Credit Cards

Blue Cash Preferred vs. Wells Fargo Active Cash — Card Showdown with Cash Back

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The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express and the Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card are two of our favorite cards for earning cash back rewards on your everyday spending. Plus, they come with great benefits, welcome bonuses, and introductory offers.

But there are some significant differences between the two. Including their different types of cash back reward structures. While American Express Blue Cash Preferred is a tiered bonus category cash back card that offers more rewards in select spending categories, the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card is a flat rate cash back credit card that doles out 2% cash back on every purchase.

There are other distinguishing factors to compare between these two cards, including fees, benefits, and redemption options. Before you make your choice, here’s all you need to know about what both cards offer.

side by side comparison

Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express Active Wells Fargo Cash Card
Annual quota $0 the first year, then $95 $0
Welcome Offer $300 when you spend $3,000 within six months of account opening $200 when you spend $1,000 within three months of account opening
Cash Back Rewards 6% back on up to $6,000 spent at US grocery stores per year, then 1% back

6% back on select US streaming subscriptions

3% cash back at US gas stations and in transit

1% back on other purchases

Get unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases
Other benefits • 0% APR on purchases for 12 months, followed by variable APR from 13.99% to 23.99%

• Global support hotline

• Travel and shopping protections

• 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, followed by variable APR of 14.99%, 19.99% or 24.99%

• Cell phone protection

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Bond Comparison

With American Express Blue Cash Preferred, you can earn $300 after spending $3,000 on purchases within six months of account opening. This equates to around $500 per month for the first six months.

The Wells Fargo Active Cash Card has a comparatively lower welcome offer, but it also requires less spending. With this card, you’ll earn $200 in bonus cash when you spend at least $1,000 on purchases within three months, or about $334 per month during that time.

If you have an upcoming big purchase or your regular budget already allows you to spend at least $500 in monthly expenses, Blue Cash Preferred offers more cash back after account opening. But Wells Fargo Active Cash’s $200 deal isn’t bad either and may be more suitable for smaller budgets.

Comparison of rewards and benefits

Both cards offer great cash back rewards, but your primary choice will depend on your individual spending.

American Express Blue Cash Preferred offers tiered rewards in bonus categories. You’ll earn 6% back on up to $6,000 spent at US grocery stores per year (then 1% back), 6% back on select US streaming subscriptions, 3% cash back on stations service & transit purchases This card is a great way to earn rewards on common everyday purchases, especially with rising gas and grocery prices.

Note that the 6% return rate in US supermarkets is capped after spending $6,000 per year. Many families spend much more on groceries than that. In fact, the average family of four with two adults under 50 and two children (a boy and a girl, ages 12 and 13) spends $1,239.50 on groceries each month (or $14,874 per year), according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. US “moderate” eating plan.

In contrast, the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card offers unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases. You can earn flat rewards outside of bonus categories, which can add up to more rewards throughout the year, especially if your spending doesn’t typically fall into common reward categories. For example, if you shop for groceries at supermarkets or warehouse clubs, you are often excluded from the grocery bonus categories.

Another thing to consider is redemptions. American Express Blue Cash Preferred only allows you to redeem your cash back for statement credits, while the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card allows you to redeem for purchases, transfers to an eligible Wells Fargo account, cash at an ATM automatic if you have a Wells Fargo debit card or gift cards.

APR

If you’re hoping to save money on interest with your new card, the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card is the best option, offering 0% APR on both purchases and balance transfers for 15 months (followed by a variable APR of 14.99% to 24.99%). This makes it a reasonable option if you want to make a large purchase and pay it off over time or have high-interest debt to consolidate.

pro tip

If you need to consolidate existing debt, the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card is the only card of these two that allows balance transfers. You’ll get a 0% introductory APR on balance transfers for the first 15 months, which can help you save money as you pay off your balance. However, if paying down debt is your primary goal, consider other balance transfer cards with up to 21 months interest-free.

Amex Blue Cash Preferred does not have an introductory offer for balance transfers, but it may be a good option if you just need to make a large purchase. It offers a 0% APR on purchases for 12 months, followed by a variable APR from 13.99% to 23.99%.

Rate

The Wells Fargo Active Cash Card has no annual fee, making it a good card to hold on to for the long term. By contrast, American Express Blue Cash Preferred charges $0 the first year, then $95 a year.

In terms of other fees, both charge the same 5% cash advance fee (minimum $10) and the same late fee of up to $40. American Express Blue Cash Preferred also charges a returned payment fee of up to $40. If you choose to transfer a balance to the active Wells Fargo Cash Card, you will be charged a 3% balance transfer fee (minimum $5).

Both cards charge foreign transaction fees (2.7% with American Express Blue Cash Preferred and 3% with Wells Fargo Active Cash Card). If you plan to travel outside of the United States frequently, you can also look into other credit cards that don’t charge foreign transaction fees.

More information external link icon

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Editor’s Score: (4.3/5)

Editor’s Score: (4.3/5)

bounty rate: 5.0

welcome bonus: 4.5

annual fee: 3.0

other costs fees: 5.0

intro april: 4.0

other benefits: 4.0

simplicity: 4.0

annual percentage rate: 3.5

Last updated March 23, 2022

All reviews are prepared by NextAdvisor staff. The opinions expressed therein are solely those of the reviewer. Information, including card rates and fees, presented in the review is accurate as of the review date.

  • Introductory offer:
  • Annual quota:

    $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.

  • ordinary APR:

    14.24%-24.24% Variable

  • Recommended Credit:

    670-850 (Good to Excellent)

  • Learn moreexternal link icon On our partner’s secure site View Rates & Charges, terms apply.

More information external link icon Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card

Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card

Editor’s Score: (4.6/5)

Editor’s Score: (4.6/5)

bounty rate: 5.0

welcome bonus: 4.5

annual fee: 5.0

other cost rates: 3.0

intro april: 5.0

other benefits: 3.5

simplicity: 5.0

April in progress: 3.0

Last updated March 23, 2022

All reviews are prepared by NextAdvisor staff. The opinions expressed therein are solely those of the reviewer. Information, including card rates and fees, presented in the review is accurate as of the review date.

More information external link icon Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Editor’s Score: (4.7/5)

Editor’s Score: (4.7/5)

bounty rate: 5.0

welcome bonus: 5.0

annual fee: 5.0

other cost rates: 4.0

intro april: 4.0

other benefits: 5.0

simplicity: 3.0

annual percentage rate: 3.0

Last updated March 23, 2022

All reviews are prepared by NextAdvisor staff. The opinions expressed therein are solely those of the reviewer. Information, including card rates and fees, presented in the review is accurate as of the review date.

  • Introductory Offer:Earn an extra 1.5% cash back
  • Annual quota:

    $0

  • ordinary APR:

    14.99% – 23.74% Variable

  • Recommended Credit:

    670-850 (Good to Excellent)

  • Apply Nowexternal link icon On Chase’s secure site

Deciding between the Amex Blue Cash Preferred card and the Wells Fargo Active Cash card

Editorial Independence

As with all of our credit card reviews, our analysis is not influenced by any association or advertising relationship.

Both cards are part of our ranking of the best cash back credit cards, but which one is best for your wallet depends on your main spending categories, how you plan to use the card, and the fees you’re willing to pay.

If the majority of your budget goes toward everyday spending within Blue Cash Preferred bonus categories, you can earn higher reward value on your regular purchases, including the unbeatable 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets that ). Review your spending from previous years to make sure the rewards you’ll earn are enough to offset the $95 annual fee.

On the other hand, if you don’t want to pay an annual fee or track bonus reward categories, the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card is a better option. Whether you’re planning a summer vacation, supporting local businesses, or shopping online, you’re guaranteed to earn 2% rewards, regardless of your category or budget.

You should always consider your own spending habits to get the best estimate, but based on spending data for average Americans from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we estimate that Blue Cash Preferred offers about $302 worth of annual rewards after the first year, and Wells Fargo Active Cash around $265.

You can choose to maximize rewards even more by combining these two cards and strategizing how you’ll spend to get the most cash back. You can use your Blue Cash Preferred to earn more rewards on spending at US grocery stores (up to the annual limit), select streaming services, purchases at US gas stations, and purchases on public transportation. From there, you can use your active Wells Fargo cash card for everything else to lock in the high 2% cash back rate.

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