The Wells Fargo Platinum card isn’t a go-to card for its perks. But if you want a bare-bones balance transfer card to help pay down debt, this could be it.
If you’re looking to get out of credit card debt using a balance transfer card, you’ll need to wade through a sea of cards to find just the right one for you. One of the most prominent is the Wells Fargo Platinum card, which offers a full 18 months with zero interest on balance transfers after you open the card (for transfer made in the first 120 days) and a regular variable APR of 16.49%-24.49% after that.
It’s one of the longest offers out there, and there are good reasons to choose it – but you may want to skip it for another balance transfer card if you’re looking for more long-term rewards value.
Here are the main reasons why people decide the Wells Fargo Platinum credit card is right for them:
Climbing out of credit card debt
The main reason you’d want to choose the Wells Fargo Platinum card is to help you get out of credit card debt. Its 0% APR period goes for a full 18 months after you open the card (16.49% to 24.49% variable regular APR after that), offering you a year-and-a-half to get ahead in paying off your debt. Currently, 18 months is at the long end of the range for what balance transfer cards are offering, although a few offer even longer 0% APR periods. One option is the U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card (20 billing cycles interest-free, followed by a regular variable APR of 15.24% to 25.24%).
Although it’s not the longest offer on the market, there is one very good reason to choose this card in particular: You get a discount on the balance transfer fee. If you’re planning on taking advantage of the balance transfer offer (and that’s the only real reason to get this card), you’ll need to request your transfer within the first 120 days after you open the card in order to qualify for the 18-month 0% APR offer. During this period, the balance transfer fee is only 3% of the transfer amount, instead of the normal 5% that most other cards charge, and that this card itself charges after the first 120 days. If you’re transferring over a $10,000 balance, for example, that discount will save you $200 in transfer fees.
Long-term card value
Another reason why the Wells Fargo Platinum card is a good choice for those looking to pay down debt is that it’ll help you build credit in the long run – which is something that’s likely to help you if you’re already carrying credit card debt. The Wells Fargo Platinum card doesn’t charge an annual fee either, so there’s no harm in keeping it around even after you’ve paid off your debt.
Doing this can help you build credit because the longer you’ve had your cards open and active on your account, the more likely you are to see your credit score rise. The length of your credit history isn’t as big of a factor as, say, paying off all of your debts on time, but it will have a positive effect. Just remember to use your card occasionally to avoid it being closed by Wells Fargo for nonuse.
You’ll be able to easily track the increase in your credit score because the card offers free access to your FICO score. There are a few other minor perks, too, like up to $600 worth of cell phone insurance if you pay your bill with this card, plus budgeting tools within your online account.
Reasons to skip the Wells Fargo Platinum card
The Wells Fargo Platinum card is a solid choice for a balance transfer card, but it might make sense to choose another card in some cases.
The most glaring omission from this card is the complete lack of any rewards program. You won’t earn any cash back, points, miles or any other perks for any spending you do with this card. That’s probably not as big of a deal if you’re primarily concerned about paying off your existing credit card debt, but if you want to use the card as your regular swiper later and earn rewards, try another card like the Discover it® Cash Back card or the Citi® Double Cash Card.
If you don’t think you’ll be able to pay off all your debt before the end of the 18-month 0% APR period, you might also want to consider another balance transfer card. That’s because once you do start paying interest, it’ll be at a higher rate than with other balance transfer cards – between 16.49% and 24.49% APR. By contrast, the Discover it Cash Back card only charges a variable APR from 12.24% to 23.24% – a lot less, especially on the low end of that range.
Balance transfer cards come in all shapes and sizes – some with rewards, some with nice perks, some with a lower ongoing interest rate. The Wells Fargo Platinum card really only does one thing well: It offers a long 0% APR period to help you chip away at your debt faster.
You won’t earn any rewards, but then again, that can be an advantage at times. If you’re the type of person who would be tempted to keep spending on your card in order to earn rewards, this can actually hold you back from paying down your debt faster. In that case, choosing a no-frills, rewards-free card like the Wells Fargo Platinum card removes that temptation and offers you a winning way to be debt-free as soon as possible.