Wells Fargo is the third-largest bank in the United States, with $1.78 trillion in assets. It has a large physical footprint, with more than 7,200 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., so its checking accounts are safe places to deposit your paycheck, Social Security benefits or other income.
Wells Fargo checking accounts
Wells Fargo has three 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|
|Portfolio by Wells Fargo||0.01%||$25||$25|
Note: The annual percentage yield (APY) shown is as of Feb. 16, 2022, and may vary by region.
Here are more details about Wells Fargo’s checking accounts.
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, and 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. Instead, the account returns transactions unpaid if there are not enough funds to cover it. Wells Fargo will not charge a nonsufficient funds (NSF) fee, but payees or merchants may still charge a fee.
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.
Other fees that may be incurred are:
- $3 per teller transaction to use your Wells Fargo debit card to get an over-the-counter cash disbursement at another bank in the U.S./U.S. territories.
- 3 percent of the transaction amount to use your Wells Fargo debit card to get an over-the-counter cash disbursement at another bank outside the U.S. or its territories.
- 3 percent of the transaction amount to make a purchase in a foreign currency that a network converts into a U.S. dollar amount.
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 and returned items (if no accounts linked to cover transaction), $35.
- Stop payment, $31.
- Wire transfers: $15 (per incoming domestic transfer) to $30 (per outgoing domestic transfer).
- Money order, $5.
- Cashier’s check, $10.
- Overdraft protection, $12.50 per transfer from a linked Wells Fargo savings account or line of credit account, such as a credit card.
- 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.
Portfolio by Wells Fargo
Portfolio by Wells Fargo is an interest-bearing, relationship-based checking account that comes with Wells Fargo’s highest level of benefits and rewards. This account is for customers who want premium-level service and perks.
A minimum $25 deposit is required to open the account. The annual percentage yield on a Portfolio by Wells Fargo checking account is 0.01 percent. APYs may differ depending on location.
Portfolio by Wells Fargo account holders enjoy perks such as:
- Discounted interest rates on select loans and lines of credit.
- Discounts on foreign currency purchases and exchanges.
- Discounts on safe-deposit box rentals.
- No fee for incoming wire transfers.
- Round-the-clock telephone customer support.
The account has two tiers: One for accounts with under $250,000 in qualifying linked balances and one for accounts with $250,000 or more. The second tier level comes with a few extra perks, mainly more forgiveness on bank fees.
Portfolio by Wells Fargo fees
There is a $25 monthly maintenance fee on this checking account unless the account holder maintains at least $20,000 in statement-ending qualifying balances in linked deposit accounts (Wells Fargo checking, savings, CDs, FDIC-insured IRAs) or investment accounts opened through the bank’s brokerage affiliate, Wells Fargo Advisors.
Portfolio account holders are not charged fees for services such as cashier’s checks and money orders (up to $1,000). Some fee waivers, such as for stop payments and non-Wells Fargo ATM transactions, are limited unless the account holder maintains a statement-ending qualifying balance of $250,000 or more.
Checking account features
Each of Wells Fargo’s three 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. It’s possible to find yields of 0.4 to 1 percent APY at these digital 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 cred it unions.