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The Wells Fargo Cash Back® Card provides outstanding rewards for the first six months of cardmembership on gas, grocery, and drugstore purchases. Afterwards, the cash back rates nosedive, and become some of the lowest we’ve seen on any card. Therefore, this is not a good credit card to use for the long-term.
- Benefits & Features
- How Does The Wells Fargo Cash Back® Card Compare?
- How Does The Wells Fargo Cash Back® Card Perform Based On Your Budget?
Review: Our Thoughts On The Wells Fargo Cash Back® Card
The Wells Fargo Cash Back® Card does something unprecedented in the world of rewards credit cards: it offers an unlimited 5% cash back rate. The catch: you only get it during the first six months of opening your account. After this introductory period is up, the card will only earn you 1% cash back on all purchases, which is very low, and can be even outperformed by some credit cards for people with bad credit.
|Good For…||Bad For…|
|Big spenders who want to save on gas, grocery, and drugstore purchases in the next 6 months||Earning decent rewards in the long-term|
|Anyone with outstanding credit card debt, who wants to save on interest||Those looking for a credit card with a signup bonus|
If you are looking for a credit card that can be beneficial in the long-term, we suggest looking at other options. The Chase Freedom®, for example, can give you a 5% rate as well, though it’s limited to up to the first $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter. Still, on this and other rotating category cash back credit cards, the 5% rates are available to consumers every quarter, and every cardmember year. Therefore, though the Wells Fargo Cash Back® Card is better for consumers during the first six months, it loses its edge quickly after that.
The other thing to consider is that the Wells Fargo Cash Back® Card doesn’t have any welcome bonus. Most of our favorite credit cards give users an incentive to sign up, in the form of a welcome offer. Going back to the example of the Chase Freedom®, it offers $150 after you spend $500 within the first 3 months of account opening. This can close the gap between the unlimited 5% rewards of the Wells Fargo Cash Back® Card.
A noteworthy benefit of the card is its 15 month 0% APR intro period. If you have an outstanding credit card balance with another bank, you can move it over to this card, and you won’t have to pay any interest for the first 15 months your account is open. As we show below, this can save a sample consumer as much as $3,310. Though better balance transfer credit cards exist, only a handful come with introductory periods as long as this one.
Bottom Line: Despite its limitations and drawbacks, the Wells Fargo Cash Back® Card is still worth recommending. Even if you only use it during the first few months, it can save a decent amount of money. This is especially true for high spenders, who are frustrated with caps or low-rates on fixed rate cards.
Wells Fargo Cash Back Visa Benefits & Features
The Wells Fargo Cash Back credit card earns a fixed 5% rewards rate on every dollar spent on gas, grocery, and drugstore net purchases for the first six months. For the duration of this period, the rewards you earn are not capped in any way, which can be especially beneficial for big spenders. Everything that falls out of this scope gets users just 1% back.
Outside of rewards, the Wells Fargo Cash Back credit card can serve as a decent balance transfer credit card. You get 0% introductory APR for the first 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount you transfer, whichever is greater. This fee is on the lower-end of the spectrum – some credit cards charge upwards of 5% for this type of transaction.
Given a credit card debt of $16,048, an average APR of 17%, and $500 monthly payments, a consumer can stand to save $3,310 by transferring their balance over to the Wells Fargo Cash Back card. Normally, during the 15 month period, you would pay roughly $2,861 in interest.
Note that you do not earn any cash back rewards on balance transfers. As a matter of fact, only purchases will earn you any rewrds. That means interest charges, cash advances, foreign transaction fees, and the like do not qualify.
How Does The Wells Fargo Cash Back® Card Compare Against Other Credit Cards?
To give you a better understanding of why we evaluate the Wells Fargo Cash Back® Card the way we do, it's important to understand its place among other available options. In order to measure the value of a card, we examine it from an opportunity cost perspective. Since you can pay for a single purchase using one credit card, are you better of using the Wells Fargo Cash Back® Card or something else? We examine the answer to this question in each of the following comparisons.
Wells Fargo Cash Back® Card vs Wells Fargo Rewards Visa® Credit Card
The Wells Fargo Rewards Visa® Credit Card has a very similar reward structure to the Wells Fargo Cash Back® Card. You get five points per dollar spent on gas, groceries, and drugstores during the first six months, and one point per dollar after that. The major difference between the two cards is the form of the rewards – cash back versus points. You can use points as cash back, in which case there is no difference between the two cards. Each point is worth $0.01, so you walk away with the same rewards.
You also have the ability to use the points towards travel, though there their value becomes questionable. We spoke with Wells Fargo’s travel rewards center, who confirmed you can get anywhere from $0.01 to $0.015 per point. However, when you book flights, you will have to pay a $24 fee per ticket. This diminishes the value of redemptions. Overall, it still seems like the Wells Fargo Rewards Visa® Credit Card is the better choice, since in the very least, you can use the points for cash back, and get as much out of it as you would with the Wells Fargo Cash Back® Card.
Wells Fargo Cash Back® Card vs Chase Freedom®
Unlike the Wells Fargo Cash Back® Card, the Chase Freedom® provides 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. That means its 5% rewards rate is ongoing, for as long as you are a cardholder. Even though you experience a quarterly cap, over the long term, you are likely to make up for that deficit. A potential downside of a card like the Chase Freedom® is the rotating categories not fitting your spending profile. Because they change quarter-to-quarter and year-to-year, it may be difficult to predict whether your shopping needs will line up with the bonus categories.
Despite that, your likelihood of earning above average results is higher with the Chase Freedom®. If you wish to learn more about this card and what makes it one of our favorite, check out its review.
Wells Fargo Cash Back® Card vs Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express gives users 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%), and 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations. It also has an annual fee of $95 (See Rates & Fees). Again, like most reward credit cards, this card maintains these rates for as long as you are a cardmember in good standing. Therefore, while you won’t be able to initially match the gas savings you’d get through the Wells Fargo Cash Back® Card, that can be compensated for over a year or two.
In the short-term, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express offers individuals a welcome bonus – something the Wells Fargo card doesn’t do. The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express gives consumers $200 cash back after they spend at least $1,000 in purchases on the card within the first 3 months of membership.
For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, please click here.
Compare The Wells Fargo Cash Back® Card Based On Your Budget
If you want to get an idea how the Wells Fargo Cash back credit card compares to other credit cards in the long-term, you can use our interactive tool below. Enter your estimated monthly expenditures, and see how we value each card. It's important to note that this tool shows you the long-term rewards for each card, and does not factor in the Wells Fargo Cash Back credit card's initial 6 month boost.