Issuer Comparison: Chase vs. Wells Fargo
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If you’re trying to decide between Chase and Wells Fargo credit cards, there are more factors to consider than meets the eye. You’ll want to take a close look at the cardholder benefits you can qualify for, yet you should also consider the footprint of the bank you’re considering. Meanwhile, you’ll want to compare the rewards credit cards each of these card issuers offer, as well as how easy they make it to get approved.
Here’s what we think: when it comes to comparing Chase to Wells Fargo as your future card issuer, it’s best to consider each brand as a whole rather than just limited-time credit card offers that could easily change.
This guide aims to help you do just that. When looking at Chase and Wells Fargo, here’s everything you’ll need to know.
Chase: Details and benefits
Chase has more than 4,700 brick-and-mortar bank branches, as well as over 16,000 ATMs nationwide. On the credit card front, Chase boasts around 30 different rewards credit cards for individuals and businesses. Some of their cards are offered through its own loyalty program, which is known as Chase Ultimate Rewards. However, Chase also offers co-branded credit cards with airline and hotel programs like Southwest Rapid Rewards, World of Hyatt, Marriott Bonvoy, British Airways and more.
Note that, unlike other credit card issuers, Chase does not offer any secured credit cards or credit cards geared to consumers with poor credit. In fact, all Chase credit cards are geared to people with good or excellent credit.
Another factor to consider when it comes to its credit cards is Chase’s rule for approvals, which is known as the Chase 5/24 rule. This rule states that, if you’ve opened five or more cards within the past 24 months, you won’t be approved for a Chase credit card. Generally speaking, this rule intends to prevent customers from signing up for cards and earning the same sign-up bonuses over and over again.
Also, be aware that some Chase credit card “families” limit how often you can earn certain bonus offers, and these rules apply on top of the Chase 5/24 rule. For example, cards in the “Sapphire” family, including the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, have this wording in their fine print:
“The product is not available to either (i) current cardmembers of any Sapphire credit card, or (ii) previous cardmembers of any Sapphire credit card who received a new cardmember bonus within the last 48 months. If you are an existing Sapphire customer and would like this product, please call the number on the back of your card to see if you are eligible for a product change. You will not receive the new cardmember bonus if you change products.”
Chase has a robust mobile app that makes it easy to monitor your credit card purchases, payments and rewards on the go. If you’re also a Chase banking customer, you can use the app to deposit checks with your mobile device, set up alerts on your account, pay bills and more.
The Chase mobile app comes with added security features like facial recognition or fingerprint sign-in. You can also use the app to instantly lock and unlock your card in the event you misplace your credit card or you suspect fraud has occurred.
Cardholder features and benefits
When it comes to Chase credit cards, the cardholder benefits you can qualify for depend largely on the card you select. However, you should know that many Chase cards come with consumer protections and perks you could easily use.
For example, some Chase credit cards come with extended warranties and purchase protection against damage or theft. Travel benefits you could qualify for include trip cancellation and interruption insurance, baggage delay insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, primary auto rental coverage and more. The Chase Sapphire Reserve®, for example, is a premium travel credit card that comes with benefits like airport lounge access, a fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck membership and up to $300 in annual travel credits.
Wells Fargo: Details and benefits
Currently, Wells Fargo boasts approximately 5,200 retail banking branches nationwide. It also has a network of more than 13,000 ATMs.
In terms of its credit card offerings, Wells Fargo currently offers seven personal credit cards and three business credit cards. Unlike Chase, however, Wells Fargo doesn’t offer any premium travel credit cards with high annual fees. It does offer cards that let you earn travel rewards, as well as cash back credit cards, card options for students and even a secured business credit card. Wells Fargo also offers a travel-themed rewards program known as Wells Fargo Rewards, which we’ll cover in more detail below.
Like Chase, Wells Fargo has some rules that can limit who can be approved and earn the bonus on rewards credit cards. For example, fine print for the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card states:
“You may not be eligible for introductory annual percentage rates, fees, and/or bonus rewards offers if you opened a Wells Fargo Credit Card within the last 15 months from the date of this application and you received introductory APR(s), fees, and/or bonus rewards offers – even if that account is closed and has a $0 balance.”
Wells Fargo mobile
Wells Fargo also has its own mobile app for banking and credit card customers. This app lets you track your credit card purchases, manage payments and even lock or unlock your credit or debit cards using your mobile device. If you’re a banking customer, you can use the app to deposit checks, pay bills, transfer funds and more.
In terms of security, the Wells Fargo mobile app also allows for facial recognition and fingerprint sign-ins.
Cardholder features and benefits
By and large, Wells Fargo credit cards don’t come with quite as many perks as most Chase cards offer. However, this is partly due to the fact this card issuer doesn’t offer a premium travel credit card of any kind.
With that being said, common cardholder features include zero liability for fraudulent purchases and chip technology. However, a few Wells Fargo cards come with extended warranties, purchase protection against damage or theft and travel perks like lost luggage reimbursement and car rental loss and damage insurance. The Wells Fargo Propel American Express card also stands alone in offering cell phone protection.
Chase vs. Wells Fargo credit card rewards programs
One major factor to consider when picking a credit card is the type of rewards you’ll earn. This is a huge consideration when comparing Wells Fargo vs. Chase since the two rewards programs are so different.
As you compare credit cards from these two issuers, here are the main details you should know about their rewards programs.
Chase Ultimate Rewards
Once you begin earning points in the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, you can redeem them for travel through the Chase portal, cash back, gift cards, merchandise with Amazon or Apple and more. Your points will never expire provided you keep your account open.
Also, be aware that some Chase travel credit cards come with exceptional redemption options on the travel front. For example, the Chase Sapphire Reserve gives you 50 percent more value for your points when you redeem for travel through Chase, and the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card give you 25 percent more value. With the Chase travel portal, you can use your rewards to book flights, hotels, vacation rentals, car rentals and other types of travel.
Each of these travel cards also lets you transfer your points to Chase airline and hotel partners at a 1:1 ratio. Current Chase transfer partners include:
- Aer Lingus
- Air France / Flying Blue
- British Airways
- Iberia Plus
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
- Southwest Rapid Rewards
- United MileagePlus
- Virgin Atlantic
- IHG Rewards Club
- Marriott Bonvoy
- World of Hyatt
Generally speaking, Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth around 2 cents each, according to our latest points and miles valuations.
Wells Fargo Rewards
The Wells Fargo Rewards program lets you redeem your rewards for travel such as hotel stays, flights and rental cars. You can also redeem your rewards for gift cards or merchandise. There’s even an online auction feature that allows you to bid on items within the Earn More Mall using your rewards points.
Also, note that your points won’t expire with most Wells Fargo cards, but not all. Make sure to read the terms and conditions of your cardholder agreement so you know how to keep your points from expiring.
We estimate Wells Fargo Rewards points are worth around 1 cents each, but you should know that these points do not transfer to airline and hotel partners. This makes Wells Fargo Rewards considerably less flexible than Chase Ultimate Rewards points earned with premium travel credit cards that allow point transfers.
Which issuer is best for you?
At the end of the day, both Chase and Wells Fargo have credit cards worth signing up for. However, the best card for you really depends on your normal spending habits, how often you travel and the type of rewards you want to earn.
If you are mostly interested in earning cash back, then either issuer could be a good fit for your needs. If you want access to premium travel benefits and flexible rewards, on the other hand, then it’s likely a premium travel credit card from Chase will leave you better off.
The bottom line
Don’t forget to do a little more research before you apply for a Chase credit card or a Wells Fargo credit card. Even with the basic information we’ve shared above, the plethora of card options each issuer offers makes it necessary to compare all your options.
Ideally, a minimal amount of research can help you land the ideal rewards credit card for your needs and goals. Will it be Wells Fargo or Chase in the end? Only you can decide.