Wells Fargo checking accounts
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Wells Fargo is the fourth-largest bank in the United States, with around $1.72 trillion in assets. It has a large physical footprint, with about 4,700 brick-and-mortar locations in the country and a large network of ATMs, as well as a full suite of online and mobile banking tools.
Wells Fargo offers several checking accounts that span day-to-day checking service to more premium services. The bank is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC), so its checking accounts are safe places to deposit your paycheck, Social Security benefits or other income.
Wells Fargo checking accounts
Wells Fargo has four main checking account options. Each account has a minimum deposit requirement and a monthly fee, though in certain circumstances the monthly fee is waived:
|Account name||APY||Minimum deposit||Monthly fee|
|Clear Access Banking||None||$25||$5|
Note: The annual percentage yield (APY) shown is as of May 30, 2023 and may vary by region.
* Balances below $100,000 earn 0.05 percent APY. Balances of $100,000 or more earn 0.10 percent APY.
** Balances below $100,000 earn 0.25 percent APY. Balances of $100,000 or more earn 0.50 percent APY.
Here are more details about Wells Fargo’s checking accounts.
- Wells Fargo Clear Access Banking
- Wells Fargo Everyday Checking
- Wells Fargo Prime Checking
- Wells Fargo Premier Checking
Wells Fargo Clear Access Banking
Clear Access Banking is a checkless checking account. Checks cannot be written against this account (including personal checks from a third party). Instead, payments and purchases are made with a contactless debit card or digital wallet.
Clear Access Banking is a good fit for teens and college students, since the account has lower balance minimums and automatically waives monthly service fees for those ages 13-24. Minors 13 to 16 must have an adult co-owner on the account.
The Clear Access Banking account is also a second chance for customers who can’t qualify to open a standard bank account because of a spotty banking or credit history. They are granted the ability to convert the account to another type of Wells Fargo checking account after 365 days.
The minimum opening deposit is $25. With the account, customers have access to Wells Fargo Mobile app, a debit card with chip technology, budgeting, cash flow and spending tools, online bill pay and 24/7 customer service. Account holders also have access to the Zelle peer-to-peer payment platform.
There are no overdraft protection options for this account.
Wells Fargo Clear Access Banking fees
The Clear Access Banking account has a $5 monthly service fee unless the primary account owner is 13-24 years old.
There are few fees associated with this account unless the account holder uses an ATM that is not a Wells Fargo ATM. Out-of-network ATM fees for transfers, withdrawals and balance inquiries in the U.S. are $2.50 per transaction. Withdrawals outside of the U.S. have a $5 fee from Wells Fargo, and the other bank might charge a fee also.
There’s also a 3 percent fee on debit card purchases when the network converts the amount into U.S. dollars.
Wells Fargo Everyday Checking
Wells Fargo Everyday Checking is Wells Fargo’s most popular account for day-to-day banking. It offers check writing, overdraft protection and 24/7 fraud monitoring, as well as convenient features like the Wells Fargo Mobile app, which can be used to pay bills, deposit checks, send and receive money with Zelle, set up account alerts and more.
Everyday Checking accounts, like all Wells Fargo personal checking accounts, include zero-liability protection for any unauthorized card transactions that are promptly reported.
The Everyday Checking account differs from Clear Access Banking in that it comes with checks as well as overdraft protection with linked backup accounts. There is a $25 minimum deposit to open the account.
Wells Fargo Everyday Checking fees
The Everyday Checking account has a $10 monthly maintenance fee, which can be avoided if the primary account holder is 17-24 years old or by:
- Maintaining a $500 minimum daily balance.
- Making at least $500 in qualifying direct deposits a month.
- Linking the account to a Wells Fargo Campus ATM card or Campus Debit card (for college students).
Some other fees an Everyday Checking account holder might incur:
- Overdrafts (if no accounts linked to cover transaction), $35.
- Wire transfers, $15 (per incoming domestic transfer) to $30 (per outgoing domestic transfer).
- Money order, $5.
- Cashier’s check, $10.
- ATM fee, $2.50 for every cash withdrawal from a non-Wells Fargo ATM in the U.S.
- International purchases with debit card, 3 percent of transaction amount.
Wells Fargo Prime Checking
You’ll only need $25 to open a Wells Fargo Prime checking account, but you’ll need at least $20,000 total balance in qualifying accounts at Wells Fargo to avoid the $25 monthly maintenance fee.
Savings accounts, CDs, checking accounts and balances in a Wells Fargo Advisors investment account are some eligible accounts.
Wells Fargo won’t charge you for using an out-of-network ATM with this account. It also will reimburse one fee charged by another bank for using an out-of-network ATM in the U.S. and one internationally.
You’ll earn a little interest with the Prime Checking account. Those with balances of at least $100,000 will earn a slightly higher yield.
You may qualify for a lower lending rate by having this account and making automatic payments through it.
Wells Fargo Prime Checking fees
The Wells Fargo Prime account has a $25 monthly maintenance fee, which can be avoided by having at least a total of $20,000 in certain Wells Fargo accounts.
Some other fees a Prime Checking account holder might incur:
- A 3 percent fee for making purchases with your debit card when the network converts the transaction to U.S. dollars.
- A $30 fee for outgoing domestic wire transfers.
- A $35 overdraft fee.
Wells Fargo Premier Checking
You can open a Premier Checking account with only $25. But you’ll need to have at least a total of $250,000 in total balances in certain accounts at Wells Fargo to have the $35 monthly maintenance fee waived.
Having this account means you’ll save on ATM fees, since the account reimburses an unlimited amount of them throughout the globe. You also won’t be charged a fee for using your debit card abroad.
Wells Fargo Premier Checking fees
This account does waive some fees. But here are the fees that it charges:
- A $35 overdraft fee.
- A $12 fee for returned checks.
Checking account features
Each of Wells Fargo’s four main checking accounts caters to a different type of consumer, but they share a few things in common:
- Wells Fargo mobile app. The bank’s highly rated mobile app lets customers make deposits, pay bills, get account alerts and track balances using a smartphone or tablet.
- Fraud monitoring. Every account is monitored for fraud, and account holders are notified if the bank spots unusual account activity.
- Zero liability for fraudulent debit card transactions.
- The ability to turn a debit card on and off with the mobile app.
- Access to about 12,000 Wells Fargo ATMs.
- Free access to Zelle, a peer-to-peer payment platform for sending and receiving money to individuals.
- Free online bill pay.
Alternatives to Wells Fargo Checking Accounts
If you’re not sure whether a Wells Fargo checking account is what you’re looking for, know that there are lots of other banks with similar or better offers.
For a checking account that earns a higher yield, consider one of the newer, smaller, online-only banks, also known as challenger banks, because they compete with established big banks. Or consider an online bank for your checking or savings accounts. It’s possible to find savings yields of 4 percent APY at FDIC-insured online banks.
A credit union is another alternative, as long as you meet the membership requirements. Bankrate’s list of the best banks for checking accounts includes a couple of credit unions.