Discover it® Cash Back Card
vs. Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

Updated: June 21, 2024

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Both the Discover it Cash Back Card and the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card offer enticing rewards and share the benefit of no annual fee. The Wells Fargo Active Cash edges ahead with its unlimited 2% cash rewards on all purchases, making it a winner for simplicity and consistent earning potential.

However, the Discover it Cash Back is a strong competitor, with its 5% cash back on rotating categories, and it has 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers. While both cards are excellent, your preference for simplicity or maximizing category bonuses will guide your choice.

Credit Card logo for Discover it® Cash Back Card
Discover it® Cash Back Card
Credit Card logo for Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card
Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card
MoneyGeek Rating
3.8/ of 5
MoneyGeek Rating
3.8/ of 5

  • Regular APR
    17.24%–28.24% variable
    20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% variable
    0% APR Offer
    0% intro APR for 15 months
    0% for 15 months on purchases
    Intro Offer
    Matches cash back earned at the end of the first 12 months
    Earn $200 Cash Back
    Rewards Summary
    Earn 1%–5% cash back
    Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases
    Balance Transfer Offer
    0% intro APR for 15 months
    0% for 15 months on balance transfers
    Balance Transfer Fee
    3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)
    3% of the amount of each balance transfer
    Annual Fee
    $0
    $0
    Recommended Credit
    670–850 (Good to Excellent)
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
    Penalty APR
    None
    None
    Not sure?

Which Card Is Better for You?

You might prefer the Discover it Cash Back if you optimize your spending to align with the 5% cash back rotating categories and value the unique first-year cash back match, which can amplify your rewards. This card is fitting for those who can manage the quarterly activation and track the bonus categories.

You might prefer the Wells Fargo Active Cash if you appreciate simplicity in earning rewards, with an unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases. The $200 cash rewards bonus is a straightforward perk for new cardholders who meet the initial spending requirement. Additionally, this card offers cell phone coverage and Visa Signature Concierge services.

Head-to-Head Comparison: Card Details and Features

Evaluating APRs, fees, credit requirements, rewards, introductory offers and other features will show the differences between the Discover it Cash Back and Wells Fargo Active Cash cards. Use this section to decide which card aligns with your spending patterns, whether you prioritize lower fees, higher rewards or specific cardholder benefits.

    discount icon

    Regular APR: Discover it Cash Back

    The Discover it Cash Back card offers a lower starting APR of 17.24%, compared to the Wells Fargo Active Cash card's starting APR of 20.24%.

    annualFee icon

    Annual Fee: Tie

    Both the Discover it Cash Back and the Wells Fargo Active Cash have no annual fee.

    lowInterestAPR icon

    Introductory 0% APRs: Tie

    Both the Discover it Cash Back and Wells Fargo Active Cash cards offer a 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, making them equally attractive for those looking to make a large purchase or transfer balances. Both cards also impose a 3% fee on balance transfers.

    coins icon

    Rewards: Wells Fargo Active Cash

    For those seeking straightforward rewards, Wells Fargo Active Cash is better, offering unlimited 2% cash rewards on all purchases without tracking categories. Discover it Cash Back provides 5% back in rotating categories upon activation, then 1%, which may appeal to those who can maximize these categories.

    rewards icon

    Welcome Offers: Wells Fargo Active Cash

    The Wells Fargo Active Cash card offers a better welcome bonus, providing a $200 cash reward after a $500 spend in the first three months, compared to Discover's cash back match at the end of the first year.

    creditApproved icon

    Recommended Credit Score: Tie

    Both the Discover it Cash Back and Wells Fargo Active Cash cards cater to individuals with credit scores ranging from 670 to 850, indicating a requirement for good to excellent credit.

    autopay icon

    Penalties and Fees: Discover it Cash Back

    When comparing penalties and fees, the Discover it Cash Back card offers more leniency and cost-saving opportunities. It waives the late fee for the first offense and does not charge for foreign transactions, unlike the Wells Fargo Active Cash card, which imposes up to a $40 late fee and a 3% fee on foreign transactions.

    points icon

    Issuer Satisfaction: Discover it Cash Back

    For issuer satisfaction, Discover Bank leads with a higher rating of 4.5 compared to Wells Fargo Bank's 4.0.

    airplane icon

    Other Features & Perks: Tie

    Discover it Cash Back provides online data protection and matches all cash back in the first year. Wells Fargo Active Cash offers Visa Signature Concierge service and up to $600 in cell phone protection.

Rewards Comparison

The Wells Fargo Active Cash card simplifies earning with unlimited 2% cash rewards on all purchases. This straightforward approach may appeal to you if you prefer consistent rewards without tracking rotating categories.

The Discover it Cash Back card offers a higher 5% cash back on rotating categories each quarter, such as gas and groceries, upon activation, capped at $1,500 in combined purchases, then 1%. While this can be lucrative, it requires more engagement to maximize the benefits. If you put in the effort, the Discover it Cash Back card can yield significant rewards in these categories.

Discover it Cash Back cardholders should stay updated on the quarterly categories to fully benefit from the card's rewards program. Check Discover's website for the latest categories to ensure you're earning the maximum cash back available.

Following this section, you'll find a table outlining the bonus categories for each card

Category
Discover it Cash Back
Wells Fargo Active Cash

Category

Rotating categories: 5% on up to $1,500 in combined quarterly purchases, then 1%

All categories: 2%

All Other Purchases

1%

2%

Redeeming Rewards

Moving from earning to using your rewards, both cards offer flexible redemption options that are akin to cash, such as gift cards and statement credits. With the Discover it Cash Back, you can redeem your cash back at any time and in any amount, ensuring that your rewards are always accessible. Additionally, your cash back won't expire as long as your account remains active, with a generous 18-month period before inactivity triggers automatic redemption.

The Wells Fargo Active Cash allows for redemptions via check, statement credit or direct deposit, among other options. While it lacks travel partner transfers, the simplicity of a flat cash rewards rate and the assurance that rewards do not expire with an open account may appeal to those seeking straightforward benefits.

Methodology

MoneyGeek's ranking process evaluates credit cards across various uses, such as balance transfers and cash back rewards. The Discover it Cash Back scores highest for balance transfers, while the Wells Fargo Active Cash is top-rated for cash back rewards.

The evaluation considers factors like introductory APR offers and regular APR for balance transfers, and effective reward rates for cash back. For a deeper understanding of our ranking criteria, you can review our ranking methodology.

FAQ: Discover it Cash Back vs. Wells Fargo Active Cash Card

What are the cash back rewards for each card?
Do either of the cards have an annual fee?
What are the introductory APR offers for these cards?
Are there foreign transaction fees for either card?
Which card is better for someone with excellent credit?

About Doug Milnes, CFA


Doug Milnes, CFA headshot

Doug Milnes is a CFA charter holder with over 10 years of experience in corporate finance and the Head of Credit Cards at MoneyGeek. Formerly, he performed valuations for Duff and Phelps and financial planning and analysis for various companies. His analysis has been cited by U.S. News and World Report, The Hill, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times and many other outlets.

Milnes holds a master’s degree in data science from Northwestern University. He geeks out on helping people feel on top of their credit card use, from managing debt to optimizing rewards.


*Rates, fees or bonuses may vary or include specific stipulations. The content on this page is accurate as of the posting/last updated date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired. We recommend visiting the card issuer’s website for the most up-to-date information available.
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