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, with the exception of certain mobile wallet payments made within the first 12 months of account opening. 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.
You get a $200 cash bonus after spending $1,000 within the first 3 months. Additionally, you get accelerated cash back earnings on certain purchases during the first 12 months of card membership. Specifically, Apple Pay® and Android Pay™ purchases earn unlimited 1.8% cash back throughout that period. This equates to a 20% bonus on cash back earned through Apple Pay® and Android Pay™ purchases.
Earning Cash Back Rewards
Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa Card earns an unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases, except Apple Pay® and Android Pay™ purchases during the sign-up bonus period. Once the sign-up bonus period ends, Apple Pay® and Android Pay™ purchases earn 1.5% as well. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
This card requires good to excellent credit.
- 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.
- 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.
- Long Introductory APR Promotion. Cash Wise’s introductory purchase and balance transfer promotion last 12 months, which is longer than many cash back cards. In fact, it’s equivalent to cards designed especially for interest-free purchase financing and/or balance transfers, including the ever-popular Chase Slate. Of course, Slate doesn’t offer unlimited 1.5% cash back.
- Nice Introductory Cash Back Earning Rate. During the first 12 months of card membership, Cash Wise gives you a very good reason to sign up for and add your card to Apple Pay® or Android Pay™. The 1.8% cash back rate on mobile payments during this period effectively boosts cash back earnings by 20%. To put that in perspective, if you spend $10,000 on Apple Pay® or Android Pay™ within 12 months of opening your account, you turn what would normally be $150 in cash back earnings into $180.
- 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.
- 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.
- Sign-up Bonus Relies on Mobile Payment Technology. Part of the Cash Wise sign-up bonus – the 1.8% cash back earning rate on purchases made with Android Pay™ and Apple Pay® – is dependent on the cardholder’s access to these two mobile wallet technologies. More merchants accept Android Pay™ and Apple Pay® by the day, but neither is anywhere near ubiquitous, nor likely to be so in the near future. If you frequent merchants that have yet to make the switch, you may struggle to get your money’s worth out of this card’s seemingly attractive sign-up bonus.
- 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.
- 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.
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.