WellsTrade at a glance
Top feature you'll love
Integration with Wells Fargo
One of the biggest reasons to select WellsTrade is its integration with Wells Fargo's banking operations, so you’ll be able to see your whole financial life at one company. There’s a real benefit to this kind of consolidation, and companies such as Wells do a good job offering small perks that encourage this kind of consolidation.
Another advantage of aggregating your accounts is quick money delivery from a bank account to a brokerage account, or vice versa. That works substantially faster than a typical transfer from a bank to a separate broker, and you’ll have ready access to your cash for trading. On top of that, it’s just easier to have multiple accounts with one financial institution.
Pros: Where WellsTrade stands out
Like most of the industry, WellsTrade has moved to $0 commissions for stock and exchange-traded fund (ETF) trades. That’s a substantial savings over the broker's former commission of $5.95 per trade and even the former discounted commission of $2.95 for customers who linked their Wells Fargo bank accounts. But now that discount only brings Wells in line with virtually every other online broker, so it’s not a differentiator as it would have been before.
Clients should note that WellsTrade's lower commissions are only available for stock and ETF trades, and do not apply to options trades (more below).
WellsTrade requires no account minimum, a very investor-friendly move from a brokerage that doesn’t always have the most investor-friendly policies (more below). But no account minimum is the standard for the industry now. So while it’s nice to have, it doesn’t do much to differentiate the broker from its rivals.
No-transaction-fee mutual funds
WellsTrade offers a solid selection of mutual funds without a transaction fee — at about 2,100 in total. That gives you plenty of choice when you’re searching for the fund you need.
However, many funds from top companies such as Vanguard are not offered without a sales commission ($35). But you will find a large selection of no-transaction-fee funds from brokerage rival Fidelity Investments, though not its ZERO funds, which don’t charge a management fee.
The fund screener looks and feels pretty basic, with some key search criteria (fund family, Morningstar rating, expenses and asset class, among others) but it works well enough.
WellsTrade will likely be a much better fit for those who want to keep their accounts all together at Wells Fargo or buy-and-hold investors who aren’t too demanding on their brokerage.
- The low commissions for stocks and ETFs will suit long-term investors fine, but options commissions are too high for anyone who trades them regularly.
- The broker’s integration with its parent bank will be an added plus, making it an especially attractive perk for current bank customers.
- The broker’s account fees and maze-like structure for finding information and assistance may dissuade investors who are on the fence.
Investors looking to consolidate their financial accounts with a bank should also have a look at Merrill Edge, whose parent is Bank of America. Those looking for a high-quality trading platform should check out E-Trade and Interactive Brokers. Meanwhile, Fidelity Investments makes a good place to turn for its banking and brokerage operations while avoiding fees.
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