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Wells Fargo Cash Back Visa® Card: Should You Apply?

Wells Fargo Cash Back® Card
This card is not available through ValuePenguin.

Wells Fargo Cash Back Visa® Card: Should You Apply?

A great card for the first 6 months, when you earn a 5% rate on gas, grocery, and drugstore purchases. Afterwards, it drops well below average.
Editor's Rating: 4.0/5.0

Editor's Rating

4.0/5.0

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.

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 monthsEarning decent rewards in the long-term
Anyone with outstanding credit card debt, who wants to save on interestThose 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.

Wells Fargo Cash Back® Card
Wells Fargo Cash Back® Card
This card is not available through ValuePenguin.
Annual Fee
No Annual Fee
Purchase APR
12.4% to 26.24% Variable
Credit Needed N/A
Details

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

Wells Fargo Rewards Visa® Credit Card
This card is not available through ValuePenguin.

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. 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.

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.

Assumptions Based On Monthly Spend of: $1,430 Edit
General:
U.S. Gas Stations:
U.S. Supermarkets:
Airlines:
Hotel:
U.S. Restaurants:
Office:
Utilities:
Computing:
Card Annual Fee 2-yr Net Rewards Rate

The Net Rewards Rate is equal to the Rewards Value over two years divided by the total spending. The total spending is equal to the values entered into the tool and multiplied by 24 months. See the rewards Value note to see details on how it is calculated.

The estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone. They are not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. All estimates are based on the spend assumptions entered above (which you can edit).

Bonus Value

The bonus field shows our estimate for the value of the card’s welcome bonus. If the bonus is point or mile based, we multiply the total bonus points/miles by our estimate for their value to arrive at a dollar equivalent. We display $0 if there is no bonus or if the user doesn’t qualify for the bonus based on the current spending entered into the tool. All estimates are based on the spend assumptions entered above (which you can edit).

The estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone. They are not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

2-yr Rewards Value

The Rewards value is calculated by adding together the rewards earned from charging purchases to the card over two years and any welcome bonuses (if applicable). They are then multiplied by our estimated point/mile value, with any annual fees (if applicable) subtracted. All values are based on our own estimates for the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using a card and on the spend assumptions entered above (which you can edit).

The estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone. They are not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Capital One® Quicksilver® Card
$0 1.94%
$150
Get $150 bonus after spending $500 within the first 3 months
$665
Graph Card Read Review More Details and Value Calculation

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 515 x $1 = $515
Bonuses
0 x $1 = $150
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 665

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee $0
APR 14.74% - 24.74% (Variable)

Card Details

  • One-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus, cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months; 14.74%-24.74% variable APR after that
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months; 14.74%-24.74% variable APR after that; 3% fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months
  • Pay no annual fee or foreign transaction fees

Note: The information in this box was provided by Capital One® and is not part of our independent analysis.

Chase Freedom®
$0 1.44%
$150
Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
$493
Graph Card Read Review More Details and Value Calculation

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 343 x $1 = $343
Bonuses
0 x $1 = $150
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 493

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee $0
APR 16.74% - 25.49% Variable

Card Details

  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.74-25.49%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
  • Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open and there is no minimum to redeem for cash back.
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
  • No annual fee
Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card
$39 1.27%
$0
$437
Graph Card Read Review More Details and Value Calculation

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 515 x $1 = $515
Less Annual Fees -$78
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 437

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee $39
APR 24.99% (Variable)

Card Details

  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • Earn cash rewards without signing up for rotating categories
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time
  • Monitor your credit profile with the CreditWise® app, free for everyone
  • $0 fraud liability if your card is ever lost or stolen
  • No limit to how much cash back you can earn, and cash back doesn't expire for the life of the account
  • Help strengthen your credit for the future with responsible card use
  • Get customized alerts and manage your account with the Capital One mobile app

Note: The information in this box was provided by Capital One® and is not part of our independent analysis.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
$95 2.46%
$200
Get $200 back after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. You will receive $200 back in the form of a statement credit.
$845
Graph Card Read Review More Details and Value Calculation

Terms and Limitations Apply

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Point Value Rewards Value
Spending Rewards 835 x $1 = $835
Bonuses
0 x $1 = $200
Less Annual Fees -$190
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 845

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee $95
APR 14.74%-25.74% Variable
*Rates and Fees

Card Details

  • $200 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%) - that means spending $60 a week at U.S. supermarkets could earn over $180 back per year.
  • 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores, 1% back on other purchases.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 14.74% to 25.74%.
  • Over 1.5 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in 2017.
  • Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be easily redeemed for statement credits, gift cards, and merchandise.
  • $95 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees

Comments and Questions

Opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed or endorsed by the issuer. We may be compensated through the issuer's Affiliate Program. For a full list of our advertisers see our disclosure page

* See the online credit card application for details about terms and conditions. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. However all credit card information is presented without warranty. When you click on the "Apply Now" button, you can review the credit card terms and conditions on the issuer's website.

Info about the following cards: American Express® Gold Card, Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express, Hilton Honors Surpass® Credit Card, American Express® Blue Sky, American Express® Green Card, The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express, The Plenti® Credit Card from Amex, Blue from American Express®, Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Mercedes-Benz, Bluebird, Centurion® Card from American Express, Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, and Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card has been collected independently by ValuePenguin. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.

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.

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.

Advertiser Disclosure: Some of the offers that appear on this website are from companies which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). The site does not review or include all companies or all available products. For more information please see our Advertiser Disclosure.