About Wells Fargo Rewards Card
The Wells Fargo Rewards Card is one of several different rewards credit cards that Wells Fargo is offering consumers right now.
It can be really tough to differentiate between a bank’s credit cards, especially when it comes to rewards. The names of the cards don’t give too much insight: Rewards Card, Visa Signature, Cash Wise.
Some Wells Fargo credit cards offer zero interest while others offer points bonuses. Other cards will give you 1 reward point for every dollar you spend and others will give you 5 depending on what you buy.
As you can see, all of this is pretty confusing at times, which means you could get stuck trying to figure out if the Wells Fargo Rewards Card is actually a good card for you. We’re going to try and make that choice a little easier for you by showing you the features that make this card unique.
To help you sort things out, we’re going to take a look at the best features of this card. Since it’s a rewards card, a lot of the features we’ll talk about relate to rewards. We’ll explain how you can earn points on this card and how to use those points.
In addition to the Wells Fargo Rewards Card’s rewards structure, we’ll look at some of the other features that make this card stand out from the crowd.
Which Bonuses and Perks Does the Wells Fargo Rewards Offer the First Year?
To understand how you can really take advantage of a credit card, you need to look at a card like the Rewards Card as a two-part financial product.
The first part is what Wells Fargo is doing to sweeten the pot in the first 12 months and, then, what they’re doing to make the card worthwhile after the first year.
The first 12 months of owning this card are actually pretty lucrative. Why? Because you’ll get points bonuses and a pair of 0% APR offers.
The Rewards Card’s 6-Month Points Bonus
We’ve mentioned points and rewards all throughout the beginning of this review. Here’s the simplest way to explain them. The Wells Fargo Rewards Card gives you points rewards that you can redeem for cash, merchandise, gift cards or travel.
Those points have a cash value of 1 point for every $0.01. So, 10,000 points are worth $100.
Nearly every purchase you make with your Rewards Card gets points. Normally, you get one point for every dollar you spend.
However, one of the Rewards Card’s perks is that, for the first six months of owning the card, Wells Fargo will give you five points for every dollar you spend in the following categories:
Wells Fargo will automatically calculate your rewards and then deposit them into your account 1-2 billing cycles after you make your purchase.
We read through the fine print and found that some of the purchases you think would get the 5x bonus actually don’t:
- Gas bought at wholesale clubs or truck stops
- Groceries bought at wholesale clubs
- Purchases made at Walmart and Target
Wells Fargo doesn’t decide which purchases get the bonus; it has something to do with merchant codes, which are codes that a business gives to Visa that indicate which type of business it is. A truck stop or a wholesale club have different merchant codes than a gas station.
Since Wells Fargo says a gas purchase is a purchase made at a place with a gas station code, wholesale clubs and truck stops don’t count.
This isn’t something specific to Wells Fargo, either. Any credit card offering rewards for specific types of purchases use the same methodology.
Pro tip: Wells Fargo will automatically set up a rewards account for you and will automatically deposit your points to that account.
0% Interest on Purchases and Balance Transfers
For the first 12 months you own this card, you won’t be charged any interest on purchases you make or on balance transfers you make anytime during those 12 months.
The key with this benefit is knowing when your 12 months starts and what happens when your 12 months ends.
The clock starts ticking the day you’re approved for the card, not the day you get your card in the mail. This is an important distinction, especially if your card takes a week or two to show up in the mail.
Second, if you have a balance of any kind after 12 months, Wells Fargo will charge you interest even though the purchases were made during the 12-month promo period.
So, if you made $5,000 in purchases and balance transfers in the first 12 months and you paid your balance down to $2,000, Wells Fargo will charge you interest on the $2,000.
20,000 Wells Fargo Rewards Points
If you can spend $1,000 in the first three months of owning the card, Wells Fargo will give you 20,000 bonus points. The cash value of those points is $200.
As we talked about a few seconds ago, Wells Fargo will automatically deposit those points to your rewards account. It will take one to two billing cycles to appear in your account.
What You Can Expect From the Wells Fargo Rewards After the First Year
Once the first year is over with this card, you’ll see a pretty steep decline in benefits. Your normal APRs will kick in, the 5x points bonus will be long gone and you’ll be left with the card’s basic benefits.
1x Points on Purchases
Anytime you make a purchase with your Wells Fargo Rewards card after the first six months, you’ll earn one point for every dollar. The card’s fine print lists a few exceptions to this:
- Off-track wagers
- Lottery tickets
- Internet bets or wagers
- Casino gaming chips
- Pre-paid gift cards
- Money orders
Wells Fargo gives you a couple of different ways to redeem your points: merchandise/gift cards through the Go Far rewards mall, deposits to checking/savings/credit card accounts, paper check or ATM withdrawals.
The Go Far rewards mall is an online store run by Wells Fargo where you can buy merchandise, gift cards and travel with your points.
If you prefer having your rewards balance deposited back to your credit card or sent to a Wells Fargo checking/savings account, you have to do it in increments of 2,500 points.
You also have the option of withdrawing rewards via a Wells Fargo ATM, but you’ll have to do so in increments of 2,000 point ($20).
Cell Phone Protection
One of the nice perks you get with this card and several other Wells Fargo credit cards is cell phone protection.
The protection is available to you if you make your monthly cell-phone bill payments with your Wells Fargo Rewards card.
In the event that your phone is stolen or damaged, you can make a claim with the insurance company and receive up to $600 twice a year.
You’ll have to pay a $25 deductible for each claim. The insurance is not valid for a lost phone.
Credit Defense Platinum
Wells Fargo’s Rewards card website says you get complimentary enrollment in their Credit Defense Platinum program. Basically, Credit Defense alerts you if your social security number shows up on a shady website.
However, we found out that Wells Fargo has ended the program and only those who already enrolled in it can enjoy the benefits until the program completely shuts down.
Rates and Fees of the Wells Fargo Reward Card
All credit cards have an interest rate and various fees they’ll charge you if you pay late or you don’t pay your entire balance off when your monthly payment is due.
Here’s a list of these various charges and fees on the Wells Fargo Rewards card:
- APR on purchases and balance transfers: 18.15%-26.99%
- Annual fee: None
- Balance transfer fee: 3% 1st year, 5% after
- Late/returned payment fee: $37
The APR on this card is pretty high compared to other cards offering cash-back rewards. Avoid interest charges by paying off your balance in full every month.
Expert and Consumer Reviews of the Wells Fargo Rewards Card
In general, expert and consumer reviews for this card are average – not good or bad. Several people pointed out that the points bonus offered up front is pretty nice, but the rewards rate after that is average.
Our Closing Thoughts About the Wells Fargo Rewards Card
We wouldn’t go as far as to say this card is uninspiring, but we do think the Wells Fargo Rewards is an average credit card with good introductory rewards.
Pros of the Rewards Card
The first 12 months of this card are excellent and are, in our opinion, the card’s best benefit. The combination of 0% APR, the 20,000-point bonus and the six-month perk of 5x points on gas, groceries and drugstores are top-notch.
Cons of the Rewards Card
We’d say the biggest drawbacks to the card are its 1x rewards rate after the first six months and the high APR you’ll be hit with if you don’t pay your balance in full each month.
Who This Card Is Good For
Based on our research, this card is best for someone who is looking for a good cash-back offer and doesn’t plan on using the card longer than one year.
The Final Word: Good the First Year
As we’ve mentioned several times, we think the Wells Fargo Rewards Card is a really good card in the first year of ownership. However, once all the up-front benefits fade away, you’re left with an average card, at best, based on our research.
If you want to explore other options, read through our Best Cash Back Rewards Credit Card of 2017 guide. It will help you compare the Wells Fargo Rewards Card to some of the competing cards on the market.
In this guide, we examine six cards based on seven different categories, a process which will help you understand what’s most important when choosing a cash back rewards card like the Wells Fargo Rewards.