About Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa Card

By J.R. Duren
HighYa Staff Published on: Jul 7, 2017

Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa Card rarely comes up in conversations about the best cash-back rewards cards on the market.

However, after doing research of our own on the card’s benefits and perks, we believe there’s a lot more value in this card than you think. With a substantial cash bonus and a decent cash-back rewards rate, the card could be a great option for you.

What we’re going to do in the next few minutes we have together is help you see this card in both a short-term and long-term perspective. We want you to see the Wells Fargo Cash Wise for what it is. To achieve that, we’re going to help you understand the following aspects of this cash rewards card:

  • First-year benefits
  • Long-term benefits
  • Rates and fees
  • Expert and consumer reviews

At the end of our credit card reviews, we like to sum things up by giving you a quick list of the cards pros and cons, followed by a few paragraphs on who we think might be a great fit for this credit card.

The Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa’s First-Year Benefits

The great thing about credit cards is that they offer you two sets of benefits: the stuff that helps you the first year and the stuff that helps you in the second year and beyond.

Ideally, you’d find a credit card that keeps you happy over the long run and not just in the first 12 months.

Will the Cash Wise be that card? Let’s take a look at the first-year rewards and find out.

$200 Cash Bonus

A common characteristic of the cash-rewards card is a cash bonus you get when you hit a certain amount of spending within the first 90 days of owning the card.

Wells Fargo will give Cash Wise customers a $200 cash bonus if they can spend $1,000 in the first three months of owning the card.

That, in our opinion, is a pretty easy goal to hit because it requires you spend about $333 a month. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average household has a monthly budget of more than $4,000, so there’s plenty of room there to make credit-card purchases.

Remember, though, the three-month timer starts the day you’re approved for the card, not the day you get it in the mail.

Wells Fargo’s fine print says it will take between 1-2 billing periods (usually 30-60 days) to show up in your account. Once the bonus is there, you can redeem it for cash or apply it to your credit card balance.

0% APR for the First 12 Months

For the first 12 months that you own the Cash Wise, you won’t be charged any interest on purchases you make.

What this means is that any purchases you make for the first year of owning your card won’t be hit with any interest. Once the first year is over, you’ll be charged interest on any remaining balance from the first year along with any future purchases.

Many consumers like to use these types of offers to make a big purchase and then pay it off in chunks until the end of the 0% APR period. While this certainly spreads out your payments, it’s wise to only make purchases you need and not necessarily buy things you want just because there won’t be any interest for a few months.

1.8% Cash Rewards Rate for First 12 Months

The Wells Fargo Cash Wise has a regular cash rewards rate of 1.5% (more on that later), but for the first 12 months of owning your card you’ll get a 20% bonus when you make purchases with your card through Apple Pay and Android Pay. At the time of publishing, this offer didn’t include Samsung Pay.

The Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa’s Long-Term Benefits

We consider long-term benefits to be any benefit that lasts beyond the first year. In the case of this card, you’ve got several different long-term benefits.

1.5% Cash Back on Purchases

As we mentioned earlier, the Wells Fargo Cash Wise gives you 1.5% cash back on any purchases you make during the first year and after. The only exception is the 1.8% you get on Apple Pay and Samsung Pay purchases the first year.

Basically, cash back works like this. You buy, let’s say, a TV for an even $1,000, which, at a 1.5% rate, is $15.

That $15 is then credited to your account within one or two billing cycles of when the purchase was made. In other words, you’ll have a constant stream of rewards dollars coming in three months into owning the card.

Another way to earn bonuses on the money you spend is to make purchases through Wells Fargo’s Earn More Mall. Their mall is an online shopping portal where you can buy merchandise from popular stores. Some of those stores will earn you cash rewards above and beyond 1.5% – 3% , 4, and 5% bonuses are not unheard of.

You can redeem those points one of four ways:

  • As cash via ATM withdrawals in increments of $20
  • As a statement credit
  • Direct deposit into a savings or checking account
  • To apply to your mortgage’s principal balance

We think the last option here is pretty incredible – and unique – because even just a few hundred dollars toward your mortgage can save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars of interest over the life of your home loan.

In that sense, there are few cash-rewards credit cards on the market today with a more lucrative offer.

The only drawback? You have to curb your hunger for instant gratification – you won’t get any cash in hand or deposited into a savings or checking account. Using rewards for your mortgage is a very long-term strategy.

According to Wells Fargo’s fine print, these points never expire as long as your account is open. And, there are no caps on how many points you can earn in a quarter.

Cell Phone Protection

One of the cool things about the Cash Wise – although not unique – is the cell phone protection you get whenever you pay your monthly cell bill with your Cash Wise card.

If you do that, then you’ll be protected against damage and theft for up to $600. In order to get a replacement, you’ll need to pay a $25 deductible.

Some of the fine print associated with this feature is:

  • Max of two claims per year
  • Max of $1,200 in insurance payouts per year
  • Lost cell phones are not covered.
  • Rented, borrowed or pre-paid phones are not cover

There are a few other restrictions and details, so make sure you read through the complete cell phone protection guide that Wells Fargo provides. You can also call 1-800-642-4720.

Rental Car Coverage and Zero Liability

As a Cash Wise cardholder, you’ll get rental car insurance anytime you pay for your rental with your Cash Wise card.

Also, you won’t be responsible for any unauthorized charges made to your card.

Both of these benefits are practically universal in the credit card world, but we wanted to list them here so you’re aware of them.

The Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa’s Rates and Fees

Every credit card comes with a specific set of rates and fees that you’ll be charged if you pay late or don’t pay your balance in full every month.

  • APR: 13.99%-25.99%, based on your credit score
  • Annual fee: None
  • Balance transfer fee: 3% first year, 5% after
  • Foreign transaction fee: 3%
  • Late/returned payment: Up to $37
  • Overdraft fee: $12.50 or $20, depending on amount transferred

The Cash Wise’s low-end APR is on par with the best cash back rewards cards, while its high-end APR is higher than all six cards we reviewed in our Best Cash Back Rewards Card of 2017.

The card’s overdraft fee is unique to credit cards offered by banks because banks will allow you to link your card to a checking account. If you overdraw the account, then they transfer money from your credit card to make sure you have enough cash in the account.

Expert and Consumer Reviews of the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa

When we read through some reviews of the Cash Wise Visa from sites other than HighYa, we found ratings to be average or slightly above average. Several sites said the card is a good option for cash back rewards, while one mentioned that there are better cash rewards cards out there.

Consumers said they were surprised by the high credit limits they got with the card, but complained that the $200 bonus took a long time to show up in their account. One consumer complained about having to withdraw cash back in $20 increments.

Our Closing Thoughts About the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa Card

After doing research on this card’s benefits and reading through the fine print, we believe it’s a formidable cash-back rewards card with clear pros and cons.

Pros of the Cash Wise

The card’s intro bonuses of $200, 0% APR and a rewards boost on mobile payments make it, in our opinion, a card with industry-leading first-year rewards.

Cons of the Cash Wise

The card’s 25.99% is definitely a drawback for consumers with lower credit scores who get approved for this card. If you can pay your balance off in full every month, it won’t be a problem. However, if you tend to carry balances, that high interest rate will hurt you.

Who is a Good Fit for the Cash Wise?

If you don’t carry a balance on your credit card and you have a mortgage with Wells Fargo, then we believe this credit card offers unprecedented value for you because you can use your cash-back reward to make payments to your principal balance.

Our Final Thoughts: A Solid Credit Card

All things considered, our research shows that the Wells Fargo Cash Wise is a great way to earn cash rewards and pay off your mortgage at the same time. But, even if you don’t have a mortgage with Wells Fargo, the card has good cash-rewards potential.

If you aren’t convinced that the Wells Fargo Cash Wise is the best fit for you, then you may want to read through our reviews of other cash-rewards cards. The Citi Double Cash, for example, gives 2% cash back on purchases – 1% when you make the purchase and 1% when you pay it off.

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