Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa Card Review

Aug 1, 2016

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Earlier this summer, Wells Fargo expanded its lineup of cash-back credit cards with the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card. We recently took a look at another card from the issuer, the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card, and today we’ll dive into the specifics on this cash-back option.

The flat 1.5% cash back on all net purchases immediately brings to mind the Chase Freedom Unlimited Card, and we’ll get into the two cards’ similarities and differences later. Another feature that stands out: an elevated cash-back bonus for purchases made through Google Pay and Apple Pay.

Wells Fargo also launched a feature called Cash Track, which is currently exclusive to this card, to help you keep track of your cash-back earnings. Available through the online banking website, this tool lets you view current rewards, set a rewards goal, redeem cash back and more.

Is it worth it?

Part of the appeal of mobile wallets like Google Pay and Apple Pay is the ability to leave your physical credit cards behind and simply use your smartphone as a payment method. Last year, Discover offered a 10% cash-back bonus on Apple Pay transactions, but beyond that we haven’t seen too many issuers offer any incentive for customers to use one of these services.

Just because the Google Pay and Apple Pay bonus of 1.8% cash back for the first 12 months (20% more than the flat 1.5% return on all other purchases) is unique doesn’t mean it’s necessarily your best option, though. Consider the Chase Freedom Unlimited Card, which also offers 1.5% cash back on all purchases. If you also hold an Ultimate Rewards-earning card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Chase Ink Plus Business Card, you can redeem that cash back in the form of Ultimate Rewards points, which brings the return up to 3.15% based on TPG’s valuations.

If you use Apple Pay (or Android Pay) with your Wells Fargo Cash Wise Card, you'll get 1.8% cash back.
If you use Apple Pay (or Google Pay) with your Wells Fargo Cash Wise Card, you’ll get 1.8% cash back.

Of course, that assumes that you want to redeem your rewards in the form of points with one of the Ultimate Rewards program’s transfer partners — if you’d prefer straight cash back, though, you also have other solid options. The Citi Double Cash Card earns you 1% cash back when you buy and 1% cash back as you pay, for a total of up to 2% cash back. And while you can redeem rewards from the Chase Freedom Card (No longer open to new applicants) as Ultimate Rewards points provided you also hold a UR point-earning card, you can choose to simply earn cash back — and if you can maximize the quarterly bonus categories, you’ll be getting a return of 5%. Also consider other cards that earn category bonuses — various options can get you a better return on grocery purchases, gas purchases and more. And don’t forget that the 1.8% cash back offer on Google Pay and Apple Pay purchases is only good for the first 12 months, so the card offers 1.5% on all purchases after your first year.

One final benefit worth mentioning is cellular telephone protection, which is available to all Wells Fargo cardholders. If you pay your cell phone bill with this or any other Wells Fargo card and your phone is damaged or stolen, you’ll be covered for up to $600 per occurrence. This is definitely a neat perk, and it could make this card worth considering if you don’t have another of the issuer’s cards and think there’s a chance you’ll need to take advantage of this coverage.

Bottom Line

The Wells Fargo Cash Wise Card doesn’t blow other cash-back cards out of the water, even though its offer of 1.8% back on Google Pay and Apple Pay transactions for the first 12 months is unique. You can earn a better return with several other cards, both in the form of cash back and as transferable points. If you’re a Wells Fargo customer and you value features such as the cell phone insurance and the Cash Track tool, this could be a good choice, but if you’re looking for the best option in terms of return on spending, make sure to shop around.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Will you be applying for this card?


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