Wells Fargo Active Cash vs. Citi Double Cash
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The Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card and the Citi® Double Cash Card are no-annual-fee cards that offer similar rewards programs — cardholders can earn 2 percent cash rewards on purchases. With the Citi Double Cash, you’ll earn 1 percent back as you make purchases and an additional 1 percent back when you pay off those purchases.
But while these two cards are similar, they’re not identical. Whether the Wells Fargo Active Cash or Citi Double Cash is better for you largely depends on whether you want to transfer a balance and whether you want to earn a welcome bonus, among other factors.
|Cards||Wells Fargo Active Cash Card||Citi Double Cash Card|
|Welcome bonus||$200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months of account opening||N/A|
|Rewards rate||2% cash rewards on purchases||2% cash back on all purchases — 1% as you make purchases and another 1% when you pay for purchases|
Wells Fargo Active Cash vs. Citi Double Cash highlights
Welcome bonus winner: Wells Fargo Active Cash
The Wells Fargo Active Cash offers a $200 cash rewards bonus if you spend $1,000 within the first three months (roughly $334 a month) of account opening. Currently, the Citi Double Cash doesn’t offer a welcome bonus, but it has occasionally included a welcome bonus in the past. For instance, the card has previously offered a $200 bonus after spending $1,500 on purchases within the first six months of account opening.
Rewards rate winner: Tie
Both the Citi Double Cash and Wells Fargo Active Cash offer nearly identical cash rewards programs. With both cards, you’ll earn 2 percent cash rewards on purchases, and neither card puts limits on how much you can earn. The only difference is that, with the Citi Double Cash card, you’ll earn 1 percent cash back after you make purchases and then another 1 percent cash back when you pay off those purchases. This card, then, makes the most sense for cardholders who pay off their balances in full each month.
Annual fee winner: Tie
Neither of these cards charges an annual fee.
Foreign transaction fee winner: Tie
Again, there’s no difference between the Wells Fargo Active Cash and Citi Double Cash: Both cards charge a 3 percent foreign transaction fee. This means that neither card is a good fit for traveling abroad.
Which card earns the most?
Because the Citi Double Cash and Wells Fargo Active Cash cards both earn 2 percent cash rewards on purchases, your earnings potential is the same with both cards.
Wells Fargo Active Cash vs. Citi Double Cash spending example
Say you charge $1,500 with either your Wells Fargo Active Cash or Citi Double Cash during a given month. You’ll earn 2 percent cash rewards on purchases you make — groceries, takeout, bills, clothing or travel. For this month, then, you’d earn $30 in rewards. If you continue to spend $1,500 each month ($18,000 per year), you’d earn $360 in cash rewards annually with either card.
If you spend more than $1,500 per month, you’d earn more. Say you charge an average of $3,000 per month ($36,000 per year). You’d earn $60 in cash rewards each month, or $720 per year.
The only real difference is when you’ll get your cash rewards. With the Citi Double Cash, you’ll earn 1 percent cash back when making your purchases and the final 1 percent back when you pay for them. If it takes you longer to pay off your purchases, it’ll take you longer to get your full 2 percent cash back.
Why should you get the Wells Fargo Active Cash?
In addition to its strong flat-rate cash rewards program, the Wells Fargo Active Cash includes a 0 percent intro APR offer on both purchases and qualifying balance transfers for 15 months after account opening. After the 0 percent intro offer expires, a variable APR of 19.74 percent, 24.74 percent or 29.74 percent applies.
Additionally, balance transfers must be made within 120 days after account opening to qualify for the 0 percent intro offer. During the intro period, you’ll pay a balance transfer fee of 3 percent (min. $5) of the amount you’re transferring, then a fee of up to 5 percent (min. $5).
This card’s 0 percent intro APR period is shorter than the one offered by the Citi Double Cash, but unlike the Citi Double Cash, the Wells Fargo Active Cash includes an intro APR offer on purchases. So if you’re looking to pay for a large purchase over time, the Wells Fargo Active Cash would be a better option since you won’t pay interest during the intro period.
The Wells Fargo Active Cash includes other notable benefits such as cellphone protection, which provides up to $600 (per claim; a $25 deductible applies) worth of protection against damage or theft when you pay your monthly cellphone bill with your Active Cash, and zero liability protection, which protects you from unauthorized transactions on your account. You’ll also get Visa Signature benefits like travel and emergency assistance services and extended warranty protection, among other perks.
You’ll have plenty of ways to redeem the cash rewards you earn. You can redeem your cash rewards as a statement credit or a deposit to an eligible Wells Fargo account, or you can redeem your cash rewards in $20 increments at a Wells Fargo ATM. Finally, via Wells Fargo Rewards, you can redeem your rewards for gift cards or a variety of travel purchases.
Recommended credit score
To boost your odds of approval for the Wells Fargo Active Cash, aim for a good to excellent credit score, or a FICO score of 670 or higher.
Why should you get the Citi Double Cash?
The Citi Double Cash is one of the best cash back credit cards on the market today. But it’s also a good card to consider if you have high interest credit card debt to pay off since it has a 0 percent intro APR offer on balance transfers for 18 months after account opening (followed by a variable APR of 18.49 percent to 28.49 percent). This is a longer introductory period than the one offered by the Wells Fargo Active Cash, which means you’ll have more time to pay off your debt if you need it. Still, keep in mind that this 0 percent APR offer is only for balance transfers, not purchases.
Additionally, if you complete your balance transfer during the first four months of opening your account, you’ll pay a 3 percent balance transfer fee (min. $5). For balance transfers completed after the first four months, you’ll pay a balance transfer fee of 5 percent (min. $5).
Besides this intro APR offer, the Citi Double Cash comes with other benefits like zero fraud liability, Citi Identity Theft Solutions, Lost Wallet Service and Citi Entertainment access.
It’s simple to redeem cash back with this card. You can receive your cash back as a statement credit, check or direct deposit. Or, you can convert your rewards to Citi ThankYou points, which offer even more ways to redeem your rewards. Through Citi ThankYou, you can redeem your points for gift cards, travel or shopping with points on Amazon or via PayPal.
However, it should be noted that the Citi ThankYou points earned with this card are basic ThankYou points. That means they can only be transferred to a Citi travel partner if you pair your Citi Double Cash with a premium Citi card like the Citi Premier® Card.
Recommended credit score
Like the Wells Fargo Active Cash, you should have a good to excellent credit score, or a FICO score of 670 or higher, for the Citi Double Cash.
The bottom line
So, which card comes out ahead, the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card or the Citi Double Cash Card? That depends on factors like how and when you want to redeem rewards, if you’re more interested in a 0 percent intro APR offer for purchases or balance transfers or if you want to earn a welcome bonus. But if you’re just looking for a generous flat-rate cash rewards card with simple redemption options, either one of these cards would be a solid choice.