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Is the new Wells Fargo Active Cash worth it?

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If you’re searching for a credit card with a simple rewards structure, there’s no doubt that you’ve considered a flat-rate cash back card. With this type of card, you don’t have to keep track of rotating bonus categories or even fixed bonus categories to earn cash back rewards. You simply swipe your card and let the cash back rewards pile up.

Recently, Wells Fargo announced that it’s amping up its selection of credit cards and the first of those efforts is now here: the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card. This new product is already proving to be a standout in the flat-rate category. Here’s a look at what the card has to offer and if it is worth it for you.

Wells Fargo Active Cash Card benefits

  • Rewards rate: Earn unlimited 2 percent cash rewards on purchases with no category limitations or quarterly activations
  • Welcome offer: Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus when you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first three months
  • Annual fee: N/A
  • Balance transfer intro APR: Get 0 percent intro APR for 15 months on purchases from account opening and qualifying balance transfers from account opening.
  • Regular APR: 15.74%, 20.74%, or 25.74% Variable APR

Unlimited cash rewards

The Wells Fargo Active Cash is one of the higher-earning flat-rate cash rewards cards out there. Most cards in this category offer anywhere from 1 percent to 1.5 percent cash back on all purchases made on the card. A few credit cards offer up to 2 percent back, but they might have limitations —whether it’s for spending in certain categories or caps on cash back.

With no annual fee, spending categories to keep track of or limits on the amount of cash   rewards you can earn, this card’s value should be apparent just on these benefits alone. But there are few more features that make it a worthwhile pick.

Welcome offer

New cardholders who spend $1,000 within the first three months of opening the card will get a $200 cash rewards bonus. If there were an annual fee, this welcome bonus alone could help cover it for a couple of years.

However, because there’s no annual fee with this card, the bonus is even sweeter. You get paid just for getting the card and spending a mere $1,000 over three months on it.

Zero-percent intro APR

The Active Cash Card has an attractive introductory APR for new cardholders. This intro APR applies to purchases from account opening and qualifying balance transfers from account opening. If you’ve got high-interest debt to pay down, you’ve got the potential to save hundreds of dollars with a 15-month grace period to carry debt with no interest rate on the card (15.74%, 20.74%, or 25.74% Variable APR thereafter).

Extra perks and benefits

As if the high cash rewards rate, welcome bonus and introductory APR for balance transfers and purchases weren’t enough, there are additional features that would make you think this card would have an annual fee. They include cellphone protection, auto rental collision damage waiver coverage, travel and emergency assistance services, extended warranty protection, Visa Signature Concierge Services and additional perks at Luxury Hotel Collection properties.

Redeeming cash rewards

The Active Cash Card gives you a few options to redeem the cash rewards you earn:

  • Statement credits, which can go toward a portion of your balance, recent eligible purchases (starting at $1) or eligible Wells Fargo mortgage and loan accounts
  • Cash in $20 increments at Wells Fargo ATMs (using a Wells Fargo debit or ATM card)
  • Direct deposits into Wells Fargo savings or checking accounts
  • Gift cards (via Wells Fargo Rewards)
  • Travel, including flights, car rentals and hotel stays (via Wells Fargo Rewards)

How does the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card compare to other flat-rate cash rewards cards?

So far, the higher-earning cash back cards out there have some stipulations that this card doesn’t have:

The Active Cash Card has no restrictions on the 2 percent cash rewards cardholders can earn.

Is the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card worth it?

This card works for those who:

  • Have a large purchase coming up they’d like to pay off over time without interest
  • Are looking to transfer higher-interest debt to a lower-interest card
  • Want the benefits of a higher cash rewards rate without the hassle of tracking rotating bonus categories
  • Could make use of additional card benefits like cellphone and extend warranty protection, plus travel perks
  • Have maxed out their cash back limits on rotating bonus category cards

The only downside to this card is that the cash rewards doesn’t take on additional value when paired with other cards in the same rewards ecosystem. For example, common card combinations like the Chase trifecta, American Express trifecta or Citi trifecta give you the opportunity to earn more rewards on cards from the same issuer, while redeeming rewards at a boosted rate for certain purchases like airline or hotel spending.

Wells Fargo is in the process of revamping its credit card line-up, so it may come out with its own trifecta or system of boosted rewards. However, it’s too soon to tell how this would compare to some of the established credit card trifectas out there.

All said, that shouldn’t discourage you from getting this card. You could always use it as an everyday spending card and use your cash back for pretty much anything you desire at a 1:1 ratio—which is still a pretty good deal.

Our take on the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card

This card could make a lot of sense for the right person in the right circumstance. Since there’s no annual fee, there’s not much to lose. If you aren’t quite sure about this card, you can use the Bankrate CardMatch tool to check out other credit cards you might be eligible for.

Written by
Aja McClanahan
Personal Finance Writer
Aja McClanahan is an author, blogger and speaker on personal finance and entrepreneurship. Aja is the author of "How a Mother Should Talk About Money with Her Daughter."
Edited by
Senior Editor, Credit Card Product News