The Bankrate promise
At Bankrate we strive to help you make smarter financial decisions. While we adhere to strict , this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here's an explanation for . The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.
Citi is an advertising partner
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. Whether the Wells Fargo Active Cash or Citi Double Cash is best for you largely depends on whether you want to transfer a balance and how much you’re willing to spend for a welcome bonus, among other factors.
|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||
|Citi® Double Cash Card||N/A||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 17.74% – 27.74%)||$0|
Wells Fargo Active Cash vs. Citi Double Cash highlights
Welcome bonus winner: Wells Fargo Active Cash
The Wells Fargo Active Cash offers a $200 welcome bonus. You need to spend $1,000 within three months (roughly $333 a month) to earn the bonus. The Double Cash currently does not offer a welcome bonus but has been known to add a welcome bonus to its list of card benefits at times. When a welcome offer is available, it is usually comparable to the Wells Fargo Active cash and other cards in this category. For instance, the previous offer was $200 cash back after spending $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening, The spend requirement was $500 more but you had an additional 3 months to earn the bonus.
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 rewards/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 rewards/cash back each month, or $720 a year.
The only 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 cash back bonus.
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 from account opening for 15 months. After the 0 percent intro offer expires, a variable APR of 18.74 percent, 23.74 percent or 28.74 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 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 perks.
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
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 (followed by a variable APR of 17.74 percent to 27.74 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).
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 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 of these cards would be a solid choice.