Some credit cards make a compelling case for that coveted slot in your wallet, granting you useful benefits and steady rewards year after year. Maybe they don’t check off every item on your wish list, but overall, you’re happy.
Once in a while, though, another card comes around that makes you question your devotion. Indeed this year, during our selection of NerdWallet’s Best Credit Cards of 2022, we found three new offerings that unseated cards we’d previously awarded several years in a row. Here’s why.
New winner: Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card
Category: Simple cash back
Why: The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer has been a perennial champion in the cash-back category, boasting a rich 2% rate on all purchases: 1% back when you buy, 1% back when you pay it off. That’s earned this venerable card a Best-Of Award for every year NerdWallet’s contest has been in existence, since 2016.
Most importantly, the Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card comes with a generous sign-up bonus, phrased this way: “Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months..” The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer has no sign-up bonus.
The Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card offers an introductory APR promotion on both purchases and balance transfers. With the Citi card, you get an intro promotion on balance transfers only.
With the Wells Fargo card, you’ll still earn 2% cash back on all purchases, but it’s not broken down into two required steps as with the Citi card.
In addtion, the Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card offers cell phone protection, along with access to the Visa Concierge service and the Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection.
Overall, that’s a powerhouse package.
New winner: Wells Fargo Reflect℠ Card
Category: 0% intro APR and balance transfer credit card
Why: If your top priority is saving on interest while paying down debt, both of these cards offer very long 0% APR promotions. But the Wells Fargo Reflect℠ Card has a slight edge over the U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card.
With the U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card, you’ll pay 0% intro APR for 20 billing cycles on purchases and balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 14.49%-24.49% Variable APR. That’s an excellent deal, and it’s earned the card honors on our annual awards list for the past three years.
But the Wells Fargo Reflect℠ Card, which debuted in 2021, grants you a little extra time, provided you make on-time payments — which is something NerdWallet always recommends because late credit card payments can damage your credit scores. You get a 0% intro APR for 18 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers, and then an ongoing APR of 12.99%-24.99% Variable APR. Intro APR extension of up to 3 months with on-time minimum payments during the intro and extension periods.
That means, in total, you can snag a 0% intro period of 21 months by paying on time.
Neither card earns rewards on your spending, but the reprieve from interest can be a reward unto itself.
New winner: American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card
Category: Small-business credit card
Plus, there’s a generous welcome offer: Earn a $250 statement credit after you make $3,000 in purchases on your Card in your first 3 months. Terms Apply.
If you need to finance large business purchases, you’ll pay 0% intro APR on Purchases for 12 months, and then the ongoing APR of 13.24%-19.24% Variable APR.
Not bad for a card with a $0 annual fee.
Meanwhile, the Capital One Spark Cash for Business is no longer available. When it was on the market, it routinely won NerdWallet Best-Of Awards in the small-business category, including the past three years running.
But the card was replaced in 2021 by the Capital One Spark Cash Plus. This new card also earns 2% cash back on all purchases (with no spending limit) and offers a generous sign-up bonus, but there are two considerable drawbacks. First, the annual fee is $150, which you can offset with a $200 annual cash bonus every year you spend $200,000 or more on the card — a sizable sum. Second, there’s no APR because you must pay your bill in full each month, so this isn’t an ideal card if you need to finance a major purchase.
To view rates and fees of the American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card, see this page.