Wells Fargo Bank Reviews: Checking, Savings, CD, Money Market, and IRA Accounts

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Wells Fargo checking account options

Preferred Checking

A slightly higher monthly maintenance fee in exchange for an extremely low interest rate.

APY

Minimum Balance Amount

0.01%

$500

  • Minimum Opening Deposit: $25
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $15 (You can waive this if you meet certain requirements.)
  • ATM fees: None at Wells Fargo ATMs. Non-Wells Fargo ATMs in the U.S. will set you back $2.50 per transaction and international ATMs $5 per transaction.
  • ATM fee refunds: None
  • Overdraft fee: $35 per item. If you opt in for overdraft protection and link your savings or line of credit account, you’ll be charged $12.50 per transfer.

This account isn’t anything special as you’re not getting much more than the Everyday Checking account other than the miniscule APY and a higher monthly maintenance fee. You do, however, get to waive the maintenance fee if you link to a Wells Fargo home mortgage account, have at least $1,000 in qualifying direct deposits or at least $10,000 in qualifying deposit balances each month.

Aside from a debit card, mobile and text banking, account holders also get cashier’s checks for free and a $10 discount when purchasing personalized checks. If you intend on maintaining a higher balance in your checking account, you may be better off choosing the Portfolio by Wells Fargo account® (see below) or looking elsewhere for higher rates.

How to get a Preferred Checking account

You can easily open an account online within a few minutes. Just provide your personal information, a way to verify your identity and a way to fund your account. Alternatively, you can head to any one of their branches or call customer service at 1-800-869-3557.

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Portfolio by Wells Fargo®

High minimum balance to avoid maintenance fees

APY

Minimum Balance Amount

0.01%

N/A

0.05%

$5,000

  • Minimum Opening Deposit: $25
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $30 (This can be waived if you meet certain requirements.)
  • ATM fees: None
  • ATM fee refunds: No out of network fees imposed by Wells Fargo. You’ll also be reimbursed any ATM fees imposed by third parties (unlimited in the U.S. and up to five every statement period at international ATMs) if you have qualifying balances of at least $250,000.
  • Overdraft fee: $35 per item for ATM withdrawals, $12.50 per transferred from a linked savings account if you’re enrolled in overdraft protection.

Aside from having no ATM fees this account includes other fee free services, including Wells Fargo Personal Wallet Checks, cashier’s checks and money orders. Unfortunately, you’ll earn only a tiny amount of interest while paying a pretty hefty fee for this account. However, you can waive the monthly fee mentioned above if you have a minimum of $50,000 in qualifying linked brokerage, bank and credit balances or a minimum of $25,000 in qualifying linked bank account deposits at Wells Fargo.

While this may seem like a steep amount to keep at one bank, remember that Wells Fargo has a wide range of products. Those who have an eligible HELOC account can link it to this one and get overdraft protection fees waived. Customers may also be eligible for rate discounts on loan products such as lines of credit, auto loans and personal loans.

So if you want to keep all your accounts in one place and reap the rewards (e.g. no-to-low bank fees) from doing so, then this account could work for you.

How to get a Portfolio by Wells Fargo Account

Anyone can open an account within a few minutes by filling out an application online. You’ll be asked to provide personal details such as your Social Security Number, address and other types of information to verify your identity. After you’ve applied, you’ll need to fund the $25 minimum opening deposit. You can also open an account at your local branch or by calling 1-800-869-3557.

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Everyday Checking

No interest earned, but comes with a low monthly maintenance fee and discount for college students.
  • Minimum Opening Deposit: $25
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $10, $5 for those 17 to 24 years of age (This can be waived if you meet certain requirements.)
  • ATM fees: None at Wells Fargo ATMs. Cash withdrawals at out of network ATMs will cost $2.50 each, and $5 per withdrawal for international ATMs.
  • ATM fee refunds: None.
  • Overdraft fee: $35 per item. If you link your savings or line of credit account for overdraft protection, you’ll be charged $12.50 per transfer.

Those who need just a basic checking account and aren’t concerned with earning interest will probably do best with this account. It’s also great for those who are in their teens or are transitioning into adulthood, as you can get the discounted maintenance fee.

It’s easy to waive the monthly maintenance fee if you can maintain a daily balance of a minimum of $1,500, have at least $500 or more in qualifying direct deposits or make a minimum of 10 debit card payments. College students can waive the fee by linking their Wells Fargo Campus ATM or debit card.

If you don’t want to pay hefty fees and earn interest, you may be better off looking at other options for free checking accounts that may earn you a bit of interest.

How to get an Everyday Checking account

It’ll only take you a few minutes if you open an account online. You’ll need to provide personal information such as your address and other details such as your Social Security number to verify your identity. Then fund your account and you’re good to go. If you prefer speaking to someone you can open an account by calling 1-800-869-3557 or go to any local branch.

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Teen Checking

Helps teens build good money habits while giving parents control of account activity.
  • Minimum Opening Deposit: $25
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $3 (fee can be waived)
  • ATM fees: Free at Wells Fargo ATMs. Out of network ATMs in the US will set you back $2.50 per transaction and international ATMs $5 per transaction.
  • ATM fee refunds: none
  • Overdraft fee: $15 per item, or $12.50 per transfer if you link to a savings account.

Even though it doesn’t earn any interest, this account is a great way to give your teen a bit of freedom and learn to manage money while they’re young. Parents (or guardians) will rejoice as you’re able to oversee all account activity as well as put a cap on how much your teen can spend.

Sure, the account maintenance fee is low, but you can waive that amount if you opt for online-only statements. Adults are also able to move money easily to their teen’s account and check account activity via the mobile app. Teens can also take advantage of Wells Fargo’s free money management to learn much needed budgeting skills before they turn 18.

Once your teen turns 20, Wells Fargo will automatically convert this account to a standard checking account.

How to get a Teen Checking account

You’ll need to go into a local Wells Fargo branch to open one. An adult needs to sign on to be a co-owner of the account.

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Opportunity Checking

Great for those who can’t open a standard checking account, though comes with limited features and no interest.
  • Minimum Opening Deposit: $25
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $10 (if you meet certain requirements this can be waived)
  • ATM fees: Transactions at Wells Fargo ATMs are free. You’ll need to pay $2.50 per transaction at US out of network ATMs or $5 each for international ATMs.
  • ATM fee refunds: none
  • Overdraft fee: $35 per item, or $12.50 per transfer from a linked savings account.

If for whatever reason you don’t meet the requirements to open a standard checking account at Wells Fargo, this account is the best (and probably only) option for you. You get most of the features that come with the Everyday Spending checking account except that you can only cash checks drawn from Wells Fargo or affiliates.

Although you can use the bank’s mobile app, mobile deposit isn’t available with this account. You also don’t earn any interest nor can you link to other types of Wells Fargo accounts except for an Opportunity Savings account on your ATM card.

Account holders can waive the monthly maintenance fee if they can keep a minimum daily balance of $1,500, have at least $500 in qualifying direct deposits or make at least 10 debit card payments.

How to get an Opportunity Checking account

You’ll need to open an Opportunity Checking account at your local branch. Be sure to call ahead to find out what documents you may need to bring with you to open an account.

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How Wells Fargo’s checking accounts compare

Like many big banks, Wells Fargo’s checking accounts have high fees and low interest rates compared to other online checking accounts available. Sure, there are two checking accounts that offer interest, but it’s so low that’s it’s not even worth considering unless you have a few accounts at Wells Fargo already and want to keep everything in one place.

Other banks also offer mobile, telephone and online banking plus the added bonus of free checks and no ATM fees on all their accounts. Looking side by side with its competitors, Wells Fargo’s monthly maintenance fees are pretty high, unless you can make the minimum requirements to waive them. Even then, some of the requirements seem high, especially when competitors don’t have any minimum requirements.

Wells Fargo savings account options

Way2Save® Savings

Offers different options to automatically save towards your goals, but at the cost of an extremely low rate.

APY

Minimum Balance Amount

0.01%

N/A

  • Minimum Opening Deposit: $25
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $5 (fee can be waived if you meet minimum requirements)
  • ATM fees: None if transactions made at a Wells Fargo ATM. Out of network ATMs will incur a $2.50 fee and $5 for international ATM transactions.
  • ATM fee refunds: none
  • Overdraft fee: $35 each

This account is best for those who want to look for a way to automatically save toward their goals. One of the unique features of this account is the Save As You Go® transfers, where $1 is automatically transferred from a linked Wells Fargo checking account. This happens every time you make a debit card purchase, make auto payments from your checking account or when you use bill pay with Wells Fargo.

There’s also the option of setting up automatic transfers from a Wells Fargo checking account. You can set up daily or monthly automatic transfers, as long as you meet the minimum requirements. If you transfer from your savings to checking account, however, keep in mind that federal regulation makes it so that you can only make up to six transactions a month with a savings account. If you make more than six, you’ll be charged an excess activity fee and your account could be either closed or converted to a checking account.

Good news on the monthly maintenance fee: you can get that waived if you set up any of the savings options mentioned above, keep a minimum daily balance of $300 or more, or the primary account holder is 18 or younger.

If you don’t meet Wells Fargo’s requirements to open this account, you can opt to open what’s called an Opportunity Savings account. You’ll get the same features and have the same minimum requirements except you don’t get the Save As You Go® transfers bonuses.

How to get a Way2Save® Savings account

You can fill out an application online within minutes. You’ll need to provide personal details, ID to verify your identity and a way to fund your new account. There’s also the option to open an account by calling 1-800-869-3557 or opening an account at your local branch. If you do so, you may be able to save some time by making an appointment in advance.

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Platinum Savings

Great for those looking for a savings account with check writing capabilities.

APY

Bonus APY*

Minimum Balance Amount

0.05%

0.10%

N/A

0.05%

0.10%

$250,000

*Account holders will earn bonus APY if this account is linked to a Portfolio by Wells Fargo account.
  • Minimum Opening Deposit: $25
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $12 (This fee can be waived if you meet minimum requirements.)
  • ATM fees: none if transactions made at a Wells Fargo ATM. Out of network ATMs will incur a $2.50 fee and $5 for international ATM transactions.
  • ATM fee refunds: none
  • Overdraft fee: $35 each

The rates aren’t necessarily the greatest or that much higher than the Way2Save® savings account, but this account does offer limited check writing capabilities. As with all savings account, you can only make six withdrawals per month as stated by Regulation D. Wells Fargo will charge and excessive withdrawal fee, up to a maximum of three. If you keep continue to make excessive withdrawals, your account may be closed or converted into a checking account.

If you wanted to earn a bit more interest, this account does offer a bonus APY if you link to any Portfolio by Wells Fargo® account. There are also special rates, though you’ll need a minimum deposit of $25,000 and you need to open the account in person.

The monthly maintenance fees does seem like a huge jump from the Way2Save® account, but you can get it waived if you maintain a $3,500 minimum daily balance.

How to get a Platinum Savings account

Wells Fargo allows those who want to open a checking account to do so by filling out an application form online. To open an account, you’ll be asked to provide your personal details, including your ID and Social Security number, as well as a method to fund the new account. Otherwise, you can stop by a local branch (you can make an appointment beforehand) or call 1-800-869-3557.

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How Wells Fargo’s savings accounts compare

There’s no way around it: Wells Fargo savings accounts rates are dismal compared to other online bank offerings. Many competitors offer APYs that are way higher and don’t have any monthly maintenance fees. Though not all have check writing capabilities, many offer mobile banking and ATM access.

Wells Fargo CD Rates

Fixed Rate CDs

Earn a higher APY with the bonus rate and a bigger minimum opening deposit

Standard CD Rates

Term

APY

Bonus APY

3 months

0.05%

0.10%

6 months

0.35%

0.40%

1 year

0.15%

0.20%

Special CD Rates

Term

APY

Bonus APY

9 months

1.50%

1.55%

19 months

2.40%

2.45%

39 months

1.15%

1.20%

58 months

2.30%

2.35%

  • Minimum opening deposit: $2,500 for Standard CDs or $5,000 for Special CDs
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $2,500
  • Early withdrawal penalty: Depends on length of term:
    • Less than 3 months – 1 month interest
    • Anywhere from 3 months to 1 year – 3 months interest
    • Anywhere from 1 to 2 years – 6 months interest
    • More than 2 years – 12 months interest
  • How to earn bonus APY: Link your CD to a Portfolio by Wells Fargo® account

Even with the bonus APY, the Wells Fargo CD rates aren’t stellar. It’s pretty much on par with other big banks. Wells Fargo lets you customize how you want your interest payments paid out, either monthly, quarterly, semi-annually or annually. You can also keep dividends earned in the CD, transferred to another Wells Fargo account or paid via check.

There is a seven-day grace period in which to decide what you want to do with the CD. Otherwise it’ll renew at the state term (warning: it may not be for the same term you signed up for) and at the current rate in effect.

How to get Wells Fargo’s Fixed Rate CDs

Anyone can open a Wells Fargo CD by filling out their online application form. You’ll need to choose the term and the opening deposit amount. You’ll also need to provide your personal details and a way to verify your identity, such as your Social Security number. To fund your account, you can either a use an existing Wells Fargo or external account, money order or a credit card.

Alternatively, you can head to your local branch or call 1-800-869-3557.

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Step Rate CDs

Guaranteed rate increases and limited access to funds.

Term

APY

Bonus APY

24 months

1.16%

1.21%

  • Minimum opening deposit: $2,500
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $2,500
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 6 months interest (unless you take funds out within the three alloted withdrawal periods)
  • How to earn bonus APY: Link your CD to a Portfolio by Wells Fargo® account

The rate for this variable rate CD isn’t great either, but you do get the opportunity to withdraw funds without incurring a penalty. The rate will automatically increase at the 7th, 13th, and 19th month of the term. Whenever the rate increases, you get five business days to make a partial withdrawal. However, if you don’t keep the minimum balance stated or make withdrawals outside these periods, you’ll be subject to an early withdrawal penalty.

Once your account matures, you’ll have a seven-day grace period to decide what you want to do with the CD. If you don’t do anything, your account will automatically be renewed to a 24-month standard fixed rate CD.

How to get Wells Fargo’s Step Rate CDs

You can only open a Step Rate CD in person. To save time, request an appointment and learn what documentation you need to bring with you.

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How Wells Fargo’s CD rates compare

Aside from the guaranteed rate increases and opportunity to withdraw money with the Step Up CD, there isn’t really anything special about Wells Fargo CDs. Sadly, the interest rates are way lower than CDs that you can get elsewhere. If you’re looking to keep all your accounts in one place, it could be worth it, but give these CDs a pass if you’re after the highest interest rates possible.

Wells Fargo IRA Account Options

IRA CD rates

Retirement CD

Low minimum deposit but at the expense of a low rate.

Standard IRA CD Rates

Term

APY

Bonus APY

1 to 2 months

0.01%

0.06%

3 to 5 months

0.05%

0.10%

6 to 11 months

0.35%

0.40%

12 to 23 months

0.15%

0.20%

24 to 35 months

0.20%

0.25%

36 to 47 months

0.25%

0.30%

48 to 59 months

0.30%

0.35%

60 to 71 months

0.35%

0.40%

72 to 144 months

0.35%

0.40%

Special IRA CD Rates

Term

APY

Bonus APY

9 months

1.50%

1.55%

19 months

2.40%

2.45%

39 months

1.15%

1.20%

58 months

2.30%

2.35%

  • Minimum opening deposit: $1,000 ($2,500 for special rates)
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $100
  • Early withdrawal penalty: Interest penalized depends on length of CD:
    • Less than 3 months – 1 month interest
    • Anywhere from 3 months to 1 year – 3 months interest
    • Anywhere from 1 to 2 years – 6 months interest
    • More than 2 years – 12 months interest

This is a fixed rate IRA CD that generally has higher rates the longer you lock it in. Any interest earned is compounded daily and credited to your account monthly. The standard rates aren’t anything spectacular, but the special rates are ok, if slightly lower than others you’ll find out there. To qualify for the special rates, you’ll need to meet the higher minimum opening balance and you can only get them for the initial term. Like other accounts, if you link a Portfolio by Wells Fargo® account, you could be eligible for the bonus APY.

When your account matures, it’ll automatically revert to the standard rates. You do, however, have a seven-day grace period in which to decide whether to add more funds, make withdrawals or change the CD term.

How to get Wells Fargo’s IRA CDs

To apply for an account, you can fill out an application online. Choose between a Traditional or Roth, and provide your personal details. Once you fund your account, your application should be processed within five to seven business days. Otherwise, you can stop by your local branch or call 1-800-237-8472 to complete an application.

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How Wells Fargo’s IRA CD rates compare

Though the minimum deposit amount is in par with many of its competitors, the rates fall significantly short. While the special rates are higher, it’s still almost half compared to the best offering out there. You’re better off looking elsewhere, such as on our list of the best IRA CDs.

IRA savings account

Great for those looking for an FDIC-insured option, though rates are miniscule.

Name of Account

APY

Minimum Balance Amount

Way2Save® Retirement Account

0.03%

$100

Retirement High Yield Savings Account

0.03% to 0.05%

$100

  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: none

Wells Fargo offers two types of IRA savings accounts — one meant for those just starting out in their retirement savings, and the other for those who want a higher rate. The Retirement High Yield account offers tiered rates, though you’ll only see a rate increase if you have a balance of $100,000 or more. Account holders can also elect to make automatic deposits and adjust to a schedule of your choosing. Remember, with an IRA account, you may need to pay fines if you make withdrawals or tax penalties, so be sure to understand what goes into opening an IRA beforehand.

How to get a Wells Fargo IRA Savings account

You can open an account online by filling out an application and providing a way to fund the account. Wells Fargo will ask you to choose between a Traditional or Roth IRA before proceeding, so do your research and pick one that best suits your needs. Afterward, you’ll be asked to fill in personal details such as your name, address and Social Security number. Once you agree to the terms and fund your account, your application should be processed within five to seven business days.

Like with the other Wells Fargo accounts, you can open an IRA in person (make an appointment if you want to save time) or call 1-800-237-8472.

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Overall review of Wells Fargo’s banking products

While we like that Wells Fargo has a wide range of products to suit almost everyone’s needs (including a variety of loan and investment options), its rates fall way short compared to other options. Its checking and savings accounts have hefty fees and don’t offer anything truly unique that other banks and credit unions don’t. The only exception is its Save As You Go® transfer bonuses, though other competitors are starting to offer their own versions of it.

Unless you’re looking for a one-stop shop for all your banking products, you may be better off looking elsewhere.

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Sarah Li Cain
Sarah Li Cain |

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