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Is the Wells Fargo Active Cash worth it?

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woman paying with mobile payment at a clothing store
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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.

Since its release, the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card has quickly become a standout in the flat-rate category due to its unlimited 2 percent cash rewards on purchases. Here’s a look at what the card has to offer and if it is worth it for you.

When is the Wells Fargo Active Cash worth it?

You prefer simplicity

When it comes down to it, the Wells Fargo Active Cash is a simple card for a simple cardholder. And that’s a good thing. If you don’t have the time to activate rotating categories or calculate spending caps on bonus categories (or simply don’t want to do either of those), this is an excellent card to consider.

It earns unlimited 2 percent cash rewards, with no category limitations or quarterly activations. Plus, you’ll get a $200 cash rewards bonus if you spend $1,000 in the first three months, and there’s no annual fee. If you’re looking for something that earns rewards with little effort and has no spending caps, this is the card for you.

You plan to make a large purchase soon

Perhaps you intend to buy a big-ticket item like a new laptop, washing machine or a TV. Since you rarely make these kinds of large purchases, you might not have enough funds right now to pay it all at once. Well, the Wells Fargo Active Cash has a decent intro APR offer — 0 percent intro APR on new purchases for 15 months from account opening (17.99 percent, 22.99 percent, or 27.99 percent variable APR thereafter). Fifteen months should be long enough for new purchases, making the Wells Fargo Active Cash a good card to carry over a balance for a while.

You want to transfer high-interest debt

Alternatively, maybe you have some credit card debt that you accumulated from a high-interest card and would like to transfer that balance to a card with a lower interest. The Wells Fargo Active Cash also has a solid intro APR offer for qualifying balance transfers — 0 percent intro APR for 15 months on qualifying balance transfers made within 120 days of account opening (17.99 percent, 22.99 percent, or 27.99 percent variable APR thereafter).

Before you get too excited, you should know there is an intro balance transfer fee of $5 or 3 percent (whichever is greater) on balance transfers performed during the first 120 days. After that, the fee will go up to 5 percent or a minimum of $5.

You want better card benefits without paying an annual fee

As if the high cash rewards rate, welcome bonus and introductory APR for balance transfers and purchases weren’t enough, the card has additional features usually typical of cards with annual fees. These features include cellphone protection (if you pay your monthly cellphone bill with the card), 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. This makes the Wells Fargo Active Cash suited for even the most cautious cardholders.

When is the Wells Fargo Active Cash not worth it?

You like combining cards

One downside to this card is that the cash rewards don’t take on additional value when paired with other cards in the same rewards ecosystem. In fact, the only other card earning Wells Fargo Rewards points is the Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card.

For example, common card combinations like the Chase 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 combinations out there.

You may redeem cash rewards for travel

Some cardholders like earning cash back because of the flexibility: They can decide to redeem rewards for cash one month, then redeem for flights another month. However, we wouldn’t recommend doing that with the Wells Fargo Active Cash. With this card, you can redeem rewards for cash at a Wells Fargo ATM (minimum $20), credits to your Wells Fargo checking account or statement credits.

And though you may redeem your cash rewards for travel on the Wells Fargo Rewards travel portal, we’d advise against it. The travel portal isn’t nearly as robust as some others, like Chase Ultimate Rewards, and you cannot transfer your rewards to any hotel or airline partners of the issuer.

Should you get the Wells Fargo Active Cash?

All in all, it’s a good card to have. In fact, the flat-rate 2 percent cash rewards has allowed it to be one of the best cards. For credit card enthusiasts who like playing with different card combos, you could use the Wells Fargo Active Cash as an everyday spending card and use your cash rewards for pretty much anything you desire a 1:1 ratio — which is still a pretty good deal (since may rewards programs redeem cash back at a rate lower than 1 cent).

For new cardholders who don’t want too much hassle, the flat rate eases any possible headache towards maximizing categories and such. You can simply use it on your purchases, and the 2 percent cash rewards will earn you rewards faster than you realize. You’ll be able to redeem your rewards for cash or gift cards or statement credits soon enough.

The bottom line

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."
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Reviewed by
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Part of  Introduction to the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card