See breakdown of this card’s rating
Updated: Wells Fargo recently launched a new line of rewards cards (the Propel cards) and a new cash-back card (Cash Wise) that aren’t reviewed in the article below.
If you bank with Wells Fargo, you might have been offered the Wells Fargo Rewards Visa® card. It’s part of the Wells Fargo Rewards program – and has some important fine print to be aware of when it comes to the advertised 5X bonus categories.
The most important thing to be aware of is this: The card offers 5X bonus earnings on gas, grocery and drugstore purchases (and 1X on everything else) – for the first 6 months only. After that, you’ll earn 1X rewards on everything. So, while getting 5 times the rewards in some common spending categories is alluring, you won’t be getting it forever. See the below screen shot from Wells Fargo’s site:
This temporary bonus period is an anomaly among cards, so if you shop around, you’ll find other products that give you sustainable bonus categories. Some cards let you earn 5X back on rotating categories year round. Other cards offer permanent bonus categories, and while they may not be 5X on earnings, they may be more lucrative if you have the card for many years.
Knowing how many points you earn per dollar is only part of the rewards equation. You also need to know how much your points are worth when you cash them in. Fortunately, Wells Fargo has done much to improve its rewards program with Go Far™ Rewards – the portal you’ll visit to transform your rewards points into cash back, travel, gift cards and more. You can also redeem rewards in increments of 2,000-point increments.
For cash-back redemptions and gift cards, you’ll generally get 1 cent per point, which is standard across the industry. If you have the Visa Signature version of this card, you can get a better value on airline ticket redemptions, because your points are worth 50 percent more if you redeem through the Go Far™ Rewards portal. For example, to redeem for a $500 airfare, you’d need only 33,333 points instead of 50,000. Remember, though, you have to book your airfare via the Wells Fargo Go Far™ Rewards portal, which restricts your flexibility somewhat (especially if you like to shop around on bargain travel sites).
Are there any special benefits?
This card has the standard Visa travel and purchase protection suite, which is now run-of-the-mill on most no-annual-fee cards. However, it does have something most other cards don’t have – cellular phone protection (against theft and damage). To get this protection, pay your bill with your card, and you’re covered for up to $600 ($25 deductible).
That means your Wells Fargo rewards card is essentially nothing more than your typical 1% rebate card. With such low rewards, it’s hard to be that excited about it. But, if you’re building credit and bank with Wells Fargo, this could be a good starter card.
Interest rates and fees?
There’s no annual fee, and the APR is variable, based on your credit health. So, if you qualify at the upper part of the APR range, this may not be a card to carry a balance on.
This card is a good starter rewards card. However, if you have options, this card is essentially a 1 percent cash-back card (after the bonus intro period), and there are plenty of other cards that offer more – including some of Wells Fargo’s higher-tier cards, like the Cash Wise card and the Propel cards.
Why we gave it 3 out of 5 stars
While this card is sometimes referred to as a cash-back card, it advertises that you earn points in the Wells Fargo Go Far™ program, which has many redemption options. So we evaluated it based on our standards for Flexible Rewards Programs.
While this may be a good starter card for Wells Fargo customers with less-than-great credit, it’s a lukewarm rewards card overall. We docked it two stars for its temporary 5X categories and lack of bonus opportunities throughout the life of the card.
|Rewards-earning rate: To get this star, a no-annual-fee card must offer at least 1X on all spending and at least 2X points in at least one bonus category. Because this card’s bonus categories expire after 6 months, we did not rewards a star.|
|Rewards value: This card meets our requirements for this star by offering at least one redemption option that guarantees a 1-cent-per-point value (cash back, gift cards and travel)|
|Unique perks: This card offers cellphone protection, which is rare among credit cards, and the ability to redeem rewards as cash via the ATM.|
|Fair annual fee: The card has no annual fee|
|Bonus opportunities: After the first six months, there aren’t any notable bonus opportunities with this card.|
This review was written or last updated August 2016