Wells Fargo Bank Review: Full-Service Banking With Branches Nationwide

GOBankingRates Score

Wells Fargo
4.6
SCORE
GOBankingRates Best Banks 2023 scores and rankings are objectively determined by our research/editorial team. Our scoring formula weighs several factors that differ from category to category depending on what consumers want from varying products and banks.
Quick Take: Wells Fargo is a good choice for those who want a bank with plenty of brick and mortar locations and ATMs. With 4,900 branches, it's the bank with the most locations in the U.S. --  just one of the many reasons it consistently ranks high in GOBankingRates' Best Banks roundups. 
  • Checking Accounts
    4.7
  • Savings Accounts
    4.7
  • CD Accounts
    4.5
  • Banking Experience
    4.5
How did we calculate this?

Pros

  • Wide array of products
  • Easy and accessible mobile and online banking
  • Approximately 4,700 retail banking branches and more than 83,000 ATMs nationwide
  • Rewards and bonus interest rates for high-balance accounts

Cons

  • Low APY rates compared to online banks
  • Monthly service fees on checking and savings accounts

Wells Fargo Overview

Wells Fargo was founded in 1852 in California, in the midst of the gold rush. Today, the financial institution reaches banking customers coast to coast, overseas and digitally with $1.7 trillion in assets.

It remains America’s fourth-largest commercial bank, offering everything from checking and savings accounts to credit cards, loans and brokerage services. Customers seeking a one-stop shop for all of their financial needs with branches across the country may find this bank ideal. That’s why GOBankingRates chose it as a finalist in its Best Banks, Best Checking Accounts and Best Savings Accounts of 2023 rankings.

Recently, Wells Fargo has been in the news for misconduct involving overdraft fees, interest, auto loans and mortgages. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has reached a settlement with Wells Fargo to provide remedies for any customers who were affected. Make sure you do your research to ensure your bank’s offerings and practices align with your financial needs as well as your values. Read more from the CFPB.

Key Features

Wells Fargo provides in-person and online banking, so customers can bank when and where they want. Here’s more on the top four Wells Fargo review categories to learn about the banking products and services you’ll find there.

Checking Accounts

Wells Fargo offers a range of accounts that give customers easy access to their money no matter how they choose to bank. The four accounts are Everyday Checking, Clear Access Banking, Prime Checking and Premier Checking.

Everyday Checking is a GOBankingRates finalist for Best Checking Accounts of 2023 with a $25 minimum opening deposit and no monthly fee if you’re age 24 or younger or link a Wells Fargo Campus ATM or Campus Direct Card or if you maintain a $500 balance or have $500 in direct deposits. The fee otherwise is $10.

Clear Access Banking is a checkless account for those who just use a debit card. No non-sufficient funds fees or overdraft fees apply, but you’ll pay $5 per month if you’re over 24 years old.

Prime Checking offers discounts and fee waivers in an interest-bearing account for customers with combined account balances higher than $20,000 — the minimum to avoid the $25 monthly fee.

Premier Checking offers the perks of Prime Checking and provides premium benefits such as unlimited worldwide reimbursement of non-Wells Fargo ATM fees, free wire transfers and no foreign transaction fee. However, you’ll need combined account balances higher than $250,000 to avoid the $35 monthly fee.

Savings Accounts

Wells Fargo’s Way2Save Savings account is among the best in its category and a finalist in the GOBankingRates Best Savings Accounts of 2023. A low minimum opening deposit of $25 is required. Set up automatic deposits from a linked checking account to watch your funds grow. Plus you’ll earn APY.

There’s a service fee of $5 per month, but you have the option to have your service fees waived a few ways, such as keeping a balance of $300 or receiving automatic monthly transfers of at least $25.

Platinum Savings offers a higher APY, but the monthly fee is also higher at $12 per month if you don’t maintain a daily balance of $3,500.

Certificates of Deposit

Wells Fargo offers a smaller selection of CDs compared to other major banks.

Standard Fixed Rate CDs with terms up to 12 months earn up to APY. They’re a way to earn a fixed-rate APY as you save for upcoming expenses. There are no monthly service fees, but you’ll need a large deposit of $2,500 or more to open one.

Special Fixed Rate CDs are available in seven- and 13-month terms and earn higher rates. The minimum deposit to open one is $5,000.

Banking Experience

As one of America’s largest banks, Wells Fargo has the products and services customers need for hassle-free banking.

Customer Service

Wells Fargo customer service is available by visiting your local branch or going online.

There are a wide variety of FAQs on the bank’s site to answer your questions. Or you can contact the bank for general banking concerns at 800-869-3557. For online banking questions, call 800-956-4442. Both lines are available 24/7 and accept relay calls, including 711.

Unfortunately, no live chat is featured on the website, but Social Care Support is available daily on the bank’s Twitter and Facebook profiles. Plus, no matter where you live, a Wells Fargo retail banking location or ATM is probably not too far away. The bank has approximately 4,900 branches in all but 14 states and over 83,000 ATMs nationwide.

Mobile App

The Wells Fargo Mobile app earns 4.8 stars on Google Play and the App Store. You can use it create account alerts, transfer funds, pay bills and deposit checks. It’s also a useful tool for managing your debit card by monitoring recurring payments and locking and unlocking it and your Wells Fargo credit cards.

Opening an Account

  1. Navigate to the Wells Fargo website.
  2. Choose the type of account you want.
  3. Click “Open now.”
  4. Follow the prompts to fill in your personal information, choose the features you want and make your opening deposit.
  5. You’ll need your Social Security number, a valid ID, such as a driver’s license, and, in some cases, an opening deposit.

Comparable Banking Options

Wells Fargo stacks up well against the competition, but that doesn’t mean it is the best bank for everyone. Here are Wells Fargo reviews against other popular alternatives.

Chase

New depositors with Chase can get $200 for opening a checking account that has direct deposit. However, overall, Wells Fargo’s basic checking fee appears to be a bit more affordable and requires a lower minimum balances.

Citi®

Citi® has strong bonuses for new checking accounts and cash-back offers on its credit cards; but, with fewer than 700 branches nationwide, it’s not for those who want to bank in person. Wells Fargo has a much wider reach when it comes to in-person banking.

Final Take

Wells Fargo is perfect for a traditional bank customer because it offers consistency and availability. While you may be able to get a higher interest rate at an online bank, you can walk into a Wells Fargo branch almost anywhere in the country and ask questions or transact business.

It’s ideal for nearly all customers, especially those who want their banking and investment accounts with a single institution. Investors who need the services of a financial advisor also will find Wells Fargo to be a good option.

FAQ

Here are some answers to commonly asked questions about Wells Fargo Bank.
  • Is Wells Fargo a good bank?
    • Wells Fargo consistently ranks high in the GOBankingRates studies for Best National Banks and Top 100 Banks thanks to its variety of account options and roughly 4,900 branches.
  • What is the problem with Wells Fargo?
    • Wells Fargo was recently sued for misrepresenting its level of employee diversity. Past lawsuits included racial discrimination during the mortgage process and violating client privacy by recording customers without their consent.
  • What are the pros and cons of Wells Fargo?
    • Wells Fargo's greatest strengths include the variety of accounts and number of branches nationwide. However, its interest yields are relatively low.
  • What bank is better: Chase or Wells Fargo?
    • Both Wells Fargo and Chase are major U.S. banks with a wide representation of branches nationwide and plenty of financial products. Chase's credit cards are more popular due to the rewards they offer.
  • What is so good about Wells Fargo?
    • The best thing about Wells Fargo is its accessibility. In addition to comprehensive digital and mobile services, Wells Fargo has a vast network of branch locations where you can bank in person.

Daria Uhlig contributed to the reporting for this article.

To discover the Top Banks, GOBankingRates looked at the top national institutions (excluding credit unions) with over $100 billion in total assets. To determine rankings, GOBankingRates looked at the following factors: (1) checking product minimum deposit; (2) monthly checking fee ratio (percentage based on the minimum to avoid the fee compared to the monthly fee itself); (3) savings product minimum deposit; (4) savings product APY; (5) Bauer rating (out of 5 stars); (6) products/services offered (auto loans, mortgage loans, credit cards, investment services and insurance); and (7) the average mobile app rating between the Android and Apple app stores. All factors were then scored and combined, with the lowest score being best. Factors (1) and (3) were weighted 0.5 times, factor (4) was weighted 2.5 times, and factor (6) was weighted 1.5 times. To discover the Top Banks, GOBankingRates looked at the top national institutions (excluding credit unions) with over $100 billion in total assets. To determine rankings, GOBankingRates looked at the following factors: (1) checking product minimum deposit; (2) monthly checking fee ratio (percentage based on the minimum to avoid the fee compared to the monthly fee itself); (3) savings product minimum deposit; (4) savings product APY; (5) Bauer rating (out of 5 stars); (6) products/services offered (auto loans, mortgage loans, credit cards, investment services and insurance); and (7) the average mobile app rating between the Android and Apple app stores. All factors were then scored and combined, with the lowest score being best. Factors (1) and (3) were weighted 0.5 times, factor (4) was weighted 2.5 times, and factor (6) was weighted 1.5 times.

To determine rankings for the Best Checking Accounts, GOBankingRates looked at the following factors from all banks (excluding credit unions): (1) total assets as sourced from the FDIC; (2) number of branch locations as sourced from the FDIC; (3) minimum deposit to open an account; (4) monthly checking fee ratio (percentage based on the minimum to avoid the fee compared to the monthly fee itself); (5) APY on the checking account; (6) overdraft fee amount; and (7) the average mobile app rating between the Android and Apple app stores. All factors were then scored and combined, with the lowest score being best. Factors (1), (2 and (5) were weighted 0.5 times, and factor (4) was weighted 1.5 times.

To determine rankings for the Best Savings Accounts, GOBankingRates looked at the following factors from all banks (excluding online, neobanks and credit unions): (1) total assets as sourced from the FDIC; (2) number of branch locations as sourced from the FDIC; (3) minimum deposit to open an account; (4) monthly savings fee ratio (percentage based on the minimum to avoid the fee compared to the monthly fee itself); (5) minimum balance needed in account to earn APY; (6) savings APY; and (7) the average mobile app rating between the Android and Apple app stores. All factors were then scored and combined, with the lowest score being best. Factors (1) and (2) were weighted 0.5 times, factor (4) was weighed 1.5 times and factor (6) was weighted 3 times.

Rates are subject to change; unless otherwise noted, rates are updated periodically. All other information on accounts is accurate as of Dec. 9, 2022.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by any entity covered in this article. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, ratings or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any entity named in this article.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by Chase. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, ratings or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by Chase.

Our in-house research team and on-site financial experts work together to create content that’s accurate, impartial, and up to date. We fact-check every single statistic, quote and fact using trusted primary resources to make sure the information we provide is correct. You can learn more about GOBankingRates’ processes and standards in our editorial policy.

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About the Author

Cynthia Paez Bowman is a personal finance writer with degrees from American University in international business and journalism. Besides writing about personal finance, she writes about real estate, interior design and architecture. Her work has been featured in MSN, Brex, Freshome, MyMove, Emirates’ Open Skies magazine and more.
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