The Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card and the Citi® Double Cash Card offer similar cash back bonus programs: cardholders earn 2 percent unlimited cash back on all purchases with both cards without worrying about annual fees.
But while these cards are similar, they aren’t identical. One offers a welcome bonus and the other doesn’t. One offers a longer 0 percent interest period on balance transfers.
Whether the Active Cash or Double Cash card is best for you, then, depends largely on how much existing debt you want to transfer or if you’re more interested in earning bonus rewards points after opening your account.
|Welcome bonus||$200 cash back after charging $1,000 during the first three months of opening your account||No welcome bonus|
|Rewards rate||2 percent cash back on all purchases.||1 percent cash back on all purchases; an additional 1 percent cash back when you pay off those purchases|
|Intro APR||0 percent interest on purchases and qualifying balance transfers for 15 months||0 percent interest on balance transfers for 18 months|
Wells Fargo Active Cash vs. Citi Double Cash highlights
Welcome bonus winner: Wells Fargo Active Cash
The Wells Fargo Active Cash card offers a welcome bonus of $200 cash back. To earn this bonus, you must charge a relatively modest $1,000 within the first three months of opening your account. That’s an easily attainable goal.
The Citi Double Cash card offers no welcome bonus, making the Active Cash card the easy winner in this category.
Rewards rate winner: Tie
Both the Double Cash and Active Cash cards offer nearly identical cash back rewards programs. With both cards, you’ll earn 2% back on all purchases. Neither card puts limits on how much cash back you can earn.
The only difference? With the Active Cash card, you’ll earn 2% cash back after making your purchases.
With the Double Cash card, you’ll earn 1% cash back on all purchases. You’ll then earn the remaining 1% cash back when you pay off these purchases. This card, then, makes the most sense for cardholders who pay off their balances in full each month.
Annual fee winner: Tie
Neither of these cards charges an annual fee.
Foreign transaction fee winner: Tie
Again, there’s no difference here between the Active Cash and Double Cash cards. Both cards charge a foreign transaction fee of 3 percent of each transaction, converted to U.S. dollars.
Which card earns the most?
Because both the Double Cash and Active Cash cards earn unlimited 2 percent cash back on all purchases, your earnings potential is the same with both cards.
Active Cash vs. Double Cash spending example
Say you charge $3,000 with either your Active Cash or Double Cash card during a given month. You’ll earn 2 percent back on these purchases, no matter where you are spending. For this month, then, you’d earn $60 cash back.
If you average $3,000 in purchases in a month, or $36,000 in purchases for a year, you’d earn $720 in cash back for an entire year with either card. If you don’t spend as much, you’d earn less. Say you only charge an average of $2,000 a month. You’d earn an average of $40 cash back each month or $480 a year.
The only difference is when you get your cash back. With the Double Cash card, you earn 1% back when making your purchases and the final 1% back when you pay for them. Depending on how long it takes you to pay off your purchases, then, it might take you a bit longer to get your full cash back bonus.
Why should you get the Wells Fargo Active Cash card?
In addition to its strong cash back program, the Wells Fargo Active Cash card offers a 0 percent introductory interest rate offer on both purchases and balance transfers for 15 months.
This intro period is shorter than the one offered by the Citi Double Cash Card, but it also includes 0 percent interest on new purchases, which Citi’s card does not. After the 0 percent intro offer expires, the card will revert to a variable APR of 14.99% to 24.99%, depending on your credit. Balance transfers must be made within 120 days after opening your account to qualify for the 0 percent offer. You’ll pay a balance transfer fee of $5 or 3 percent of the amount you’re transferring, whichever is greater.
The Active Cash card includes other features such as cellphone protection, which provides up to $600 worth of protection against damage or theft to your phone, and zero liability protection, which protects you from unauthorized transactions on your account.
You have plenty of options when redeeming the cash back you earn with the Active Cash card. You can redeem your cash as a statement credit or as a credit to your qualified Wells Fargo mortgage or loan. You can also redeem your cash in $20 increments when you use a Wells Fargo ATM or debit card. Finally, you can convert your cash back into gift cards from a variety of retailers. You don’t have to earn a minimum amount to redeem your cash.
Recommended credit score
Wells Fargo does not provide a recommended credit score for the Active Cash card. To boost your odds of qualifying for most credit cards that provide rewards programs and 0 percent balance transfer offers, aim for a FICO score of at least 700.
Why should you get the Citi Double Cash card?
The Citi Double Cash card is good if you have a lot of high-interest credit card debt to transfer. The card offers a 0 percent introductory interest rate offer on balance transfers for 18 months. This is a longer introductory offer than the one offered by the Active Cash card. Be aware, though, that this 0 percent interest rate is only for balance transfers, not purchases.
You must complete your balance transfer during the first four months of opening your account to qualify for the 0 percent offer. And when the 18-month intro period ends, your variable APR will range from 13.99 percent to 23.99 percent, depending on your credit. The Double Cash card charges a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3 percent of the amount of each transfer, whichever is higher.
It’s simple to redeem cash with this card. You can receive your cash as a statement credit, check or direct deposit into a Citi checking or savings account. However, unlike the Wells Fargo Active Cash card, you need to earn at least $25 to redeem the cash back.
Recommended credit score
As with the Active Cash card, Citi does not publish a minimum credit score to qualify for its Double Cash card. You’ll increase the likelihood of qualifying for this card, though, if your FICO credit score is 700 or higher.
The bottom line
Which card makes the most sense for you: the Wells Fargo Active Cash or Citi Double Cash? That depends on several factors.
How important is a welcome bonus? If you need one to feel satisfied with your card choice, you’ll need to apply for the Wells Fargo Active Cash card. It offers a $200 cash back welcome bonus, while the Citi Double Cash card comes with no welcome bonus.
If you’re looking for a simple way to redeem your cash, both the Double Cash and Active Cash cards will work. But the Active Cash card doesn’t require a minimum to redeem your cash, while the Double Cash card does. The Active Cash card also lets you turn your cash back into gift cards, another perk that the Double Cash card does not offer.
If you’re looking for a solid cash back program, both the Double Cash and Active Cash cards are sound choices. Deciding between the two cards depends largely on how much debt you want to transfer and how fast you pay off your purchases.