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The one card wallet

I frequently get asked, “What is the best credit card?” And the answer is, of course, it depends.

If you want to maximize rewards, it might be a card that earns rewards in the categories like gas or groceries where you spend the most. Consultants and other road-warrior professionals’ “best” credit card might be a card that offers airport lounge access. If you prioritize simplicity, it might be card that offers 2% cash back everywhere.

Excuses aside, let’s say I was forced to pick one credit card to always recommend when asked. What would it be?

My requirements for a one-card wallet

Before picking a card, I did some thinking about what would be most important. After all

No annual fee – Credit cards with annual fees often come with valuable benefits. I carry several cards with annual fees that provide value well in excess of what I pay. But the benefits of premium cards are not equally usable by everybody. Airport lounge access is great if you’re traveling every week, but if you’re only going through airports once a year, is it worth paying $600 a year for that benefit? Likely not. As a general recommendation, for someone who wants one credit card, no annual fee is perhaps the top priority.

Generous cash back on every purchase – One of the biggest reasons to use a credit card for your purchases is to get cash back rewards. And there are plenty of cards that offer a good amount of cash back on all purchases. For a one-card wallet, I want at least 1.5% cash back on all of my purchases, but preferably 2% cash back. And I want those rewards as cash, without restrictions.

Extended warranty protection – This is one of the most valuable, but underused credit card benefits in my opinion. Having your computer, cell phone, television, refrigerator, or other major purchase covered by up to an additional year of extended warranty is a benefit that pays off. Especially when the benefit is free. Fortunately, there are many no-annual-fee cards that offer this benefit. Most Chase cards offer extended warranty protection. And several other issuers offer this benefit as well.

Cell phone protection – The device you are most likely to break or get stolen is your cell phone. Fortunately, many credit cards offer a benefit that can make you whole if you spider your phone’s screen or if it gets stolen. In most cases, you’ll get $600-$800 of cell phone protection when you pay your monthly bill with your credit card. That won’t cover the entire cost of the most expensive devices, but it will cover most of the cost of most cell phone.

Rewards in usable categories – If I’m not getting 2% cash back on every purchases, I’m willing to settle for 1.5% cash back on everything with increased rewards in useful categories. Gas stations, grocery stores, drugstores, and dining are good options here.

Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card – Best for a one-card wallet

Wells Fargo Active Cash Visa Signature Card
Wells Fargo Active Cash

The Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card wins my award for the best card for a one-card wallet. The card offers 2% cash back on all purchases, with no minimum redemptions or categories to worry about. The Active Cash does not have an annual fee. And it comes with cell phone protection. If you’re looking for a one-card wallet, the Active Cash is a solid choice

Rewards of the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

The Wells Fargo Active Cash Card’s rewards structure is simple. You earn 2% cash back on all purchases. There’s no need to worry about spending categories. And you don’t need to activate quarterly bonuses. You swipe your card, you earn 2%. It’s easy.

The Active Cash rewards are also easy to redeem for cash back rewards. You can redeem your rewards for statement credits to offset purchases starting at $1. You can also redeem your rewards as a credit to a Wells Fargo credit card, checking account, or mortgage. And if you redeem your rewards online or by phone, the minimum reward redemption is 1 point ($0.01.) The card offers other redemption options, but none offers more value than the cash back rewards.

Benefits of the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

The of the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card offers a one of the benefits that I want but is, unfortunately lacking one of the benefits I prioritize.

When you charge your monthly cell phone bill to the card, you’ll get $600 of protection against damage or theft from the card’s cell phone protection benefit. Note that, while cell phone protection will cover you if your phone is damaged. How does the cell. The deductible ($25) is lower than most other cards and the benefit does not exclude prepaid cell phone bills like some other. The coverage limits ($600 per claim, 2 claims per year) are less than some other cards’ benefits, but should be sufficient to cover everything outside of high-end phones.

The card does not offer extended warranty protection, which is perhaps my one wish for this card. But I could not find another card that offered 2% cash back everywhere with extended warranty protection.

The card also offers secondary auto rental collision damage waiver insurance and primary auto rental collision damage waiver insurance for rentals outside the United States.

Bottom Line

For many people, the simplicity of a one-card wallet outweighs any additional benefits they could get from carrying multiple credit cards. If this is you, the Wells Fargo Active Cash card is a good choice.