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Wells Fargo Active Cash vs. Citi Double Cash

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woman at grocery slef checkout
Images By Tang Ming Tung/Getty Images
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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/cash back 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 aren’t identical, and there are many ways that they differ. Whether the Wells Fargo Active Cash or Citi Double Cash is best for you largely depends on whether you want to transfer a balance or if you’re more interested in earning bonus rewards after opening your account, among other factors.

Main details

Cards Welcome bonus Rewards rate Intro APR Annual fee
Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months of account opening 2% cash rewards on purchases
  • 0% intro APR on purchases and qualifying balance transfers from account opening for 15 months (followed by a variable APR of 17.24%, 22.24%, or 27.24%)
  • Balance transfers made within the first 120 days include an intro balance transfer fee of 3% (min. $5), then a fee of up to 5% (min. $5)
$0
Citi® Double Cash Card None 2% cash back on all purchases — 1% as you make purchases and another 1% when you pay for your purchases 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months (followed by a variable APR of 16.24% to 26.24%) $0

Wells Fargo Active Cash vs. Citi Double Cash highlights

Welcome bonus winner: Wells Fargo Active Cash

The Wells Fargo Active Cash card offers a of $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 within the first three months of opening your account. That’s an easily-attainable requirement to meet.

In comparison, the Citi Double Cash card offers no welcome bonus, making the Wells Fargo Active Cash card the clear winner in this category.

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/cash back on purchases, and neither card puts limits on how much you can earn.

The only difference is that, with the Wells Fargo Active Cash card, you’ll earn 2 percent cash rewards after making your purchases. 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 these 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 here between the Wells Fargo Active Cash and Citi Double Cash. Both cards charge a foreign transaction fee of 3 percent of each transaction. This means that neither card is a good fit for traveling abroad.

Which card earns the most?

Because both the Citi Double Cash and Wells Fargo Active Cash cards earn an unlimited 2 percent cash rewards/cash back 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 card during a given month. You’ll earn 2 percent cash rewards/cash back on the 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 back 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 back each month, or $720 a year.

The only difference is when you’ll get your cash rewards. With the Citi Double Cash card, 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 cash back bonus.

Why should you get the Wells Fargo Active Cash?

Additional benefits

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 from account opening for 15 months. After the 0 percent intro offer expires, a variable APR of 17.24 percent, 22.24 percent, or 27.24 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 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 new 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 worth of protection against damage or theft to your phone (terms apply), 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 benefits.

Redemption options

You have plenty of options when redeeming the cash rewards you earn with the Wells Fargo Active Cash card. You can redeem your cash rewards as a statement credit or as a deposit to an eligible Wells Fargo account. You can also redeem your cash 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?

Additional benefits

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 (followed by a variable APR of 16.24% to 26.24%). 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.

Redemption options

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 offers even more ways to redeem your rewards. Through Citi ThankYou, you can redeem your points for gift cards, travel, Amazon purchases or PayPal shopping.

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

There’s a smart argument that everyone should have a 2 percent cash back card. 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, whether or not you want to earn a welcome bonus and if you’re interested in an intro APR offer for purchases or balance transfers.

But if you’re just looking for a generous flat-rate cash back/cash rewards card with simple redemption options, either the Citi Double Cash or Wells Fargo Active Cash would be a solid choice.

Written by
Dan Rafter
Personal Finance Expert Contributor
Dan Rafter has been writing about personal finance for more than two decades, covering everything from credit scores, mortgage loans and debt to credit cards, insurance, real estate and student loans. His work has appeared in the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Fox Business, The Motley Fool, The Christian Science Monitor, LendingTree, Business Insider and Mental Floss Magazine. He's also the editor of Midwest Real Estate News, a trade magazine serving real estate professionals throughout the Midwest.
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