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The Wells Fargo Home Rebate Visa® Card is an offbeat rewards credit card with no annual fee and a rewards program designed for Wells Fargo mortgage customers. Once the generous sign-up bonus period ends, the card earns cash back rewards at a moderate pace. The default (but not only) redemption option is to apply these rewards toward the cardholder’s Wells Fargo mortgage balance. Like Wells Fargo’s other rewards credit cards – including cash back rewards products such as Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa – the Home Rebate Visa permits cardholders to redeem for hard cash and a variety of non-cash rewards offered through the Go Far Rewards portal.
Despite its surprisingly versatile rewards program, the Wells Fargo Home Rebate Visa Card is available only to applicants with active Wells Fargo mortgages. In-process traditional mortgages and reverse mortgages are not eligible. Naturally, the active Wells Fargo mortgage requirement renders this card off-limits to most of the card-using population.
On the bright side, cardholders with very good credit can qualify for the Visa Signature version of Wells Fargo Home Rebate Visa, which has a nice slate of Visa-backed perks and benefits.
For the first 6 months your account is open, Wells Fargo Home Rebate Visa earns unlimited 5% rebates (cash back) on gas station, grocery store, and drugstore purchases. All other purchases earn unlimited 1% rebate during this period. Following the end of the 6-month intro period, gas station, grocery store, and drugstore purchases also earn unlimited 1% rebates.
Following the sign-up bonus period, this card earns unlimited 1% rebates on all purchases.
Once you accumulate at least $25 in rebates, Wells Fargo automatically applies them to your Wells Fargo mortgage principal.
However, if you prefer, you can request a paper check or redeem your rebates for non-cash items at the Go Far Rewards portal. Go Far Rewards redemption options include travel (such as airfare and hotels), gift cards, and general merchandise. However, non-cash and non-mortgage redemptions are generally less valuable than cash and mortgage redemptions, so it’s best to resist the temptation to redeem at the Go Far Rewards portal. The one exception is airfare redemptions, whose value can exceed that of cash and mortgage redemptions.
This card comes with a 15-month 0% APR promotion on purchases and balance transfers, with the balance transfer rate applicable to transfers made at any time during the promotional period.
Overdraft Protection for Wells Fargo Deposit Account Holders
You don’t need a Wells Fargo checking account to open this card. However, if you have one, you can take advantage of Wells Fargo’s overdraft protection service. This service connects your Wells Fargo Home Rebate Visa Card account to your Wells Fargo checking account to prevent checking account overdrafts. If you attempt a checking transaction that would normally result in a negative balance, Wells Fargo automatically covers the negative amount with a cash advance on your credit card (if you have sufficient available credit).
On transfers totaling less than $50, or multiple transfers totaling less than $50 on the same day, the fee is $12.50. For transfers totaling more than $50, including multiple transfers on the same day, the fee is $20. The regular cash advance interest rate accrues to all overdraft transfers from day one.
This card does not charge an annual fee. However, it does come with a 3% foreign transaction fee. Balance transfers cost the greater of $5 or 3% during the 15-month introductory APR period, and cost the greater of $5 or 5% thereafter. Cash advances cost the greater of $10 or 5% from day one, while late and returned payments both cost $37.
Wells Fargo Home Rebate Visa has some useful Visa-backed benefits:
- Travel inconvenience insurance
- Emergency card replacement
- Complimentary car rental insurance (loss and damage coverage)
- Extended warranties on items with original warranties of 12 months or less
The Visa Signature version has additional benefits:
- Purchase security – repair, replacement, or reimbursement for items lost within 90 days of purchase due to weather, theft, fire, water, and vandalism
- Price protection, which reimburses the difference when you find a lower-priced identical item within 60 days of purchase
This card requires good to excellent credit.
- No Annual Fee. Wells Fargo Home Rebate Visa has no annual fee, so there’s no penalty for keeping it in your wallet as a backup credit card.
- Very Good Sign-up Bonus. If you spend heavily in the categories it favors – gas, groceries, and drugstores – this card’s unlimited 5% sign-up bonus can be extremely lucrative. For instance, say you spend $15,000 across all 3 categories within the 6-month bonus window – certainly possible if you drive a lot and have several hungry mouths to feed. You’ll earn $750 toward your mortgage’s principal, an undoubtedly hefty break further magnified by the fact that paid-down balance won’t accrue interest in future months.
- Long Intro APR Period. This card’s 15-month APR period matches the introductory purchase and balance transfer promotions offered by some low APR cards for which juicy intro periods are key selling points, such as the Chase Slate Credit Card.
- Default Redemption Option Is Simple. This is definitely a “set it and forget it” credit card. If you’re okay with the default redemption option – rebates paid toward your mortgage principal – then you don’t have to do anything to receive your rewards. Every time you reach $25 or more in rewards, Wells Fargo knocks the corresponding amount off your principal.
- No Penalty APR. Wells Fargo Home Rebate Visa has no penalty APR, which is great news for cardholders who occasionally miss payments due to liquidity issues or unforeseen expenses.
- Cardholders Must Have Wells Fargo Mortgages. This card’s biggest drawback is definitely the requirement that prospective cardholders have Wells Fargo mortgages. While Wells Fargo is one of the largest banks around, only a small minority of homeowners are also Wells Fargo mortgage customers. Moreover, this card isn’t generous enough to entice prospective homebuyers to choose Wells Fargo over other lenders with better mortgage rates and terms, as better loans’ savings are likely to dwarf what even heavy-spending cardholders can earn here. Basically, if you’re already a Wells Fargo mortgage customer, this is a useful card – but if you’re not, you can safely ignore it.
- Ongoing Rewards Are Mediocre. Once the unimpeachably generous sign-up bonus period ends, this card’s ongoing rewards-earning rate – an unlimited 1% on all spending – is decidedly mediocre. Depending on your spending habits, it may actually be worthwhile to discontinue using this card after the sign-up period ends and putting the rewards reaped from a more generous card – such as Chase Freedom or Discover it, which both have rotating 5% cash back categories, or Chase Freedom Unlimited, which offers unlimited 1.5% cash back – toward your mortgage principal.
- $25 Minimum Redemption Threshold. Wells Fargo Home Rebate Visa’s $25 minimum redemption threshold can be problematic for infrequent card users, who may take months to reach redemption. Many competing rewards cards allow you to redeem at any time, in any amount.
- High Foreign Transaction Fee. This card has a 3% foreign transaction fee – a major disadvantage for frequent overseas travelers, since it more than negates the unlimited 1% earning rate.
If you’re in the process of buying a house, a new credit card is probably not the first thing on your mind. Instead, you’re occupied with last-minute calculations of the costs of renting versus buying, concentrating your home search in the right town or neighborhood, and trying to estimate the damage from your closing costs.
However, if you’re looking at Wells Fargo to finance your home purchase, you’d do well to keep the Wells Fargo Home Rebate Visa® Card in the back of your mind. Don’t choose a mortgage with higher interest rates or less favorable terms simply because its issuer also offers a mortgage rebate credit card, of course. But if your decision comes down to two identical loans offered by Wells Fargo and a competitor, this card could be the determining factor to choose Wells Fargo.