Matthew Goldberg is a consumer banking reporter at Bankrate. He graduated from Illinois State University with a bachelor's degree in mass communication and earned an MBA at William Paterson University.
He began his writing career in 1998 at Sun Publications in Crystal Lake, Illinois. He was sports editor at The Daily Vidette, a sports reporter at The Journal Standard and a sports writer at The Quincy Herald-Whig. His work has also appeared in Sports Illustrated On Campus. He has been honored by both the Illinois Associated Press Editors Association and the Illinois Press Association.
He also has more than seven years of financial services experience, in both banking and insurance.
Wells Fargo has more branches than any other bank in the U.S. The bank is embracing more consumer-friendly practices and upgrading its technology to regain trust with customers.
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Bankrate's overall ratings for financial institutions comprise weighted averages up to five stars of five main categories: customer service, savings accounts, checking accounts, money market accounts (MMAs) and certificate of deposit (CDs).
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When a financial firm offers more than one checking, savings or MMA accounts, Bankrate reviews the account with the highest APY. Each bank is evaluated based on the 12-month certificate of deposit (CD) it offers.
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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 and mortgages. Traditionally a West Coast oriented bank, the company’s reach grew tremendously with a 2008 acquisition of Charlotte-based Wachovia.
In 2016, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau fined Wells Fargo $100 million for the widespread illegal practice of secretly opening unauthorized accounts, which has prompted the bank to revisit how it approaches sales.
If being able to visit a branch or go to your bank’s ATM nearly everywhere, 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.
With nearly 6,000 branches and 13,000 ATMs, Wells Fargo has the largest physical presence of any bank in the U.S.
Consumer-friendly overdraft policies, including Offers Overdraft Rewind, a product intended to improve the flow of credits and debits, especially near payday.
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.
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.
Wells Fargo might be in nearly every state, but if you’re in one of the 13 states that it doesn’t have a presence in, you’ll want to look elsewhere.
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.
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.
Check-writing privileges on the Wells Fargo Platinum Savings.
ATM card is available for the Wells Fargo Platinum Savings and the Way2Save savings accounts.
Low minimum balance of $300 on the Way2Save savings.
There are much higher APYs available at other institutions.
This account’s APY is below the national average APY.
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.
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.
Customers can earn interest with high balances ($500 or more)
The monthly fee is avoidable with direct deposits and for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage holders
The interest rate is lower than what’s offered by other financial institutions
Customers are charged $35 for each overdraft — up to $105 per day
The Platinum Savings has check-writing privileges. So that is being treated as a money market account, since typical savings accounts don’t have that feature. The Platinum Savings has an APY more than six times the national average APY that lasts 12 months on $25,000 or more. This is Wells Fargo’s highest yield. Based on current APYs, the standard Platinum Savings account earns an APY at the national average on $100,000 or more. So, that’s the type of yield you can expect after the 12-month period.
Wells Fargo’s bonus APY on the Platinum Savings account is a competitive 12-month APY for a brick-and-mortar bank.
Minimum opening deposit is only $25.
Introductory APY is higher than the national average APY.
More stable APYs are available and are a lot higher than Wells Fargo’s 12-month bonus APY.
Bonus APY requires you maintain a linked Wells Fargo Prime Checking or Wells Fargo Portfolio Checking. So if your checking account is elsewhere, this might not be the right account for you.
Monthly service fee is $12 if you don’t maintain a $3,500 minimum daily balance.
The 12-month Bonus APY goes from more than 6 times the national average APY on $25,000 or more down to a Bonus APY of below the national average APY on less than $24,999.99.
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.