Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card vs. Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card [2024]: Travel or Cash Rewards?

CREDIT CARDS - CASH BACK CREDIT CARDS
We prefer the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card for its simple and straightforward earning rate. But the Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card makes sense for travelers and people who can take advantage of its bonus categories.
Updated May 15, 2024
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We like the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card over the Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card(Rates and fees) because of its simple rewards rate, where you can earn 2% cash rewards on purchases. This type of rewards rate makes it easy to carry one rewards card in your wallet that you can use for all eligible purchases.

But the Wells Fargo Autograph is a better choice than the Active Cash if you’re a frequent traveler because it has no foreign transaction fees. The Autograph makes sense for earning more rewards if your everyday expenses align with its 3X bonus categories, including restaurants, travel, gas stations, transit, popular streaming services, and phone plans.

In this Wells Fargo Autograph versus Active Cash comparison

Key takeaways

  • We generally like the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card more because of its simple rewards rate.
  • We like the Wells Fargo Autograph more in situations where your everyday expenses align with its bonus categories.
  • The Wells Fargo Active Cash has better introductory APR offers.
  • The Wells Fargo Autograph doesn’t have any foreign transaction fees.
  • Both the Wells Fargo Autograph and Active Cash provide cell phone protection.

Wells Fargo Autograph vs. Wells Fargo Active Cash

Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card


Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card

Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card


Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

Card type Travel, cash rewards Cash rewards
Annual fee $0 $0
Welcome bonus Earn 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months (that’s a $200 cash redemption value) Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $500 in purchases in the first 3 months
Earning rate Earn unlimited 3X points on restaurants, travel, gas stations, transit, popular streaming services, and phone plans; plus earn 1X points on other purchases Earn 2% cash rewards on purchases
Redemption methods
  • Travel
  • Gift cards
  • Credit for eligible purchases
  • Statement credits
  • Credits to a qualifying Wells Fargo checking account or mortgage
  • Mailed checks
  • Cash via a withdrawal from a Wells Fargo ATM
  • Payments with rewards at participating merchants, including PayPal
  • Charitable donations
  • Merchandise
  • Travel
  • Gift cards
  • Credit for eligible purchases
  • Statement credits
  • Credits to a qualifying Wells Fargo checking account or mortgage
  • Mailed checks
  • Cash via a withdrawal from a Wells Fargo ATM
  • Payments with rewards at participating merchants, including PayPal
  • Charitable donations
  • Merchandise
Intro APR
  • 0% intro APR for 12 months from account opening on purchases (then 20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% Variable)
  • 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases (then 20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% Variable)
  • 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on qualifying balance transfers (then 20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% Variable)
Travel perks
  • Auto rental collision damage waiver
  • Travel and emergency services assistance
  • Roadside Dispatch
  • 24/7 concierge service
  • Access a luxury hotel collection through the Visa Signature Hotel Collection
  • Auto rental collision damage waiver
  • Travel and emergency services assistance
  • Roadside Dispatch
  • 24/7 concierge service
  • Access a luxury hotel collection through the Visa Signature Hotel Collection
Other benefits
  • Cell phone protection
  • Cell phone protection
Foreign transaction fee None 3%
Credit needed Excellent, Good Excellent, Good
Apply now Apply now

Our verdict

In general, we like the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card because its simple rewards rate might make it easy for new cardholders to earn rewards on eligible purchases. But the Wells Fargo Autograph makes more sense if your everyday expenses align with its bonus categories.

Wells Fargo Autograph benefits and drawbacks

Pros
  • Elevated rewards rate in common categories
  • $0 annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fees
Cons
  • No intro APR offer on qualifying balance transfers
  • Low base earning rate

The Wells Fargo Autograph has a $0 annual fee, no foreign transaction fees, and provides 3X rewards points on restaurants, travel, gas stations, transit, popular streaming services, and phone plans.

These card benefits make it an appealing option if you want to earn travel rewards for common, everyday expenses. Plus, you can take advantage of this APR offer:

  • Purchase APR offer: 0% intro APR for 12 months from account opening on purchases (then 20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% Variable)

But the earning potential is quite low on the Autograph if your spending doesn’t align with its bonus categories, as you can only earn 1X points on other purchases. This card doesn’t make sense for balance transfers since it has no intro APR offer on qualifying balance transfers.

Apply now or read our Wells Fargo Autograph review.

Wells Fargo Active Cash benefits and drawbacks

Pros
  • Simple rewards rate
  • $0 annual fee
  • Intro APR offers on purchases and qualifying balance transfers
Cons
  • No bonus categories
  • 3% foreign transaction fees

We like how simple the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card is for earning rewards. Having a rewards rate where you can earn 2% cash rewards on purchases makes it one of the best cash rewards credit cards available.

Plus, you can take advantage of these intro APR offers:

  • Purchase APR offer: 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases (then 20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% Variable)
  • Qualifying balance transfer APR offer: 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on qualifying balance transfers (then 20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% Variable)

The Active Cash Card doesn’t provide any bonus rewards categories, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing since its earning rate can be used across various purchases. But you may earn at a better rate on specific bonus categories with other cards. Remember that this card charges 3% in foreign transaction fees, making it a poor choice for travelers.

Apply now or read our Wells Fargo Active Cash Card review.

What both cards excel at

The Wells Fargo Autograph and Active Cash share a few overlapping features and benefits, including:

  • Welcome bonuses: Receive a generous welcome offer with either card.
  • Annual fees: Avoid annual costs with the Wells Fargo Autograph $0 annual fee and the Active Cash $0 annual fee.
  • Cell phone protection: Cover eligible phones with up to $600 worth of cell phone protection, minus a $25 deductible, if you pay your monthly cell phone bill with your applicable card.
  • Travel benefits: Receive travel perks and benefits, including an auto rental collision damage waiver, 24/7 concierge services, and travel and emergency services assistance.
  • Redemption options: You can redeem your credit card rewards for various options, including travel, statement credits, gift cards, and more.

3 important differences between Wells Fargo Autograph vs. Active Cash

1. Earning rates

Here are the earning rates for both cards:

  • Wells Fargo Autograph: Earn unlimited 3X points on restaurants, travel, gas stations, transit, popular streaming services, and phone plans; plus earn 1X points on other purchases.
  • Wells Fargo Active Cash: Earn 2% cash rewards on purchases.

It’s hard to declare which card has the better rewards rate because it depends on the situation. If you prefer simple rewards rates and using one card for all your eligible purchases, the Active Cash would be better.

But if you prefer earning more rewards through bonus categories that align with your everyday expenses, the Autograph would be better.

Winner: It depends. The Wells Fargo Active Cash has a simpler rewards rate, but you could potentially earn more rewards with the Wells Fargo Autograph.

2. Intro APR offers

The Wells Fargo Autograph provides one intro APR offer of 0% intro APR for 12 months from account opening on purchases (then 20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% Variable).

The Wells Fargo Active Cash provides two intro APR offers, one for purchases and one for qualifying balance transfers:

  • Purchases: 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases (then 20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% Variable)
  • Qualifying balance transfers: 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on qualifying balance transfers (then 20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% Variable)

Overall, the Wells Fargo Active Cash has the better intro APR offers.

Winner: Wells Fargo Active Cash because it provides an intro APR offer for qualifying balance transfers and has longer intro APR periods.

3. Foreign transaction fees

The Wells Fargo Autograph doesn’t charge any foreign transaction fees, while the Wells Fargo Active Cash charges a 3% foreign transaction fee. This type of fee shouldn’t matter much unless you travel abroad, making the Autograph the better travel option.

Winner: Wells Fargo Autograph because it doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees.

Which credit card should you choose?

When you should choose Wells Fargo Autograph

  • Your everyday expenses align with its bonus categories
  • You travel and don’t want foreign transaction fees
  • You want a travel card that also has an intro APR offer on purchases
  • You want cell phone protection

When you should choose Wells Fargo Active Cash

  • You want a simple cash rewards card you can use for everyday spending
  • You don’t travel much, so you aren’t worried about foreign transaction fees
  • You want intro APR offers on purchases and qualifying balance transfers
  • You want cell phone protection

What factors to consider before choosing

We generally recommend the Wells Fargo Active Cash over the Autograph because it’s likely easier for most people to use it to earn rewards. This is due to its simple rewards rate that can help you earn cash rewards on eligible 2%.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll earn more rewards with the Active Cash compared to the Autograph. Depending on your spending habits, the Wells Fargo Autograph might provide more earning potential.

For example, let’s say you spend a certain amount each year on common spending categories, which card would provide more rewards? Remember, these are the cards’ earning rates with the Wells Fargo rewards program:

  • Wells Fargo Autograph: Earn unlimited 3X points on restaurants, travel, gas stations, transit, popular streaming services, and phone plans; plus earn 1X points on other purchases.
  • Wells Fargo Active Cash: Earn 2% cash rewards on purchases.

By estimating your monthly or annual spending on these categories, you can get a rough idea of how much you can earn from each card. In some situations, you might find that the Wells Fargo Autograph would earn more rewards.

FAQ

Is the Wells Fargo Autograph Card worth it?

The Wells Fargo Autograph could be worth it if you don’t want foreign transaction fees and your everyday spending aligns with its 3X bonus categories, including restaurants, travel, gas stations, transit, popular streaming services, and phone plans. This can help you maximize your earning potential if those are categories you already spend money in.

Is the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card hard to get?

The Wells Fargo Active Cash isn’t typically hard to get, depending on your credit score. You often need a good or excellent credit score to qualify for the Wells Fargo Active Cash, which is at least a 670 on the FICO scoring model. 

Keep in mind that credit card issuers use multiple factors to determine your eligibility, so having a certain credit score doesn’t guarantee approval.

Is Wells Fargo no longer offering credit cards?

Wells Fargo is still offering credit cards.There are at least four available Wells Fargo credit cards for consumers, including:

That said, Wells Fargo did go through a period where it stopped applications for some of its credit cards but then started offering new credit cards you could apply for.

Wells Fargo Autograph vs. Active Cash: bottom line

We usually recommend the Wells Fargo Active Cash over the Wells Fargo Autograph because it’s easier to use with its simple rewards rate. And you can also take advantage of intro APR offers on purchases and qualifying balance transfers.

But the Wells Fargo Autograph makes sense if you want a credit card with no foreign transaction fees to take on your travels. And the Autograph can make even more sense if you can take advantage of its bonus categories with your everyday spending.

For more of our top recommendations, check out our dedicated page to compare credit cards and credit card offers.

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 2% cash rewards on purchases

Benefits and Drawbacks
Card Details

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.

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