Is the Wells Fargo Cash Back College Card worth it? | date

Review: Wells Fargo Cash Back College Card – June 2018

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A great student card on its own — but you may be even more impressed by its competitors.

  • Get this card if… you want a student card that comes with no annual fee and cash back.
  • Pick something else if…you want a signup bonus or consistent cash back accelerators.
  • Recommended fair credit score of 620 to 679. You can also apply with no credit history.
Product NameWells Fargo Cash Back CollegeSM Card
Intro APR for Balance Transfer0% Intro APR for 6 months (with whichever is greater, $5 or 3% balance transfer fee)
Balance Transfer Rate (not intro)12.65% to 22.65% variable
APR for Purchases ( Purchase Rate )12.65% to 22.65% variable
Annual fee$0
Cash Advance Rate25.49% variable
Card TypeVisa
Interest Free Period
The interest-free period on purchases is the period or number of days you do not have to pay interest on your card purchases. You will be charged interest either from the day you make a purchase or from the statement date, unless you pay the closing balance in full by the due date (or within the interest-free period) on your statement.
Up to 25 days
Returned Payment Fee$37
Foreign Currency Conversion Fee (VISA)
Foreign currency conversion fees are charged when you make a transaction that is converted by a credit card network, such as MasterCard, Visa or American Express, from Australian dollars to a foreign currency. You’ll also incur a currency conversion fee if you make a purchase or obtain a cash advance in Australian dollars while overseas or shopping online with a foreign merchant or financial institution.
3% of transaction value
Minimum Interest$1
Minimum Credit ScorePoor (Below 660)
Minimum Age18 years of age
Annual fee$0
Returned Payment Fee$37
Late Payment Fee$37
Cash Advance Fee$10 or 5% of the amount of each advance, whichever is greater

The basics

How do you know the student card market is competitive? When even a good offering like the Cash Back College is overshadowed.

For a student card, the Cash Back College offers generous rewards: 3% cash back on gas, groceries and drugstore purchases and 1% on everything else. Unfortunately, you get 3% back for only the first six months.

That’s a shame, since other cards really turn up the heat. The Discover It for Students, for example, offers 5% cash back in rotating categories indefinitely. And the BankAmericard Cash Rewards for Students offers 3% cash back on gas and 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs every quarter. What’s more, both cards offer signup bonuses — but the Cash Back College doesn’t.

Still, the Cash Back College is a fine card on its own merits. It has no annual fee, so you won’t feel you aren’t getting your money’s worth. It also doesn’t hurt to get 0% APR for 6 months on purchases and balance transfers. Just be sure to consider other student cards — especially when there are excellent options to choose from.
Student credit cards guide

Wells Fargo Cash Back College Card vs. the competition

1Wells Fargo Cash Back
College Card
2Discover It for Students
BankAmericard Cash Rewards for StudentsBankAmericard Cash Rewards
for Students
image6Capital One Journey
Annual Fee$0 p.a.$0$0$0
Signup bonusNoneCash back match at the end of your first year$100 online cash reward — spend $500 in the first 90 daysNone
Intro purchase APR0% for 6 months0% for 6 months0% for 12 monthsNone
Intro balance transfer APR0% for 6 monthsNone0% for 12 monthsNone
Rewards3% cash back on gas, groceries and drugstore purchases for 6 months; 1% on everything5% cash back in quarterly rotating categories; 1% on everything else3% cash back on gas and 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 quarterly); 1% on everything else1% cash back on all purchases; 1.25% for on-time payments

You’ll also like

  • Visa benefits. Enjoy perks like roadside dispatch, travel and emergency assistance, auto rental coverage and cell phone protection.

What to watch out for

  • You must be a Wells Fargo customer to apply online. If you’re not a Wells Fargo customer, you can apply at a Wells Fargo branch.
  • Expiration on intro APR. Your 0% intro APR lasts 6 months. After that time, your interest rate reverts to at least 12.65% to 22.65% variable.
  • Fees. Late and returned payments come with fees as high as $37.00. Balance transfers, cash advances, overdraft protection advances and foreign transactions also come with fees.

Consider other cards if

  • You want more cash back on everyday purchases. The Wells Fargo card offers 3% cash back on some everyday purchases, but only for six months. Meanwhile, the BankAmericard Cash Rewards for Students offers accelerated cash back — 3% on gas and 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs — for as long as you own the card.

What should I know before I apply?

To apply for the Cash Back College, you must be at least 18 years old and a college student. Always consider your options and your financial situation before you apply for a credit card.

Information you’ll need

When you apply for the card, you’ll need to submit:

  • Your Wells Fargo account details.
  • Your full name and contact information.
  • Your Social Security number.
  • Your school information.
  • Your income information.

Getting a credit card when you’re under 21

If you’re under 21 years old, you must prove that you have enough income to repay your credit card debt. Usually, you can report only personal income (such as wages and allowances), scholarships and grants. If you can’t prove sufficient income, you can ask someone over 21 to be a cosigner on your application. Alternatively, you can become an authorized user on someone’s credit card account.

What credit score do I need?

Because the Cash Back College is geared toward students, you may qualify with no credit history. However, you could be denied if your credit is poor. In that case, consider a secured card with no credit checks.

How to apply for the Wells Fargo Cash Back College Card

1. Go to the Wells Fargo website and click Apply Now.
Wells Fargo Cash Back College Card 2. Enter your Wells Fargo user name and password. Then proceed to the application, where you’ll submit your contact, school and income information. Wells Fargo Cash Back College Card Application If you’re not a Wells Fargo customer, you can apply for the card by visiting a Wells Fargo branch.

I got the card. Now what?

  • Make timely payments. You can pay your card bill online at the Wells Fargo website, where you can also enroll in autopay.
  • Avoid interest. After the close of each billing cycle, you have a grace period of 25 days to pay your balance. If you do, you won’t pay interest on your purchases.
  • Avoid fees. Late and returned payments cost up to $37. Balance transfers, cash advances, overdraft protection advances and foreign transactions also come with fees.
  • Customer service. If you have questions, call Wells Fargo at 1-800-869-3557 or send a secure email through the bank’s website. You can also connect with the bank through Twitter @Ask_WellsFargo and Facebook @WellsFargo.

Bottom line

Compared to the competition, the Wells Fargo Cash Back College Card leaves a bit to be desired. You’ll wish it had a signup bonus and that its 3% cash back period lasted forever.

Still, it’s a great student credit card in its own right. It charges no annual fee, so it gives pure upside as you use it. It also offers 0% intro APR for six months on purchases and balance transfers. You can take advantage of that interest rate to buy new school supplies — maybe even a new laptop.

Frequently asked questions

Kevin Joey Chen

Kevin Chen is a world-travelin', copy-writin', Game of Thrones-watchin' credit cards writer for When he's not crunching the numbers on bonus points and comparing APRs, you can find him flying around the world in search of the perfect beer.

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