Wells Fargo Business Elite Card® Review: Is It Right for Your Business?

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any credit card issuer.

The most valuable aspect of the Wells Fargo Business Elite Card® is the control it affords businesses over their credit card accounts—specifically in regards to employee card usage. However, companies that are more interested in earning rewards with their cards will likely have other options.

Review: Our Thoughts on the Wells Fargo Business Elite Card®

Although the Wells Fargo Business Elite Card® doesn't offer exceptional value in terms of rewards earnings, it does give businesses a lot of control over how they can manage employee card usage. For example, you can set up spending controls that limit how much employees can spend, what types of purchases they can make and even when they can use their cards. While other business cards—such as the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card—let account managers set employee card spending limits, there are few cards that give businesses as much control over how they allow their employees to use their cards as the Wells Fargo Business Elite Card®.

We don't recommend the Wells Fargo Business Elite Card® for small-business owners who are only looking for a good rewards card. Other business cards can give you more rewards without charging an annual fee. Businesses that choose to enroll in the Wells Fargo Business Elite Card®'s rewards program—which comes with a $75 fee each year (waived for the first year)—can choose what type of rewards they want to earn; either cash back or points. However, for either type of reward there are better options, such as the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card.

Bottom Line: You should consider the Wells Fargo Business Elite Card® if you are interested in a credit card with extensive account management tools. Business owners who want to maximize cash back rewards should go with a either the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business or even the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card—we discuss both options in more detail below.

Benefits and Features

The Wells Fargo Business Elite Card® is unique among small-business credit cards in that cardholders can choose to use it as either a cash back or points card.

While the Wells Fargo Business Elite Card® technically has No Annual Fee, there is a rewards program fee of $75 (waived for the first year) if you want to use this card as either a cash back or points card. However, enrollment in the rewards program is completely optional. Opting out of the rewards programs effectively makes the Wells Fargo Business Elite Card® a No Annual Fee low-interest small-business card. But we don't recommend opting out of the rewards programs, as there are plenty of no-annual-fee business cards that do offer rewards.

Credit Card Expense Management Tools

The Wells Fargo Business Elite Card® offers a number of tools that are designed to make it easier for business administrators to manage credit card expenses. These include the ability to set employee spending limits by purchase category, spending amount and even time of purchase. The Wells Fargo Business Elite Card® also gives card account managers the ability to create custom employee spending reports using the Business Elite Online Reporting tool.

With the Wells Fargo Business Elite Card®, you can issue up to 200 employee cards and pay no additional fees. This may sound like a good deal, however, it's important to note that many other business credit cards offer free employee cards. Some issuers—such as Chase and Capital One—do not even limit the number of employee cards you can get.

Wells Fargo Business Elite Card® Rewards

When used as a cash back card, the Wells Fargo Business Elite Card® earns 1.5% for every dollar spent on purchases that can be redeemed as statement credits. Businesses can also receive a $1,000 cash back bonus after spending $25,000 in purchases within three months of account opening. As far as business cash back cards go, this is a very sizable bonus. However, the required spending is very high in the context of other business credit cards.

CardBonus ValueRequired Spending
Wells Fargo Business Elite Card®$1,000$25,000
Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card$1,000$5,000
Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business$500$5,000

While a 1.5% cash-back rate is decent, the $75 annual rewards program enrollment fee makes this card hard to recommend, especially when there are a bevy of no-annual-fee cash back cards.

Comparing the Rewards Rate for Using the Wells Fargo Business Elite Credit Card as a Points Card and as a Cash Back Card

As a points card, the Wells Fargo Business Elite Card® earns 1 point for every dollar spent on all purchases. Businesses can also receive a 5,000-point bonus when they spend at least $10,000 in any monthly billing period. Wells Fargo rewards points can be redeemed for gift cards, merchandise, airline tickets and more. While the actual value of your points will vary based on how they are redeemed, we estimate these points are worth—on average—around 1 cent each. However, when you redeem your points online—as opposed to going through the call center—you'll receive a 10% rebate. This effectively means your points are worth 1.1 cents per point.

Businesses can also earn bonus points through the Wells Fargo Earn More Mall® program. When you make purchases with your Wells Fargo Business Elite Card®, you can earn more points through this shopping portal. There are currently 263 retailers in this program. Below we have included some of the deals that stood out.

Retailer

Points Per Dollar Spent
Expedia2
Avis4
Best Western5
Staples2

How Does the Wells Fargo Business Elite Card® Compare to Other Credit Cards?

We always recommend that you shop around when looking for a credit card for your business. Without doing so, it's nearly impossible to get a sense of how a card compares in the context of all business credit cards. Below, we have compared the Wells Fargo Business Elite Card® to some of our favorite small-business credit cards. Features like these are pretty standard among small-business credit cards.

Wells Fargo Business Elite Card® vs SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express

SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express
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We prefer the SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express over the Wells Fargo Business Elite Card® for businesses that spend less than $15,000 per year in purchases. Even accounting for the Wells Fargo Business Elite Card®'s higher cash-back rate, the $75 annual fee negates those higher rewards. However, even companies that spend more than $15,000 annually can get more value with the SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express if their spending is concentrated in the categories that earn 3% or 5% cash back. For many businesses, this will be the case because they'll get to choose which purchases they'd like to earn 3% cash back in for the first $50,000 spent per year. Businesses can choose from the following categories.

Categories
U.S. gas stations
U.S. restaurants
U.S. purchases for advertising in select media
U.S. purchases for shipping
Airfare purchased directly from airlines
Hotel rooms purchased directly from hotels
Car rentals purchased from select car rental companies
U.S. computer hardware, software and cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers

Highlights:

  • Earn 5% cash back on the first $50,000 spent on wireless telephone services purchased from U.S. service providers and U.S. office supply stores.
  • Earn 3% cash back on the first $50,000 in purchases from a list of eight categories and 1% cash back on other purchases.
  • Pay No Annual Fee.
  • SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express Review

The SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express is no longer available and has been replaced by the American Express® Blue Business Cash Card. The information related to the SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express has been collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Wells Fargo Business Elite Card® vs Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card
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The Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card is a great card for businesses that spend a lot on travel as well as a few other select business categories. It will make up for its higher annual fee of $95 if your business spends more than $890 per year in categories where it Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, Internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year. Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases - with no limit to the amount you can earn. Another area where the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card beats out the Wells Fargo Business Elite Card® is that its welcome bonus is far easier to get. You'll only have to spend $5,000 to get the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card's welcome bonus, which is five times less than the $25,000 spending requirement for the Wells Fargo Business Elite Card®'s bonus.

Highlights:

  • Receive an 80,000-point bonus worth $1,000 for making $5,000 in purchases within three months of account opening.
  • Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, Internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year. Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases - with no limit to the amount you can earn.
  • Pay an annual fee of $95.
  • Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card Review

Wells Fargo Business Elite Card® vs Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business

Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business
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Businesses that can charge more than $4,000 per year in purchases to their card will get better value with the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business than they would with the Wells Fargo Business Elite Card®. At this spending level, the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business's higher price tag—of $95 per year (waived for the first year)—will be worth it after accounting for its increased rewards earnings on all purchases.

Highlights:

  • 2% Cash Back for your business on every purchase, everywhere
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn up to $2,000 in cash bonuses. Earn a $500 cash bonus when you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months and earn $1,500 when you spend $50,000 in the first 6 months of your account opening.
  • Pay an annual fee $0 intro for first year; $95 after that.
  • Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business Review

Wells Fargo Business Elite Card® vs Wells Fargo Business Platinum Credit Card

Wells Fargo Business Platinum Credit Card
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The Wells Fargo Business Platinum Credit Card is the little brother of the Wells Fargo Business Elite Card®, and it's the better card for businesses with fewer than 100 employees. The Wells Fargo Business Platinum Credit Card features the same expense management tools as the Wells Fargo Business Elite Card® and has no rewards program enrollment fee. The caveat is that the number of employee cards you can get with the Wells Fargo Business Platinum Credit Card is 99—half the amount you can get with the Wells Fargo Business Elite Card®.

Highlights:

  • Enroll in either a cash-back rewards program or a points rewards program.
  • Get up to 99 employee cards with no additional fee.
  • No Annual Fee.

The information related to the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card has been independently collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Bailey is a Research Analyst at ValuePenguin, covering insurance. He graduated from Occidental College with a B.A. in Mathematics and a minor in Computer Science. Bailey's analysis has been featured by CNBC, the Houston Chronicle and the National Transportation Bureau Safety Board.

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).