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Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card Review [2024]: My Choice for Flat-Rate Rewards

When I don’t want to deal with categories, this is the card I turn to.

Updated June 20, 2024
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Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card
5.0

OUR VIEW

There’s nothing flashy about the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card, but there doesn’t have to be. It’s a simple cash rewards card that offers some valuable perks, not the least of which is the fact that you can earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases. This competes with some of the best cash rewards options out there.

We like this card’s simple cash rewards structure, $0 annual fee, and cell phone protection benefit. This Wells Fargo Active Cash Card review will fill you in on the card’s pros and cons so you can decide whether it deserves a spot in your wallet.

Pros

Low spend threshold for its welcome offer — $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $500 in purchases in the first 3 months
Cell phone protection benefit
Can redeem rewards at an ATM for literal cash

Cons

Foreign transaction fee of 3%
No bonus categories
How we evaluate products

Card basics

Card type Cash back
Credit card issuer Wells Fargo
Credit card network Visa
Annual fee $0
Intro bonus $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $500 in purchases in the first 3 months
Reward rate Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases
Recommended credit score Good, Excellent
Foreign transaction fee 3%

Who should get the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card?

You should get the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card if you value simplicity and don’t want to put a lot of time and energy into navigating categories.

For me, there are times when I have the energy to use different cards for different purposes, and there are times when I don’t. The Active Cash is great for when I don’t want to deal with categories. I still have a strong earnings rate, and it applies to all eligible purchases.

To go into a little more depth, there are two types of cash rewards cards — flat-rate cards and bonus category cards.

The Active Cash is a flat-rate card where you earn the same rate on all your eligible purchases.

Bonus category cards work a few different ways. They might work like the Chase Freedom Unlimited® card, which offers 6.5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 4.5% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service and 3% cash back on all other purchases (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year). After your first year or $20,000 spent, earn 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.

These are set categories that don’t change from quarter to quarter. If your purchases match these categories, it’s a good fit. If your purchases don’t consistently fit these categories, you could be stuck with a lower rewards rate.

Other cash back cards have rotating bonus categories. They might work like the Discover it® Cash Back, where you earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places you shop each quarter like grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, and more, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases—automatically.

Personally, I don’t even get cards where you have to pick a high earnings category monthly or quarterly — I know I’ll forget to pick one.

But some find a lot of value in taking advantage of those higher-paying earning categories. For example, an issuer might make Amazon.com purchases a 5% earning category in the fourth quarter, when many are doing holiday shopping. Even if that 5% is limited to the first $2,000 you spend, that’s $100 in your pocket, as opposed to $40 if you were earning 2%.

If you can stay on top of the rotating categories and don't mind the extra work, you can earn more cash back with a rotating category card.

Tip
Setting up calendar reminders to check in monthly or quarterly can be a good way to stay on top of rotating categories.

Who shouldn’t get this card

Of course, even if the card is a great fit for your spending habits, it also needs to offer redemption options that you like. The Active Cash card allows you to redeem for cash, as a credit to qualifying Wells Fargo accounts, for eligible purchases, and for gift cards. Sounds good, but what’s missing?

Travel.

If you like to transfer rewards to travel partners, this won’t be the card for you. While Wells Fargo has travel cards — including the Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card and the Wells Fargo Autograph Journey℠ Card — the Active Cash doesn’t combine with those rewards, and you can’t transfer earnings to travel partners like airlines or hotels.

And in all honesty, if using rewards for travel is your priority, you’ll want to look at a travel rewards card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. You get travel perks, the ability to transfer to travel partners, and you can pool your rewards with some of Chase’s other cards.

Here's a closer look at this card's top benefits

Achievable welcome bonus

One of the best things about getting a new card is the welcome bonus. The Wells Fargo Active Cash Card's welcome offer is a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $500 in the first 3 months.

That is a relatively low spending threshold compared to other cash back cards. For example, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express allows you to earn a $200 statement credit after spending $2,000 in purchases in the first 6 months.

Tip
Cash advances and balance transfers don't count toward the Active Cash Card’s welcome bonus.

Cell phone protection

Cell phone protection isn’t a common benefit, but this card offers up to $600 of cell phone insurance against damage or theft when you pay your monthly cell phone bill with your card. Be aware there's a modest $25 deductible with this protection. But still, that’s a small price to pay for the coverage.

Good redemption options for Wells Fargo customers

The redemption options for this card are especially good for Wells Fargo customers. Your rewards can be redeemed for statement credits, gift cards, merchandise, and travel.

Note
I know, I said this wasn’t a great card for travel. And it’s not. You can redeem for travel if you book travel through Wells Fargo’s travel portal. While there are situations where you might want to book travel through a third party portal (for example, some Chase cards offer bonuses if you book through their portal), in most cases, you’re better off booking directly with your airline or hotel.

If you have an eligible Wells Fargo account, you could also redeem your cash rewards for credits to a mortgage or loan account, cash redemptions when you use your Wells Fargo ATM or debit card at a Wells Fargo ATM, or direct deposits to a savings or checking account.

Being able to redeem your cash rewards for credits to a mortgage or loan isn’t available with some other card issuers, including Chase.

Intro APR offers

The Wells Fargo Active Cash offers a 0% introductory APR for 15 months from account opening on qualifying balance transfers from account opening on qualifying balance transfers (then 20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% Variable). There is a balance transfer fee of 3% for 120 days from account opening, then up to 5%; min: $5.

There is also a 0% intro APR on new purchases for 15 months from account opening from account opening (then 20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% Variable APR). These offers are comparable to those offered by the best 0% APR credit cards, but if having a lengthy intro APR period is important, there are better cards out there.

For example, the Wells Fargo Reflect® Card has a 0% intro APR for 21 months from account opening on qualifying balance transfers from account opening on qualifying balance transfers, then 18.24%, 24.74%, or 29.99% Variable APR. It also offers a 0% intro APR on purchases for 21 months from account opening from account opening, then 18.24%, 24.74%, or 29.99% Variable APR. But, there's a trade-off for the longer intro APR period — you won't earn cash back on your purchases with this card.

Drawbacks to the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card

Foreign transaction fee

This is another reason why you might want a different travel card. The Active Cash card charges 3% for foreign transactions, so don’t plan on using this for purchases while traveling abroad.

No obvious complementary Wells Fargo card

One way to get the most out of credit cards is by using them together.

For example, some people pair the Chase Freedom Unlimited with the Chase Sapphire Preferred. There are some different earning categories between the two cards, and you can pool your rewards. You can’t pool Wells Fargo rewards between this card and its other cards, though, so there’s no incentive to use this with another Wells Fargo card.

It’s another reason why this card is best for someone who values simplicity and wants value across a wide variety of purchases.

Earning & redeeming cash rewards

Potential earnings in years one and two

Here's a look at how your cash rewards can add up with the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card.

Remember, this is an estimation. The actual value will be determined by how much you spend.

Year one earnings: $950

Year two earnings: $750

These values are based on the FinanceBuzz Credit Card Rewards Valuation Model which takes a look at points earned via spending, the welcome bonus, and the annual fee.

Best ways to earn

The Wells Fargo Active Cash offers one way for you to earn rewards, which is by making purchases with your card. You’re able to earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases.

If you want to increase your potential cash rewards, it’s best to use your card for every purchase you can. Think about your everyday expenses, such as dining out and groceries, and don’t forget about using your card to pay your cell phone bill (which gives you cell phone protection).

You could also use the Active Cash for larger purchases. You’ll want to have the cash on hand to pay it off right away, though. For example, if you’ve been saving up for a new $2,000 sofa, instead of paying cash or using store financing, put it on the Active Cash Card, then pay off your card.

Be sure to pay it off right away, though. If you pay interest on a purchase, you’ve essentially negated the rewards you’ve earned.

Categories Rewards rate
Purchases 2%

Maximizing your redemptions

Any cash rewards you earn with the Wells Fargo Active Cash can be redeemed in multiple ways through the Wells Fargo Rewards program, including gift cards, statement credits, merchandise, and travel.

The best way to maximize your redemptions, though, is to be a Wells Fargo customer. That gives you the most flexibility. Wells Fargo customers with eligible accounts get options like deposits into a savings or checking account, credits toward a mortgage or loan, and withdrawals of $20 increments from Wells Fargo ATMs with a Wells Fargo debit or ATM card.

Overall, there’s typically no difference between the value of these redemption options other than your personal preference. Wells Fargo Rewards points aren’t necessarily worth more between different redemption options.

I’ve redeemed rewards I earned with the Active Cash card, and the process was simple and easy to navigate.

Pair with a higher-earning card

Another way to maximize your overall rewards is to pair it with a higher earning card. For example, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® card offers 6.5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 4.5% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service and 3% cash back on all other purchases (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year). After your first year or $20,000 spent, earn 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.

I would use the Chase Freedom higher-earning categories and use the Wells Fargo Active Cash card for purchases that didn’t earn an elevated rate. Obviously, these rewards won’t pool together, and that’s a significant drawback for some. But if your focus is on earning the most cash rewards, this strategy could help you make the most of your purchases.

FAQ

Is the Wells Fargo Active Cash a good card?

I think the Wells Fargo Active Cash is a very good card. It has a high cash rewards earning rate that’s simple to earn and a generous welcome bonus. You also get cell phone protection.

What credit score do you need for the Wells Fargo Active Cash?

You’ll generally need a good or excellent credit score to qualify for the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card. For a FICO Score, this would be 670 or higher. For VantageScore, it would be 661 or higher.

What is the credit limit for the Wells Fargo Active Cash?

Wells Fargo doesn’t advertise a maximum credit limit for the Wells Fargo Active Cash, as it depends on your creditworthiness when applying. However, Wells Fargo advises calling them at 1-800-642-4720 if you want to request a credit limit increase.

An alternative to consider

If you like the idea of a strong, flat-rate reward card but want the option to transfer points, the Citi Double Cash® Card is a good alternative. You earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases; plus, for a limited time, earn 5% total cash back on hotel, car rentals and attractions booked on the Citi Travel℠ portal through 12/31/24.

The cash back is accumulated as ThankYou points. You can redeem these points for cash or gift cards. You can also transfer your points to one of three of Citi’s transfer partners: Choice Privileges, Wyndham Rewards, and JetBlue TrueBlue.

So it has the earning power of the Active Cash Card, but with the ability to transfer directly to a few travel partners.

Learn more in our Citi Double Cash Card review.

Bottom line

I think the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card has a lot to offer. It works great as a primary card to put all your purchases on, especially if you’re someone who banks at Wells Fargo or who just prefers cash over travel redemptions. You can also pair it with a higher-earning card if you don’t mind having your redemptions through different issuers.

If your focus is on travel or you like the idea of higher earnings rates with bonus categories, another card will be a better fit.

Lucrative, Flat-Rate Cash Rewards

5.0

Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

Current Offer

$200 cash rewards bonus after spending $500 in purchases in the first 3 months

Annual Fee

$0

Rewards Rate

Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases

Benefits and Drawbacks
Card Details

Author Details

Melinda Sineriz, ABFP™

Melinda Sineriz is a Lead Editor at FinanceBuzz and an Accredited Behavioral Finance Professional™ designee. Melinda has a B.A. in English from Miami University and a master’s degree from Bard College. Before focusing on personal finance content, she worked in insurance for six years, educating clients on Medicare supplements, life insurance, long-term care, and annuities.

Author Details

Ben Walker, CEPF, CFEI®

Ben Walker, CEPF, CFEI®, is credit cards specialist. For over a decade, he's leveraged credit card points and miles to travel the world. His expertise extends to other areas of personal finance — including loans, insurance, investing, and real estate — and you can find his insights on The Washington Post, Debt.com, Yahoo! Finance, and Fox Business.