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Banking

Chase vs Wells Fargo

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

Chase and Wells Fargo are two of the “Big Four” banks in the U.S. along with Bank of America and Citibank. Chase and Wells Fargo both offer a full range of traditional bank products including checking and savings accounts, certificates of deposit (CDs), retirement products, credit cards, auto loans and home mortgages, commercial accounts and student loans. Both offer other financial services products, including brokerage services, through subsidiaries.

In this review, we’ll see how Chase and Wells Fargo compare on what really matters to customers: rates on deposit accounts, types of accounts offered and fees and fine print.

Chase vs Wells Fargo: History

Both Chase and Wells Fargo have been around at least a century, but Chase has Wells Fargo beat on this front. Chase Bank’s founding goes back to 1799 when the Bank of The Manhattan Company was founded by Aaron Burr (yep, that Aaron Burr!). After a 1955 merger, the bank was known for many years as Chase Manhattan until it merged with JP Morgan & Co. in 2000 and became known as Chase Bank. Today, Chase is a national bank headquartered in New York City with nearly 5,000 branches in 23 states.

Wells Fargo is a diversified financial services company with roots in the California gold rush. Founded in 1852, its iconic stagecoach delivered passengers, mail and even money throughout the west. Today, through a series of mergers, the bank has nearly 5,600 branches located in 40 states across the United States.

Chase vs Wells Fargo: How their rates compare

Like most full-service banks around the country, both Chase and Wells Fargo offer similar interest rates on the products consumers want the most, including checking and savings accounts and CDs. The chart below shows the rates available in comparison to those that online banks offer.

 ChaseWells FargoNational average*Online bank average*
Savings0.01% to 0.40% APY depending on account type and balance0.01% to 0.10%; Special rate of 1.50% APY for one year on balances over $25,0000.270% APY1.52% APY
Checking0.01% APY0.01% to 0.05% APY depending on account chosen0.192% APY0.41% APY
1-year CD0.02% to 0.05% APY depending on amount deposited1.25% APY1.322% APY2.09% APY
5-year CD1.40% to 1.55% APY depending on amount deposited1.65% APY for retirement CD. Maximum quoted term for regular CD is 39 months at 2.35% APY Contact Wells Fargo for more information.2.236% APY2.70% APY

While “standard” interest rates between Chase and Wells Fargo are similar, Wells Fargo seems to offer more—and higher—special rates. For example, Wells Fargo offers a special rate on a 39 month CD of 2.35%. Special rates vary so check the Wells Fargo website for regular updates. This is significantly higher than the rates Chase offers for a longer term. While this is a special rate that is only good for the advertised period, if you are willing to put the money away for required time, there might be a benefit to taking advantage of it. With interest rates so low, even small differences in rates have a huge impact on earnings.

Still, neither bank really beats out online banks in terms of their rates, so you may be better off shopping for high-rate deposit accounts from some of the best online banks first.

Chase vs Wells Fargo: Which has better account options?

Both Chase and Wells Fargo offer three different checking account options. Chase offers a regular checking account plus the Premier and Sapphire accounts. The latter two options provide access to more services that Chase offers, such as free cashiers checks and money orders for Premier clients (also offered to Sapphire clients) and no fees on incoming and outgoing wire transfers or insufficient funds for those with Sapphire accounts. The checking account levels at Chase require different minimum balances or use of services to avoid monthly fees.

Wells Fargo also offers three levels of checking accounts, including regular, Preferred and Portfolio checking. Like Chase, each level of service that Wells Fargo provides requires different minimum balances or use of services to avoid the monthly fee. Preferred checking accounts offer depositors services such as account alerts for low balance, 24/7 security and access to Wells Fargo Mobile. Premier, the highest level of checking account service, provides depositors additional benefits such as a waiver of ATM fees and discounts on loan rates.

Both Chase and Wells Fargo offer savings accounts that can be linked to your checking account although there are differences in the rates the two banks offer. Both offer a full range of CDs, although Wells Fargo seems to offer depositors a fuller range of customizable CDs in terms of length of deposit and also offers higher promotional interest rates on some of these products. Based on rates alone, since services offered and fees are equal, Wells Fargo appears to be a better choice for consumers.

Chase vs Wells Fargo: How they compare on fees

 ChaseWells Fargo
Standard savings account$5 monthly fee applies unless:

-The balance at the beginning of each day is $300 or more, or
-There is at least one repeating automatic transfer of $25 or more from your personal Chase checking account or Chase Liquid® Card, or
-The account owner is under age 18, or  
-The account is linked to a Chase Premier Plus or Sapphire checking account or Chase Private Client checking
$5 monthly fee applies unless:

- The account has a $300 minimum daily balance, or
-You make an automatic transfer of $25 or more a month from a Wells Fargo checking account.  
Standard checking accountMonthly service fee of $12.

Fee can be waived if the account has $500 or more in direct deposits or a $1,500 balance at the beginning of each day, or an average beginning of day balance of $5,000 or more or is linked to qualifying Chase checking, savings or other balances.
Monthly service fee of $10.

Fee can be waived if the account has 10 or more posted debit card purchases or qualifying deposits of $500 or more or $1,500 minimum daily balance or is linked to a Wells Fargo Campus ATM or Campus Debit Card (for college students) or the primary account owner is between 17 and 24 years old.
ATM feeNo charge for Chase ATMs

$2.50 per use for non-Chase ATM in U.S. Fees waived for certain checking accounts.
No charge for Wells Fargo ATMs

$2.50 per use for non-Wells Fargo ATM. Fees waived for certain checking accounts.
Overdraft fee$34 per item for insufficient funds or returned items to a maximum of three fees per day.$35 per item, $15 per item for Teen Checking. Limit of three fees per day for consumer accounts and two for Teen Checking

The fees that Chase and Wells Fargo charge for similar banking services are essentially the same or have very small differences or slightly different ways to avoid paying the fee. This means that the two banks have essentially the same fee structure and that fees do not represent a significant factor in choosing one bank over the other. Consumers should instead base their decisions on other factors such as secondary services the bank may offer or convenience of local branches.

Who should bank with Chase?

As with any brick and mortar bank, many consumers who decide to bank with Chase do so because of convenience. Perhaps a Chase branch is located closest to your home or a branch is located in the building where you work. The basic banking services that Chase offers, including, checking and savings, as well as credit cards, loan services and commercial banking products are similar to those their competitors offer. Interest rates on those products that pay interest are very similar to their competitors, particularly to Wells Fargo. Why should you bank with Chase? Because convenience is the most important factor to you.

Who should bank with Wells Fargo?

Similarly, many consumers will decide to bank with Wells Fargo for the similar factor of convenience and because being able to walk into the bank where they do business is important to them. One additional factor seems to weigh in favor of Wells Fargo. They offer a number of promotional interest rates on savings and CD products to attract new depositors. In a time of low interest rates, the small difference in rates is significant to many depositors. When the promotional period is up, you can weigh current rates at that time to decide whether to remain a depositor or move to a different institution. Otherwise, the products offered and fees charged by Wells Fargo are comparable with their large competitors and with Chase Bank in particular.

Alternatives

If you aren’t sure a large bank is the best option for you, there are alternatives. In recent years, online banks have become more common and offer low fees and interest rates that are frequently higher than those offered by the big banks. If you aren’t committed to being able to visit a branch and are willing to conduct your business online, you can search online at MagnifyMoney.

What should you look for? While this depends on the products and services you need based on your situation, in addition to low fees and high interest rates, look for banks that offer the kind of services you want. This includes an 800 number to resolve account problems, the ability to make deposits easily using your phone and a robust website to find out about account services and resolve account questions. What doesn’t matter? Where the bank is located because all of your business is online.

*National and Online bank averages and any fees mentioned in this article were compiled and are accurate as of the date of publishing.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Peter Fleming
Peter Fleming |

Peter Fleming is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Peter here

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Banking

Make Saving Fun with the 52-Week Money Challenge

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

Everyone should treat saving money as a serious effort to accomplish serious goals. Building an emergency fund, accumulating a down payment for a home or saving up for a big purchase are all key objectives for your financial life, after all.

But sometimes it’s OK to take a more lighthearted approach to savings, like the 52-week money challenge. It’s a great way to gamify the process of stashing cash — although just because it’s fun doesn’t mean it’s an easy win. If you keep up with this unusual challenge for a whole year, you could end up saving nearly $1,400.

The 52-week money challenge explained

The 52-week money challenge — also referred to as the 52-week savings plan — makes saving a decent sum feel achievable by breaking it down into small steps.

Here’s how it works: You start by putting $1 in your savings account in the first week of the challenge. Then you stash away $2 in week two, $3 in week three, $4 in week four, all the way to $52 in the final week. At the end, you’ll have saved $1,378.

The idea is that by saving a little bit more each week, you’ll see your savings grow quickly and stay motivated to continue putting away money after the challenge is over.

“The 52-week money challenge gives you a place to start and have it all mapped out. If you can focus on it once a week, you can make it happen and know where you’re going to end up at the end of the year,” said Kelly Crane, CFP, president and chief investment officer of Napa Valley Wealth Management.

Why the 52-week money challenge works

Many people credit the 52-week money challenge with jump-starting their savings game. Here’s why:

  • It makes saving a habit: The 52-week savings plan forces you to commit to saving. When you visit your bank and transfer money from your checking account into your savings account each week for 52 weeks, saving becomes a habit.
  • You end up with a decent amount saved in the end: An abstract goal of “saving money” may not motivate everybody. For some people, the big prize at the end of the year helps them follow through with the savings habit.
  • It helps you set bigger financial goals: Your savings account balance is just a number — what you do with the money is what really matters. The balance saved in the challenge lets you think about the financial goals you’d like to accomplish, such as paying down student loans or accumulating a down payment for a mortgage.

Tips for nailing the 52-week money challenge

Ready to take the challenge? Here are a few things you can do to ensure you stick with the plan from week one through week 52.

  • Automate your savings: Most banks allow you to schedule deposits into your savings account. The simplest way to accomplish the challenge is to arrange ahead of time transfers to your savings account for the correct amount for each of the 52 weeks.
  • Don’t go in order: The order of the scheduled deposits helps make the challenge simple, but you don’t have to follow it to a tee. If you feel like you need to make deposits out of order, print out a copy of the plan and cross off different weekly amounts as you accomplish them. For example, if you get a tax return in the spring and can afford to save $52—the biggest weekly deposit—do it then and cross it off.
  • Engage in friendly competition: Find a savings buddy and start the challenge at the same time. Competition will keep you motivated to save, and maybe even open the door to sharing financial tips with each other.
  • Set reminders and smaller goals to stay on track: If you don’t want to automate your savings, set reminders on your phone, calendar or computer so you won’t forget. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the higher amounts later in the challenge, break them down into smaller goals. In week 40, you could save $20 on Monday and another $20 on a Friday to hit your weekly goal in more manageable chunks.
  • Keep the challenge going for a second year: Once you hit the end of the 52 weeks, keep the momentum going into a second year. You could even try doubling the amount you save each week in year two. Try cutting out expenses that match the amount you save in a given week. Stash the second year’s funds in a CD to boost your savings.

Who might not like the 52-week money challenge

While this 52-week savings plan has universal appeal, it might not be the right choice for everyone. For some people, there are reasons to think twice:

  • People with a large amount of high-interest debt: Saving money can feel pointless if you’ve got a lot of debt collecting interest, said Crane. You might consider using your funds to pay down high-interest debt before pursuing the 52-week money challenge.
  • People with inconsistent income: Does your paycheck fluctuate week to week? You might feel like your income isn’t consistent enough to keep up with the plan.
  • If you tap into the savings too early: As you start to see your savings grow, it can be tempting to withdraw money to cover expenses or buy something you want. But tapping the savings too early might throw you off track and undermine the driver of the whole challenge: Ending up with a full $1,378 at the end of the year.

The bottom line on the 52-week money challenge

If you want to save money but you’re not sure how to start, the 52-week money challenge can give you the structure you need to finally get your finances in order — but it’s just a tool. Don’t be afraid to modify the plan to suit your needs, or ditch it altogether in favor of a more aggressive savings strategy.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Joni Sweet
Joni Sweet |

Joni Sweet is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Joni here

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Banking

How to Ensure Your Mobile Check Deposit is Successful

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

Banking on the go is one of the great conveniences of owning a smartphone. All major banks offer some form of mobile banking, and uptake among consumers is extremely strong. A 2018 Citibank ranked-choice survey found that 31% of respondents said mobile banking was their most-used app, behind only apps for social media and weather.

Not using mobile banking? Time to join the revolution. Read on for some basic tips that should help make you a mobile banking power user.

Get started with mobile banking

Mobile banking is broadly similar to logging on to your account online with a home PC or laptop. Nearly all banking apps let you check your balance, deposit checks, transfer money and set up custom account alerts. To get started, visit the app store offered by your mobile device and search for your bank or credit union. Carefully evaluate that you are selecting the correct app for your institution, then download and install the app.

Once you’ve installed the app, you will probably be required to set up a mobile account. This may be different than your existing online login, or the credentials may be the same for the standard online experience. Either way, the app should prompt you with easy-to-understand instructions.

One other point: Keep the app updated to ensure that the latest security measures are in place and bugs are fixed from previous versions. Newer versions of an app may have newer features. Many apps update automatically, but you should still check the settings on your phone to ensure you’re getting the updates you need.

Tips for a successful mobile check deposit

One of the premier features for mobile banking users is the mobile check deposit feature: Just take a photo with your device of the checks you wish to deposit, and submit them to the app. To ensure that the mobile check deposit process goes smoothly, follow these tips:

Take a clear photo

You want to make sure the photo is clear so that the information is prominently displayed. Consider putting the check on a table or a flat surface instead of holding the check. In addition, don’t have other objects in the frame such as other paperwork and use good lighting. Your mobile app may have a rectangular guide to show you how to take your photo, which makes sure you get it right.

Remove any check stubs

You want to make sure that your deposit only shows your check. If your check has a pay slip or another form of attachment like a check stub or voucher, detach it before taking a photo.

Enter the correct information

Even if your photo is clear, your deposit could get rejected if you’ve entered incorrect information. For example, your check may show an amount of $660, but if you accidentally enter $760 the deposit will be rejected. Double check all information before submitting your deposit.

Avoid redeposits

Mistakes happen. Maybe you forgot you’d already deposited a check, or someone in your family did so and never told you. If you redeposit a check, most places will either send you a notification of a duplicate deposit. Others may reject both deposits or charge you a fee. You may want to consider organizing your checks, perhaps by writing on the check itself that you deposited it, or putting it away in a separate folder.

Check to see if your mobile check deposit was successful

Your app should let you know if a mobile check deposit has gone through, and some banks also send a text or email confirmation message — but even if you receive this message, checks can still get rejected. Double-checking to see if the mobile check deposit went through is the safest bet, by looking at your account balance in your checking account. Depending on your bank, a mobile check deposit can take several business days to show up in your account.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Sarah Li Cain
Sarah Li Cain |

Sarah Li Cain is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Sarah Li here

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