Card I Plan To Open In 2024: Wells Fargo Active Cash

When I chose the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card, I had to consider its main drawbacks:

  • High regular APR. Once your 0% APR period runs out, the regular 20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% Variable APR is pretty darn high.
  • High credit requirement. Wells Fargo doesn’t publish the required FICO score to apply for its cards, but we have it on good authority that you’ll need good or better credit (670+) to qualify. The Citi Double Cash® Card—which also offers 2% cash back on all purchases—1% when purchases are made and another 1% when they’re paid off—only requires Fair credit (580+) to qualify.
  • No transfer partners or bonus multipliers. This is the Active Cash card’s greatest drawback. You’ll be getting straight cash back—not points—so there’s no way to multiply their value beyond a penny each.
  • Foreign transaction fees. The card has a 3% foreign transaction fee, so its not a good choice if you plan to spend much time abroad.

I wasn’t too worried about the high regular APR and high credit requirement, but the fact that you earn cash back and not points sent me back to the drawing board. I had to redo some calculations to make sure the switch from the Freedom Unlimited to the Active Cash would make sense, because the former card has a major hidden perk that I’d be losing.

The Wells Fargo Active Cash Card Has To Compete With a Major Hidden Perk of the Chase Freedom Cards

2% cash back is undeniably better than 1.5% cash back.

But is it better than 1.5X Chase Ultimate Rewards® points?

Well, for the most part, still yes. Most of the redemption options for Chase Ultimate Rewards are worth a penny each, with the exception of a handful of travel transfers and select categories of Chase Pay Yourself Back.

However, if you also have the Chase Sapphire Reserve® or Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, you can move the Chase Ultimate Rewards® points you’ve earned using your Flex/Freedom onto your Sapphire Reserve/Sapphire Preferred by going to Chase Ultimate Rewards > Rewards Details > Combine Points. That way, you can redeem them for travel with a 1.5X / 1.25X bonus multiplier, respectively.

Combine your points

Chase Ultimate Rewards, photo by author

Since I already have the Sapphire Preferred, this means the Chase Ultimate Rewards points I earn using my Freedom Unlimited can be worth a total of 1.5 x 1.25 = 1.875 pennies each when redeemed for travel through Chase.

Close, but no cigar. 2% is still better, so it’s worth switching to the Active Cash.

But it just goes to show that you should always consider the maximum value of your points before switching to a cash back-only card.