No annual fee
    • 3 percent intro balance transfer fee on transfers within the first 120 days ($5 minimum), then up to 5 percent ($5 minimum)
    • 3 percent foreign currency conversion fee
    • No penalty APR
    • Up to $40 fee for late payments

    Expert Appraisal: Good
    See our expert analysis

  • Congrats

    Other cardholder perks

    • Cellphone protection: up to $600 per claim against damage or theft when paying your monthly cellphone bill with the card (up to two claims per year, minus a $25 deductible)
    • My Wells Fargo Deals reward opportunities on qualifying purchases with participating merchants
    • Auto rental collision damage waiver coverage
    • Visa Signature® perks, including Visa Signature® Concierge service and Luxury Hotel Collection privileges

    Expert Appraisal: Typical
    See our expert analysis

Wells Fargo Active Cash pros and cons

Pros

  • Checkmark

    Unlimited 2 percent cash rewards on purchases with diverse redemption options and no gimmicks makes this card hassle-free.

  • Checkmark

    This card’s intro APR offer on purchases and on qualifying balance transfers gives new and existing cardholders a chance to save on interest.

  • Checkmark

    There’s no annual fee, so it can fit into many rewards card strategies — regardless of your spending habits.

Cons

  • This card charges a 3 percent foreign currency conversion fee, making it less-than-ideal for purchases abroad or with international merchants.

  • Competing cash back cards provide more valuable perks like better travel protections and credits toward streaming services or rideshares.

  • Wells Fargo has limited travel rewards redemption value compared to competitors.

Why you might want the Wells Fargo Active Cash

When it comes to choosing a cash back rewards card, it’s hard to beat the flexibility of a flat-rate rewards card since you’ll earn unlimited rewards on purchases without worrying about bonus categories or spending limits.

The Wells Fargo Active Cash is one of the most well-rounded cards of its kind because its rewards experience is simple and it provides intro APR periods for purchases and balance transfers.

Rewards: Top-notch flat cash rewards rate

Many cash rewards cards that provide a flat rate on all purchases only earn up to 1.5 percent, or place restrictions on how you earn and redeem rewards. Although other flat-rate cards can earn 2 percent cash rewards, the Active Cash is one of the few that wipes away caveats and spending caps while keeping valuable features, such as a welcome bonus. 

For example, the Citi Double Cash card only earns up to 2 percent on all purchases once you pay your statement balance. You earn 1 percent when you buy and another 1 percent when you pay off the purchase. Several other competing cards with similar rates, like the Upgrade Cash Rewards Elite Visa® or Paypal Cashback Mastercard, require you to join a specific financial institution, manage multiple accounts or hold specific memberships to be eligible to reap the most benefits. The Wells Fargo Active Cash earns 2 percent cash rewards back for purchases, no matter when you pay your statement balance or where you bank.

Compared to other cash rewards cards, the Active Cash also gives you an impressive variety of redemption options. You can redeem your cash rewards as statement credits for as little as $1, physical cash in $20 increments at Wells Fargo ATMs, direct deposits into Wells Fargo savings or checking accounts, gift cards or travel via Wells Fargo Rewards. You can even redeem as credit for your mortgage toward your principal balance if you hold a qualifying mortgage account with Wells Fargo. Wells Fargo is one of the only issuers that lets you redeem cash rewards at ATMs, and many competing cards don’t allow you to redeem cash rewards for direct deposits.

Welcome offer: Quality cash rewards bonus

The Active Cash card’s $200 cash rewards bonus is solid for a no-annual-fee cash rewards card, and the $500 spending requirement in the first three months is quite low for the payoff. A few other cash rewards cards’ welcome bonuses require you to spend at least twice as much to earn the same bonus, so this is one of the more attainable welcome offers we’ve seen.

However, it’s worth noting that you won’t be able to sign up for the Active Cash card or be eligible for its welcome bonus if you’ve opened a Wells Fargo credit card in the past six months. This buffer is standard for Wells Fargo credit cards, and several other issuers —  like Capital One — require you to wait between credit card applications for just as long. 

Rates and fees: No annual fee to undermine rewards

Part of what makes the Wells Fargo Active Cash so enticing is its low ongoing cost, which makes it easy to fit into your rewards strategy. You won’t need to shift your spending much or worry about earning enough rewards to offset an annual fee. There’s also no penalty APR to worry about, although there is an up to $40 late payment fee. 

Just keep in mind there’s an intro 3 percent balance transfer fee ($5 minimum), which might impact how much you save on interest with a transfer. It’s also worth being aware of the 3 percent foreign currency conversion fee if you plan to travel with your card. 

0% intro APR offer: Solid intro offers to pay off purchases and balance transfers

The Active Cash card’s 15-month intro APR offers make it a good option if you want to transfer a qualifying balance to a Wells Fargo card or if you have big purchases coming up. The card’s ongoing APR (20.24 percent, 25.24 percent or 29.99 percent variable APR) holds steady with the current average interest rate

Although the intro APR offers and ongoing interest rates aren’t the best available on a credit card, they are typical for a rewards card. Its combination of intro APR periods and rewards should still make the Active Cash a more enticing option than low-interest flat-rate rewards cards that lack intro APR offers or have a lower rewards rate. 

Why you might want a different cash rewards card

While the Wells Fargo Active Cash is a top-tier flat-rate cash rewards card, it has some disadvantages you might consider.

Perks: Better benefits available on competing cards

The Wells Fargo Active Cash carries a decent portfolio of benefits as a Visa Signature® credit card. It will also cover your cellphone against damage or theft for up to $600 per claim (subject to a $25 deductible, per claim) each month you pay your cellphone bill with the card. 

Visa Signature perks, however, are common on no-annual-fee cash rewards cards and match perks that Capital One and Discover offer with rival cards. Plus, the Active Cash card benefits aren’t as strong as those you’ll find on some other cash rewards cards. For example, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express offers valuable monthly credits for select streaming service payments and the Chase Freedom Unlimited® features coveted travel protections, like trip cancellation/interruption insurance, plus partner perks with rideshare and delivery services.

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Bankrate Insight

The Active Cash card’s additional Visa features vary based on your account type, so be sure to check your card agreement or contact Wells Fargo’s customer service to confirm which perks your card carries.

Rewards value: Limited potential

The Active Cash rewards work like other cash rewards programs: Each percentage point of cash rewards is worth 1 cent. Every purchase earns 2 percent cash rewards back, which equates to 2 cents per dollar. If you spend $1,000 with your card, you’ll earn $20 back in cash rewards.

Cash back cards with tiered rewards can earn more cash back if you spend reliably in eligible categories. Commonly boosted categories include gas, groceries and dining. For example, if you spend $1,000 at grocery stores and earn cash back at a rate of 3 percent, you’ll earn $30, which outpaces what the Active Cash offers. However, if you spend $1,000 on purchases outside of popular spending categories, the tiered rewards card may only offer 1 percent. Meanwhile, the Active Cash will effectively double that rate.

We tried it: Here’s what our experts say

Our credit card expert, Re’Dreyona Walker, applied for the Active Cash card when opening her first credit card account. The Active Cash card’s simple cash rewards program and generous intro APR offer are two features that made this card stand out for her as a first-time cardholder.

This card’s application was very simple since I’m already a Wells Fargo customer, so it was a great choice as my first credit card. My favorite feature is its high flat-rate cash rewards toward purchases because no matter what I buy, I can earn rewards for future expenses. Though I only use this card for emergencies and purchases that I would prefer to pay over time, such as travel booking fees or auto maintenance costs, it is quite useful for those situations. The card’s intro APR period was also a decent length and gave me enough time to save on interest while paying off my balance.

— Re'Dreyona Walker Editor, Credit Cards

How the Wells Fargo Active Cash card compares to other cash rewards cards

The Wells Fargo Active Cash is an excellent cash rewards option for people looking for a no-annual-fee card with a generous welcome bonus and a simple rewards structure. However, you may find it lacks benefits typically found on other top cash back cards. 

Image of Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card
Bankrate Score
See Rates & Fees , Terms Apply
Apply now Lock
on Wells Fargo's secure site

Annual fee

$0

Intro offer

$200 cash rewards
Info

Rewards rate

2%
Info

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info
Image of Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card
Bankrate Score
See Rates & Fees , Terms Apply
Apply now Lock
on Capital One's secure site

Annual fee

$0

Intro offer

$200
Info

Rewards rate

1.5% - 5%
Info

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info
Image of Citi Double Cash® Card
Bankrate Score
See Rates & Fees , Terms Apply
Apply now Lock
on Citi's secure site

Annual fee

$0

Intro offer

$200 cash back
Info

Rewards rate

1% - 5%
Info

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info

Best cards to pair with the Wells Fargo Active Cash

The beauty of flat-rate cash rewards cards is that they pair well with almost any card you might already use. The best way to maximize your flat-rate cash back card is to pair it with a card that earns a higher rewards rate on your most significant spending categories, such as groceries, dining or gas. Then, use the Wells Fargo Active Cash card to earn more rewards on spending outside those categories or on categories that have reached their spending cap.

If you need help finding cards that match your spending habits, you can try Bankrate's Spender Type tool to see which cards might be the best fit for you. 

*The information about the Chase Freedom Flex has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.

Who is the Wells Fargo Active Cash right for?

The Wells Fargo Active Cash could be a great addition to your overall cash back- or rewards-earning strategy whether you prefer simplicity or strategizing. It's also a great choice for credit card newbies.

Bankrate’s Take — Is the Wells Fargo Active Cash card worth it?

The Wells Fargo Active Cash Card remains one of the market's best flat-rate cash rewards credit cards because it’s a low-maintenance option that provides top-rate rewards and redemption options. The Active Cash card’s versatility helps the card fit into almost any rewards strategy.

How we rated this card

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100+
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400+
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3000
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perks evaluated

Our proprietary card rating system takes into account a mix of factors when scoring balance transfer and low-interest cards, including each card’s introductory APR, intro APR period length, ongoing APR, balance transfer fee, perks and more.

While balance transfer and low-interest cards share a similar ratings rubric, we weigh features differently based on how a card is categorized. We categorize cards that carry an especially long intro APR offer on balance transfers as dedicated balance transfer cards, while cards that offer an especially low ongoing APR are considered general low-interest cards. 

Based on its features, we assigned this card a primary category of balance transfer and tailored our ratings accordingly. 

We analyzed over 100 of the most popular balance transfer and low-interest cards and scored each based on how its key features stacked up against those of other cards in its category. 

Here’s a breakdown of what gave this card its score:

Frequently asked questions

Written by
Garrett Yarbrough
Writer, Credit Cards

Bankrate expert Garrett Yarbrough strives to make navigating credit cards and credit building smooth sailing for his readers. After regularly featuring his credit card, credit monitoring and identity theft analysis on NextAdvisor.com, he joined the CreditCards.com and Bankrate teams as a staff writer to develop product reviews and comprehensive credit card guides focused on cash back, credit scores and card offers.

Edited by Senior Editor, Credit Cards
Reviewed by Former Editor, credit cards

* See the online application for details about terms and conditions for these offers. Every reasonable effort has been made to maintain accurate information. However all credit card information is presented without warranty. After you click on the offer you desire you will be directed to the credit card issuer's web site where you can review the terms and conditions for your selected offer.

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, is accurate as of the publish date. All products or services are presented without warranty. Check the bank’s website for the most current information.