Once associated with cash-transporting stagecoaches that provided a target for highway thieves, today Wells Fargo & Co. is one of the nation's largest banks, with free mobile banking by text, web browser, or smartphone apps.
Wells Fargo serves one of every three U.S. households and offers banking, insurance, and investment services.
Then and Now
Wells Fargo was founded in March 1852 by Henry Wells, William Fargo, and their associates.
Today, the company's website makes it easy for customers to sign in and view their accounts or open new accounts. Checking and savings accounts are designed to appeal to customers at various financial levels.
When signing up for an account, customers must enter their ZIP code because account details can vary across the country.
An Everyday Checking account can be opened with a minimum $25 deposit. Customers can avoid the $10 monthly fee by keeping a minimum $500 daily minimum balance, making $500 or more in qualified direct deposits, linking a college ATM or debit card, or being between 17 and 24 years old. This account is the most popular of Wells Fargo's checking account offerings.
Clear Access Banking may be better for even younger account holders, or those who would like protection against overdraft fees or other NSF (non-sufficient funds) fees. The $5 monthly service fee is waived for those between 13 and 24 years old, and it requires a $25 minimum deposit.
Preferred Checking is best for customers who have higher account balances or want to earn interest on their account. A minimum deposit of $25 is required, and a $15 monthly service fee applies. However, this can be waived in certain circumstances. This account can only be opened by those 18 years old or older.
At the high end, Wells Fargo's Portfolio package offers premium benefits, including no-fee bank services and waived ATM fees. The account can be opened with a $25 minimum deposit but carries a $30 monthly service charge on balances less than $25,000.
Apart from checking accounts, Wells Fargo also has options for those who want to save money.
The Way2Save Savings account is best for those who are setting up their first savings account and would like to earn some interest. All you need is a minimum deposit of $25 and to maintain a $300 minimum daily balance. The monthly fee of $5 can be waived in some circumstances.
A Platinum Savings account may be best for those experienced with savings accounts and those with higher balances. A $25 deposit and a minimum daily balance of $3,500 get you all the perks, such as unlimited ATM withdrawals; the monthly fee of $12 can be waived.
You can also consider a Wells Fargo CD as a safe investment. While there's no monthly service fee, there is a minimum investment amount of $2,500.
Wells Fargo was one of the first banks to offer online banking, beginning in 1989. Today, Wells Fargo serves about 65 million customers, 32 million of whom use online banking.
Online services include a free money management tool where customers can track spending, another free tool that helps customers to meet savings goals, a credit resource that helps them manage credit and reduce debt, and a bill-paying service.