Wells Fargo Bank Review
Is Wells Fargo a good bank?
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.
What We Like
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.
What We Don't Like
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.
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.
- Checking accounts
- Savings accounts
- Certificates of deposit
- Credit cards
- Branch, mobile, and online banking
- Customer service
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.
Other ways to waive the $10 monthly service fee include:
- Having 10 or more posted debit card transactions per month
- Qualifying direct deposits totaling $500 or more
- Maintaining a $1,500 minimum daily balance
- Having a linked Wells Fargo Campus ATM or Campus debit card
You don't have to meet all of these criteria to waive the fee; just one will do.
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.
There's a $15 monthly service fee Wells Fargo will waive if you meet one of the following criteria:
- Maintaining $10,000 more in combined minimum deposit balances
- Having qualifying direct deposits totaling $1,000 or more each month
- Linking a Wells Fargo home mortgage
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. This account's best features include:
- 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
This account has a $30 monthly service fee, which Wells Fargo will waive if you have $25,000 or more in qualifying linked bank deposits or $50,000 or more in qualifying linked bank, brokerage, and credit balances.
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.
There's no monthly service fee and it takes just $25 to open a Teen Checking account. Both parents and teens have access to the account, which can help as you teach kids the basics of money management.
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.
This account requires $25 to open and has a $10 monthly service fee unless you:
- Have 10 or more posted debit card transactions per month
- Have qualifying direct deposits totaling $500 or more
- Maintain a $1,500 minimum daily balance
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.
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.
Wells Fargo will charge you a $5 monthly service fee you can avoid by:
- Maintaining a $300 minimum daily balance
- Scheduling an automatic recurring savings transfer
- Owning the account and being under 18 years old (19 in AL)
As of March 9, 2020, you can earn a 0.01% APY on all balances.
Federal regulations limit you to six withdrawal transactions per month from any Wells Fargo savings account. If you go over that limit, Wells Fargo can charge you a $15 fee for each excess transaction, up to a maximum of three fees per month.
The Platinum Savings Account offers a slightly higher APY of 0.05% with the opportunity to increase that to 0.10% 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.
There's a $12 monthly service fee, which you can avoid by maintaining a $3,500 minimum daily balance. 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 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 March 9, 2020 (bonus APYs apply if you have Prime or Portfolio accounts with Wells Fargo).:
|Wells Fargo Bank Standard CDs|
|Wells Fargo Bank Special CDs|
|Wells Fargo Bank Step Rate CDs|
Wells Fargo 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
- 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 Bottom Line
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.
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.
Wells Fargo. "About Us." Accessed March 9, 2020.
Wells Fargo. "Wells Fargo Everyday Checking." Accessed March 9, 2020.
Wells Fargo. "Wells Fargo Preferred Checking." Accessed March 9, 2020.
Wells Fargo. "Portfolio by Wells Fargo." Accessed March 9, 2020.
Wells Fargo. "Wells Fargo Teen Checking." Accessed March 9, 2020.
Wells Fargo. "Way2Save Savings Account Questions." Accessed March 9, 2020.
Wells Fargo. "Platinum Savings Account." Accessed March 9, 2020.
Wells Fargo. "Wells Fargo CDs." Accessed March 9, 2020.