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The Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® card is a highlight of Wells Fargo’s rewards card lineup and one of the better no-annual-fee cash-back cards on the market. In addition, it earns an introductory 1.8% cashback rate on qualified digital-wallet purchases and an unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on purchases in all other categories.
- 1.8% cash rewards on qualified digital wallet purchases, like Apple Pay® or Google Pay™, during the first 12 months from account opening
- Unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on purchases
The card provides up to $600 of damage or theft insurance for your cell phone, has a $150 cash rewards bonus, offers a 0% intro APR on purchases and qualifying balance transfers for 15 months from account opening (after you'll pay a 14.49%-24.99% Variable rate), and gives you a free FICO Score 9 Experian Credit Score—all without charging an annual fee!
It’s not all roses for the Cash Wise Visa. While you score a great introductory APR on purchases and qualifying balance transfers, you need to pay a balance transfer fee (3% for 120 days from account opening, then up to 5%) to take advantage of the intro APR rate when transferring from another card, there’s also a $20/25 minimum redemption value for cash back rewards, and you’ll be slugged a 3% foreign transaction fee when making purchases overseas.
Taken at face value, the Cash Wise Visa doesn’t offer the same value as a straight 2% cash back card like the Citi® Double Cash Card, but it’s when you look behind the scenes that things start to get interesting. Much like Chase’s Freedom cards, the Cash Wise Visa is marketed as a cash back card, and while on its own is exactly that, it has the power to effectively convert that cash to points in the Wells Fargo Go Far Rewards program, if you have a rewards-earning Go Far Rewards card.
What isn’t common knowledge, is you can transfer that cash back to anyone for free, and if that account holds a Wells Fargo Visa Signature® Card, your cash converts to points that you can redeem for 1.5¢ per point towards airfare!
When you consider that neither card charges an annual fee, you’re effectively getting the same fixed-value redemption value on flights as the Chase Freedom Unlimited® – Chase Sapphire Reserve® combo (earn at 1.5x on non-bonus spend – redeem at 1.5¢ per point for travel), without the $550 price tag! More on this later.
Cash Wise Visa Welcome Bonus
The Cash Wise Visa earns a $150 cash rewards bonus after spending $500 on purchases in the first 3 months. When you have cards on the market offering 50K, 80K, or even 100K point welcome bonuses, a $150 cash rewards bonus can appear a little underwhelming. However, for a no-annual-fee cash-back card, a $150 bonus after just $500 spent is a first-rate welcome offer, particularly when you factor in other benefits like the cell phone protection. If you were to transfer the $150 cash rewards bonus to an account that holds the Wells Fargo Visa Signature, you could redeem them at 1.5¢ per point for $225 towards flights!
Cash Wise Visa Points Earning & Redeeming Potential
The Cash Wise Visa features an introductory 1.8% cash back on qualified digital-wallet purchases for the first 12 months. The intro deal includes purchases made with major digital wallets like Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay, so you’ll receive 1.8x Go Far Rewards points for every dollar when you pay using the digital wallet on your cell phone or smartwatch. You can find more details about the included digital wallets here. All other purchases earn 1.5% cash back across the board, with no cap on the number of points you can earn.
As a standalone card, you can redeem cash back earned on the Cash Wise Visa in increments of $25 online or via phone, or in increments of $20 when you use a debit card at a Wells Fargo ATM. If you transfer the Go Far Rewards points earned with the Cash Wise Visa to an account that holds the Wells Fargo Visa Signature, those points can be redeemed for 1.5¢ per point towards airfare.
If you’re earning at 1.5x for all purchases and redeeming at 1.5¢ per point towards airfare, you’re getting 2.25% return on your everyday spend, beating the earlier comparison of 2% cash back. If you factor in the intro 1.8x earning rate on qualified digital-wallet purchases, you’re getting a 2.7% return towards airfare, with no annual fee attached.
If you spend over $50K on the Wells Fargo Visa Signature per year, your fixed-rate redemption value climbs to a mammoth 1.75¢ per point, which means the 1.5% cash back effectively becomes a 2.625% return on everyday spend, and 1.8% translates into 3.15% back towards airfare!
Cash Wise Visa Feature Benefits
As a no annual fee rewards card, the list of benefits isn’t as long or packed with features as some of its premium competitors, but cardholders receive a few standout perks worth mentioning.
- Unlimited 1.5% Cash Back – While many rewards cards cap the cash back you can receive, this one allows you to earn unlimited cash back rewards every year.
- Intro 1.8% Cash Back on Digital-Wallet Purchases – Earn an additional 20% rewards for the first 12 months on qualified digital-wallet payments.
- Cell Phone Protection – Pay your monthly cell phone bill with your Cash Wise Visa, and you’re protected in the case of damage or theft for up to $600 (with a $25 deductible).
- Free FICO Score 9 Experian Credit Score – Monitor your FICO score free of charge.
- No Annual Fee – There are only so many annual fees you can pay each year before the points and miles hobby becomes unsustainable. This card charges no annual fee, freeing up your out of pocket cash for premium cards with top-tier perks.
Similar to Chase’s 5/24 policy and other bank restrictions on new card applications, Wells Fargo credit card applications include some specific rules and restrictions you should be aware of before applying for a new rewards card.
- One card every 6 months – The T&C’s state you may not qualify for more than one card in a six month period:
“You may not qualify for an additional Wells Fargo credit card if you have opened a Wells Fargo credit card in the last 6 months.”
- One bonus offer per 15 months – You’ll only qualify for the introductory or bonus offers on Wells Fargo cards once every 15 months:
“Eligibility for introductory rate(s), fees, and bonus rewards offers
You may not be eligible for introductory annual percentage rates, fees, and/or bonus rewards offers if you opened a Wells Fargo Credit Card within the last 15 months from the date of this application, and you received introductory APR(s), fees, and/or bonus rewards offers, even if that account is closed and has a $0 balance.”
As a standalone cash back card, there are other offers available that can produce better returns. But when you factor in the ability to transfer to a Go Far Rewards points earning card from the Cash Wise Visa to another account free of charge, and redeem them for a higher value towards flights, this card combo becomes a viable alternative to the Freedom Unlimited – Sapphire Reserve combo for folks over 5/24, or if you primarily redeem for domestic or cheap economy airfares. The $600 cell phone protection is best in class for a no annual fee card, and the free FICO score is a handy tool for those that like to keep a close eye on their credit profile.
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