Wells Fargo Personal Banking Review: Find Out If It’s Right for You

Read this Wells Fargo review before opening an account.

On March 18th, 1852, Henry Wells and William Fargo founded their bank, Wells, Fargo & Co., in San Francisco to service the west in the midst of the gold rush. Soon after, more branches opened in new West Coast cities, and the bank continued to expand throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. Today, the financial institution reaches banking customers coast-to-coast, overseas and digitally with $1.9 trillion in assets.

Although Wells Fargo had a recent scandal streak, it remains one of the nation’s largest banks and is working to rebuild its reputation.

Here’s what’s in this guide to banking with Wells Fargo:

Who Is Wells Fargo Best For?

Wells Fargo offers plenty of banking services and products, but its interest rates struggle to compete with the more modern digital banks such as Ally Bank and Discover. But customers who prefer brick-and-mortar banks and who want their banking and investment accounts with a single institution might want to consider the lower rates a worthwhile trade-off. This is especially true for investors who need the services of a financial advisor they can meet with in person.

Consider the pros and cons of Wells Fargo:

The Pros and Cons of Banking With Wells Fargo
ProsCons
Easy and accessible mobile and online bankingLow APY rates compared to online banks
Opportunity to create a personal relationship with bankers at Wells Fargo branchesMonthly service fees on checking and savings accounts

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Who May Want To Skip Wells Fargo

Despite Wells Fargo’s array of accounts, branches and ATMs, it might not be the right fit for you or your money. Customers who maintain relatively low deposit account balances might be better off skipping Wells Fargo in favor of a bank with fee-free accounts and no account minimums. Investors might also look elsewhere — despite the trend toward free equity trades, Wells Fargo charges $2.95-$5.95 per trade.

Banking With Wells Fargo Best/Worst For
Best for Those Who:Worst for Those Who:
Like to bank at physical branchesWant a competitive APY on CDs and savings accounts
Purchase foreign currency onlineDon’t qualify for fee-free checking and savings accounts
Prefer rewards credit cards from the same financial institution where they do their bankingPrefer deposit accounts with a $0 opening deposit
Want the convenience of over 13,000 ATMs nationwideFavor $0 stock trades over the convenience of managing all their money under one roof

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Types of Accounts Available

Wells Fargo has a plethora of account types to explore. The most important thing to remember is that these accounts have to work for you and your money. Consider how often you deposit money into your checking accounts, savings accounts and CDs, as well as what kinds of balances you’re likely to maintain.

Here are some account types, features and rate comparison for you to explore.

Wells Fargo Accounts, Features and Rates
Account TypeFeaturesFeesRates
Checking/Interest CheckingWells Fargo Mobile banking app, 24/7 fraud monitoring and 24/7 customer support on all accounts except Opportunity CheckingEveryday Checking: $10 monthly service fee

Preferred Checking: $15 monthly service fee

Portfolio by Wells Fargo: $30 monthly service fee

Teen Checking: $0 monthly service fee

Opportunity Checking: $10 monthly service fee

Everyday Checking: No interest

Preferred Checking: 0.01%on a balance of $500 or more

Portfolio by Wells Fargo: 0.01% on balances of $4,999.99 or less

Teen Checking: No interest

Opportunity Checking: No interest

Savings AccountWay2Save Savings account offers optional automatic transfers to reach savings goals and optional overdraft protection for linked checking account. $5 monthly service fee0.01%
Certificate of DepositWells Fargo Special CDs and Standard CDs provide financial security with a guaranteed rate.$0 monthly service feeSpecial CD: 1.50% APY for 9 month, 1.15% APY for 29 months, 1.15% APY for 39 months

Standard CD: 0.05% APY for 3 months, 0.35% for 6 months, 0.15% for 1 year

See: Here’s Your Wells Fargo Routing Number

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Checking Account

Wells Fargo offers Everyday Checking, Opportunity Checking and Teen Checking, all of which are non-interest-bearing checking accounts. These are perfect accounts for anyone looking to make quick and easy payments and transfer money, use a debit card with over 13,000 ATMs available and access money via the Wells Fargo Mobile app.

Features: 

  • Access to Wells Fargo Mobile
  • 24/7 fraud protection
  • Debit card linked to an account
  • Zero liability for unauthorized card transactions

Pros: 

  • Over 13,000 ATMs available nationwide for Wells Fargo customers
  • Can link this checking account to your Wells Fargo Mobile app
  • Online bill paying

Cons: 

  • Monthly service fee for Everyday Checking
  • No interest earned on these accounts

Variety of Options for Customers: Wells Fargo Checking Account Review

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Interest Checking Account

Preferred Checking and Portfolio by Wells Fargo are the two interest-earning checking products from Wells Fargo. Both are best for customers with high account balances. Preferred Checking is better for customers who also have a Wells Fargo home mortgage, whereas Portfolio is better for customers who want financial management along with loan discounts, rewards and saving bonuses.

Features:

  • 24/7 access to dedicated Premier Banking Team with Portfolio by Wells Fargo account
  • Preferred Checking with account alerts
  • Wells Fargo Mobile app access and a debit card

Pros:

  • Relationship rewards linked across all Wells Fargo accounts
  • Earns interest
  • Free cashier’s checks

Cons: 

  • Service fees for customers who don’t meet account and/or transaction minimums
  • Minimum $500 balance needed to earn interest

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Savings Account

Wells Fargo’s Way2Save Savings account helps you build savings with automatic transfers from your Wells Fargo checking account and the ability to have your service fees waived.

Features:

  • Automatic $1 Save As You Go Transfers from your linked Wells Fargo checking account when you make a non-recurring debit card purchase or pay a bill using Wells Fargo’s online bill pay service
  • Ability to automate monthly transfers of $25 or more into from a linked Wells Fargo checking account
  • Provides optional overdraft protection for checking account

Pros: 

  • ATM card
  • Online access via website or Wells Fargo Mobile app
  • Online savings tools

Cons: 

  • $5 monthly service fee unless you meet qualifying criteria to waive fees
  • Low 0.01% APY

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Money Market

Wells Fargo does not currently offer a money market account.

Certificates of Deposit

Wells Fargo’s CDs are an excellent way to earn a fixed-rate APY on your savings. Choose between Special and Standard CDs you can use to save for upcoming expenses such as college tuition, retirement or any other life projects.

Wells Fargo Standard CD Rates
TermAPY
3 months0.05%
6 months0.35%
12 months0.15%

 

Wells Fargo Special CD Rates
TermAPY
9 months1.50%
29 months1.15%
39 months1.15%

Features: 

  • Fixed rates
  • Terms up to 39 months for Special CDs and 12 months for Standard CDs

Pros:

  • $0 monthly service fee

Cons: 

  • Low interest rates compared with online banks like Ally Bank, which has an APY of 2.00% for a 12-month CD
  • Limited choice of terms

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Individual Retirement Accounts

Wells Fargo offers both a traditional IRA and a Roth IRA. You can manage your own IRA investments with a WellsTrade IRA, invest online with access to an advisor with Intuitive Investor or leave it to the pros with a Full Service Brokerage IRA. IRA CDs and savings accounts are also available through Destination IRA.

Features: 

  • IRA CD terms from three to 144 months
  • Retirement savings accounts have variable rates

Pros:

  • Good choice of IRA products
  • IRA CDs and retirement savings account are FDIC-insured
  • High-yield retirement savings account offers tiered rates

Cons: 

  • $1,000 minimum investment for retirement CD
  • High balance needed for best rates on high-yield retirement savings account

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Investment (Nonbank) Options

Wells Fargo offers three types of investment accounts: WellsTrade Brokerage account, Intuitive Investor and Wells Fargo Advisors. With a WellsTrade brokerage account, you can manage your own investments and make low-cost trades. An Intuitive Investor account allows you to invest and manage your portfolio with the help from a financial advisor when needed. Wells Fargo Advisors gives you direct access to a financial advisor to help create an investment strategy that fits your needs and goals.

Features: 

  • Online and mobile account access
  • Account monitoring and rebalancing with Wells Fargo Advisors and Intuitive Investor accounts

Pros:

  • No minimum investment for WellsTrade brokerage account
  • Account options range from fully self-directed to fully managed for investors at every level of experience and expertise
  • Research tools available for WellsTrade and Wells Fargo Advisors customers

Cons: 

  • $10,000 minimum deposit for Intuitive Investor account and $100,000 minimum deposit for Wells Fargo Advisors are higher than competing banks’ minimums
  • No free brokerage account trades

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Loans

Wells Fargo offers mortgage loans, refinance loans, home equity lines, personal lines and loans, student loans and auto loans. Each has its own APR and terms. You can apply online for any of these loans — just go to the top of the page and click on “Loans and Credit” for a drop-down menu of options. Remember, you can always visit your local Wells Fargo branch by using Wells Fargo’s online locator option.

Features: 

  • Mortgage loans for a home purchase, cash-out refinance or home equity line of credit
  • Personal loans from $3,000-$100,000 with next-day fund availability and no origination or prepayment fees
  • Auto loans for purchase or refinance through dealer network
  • Interest-rate-reduction possibilities and no original fees on student loans.

Pros:

  • All your loan needs within one financial institution
  • Competitive rates and terms
  • Lots of financial tools and information resources
  • Relationship credits for qualifying customers

Cons:

  • No 24/7 access to loan specialists for new applications

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How To Bank With Wells Fargo

Banking with Wells Fargo is easy. There are three options:

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Fees

Account fees vary depending on your account type. But each deposit account has opportunities to waive fees when certain requirements are met.

Checking:

  • Everyday checking: $10 monthly service fee waived if you have a minimum of 10 debit card transactions, $500 minimum cumulative direct deposits and a $1,500 minimum daily balance or are a college student with a Campus Debit card or Campus ATM card, or are a student between 17-24 years old.
  • Teen Checking: No monthly service fee
  • Optional Checking: $10 monthly service fee waived if you have a minimum of 10 debit card transactions, $500 minimum cumulative direct deposits and a $1,500 daily balance minimum
  • Preferred Checking: $15 monthly service fee waived if you have $10,000 in combined balances, minimum cumulative direct deposits of $1,000 or link your account to a Wells Fargo home mortgage
  • Portfolio Checking: $30 monthly service fee waived if you have $25,000 minimum in linked bank deposits or $50,000 minimum in linked bank, brokerage and credit balances

Savings:

    • Way2Save Savings: $5 monthly service fee waived if you have a $300 minimum daily balance, a recurring automatic savings option or are 18 years or younger (19 years in Alabama)
    • Platinum Savings: $12 monthly service fee waived if you keep a minimum daily balance of $3,500.

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    Availability of Funds

    The availability of your funds is dependent on the type of deposit. Cash deposits, electronic direct deposits and wire transfers are available the same business day. Funds from a check deposit are usually available the first business day after the check was deposited.

    Check deposits made at Wells Fargo or at an ATM might have up to $400 available on the same business day as the deposit. If a hold is placed on your check, the first $200 will be available the first business day after the deposit and the rest will be available on the seventh business day after your deposit.

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    Learn More: Your Guide to Wells Fargo SWIFT Codes

    Is Wells Fargo the Right Bank for You?

    To put Wells Fargo in perspective, it is perfect for a traditional bank customer because it offers consistency and availability.

    Although Wells Fargo has been around since the 1800s, it’s finding competition with newer online banks. Customers who feel safe knowing their money is in one of the largest banks in the U.S. might find Wells Fargo to be the best bank for their money. But the desire to earn more interest and avoid fees might take you elsewhere.

    More From GOBankingRates

    Rates are subject to change. All other information on accounts is accurate as of Nov. 14, 2019. This content is not provided by Wells Fargo. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by Wells Fargo.

    About the Author

    Jared Nigro is from Pittsburgh, which is obvious by the way he gravitates toward cheese at parties. He is a comedy writer from The Groundlings Sunday Company, Upright Citizens Brigade and has his own digital show on Comedy Central called “Broken People.” When he isn’t being funny, he’s reading books on debt and finance and listening to his favorite finance podcast, ChooseFI.