Credit Cards Credit Card Reviews

Wells Fargo Business Elite Signature Card Review

overall rating
3.6

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The Wells Fargo Business Elite Signature card allows you to earn 1.5% cash back or one point per dollar spent on every purchase. If you manage to spend $10,000 or more in a month, and opt for the rewards-points option, you’ll also earn a 5,000-point bonus. There's a $125 annual fee after the first year and a bonus that you’ll have to spend a substantial amount of money to receive.

Wells Fargo Business Elite Signature Card

overall rating
3.6
Wells Fargo Business Elite Signature Card
On Wells Fargo's Secured Site.

Current Offer:

Get a one-time $1,000 cash back bonus or 100,000 bonus points when you enroll in the Business Card Rewards Program and spend $25,000 in the first three months of account opening.

Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Poor - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 7.24% variable
Annual Fee $0 first year, then $125
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 1.5% cash back on every $1 spent.
Balance Transfer Fee See Bank Terms
Cash Advance APR (%) 23.99%
Cash Advance Fee See Bank Terms
how this card stacks up
When compared among all business cards in our database:
Rewards
Benefits
Low Fees
Security/Customer Experience
Low Interest
worst best

Full Review of Wells Fargo Business Elite Signature Card

Pros
  • A choice in how you receive your rewards

  • Helpful account-management tools

Cons
  • Annual fee applies after first year

  • High spending required for bonus

Pros Explained

  • A Choice in How You Receive Rewards: The Wells Fargo Business Elite Signature card allows you to elect the rewards structure that works best for your needs. The option to receive 1.5% cash back on every dollar spent is probably the best choice for many businesses, except perhaps for those with five-figure monthly card spending. You can also choose to earn one Wells-Fargo point per dollar spent; with each point worth one cent apiece, that represents a 1% rewards rate. Spending $10,000 or more in a month earns a bonus of 5,000 points, which essentially allows you to match the cash-back rate. And redeeming rewards online provides a 10% points bonus, which would allow big spenders to slightly exceed the cash-back rewards rate. 
  • Helpful Account-Management Tools: Cardholders gain access to Wells Fargo's Business Elite Online Reporting. This free service is a robust platform that helps you manage your business expenses. Among other functions, you can track and manage your spending, analyze spending by category, and create custom reports. You can also set up spending controls on each card, allowing only certain types of purchases on them or limit spending to a certain threshold.

Cons Explained

  • Annual Fee Applies After First Year: There's no annual fee in your first year as a cardmember. After that, the fee increases to $125. While that fee isn’t especially high, some other business credit cards with similar rewards have no annual fee at all. 
  • High Spending Required for the Bonus: The Wells Fargo Business Elite Signature card does have a bonus for new cardmembers, but it requires five or six times the spending of some other business cards with comparable bonuses. You’ll earn $1,000 or 100,000 bonus points when you spend $25,000 within the first three months of opening an account. For freelancers and most independent contractors and owners of new businesses, it will be far more difficult to hit that spending threshold than those for some competing cards.
  • Wells-Fargo Customer Service is Below Average: Most people don't interact with their credit card issuer very often. But when that’s necessary, it’s often a matter of some urgency and even stress, and you want a satisfying experience. Unfortunately, that’s less likely to be the case with Wells Fargo than with almost any other card issuer, according to the J.D. Power Credit Card Customer Satisfaction Study. In its 2019 survey, Wells Fargo ranks 9th out of the 12 card issuers, with a score that places it among the least satisfying companies for credit-card customer service.

This Card is Best For

  • Avatar for Minimalist Persona
    Prefers uncomplicated rewards with single rate for all spending
    Minimalist
  • Avatar for Annual Fee Averse Persona
    Resists or refuses an annual fee on principle or due to cost
    Annual Fee Averse
  • Avatar for Business Owner Persona
    Earning a primary or side income from a small business
    Business Owner

The Wells Fargo Business Elite Signature card is best suited to businesses that will charge a lot to the card. For one, to collect on the card's hefty bonus requires spending $25,000 in the first three months after you open an account. 

Also, if you spend big on the card but have a small or nonexistent accounting staff, you might especially benefit from Business Elite Online Reporting, the free service that comes with the card and provides tools to help track and manage card spending. This card's also a decent option for use on business travel. It has no foreign transaction fee, a plus for overseas trips, and it offers comprehensive travel benefits, including travel accident insurance, auto rental coverage, and lost luggage reimbursement. You’ll also get up to $100 as reimbursement for incidental travel fees each year. 

Wells Fargo Business Elite Signature Card Bonus

New cardmembers can get a $1,000 cash-back bonus or 100,000 bonus points after spending at least $25,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening an account. 

While $1,000 is a huge bonus, a number of other business cards offer comparable incentives, and for far smaller "spends" over three months than the $25,000 the Wells Fargo Business Elite Signature card requires to earn its bonus. For example, the Chase Ink Business Preferred offers 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 in the first three months, a bonus that’s worth $1,000 in cash back or at least $1,250 in travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards. The CitiBusiness/AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard allows you to earn 65,000 American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles if you spend at least $4,000 in your first four months with the card; Investopedia values that bonus at around $1,500 if used to book flights with American Airlines.

Rewards Earning Details

When you apply for the Wells Fargo Business Elite Signature card, you have the option of choosing to earn cash back rewards or rewards points. 

  • Cash back option: Earn 1.5% cash back on every dollar spent
  • Rewards points option: Earn 1 point per dollar spent and receive 5,000 bonus points whenever your company spends $10,000 or more within a monthly billing period 

If you choose the points option, you can also earn bonus points (of between 1 and 10 points per dollar spent) by purchasing from more than 150 Wells-Fargo partners. Those companies range from Ace Hardware and Office Depot to Danskin and the Gap through Best Western and Hertz. 

Rewards Redemption Details

If you opt for the cash back structure, your cash back is redeemable for statement credits or deposits to a Wells-Fargo checking or savings account. But you must wait longer to receive those rewards than with some competing cards. Earned cash back is credited only quarterly (in March, June, September, and December), where that credit is made monthly for the Chase Ink Business cards, for example.

If you decide to use rewards points, you have a number of redemption options. You can purchase gift cards in denominations of $50 (6,500 points), $100 (10,000 points), $200 (20,000 points), or $300 (30,000 points). For travel, you can redeem points to buy flights "at a reduced price," according to Wells-Fargo, or use them directly to buy flights, starting at 25,000 points per domestic flight. (There's a $24 fee for every redemption for an airline ticket.)

When you redeem points online, you'll get a 10% point credit. For example, if you had 20,000 points and redeemed them online, you'd actually have 22,000 points to use. Because of the 10% bonus, opting for rewards points can give you more value than if you decided to use cash back rewards. 

How to Maximize Your Rewards

To get the most value from your card, use it for all of your business purchases. On all purchases, you'll earn 1.5% cash back or 1 point per dollar spent. 

Opting for points makes the most sense if you plan to spend at least $10,000 a month on the card, since that qualifies you to earn 5,000 bonus points for each month. And plan, too, to redeem your points online, since you'll get a 10% points bonus by doing so.

To put that in perspective, let's say your business spent $10,000 per month for three months, for a total of $30,000 spent. If you used the cash back option, you’d earn $450 in rewards. 

If you spent that same amount but went with rewards points, you'd earn 30,000 rewards points. Plus, you'd get 15,000 bonus points—5,000 for every month that you spent at least $10,000—giving you a total of 45,000 points (though it's important to note that the "return on spending would diminish down to the equivalent to 1 point per dollar on all monthly spend beyond $10,000"). Redeem those points online, and you’d get a 10% bonus—giving you 49,500 points. Your points are worth 1 cent each, so those points are worth $495, or $45 more value than if you opted for cash back rewards. 

You can earn additional points by patronizing Wells-Fargo partners, which number more than 150. The rewards include 4 or 5 points per dollar spent at a host of online apparel retailers, including Northface.com, Timberland.con, Gap.com, and JJill.com. Buying $500 a year of clothing at these retailers would earn you points worth $20 to $25. 

Wells Fargo Business Elite Signature Card's Outstanding Benefits

This card offers some exceptional perks, including: 

  • Travel incidental fee reimbursement: Each year, you'll get up to $100 in reimbursement for incidental travel costs, such as baggage fees. 

Standard Benefits

  • Travel accident insurance
  • Travel cancellation/interruption with weather
  • Trip-delay reimbursement
  • Lost-luggage coverage
  • Travel and emergency assistance services
  • Secondary auto-rental insurance
  • Visa extended warranty protection
  • Visa purchase protection
  • Free cards for employees

Cardholder Experience

If you’re looking for a new credit card, it's helpful to consider the issuer’s customer service. Unfortunately, Wells Fargo has a subpar reputation when it comes to customer support. 

According to the 2019 J.D. Power Credit Card Customer Satisfaction Study, Wells Fargo ranks ninth out of the 12 card issuers it surveyed. Its score of 783 is well below the average of 806 for all issuers.  

Customer service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can contact customer support through its online platform or by calling 1-800-642-4720. 

Security Features

The Wells Fargo Business Elite Signature card offers basic security features that are standard for business credit cards. You'll get perks like: 

  • Business credit card account alerts
  • Fraud monitoring
  • Zero liability protection

Our Verdict

While the Wells-Fargo Elite Business Elite Signature card offers respectable rewards, especially in the form of cash-back, the card has a number of drawbacks that put it at a competitive disadvantage with many competitors. 

Those begin with this card's bonus, which requires hefty spending of $25,000 in the first three months, for a reward that’s on a par with those for other cards that require a "spend" of no more than $15,000.

After having no annual fee for the first year, this card charges $125 annually, yet only offers rewards you can readily receive with cards that charge no annual fee. For example, the no-fee Discover it Business card allows you to earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase you make. 

Also of concern is Wells-Fargo's below-average performance in satisfying its credit-card customers, according to J.D. Power's annual survey. 

A suite of expense-management tools do add value to this card, for businesses who could use assistance with managing expenses charged to its company cards. The card also offers a broader selection of travel benefits than most business cards with relatively low fees. 

Those advantages, though, should be weighed carefully against the shortcomings of this card and its issuer before choosing it over other options in small-business cards.

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For Wells Fargo Business Elite Signature Card
on Wells Fargo's Secured Site.
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CURRENT CARD
Wells Fargo Business Elite Signature Card
overall rating
3.6
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Poor - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 7.24% variable
Annual Fee $0 first year, then $125
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 1.5% cash back on every $1 spent.
Investopedia Credit Card Rating Methodology
Investopedia is committed to delivering the best credit card recommendations in the industry. We’ll tell you when a card is good, we’ll tell you when a card is bad, and we’ll only call a card the best if we would recommend it to our friends or family members.
Overall Star Rating Explained
To rate credit cards we objectively assess, score and weight nearly 100 individual card features which roll up into five major feature sets: fees, interest, rewards, benefits and security/customer service. Here’s how we weighted those feature sets for the overall star rating of a card:
We have applied our proprietary rating methodology to every generally-accepted credit card in the U.S. domestic market to allow consumers to make fully informed choices. It’s important to note that for our overall score that we make a number of assumptions about how you would be using your credit card:
  1. While we make no assumption as to whether balances are carried on a given card we do assign varying weights to all credit cards’ introductory APR (if present) in addition to the regular, long term purchase and balance transfer interest rates.
  2. We utilize BLS (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) income and average category spending data to calculate annual earnings rates for rewards cards that offer cash back, points or miles rewards at a set rate on all spending or in consideration of bonus rewards for certain spending categories, like gasoline, groceries, restaurants or travel.
  3. We determine the maximum points value of rewards cards by dividing the points, cash back or miles required to exchange for the retail price of the most valuable redemption option (for example, in the case of a card that offers a domestic roundtrip airline ticket as a redemption option vs. another redemption option of lesser value that requires the same amount of points or miles to acquire, we would base the rewards value on the airline ticket).
  • Cards that are selected best overall in their respective categories generally feature most if not all of the following attributes:
  • Low or Reasonable Fees Credit card fees come in many forms but the primary ones involve those for annual card membership and balance transfer. There are a myriad of reward and non-reward card options that charge no annual fee but for the many that do assess an annual fee the cost is often justified by their lucrative ongoing rewards and initial signup bonuses. Balance transfer fees are occasionally waived during introductory periods with certain cards, a factor which is heavily and positively weighted in our scoring model for cards offering this benefit. When charged, balance transfer fees range between 3% - 5%, which we grade accordingly. Other standard fees can generally be avoided, such as those for paying late or taking cash advances but we rate those relative to other cards in the market for reference, though with less weight assigned
  • Competitive Interest Many cards offer 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for varying lengths and then revert to a permanent or regular APR (based on a variable rate tied to the prime rate) that applies to any balances not paid in full. We rate both introductory APR percentage and length (in months) along with the midpoint of the variable regular APR interest rate range.
  • Valuable Rewards Credit card reward programs can be based on cash back, points or travel rewards (which can be generic or travel partner-specific, as with airline and hotel co-brand card programs). For cards that offer rewards we determine the value per dollar spent along with average redemption values and assign more favorable ratings to cards that offer superior consumer value. We also assign value to sign-up bonus offers and their initial spending requirements, when present.
  • Excellent Benefits Credit card benefits cover a range of offerings like concierge service, TSA Pre-check, auto rental coverage, travel accident insurance, lost luggage assistance and free credit scores. We rate cards on the number and level of over a dozen standard and upscale benefits and provide extra weighting emphasis for those travel-related perks that apply to premium travel cards when present.
  • Solid Security/Customer Service Security and customer service features like lost or stolen card replacement, being able to lock one’s card from an issuer app and 24 hour customer support are becoming more standard across the card market and we provide a significant amount of weighting to features in this area.
  • You can also read the full version of our methodology for a more in-depth look at how we assess cards and award them the best in various categories.