Review of Wells Fargo CD Rates

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

Written By

Reviewed By

Updated on Sunday, November 1, 2020

Wells Fargo-CD
Wells Fargo offers numerous financial products and services, including savings and checking accounts, insurance and investment products. The bank also offers certificates of deposit (CDs), though their rates are significantly lower compared to those from other big-name competitors.

Keep in mind that Wells Fargo CD rates will differ depending on where you live. The rates in this article are based on the bank’s headquarters in San Francisco. If you want an accurate list of Wells Fargo CD rates based on your location, go to its rates page and type in your ZIP code.

Wells Fargo’s Fixed Rate CDs

Wells Fargo’s Standard CD rates

CD Term

APY

Minimum Deposit to Open

3 months

0.01%

$2,500

6 months

0.01%

$2,500

1 year

0.01%

$2,500

The Wells Fargo Standard CD ensures that you get a guaranteed return for its entire term. Your annual percentage yield (APY) is locked in once you make an opening deposit into your account. Anyone can open an account online or in person as long as they have a minimum of $2,500 to deposit into an account.

Early withdrawal penalties, which depend on the original term of the CD, are:

  • Less than 3 months: 1 month of interest
  • 3 – 12 months: 3 months of interest
  • 12 – 24 months: 6 months of interest
  • Over 24 months: 12 months of interest

Wells Fargo’s Standard CD bonus rates

CD Term

Bonus APY

Minimum Deposit to Open

3 months

0.02%

$2,500

6 months

0.02%

$2,500

1 year

0.02%

$2,500

You can get the Wells Fargo Standard CD bonus rates if you link your CD to a Portfolio by Wells Fargo® account and make a $2,500 minimum deposit. This Portfolio product is the bank’s upgraded checking account, which offers better interest rates for many linked Wells Fargo products. You also get certain fees waived from your account, discounts on loans and additional credit card benefits.

All you need to open this checking account is a minimum opening deposit of $25. However, it has a $30 monthly maintenance fee, which is waived if you have $25,000 in qualifying linked bank deposits or more than $50,000 in qualifying linked bank, brokerage and credit accounts.

If your CD stops being linked to your Portfolio checking account, the bonus CD rate will revert to the standard rate.

Wells Fargo’s Special CD rates

CD Term

APY

Minimum Deposit to Open

9 months

0.30%

$5,000

29 months

0.25%

$5,000

39 months

0.25%

$5,000

To open a Wells Fargo’s Special CD and the higher rates, you’ll need a minimum opening deposit of $5,000. Additionally, these APYs only apply to the initial agreed term. Once your CD matures, it’ll automatically renew but with different terms. The 9-month CD renews for six months, the 29-month CD renews for 24 months and the 39-month CD renews for 36 months.

Wells Fargo’s Special CD bonus rates

CD Term

APY

Minimum Deposit to Open

9 months

0.35%

$5,000

29 months

0.30%

$5,000

39 months

0.30%

$5,000

To be eligible for the special bonus APYs, you’ll need to meet the same requirements as the regular Special CD, plus link your account to a Portfolio by Wells Fargo checking account and make a $5,000 minimum deposit. This will revert to standard APY once it matures and if you decide to renew your CD. You may be eligible for the bonus Standard CD rate upon renewal.

How to get Wells Fargo’s Fixed Rate CDs

To open a Fixed Rate CD, you can apply online using Wells Fargo’s secure online application form. During the application process, you’ll be asked to choose the term you want and submit details such as your Social Security Number, funding account information and a valid ID. You can fund your CD using a Wells Fargo account, a non-Wells Fargo bank account, or by mailing a check or money order after you submit your application. Once you complete the application, you’ll get instant notification of your application status and possible next steps.

SEE DETAILS

Wells Fargo's website is secure

Wells Fargo Step Rate CDs

CD Term

APY

Minimum Deposit to Open

24 months

0.03%

$2,500

The Step Rate CD offers multiple APY increases and a penalty-free withdrawal every six months as long as you are able to maintain the minimum opening balance. At the date of publishing, you get an automatic rate increases at 7, 13 and 19 months into your CD term, as you can see below:

  • 1 – 6 months: 1.00%
  • 7 – 12 months: 1.10%
  • 13 – 18 months: 1.20%
  • 19 – 24 months: 1.30%

To make your penalty-free withdrawals, you’ll need to do it within five business days at the start of the days when your interest rate goes up. If the rate increase happens to fall on a weekend or on a holiday, the withdrawal period will begin on the next business day. Once your account matures, the CD will be automatically renewed and revert to a standard 24-month fixed-rate CD.

Wells Fargo Step Rate Bonus CD rates

CD Term

APY

Minimum Deposit to Open

24 months

0.04%

$2,500

To be eligible for the bonus rate, you’ll need to link your Step Rate CD to a Portfolio by Wells Fargo checking account. Keep in mind that there is a monthly maintenance fee of $30 for the checking account unless you have at least $25,000 in qualifying bank deposits or $50,000 in qualifying brokerage, bank and credit balances.

You’ll also get rate increases and penalty-free withdrawals every six months as long as you keep the minimum opening balance. You are subjected to the same interest-rate increases and requirements as the regular Step Rate CD. The bonus rates for the Step Rate CD are below at the time of publishing, and increase the same way as the Step Rate CD does:

  • 1 – 6 months: 1.05%
  • 7 – 12 months: 1.15%
  • 13 – 18 months: 1.25%
  • 19 – 24 months: 1.35%

Upon maturity, your CD will automatically renew into a standard fixed-rate bonus CD. If you don’t have a Portfolio checking account at the time, your rate will revert to the standard rate.

How to Get a Wells Fargo Step Rate CD

Unlike the Fixed Rate CD option that can be opened online, you can only open a Step Rate CD in person at a Wells Fargo branch. You can go to any of Well Fargo’s physical locations. You can also make an appointment online or by calling 1-800-869-3557.

Here’s how Wells Fargo CD rates compare to other banks

Wells Fargo rates don’t compete well with their competitors’ offers, even with the bonus rates. Those better rates often also come with a lower minimum deposit than what Wells Fargo requires. However, competitors with the highest rates tend to be online-only banks, which is only a disadvantage if you prefer to bank in person. If it’s important to you to keep all your banking products in one place, then Wells Fargo may be worth considering.

Check out the Best CD Rates page to see the most current offers available listed on MagnifyMoney .

Additional information about Wells Fargo CDs

All rates earned are compounded daily and interest starts to accrue as soon as you make your deposit, as long as it’s on a business day. Otherwise it’ll begin on the next available business day. Any interest earned is paid out monthly and deposited into a checking account, savings account or via check. You could also opt to leave it your CD until maturity. You can also choose to have your interest payments paid out annually, semi-annually or when your CD matures. The only exception is for CDs with terms of 12 months or more, where you can’t choose to have your interest paid out at maturity.

There are penalties if you make early withdrawals on fixed-rate CDs. You either have to pay the early withdrawal fee or be subjected to other penalties.

People who may have to pay a penalty include those who make withdrawals within seven days of account opening. This penalty also applies if you make a withdrawal during the grace period that exceeds the allowed number of deposits during that time.

Any withdrawals after the first seven days are subjected to the following early withdrawal fee, based on the CD term:

  • 3 months or less: 1 month’s interest
  • 3 months to a year: 3 months’ interest
  • 12 to 24 months: 6 months’ interest
  • 24 months and over: 12 months’ interest.

If you make a withdrawal on a Step Rate CD or the Step Rate Bonus CD, the early withdrawal fee will apply if the money you take out will cause the balance to be under the minimum opening deposit. The penalty will be based on the whole amount taken out. You’ll also be subject to early withdrawal penalties if you make a withdrawal on days other than the five-day withdrawal period when interest rates increase.

There are some exceptions where you may be able to get early withdrawal penalties waived. Common ones include death of the account owner, but you’ll need to contact Wells Fargo customer service to chat about your exact situation and circumstances. (This exception isn’t unique to Wells Fargo.)

Wells Fargo will send you a notice to remind you of the CD maturity date about a month before it happens. When your CD actually matures, you have a seven-day grace period. You can either renew the CD or choose to change the terms (such as linking your Portfolio by Wells Fargo account). Other options include closing the CD, making another deposit or withdrawing money as long as the remaining balance can meet minimum balance requirements.

If you choose not to do anything, the CDs renew automatically. However, no interest will be paid during the seven-day grace period if you don’t choose to reinvest your CD or you take money out of the account.

Overall review on Wells Fargo CD rates

Wells Fargo offers myriad services, including the ability to link your checking account to your CD to get a higher APY, but the bank’s rates fall short compared to that at other financial institutions as well as national averages. There are online banks that offer much better rates and with lower minimum deposits. Unless you are already banking with Wells Fargo and want to keep all your accounts in one place, its CD options are probably worth passing over.