Wells Fargo Bank Review – Lots of Services but Low Rates

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Wells Fargo Review
From financing California Gold Rush expeditions to running a stagecoach delivery service on the frontier, Wells Fargo has long been an iconic American brand. Over its 150-plus years of operation, the company has grown into a comprehensive global leader in the financial services industry. As one of the “Big Four” American banks, Wells Fargo offers…

From financing California Gold Rush expeditions to running a stagecoach delivery service on the frontier, Wells Fargo has long been an iconic American brand. Over its 150-plus years of operation, the company has grown into a comprehensive global leader in the financial services industry.

As one of the “Big Four” American banks, Wells Fargo offers a wide and ever-growing stable of services. In this Wells Fargo review, we’ll focus on the checking, savings, and CD options this megabank offers.

Product Name: Wells Fargo

Product Description: Wells Fargo is one of the biggest banks in the U.S. It offers practically every kind of banking service you can think of. However, as with most brick-and-mortar banks, Wells Fargo's interest rates fail to impress. You can find much higher rates with many online-only banks.

  • Products & Services
  • Interest Rates
  • Fees & Charges
  • Website / App
  • Customer Service
4.1

Summary

When it comes to Products & Services, Wells Fargo has everything that you need, including several options for checking and savings accounts. However, Wells Fargo’s Interest Rates are nothing to write home about. In fact, you can find other rates up to 20 times higher with many online-only banks. Although Wells Fargo has a litany of Fees & Charges, there are ways you can have them waived. In terms of Website/App accessibility, Wells Fargo’s website and app seem fine and serviceable. Customer Service availability is 24/7, so you can always reach an agent when you need one.

Wells Fargo Features

Wells Fargo Features
Banking Account TypesChecking, savings, CDs
Other Account TypesCredit cards, auto loans, mortgages, investments, small business banking
Minimum Required Deposit to Open Account$25
Number of BranchesAbout 5,400
ATM Network SizeMore than 13,000 surcharge-free ATMs
ATM ReimbursementsYes, with a Portfolio Checking account
Remote DepositYes
App AvailabilityiOS, Android, mobile optimized website
Bill PayYes
Person to Person Money TransfersZelle
Money TransfersZelle, ACH, wire transfers
Customer Service TypesPhone, online
Customer Service Hours24/7
Member FDICFDIC Certificate #3511
Routing Number / ABA NumberVaries by state
Current PromotionsNone
See more Bank Promotions

Additional Features

  • Huge Free ATM Network. Wells Fargo customers can use any of its more than 13,000 ATMs fee-free.
  • 24/7 Customer Service. You can call Wells Fargo and reach a customer service agent at any hour of the day.
  • Overdraft Rewind. If you have a Wells Fargo checking account with a direct deposit set up, this feature will erase overdraft fees.
  • FDIC Insurance. Wells Fargo accounts are protected by the FDIC for up to $250,000 each.

What Is Wells Fargo?

Wells Fargo was founded in 1852 to serve the needs of Americans in the West. Not only did the early version of the company provide customers with banking services, but it also provided express delivery (that’s where the stagecoach logo comes from).

Today, Wells Fargo is still based in San Francisco. And it now serves more than 70 million customers in 36 countries around the world.

Consumer banking customers in the United States encounter Wells Fargo through its Sioux Falls, S.D.-based subsidiary Wells Fargo Bank, NA, which has more than 5,000 branches in 39 states.

Wells Fargo continues to work on its corporate image after an investigation in 2016 revealed the bank had opened accounts without customers’ permission in an attempt to meet quotas and incentives.

The company admitted to the mistake and has reconciled with customers. Current and new Wells Fargo customers shouldn’t expect to fall victim to such practices again, but customers have the right to ask questions if they’re concerned about unusual account activity.

How to Get Started with Wells Fargo

There are several ways to open a new Wells Fargo account. You can visit any one of the thousands of brick-and-mortar branches. Or you can do it online or over the phone.

No matter what method you choose, you’ll need to supply the same information:

  • Your Social Security or tax identification number
  • Your current address
  • Your email address
  • External account numbers for funding your account, if you choose

If you open an account in person, you’ll also need to present two types of valid ID.

Note that if you want to open a joint account, you’ll need the same information for the other account holder as well.

Funding Your Wells Fargo Account. You can fund your new Wells Fargo account either by linking an external bank account for transfer or by depositing cash or a check.

Wells Fargo Account Options

Wells Fargo Checking Accounts

With Wells Fargo as your everyday bank, you’d most likely use one of the bank’s five checking accounts:

  • Everyday Checking: An account designed mainly for college students and younger adults.
  • Preferred Checking: A basic account whose balance can earn a small amount of interest.
  • Portfolio Checking: An interest-earning account designed for customers with larger balances.
  • Teen Checking: A parent-supervised account for 13- to 17-year-olds.
  • Opportunity Checking: An account for people rebuilding their credit.

Most of these accounts require $25 to open. Most require monthly maintenance fees you can waive by meeting one of several conditions.

Everyday Checking

Customers age 17 to 24 will not be charged this account’s $10 fee. Other account holders can avoid the $10 fee by:

  • posting 10 or more debit card transactions.
  • receiving at least $500 in qualifying direct deposits. (A paycheck or Social Security payment would be a qualifying direct deposit; transferring money from another account would not.)
  • keeping a $1,500 balance.
  • linking the account to a Wells Fargo Campus ATM or Campus Debit Card.

Wells Fargo charges $35 per overdraft no more than three times per day. The bank offers several overdraft protection options we’ll get into below.

Preferred Checking

Account holders will be subject to $15 in monthly fees unless they:

  • receive $1,000 in qualifying direct deposits.
  • maintain $10,000 in balances across their Wells Fargo accounts.
  • link the account to a Wells Fargo mortgage account.

Accounts with at least $500 will earn a small amount of interest on the balance. Though rates could change, it’s usually in the neighborhood of 0.01%.

Portfolio Checking

This account’s $30 fee can be waived when account holders:

  • have $25,000 in linked Wells Fargo accounts.
  • have $50,000 in Wells Fargo brokerage or loan balances.

Balances of $50,000 or more can earn around 0.03%. While bigger than some other rates of return on checking balances, this rate remains significantly lower than a high-yield online savings account rate.

Teen Checking

This account does not charge a monthly fee. Parents can set limits on how much 13- to 17-year-old (18 in Alabama) account holders can deposit or withdraw.

The bank charges Teen Checking account holders a lower overdraft fee of $15 no more than twice a day.

Opportunity Checking

Only customers who do not qualify for another Wells Fargo account will be considered for this checking account, which charges a $10 monthly fee unless the account holder:

  • posts 10 or more debit card transactions.
  • receives at least $500 in qualifying direct deposits.
  • keeps a $1,500 balance.

Overdraft Protection Options

For most accounts, Wells Fargo charges $35 per overdraft whether it results from a check, ATM withdrawal, debit, or credit transaction. But you can link your checking account to a savings account or a credit card to avoid overdrafting your checking account.

Each time the bank automatically transfers money into checking to cover an overdraft, you’ll be charged a fee of $12.50. The fee could be higher if you’re using a credit card account to cover balances.

Wells Fargo Savings Accounts

Wells Fargo customers have access to two savings account options as well as certificates of deposit (CDs).

Way2Save Savings

This savings account requires a $25 minimum balance and has a $5 monthly fee which you can avoid by:

  • maintaining a balance of $300.
  • maintaining a regular schedule of electronic deposits.
  • being 18 or younger (19 or younger in Alabama).

You’ll earn an annual interest rate significantly lower than a high-yield savings account like you can find with an online-only account. If you’re planning to leave your money in savings for interest growth, this account won’t help as much.

However, advantages include the ability to link your account to a Wells Fargo checking account to avoid overdraft fees.

You can also set up automatically recurring deposits, such as $1 from checking every time you use your debit card. This kind of interconnectedness between accounts can help you save money without making a point of doing so.

Platinum Savings

Wells Fargo’s Platinum Savings account rewards customers who have higher balances with better savings rates.

If you hold a balance over $100,000, you’ll earn the bank’s highest interest rate. However, this rate is nothing special, especially when compared to the rates you can earn from online-only savings accounts.

Wells Fargo CDs

A certificate of deposit from Wells Fargo unlocks higher interest rates on your savings. In return, you’ll agree to leave your money alone for the CD’s term.

In most cases, you’d need at least $2,500 to open a CD account with Wells Fargo. The bank doesn’t charge fees unless you withdraw early, in which case you should expect to pay at least a percentage of the interest already gained.

Like most large, full-service banks, Wells Fargo’s CDs won’t impress you with their standard interest rates. You can find better rates with an online bank like CIT Bank.

Wells Fargo Customer Service

Wells Fargo offers 24/7 phone customer service, so you can always reach a representative if you have a question or concern about your account.

You can also pop into one of the thousands of brick-and-mortar bank branches to receive face-to-face service, if you choose.

Here’s how to get in touch with Wells Fargo:

  • Wells Fargo telephone number: 800-869-3557
  • Wells Fargo address: Wells Fargo, 420 Montgomery Street, San Francisco, CA 94104

Wells Fargo Pros & Cons

Wells Fargo Pros

  • Full-Service Bank. You can find just about anything you need from Wells Fargo in one place.
  • Plentiful Locations. No matter where you are in the U.S., you can probably find a branch location not too far away. There are also thousands of ATMs you can access for free.
  • 24/7 Customer Service. You can receive customer support at any hour of the day.

Wells Fargo Cons

  • Low Interest Rates. You can find much higher interest rates on savings products from another online-only bank.
  • Less-Than-Sterling Reputation. Wells Fargo’s recent history of account fraud may make you wary. The problems have been resolved, but the company is still trying to rebuild its image.

Conclusion

Personal banking should be personal, and your personal choice in banking should make sense to you. It doesn’t have to make sense to everyone else.

Wells Fargo has the branches, staff, and ATMs to meet many U.S. customers where they are: in their neighborhoods, shopping centers, college campuses, and airports. While none of the bank’s products leads the pack, the services can offer a lot of convenience when used in conjunction with each other.

If you’re looking to earn high rates of interest, go elsewhere. For access to a lot of services in one place, consider Wells Fargo as a possibility.

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About Ryan Guina

Ryan Guina is the founder and editor of Cash Money Life. He is a writer, small business owner, and entrepreneur. He served over 6 years on active duty in the USAF and is a current member of the IL Air National Guard.

Ryan started Cash Money Life in 2007 after separating from active duty military service and has been writing about financial, small business, and military benefits topics since then. He also writes about military money topics and military and veterans benefits at The Military Wallet.

Ryan uses Personal Capital to track and manage his finances. Personal Capital is a free software program that allows him to track his net worth, balance his investment portfolio, track his income and expenses, and much more. You can open a free account here.

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