Wells Fargo aims for top of digital wallet with $5 bonus

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Wells Fargo hopes to anchor its debit card at the top of customers’ digital wallets with a promotion offering users a $5 credit.

The bank this month began notifying certain customers by email that they are eligible to receive a $5 statement credit when they use their debit card within a digital wallet to access a Wells Fargo ATM, 9to5Mac reports.

The move creates an incentive for consumers to enroll their Wells Fargo debit card in a digital wallet like Apple Pay, Google Pay or Samsung Pay where they are more likely to use it for future purchases, underscoring the rising competition among banks for top-of-digital-wallet status.

“It’s a brilliant move that puts Wells Fargo’s debit card at the top of its customers’ digital wallet, on the hope it will stay parked there instead of some other card—such as the Apple Card,” said Heidi Liebenguth, a managing partner at Crone Consulting LLC.

Apple Inc. gives Apple Card users who check out using Apple Pay 2% cash back on all purchases and 3% cash back on purchases at merchants including Walgreens, Uber, Uber Eats and T-Mobile, creating an incentive for Apple Card users to keep that card as their default payment mechanism so they capture every potential reward, according to Liebenguth.“Obviously Wells Fargo and other banks are watching what Apple is doing and they want to counter it. They want their customers to enroll the Wells Fargo debit card in their digital wallet and keep it there as the default card,” Liebenguth said.

Providing a $5 incentive is lucrative enough to spur first-time digital wallet users to go through the steps to enroll their debit card, where it’s established as the default digital wallet payment mechanism until the consumer deliberately switches it for another card, she noted.

Wells Fargo’s move is a small investment to potentially encourage millions of consumers to set up—and keep—Wells Fargo payment cards as the routine payment option as digital wallets gradually catch on, Liebenguth said.

To claim the $5 incentive, Wells Fargo customers must go to a Wells Fargo ATM and tap a device like an iPhone or Apple Watch, enter their debit card PIN and complete an ATM transaction.

Wells Fargo’s offer, which runs until March 5, 2021, is available only to customers who have received an email from the bank, according to 9to5Mac.

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