How To Open a Wells Fargo Bank Account in 3 Steps

Wells Fargo bank
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With over 7,200 branches and 13,000 ATMs, Wells Fargo banks are a common sight for Americans nationwide. And with Wells Fargo bank accounts offering competitive fees and a wide range of accounts, it can be an attractive option despite its relatively low interest rates.

Opening a Wells Fargo bank account is simple, and you can do it yourself online or in person at a local branch. In this guide, you’ll learn how to open an account. The guide also looks at Wells Fargo’s checking and savings account fees and features and how Wells Fargo stacks up against other banks.

Steps To Open a Wells Fargo Bank Account

Despite a 2016 scandal resulting from sales practices at that time, opening a Wells Fargo bank account makes sense due to its wide availability of physical locations and ATMs. If that controversy makes you wary, rest assured that Wells Fargo has revamped its strategy to restore team members’ and customers’ trust by making a great customer experience its highest priority.

To open an account with Wells Fargo, you’ll need to follow a few simple steps:

1. Gather Required Personal Information

Collect all the information Well Fargo needs to properly identify you and remain compliant with banking laws:

  • Valid identification (driver’s license, state ID or Matricula card)
  • Social Security number or tax ID number
  • Contact information: name, address, email address, phone number
  • Money for your opening deposit

If you open your account online rather than in person, you might have to scan your ID and attach it to your application or fax it to the bank.

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2. Choose the Wells Fargo Bank Account To Open

Explore all of Wells Fargo’s checking and savings account options and decide which is best for you. Wells Fargo currently has four checking accounts and two savings accounts available, and each has its benefits and drawbacks.

Wells Fargo Checking Accounts

  • Wells Fargo Everyday Checking: This Wells Fargo checking account includes features such as the Wells Fargo Mobile app, debit card and alerts. There is a $10 monthly service fee, but it’s waived for account holders ages 17-24.
  • Wells Fargo Preferred Checking: Preferred Checking pays interest on your balance and offers free cashier’s checks. It comes with a $15 monthly service fee, but you can avoid this by maintaining a $10,000 minimum deposit balance, having at least $1,000 in direct deposits each month or linking a Wells Fargo home mortgage.
  • Wells Fargo Clear Access Banking: This checking account is designed specifically for young people opening their first account, as people as young as 13 years old can open one with an adult co-owner. There are no checks or overdraft fees. It does have a $5 monthly service fee, but Wells Fargo waives the fee for account holders ages 13-24.
  • Portfolio by Wells Fargo: This interest checking account earns you premium relationship benefits and rewards. It also waives ATM fees in the U.S. and overseas. There is a $30 monthly service fee, but you can avoid this with $25,000 in monthly linked bank deposits or $50,000 in linked bank, brokerage and credit balances.

Wells Fargo Savings Accounts

  • Way2Save Savings: This account helps you build savings with automatic transfers of $1 from your checking account to your savings account with each debit card purchase. There is a $5 monthly fee that you can avoid by maintaining a $300 minimum daily balance or meeting certain transfer requirements. The fee is also waived for all primary account holders under age 18.
  • Platinum Savings: Earn up to a 0.02% bonus annual percentage yield and get easy access to your money with check-writing capability and the option to make unlimited ATM withdrawals. This account comes with a $12 monthly service fee, but you can avoid it by maintaining a $3,500 minimum daily balance.

3. Fill Out the Online Application or Apply in Person

Wells Fargo makes it fast and easy to open a bank account online. Gather the required personal information and the $25 opening deposit. You’ll be asked a few questions, such as whether you are a current customer and whether you want a joint or individual account. From there, you can choose the account you’d like to apply for and complete the application.

You can also talk to a banker in person by visiting any of Wells Fargo’s branch offices near you or calling a customer service representative. Representatives are available 24/7 at 866-245-3452.

Wells Fargo Checking Account Fees and Features

Wells Fargo offers checking accounts for customers at every financial stage of their lives. Although all accounts have a minimum opening deposit, you can have most of the monthly fees waived when you meet certain requirements, which GOBankingRates explained in its recent guide to avoiding the fees.

The Wells Fargo Card Design Studio is an additional feature worth noting — you can insert your favorite image onto your Wells Fargo debit card and/or credit card, free of charge.

Here are the fees and features of each Wells Fargo checking account:

Checking Account Fees and Features:

Wells Fargo Everyday Checking

  • Best For: Customers who want the convenience of many bank and ATM locations
  • Monthly Fees: $10 (waived when you meet account requirements)
  • Opening Deposit: $25
  • Features:

Wells Fargo Preferred Checking

  • Best For: Customers who want the convenience of many bank and ATM locations
  • Monthly Fees: $10 (waived when you meet account requirements)
  • Opening Deposit:
  • Features:
    • Debit card
    • Bill pay and online transfers
    • Mobile deposit
    • Text banking

Wells Fargo Clear Access Banking

  • Best For: People ages 13-24
  • Monthly Fees: $5 (waived for customers age 13-24)
  • Opening Deposit: $25
  • Features:
    • Debit card
    • Bill pay and online transfers
    • Mobile deposit
    • Text banking

Portfolio by Wells Fargo

  • Best For: Customers who maintain high balances and want rewards
  • Monthly Fees: $30 (waived when you meet account requirements)
  • Opening Deposit: $25
  • Features:
    • Relationship bonuses
    • Debit card
    • Waived ATM fees

Savings Account Fees and Features

You can open a Wells Fargo savings account or CD account individually or jointly through Wells Fargo Online or by calling or visiting a nearby branch office. The interest you earn on your deposits makes your money grow and helps to secure your long-term financial future.

Wells Fargo offers three popular savings and time accounts, each with benefits and features to meet your individual financial needs.

Savings Account Fees and Features

Way2Save Savings

  • Minimum Opening Deposit: $25
  • Monthly Service Fee: $5 (waived when you meet account requirements)
  • Features:
    • Save-as-you-go transfer overdraft protection
    • Automatic transfers from linked checking account

Platinum Savings

  • Minimum Opening Deposit: $25
  • Monthly Service Fee: $12 (waived when you meet account requirements)
  • Features:
    • Offers the highest savings rates of all Wells Fargo savings accounts
    • Option to write checks

Wells Fargo CDs

  • Minimum Opening Deposit: $2,500
  • Monthly Service Fee: $0
  • Features:
    • Fixed rates
    • Choice of terms
    • Often offer a better rate than savings accounts

How To Avoid Unwanted Fees

Most banks’ checking and savings accounts charge monthly fees unless the customer maintains a minimum average daily balance, and those aren’t the only fees you need to worry about. Here are some tips to help you hold on to more of your money.

Preventing Unwanted Fees

  1. Avoid ATM fees: Find an in-network ATM near you to make fee-free withdrawals, or open a Portfolio by Wells Fargo account, which waives all ATM fees.
  2. Set Up email alerts: Set up free balance alerts via Wells Fargo’s website or app to be notified when your account balance dips below any amount you specify.
  3. Avoid overdrafts: Open a Wells Fargo account offering overdraft protection or Overdraft Rewind to avoid costly overdraft fees. Also, use Wells Fargo’s app or phone support to keep track of your checking and savings account balances.

Should You Open a Wells Fargo Account? Pros and Cons

Wells Fargo’s financial products cover almost every area of consumer finance. But like every bank, Wells Fargo has its pros and cons.

Wells Fargo Pros:

  • Large network of banking locations and ATMs make Wells Fargo a convenient choice
  • Large variety of checking and savings accounts
  • Excellent customer service at local branches and online
  • Wells Fargo Mobile app that makes it easy to monitor your account from your mobile device
  • Free online budgeting tools
  • Competitive accounts for teens and college students

Wells Fargo Cons:

  • Recent scandal has caused mistrust
  • Size of Wells Fargo might intimidate customers who prefer a small-town banking network
  • High fees that can be difficult to waive
  • Low APY on savings accounts

Wells Fargo has some good points and some bad, so it’s important to weigh each of the pros and cons to determine if Wells Fargo is the best choice to meet your financial needs.

Actively Monitor Your Wells Fargo Accounts

Once you’ve set up your checking or savings account, you can manage it with instant alerts sent to your email or wireless device. That way, you’ll be notified right away when a transaction takes place. And that’s not the only way to monitor your account.

  • Wells Fargo Online Banking gives you “anytime” access to all of your accounts and lets you choose which activity details and alerts you see.
  • With mobile banking from Wells Fargo, you can check your accounts with text banking or the Wells Fargo Mobile website or app.
  • Paperless statements make your past account activity instantly available.

How Does Wells Fargo Stack Up Against Other Banks?

How does Wells Fargo compare to other large banks’ basic checking and savings accounts? Many of the features and requirements are similar, but there are some differences.

Keep In Mind

Wells Fargo has more than 7,200 brick-and-mortar banks across the nation and a customer service department that is both personable and helpful.

Check out how Wells Fargo measures up to similar banks in terms of checking and savings account fees and interest rates.

Account Fees and Rates Comparison

Wells Fargo

  • Basic Checking Account Fees: $10 (waived when you meet account requirements)
  • Basic Savings Account Fees: $5 monthly fee (waived when you meet account requirements)
  • Overdraft Fees: $35
  • ATM Fees:  $0 at Wells Fargo ATMs;$2.50 at non-Wells Fargo ATMs
  • Basic Saving Interest Rate0.01%

TD Bank

  • Basic Checking Account Fees: $15 (waived when you meet account requirements)
  • Basic Savings Account Fees: $5 (several ways to waive fee)
  • Overdraft Fees: $35
  • ATM Fees: $0 at TD Bank ATMs; $3 at non-TD ATMs
  • Basic Saving Interest Rate0.25%

Bank of America

  • Basic Checking Account Fees: $4.95 (waived when you meet account requirements)
  • Basic Savings Account Fees: $8 (several ways to waive fee)
  • Overdraft Fees: $35
  • ATM Fees: $0 at Bank of America ATMs; $2.50 at non-Bank of America ATMs
  • Basic Saving Interest Rate: N/A

Chase Bank

  • Basic Checking Account Fees: $4.95 (can’t waive fee)
  • Basic Savings Account Fees: $5 (waived when you meet account requirements)
  • Overdraft Fees: $34
  • ATM Fees: $0 at Chase ATMs; $2.50 at non-Chase ATMs
  • Basic Saving Interest Rate0.01%

Capital One

  • Basic Checking Account Fees: $0
  • Basic Savings Account Fees: $0
  • Overdraft Fees: $35
  • ATM Fees: $0
  • Basic Saving Interest Rate: 0.40%

U.S. Bank

  • Basic Checking Account Fees: $6.95 (waived when you meet account requirements)
  • Basic Savings Account Fees: $4 (waived when you meet account requirements)
  • Overdraft Fees: $36
  • ATM Fees: $0 at U.S. Bank ATMs; $2.50 at non-U.S. Bank ATMs outside of the MoneyPass network
  • Basic Saving Interest Rate0.01%

Is Wells Fargo the Bank for You?

Wells Fargo has a range of accounts available — including four checking accounts and two savings accounts — for all types of customers. No matter which account you choose, you can open it online or in person with the required personal information and a $25 opening deposit.

Once you open your account, you’ll be subject to monthly maintenance fees, but Wells Fargo will waive those fees if you meet specific requirements.

When considering Wells Fargo, keep in mind that it has lower interest rates than some other banks. If the low interest is acceptable to you, Wells Fargo may be a great option. You can open an account by dropping by a local Wells Fargo branch office.

Rates are subject to change; unless otherwise noted, rates are updated periodically. All other information on accounts is accurate as of Nov. 23, 2020.

About the Author

Kathryn Pomroy is a professional writer with expertise in personal and business finance. Kathryn holds a BA in Journalism and has written for major publications, small and medium size business clients and several business journals. Kathryn has more than 15 years of experience, is adept with SEO best practices, AP and other style guides, and has hands-on experience with various content management systems. 

How To Open a Wells Fargo Bank Account in 3 Steps
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