Wells Fargo checking accounts

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Wells Fargo is the third-largest bank in the United States, with $1.92 trillion in assets. It has a large physical footprint, with more than 7,200 brick-and-mortar locations in the country and over 13,000 ATMs, as well as a full suite of online and mobile banking tools.

Wells Fargo offers several checking accounts to suit different customers’ needs. 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’s main checking account offerings include:

Account name APY Minimum deposit Monthly fee
Clear Access Banking None $25 $5
Everyday Checking None $25 $10
Portfolio by Wells Fargo 0.01% $25, $20,000 to stay enrolled $25

Note: The APY (Annual Percentage Yield) shown is as of Aug. 30, 2021. The APY may vary by region.

Here are more details about Wells Fargo’s three main 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 who keep lower account balances. 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.

The minimum opening deposit is $25. The account comes with 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. If there are not enough funds in the account to cover a transaction, such as an ACH payment, it will be returned unpaid. Wells Fargo will not charge a non-sufficient 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 to 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 include:

  • $2.50 for a cash withdrawal.
  • $2 for funds transfer.
  • $2 for a balance inquiry.
  • $2.50 for domestic cash withdrawal.
  • $5 for international cash withdrawal.

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, includes zero-liability protection for any unauthorized card transactions that are promptly reported.

There is a $25 minimum deposit to open the account. The monthly maintenance fee is $10. It can be avoided by:

  • Maintaining a $500 minimum daily balance.
  • Making $500 or more in qualifying direct deposits each month.
  • Using a linked Wells Fargo Campus ATM or Campus Debit Card (for college students).
  • When the primary account holder is 17 to 24 years old.

Wells Fargo Everyday Checking Fees

The Everyday Checking account has a $10 monthly maintenance fee unless the account holder meets one of the following criteria:

  • Maintains a $500 minimum daily balance.
  • Makes at least $500 in qualifying direct deposits per month.
  • Is 17 to 24 years old and the primary account holder.
  • Links the account to a Wells Fargo Campus ATM card or Campus Debit card.

Some of the other fees an Everyday Checking account holder might incur:

  • Overdrafts and returned items, $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 can fluctuate and differ depending on where you live, so ask about the APY before you open an account.

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.

There are even more perks for Portfolio by Wells Fargo checking account customers whose qualifying linked balances are $250,000 or more.

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, 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. They all offer:

  • 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.
  • Large network of 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.

If you want a checking account that earns a higher yield, you might consider one of the newer, smaller, online-only banks, sometimes calledchallenger banksbecause they are competing with the big banks. It’s possible to find yields in the neighborhood of 0.4 percent 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.

Written by
Libby Wells
Contributing writer
Libby Wells is a contributor covering banking and deposit products. She has more than 30 years’ experience as a writer and editor for newspapers, magazines and online publications.