How To Avoid Wells Fargo’s Monthly Maintenance Fees

Key West, USA  - January 9, 2015: Man using Wells Fargo ATM on Duval street, Key West.
anouchka / Getty Images

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 linking to other Wells Fargo accounts.

Wells Fargo Checking Account Fees

Wells Fargo checking monthly maintenance fees are $10 for Everyday Checking, $5 for Clear Access Banking, $15 for Preferred Checking and $30 for Portfolio Checking. Additionally, these checking accounts may also charge out-of-network ATM fees and overdraft fees.

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

Wells Fargo Checking Account Fees
Account Monthly Service Out-of-Network ATM Withdrawal Overdraft (Nonsufficient Funds)
Everyday Checking $10 • In U.S.: $2.50
• Outside U.S.: $5
$35
Preferred Checking $15 • In U.S.: $2.50
• Outside U.S.: $5
$35
Portfolio Checking $30 N/A $35
Clear Access Banking $5 • In U.S.: $2.50
• Outside U.S.: $5
N/A

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

Common Wells Fargo Checking Account Fees
Fee Amount Charged
Cashier’s check $10
Cashed/deposited item returned unpaid $12
International debit card purchase 3% of the transaction
Money Order (Up to $1,000) $5 (waived with Preferred or Portfolio checking account)
Overdraft protection $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.

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Wells Fargo Savings Account Fees

Wells Fargo’s savings account monthly maintenance fees range from $5 for its Way2Save Savings account to $12 for its Platinum Savings account; these accounts don’t have nearly as many fees as Wells Fargo’s checking accounts. However, because they’re designed to retain and grow money through a savings interest rate, you are limited to six penalty-free savings account withdrawals.

Wells Fargo Way2Save Savings account is best for passive savers because it automatically transfers funds from a linked Wells Fargo account into the savings account. You will earn a 0.01% annual percentage yield (APY) on all Way2Save Savings balances.

Those with more wealth will prefer Wells Fargo’s Platinum Savings account; its APY increases to 0.02% once your account balance hits $25,000.

Note that both accounts require a $25 minimum opening deposit.

Wells Fargo Savings Account Fees
Account Monthly service fee Excess Activity Fee
Way2Save Savings

 

$5 Up to $15 per withdrawal or transfer if you’ve exceeded the monthly limit; maximum of three fees per month
Platinum Savings $12 Up to $15 per withdrawal or transfer if you’ve exceeded the monthly limit; maximum of three fees per month

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: 500 minimum daily balance
  • Clear Access Banking: N/A
  • 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. Here’s more:

  • Everyday Checking: Aggregate direct deposits of $500 or more monthly
  • Preferred Checking: Aggregate direct deposits of $1,000 or more monthly
  • Clear Access Banking: N/A

3. Link a Wells Fargo Account

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

  • Everyday Checking: Students can 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) or if there are qualifying automatic transactions made from your checking account.
  • Clear Access Banking: Fee waived if account holder is 13 to 24 years old.

How To Avoid Wells Fargo’s Overdraft Fees

Wells Fargo charges up to three overdraft fees of $35 per day for most of its checking accounts. Clear Access Banking has no overdraft fees. Avoid overdraft fees at Wells Fargo by monitoring your account balance regularly.

Sign up for overdraft protection, and Wells Fargo will cover your overdrawn checking account by transferring the overdrawn amount from your savings account to your checking account. Wells Fargo will charge a $12.50 fee per overdraft transfer.

Good To Know

You can also avoid overdraft fees using Overdraft Rewind, a free feature included with all Wells Fargo checking accounts. If a direct deposit hits your checking account by 9 a.m., the bank will recalculate your balance and review overdraft transactions from the previous business day. This may result in Wells Fargo reversing overdraft fees.

Wells Fargo also offers a debit card overdraft service that allows you to indicate whether the bank can approve debit card transactions, despite you not having enough funds in your account. Deactivate this feature, and the bank will decline any overdraft transactions instead of approving the transaction and charging a $35 fee.

How To Avoid Wells Fargo’s ATM Fees

The surest way to avoid ATM fees is to make sure you visit a Wells Fargo ATM.

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.

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.

Getting the Most Out of Your Wells Fargo Bank Account

Wells Fargo offers a wide range of benefits you want to take advantage of to get the most out of your account.

For checking accounts, these benefits include:

  • Mobile banking: Wells Fargo’s mobile app allows you to pay bills, send money and check your balances using your smartphone or tablet.
  • Free, secure money transfers: Using the free Zelle interface, you can send, receive and request money without sharing your banking information.
  • Account alerts: Custom alerts will alert you of upcoming payments due, low account balances and recent deposits. You can choose to get these alerts through email, text message or push notifications.

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.

    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.