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Credit Cards

Wells Fargo to launch new, no-annual-fee card with 2% cash back on purchases and a $200 welcome bonus

Wells Fargo is launching a competitive credit card that earns 2% cash back on purchases.

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New York, New York, USA - August 26, 2020: A Wells Fargo bank branch in Manhattan.
wdstock | iStock Editorial | Getty Images
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Wells Fargo is trying to become a bigger competitor in the credit space with the launch of its new Active CashSM Card. The Active Cash Card, which launches in July and has no annual fee, offers a generous 2% cash back on purchases, a $200 welcome bonus (if you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months from the date your account is opened) and a 15 month 0% APR introductory period on purchases and balance transfers (then, a variable APR of 14.99% 19.99% or 24.99%).

While Wells Fargo has long dominated the debit card space, the launch of the Active Cash Credit Card is a sign that the bank plans on revamping itself to compete with more formidable credit card issuers such as Chase, Citi and American Express. According to a 2020 J.D. Power Credit Card Satisfaction Study, Wells Fargo was ranked eighth in customer satisfaction for credit card issuers, well behind competitors like American Express and Bank of America.

"For a long time we were punching below our weight in the credit-card space," Krista Phillips, head of marketing, product, and loyalty at Wells Fargo, said Tuesday in a Bloomberg TV interview. "We're focusing on not just reestablishing our brand but giving customers products of value that they can't find anywhere else."

The Active Cash Credit Card provides an alternative to the Citi® Double Cash Card 一 a credit card that also offers 2% cash-back (1% when you purchase and 1% when you pay) but without the welcome bonus. The Active Cash Credit Card also offers unique perks such as cell phone protection if you use the card to pay your cell phone bill. 

Citi® Double Cash Card

On Citi's secure site
  • Rewards

    2% cash back: 1% on all eligible purchases and an additional 1% after you pay your credit card bill

  • Welcome bonus

    No current offer

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    0% for the first 18 months on balance transfers; N/A for purchases

  • Regular APR

    13.99% - 23.99% variable on purchases and balance transfers

  • Balance transfer fee

    3%, minimum $5

  • Foreign transaction fee

    3%

  • Credit needed

    Good/Excellent

See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • 2% cash back on all purchases
  • Simple cash-back program that doesn't require activation or spending caps
  • One of the longest intro periods for balance transfers at 18 months

Cons

  • No welcome bonus, so you can’t maximize rewards during the first few months of card opening
  • Minimum cash-back redemption of $25
  • 3% fee charged on purchases made outside the U.S.
  • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year: $443
  • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years: $2,213

The new card is a great option for people seeking cash back on all of their purchases and for those who don't have the time to understand complex rewards programs. Furthermore, if you don't spend more money in certain categories, or just don't want to keep track of the myriad of bonus categories that many cards offer, the flat 2% cash-back on purchases could be a good option for you. 

"I think when deciding whether a new credit card may be a good fit for you, the first step is reviewing your own spending for the last several months to understand whether your spend is concentrated in a few categories or spread out across a variety of categories," says Roger Ma, a certified financial planner at lifelaidout® and author of "Work Your Money, Not Your Life. "For spending that is concentrated in a few categories, like restaurants and travel, a rewards card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Reserve could make sense."

The cash rewards can be redeemed as a statement credit, through a Wells Fargo ATM by using a Wells Fargo debit or ATM card, as a direct deposit into a Wells Fargo savings or checking account or as a paper check. If you're an avid international traveler this card might not be your best option as there's a 3% foreign transaction fee.

If you're interested in exploring other 2% cash-back credit cards, there are other options like the Citi Double Cash, but they may not come with the unique perks offered by the Active Cash Credit Card such as a sign-on bonus or cell phone protection. The Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card and the PayPal Cashback Mastercard® don't offer a 0% introductory APR period on balance transfers or purchases and both require that cash-back rewards be deposited into accounts associated with their respective companies.

Information about the Active CashSM Card and Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card has been collected independently by Select and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.