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Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card Review

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At a Glance
wells fargo cash wise credit card
4.0 / 5
Rating

Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Credit Card

  • Sign-up Bonus: Earn a $200 cash bonus after spending $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months
  • Rewards: Unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases
  • Intro APR: 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months
  • Fees: 3% foreign transaction fee; greater of $5 or 3% balance transfer fee (intro for the first 12 months); greater of $10 or 5% cash advance fee
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Credit Needed: Good to excellent

Advertiser Disclosure: This post includes references to offers from our partners. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. However, the opinions expressed here are ours alone and at no time has the editorial content been provided, reviewed, or approved by any issuer.

The Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card is a cash back credit card with no annual fee and a solid rewards scheme that treats all spending equally. It also has a very nice introductory APR promotion, making it a great candidate for new cardholders seeking to transfer existing high-interest balances or finance large purchases shortly after opening their accounts. And its sign-up bonus is well above average for a no-annual-fee cash back card.

If you’re looking for a general-purpose cash back card, Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa Card is worth a closer look.

Key Features

Sign-up Bonus

You get a $200 cash bonus after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months.

Earning Cash Back Rewards

Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa Card earns an unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases. There are no category restrictions or periodic sign-up or activation requirements, and your accumulated cash back rewards don’t expire as long as your account remains open.

Redeeming Rewards

Once you accumulate at least $25 in cash back rewards, you can redeem for statement credits, paper checks, or Wells Fargo bank account deposits. There is an exception to the $25 threshold: If you have a Wells Fargo debit or ATM card, you can redeem at ATMs in $20 increments.

If you prefer non-cash redemptions, you can redeem at the Go Far Rewards portal for gift cards, merchandise purchases, and travel purchases (such as airfare and hotels). However, non-cash redemptions tend to have less value than cash redemptions.

Introductory APR

Cash Wise has a 12-month 0% APR promotion on purchases and balance transfers. The balance transfer rate applies to transfers made at any time during the promotional period.

Overdraft Protection for Wells Fargo Deposit Account Holders

Cash Wise comes with Wells Fargo’s overdraft protection service. This feature connects your Wells Fargo checking account with your credit card account, preventing checking account overdrafts. When you initiate a checking transaction that would normally cause an overdraft, Wells Fargo automatically covers the negative amount with a cash advance on your Cash Wise card’s available credit line.

Each transfer costs $12.50 if the total transfer is less than $50. Transfers greater than $50 cost $20. You’re not charged for multiple transfers on the same day, so $20 is the most you’ll pay for this privilege in any given 24-hour period. Keep in mind that the regular cash advance interest rate accrues on all overdraft protection transfers.

Important Fees

There is no annual fee to carry this card. The foreign transaction fee is 3%, and balance transfers cost the greater of $5 or 3% (for the first 12 months only, after which it goes up to the greater of $5 or 5%). Cash advances cost the greater of $10 or 5%, while late and returned payments both cost $37.

Additional Benefits

Cash Wise comes with a pretty nice lineup of additional benefits. These include:

  • Cell phone protection for costs incurred due to damaged or stolen cell phones, up to $600 per incident and $1,200 per year
  • Extended warranties on items with original warranties of 12 months or less
  • Travel inconvenience insurance, which reimburses for lost or damaged carry-on baggage

Credit Required

This card requires good to excellent credit.

Advantages

  1. No Annual Fee. Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa Card doesn’t charge an annual fee. That’s great news for light spenders who don’t accumulate cash back rewards quickly enough to offset recurring levies, and for moderate to heavy spenders who simply don’t want to dilute their rewards.
  2. Very Good Sign-up Bonus. This card has a very good sign-up bonus: $200 bonus cash when you spend at least $1,000 within the first 3 months. That’s a better deal than Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card, whose bonus is a relatively slim $100.
  3. Long Introductory APR Promotion. Cash Wise’s introductory purchase and balance transfer promotion lasts 12 months, which is longer than many cash back cards.
  4. No Rotating Categories. Cash Wise doesn’t have rotating spending categories that require activation or sign-up, meaning you don’t have to go out of your way to maximize your cash back earnings. One of the biggest knocks on popular cash back cards such as Discover it and Chase Freedom is the fact that they insist on requiring cardholders to manually activate their admittedly lucrative quarterly 5% cash back categories.
  5. No Penalty APR. This card has no penalty APR, which is a big deal for cardholders who occasionally miss payments due to unforeseen circumstances or lack of liquidity. Many comparable cards have penalty APRs that approach 30% and remain in force indefinitely.

Disadvantages

  1. Hard Cap on Cash Back Earning Rate. This card earns unlimited 1.5% cash back. That’s not terrible by any stretch, but it’s not particularly generous either. When competing cards such as Citi Double Cash offer higher rates of return, cardholders naturally wonder whether they’re getting the best possible deal.
  2. Minimum Redemption Threshold for Cash Redemptions. Cash Wise requires you to accumulate at least $25 in cash back rewards before you can redeem for statement credits, paper checks, or bank account deposits, and $20 before you can redeem at the ATM. Many competitors, including Chase Freedom Unlimited and Discover it, allow you to redeem in any amount – an important perk for lighter spenders.
  3. Has a Foreign Transaction Fee. Cash Wise tacks a 3% surcharge on every foreign transaction. This is a big drawback for people who travel abroad on a regular basis. If you’re a habitual overseas traveler, consider a travel rewards card that waives foreign transaction fees.

Final Word

There’s something about 1.5%. In the cash back credit card universe, it’s an increasingly common ratio for unlimited, non-category-specific cash back rewards: an apparent sweet spot between the mediocre 1% baseline and the generous 2% offered by Citi Double Cash and a handful of lesser-known cards.

The unlimited 1.5% cash back on the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card  – helped along by the bonus introductory rate on Android Pay™ and Apple Pay® purchases – is mighty attractive. However, 1.5% cash back is pretty common these days – Capital One Quicksilver, Capital One QuicksilverOne, and Chase Freedom Unlimited all offer the same deal, so it may be prudent to analyze all the various options and go with the one that fits you best.

Verdict
wells fargo cash wise credit card
4.0 / 5
Rating

Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Credit Card

The Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Credit Card is a good general-purpose cash back credit card that doesn’t care what you spend your money on – though it does offer a nice introductory incentive to finally join the mobile payments bandwagon. With no annual fee and no cash back earning caps, this is an ideal card for moderate and heavy spenders. However, it’s not ideal for people who travel out of country frequently, nor for people who concentrate their spending in a few categories without exceeding the spending caps that some category-specific cards (such as Chase Freedom) impose.

No annual fee, a great sign-up bonus, a long intro purchase and balance transfer APR, a solid introductory bonus on mobile wallet purchases, no activation requirements, and no penalty APR are all nice. The cash redemption threshold and foreign transaction fees all hurt. Overall, a good cash back card for general spending.

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Brian Martucci
Brian Martucci writes about frugal living, entrepreneurship, and innovative ideas. When he’s not interviewing small business owners or investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, he’s probably out exploring a new trail or sampling a novel cuisine. Find him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.

Comments Disclosure: The below 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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