Wells Fargo Bank Review

Is Wells Fargo a good bank?

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Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo is a community-based financial institution offering banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, consumer and commercial financial services.

Headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo has been in business for more than 150 years. It has offices in 42 countries and territories, and $1.9 trillion in assets. One in three U.S. households is a Wells Fargo customer. If yours isn't yet one of them, our in-depth review can help you decide if you should switch to this bank.

  • Pros and Cons
  • Company Overview
Pros and Cons
Pros
  • It's a full-service bank, offering a wide variety of banking products and services.

  • Manage your accounts online, via mobile banking, and at more than 8,400 branches and 13,000 ATMs.

  • Enjoy special relationships banking benefits and discounts.

Cons
  • APY for savings accounts and CDs isn't spectacular.

  • Checking accounts carry monthly fees.

  • Receive $3 billion fine in 2020 for opening accounts without customers' knowledge.

Company Overview
  • Official Website www.wellsfargo.com
  • Bank Product Offerings Savings, checking, money market accounts, certificates of deposit, credit cards, wealth management
  • Customer Service Phone, online, branches
  • Year Founded 1852

Who Is Wells Fargo Best For?

Wells Fargo may appeal to individuals and business owners who want the convenience of online banking with access to branch banking. It may be an especially good fit for customers who want to:

  • Have access to checking, savings, credit card, mortgage, investments, and other loan accounts all in one place. 
  • Open a checking account with as little as $25. 
  • Shop for a new rewards credit card. 
  • Enjoy fee-free access to more than 13,000 ATMs. 
  • Bank with an established financial institution. 
  • Take advantage of wealth management services through Wells Fargo Private Bank.

What Does Wells Fargo Offer?

Wells Fargo offers an extensive range of banking products and services that make it possible to meet all of your banking needs in a single financial institution.

Here's a closer look at what you can expect when banking with Wells Fargo. 

Accounts

Checking Accounts

Account Name Fee Fee Waiver Best For APY
Everyday Checking $10 At least 10 debit card transactions per month, $1,500 minimum daily balance, direct deposits of $500 or more, linked Wells Fargo Campus ATM or Campus debit card Students with direct-deposit paychecks or use their debit card for most transactions. None
Preferred Checking $15 $10,000 minimum daily balance across deposit accounts, direct deposits of $1,000 or more, link to Wells Fargo home mortgage Those who write checks and want an APY from their checking account. 0.01% ($500 or more)
Portfolio by Wells Fargo $30 $25,000 total balances across your deposit accounts, or $50,000 total balances across bank, brokerage and credit balances.  Customers with big balances who want discounts and fee waivers on other products. 0.01%
Teen Checking None N/A Customers who are 13 to 17 years old None
Opportunity Checking $10 10 or more debit card transactions per month, direct deposits of $500 or more, or maintain a $1,500 daily balance. Those who can't get a regular checking account because of a poor banking history. None

Everyday Checking

Everyday Checking is Wells Fargo Bank's most popular checking account option. You’ll need to deposit at least $25 to open the account. This checking account may be ideal for students since the $10 monthly service fee is waived for college students when the primary account owner is 17 to 24 years old.

Preferred Checking

Preferred Checking may suit you better if you already have a home mortgage loan with Wells Fargo. This account earns interest on all balances of $500 or more. It offers no-fee cashier's checks and a $10 discount on personalized checks. Though this account is designed for customers who keep a higher minimum balance in checking, it has just a $25 minimum opening requirement.

Portfolio by Wells Fargo

Portfolio by Wells Fargo is also an interest-bearing checking account that offers relationship banking perks and rewards:

  • No fees for cashier's checks and money orders
  • Waived non-Wells Fargo ATM fees for cash withdrawals
  • No fee for personal checks
  • Interest rate discounts on personal loans, home equity loans, and lines of credit
  • $25 minimum opening deposit

Teen Checking

Teen Checking is designed for teens aged 13 to 17 who want to open an account with an adult co-owner. In Alabama, you must be 18 to open an account. Both parents and teens have access to the account, which can help as you teach kids the basics of money management.

Opportunity Checking

Opportunity Checking is a checking account designed for people who can't get approved for a regular Wells Fargo checking account due to poor credit or banking history. You can't apply for this account directly, though. You have to apply for another Wells Fargo checking account first.

ChexSystems is the company responsible for maintaining negative banking history reports for consumers. If you've had a banking snafu in the past, it may be worthwhile to learn how you can clear up your ChexSystems report.

Savings Accounts

Account Name Fee Fee Waiver Best For APY
Way2Save Savings $5 Maintain a $300 minimum daily balance, set up a recurring savings transfer or be at least 18 (19 in AL) Customers looking for their first savings account and want to earn interest 0.01%
Platinum Savings $12 Maintain a $3,500 minimum daily balance Wells Fargo customers who want a savings account with the bank's highest APY. 0.01% or 0.02%

Way2Save Savings

Way2Save is one of Wells Fargo's most popular savings accounts. You can open an account with $25. 

You can make automatic deposits to this account through Save As You Go transfers. The program transfers $1 from your checking to savings whenever you make non-recurring debit purchases and bill payment transactions.

Also, you can set up monthly automatic transfers of $25 or more. This account can be linked to your checking account for overdraft protection. As of Aug. 17, 2020, you can earn a 0.01% APY on all balances.

Platinum Savings

The Platinum Savings Account offers a similar APY of 0.01% with the opportunity to increase that by 0.01% if you have a linked Portfolio by Wells Fargo checking account.

Though it's a savings account you have the ability to write checks from this account, up to six per month. You can also link this account to a regular Wells Fargo checking account for overdraft protection. The minimum opening deposit is $25.

Wells Fargo CDs

CD accounts can help you save for short- and long-term goals. Wells Fargo offers three types of CDs:

  • Standard
  • Special 
  • Step-Rate

Standard CDs are traditional fixed-rate CD accounts with a $2,500 minimum deposit. Special CDs offer higher fixed interest rates than standard CDs but require $5,000 to open. Step-Rate CDs offer guaranteed interest rate increases, with a $2,500 minimum deposit.

Here are the rates you can earn for each CD option, as of Sept. 1, 2020 (bonus APYs apply if you have Prime or Portfolio accounts with Wells Fargo).:

Wells Fargo Bank Standard CDs
Term APY Bonus APY
3 months 0.01% 0.02%
6 months 0.01% 0.02%
1 year 0.01% 0.02%
Wells Fargo Bank Special CDs
Term APY Bonus APY
5 months 0.01% 0.02%
Wells Fargo Bank Step Rate CDs
Term APY Bonus APY
24 months 0.03% 0.04%

Credit Cards

Wells Fargo offers a number of credit cards, including rewards cards and a card with a low introductory APR for purchases and balance transfers. Here are some of the cards the bank offers:

Travel Rewards Cards

Cash Back Credit Cards

General Rewards Cards

  • Wells Fargo Visa Signature Card
  • Wells Fargo Rewards Card

Balance Transfer Cards

Student Credit Cards

Other Financial Products From Wells Fargo Bank

Wells Fargo Bank also has a wide range of other offerings, including:

  • Mortgage loans
  • Home equity lines
  • Personal loans and lines of credit
  • Student loans
  • Auto loans
  • IRAs
  • Investments
  • Private wealth management

Wells Fargo Bank Customer Service

Wells Fargo offers the standard customer service benefits you'd expect with a bank of this size. That includes the option to manage your account over the phone, online, via mobile banking, at an ATM, or a branch location. One thing Wells Fargo doesn't yet offer is live chat. 

In J.D. Power's 2019 National Banking Satisfaction Study, Wells Fargo received a rating of 828, which is below the industry average 834. 

Wells Fargo was the subject of close scrutiny following revelations that bank employees had opened accounts in customers' names without their consent. In February 2020, the federal government fined the bank $3 billion to resolve the bank’s potential criminal and civil liability. 

How to Bank With Wells Fargo

You can open an account with Wells Fargo by visiting a branch or online. You can also call Wells Fargo at 1-877-250-2239. Remember, you'll need to provide certain personal information when opening a bank account.

The Final Verdict


BENEFITS

Our review found Wells Fargo to be a good option for anyone who wants to bank with an established financial institution and has a variety of banking needs.

You may also lean toward Wells Fargo if you'd prefer to have access to branch banking or you need help with private wealth management. 

DRAWBACKS

The main drawbacks of banking with Wells Fargo are fees and low-interest rates on savings. 

While there are various ways to avoid the monthly service fees associated with Wells Fargo checking products, it's possible to find fee-free checking elsewhere.

Aside from that, the interest rate you can earn on savings isn't great. If you're hoping to lock in a competitive APY on savings, you can find better options from online banks.

Article Sources

The Balance requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy .
  1. Wells Fargo. "About Us." Accessed March 9, 2020.

  2. Wells Fargo. "Wells Fargo Everyday Checking." Accessed March 9, 2020.

  3. Wells Fargo. "Wells Fargo Preferred Checking." Accessed March 9, 2020.

  4. Wells Fargo. "Portfolio by Wells Fargo." Accessed March 9, 2020.

  5. Wells Fargo. "Wells Fargo Teen Checking." Accessed March 9, 2020.

  6. Wells Fargo. "Way2Save Savings Account Questions." Accessed March 9, 2020.

  7. Wells Fargo. "Platinum Savings Account." Accessed March 9, 2020.

  8. Wells Fargo. "Wells Fargo CDs." Accessed March 9, 2020.