Wells Fargo, named after founders Henry Wells and William Fargo, has more than 7,600 locations, 13,000 ATMs and it staffs just over 260,000 employees. Originally formed to provide service to the followers of the California gold rush, Wells Fargo has weathered economic conditions that have all but ruined its competitors, while managing to remain customer-focused through it all. As a result, nearly 11% of Americans use Wells Fargo as their primary bank.
Wells Fargo’s fees and bonus offers are competitive with its competition. Plus, Wells Fargo is one of the largest banks in the U.S., with a vast network of branches and ATM’s, making it easy for most people to open a bank account. But Wells Fargo’s interest rates are a bit lower than other banks’, and overdraft fees can add up if you’re not careful.
You might be curious about the steps to take to bank with Wells Fargo. This guide walks you through opening an account, explains checking and savings fees and features and looks at how Wells Fargo stacks up against other banks.
- Steps To Open a Wells Fargo Bank Account
- Checking Account Fees and Features
- Savings Account Fees and Features
- How To Avoid Unwanted Fees
- Should You Open a Wells Fargo Account? Pros and Cons
- Actively Monitor Your Wells Fargo Accounts
- How Does Wells Fargo Stack Up Against Other Banks?
- Is Wells Fargo the Bank for You?
Opening a Wells Fargo bank account makes good sense, even in light of the sales-practice scandal in 2016. In response to that controversy, 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
To comply with federal laws requiring financial institutions to collect, verify and record identifying information, Wells Fargo will ask for the following when you open an account:
- Your name
- Legal address
- Date of birth
- Social Security number or tax ID number
- Contact information — name, address, email address, phone number
- Money for opening deposit
You might also be asked for your driver’s license or other picture ID. In the event you open your account online rather than driving to the bank in person, you might have to scan your ID and attach it to your application or fax it to the bank.
2. Decide Which Wells Fargo Bank Account You Want To Open
Customers opening a bank account for the first time must decide between a checking account, a savings account or both. Checking accounts are typically used for small day-to-day purchases and bill paying, whereas savings accounts earn interest and help you put money aside for large purchases and unexpected expenses.
You can open your account individually or jointly, with another individual. Wells Fargo has several to choose from:
Wells Fargo Checking Accounts
- Wells Fargo EveryDay Checking: This is Wells Fargo’s most popular checking account, with features such as the Wells Fargo Mobile app, debit card and alerts. Students, age 17-24 pay no monthly service fee.
- Wells Fargo Preferred Checking: Preferred checking with Wells Fargo pays interest on your balance. This is a good option for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage customers.
- Wells Fargo Teen Checking: Teens ages 13-17 (18 in Ala.) can head to a bank branch to open their own checking account with an adult co-owner. Teen Checking has no monthly service fee.
- Wells Fargo Opportunity Checking: Customers who don’t qualify for a Wells Fargo standard checking account might be offered this account as an alternative. It’s a great way to get back into checking.
- Portfolio by Wells Fargo: This interest checking account earns you premium relationship benefits and rewards.
Wells Fargo Savings Accounts
- Way2Save Savings: An account that helps you build savings with automatic transfers from your checking account to your savings account.
- Platinum Savings: Earn premium rates and get easy access to your money with the option to write checks.
3. Fill Out the Online Application or Apply in Person
Wells Fargo makes it fast and easy to open a bank account online. You will need some standard personal information and the $25 opening deposit, and you’ll answer a few questions, such as whether you are a current customer and whether you want a joint or individual account. You’ll also have the opportunity to choose which account you’d like to apply for.
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 daily from 9:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m. Eastern at 866-370-2264.
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 have been noted in a recent GOBankingRates guide to avoiding the fees.
The Wells Fargo Card Design Studio service is worth noting: You can insert your favorite image on your Wells Fargo debit card and/or credit card.
Here are the fees and features of each Wells Fargo checking account:
|Checking Account Fees and Features|
|Account||Best For||Monthly Fees||Opening Deposit||Features|
|Wells Fargo Everyday Checking||Customers who want the convenience of many bank and ATM locations||$10 (waived when you meet account requirements)||$25|
|Wells Fargo Preferred Checking||Customers who want to earn interest on their checking||$15 (waived when you meet account requirements)||$25|
|Wells Fargo Teen Checking||Teens ages 13-17 with an adult co-owner||$0||$25|
|Wells Fargo Opportunity Checking||Customers who are unable to open standard accounts due to past banking or credit history||$10 (waived when you meet account requirements)||$25|
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 Accounts Fees and Features|
|Account||Minimum Opening Deposit||Monthly Service Fee||Features|
|Way2Save Savings||$25||$5 (waived when you meet account requirements)|
|Platinum Savings||$25||$12 (waived when you meet account requirements)|
|Wells Fargo CDs||$25||$0|
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.
Avoid ATM Fees
When you use an ATM outside of Wells Fargo’s network, transaction fees can add up. A GOBankingRates survey of Wells Fargo ATM fees suggested finding an in-network ATM near you to make fee-free withdrawals. Another option is to open an account that reimburses fees for using ATMs outside of your bank’s network.
Set Up Email Alerts
Check out Wells Fargo’s website or app and set up free balance alerts that let you know when your account balance reaches whatever minimum you specify. This can help you avoid account fees for dropping below the minimum daily balance needed to have your fees waived.
Consider a Wells Fargo account offering overdraft protection or Overdraft Rewind, GOBankingRates recently advised. Whereas overdraft protection automatically transfers money from a linked savings account to keep you from overdrawing your account, Overdraft Rewind gives you a little extra time to make a deposit to cover an overdraft.
Using Wells Fargo’s app or phone support to keep track of your checking and savings account balance, outstanding checks and scheduled bill payments can help you avoid overdrafts. Online bill pay can also help you keep track of your money by automatically scheduling recurring monthly payments.
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 app makes it easy to monitor your account from your mobile device
- Free online budgeting tools
- Bonus offers reward you for opening an account that meets certain criteria
- Options for customers who have a less-than-great credit or banking history
- Competitive accounts for teens and college students
- Wells Fargo Cash Back credit card for students offers low introductory rate and pays cash back on groceries, gas and drug store credit purchases.
Wells Fargo Cons:
- Recent scandal has caused mistrust
- Size of Wells Fargo might intimidate customers who prefer a small-town banking network
- Some fees are a bit high, and waiving fees can be difficult
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.
Find Out: How To Close a Bank Account for Free
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, the Wells Fargo mobile website or apps.
- Paperless statements make your past account activity instantly available.
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 differences. Keep in mind that Wells Fargo has more than 7,600 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|
|Bank||Basic Checking Account Fees||Basic Savings Account Fees||Overdraft Fees||ATM Fees||Basic Savings Interest Rate|
|Wells Fargo||$10 (waived when you meet account requirements)||$5 monthly fee (waived when you meet account requirements)||$35||$2 or $2.50 at non-bank locations||0.01%|
|TD Bank||$5.99 (can’t waive fee)||$4-$5 monthly fee (four ways to waive fee)||$35||$3||0.05% APY to 1.50% APY|
|Bank of America||$12 (four ways to waive fee)||$8 monthly fee (three ways to waive fees)||$35||Non-bank ATM fee: $5.00 OR 3% of the dollar amount, up to a maximum of $10.00||0.03% APY to 0.06% APY|
|Chase Bank||$10 or $12 (waived when you meet account requirements)||$5 monthly fee (waived when you meet account requirements)||$34||$2.50 at non-bank ATMs, $0 at all Chase Bank ATMs||0.01% APY|
|Capital One||$0||$0||Up to $35||$0 at all bank locations||1.90%|
|US Bank||$6.95 (waived when you meet account requirements)||$4 (waived when you meet account requirements)||$0||$0||0.01%|
Despite some highs and lows in the past several years, Wells Fargo remains one of the highest ranked banks, offering a wide variety of tools and features to enhance its customers’ experience. With live operators available 24/7, Wells Fargo also continues to hit it out of the park with outstanding customer service. Although Wells Fargo’s services and products might not lead the pack, they are certainly in the contest. Anyone looking for a bank with a huge number of branches and easy online access should seriously consider dropping by a local Wells Fargo branch office.
More on Banking:
- Best Online Banks of 2020
- Here’s Your Wells Fargo Routing Number
- Your Guide to Wells Fargo SWIFT Codes
- Checking Account Bonuses and Promotions Available Today
- Benefits of Getting a Joint Bank Account
Fees and rates are subject to change.
Editorial Note: This content is not provided or commissioned by Wells Fargo. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of Wells Fargo, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by Wells Fargo. This site may be compensated through the bank advertiser Affiliate Program.