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.
And if you opt for Wells Fargo’s robo-advisor, called Wells Fargo Intuitive Investor, you’ll have another account that you can consolidate under the same roof.
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 an attractive price, to be sure, but it’s not the critical differentiator that it used to be. 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 opening an account with no 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 1,900 in total, down from last year, according to our research. Still, 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. You can use the fund screener to find exactly what the broker does offer before you sign up.
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 probably appeal more to those who already have an account with its parent bank and want to consolidate accounts than it would as a rival to other more fully featured brokers:
- Low stock and ETF commissions are great for long-term investors, but those who do anything more than the occasional options trade will want to look elsewhere.
- The integration with WellsFargo will prove useful to those who bank there, and it offers a convenient way to speed transfers between brokerage and bank accounts.
- The lack of fractional shares, additional account fees and simply the overall experience may leave some customers looking for a better broker.
Consolidation can be valuable, and if that adds value to your experience, check out if your large bank has a brokerage, such as J.P. Morgan Chase (J.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing) or Bank of America (Merrill Edge). But Charles Schwab and Fidelity also offer fully integrated experiences, so you can get it all under one roof there, too. And traders on the hunt for an options broker should look at tastyworks for its capped commissions.
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