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Wells Fargo Cash Back College Card: Should You Apply?

Wells Fargo Cash Back College Card

Wells Fargo Cash Back College Card: Should You Apply?

Not the best student credit card, but still a good option if you desperately want a card from Wells Fargo.
Editor's Rating: 4.0/5.0

Editor's Rating

4.0/5.0

The Wells Fargo Cash Back College Card isn't the best student credit card out there, but it's also far from the worst. College students who want their first credit card to be with Wells Fargo can apply for this product and get decent benefits—from low interest to cash back on every purchase. However, you should be aware that student cards from other issuers can be significantly better and lead to greater savings.

Review: Should You Apply for the Wells Fargo Cash Back College Card?

The Wells Fargo Cash Back College Card is a decent option for first-time credit card users, but it definitely isn't one of the best. Cards like the Discover it® Student Cash Back offer much better bang for your buck when it comes to earning rewards. You can generally get much higher cash back rewards with each purchase through other offers. That's not to say the Wells Fargo Cash Back College Card is without merit. The card provides 1% back on all purchases, and during the first 6 months, you also get 3% back on all gas, grocery and drugstore purchases. If you have a banking relationship with Wells Fargo, and want to get a credit card with them too, this card isn't a bad choice. However, consumers who don't mind going with another issuer should consider other options.

Good For…

Bad For…
Students who want a credit card with Wells FargoThose with no particular loyalty to Wells Fargo
Optimizers

While the 3% rewards rate on gas, grocery and drugstore purchases is a benefit, it's not as good as traditional credit card welcome bonuses. Top student credit cards can give you as much as $50 to $100 for signing up. For most students, that 3% rewards rate won't come close to matching these types of rewards.

Our main issue with this card is that it has no standout feature. If you're interested in 0% interest, Bank of America and Citibank student credit cards can provide you with longer zero-interest periods. If you'd rather use a card to earn miles or cash back, then Discover, Citi, Bank of America and even Capital One have better offers—all of which also have no annual fee. The Wells Fargo Cash Back College Card doesn't stand out from the rest of the pack, nor does it carve out any niche where it can provide an amazing value.

Bottom Line: The Wells Fargo Cash Back College Card is an average credit card option for students. It has some redeeming qualities, such as its 1% cash back and the promotional 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers. However, unless you're set on getting a card with Wells Fargo, there are plenty of better options to consider.

Wells Fargo Cash Back College Card Benefits & Features

The Wells Fargo Cash Back College Card offers limited cash back rewards and a low 0% introductory APR for the first six months of account opening. Cardholders get 3% back on gas, grocery and drugstore purchases for the first six months. After that, the card will award just 1% on all your spending. The 0% APR we mentioned applies to both purchases and balance transfer. After the promotional interest rate runs out, your regular APR will kick in, and it will be between 12.15% to 22.15%, depending on your creditworthiness.

Keep in mind that any balance transfer you perform with this card comes at a cost. During the first six months, you must pay either $5 or 3% of the amount of each balance transfer, whichever is greater. After that, the fee goes up to 5% for each balance transfer, with a minimum of $5.

Wells Fargo Cash Back College Card
Wells Fargo Cash Back College Card
Annual Fee
No Annual Fee
Purchase APR
12.15% - 22.15% Variable
Credit Needed N/A
Details
  • Low intro APR
  • 3% cash rewards on gas, grocery, drugstore for first 6 months, 1% cash rewards on virtually all other net purchases
  • Free access to Wells Fargo Online® credit education and tools

Wells Fargo also offers up credit card management apps that can be useful to first-time card users. If you're a student, this is likely the first credit card you've ever owned. My Spending Report and Budget Watch are part of Wells Fargo's Money Map suite of apps. The former is a powerful spending management app. Not only does it list where you're using the Wells Fargo Cash Back College Card, but it also generates graphs to help you better visualize your spending patterns. Budget Watch allows you to—among other things—create account alerts after you reach a certain spending threshold. This can help users who're worried about spending more than they can afford to.

To access any of these features, log into your Wells Fargo Online account and navigate to the Money Map feature on bank's website, and look under 'More' in the navigation bar.

How Does the Wells Fargo Cash Back College Card Compare to Other Credit Cards?

You should always take stock of all your options before you apply for a card. To help you with that, we compared the Wells Fargo Cash Back College Card to several leading student credit cards.

Wells Fargo Cash Back College Card vs Discover it® Student Cash Back

The Discover it® Student Cash Back is one of the absolute best student credit cards available right now. If you don't have any particular loyalty to Wells Fargo, we suggest you go with the Discover card. The main issue with Discover is that it may not be as widely accepted as Visa or Mastercard. However, that's becoming less true as more merchants start to take Discover cards.

The Discover it® Student Cash Back is recommended because it has a better rewards program. Users get 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent in bonus categories each quarter, when you activate. All other purchases give you just 1% back. Plus, at the end of your first cardmember year Discover will also double all the cash back you've earned. Most students will benefit more from this reward structure than that of the Wells Fargo Cash Back College Card.

Highlights

  • $20 statement credit each school year your GPA is 3.0 or higher for up to 5 years consecutive years.
  • Dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year.
  • Discover it® Student Cash Back Review

Wells Fargo Cash Back College Card vs Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®

The Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® is a better choice for students who always pay their balance in full. The card has a 1.25% cash back rate, anytime you pay your bill on time. In the long run, that's much better than the 1% rewards rate on the Wells Fargo Cash Back College Card. The card falters, however, when you look at its APR. The Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® has a 24.99% (Variable) interest rate. There's no 0% promotional offer and no range. With the Wells Fargo Cash Back College Card, you at least get 6 months of 0% APR. After that, your interest can be as low as 12.15%. However, this should not factor into your decision if you never carry a balance in the first place. If you trust yourself to always pay your bill in full, and manage your spending carefully, we recommend the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®.

Highlights

Wells Fargo Cash Back College Card vs Deserve® Edu Mastercard For Students

The Deserve® Edu Mastercard For Students should be your go-to option if you're an international student or have no social security number. This is one of the few credit cards that caters to the two aforementioned groups. The rewards on the Deserve® Edu Mastercard For Students are slightly worse than the other cards in the short term. You only ever get 1% back on all purchases. There is no 3% boost on gas, grocery and drugstore purchases like there is with the Wells Fargo Cash Back College Card. If you have a social security number, you should apply for the Wells Fargo card.

Highlights

Comments and Questions

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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.