Cashback cards are common, but the best credit cards typically stand out from the rest. The Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card and Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer both offer big earning potential, but is one better than the other?
See how both cards measure up in this Wells Fargo Active Cash vs. Citi Double Cash card review and comparison. (Hint: Active Cash benefits such as cell phone protection might just have what it takes to unseat one of the cashback kings.)
Wells Fargo Active Cash vs. Citi Double Cash
The Citi Double Cash is a popular cashback credit card because of its excellent earning potential. But the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card has similar earning potential and adds some additional benefits to sweeten the deal.
Take a look at this table to quickly compare the primary benefits of both cards. Important areas to consider include the welcome bonus, intro APR offers, and card perks.
|Card type||Cash back||Cash back|
|Credit card issuer||Wells Fargo||Citibank|
|Credit card network||Visa||Mastercard|
|Welcome bonus||$200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months||Earn $200 cash back after spending $1,500 in the first 6 months (limited time offer)|
|Earning rate||2% cash rewards on eligible purchases||Up to 2% cash back on all purchases: 1% as you buy and 1% as you pay for those purchases|
|Intro APR||0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on qualifying balance transfers, then 17.99%, 22.99%, or 27.99% variable APR
0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months from account opening, then 17.99%, 22.99%, or 27.99% variable APR
|0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months, then 16.99% to 26.99% (variable) APR|
|Foreign transaction fee||3%||3%|
|Credit needed||Excellent, Good||Excellent, Good|
|Apply Now||Learn How to Apply|
What both cards excel at
Both the Wells Fargo Active Cash and Citi Double Cash are considered “cashback credit cards.” This means they both can earn cash rewards on eligible purchases and they also share other similarities.
Here’s where both cards excel:
- Annual fee: The Wells Fargo Active Cash has a $0 annual fee and the Citi Double Cash also has a $0 annual fee. So there’s no annual cost to worry about, leaving you more room to focus on earning rewards.
- High earning rate: Both cards offer similar earning rates. The Active Cash offers 2% cash rewards on eligible purchases and the Double Cash offers up to 2% cash back on all purchases: 1% as you buy and 1% as you pay for those purchases. These rewards rates are higher compared to similar cards that might only offer 1.5% flat-rate cash back.
- Cashback rewards: Rewards credit cards typically offer rewards in the form of cash back, points, or miles. The Wells Fargo Active Cash and Citi Double Cash cards offer simple cash rewards for eligible purchases, which many cardholders prefer over complicated points or miles. Cash rewards can often be redeemed for statement credits, gift cards, and more. Note that specific redemption options for each card are discussed below.
- No tricky bonus categories: Both cards offer opportunities to earn cash rewards on eligible purchases. There are no bonus or spending categories to monitor, so you could earn the same rate on any qualifying purchase. This is different from rewards cards that offer bonus rewards in certain categories such as groceries, gas, or dining. Many people find having a flat rewards rate is more straightforward and less stressful.
- Contactless payments: The Active Cash and Double Cash cards both take advantage of contactless technology to help keep your in-person payments simple and secure. Use your contactless card wherever your card network (Visa or Mastercard) is accepted and you see the contactless symbol.
- Wide card acceptance: The Wells Fargo Active Cash uses the Visa payment network and the Citi Double Cash uses the Mastercard payment network. Both networks are used worldwide and accepted at most places that accept credit cards. But keep in mind that the Active Cash and Double Cash cards both charge foreign transaction fees and wouldn’t likely be great options for using abroad. Check out our list of the best travel credit cards for cards with better perks for globetrotters.
5 important differences between Wells Fargo Active Cash and Citi Double Cash
The Wells Fargo Active Cash and Citi Double Cash cards have similar earning rates and redemption options, but that likely won’t help you decide which one is better. Here are five important differences between the Wells Fargo Active Cash and Citi Double Cash that could help you choose the best option:
1. Sign-up bonuses
A credit card sign-up bonus, sometimes called a welcome offer or welcome bonus, is typically a reward a card issuer offers to new cardholders soon after account opening.
For example, the Wells Fargo Active Cash offers $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months. For spending a certain amount of money on the credit card within the specified time frame, you receive a valuable bonus.
In most cases, sign-up bonuses offer valuable opportunities that entice new customers. But not every credit card, or even every rewards card, provides a welcome offer.
The Citi Double Cash rarely comes with any sort of sign-up bonus, which could be a big drawback for many prospective cardholders.
Unless the Double Cash is currently offering a welcome bonus, the Wells Fargo Active Cash is likely the better choice for new cardmembers. Learn more about this card in our Wells Fargo Active Cash review.
2. Introductory APR offers
Intro APR offers typically come in two varieties:
- 0% intro APR on balance transfers
- 0% intro APR on purchases
The Wells Fargo Active Cash offers 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on qualifying balance transfers, then 17.99%, 22.99%, or 27.99% variable APR. It also offers 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months from account opening, then 17.99%, 22.99%, or 27.99% variable APR.
The Citi Double Cash offers 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months, then 16.99% to 26.99% (variable) APR.
Overall, the Double Cash doesn’t currently provide a 0% intro APR offer on purchases. This likely makes the Wells Fargo Active Cash more appealing because it has intro APR offers for purchases and balance transfers.
These types of offers aren’t available on all credit cards and their terms might change on the cards that provide them. You might want one of these offers if you want to avoid paying interest for a certain period of time on a balance transfer or purchase. Check out our list of the best 0% APR credit cards for our top picks.
3. Redemption options
Earning cash rewards might sound great, but the actual value of rewards could depend on how you’re able to redeem them.
The Wells Fargo Active Cash offers these redemption options:
- Statement credits
- ATM cash withdrawal with eligible Wells Fargo ATM or debit card
- Gift cards
- PayPal checkout
- Charitable donations
- Travel through the Wells Fargo Rewards program
The Citi Double Cash offers these redemption options:
- Statement credits
- Direct deposit
- Mailed check
- Gift cards
- Shop with Points at Amazon
- Charitable donations
- Travel through the ThankYou Rewards program
The two sets of redemption options are fairly similar and generally provide the main choices you might want, which could include statement credits, gift cards, and travel. But the Double Cash might have a few different and valuable selections depending on your situation.
If you dig deeper into potential Double Cash travel redemptions, you’d see there are options to transfer rewards to travel partners such as JetBlue TrueBlue, Choice Privileges, and Wyndham Rewards. You could even open up transfer opportunities to all Citi transfer partners if you also have a Citi Prestige or Citi Premier® Card.
This might sound a bit complicated, but we break down the details in our Citi Double Cash review.
4. Visa and Mastercard perks
The Wells Fargo Active Cash uses the Visa payment network, whereas the Citi Double Cash uses the Mastercard network. This isn’t typically a big deal because both card networks are accepted worldwide in more than 200 countries and territories.
But there could be specific situations in which one network might be more useful than the other. Certain companies and retailers could have rules in place regarding the card networks they partner with and use in their stores.
A common example is Costco accepting Visa credit cards, but not Mastercard credit cards at its U.S. warehouse locations. In this case, having the Wells Fargo Active Cash would likely be more useful because it’s a Visa card. Costco.com accepts both Visa and Mastercard credit cards.
Neither card is outright better than the other in this comparison because it depends on the situation. But you might prefer the Wells Fargo Active Cash if you’re a Costco member and don’t want to carry around multiple cards.
5. Additional perks and benefits
If you qualify for the Wells Fargo Active Cash, you get access to:
- Roadside dispatch
- Visa Signature Hotel Collection
- 24/7 Visa Signature Concierge
- Cell phone protection
If you qualify for the Citi Double Cash, you get access to:
- Mastercard ID Theft Protection
- Citi Entertainment
You get more value from your benefits as you use them. But the benefit that’s likely to prove most valuable for everyday use is the cell phone protection that’s available on the Wells Fargo Active Cash.
Many people have expensive cell phones. This benefit covers your phone if it gets damaged or stolen.
But there’s one big requirement: You must have an eligible cell phone bill, and you have to pay it with your Active Cash card. If you tick all the boxes, you could receive up to $600 (minus a $25 deductible) for a successful phone damage/theft claim. You get up to two paid claims per 12-month period.
Which card should you choose?
The better card for you between the Wells Fargo Active Cash vs. Citi Double Cash depends on your financial goals and preferences. Because both cards offer similar earning potential, choosing a card likely comes down to the value of their benefits — which is where the Active Cash shines.
You might choose the Wells Fargo Active Cash if:
- You want a generous sign-up bonus
- You want cell phone protection
- You want intro APR offers for balance transfers and purchases
You might choose the Citi Double Cash if:
- You want certain redemption options, including student loans, mortgage payments, and transfer partners
- You want a long intro APR offer for balance transfers
- You already have a relationship with Citibank
Keep in mind that both of these cards are considered top offers. For other high-quality recommendations, check out our list of the best rewards credit cards.
Does Wells Fargo Active Cash offer an extended warranty?
No, the Wells Fargo Active Cash doesn’t offer an extended warranty benefit, but it provides cell phone protection. This covers damage to or theft of an eligible cell phone for up to $600 minus a $25 deductible with a maximum of two paid claims in a 12-month period.
Is it hard to get the Citi Double Cash?
It could be hard to get the Citi Double Cash depending on your credit. You typically need a good or excellent credit score to qualify. This would be a score of at least 670 or higher according to the FICO scoring model.
Does cash back get taxed?
Cash back earned by credit cards isn’t often taxed, though it could depend on the specific situation. But in most cases, cashback rewards are treated as discounts or rebates rather than income by the IRS, and discounts aren’t typically taxable.
It might be difficult to choose between the Wells Fargo Active Cash and Citi Double Cash if earning cash rewards is your ultimate goal. But although both cards have similar earning rates, the Active Cash might come out on top with its benefits.
The Active Cash often has a more generous sign-up bonus than what has been seen on the Double Cash. And you could also take advantage of cell phone protection and Visa Signature benefits on the Active Cash.
But the Double Cash could make sense if you prefer its redemption options or already have a relationship with Citi. Check out our dedicated page of credit card offers to compare credit cards and their benefits.
Lucrative, Flat-Rate Cash Rewards
$200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
2% cash rewards on eligible purchases
- $200 cash rewards bonus
- Unlimited 2% cash rewards on eligible purchases
- Intro APR on purchases and balance transfers
- $0 annual fee
- Has foreign transaction fee
- No bonus categories
- Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months
- Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases
- 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers, then a 17.99%, 22.99%, or 27.99% variable APR; balance transfers made within 120 days qualify for the intro rate and fee of 3% then a BT fee of up to 5%, min: $5
- $0 annual fee
- No categories to track or remember and cash rewards don't expire as long as your account remains open
- Enjoy a premium collection of benefits at a selection of the world's most intriguing and prestigious hotel properties with Visa Signature Concierge
- Get up to $600 of cell phone protection against damage or theft when you pay your monthly cell phone bill with your eligible Wells Fargo card. (subject to a $25 deductible).
- Select "Apply Now" to learn more about the product features, terms and conditions