Wells Fargo Business Elite SignatureCard®
Best For: Businesses with over $1 million in annual sales
|Intro APR||Regular APR||Annual Fee||Credit Needed|
|N/A||Prime + 3.99% on purchases||$75 annual rewards program fee, waived the first year||Excellent|
The Wells Fargo Business Elite Card® is designed for businesses with annual sales of more than $1 million. It offers robust controls allowing you to choose where and when employees can use their cards. You’ll earn either 1.5% cash back or one point per dollar spent, and the ongoing annual percentage rate (APR) is a low 9.49%.
The best small business credit cards that offer fixed-rate rewards pay up to 2% cash back or two times the points on all purchases. They also offer introductory rewards of as much as $500. This Wells Fargo card offers an excellent sign-up bonus worth $1,000, but ongoing rewards that fall short. It comes with spending controls not seen on other small business cards. After assessing its costs and benefits, we give the Wells Fargo Business Elite Card® 3 1/2 stars out of five stars possible.
How We Evaluated the Wells Fargo Business Elite Card®
We evaluated the Wells Fargo Business Elite Card® and found that it offers introductory rewards matched only by the Chase Ink Business Preferred® card, but its ongoing rewards are below average. It offers excellent benefits tailored to businesses looking to monitor and control employee spending.
We considered the following criteria when grading this card based on what owners might need and want in a small business credit card:
- Ongoing rewards: The cash back or points you’ll earn by using the Wells Fargo Elite card for business; this card uniquely earns either cash back or points, which can be used for travel
- Introductory rewards: The cash back or points you’ll earn by reaching minimum spending requirements during the first few months of card ownership; the Wells Fargo Elite card for business offers $1,000 cash back after you spend $15,000 within three months
- Annual fee: How much you’ll pay each year to own the card. The Wells Fargo Elite card for business charges no annual fee, but it does charge an optional $75 fee ― waived the first year ― if you choose to participate in the card’s rewards program
- Additional benefits: Whether the card comes with free perks that may increase its value; the Wells Fargo Elite card for business offers extensive benefits, including spending controls, extended warranty protection, and purchase security, which protects your purchases against theft
- Intro APR: Whether the card offers a period of no-interest financing on purchases or balance transfers; the Wells Fargo Elite card for business offers no 0% introductory APR
- Ongoing APR: How much it will cost to finance purchases on the card; this card charges an ongoing APR 9.49%, which is among the lowest interest rates available on a business credit card
The Wells Fargo Business Elite Card® is not a great card for earning rewards (especially because it charges an annual rewards fee), but its additional benefits almost make up for its drawbacks. The extensive spending controls are a great benefit, particularly if you want to set individual permissions on the types and amount of charges employees can make. Those controls are better than even premium cards like the American Express Business Platinum® offer.
How We Evaluate Cash Back Business Credit Cards
When grading cash back business credit cards like the Wells Fargo Business Elite Card®, we weight the card’s ongoing rewards the heaviest. We also weigh the introductory rewards heavily and consider the card’s annual fee, features, and introductory and ongoing APRs. The only piece that is missing from this card is an introductory no-interest period.
We graded the Wells Fargo Business Elite Card using the following methodology:
Based on our five-star rating system where 20 points equals one star, the Wells Fargo Business Elite Card would need to improve its ongoing rewards or offer a 0% APR period to earn the next half star. In cases where cards receive perfect scores in most categories, we may award bonus points to boost the card’s rating.
Despite the strong introductory rewards and extensive spending controls, this grade is appropriate because the Wells Fargo Business Elite Card doesn’t provide a no-interest period on balance transfers or purchases. In comparison, the Chase Ink Business UnlimitedSM offers cardholders no-interest for the first 12 months on purchases.
Who the Wells Fargo Business Elite Card® Is Right For
The Wells Fargo Business Elite Card® is best for owners who need up to 200 employee credit cards but can’t qualify for or don’t want a corporate credit card. Employee credit cards are free. It comes with expense management tools and rewards that mirror what some of the best corporate cards offer. Unlike with a corporate card, you’ll still have personal liability.
Wells Fargo Business Elite Card® Costs
The Wells Fargo Business Elite Card® offers no introductory 0% APR, but the ongoing APR of 9.49% is as low as you’ll find among business credit cards. The ongoing APR is four percentage points lower than what either the Wells Fargo Business Platinum Credit Card or the Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard® offer.
Financing costs and fees on the Wells Fargo business credit card include:
- Introductory APR: None
- Ongoing APR: 9.49%, which will adjust with the prime rate
- Annual fee: None
- Business Elite Card Rewards Program fee: $75, waived the first year
- Balance transfer fee: Varies, based on the specific offer you receive
- Foreign transaction fee: None
- Cash advance fee: 4% of the advance; minimum $10
- Late payment fee: $25 on balances up to $100; $39 on balances between $100 and $5,000; $75 on balances above $5,000
- Returned payment fee: $29
- Penalty APR: None
As noted, this Wells Fargo credit card does not come with an introductory interest-free period. The best 0% APR business credit cards offer free financing for 12 months or longer. Wells Fargo is the only major issuer that charges cardholders a fee if they want to earn rewards. You could opt out of paying the fee if employee cards and spending controls are the primary motivation for getting the card.
How to Avoid Paying Interest on the Wells Fargo Business Elite Card®
With the Wells Fargo Business Elite Card®, your payment due date is at least 25 days after the close of the business cycle (when you receive your bill). Pay your balance in full by the due date to avoid interest charges. If you are charged interest, you’ll pay no less than $1.
The minimum payment due is equal to 5% of the new balance, subject to a $500 minimum. If your balance is less than $500, the payment due will equal the new balance. If the credit limit for all Wells Fargo revolving loans exceeds $100,000, you must pay the full balance each month, making this essentially a charge card. No other small business credit card from a major issuer sets minimum payments in this manner.
Wells Fargo Business Elite Card® Rewards
The Wells Fargo Business Elite Card® offers fixed-rate rewards on all spending. You may choose to receive your rewards in the form of points or cash back. It offers introductory rewards equivalent to what you can receive from the best business travel rewards cards.
After you choose whether to earn points or cash back, you can earn an introductory bonus of either:
- 100,000 points when you spend $15,000 within the first three months after account opening, or
- $1,000 cash back when you spend $15,000 within the first three months after account opening
The introductory rewards on this Wells Fargo business credit card are best-in-class. You’ll have to spend significantly more in your first three months to earn those rewards than other small business credit cards require. The Chase Ink Business Preferred® card, for example, offers 100,000 points ― worth $1,250 when redeemed for travel ― but you’ll have to spend $15,000 in the first three months to earn the signup bonus.
After you choose whether to earn points or cash back, you can earn ongoing rewards of either:
- 1.5% cash back for every $1 spent on purchases, or
- One point for every $1 spent on net purchases and 5,000 bonus points when your company spends $10,000 in any monthly billing period
The bonus points are worth at least $50 when redeemed for gift cards, merchandise, or airline tickets. That makes your points on the first $5,000 spent per month the same as the two times the points awarded for all spending on the American Express Blue Business® Plus card. All other spending above $5,000 on the Wells Fargo card is worth one times the points.
The ongoing rewards — with the exception of the monthly bonus — are identical to what you can earn with the Wells Fargo Business Platinum Credit Card. That card charges no annual fee or rewards program fee and offers a 1,000-point monthly bonus when your business spends at least $1,000.
The Wells Fargo Business Elite Card® won’t reward points for the following:
- Purchases made using a PIN or ATM transactions
- Cash advances
- Balance transfers
- Wells Fargo convenience checks, called SUPERCHECKS
- Casino gaming chips
- Wire transfers
- Off-track wagers
- Lottery ticket transactions
- Bets or wagers transmitted over the internet
- Fees or interest posted to the account
Points will expire on November 30, three years from the year in which they were earned. Most small business credit cards do not set an expiration date on rewards.
How to Redeem Your Rewards
The Wells Fargo Business Elite Card® and the Wells Fargo Business Platinum Credit Card are the only two small business credit cards we’ve reviewed that allow you to redeem rewards either in the form of cash back or points. The redemption process is different based on which form you choose, as are potential costs and bonuses.
Redemption is automatic when you choose to receive cash-back rewards. You’ll receive a statement credit, or the bank will deposit cash rewards in your eligible checking or savings account once per quarter. Most cash back small business credit cards require users to redeem rewards manually in increments established by the issuer.
When you choose points rewards, you can redeem your points for gift cards, merchandise, or for travel, including airfare, cruises, and rental cars. You’ll receive a 10% point credit when you redeem points online. When you redeem points for airline tickets, you’ll pay a $24 redemption fee. Other Wells Fargo business credit cards also charge a redemption fee, including the Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card, but most other issuers offer free redemption.
Wells Fargo Business Elite Card® Additional Features
The Wells Fargo Business Elite Card® offers several travel and other protections as complimentary perks. These include spending controls, car rental insurance, and purchase protection. Plus, the flexible employee spending control options are among the best available on a small business credit card. The other perks are not uncommon.
You’ll receive the following free additional benefits:
You can assign spending controls to any or all of the employee cards you ask for when you apply. You may also set controls at any time by contacting Wells Fargo Business Elite Card® customer service at 800-231-5511.
You can assign the following spending controls to each card on the account:
- Transaction limits: Set specific dollar limits on purchases
- Time limits: Limit employee spending to business hours only
- Category limits: Restrict employees to purchases in specific categories only, like office administration, travel or driving
The spending controls offered by this Wells Fargo card are similar to what corporate credit cards offer. The Chase Ink Business Preferred® card, for example, allows you to set individual spending limits but doesn’t offer category spending restrictions or time limits.
Business Elite Online Reporting
This online tool available through your Wells Fargo Business Elite Card® online account allows you to view and analyze transactions to identify spending patterns and look for places to save. You can filter transactions by date, cardholder name or amount and export the date to different accounting software.
Several other small business credit cards offer ways to track spending, including the Capital One® Spark Cash® for Business card, which offers quarterly and year-end summaries. No other Wells Fargo small business card offers this feature.
Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver
When you rent a car using your Wells Fargo business card, you’re covered in case of accident or theft. Coverage is primary if the vehicle rental is for business purposes, which means you won’t need to use your personal auto insurance or accept insurance offered by the rental agency. You may be reimbursed for up to the cash value of the vehicle.
What’s Covered with the Wells Fargo Business Elite Card® Rental Insurance
The auto rental collision damage waiver covers physical damage, vandalism, and theft. Eligible vehicles include economy- through luxury-class automobiles, vans that seat eight or fewer people and SUVs when driven on-road only. Rentals of 31 consecutive days or less are eligible.
What’s Excluded from the Wells Fargo Business Elite Card® Rental Insurance
The following auto rental collision damage waiver coverage limits apply:
- Lost or stolen personal belongings, injury to anyone, medical expenses, or personal liability will not be covered
- Coverage is not available in Jamaica, Ireland, or Israel
- When renting in Australia, New Zealand, Costa Rica, or Italy, you may be required to purchase a minimum level of collision damage coverage; in that case, your benefit is supplemental
- Trucks, cargo vans and expensive vehicles are not covered; contact your card’s benefits administrator to inquire about specific vehicles
This coverage is similar to what other small business cards offer. Even premium business cards, like the American Express Business Platinum Card®, have restrictions. The American Express card doesn’t cover rentals made in Australia, Italy, and New Zealand.
Visa Purchase Security
Visa may repair, replace, or reimburse for items purchased with your credit card that are damaged or stolen within 90 days of purchase. Coverage is limited to $10,000 per item, up to $50,000 per year. Some Visa cards carry this coverage.
What Purchases the Wells Fargo Business Elite Card® Covers
Eligible purchases made entirely using your Visa Business card are covered by purchase security.
What Purchases the Wells Fargo Business Elite Card® Excludes
The following purchases are not covered by purchase:
- Animals and living plants
- Antiques or collectible items
- Boats, aircraft, automobiles, and any other motorized vehicles
- Computer software
- Items purchased for resale
- Items that are lost or that vanish in an unexplained manner without evidence of a wrongful act
- Items under the care and control of a common carrier like the United States Postal Service or an airline
- Jewelry and watches stored in checked baggage
- Theft or damage resulting from abuse, fraud, hostilities of any kind, confiscation by the authorities, risks of contraband, illegal activities, normal wear and tear, flood, earthquake, radioactive contamination, or damage from inherent product defects
- Medical equipment
- Perishables or consumables
- Real estate
- Rented or leased items
- Traveler’s checks, cash, tickets, credit or debit cards, and any other negotiable instruments
- Used or pre-owned items
Business credit cards that offer this coverage typically limit coverage to either 90 or 120 days after purchase. The Wells Fargo Business Platinum Card offers a shorter coverage window than the Chase Ink Business UnlimitedSM. Exclusions here are common across small business credit cards.
Visa Extended Warranty Protection
Visa will double the original manufacturer’s warranty up to one additional year on warranties of three years or less up to a maximum of $10,000 per claim. Visa offers this protection on a number of small business credit cards.
What the Wells Fargo Business Elite Card® Extended Warranty Protection Covers
Purchases made using your Wells Fargo business card are covered by extended protection.
What the Wells Fargo Business Elite Card® Extended Protection Excludes
The following purchases are not covered by extended protection:
- Boats, automobiles, aircraft, and any other motorized vehicles
- Any costs other than those specifically covered under the terms of the original manufacturer’s written U.S. repair warranty
- Items purchased for resale
- Computer software
- Medical equipment
- Real estate
- Rented or leased items
- Used or pre-owned items
Visa offers extended protection on a number of small business credit cards. This protection includes a smaller window of additional coverage than some other small business credit cards. The American Express Blue Business® Plus, for example, offers two years’ extra warranty protection if the original manufacturer’s warranty is between two and five years. For shorter manufacturer’s warranties, American Express will match the length of the original warranty.
Travel and Emergency Assistance
Visa provides travel, emergency, medical and legal assistance 24 hours a day to the cardholder, their spouse, and dependent children 22 years of age or younger on this and other credit cards. Like with most small business credit cards, this is mostly a concierge service. The cardholder is responsible for the cost of any assistance. Request help by calling 800-992-6029 in the U.S. or call one of Visa’s toll-free numbers when traveling internationally.
Services the Wells Fargo Business Elite Card® Provides
This card covers the following travel and emergency assistance:
- Arranges for transportation under medical supervision
- Relays messages for travelers 24 hours a day
- Arranges for the replacement and delivery of new tickets in case of loss
- Offers help with common carrier claim procedures when you’ve lost luggage
This card covers the following medical and legal assistance:
- Referrals to local doctors, dentists, hospitals, and pharmacies
- Assistance with prescription replacements
- Referrals to a translator in all major languages
Some cards that charge an annual fee may offer more robust assistance. The American Express® Business Gold Card, for example, includes on its Global Assist Hotline bail bond assistance and referral to an attorney who speaks English.
Wells Fargo Design Studio
You can customize the design of your Wells Fargo Business Elite Card® by uploading an image that represents your business to its online studio. The image, which could include your business logo, storefront or product line image, will appear on your business credit card. No other major business secured credit card offers this feature.
Adding Wells Fargo Business Elite Card® Employee Credit Cards
You may add up to 200 employee credit cards at no cost on the Wells Fargo Business Elite Card®, even though the account charges a $75 annual rewards program fee. Most small business credit card issuers — with the exception of American Express — charge no fee on employee credit cards, even if the primary card carries an annual fee.
What the Wells Fargo Business Elite Card® Is Missing
Most small business credit cards that charge an annual fee — or a rewards program fee in the case of Wells Fargo — offer better ongoing rewards. The Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business card charges a $95 annual fee — waived the first year — but offers unlimited two times the miles per $1 on all spending.
This card also won’t allow you a chance to earn category bonuses of up to 5% like the Chase Ink Business CashSM offers on the first $25,000 spent annually on combined purchases at office supply stores, and on internet, cable, and phone services.
Further, you cannot apply for this card online, even if you have an existing banking or credit card relationship with Wells Fargo. Most other small business credit cards allow online applications. You must apply in-branch for this card.
Wells Fargo Business Elite Card® Reviews
We searched the internet to find Wells Fargo Business Elite Card® reviews, which are fairly positive. Users who like this card say the spending controls are helpful to their business. Some users said the spending requirements to maximize rewards are too high. Most small business credit cards do not require $15,000 in spending to earn an introductory bonus.
How to Apply for the Wells Fargo Business Elite Card®
Most of the time you can get a business credit card online, but that’s not the case with the Wells Fargo Business Elite Card®. A branch visit is required. Once approved, you’ll receive your card within seven to 10 business days.
How to Login to Your Wells Fargo Business Elite Card® Account
Login to your Wells Fargo business card account by providing your user ID and password. You can also contact customer service for Wells Fargo business cards at 877-436-4170.
Other Wells Fargo Business Credit Cards
Wells Fargo offers two other business credit cards, each designed with distinct audiences in mind. One card offers a secured option to business owners with bad credit while the other is unsecured and designed for businesses that want to earn fixed-rate rewards without paying an annual fee.
The other Wells Fargo business credit cards offered include the:
- Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card: This is the top nationally available business secured credit card; it is best for owners with a credit score below 580 and cash reserves of up to $25,000 who otherwise wouldn’t be able to qualify for a credit card; you’ll pay a $25 annual fee and earn ongoing points or cash back for spending
- Wells Fargo Business Platinum Credit Card: This card is best for companies that make monthly charges of $1,000 or more; you’ll earn top introductory rewards for a card that charges no annual fee and ongoing points or cash back that are slightly below average
Alternatives to the Wells Fargo Business Platinum Credit Card
If earning as many rewards on your credit card spending is a top priority, there are better cards to choose than the Wells Fargo Business Elite Card®. Other fixed-rate cards offer as much as 2% cash back or two times the points on everyday spending. Cards with bonus categories may offer up to 5% cash back or five times the points on select categories.
3 Alternatives to the Wells Fargo Business Elite Card®
For rates and fees on the American Express Business Platinum Card®, please click here.