American Express Blue Cash Preferred vs. Wells Fargo Active Cash: Two Great Cash Back Cards for Everyday Purchases

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Good for Bonus Category Rewards
Editor’s Score: (4.3/5)
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
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Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
Editor’s Score: (4.3/5)
Rewards rate:

6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%). 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions. 3% Cash Back on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more. 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations. 1% Cash Back on other purchases.

Learn more externa link icon At our partner’s secure site See Rates & Fees, Terms Apply.
Good for Cash Back on Every Purchase
Editor’s Score: (4.6/5)
Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card
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Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card
Editor’s Score: (4.6/5)
Rewards rate:

Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases.

Apply Now externa link icon At Wells Fargo’s secure site See Rates & Fees.
  • Intro offer:
    $350
  • Annual fee:
    $95
  • Regular APR:
    16.99%-27.99% Variable
  • Recommended credit score:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
  • Rewards rate:

    6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%). 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions. 3% Cash Back on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more. 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations. 1% Cash Back on other purchases.

  • Intro offer:
    $200 cash rewards
  • Annual fee:
    $0
  • Regular APR:
    17.99%, 22.99%, or 27.99% Variable APR
  • Recommended credit score:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
  • Rewards rate:

    Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases.

Pros and Cons
Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Great rewards in everyday spending categories
  • Introductory interest offer for new purchases and balance transfers
  • Competitive welcome bonus
Cons
  • $95 annual fee
  • U.S. supermarket 6% rewards capped after $6,000 annual spend
Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases
  • Valuable welcome bonus
  • 0% Introductory APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers (17.99%, 22.99%, or 27.99%) variable APR thereafter)
  • Cellphone and travel protections
Cons
  • High variable APR after introductory offer ends
  • No bonus categories to maximize
  • 3% foreign currency conversion fee
Additional Card Details
Additional Card Details
  • 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months from the date of account opening, then 16.99% – 27.99% variable APR
  • Early event ticket access and seating through American Express Experiences
  • Eligible for Amex Pay It, Plan It
  • Travel protections
  • Purchase protections
  • Minimum $25 rewards redemption
Additional Card Details
  • 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers (followed by a variable APR of 17.99%, 22.99%, or 27.99%).
  • Cell phone protection worth up to $600 when you pay your bill with your eligible Wells Fargo card (subject to a $25 deductible)
  • Visa Signature® Concierge service
  • Travel and emergency assistance services
  • Roadside dispatch
NextAdvisor’s Take

The Blue Cash Preferred from American Express and Wells Fargo Active Cash cards are both cash reward heavyweights, with high-value rewards on everyday spending. While the Blue Cash Preferred offers tiered bonus rewards with up to 6% cash back in certain categories (up to limits) the Wells Fargo Active Cash comes with a flat 2% cash rewards on purchases. How you spend, along with your willingness to pay an annual fee, what you’re looking for in an intro offer, and redemption options can all help you decide between these top cash back picks.

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 everyday spending. Plus, they come with some great benefits, welcome bonuses, and introductory offers. 

But there are some significant differences between the two. Including their differing types of cash back rewards structures. Where the 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 rewards on purchases.

There are other distinguishing factors to compare between these two cards — including fees, perks, and redemption options. Before you choose, here’s everything you need to know about what both cards offer. 

Side-by-Side Comparison

Blue Cash Preferred Card from American ExpressWells Fargo Active Cash Card
Annual Fee$95$0
Welcome Offer$350 when you spend $3,000 within six months of account opening$200 cash rewards bonus when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening
Cash Back Rewards6% back on up to $6,000 spent at U.S. supermarkets per year, then 1% back 

6% back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions 

3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on transit 

1% back on other purchases
Earn an unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases
Other Benefits• 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months, followed by a variable APR of 16.24% to 27.24%

• Global Assist hotline

• Travel and purchase protections
• 0% intro APR on purchases and qualifying balance transfers for 15 months from account opening, followed by a variable APR of 17.99%, 22.99%, or 27.99%

• Cell phone protection

Bonus Comparison

With the American Express Blue Cash Preferred, you can earn $350 after spending $3,000 on purchases within six months of account opening. This works out to about $500 per month for the first six months.

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

If you have a large upcoming purchase or your regular budget already allows for at least $500 in monthly spending, the Blue Cash Preferred offers more cash back after account opening. But the $200 cash rewards Wells Fargo Active Cash offer isn’t bad either, and may be a better fit for smaller budgets. 

Rewards and Benefits Comparison

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

The American Express Blue Cash Preferred offers tiered rewards in bonus categories. You’ll get 6% back on up to $6,000 spent at U.S. supermarkets per year (then 1% back), 6% back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions, 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on transit and 1% back on other purchases. This card is a good choice to earn rewards on common everyday purchases — especially with rising grocery and gas prices.

Keep in mind that the 6% back rate at U.S. supermarkets is capped after you spend $6,000 per year. Many families spend a lot more on groceries than that. In fact, the average family of four with two adults under age 50 and two kids (a boy and a girl, ages 12 and 13) spend $1,239.50 on groceries each month (or $14,874 per year), based on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s “moderate” food plan

By contrast, the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card offers an unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases. You can earn flat rewards outside of bonus categories, which can add up to more rewards over the year, especially if your spending doesn’t often fall into common rewards categories. For instance, if you do your food shopping at superstores or warehouse clubs, which are often excluded from grocery bonus categories.

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

APRs

If you’re hoping to save money on interest with your new card, the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card is the better option since it extends 0% intro APR on both purchases and qualifying balance transfers for 15 months from account opening (followed by a variable APR of 17.99%, 22.99%, or 27.99%). This makes it a reasonable choice whether you want to make a large purchase and pay it down over time or you 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 an introductory 0% APR on qualifying balance transfers for the first 15 months from account opening (17.99%, 22.99%, or 27.99% variable APR thereafter) , which can help you save money as you pay down your balance. However, if paying down debt is your main goal, consider other balance transfer cards with up to 21 months interest-free.

The Amex Blue Cash Preferred has no intro offer for balance transfers, but can be a good choice if you just need to make a big purchase. It offers 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months, followed by a variable APR of 16.24% to 27.24%. 

Fees

The Wells Fargo Active Cash Card doesn’t have an annual fee, which makes it a good card to keep for the long haul. By contrast, the American Express Blue Cash Preferred charges $95 annually.

In terms of other fees, they both charge the same late payment fee up to $40. The American Express Blue Cash Preferred also charges a returned payment fee of up to $40. If you decide to transfer a balance to the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card, you’ll need to pay an intro 3% for 120 days from account opening, then up to 5% (minimum $5) balance transfer fee.

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

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Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Editor’s Score: (4.3/5)
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Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

Editor’s Score: (4.6/5)
  • Intro offer:
    $200 cash rewards
  • Annual fee:
    $0
  • Regular APR:
    17.99%, 22.99%, or 27.99% Variable APR
  • Recommended credit:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
  • Apply Now externa link icon At Wells Fargo’s secure site See Rates & Fees.
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Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Editor’s Score: (4.7/5)
  • Intro offer:
    Earn an Additional 1.5% Cash Back
  • Annual fee:
    $0
  • Regular APR:
    17.24% – 25.99% Variable
  • Recommended credit:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
  • Apply Now externa link icon At Chase’s secure site

Deciding Between Amex Blue Cash Preferred Card and Wells Fargo Active Cash Card

Editorial Independence

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

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

If most of your budget goes toward everyday spending within the Blue Cash Preferred’s bonus categories, you can get a higher rewards value on your regular purchases, including the unbeatable 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year, then 1% after that). Look back at your previous few years’ spending to ensure 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 any bonus rewards categories, the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card is a better choice. Whether you’re planning for 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 for the best estimate, but based on average American spending data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we estimate the Blue Cash Preferred offers about $302 in annual rewards value after the first year, and the Wells Fargo Active Cash about $265.

You could choose maximize rewards even more by pairing these two cards and strategizing which you use to spend to earn the most cash back. You could use your Blue Cash Preferred to earn more rewards on U.S. supermarket spending (up to the annual cap), select streaming services, purchases at U.S. gas stations and transit purchases. From there, you could use your Wells Fargo Active Cash Card for other purchases to secure the elevated rate of 2% cash rewards.