The new Wells Fargo Active Cash Card is is a close competitor of the Citi® Double Cash Card. Read on for help deciding which one is right for you.
If you already have the Citi® Double Cash Card, should you consider switching to the Wells Fargo Active Cash? Or, if you’re considering signing up for one or the other, which should you choose? Keep reading for some help making that decision.
See related: Best flat-rate cash back cards
The Active Cash is the clear winner here, since it gives new cardholders a $200 bonus after they spend $1,000 in their first three months. The Double Cash does not currently offer a welcome bonus, but keep in mind that’s only one factor. I wouldn’t make a card application decision solely over a one-time $200 bonus, so let’s get deeper into the details.
How the rewards work
The Citi Double Cash technically gives 1% cash back when you make a purchase and another 1% when you pay it off, and you need to accumulate at least $25 in rewards in order to redeem. Once you’ve hit that threshold, you can opt for a check, statement credit or bank account deposit. It’s also possible to convert your cash back into Citi ThankYou points at a rate of $1 in cash back to 100 ThankYou points.That opens up additional redemption opportunities, such as booking travel through Citi, exchanging points for gift cards and using points to offset purchases from certain retailers (such as Amazon.com). Converting to ThankYou points is especially attractive if you also have the Citi Premier® Card or the Citi Prestige® Card*, since those allow points transfers to more than a dozen airlines. Pooling your points and transferring to airline partners is often the most lucrative redemption option but it’s more complicated.
The Wells Fargo Active Cash doesn’t have transfer partners. You can use your rewards to offset eligible purchases starting with as little as $1 in cash back. You can also deposit your cash back earnings into your Wells Fargo bank account (if you have one), withdraw cash in $20 increments using your Wells Fargo ATM or debit card, receive a statement credit, request a paper check, get gift cards or reduce an eligible Wells Fargo loan balance.
Winner: Citi Double Cash, especially if you have another Citi card that allows airline points transfers.
The Wells Fargo Active Cash offers cellphone insurance (up to $600 per claim, with a $25 deductible) as long as you pay your monthly cellphone bill with the card.
It also contains other Visa Signature perks such as extended warranty protection (which doubles the manufacturer’s warranty if the term is less than a year or adds a year if it’s between one and three years), purchase protection (covering eligible purchases against damages and theft within 90 days), car rental collision damage waiver (secondary coverage), free 24/7 concierge service and luxury hotel collection benefits.
The Citi Double Cash adds two years to a manufacturer’s warranty lasting up to five years when you make an eligible purchase with the card. It also includes a generous purchase protection benefit. And many Double Cash cards carry the World Elite Mastercard branding, which incorporates cell phone insurance, free ShopRunner membership, Lyft and DoorDash benefits, concierge service and more.
Winner: As long as you have the World Elite Mastercard version, the Citi Double Cash comes out ahead, although both cards offer strong benefits, especially considering that they don’t charge annual fees.
If you plan on carrying a balance, you should prioritize your interest rate over rewards. Neither of these cards would be a good choice for someone paying interest on a regular basis, because they charge variable APRs ranging from 13.99% to 23.99% (Double Cash) and 14.99% to 24.99% (Active Cash).
A possible exception is that the Active Cash offers a 15-month, 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers. The Double Cash offers an 18-month 0% introductory APR on balance transfers, but it doesn’t have an introductory 0% rate for purchases. If you’re planning some major purchases and are confident that you can pay them off before the 0% term expires, the Active Cash might be a good way to earn rewards and buy some more time without paying interest.
Winner: Wells Fargo Active Cash, but be careful not to overspend and aim to pay off the entire balance before interest starts accruing.
These are both really compelling cards. Most people would be well served by having a no annual fee, 2% cash back card in their wallets, either as their primary card (if they want to get a solid, straightforward return on every purchase) or as the foundation of a broader card strategy (complementing it with other cards that give higher rewards on certain purchases but lesser rewards on others, which is where the 2% card comes in).
It doesn’t make sense to have both at the same time, however, since there’s so much overlap. If you already have the Double Cash, I’d recommend sticking with it and focusing your next card application on a generous sign-up bonus or maximizing a category in which you spend a lot of money.
If you’re starting from scratch, the Double Cash would still be an excellent choice, but I might be swayed by the Active Cash’s $200 welcome bonus and 15-month, 0% introductory APR as tiebreakers.
Have a question about credit cards? E-mail me at email@example.com and I’d be happy to help.
* Information about the Citi Prestige Card has been collected independently by CreditCards.com. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.