About Wells Fargo Visa Signature Card

By J.R. Duren
HighYa Staff Published on: Jul 13, 2017

The Wells Fargo Visa Signature is a credit card offering cash rewards with extra bonuses awarded when you spend your rewards points on airfare purchases.

The card is probably the most basic in Wells Fargo’s stable of rewards credit cards but it’s the airfare bonuses that make it unique among the bank’s cards.

These types of travel-specific bonuses aren’t unique though, and we’ll talk about that later in this review when we compare the Wells Fargo Visa Signature to other travel-focused cards.

Comparing the Wells Fargo card to competitors is just part of figuring out if this rewards credit card is best for you. In general, we recommend looking at the following topics as well:

  • Short-term benefits
  • Long-term benefits
  • Rates and fees
  • Expert and consumer reviews

Once we’ve got all those topics figured out, we’ll end our review with a short section on the card’s general pros and cons. We’ll even add in a quick word about who we think this card is good for.

The Wells Fargo Visa Signature’s Short-Term Benefits

We like to think of short-term benefits as a way for a credit card company to entice you to sign up for their card. In some cases, the short-term perks are well worth signing up for regardless of what the long-term benefits are.

However, in nearly every other situation it’s wise to look at both the short- and long-term benefits of a card.

0% Introductory APR

Wells Fargo won’t charge you interest on any purchases you make in the first 12 months of owning your card. You’ll also get 0% interest on any balance transfers you make within the first 12 months.

Normally, credit cards limit the 0% on transfers made within a certain time of opening your card: 45 or 60 days is common.

However, we read through the fine print and found no indication that there’s a time limit on eligible balance transfers. Based on that, we believe that any balance transfers made in the first 12 months won’t be charged interest until month 13.

Thankfully, the interest rate (which we’ll talk about later) isn’t deferred, which means you won’t pay back interest on your original balance, only on the balance you have, if any, after 12 months.

20,000 Bonus Points

Bonus points are a common short-term perk. You usually see them with travel rewards cards – Capital One Venture offers a 40K bonus, while the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Preferred offer a 50K bonus.

Wells Fargo will give you 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in the first three months of owning the card. It will take, Wells Fargo said, about 1-2 billing cycles for those points to show up in your account.

The monetary value of your 20K bonus is $200, or $10 for every 1,000 points. However, as we’ll talk about in a few minutes, you can boost your points value by using them for airfare purchases.

In the meantime, know that Wells Fargo allows you to redeem your points in several different ways. First, you can redeem them for gift cards and merchandise through Wells Fargo’s Go Far Rewards shopping portal.

You can send the cash value of the points to your Wells Fargo checking or savings account, but you’ll have to do so in increments of 2,500 points, or $25.

Wells Fargo also lets you redeem your points via withdrawals at a Wells Fargo ATM with your Wells Fargo debit card. These withdrawals must take place in increments of 2,000 points, or $20.

5% Points Bonus

For the first six months that you own this card, Wells Fargo Visa Signature Card will give you a 5x points bonus for the following categories of purchases:

  • Gas
  • Groceries
  • Drugstores

So, if you spend $30 at the local grocery store, Wells Fargo will give you 150 points whereas the normal rewards rate of 1% would get you 30 points.

We read through the fine print just to make sure we weren’t missing anything important about this perk and we ended up finding some very interesting restrictions.

According to Wells Fargo’s terms and conditions, the following types of purchases and payment methods may not get the 5% bonus:

  • Third-party payment accounts
  • Online marketplaces
  • Retailers who process payments with a mobile/wireless card reader
  • Purchases made with a mobile or digital wallet

Long-Term Benefits of the Wells Fargo Visa Signature Card

This Wells Fargo card has a series of long-term benefits that can provide you a lot of perks beyond the first year of owning this card.

Points Bonuses on Purchases

Once the introductory 5% bonus ends, you’ll get a rewards rate of 1%, which is equal to $10 for every 1,000 points you earn.

We did some research on the average American household’s spending to get an idea of how much you’d actually spend on your Wells Fargo Visa Signature and, consequently, how many points you could earn in a year.

Without the 5% bonus, we estimate you could spend around $24,000 on your card for a family of three – 24,000 points.

Based on some research we did for the Chase Sapphire Preferred, here’s what the average household could spend on groceries and gas in six months:

  • Groceries: $5,067
  • Gas: $1,845
  • Total: $6, 912
  • Bonus points: 34,560

Assuming you can hit those spending numbers the first six months, then the total bonus points your first year could be around 50,000 when you include the points bonus and the 1% rate for everything else.

When you throw in the intro bonus of 20,000 points, you’re looking at around 70,000 points your first year, or $700. But, as we mentioned earlier, you can make those points even more valuable through airfare purchases.

Pro tip: There is no cap on how many points you can earn. Points expire after 5 years.

Airline Purchase Bonus

Wells Fargo says that when you use your points for airline purchases, you’ll get a 50% boost. So, 40,000 points would actually be worth $600 when you book an airline ticket instead of the usual rate of $400.

Wells Fargo isn’t alone in this type of bonus, though. The Chase Sapphire Reserve also gives its customers a 50% bonus when they book travel – not just airfare – through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.

Now, while the bonus may sound great, the real value lies in what Wells Fargo’s travel portal charges you for flights? Are their prices better or worse than what you could find on Kayak.com? Do they beat Chase’s flight prices?

We weren’t able to log in to their travel portal because we aren’t Wells Fargo customers. Here’s our advice: If you’re thinking about booking flights through Go Far Rewards, double check the prices with Kayak.com. You should get a good idea of how Wells Fargo’s pricing is.

Cell Phone Protection

The last main long-term benefit of the Wells Fargo Visa Premium is cell-phone protection. Anytime you buy a phone and make your monthly payments with your Wells Fargo card, you’ll be covered in the event of theft of or damage to your phone.

To make a claim you’ll pay a $25 deductible and be limited to up to a $600 reimbursement for your phone. You get two claims a year for up to $1,200.

The Wells Fargo Visa Platinum’s Rates and Fees

Here’s a quick list of the Wells Fargo Visa’s rates and fees:

  • APR: 13.15-26.99%
  • Annual fee: None
  • Late/returned payment fee: $37
  • Balance transfer fee: 3/5%
  • Foreign transaction fee: 3%

The numbers that jump out at us here are the APR and the balance transfer fee. We point out APR because the card’s low-end APR is similar to cash-back rewards cards and better than travel rewards cards. The high-end APR is higher than just about any travel or cash back card we’ve reviewed.

You’ll also see there are two percentages for the balance transfer fee. If you make a transfer in the first 12 months you’ll get hit with a fee of equal to 3% of the amount transferred. After the first year, Wells Fargo will charge you 5% to make a balance transfer.

Expert and User Reviews of the Wells Fargo Visa Signature

Several of the expert review sites we browsed gave the Wells Fargo Visa Signature above average reviews, with one expert saying the card is one of the most underrated of its kind.

Consumer reviews of the card are sparse, but the ones we did find said the card wasn’t as good as some of the travel rewards cards and airline rewards cards we’ve reviewed.

Closing Thoughts About the Wells Fargo Visa Signature Card

After doing research on this credit card, we believe there are some very clear pros and cons.

Pros of the Wells Fargo Visa Signature

The clear benefit to this card is the combination of the 20,000 bonus points and the 5x rewards on gas, groceries and drugstores.

In addition to this, the card’s low-end APR is also a positive for those with good enough credit to get it.

Cons of the Wells Fargo Visa Signature

The downside to this card is the high-end APR, which is higher than anything you’ll find from mainstream travel rewards cards.

Another con – the 1% rewards rate is average if not a little low compared to other rewards cards.

Who Is This Card Good For?

We believe, based on our research, this card is excellent if you book a lot of air travel through third-party sites. Wells Fargo’s booking portal gives you the 50% bonus and allows you to select between various airline carriers.

The Final Word: A Good Rewards Card

We think the Wells Fargo Visa Signature card is far better than people give it credit for. The 5x bonus and airline redemption bonus make this card extremely profitable the first year.

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