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

Review: Wells Fargo Cash Back College℠ Card – October 2018

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It offers excellent cash back for six months, but it’s less effective afterward.

  • Get this card if you want an intro APR and great cash back on gas, groceries and drugstore purchases for six months.
  • Pick something else if you want a signup bonus or consistent elevated cash back.
  • You’re welcome to apply with no credit history.
Product NameWells Fargo Cash Back College℠ Card
Card TypeVisa
Annual Fee$0
APR (Annual Percentage Rate) for Purchases12.90% to 22.90% variable
Introductory Purchase APR0% for the first 6 months (then 12.90% to 22.90% variable)
Introductory Balance Transfer APR 0% for the first 6 months (then 12.9% to 22.9% variable)
Balance Transfer Fee$5 or 3% of the transaction, whichever is greater
Cash Advance Rate25.74% variable
Foreign Transaction Fee3% of the transaction value
Cash Advance Fee$10 or 5% of the cash advance amount, whichever is greater
Interest Free PeriodUp to 25 days
Late Payment Fee$37
Returned Payment Fee$37
Additional Cardholder Fee$0
Rates & FeesRates & Fees
Minimum Age18 years of age
Reward Value per Dollar1% cash back
Rewards Points ExpiryNever

The basics

The Wells Fargo Cash Back College℠ Card is a stellar student product for six months, with an intro APR and an excellent 3% cash back on gas, groceries and drugstore purchases.

It’s less effective after that time — you’ll receive only 1% cash back on all purchases. Though that’s decent for a student card, you’ll earn better rewards with other products.

The perks

  • Annual fee: None.

    Student credit cards often come with no annual fees, and the Wells Fargo Cash Back College℠ Card is no different.

  • Rewards: Up to 3% cash back for a limited time.

    Earn 3% cash back on gas, groceries, and drugstore purchases for the first six months from account opening. It’s an excellent rewards rate — it’s just too bad it expires after a few months.

    Earn 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases — including on gas, groceries and drugstore purchases after your elevated-rewards period expires. This is a decent rate for a student card, but other products offer stronger rewards.

  • Intro APR: 0% on purchases and balance transfers for six months. (After that, a 13.15% to 23.15% variable APR.)

    This is a nice bonus that can help if you need to make important purchases for the school year. Consider only buying what you can comfortably pay off within six months, however. Otherwise, the purchases will start accruing interest when your intro APR expires.

    Though you’ll receive an intro APR for balance transfers, consider avoiding transfers for now. Try to build good credit habits by paying off your card bill each month. If you do, you won’t need a balance transfer.

How much cashback rewards can I earn with this card?

Let’s say you spend $150 a month total on gas, groceries and drugstore purchases. Over the first six months, you’d earn $27 cash back.

After six months, you’ll earn 1% cash back on all purchases. If you spend $150 a month, you’ll earn $18 cash back over a year.

You’ll also like

  • Visa benefits.

    Call roadside dispatch if you have car issues while on the road. And when you rent a car, it’s covered by a collision damage waiver.

    Call Visa Travel and Emergency Assistance Services if you’re in a pinch while on vacation. You’ll get access to medical and legal referrals, emergency transportation, emergency ticket replacement and more. You can also get an emergency card replacement if you lose your Wells Fargo Cash Back College℠ Card.

    If you pay your monthly cell phone bill with your card, your phone will be protected against damage or theft for up to $600.

What to watch out for

  • Expiration on intro APR.

    Your 0% purchase and balance transfer intro APR lasts 6 months. If you still have a balance after that time, it’ll accrue interest at an APR of 13.15% to 23.15% variable.

    Consider paying off your entire balance before the six months is up. That way, you’ll start your normal-APR period with a clean slate. Going forward, it’s a great habit to pay off your balance in full each month.

  • Fees.

    Late and returned payments come with fees as high as $37. Balance transfers, cash advances, overdraft protection advances and foreign transactions also come with fees.

    If you think you’ll study abroad or go on a trip to another country, you might want a student credit card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees.

Consider other cards if…

  • You want more cash back on everyday purchases.

    The Wells Fargo Cash Back College℠ Card offers 3% cash back on some everyday purchases, but only for six months. Meanwhile, the Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students offers accelerated cash back for as long as you own the card. You’ll earn 3% cash back on gas and 2% back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs on up to $2,500 in combined purchases each quarter, then 1%.

  • You want rewards for dining.

    If you’re a social butterfly, you might like elevated rewards for going out. The Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students offers 2x points on dining and entertainment. And the Discover it® Chrome for Students offers 2% cash back on dining and gas on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, then 1%.

  • You want a signup bonus.

    The Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students offers a superb $200 online cash reward after you spend at least $500 in purchases within the first 90 days of account opening. With the Discover it® Chrome for Students, Discover will match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first card year.

  • You have very poor credit.

    If you have bad credit, you might not qualify for an unsecured card like the Wells Fargo Cash Back College℠ Card. A secured card may be an option. You’ll need to put down a security deposit for this product, but providers will be more likely to accept you.

Compare the best student credit cards

Name Product Annual Fee Credit Score Min. Intro Balance Transfer APR Reward Value per Dollar Secured or Unsecured APR (Annual Percentage Rate) for Purchases Welcome Offer Interest Free Period
680
1
Unsecured
20.49% variable
Up to 23 days
Designed for college students to build credit history and earn rewards.
39
620
Unsecured
24.99% variable
Up to 23 days
Designed to help build credit history with no deposit required and access to benefits.
690
1
Unsecured
16.24% to 26.24% variable
Up to 23 days
Earn 2,500 bonus points after spending $500 within the first 3 months of account opening.
620
0%
1
Unsecured
12.90% to 22.90% variable
Up to 25 days
3% cash rewards on gas, grocery, drugstore for first 6 months, 1% cash rewards on virtually all other net purchases.
1
Unsecured
22.97%, 24.97% or 26.97% variable
Up to 25 days
Earn 1% cash back on all your purchases. Pay on time to boost your cash back to a total of 1.25% for that month.
620
10.99%
1
Unsecured
14.99% to 23.99% variable
Up to 25 days
Earn5 cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. Plus unlimited 1 cash back on all other purchases.
680
10.99%
1
Unsecured
14.99% to 23.99% variable
Up to 25 days
2% cash back on gas and dining. 1 on all other purchases.

Compare up to 4 providers

Wells Fargo Cash Back College℠ Card vs. the competition

1Wells Fargo Cash Back College℠ Card 2Discover it® Student Cash Back BankAmericard Cash Rewards for StudentsBank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students image6Journey® Student Credit Card from Capital One®
Annual Fee $0 $0 $0 $0
Signup bonus None Cashback match at the end of your first year $200 online cash reward — spend $500 in the first 90 days None
Intro purchase APR 0% for 6 months (after that, 13.15% to 23.15% variable APR) 0% for 6 months (after that, 14.99% to 23.99% variable) 0% for 12 months (after that, 15.24% to 25.24% variable) None
Intro balance transfer APR 0% for 6 months (after that, 13.15% to 23.15% variable APR) None 0% for 12 months (after that, 15.24% to 25.24% variable) None
Rewards 3% cash back on gas, groceries and drugstore purchases for 6 months; 1% on everything 5% cash back in quarterly rotating categories (on up to $1,500 in combined purchases per quarter, then 1%); 1% on everything else 3% cash back on gas and 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (on up to $2,500 in purchases quarterly, then 1%); 1% on everything else 1% cash back on all purchases; extra 0.25% for on-time payments

What should I know before I apply?

To apply for the Wells Fargo Cash Back College℠ Card, you must be at least 18 years old and a college student.

Information you’ll need

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

  • Your full name, date of birth and contact information.
  • Your Social Security number, mother’s maiden name and citizenship status.
  • 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 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 Wells Fargo Cash Back College℠ Card 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 credit card.

What do customers say about the Wells Fargo Cash Back College℠ Card?

Some students say they’ve received credit-limit increases after a few months. Others say it’s taken longer to receive a credit-limit increase — about a year or more. Students also say it’s easy to make payments on this card.

Wells Fargo is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB), and it currently has five alerts on its BBB page. The bank has over 3,500 customer complaints.

How to apply for the Wells Fargo Cash Back College℠ Card

  1. Go to the Wells Fargo website and click Apply Now.
  2. Enter your Wells Fargo login details if you have them. If not, complete the application with your personal and financial information.
  3. Review your details and submit your application.

How long will it take to get my Wells Fargo Cash Back College℠ Card?

You may receive an immediate decision on your application. If not, expect a response within two weeks. If you’re approved, look for your new card in the mail within seven to 10 days.

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.

How do I redeem rewards from this card?

You have many options to redeem your rewards:

  • Deposit cash back into your Wells Fargo savings account in $25 increments.
  • Get statement credit.
  • Get a paper check.
  • Redeem in $20 increments through a Wells Fargo ATM. You’ll need a Wells Fargo debit or ATM card.
  • Redeem for gift cards, travel and more.

Bottom line

The Wells Fargo Cash Back College℠ Card is excellent for six months, with strong cash back and an intro APR. However, it’s surpassed by other cards after that time.

Student credit cards guide

Frequently asked questions

Kevin Joey Chen

Kevin Chen is a world-travelin', copy-writin', Game of Thrones-watchin' credit cards writer for finder.com. 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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