Wells Fargo Bank Review

Wells Fargo

Overall Rating

8.0

Bottom Line

Wells Fargo has more locations than any other bank in the United States and serves over 70 million global customers. With an expansive set of offerings from checking and savings accounts to credit cards, Wells Fargo is worth checking out if you want to work with a large global bank.

Pros

  • Global presence in over 35 countries
  • Wide variety of accounts, products, and services
  • Well-established and secure
  • Large network of physical branches and ATMs

Cons

  • Low APYs on interest-bearing accounts
  • Too many fees
  • Average credit card offerings

No matter how you look at it, Wells Fargo Bank is huge. It’s the fourth largest national bank in the United States and the 26th largest corporation of any kind.

With 13,000 ATM locations and 5,300 full-service branches, Wells Fargo has more brick-and-mortar locations than any other financial institution in the country.

The bank also operates internationally, with a presence in 35 countries and over 70 million global customers.

Wells Fargo is based out of San Francisco, California, and offers bank accounts, credit cards, investment and retirement accounts, personal loans, wealth management services, and more.

Let’s start by taking a look at Wells Fargo’s top products and services.

In This Article

Wells Fargo Bank Checking Accounts

Wells Fargo customers have four types of checking accounts to choose from.

Each one gives you access to mobile banking, sending and receiving money with Zelle, and zero Liability protection on unauthorized transactions.

1. Wells Fargo Everyday Checking

The Wells Fargo Everyday Checking account is Wells Fargo’s most popular option for checking.

You can open this account with a minimum deposit of $25, and it comes with all of the staples of a good checking account, including a debit card, checks, and access to online banking.

Everyday Checking does have a $10 monthly service fee, but it’ll be waived if you’re between the ages of 17 and 24, or if you link your account to direct deposits of $500 or more per month.

Account Details

  • Minimum Opening Deposit: $25
  • Monthly Service Fee: $10 (avoidable)
  • Daily ATM Limit: $300

2. Clear Access Banking

Clear Access Banking, formerly called Opportunity Checking, is a good option if you often worry about overdrawing your account.

It’s a checkless checking account, meaning you can’t write checks, and all transactions are made digitally or with a debit card. The best part is that there there are no overdraft fees.

There’s a $25 minimum opening deposit, as well as a $5 monthly maintenance fee.

The fee can only be waived for account holders that are 13 to 24 years old, making it a good teen checking option for younger people looking to open their first account.

Account Details

  • Minimum Opening Deposit: $25
  • Monthly Service Fee: $5 (avoidable)
  • Daily ATM Limit: $300

3. Preferred Checking

Preferred Checking is aimed at customers with a higher account balance and pays 0.01% APY on deposits over $500.

You’ll also get access to no-fee cashier’s checks, and a discount on custom personal checks.

Preferred Checking comes with the same $25 minimum initial deposit, and the monthly fee is $15.

This is a higher tier account, so to get it waived you’ll need a $10,000 minimum account balance, $1,000 in direct deposits, or a linked Wells Fargo Home Mortgage.

Account Details

  • Minimum Opening Deposit: $25
  • Monthly Service Fee: $15 (avoidable)
  • APY: 0.01% on balances over $500

4. Portfolio by Wells Fargo

Portfolio is Wells Fargo’s most exclusive checking account and comes with a bunch of premium benefits.

You’ll earn the same 0.01% interest rate as with a Preferred Checking account, but the rates go higher if your balance hits $5,000.

Fees are also easier to avoid. If you order checks, money orders, and or make withdrawals from non-Wells Fargo ATMs, those fees are waived.

Portfolio might be a good option if you’re planning to use a range of a lot of Wells Fargo’s products. You can get discounts on auto loan interest rates, as well as extra benefits and bonuses on your credit cards.

You’ll also have access to online financial advisors that can help guide your decisions about brokerage accounts.

Account Details

  • Minimum Opening Deposit: $25
  • Monthly Service Fee: $30 (avoidable)
  • APY: 0.01% on balances over $500 + higher APY on balances over $5,000

Wells Fargo Savings Accounts

Wells Fargo savings accounts are convenient, easy to link with your checking, and earn almost nothing when it comes to interest (like most big banks).

Pro Tip: If you’re after the highest APYs, be sure to look into the best High Yield Savings Accounts (HYSAs), which are mostly found in online banks and credit unions.

Wells Fargo Way2Save Savings

Way2Save is Wells Fargo’s standard savings account. There’s a $25 minimum opening deposit, and you’ll earn 0.01% interest on your entire balance.

The main benefit of Ways2Save is that it links to your checking, and you can use it to protect against overdrafts.

You also may want to take advantage of the Save As You Go feature, which automatically transfers $1 to your saving every time you make a purchase with your debit card.

Way2Save has a $5 monthly fee, which you can avoid by maintaining a balance of $300, using Save As You Go, or setting up a monthly automatic transfer of $25 or more.

Account Details

  • Minimum Opening Deposit: $25
  • Monthly Service Fee: $5 (avoidable)
  • APY: 0.01% on the entire balance

Platinum Savings

Platinum Savings will give you a slightly higher interest rate for a much higher balance threshold.

The standard rate is still 0.01%, but If you have a linked Portfolio checking account, they’ll bump you up to (a still very low) 0.02%.

Platinum Savings has a $12 service fee, and it’s a little tougher to avoid with a minimum daily balance requirement of $3,500

This account is only recommended if you already have a Portfolio checking account. Otherwise, there are no added benefits over Way2Save.

Account Details

  • Minimum Opening Deposit: $25
  • Monthly Service Fee: $12 (avoidable)
  • APY: up to 0.02% on the entire balance if linked to a Portfolio checking account

Wells Fargo CDs

Wells Fargo also offers Certificates of Deposit (CD) accounts.

In case you aren’t familiar, CDs are savings accounts where you commit funds for a fixed period of time, in exchange for an interest rate that isn’t subject to changes in the market.

Standard CD rates are better than most standard savings accounts. With Wells Fargo, the rates are still characteristically low.

The max APY is 0.05 % if you commit funds for 24 months on a step-rate CD with a linked Portfolio account.

Simply put, if you’re interested in a CD, there are higher earning options out there.

Wells Fargo Credit Cards

Wells Fargo offers seven different credit cards at the time of this writing. Here’s a high-level overview of the most popular Wells Fargo credit cards.

  • Wells Fargo Cash Wise is a cashback rewards card that’s currently paying a $150 cash bonus when you spend $500 in your first three months and offers unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on all other purchases.
  • Wells Fargo Cash Back College is a cashback credit card for college students that offers 3% cashback on gas, groceries, and drugstore purchases for the first six months.
  • Wells Fargo Propel American Express is a travel rewards card that offers a 20,000 points ($200) sign-up bonus if you spend $1,000 in the first three months. This card offers is Wells Fargo’s top points-earner and comes with triple points on dining and travel.
  • Wells Fargo Visa Signature and Wells Fargo Rewards cards both have an introductory 5x points earning rate on select spending categories. However, this earning amount goes back down to 1x after the introductory period.

Overall, Wells Fargo’s credit card bonuses and perks don’t quite match up to other big banks, such as Chase.

That being said, Wells Fargo’s cards are solid, and they don’t come with annual fees, which is very important for many of our readers.

Another thing to keep in mind is that you most likely need a credit score of 700 or more to qualify for a Wells Fargo credit card.

That being said, if your credit score is below average, you’ll probably have to find a different credit card provider.

Wells Fargo Bank Fees

When it comes to big national banks, unfortunately, fees are often a part of the equation

The good news is that most of Wells Fargo’s fees are avoidable if you’re careful. Here are the most common Wells Fargo fees that you can expect to see:

Monthly Maintenance Fees

Wells Fargo Account Type Fee Avoidable? 
Everyday Checking $10/month Yes
Clear Access Banking $5/month Yes
Preferred Checking $25/month Yes
Portfolio Checking $30/month Yes
Way2Save Savings $5/month Yes
Platinum Savings $12/month Yes

Now that you know about monthly fees you can expect from each account, let’s talk about how to get around them.

The first step to avoiding monthly fees is to ensure that you’re opening the correct account. For example, if you don’t expect to be able to consistently maintain a balance of $3,500, the Platinum Savings account probably isn’t for you.

Otherwise, just be sure to read the new account terms. Oftentimes, the easiest way to get a fee waiver is usually to set up a direct deposit with your employer or maintain a certain balance.

Remember that while some fees may seem small, they should be avoided at all costs because it’s basically throwing money away.

Overdraft Fees

If you overdraft your Wells Fargo checking account, you can expect to pay a fee for it.

The standard fee is $35, which can be charged up to 3 times per day if you overdraft multiple times. Fortunately, you won’t be hit with a fee at all if the overdraft amount is $5 or less.

Wells Fargo offers a couple of options when it comes to overdraft protection. Overdraft Rewind takes forthcoming direct deposits into the account, so if you overdraft one business day before you get paid, you won’t be charged a fee.

You can also enroll in overdraft protection, which transfers funds from a linked savings account to cover the negative checking account balance. There’s still a transfer fee of $12.50, but it’s better than the original $35.

When it comes to overdrafts, your best bet is to make sure that it doesn’t happen in the first place. If this is a major concern for you, consider Wells Fargo’s Clear Access checking account.

Non-Wells Fargo ATM Fees

Wells Fargo charges a $2.50 fee (on top of whatever the ATM charges) for using non-Wells Fargo ATMs.

You can get around it if you have a premium account, but otherwise, you’ll want to make sure you have a Wells Fargo ATM nearby. With so many ATM locations, hopefully, you won’t have to pay these ATM fees too often.

International Fees

Most Wells Fargo debit and credit cards charge a 3% international transaction fee, which can add up in a hurry on a long trip. You’ll also pay – $5 Wells Fargo ATM fee.

If you like to travel abroad, be sure to think ahead about your purchases.

Frequent travelers might want to check out the Propel or Hotels.com Rewards credit cards, which are the only two cards that Wells Fargo offers that don’t charge a 3% foreign transaction fee.

Getting Started

To sign up for a Wells Fargo account or card, you can drop by a branch, give them a call, or sign up for a bank account online.

If it’s your first bank account, it’s never a bad idea to consider enrolling in person, so that you can easily ask questions and get help.

Otherwise, it’s probably easiest to sign up for Wells Fargo’s banking products and financial services right online.

Once you’ve picked an account and made your first deposit, you’ll automatically get access to the bank’s online banking platform and mobile app.

Wells Fargo Bank Promotions

Here are the current bank promotions offered by Wells Fargo bank:

BankAmountExpiresRequirements 
Wells Fargo Bank LogoWells Fargo Personal Checking $200 bonus September 30, 2021
  • Direct Deposit
see all bonuses

Security

One of the best things about large banks is that when it comes to security, you don’t have much to worry about.

Wells Fargo is member-FDIC, so your deposits are protected up to $250,000.

For maximum security, customers can activate two-factor authentication, meaning that to access your online account, you’ll have to verify a pin or security code that goes to either your phone or email.

You can also set up text and email alerts to notify you when your ATM has been accessed or if suspicious activity occurs.

Customer Service

If you love phone support, Wells Fargo has you covered. Its call center operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There are specific phone lines for different issues, so ideally you can save time by contacting the department that can help with your situation.

You can also stop by a local branch to get help or schedule an appointment online to meet with a banker in person.

If you’d rather get assistance online, Wells Fargo’s customer service page is full of helpful FAQs. You can also hit them up on Facebook or Twitter.

One benefit of large national banks is that they usually pour a ton of resources toward customer support. Wells Fargo is no different here. However, as with any large company, you might not always get the most personalized customer service.

If customer service is very important to you, you might want to check into the bank’s ratings on independent review websites to see what customers are saying.

Pros & Cons

Let’s go ahead and summarize where Wells Fargo shines and where they fall short:

Pros:

  • Large network of physical branches and ATMs
  • Global presence in over 35 countries
  • Wide variety of accounts, products, and services
  • Well-established and secure

Cons:

  • Low APYs on interest-bearing accounts
  • Too many fees
  • Average credit card offerings

Wells Fargo Bank FAQs

Next, let’s review some of the top questions about Wells Fargo that our readers are asking:

Is Wells Fargo a good bank?

Yes. Wells Fargo is a large national bank that can offer you brick and mortar locations for in-person banking and a great mobile app for your online banking needs. They are also FDIC insured, so your deposits are protected up to $250,000.

Is Wells Fargo a better option than Chase?

It depends on what you’re looking for. Chase and Wells Fargo are both “Big Four” banks, so they offer many of the same products and services., Chase has an edge when it comes to credit cards, bonuses, and online banking. Wells Fargo’s edge is that it has more physical branches and ATMs than Chase.

Check out our full review of Chase to compare for yourself.

Does Wells Fargo really give you $400?

Unfortunately, not at the time of this writing. The bank was previously running a promotion that would earn you $400 for opening an Everyday Checking account, but it expired at the end of July 2020.

Don’t get discouraged, though. There’s a good chance that a Wells Fargo bonus will come back in the future, so check back often if that’s something you want to take advantage of.

What’s the difference between Wells Fargo and Bank of America?

The biggest difference between Wells Fargo and Bank of America that comes into play with these two is their service areas. BoA tends to favor the East Coast, while Wells Fargo has a bigger presence in the West.

When it comes to how they operate, Wells Fargo and Bank of America (BoA) are very similar. They’re both “Big Four” national banks, with many of the same account options, products, and services.

Is Wells Fargo Bank Right For You?

If you’re looking for a bank with a wide-reaching national presence, tons of financial products, and 24/7 customer support, Wells Fargo could very well be the right choice.

With that in mind, there are a few more things to consider.

Wells Fargo doesn’t have a presence in 13 states, so you’d be missing out on one of their biggest draws if the bank doesn’t operate in your region.

Furthermore, Wells Fargo probably isn’t for you if you’re the type of person who is especially wary of fees or wants to earn high interest on your deposits. Wells Fargo could do better in the credit cards arena, as well.

Whichever bank you choose, you first have to decide what you want. If convenience and physical branch access are at the top of your list, then Wells Fargo might be a great fit.

Here’s to securing your financial future with the bank that’s right for you.