How To Avoid Wells Fargo’s Monthly Maintenance Fees

Learn how to avoid racking up checking and savings account fees.

Banking fees are the silent killer of account balances. They’re easy to overlook because they can be relatively incremental. But don’t let yourself be fooled: You could conceivably lose thousands of dollars in fees if you’re not sure what to look out for. For example, using an out-of-network ATM every other day for the next 30 years can run you $13,650 in fees, according to a GOBankingRates survey.

Wells Fargo, one of the biggest banks in America, has a schedule of fees for using its products and services. However, GOBankingRates has done the legwork to let you know how much they’ll cost you and how to avoid them. Many of Wells Fargo’s fees can be avoided by maintaining a designated bank balance, setting up deposits or by linking other Wells Fargo accounts together.

This guide to Wells Fargo’s fees will cover the following topics:

Wells Fargo Checking Account Fees

Wells Fargo offers five main types of personal checking accounts: Everyday Checking, Preferred Checking, Portfolio by Wells Fargo, Teen Checking and Opportunity Checking. Its checking account fees fall into three main categories:

  • Monthly service fee
  • Out-of-network ATM fee
  • Overdraft fee

Here’s a look at how these fees compare for Wells Fargo’s checking account options:

Wells Fargo Checking Account Fees
AccountMonthly ServiceOut-of-Network ATM WithdrawalOverdraft (Nonsufficient Funds)
Everyday Checking$10

In U.S.: up to $2.50

Outside U.S.: $5

$35
Preferred Checking$15

In U.S.: up to $2.50

Outside U.S.: $5

$35
Portfolio Checking$30$0$35
Teen  Checking$0

In U.S.: $2.50

Outside U.S.: $5

$15
Opportunity Checking$10

In U.S.: $2.50

Outside U.S.: $5

$35

You can also expect these common fees associated with using a Wells Fargo checking account:

Common Wells Fargo Checking Account Fees
FeeAmount Charged
Cashier’s check$10
Cashed/deposited returned item$12 per item
International debit card purchase3% of transaction amount
Money order (up to $1,000)$5 (waived with Preferred or Portfolio checking account)
Overdraft protectionUp to $12.50 per transfer or advance
Stop payment$31
Wire transfer$15-$30

As you can see, these fees can easily creep up on you if you’re not careful. For instance, if you’re not in the habit of checking your account balance, you may not even notice there’s been a deduction. And because of the fee associated with international use, travelers have more to worry about. Plus, each account has an overdraft protection fee if you use your linked savings account.

Check Out: Wells Fargo Personal Banking Review — Full Range of Products and Low Fees

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Wells Fargo Savings Account Fees

Thankfully, Wells Fargo’s savings accounts don’t have nearly as many fees as its checking accounts. But, because they’re designed to retain and grow money through a savings interest rate, you are limited to six penalty-free savings account withdrawals.

The Wells Fargo Way2Save Savings account is best suited for those interested in passive saving, as it automatically transfers funds from a linked Wells Fargo account into the savings account. The Platinum Savings account better suits those with more wealth, as its savings rate increases once your account balance hits $25,000. Note that both accounts require a minimum opening deposit of $25.

Wells Fargo Savings Account Fees
FeeWay2Save SavingsPlatinum Savings
Monthly service$5$12
Excess activity$15 per withdrawal or transfer if you’ve exceeded the monthly limit; maximum of three fees per month

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4 Ways To Avoid Wells Fargo’s Monthly Maintenance Fees

Here’s how to avoid the monthly maintenance fee for your Wells Fargo checking or savings account.

1. Maintain a Minimum Balance

Here are the minimum balances required to avoid being subject to the monthly checking and savings account fees:

  • Way2Save Savings: $300 minimum daily balance
  • Platinum Savings: $3,500 minimum daily balance
  • Everyday Checking: $1,500 minimum daily balance
  • Opportunity Checking: $1,500 minimum daily balance
  • Preferred Checking: $10,000 in combined minimum daily balances
  • Wells Fargo Portfolio Checking: Qualifying linked deposit accounts with balances totaling $25,000 or more, or $50,000 in any combination of qualifying linked banking, brokerage and credit balances

2. Sign Up for Qualifying Direct Deposits

Another way to avoid paying the monthly service fee for certain Wells Fargo checking accounts is to sign up for qualifying direct deposits and meet the direct deposit minimum:

  • Everyday Checking: Aggregate direct deposits of $500 or more monthly
  • Preferred Checking: Aggregate direct deposits of $1,000 or more monthly
  • Opportunity Checking: Aggregate direct deposits of $500 or more monthly

Related: Here’s Your Wells Fargo Routing Number

3. Link a Wells Fargo Account

You can also avoid the monthly checking fee by linking another Wells Fargo account:

  • Everyday Checking: Link to a Wells Fargo Campus ATM or Campus Debit Card
  • Preferred Checking: Link to a Wells Fargo home mortgage account

4. Other Qualifications

In some cases, you can also have the monthly fee waived by meeting other qualifications:

  • Way2Save Savings: Fee waived if account holder is under the age of 18 (or under the age of 19 in Alabama)
  • Everyday Checking: At least 10 posted debit card transactions; fee waived if owner is 17 to 24 years old
  • Opportunity Checking: At least 10 posted debit card transactions

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How To Avoid Wells Fargo’s Overdraft Fees

To avoid an overdraft fee at Wells Fargo, the best thing to do is to make sure you don’t overdraw your account in the first place. Wells Fargo charges overdraft fees of $35 for most of its checking accounts and $15 for its Teen Checking account. Wells Fargo will charge you as many as three overdraft fees in a single day, whereas Teen Checking account holders will only be charged a maximum of two fees per business day.

If you sign up for overdraft protection, the bank will cover your overdrawn checking account with money from another account; however, you will pay up to $12.50 per transfer or advance. Overdraft fees can also be circumvented though Overdraft Rewind, a free feature found in all Wells Fargo checking accounts. According to Wells Fargo, when a direct deposit is received by 9 a.m., the bank will then recalculate your balance and review transactions from the previous business day, which may result in an overturned overdraft fee.

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How To Avoid Wells Fargo’s ATM Fees

For most of its checking accounts, Wells Fargo charges up to $2.50 if you use a non-Wells Fargo ATM in the United States. That fee jumps up to $5 per overseas withdrawal unless you’re a Portfolio by Wells Fargo account holder. You might also face charges imposed by the ATM operator. You can avoid Wells Fargo’s ATM fees by using a Wells Fargo ATM.

Don’t Miss: 10 Banks With No-Fee ATMs

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How Fees at Wells Fargo and Other Banks Compare

Here’s a glance at comparable fees charged by Wells Fargo and other major banks. Note that the ranges for wire transfers and maintenance fees are dependent on which sort of wire you are using and the type of account you open, respectively. In many cases, the maintenance fee is waived depending on factors such as account balances and direct deposits.

Fees at Wells Fargo and Other Banks
FeeWells FargoChaseBank of AmericaCitibankU.S. Bank
Monthly maintenanceUp to $30Up to $25Up to $25Up to $30Up to $25
Out-of-network ATM withdrawalIn U.S.: $2.50

Outside U.S.: $5

In U.S.: $2.50

Outside U.S.: $5

In U.S.: $2.50

Outside U.S.: $5

$2.50; additional 3% fee for transactions made outside U.S. and Puerto Rico$2.50
Overdraft (nonsufficient funds)$35$34$35$34$36
Excess transactions$15$5$10No fee, but Citibank will close your account if you withdraw three times over the limit$15
Wire transfer$15-$30$15-$50Varies$15-$45$20-$50
International debit purchase3% of transaction3% of transaction3% of transaction3% of transaction3% of transaction
Fees listed reflect amounts typically charged; exceptions may apply. 

The biggest hits you can take from any bank are overdraft fees and wire transfer fees. While Wells Fargo has higher fees for service and excess savings transactions, its wire transfer fees are comparably limited.

Find Out: How To Open a Bank Account Online

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Getting the Most Out of Your Wells Fargo Bank Account

As you can see above, checking accounts generally allow more flexibility for acquiring money but also come with more fees. Savings accounts, while restricted in how much you can withdraw, come with comparably fewer — and cheaper — fees. There’s no distinct advantage in being both a checking and savings account holder with Wells Fargo, although transferring money around may be easier since it’s within the same financial institution.

Where you can gain an advantage, however, is by opening a Wells Fargo Everyday Checking account. The bank is offering a $400 bonus for opening an account and meeting the following requirements:

  1. Open an Everyday Checking account online by Dec. 31
  2. Make a minimum opening deposit of $25
  3. Set up direct deposits totaling $3,000 or more each month for three consecutive months

You will need to provide personal identification for your account information.

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Follow Wells Fargo Requirements and Rules To Avoid Fees

Wells Fargo checking accounts carry monthly service fees. You can avoid those fees, however, with a combination of direct deposits, minimum balances, debit card activity or linked accounts. Also, you can avoid overdraft and ATM fees if you keep your account balance up and use only Wells Fargo ATMs. Learn more about the types of checking accounts Wells Fargo offers by visiting your local branch or Wells Fargo’s website.

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 contributed to the reporting for this article.

Information is accurate as of Oct. 2, 2019.

    About the Author

    Sean joined the GOBankingRates team in 2018, bringing with him several years of experience with both military and collegiate writing and editing experience. Sean’s first foray into writing happened when he enlisted in the Marines, with the occupational specialty of combat correspondent. He covered military affairs both in garrison and internationally when he deployed to Afghanistan. After finishing his enlistment, he completed his BA in English at UC Berkeley, eventually moving to Southern California.