Wells Fargo Bank Review 2021

Published January 2021 by Matthew Goldberg

AT A GLANCE
3.2

Bankrate Score

bank-logo

Digital Leader

Large Branch Network

If being able to visit a branch or go to your bank’s ATM nearly everywhere, Wells Fargo is a good fit for you.

  • Savings
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    2.7
  • CDs
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    2.5
  • Checking
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    3.9
  • MMAs
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    2.1
  • MORE HIGH-YIELD OPTIONS
    MORE HIGH-YIELD OPTIONS
    LendingClub

    Member FDIC

    Savings account

    0.60 % APY

    $ 2,500

    Min. balance for APY

    Valley Direct

    Member FDIC

    Savings account

    0.55 % APY

    $ 1

    Min. balance for APY

    Vio Bank

    Member FDIC

    MMA

    0.55 % APY

    $ 100

    Min. balance for APY

    Overall

    3.2

    Bankrate Score

    Wells Fargo has more branches than any other bank in the U.S.

    What we like

    • With around 5,437 branches and 13,000 ATMs, Wells Fargo has the largest physical presence of any bank in the U.S.

    • Fees on checking accounts can easily be avoided.

    • Industry leader in helping customers share their bank data with money management apps, like Mint, in a safer way.

    • Consumer-friendly overdraft policies, including a product intended to improve the flow of credits and debits, especially near payday.

    What we don't

    • Yields on certificates of deposit and savings accounts are low, like most large financial institutions.

    • There is an out-of-network ATM fee of $2.50 for checking account users.

    • Steeper monthly fee for the money market account unless you can maintain a certain balance.

    Savings accounts

    2.7

    Bankrate Score

    OTHER SAVINGS OFFERS YOU MAY LIKE
    LendingClub

    Member FDIC

    Savings account

    0.60 % APY

    $ 2,500

    Min. balance for APY

    Wells Fargo’s Way2Save savings account has a $25 initial deposit requirement and has a $5 monthly service fee. The fee can be avoided by maintaining a $300 daily balance. You can also avoid the fee by setting up a monthly transfer to your savings or enrolling in a program that moves a $1 from your checking to your savings each time you pay a bill or swipe your debit card. The account has an APY much lower than the national average.

    What we like

    • The Way2Save account has a low minimum deposit required to open an account.

    • An ATM card is available for the Wells Fargo Platinum Savings and the Way2Save savings accounts.

    • Only $300 is needed for Way2Save account holders to waive the monthly service fee.

    What we don't

    • There are higher APYs available at other institutions.

    • A recurring, automatic savings option is available to waive the monthly maintenance fee. But there are plenty of higher APY accounts that don’t have these types of requirements and lower minimum balances — or no minimum balance requirement.

    CD rates

    2.5

    Bankrate Score

    OTHER CD OFFERS YOU MAY LIKE
    Goldman Sachs Bank USA

    Member FDIC

    CD

    0.55 % APY

    1yr

    Term

    $ 500

    Min. deposit

    Wells Fargo offers nine terms of CDs, though it may offer more in certain markets.

    Wells Fargo offers standard CDs and special CDs with terms you won’t find at most banks. There’s also a step rate CD with a yield that automatically increases.

    Earned interest can be paid out prior to maturity. Bonus rates can apply to participants in the Portfolio by Wells Fargo program. For CDs with terms of 12 months or fewer, the early withdrawal penalty is three months of interest.

    What we like

    • Step rate CDs offer automatic interest rate increases.

    • Some banks have a higher minimum requirement than $2,500.

    What we don't

    • Yields are low compared to what other banks offer.

    • Few standard CD terms are offered.

    • Many online banks have lower minimum deposit requirements.

    Checking accounts

    3.9

    Bankrate Score

    OTHER CHECKING OFFERS YOU MAY LIKE
    Quontic Bank

    Member FDIC

    Checking account

    1.01 % APY

    $ 100

    To open

    $ 0

    To avoid fees

    Wells Fargo’s Everyday Checking account requires $25 to open an account. You’ll be charged a $10 fee for not keeping at least $1,500 in the account.

    Wells Fargo’s interest-bearing Preferred Checking account can be opened with a $25 initial deposit. The $15 monthly service fee can be avoided three ways: $10,000 or more in combined deposit balances, direct deposits totaling at least $1,000 or a linked Wells Fargo home mortgage.

    Other options include Wells Fargo Opportunity Checking for those with past credit issues and Wells Fargo Everyday Checking with an avoidable $10 monthly fee.

    What we like

    • You can open up an Everyday Checking account with only $25.

    • Customers can earn interest with balances of $500 or more.

    • The monthly fee is avoidable with direct deposits and for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage holders.

    What we don't

    • The balance to waive the monthly maintenance fee on the Everyday Checking account is $500. But a direct deposit is another way to avoid the $10 monthly fee.

    Money market accounts

    2.1

    Bankrate Score

    The Platinum Savings has check-writing privileges. So that account is being treated as a money market account, since typical savings accounts lack that feature. However, you can find higher yields elsewhere and you will pay a $12 monthly fee unless you keep a balance of $3,500 or more in the account.

    What we like

    • Minimum opening deposit is only $25.

    • The account has check-writing privileges.

    What we don't

    • You’ll need to keep at least a $3,500 minimum daily balance to avoid the $12 monthly service fee.

    • You can find higher yields at some online banks.

    Bank experience

    On one hand, Wells Fargo continues to suffer from customer scandals. On the other hand, the San Francisco bank continues to make a splash with its progressive digital banking features.

    Not only does the bank’s mobile app earn solid praise from reviewers, but the big bank continues to push ahead on rolling out features faster than its peers. For example, many banks let you turn your debit card on and off from a mobile app. But the Wells Fargo app goes further by also letting you track where you’ve shared your payment information to get services like Amazon Prime.

    In getting progressive digital banking features, you won’t have to trade off access to branches either. There are also plenty of ATM locations. The megabank has 13,000 ATMs to choose from and they include a personal touch, such as wishing customers happy birthday, on their birthdays.

    About Wells Fargo

    Founded in 1852 as a bank and express delivery company, Wells Fargo offers a full range of banking services, including checking accounts, savings accounts, CDs, money market accounts, mortgages and other loans.

    In 2016, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau fined Wells Fargo $100 million for the widespread illegal practice of secretly opening unauthorized accounts, which has forced the bank to revisit how it approaches sales.

    If it's important to be able to visit a branch or use your bank's ATM nearly everywhere you go, Wells Fargo is a good fit for you. If you want to take advantage of higher rates on deposits, this bank isn’t your best choice.

    Wells Fargo has the most branches in Alaska, California, Colorado, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, South Dakota, Texas and Washington, D.C.

    Matthew Goldberg Twitter Created with Sketch. @MATTATBANKRATE

    Matthew Goldberg Twitter Created with Sketch. @MATTATBANKRATE

    Matthew Goldberg is a consumer banking reporter at Bankrate. He uses his banking and financial services experience to help readers with personal finance. Nearly his entire career has either been as a reporter or working in financial services, in banking and insurance. He’s been in financial services for more than a decade. His banking career includes being a banker in New York City. His reporting career includes working as a staff reporter at two daily newspapers. He earned his first newspaper bylines in 1998. His writing has been honored by both the Illinois Associated Press Editors Association and the Illinois Press Association. His writing has also been featured online on MSN, the Miami Herald, the Houston Chronicle, the Omaha World-Herald, The Kansas City Star, the Arizona Daily Star, and appeared in Sports Illustrated On Campus, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Buffalo News and other publications. Matthew’s radio experience includes being a weekly panelist on the SportsWriter’s show on WGEM AM ESPN 1440 in Quincy, Illinois. He was also an occasional co-host and call-in guest on WGEM SportsCenter. He’s also been a guest on other stations throughout the country. Matthew is currently a member of the Board of Governors at the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing (SABEW), which is the world's largest and oldest organization of business and financial journalists. He chairs the organization's training committee and is on the finance committee. He has previously served on conference planning committees and has been a Best in Business contest judge for the organization. Matthew earned a bachelor’s degree at Illinois State University and an MBA at William Paterson University. Media mentions CNBC CNBC Acorns + CNBC WGN Radio 720 in Chicago 1080 KRLD Dallas-Fort Worth