Wells Fargo Review | Full Service Banking

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If you’re looking for a true one-stop shop bank, Wells Fargo should be on your short list of choices. As one of the largest banks in the US, they offer every type of banking service. This includes not only checking and savings accounts and CDs, but also investment products, business banking, and every conceivable loan…

If you’re looking for a true one-stop shop bank, Wells Fargo should be on your short list of choices. As one of the largest banks in the US, they offer every type of banking service.

This includes not only checking and savings accounts and CDs, but also investment products, business banking, and every conceivable loan type, including credit cards, VA loans, and mortgages.

Whatever your banking and financing needs are, Wells Fargo will have you covered.

About Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo LogoFounded in 1852 and based in San Francisco, California, Wells Fargo is the third largest bank in the US by total assets, exceeded only by J.P. Morgan Chase and Bank of America.

The bank has total assets of nearly $1.9 trillion, with more than 70 million customers. It has more than 250,000 employees and nearly 6,000 branch locations throughout the United States.

Operating as a truly full-service bank, Wells Fargo provides every type of personal and business bank account and service. That includes checking and savings accounts, certificates of deposit, investment accounts, investment advisory services, and business services and loans of all types.

It’s also one of the primary lenders in virtually every category. The bank is especially strong in offering attractive credit cards and operates as one of the very largest mortgage lenders in the country.

What and Where: Wells Fargo’s Services

Wells Fargo has the largest branch network of all major banks in the US and operates in more states than any other – 41 including the District of Columbia.

As one of the largest US banks, Wells Fargo also has international operations in at least 35 countries around the world.

Wells Fargo Checking Accounts

Wells Fargo offers several checking accounts, each with its own unique purpose.

Everyday Checking

Everyday Checking offers the following features:

  • $10 monthly fee, waived with 1) at least 10 posted debit card purchases or payments, 2) qualifying direct deposits of $500 or more, 3) daily minimum balance of $1500, 4) a linked Wells Fargo campus ATM/ campus debit card  if you are a college student, or 5) the primary account owner is between age 17-24.
  • $25 minimum to open.
  • Includes Mobile and Online Banking.
  • Zero liability protection, reimbursing you for any unauthorized card transactions that you promptly report.
  • Account alerts, giving you status updates on account transactions.
  • Pay with Platinum Debit Card, Zelle, or mobile or online banking.
  • 24/7 fraud monitoring, to protect your account and your information.
  • Overdraft protection available.
  • Does not pay interest.

Preferred Checking

Preferred Checking offers the following features:

  • $15 monthly fee, waived with 1) at least $10,000 of deposit balances (combined), 2) qualifying direct deposits totaling $1,000 or more, or 3) a linked Wells Fargo Home Mortgage.
  • $25 minimum to open
  • Pay with paper checks, Instant Access debit card, Zelle.
  • Includes Mobile (including mobile deposits), Text and Online Banking.
  • Zero liability protection, reimbursing you for any unauthorized card transactions that you promptly report.
  • Account alerts, giving you status updates on account transactions.
  • Pay with debit card, Zelle, or mobile or online banking.
  • 24/7 fraud monitoring, to protect your account and your information.
  • No fees on cashier’s checks.
  • Overdraft protection available.
  • Earn interest of 0.01% on balances of $500 or more.

Portfolio by Wells Fargo

Portfolio by Wells Fargo offers the following features:

  • $30 monthly fee, waived with 1) $25,000 or more in a linked bank account that meets qualifications, or 2) $50,000 or more in qualifying linked bank, brokerage, and credit balances.
  • $25 minimum to open.
  • Access to Wells Fargo Advisors or the option to work with a Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Advisor.
  • A 20% discount on the investment advisory fee for the Intuitive Investor program (see below).
  • Interest rate discounts on auto loans, home equity loans, and home equity lines of credit.
  • Pay with paper checks or Platinum debit card.
  • Includes Mobile (including mobile deposits), Text and Online Banking.
  • No fees on cashier’s checks or money orders.
  • Overdraft protection available.
  • Earn interest of 0.01% on balances up to $4,999.99, or 0.05% on balances of $5,000 or more.

Teen Checking

Teen Checking offers the following features:

  • For teens between the ages of 13 and 17, with an adult co-owner.
  • Parents can monitor their teen’s account activity.
  • No monthly service fee.
  • $25 minimum to open.
  • Zero liability protection, reimbursing you for any unauthorized card transactions that you promptly report.
  • Account alerts, giving you status updates on account transactions.
  • Pay with debit card, Zelle, or mobile or online banking.
  • 24/7 fraud monitoring, to protect your account and your information.
  • No interest paid.

Opportunity Checking

Opportunity Checking offers the following features:

  • A starter account for customers who cannot open a standard account because of past credit or banking problems.
  • $10 monthly fee, waived with 1) at least 10 posted debit card purchases or
    payments, 2) qualifying direct deposits totaling $500 or more, or 3) $1,500
    minimum daily balance.
  • $25 minimum to open.
  • Includes Mobile and Online Banking.
  • Zero liability protection, reimbursing you for any unauthorized card transactions
    that you promptly report.
  • Account alerts, giving you status updates on account transactions.
  • Pay with Platinum Debit Card, or Bill Pay.
  • 24/7 fraud monitoring, to protect your account and your information.
  • Does not pay interest.

Wells Fargo Checking Account Fees

  • Monthly fee: Varies by account, as presented with each account above
  • Non-Wells Fargo ATM fee: $2.50
  • Stop payment: $31
  • Overdraft protection transfer fee: $12.50 per transfer
  • Overdraft items: $12.50 – $15
  • Non-sufficient funds: $35
  • Cashier’s checks: $10
  • Incoming domestic wire transfers: $15
  • Outgoing domestic wire transfers: $30
  • Deposited item returned: $12
  • International debit card transaction fee: 3%

Wells Fargo Savings Accounts and Certificates of Deposit (CDs)

Wells Fargo offers two savings account options, Way2Save Savings and Platinum Savings.

Way2Save Savings

Way2Save works by linking the checking account to a Wells Fargo savings account. You can then choose an automatic savings option to help you gradually increase savings.

The account offers three savings options. Save As You Go automatically transfers $1 from your linked Wells Fargo checking account each time you either make a nonrecurring debit card purchase, or make an online bill pay transaction.

You can also set up automatic transfers of at least $25 from your Wells Fargo checking account to your Way2Save account.

Alternatively, you can set a daily deposit of $1 or more, which will be transferred to your account Monday through Friday, except holidays.

The account requires a minimum opening deposit of $25 and pays interest at a rate of 0.01% APY.

It comes with a $5 monthly service charge, which can be waived with a minimum daily balance of $300, or set up and maintain an automatic, recurring savings option, or if you’re under the age of 18 and are the primary owner of the account.

You can access the account with your Wells Fargo debit or ATM card. You can use the account to provide overdraft protection for any Wells Fargo checking account.

Platinum Savings

This account is designed for savers who want a higher return on their money. The standard interest rate is between 0.05% and 0.10% APY, on balances below $25,000. But on balances of $25,000 or more, the APY increases to between 2.10% and 2.15%.

Platinum Savings requires a minimum initial deposit of $25. The $12 monthly service fee is waived if you maintain a minimum daily balance of $3,500.

The account can serve as overdraft protection for any Wells Fargo checking account. You also have access to both mobile and online banking, as well as account access through either a debit or ATM card.

The account permits automatic transfers to help you set and track your savings goals.

Wells Fargo CDs

Wells Fargo offers several different CD programs. Their fixed rate CDs offer standard CD rates, with terms ranging from three months to one year, and interest rates ranging from 0.05% to 1.45% APY.

The minimum initial investment on the CDs is $2,500.

Special CD Rates are paid on certificates with a minimum initial investment of $5,000. The CDs have terms ranging from nine months to 39 months, and pay interest between 2.25% and 2.35% APY.

They also offer their Step Rate CDs. These require a minimum opening deposit of $2,500, and have a tiered interest payout as follows (the rate increases in six month increments of the 24 month term):

Early withdrawal penalties on CDs are as follows:

  • Simple interest on certificates withdrawn within seven days of opening.
  • For terms of less than 90 days, one months’ interest.
  • Terms between three months and 12 months, three months’ interest.
  • For terms over 12 months, through 24 months, six months’ interest.
  • Terms greater than 24 months, 12 months’ interest.

Wells Fargo Loan Programs

Wells Fargo offers the full range of loan programs you would expect from a world-class bank. That includes credit cards, auto loans, personal loans and lines of credit, and mortgage financing.

Credit Cards

Wells Fargo is one of the nation’s leading credit card issuers. They provide a wide variety of credit cards, including those specializing in cash back, rewards, balance transfers, no annual fee, and credit builder cards.

One of the most popular cards is the Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card. It provides up to 30,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first three months, and an additional 20,000 points when you spend $15,000 in the first year.

After that, you earn 3 times the points on every dollar spent on eating out and ordering in, gas, ride shares, transit, flights, hotels, homestays, car rentals, and popular streaming services.

You then earn one point for each dollar spent on all other purchases, and the card comes with no annual fee.

This is just one example of seven major credit cards offered by Wells Fargo.

Auto Loans

Wells Fargo has been making auto loans for more than 65 years. Loans are available for both purchase and refinance of existing auto financing. They offer flexible options tailored to your personal needs.

When you make application for an auto loan, you receive a credit decision in as little as 15 minutes, with same-day funding available in many cases.

They also provide relationship discounts to qualify bank customers. The entire application process can take place online.

Personal Loans and Lines of Credit

Wells Fargo offers personal loans and personal lines of credit. Rates on personal loans are fixed rate and currently range from 7.49% to 24.49% APR.

There is no origination fee or prepayment penalty, and discounts are available for qualified relationship customers. Funds are available as early as the next business day, with loan amounts ranging from $3,000 to $100,000. No collateral is required.

For personal lines of credit, the interest rate range is 10.50% to 22.00% APR, which is a variable interest rate, tied to the U.S. Prime Rate.

It’s a line of credit, so you can set it up and access it as you need funds. There is an annual fee of $25, and lines can range from $3,000 to $100,000. Once again, funds can be available the next business day after approval.

Personal loans and personal lines of credit can be used for any purpose, including debt consolidation.

Mortgages and Home Loans

Wells Fargo is one of the nation’s leading mortgage lenders. They provide financing for the purchase or refinance of a home, as well as home equity loans and home equity lines of credit (HELOCs).

They even offer home financing for the purchase or refinance of a vacation home or investment property.

Mortgage programs available include conventional, Jumbo, FHA and VA home loans. They offer fixed-rate mortgages with terms between 15 years and 30 years, as well as five and seven-year adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs).

VA Mortgages

Wells Fargo specializes in VA mortgages. That includes both fixed-rate and adjustable-rate loan options.

You can borrow up to 100% of the value of the property you are either purchasing or refinancing. VA mortgages don’t require monthly mortgage insurance.

They even offer VA-to-VA Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loans (IRRRLs) so that veterans can refinance quickly and easily, with a minimum of paperwork and hassle.

The website offers a rate and payment calculator for each loan type, as well as the ability to compare various home loan options.

Wells Fargo also has a network of bank branches and mortgage centers across the country, so you can take advantage of face-to-face contact.

For these reasons, Wells Fargo is among our top picks for VA loans.

You might also want to consider a HELOC with Wells Fargo. HELOCs are designed specifically for home renovations or for paying a major expense. You can have a fixed rate advance on a draw running as long as 10 years and one month.

During the draw period, you’ll only be required to make payments of $100 per month. At the end of the draw period, the HELOC becomes a variable rate loan, with annual interest rate caps. You’ll then be required to repay the remaining balance within 20 years.

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Wells Fargo Business Banking Accounts

As one of the largest and most comprehensive commercial banks in the country, Wells Fargo offers the full range of business banking services for businesses large and small.

For small businesses, they offer the following services:

  • Business bank accounts
  • Payroll and employee management
  • Financing and credit
  • Merchant processing, including convenient check deposit options
  • The ability to accept more payment types, including Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay

For larger businesses, they can provide the following services:

  • Asset management and trust services
  • Employee benefits, including retirement services
  • Commercial financing, including capital finance, equipment financing, and commercial real estate loans
  • International services, including trade services and foreign-exchange
  • Investment banking, securities, and markets
  • Treasury management, including accounts payable and receivable, information reporting, and payroll services

These are just some of the services Wells Fargo provides to meet small and large business needs

Wells Fargo Intuitive Investor

Intuitive Investor is the Wells Fargo managed investment platform. It’s an automated online investment service, commonly referred to as a robo-advisor. With a minimum investment of $10,000, Intuitive Investor will provide you with a professionally managed portfolio.

You’ll start out by answering questions designed to determine both your investment time horizon and your personal risk tolerance level. A portfolio will then be made based on your responses.

Once your portfolio has been created, it will be monitored and rebalance periodically to maintain target asset allocations.

Your portfolio is invested in exchange traded funds, allowing diversification across 11 economic sectors in 70 individual countries. Your portfolio can be set up as conservative, moderate, or growth oriented.

Each portfolio contains a mix of 11 different asset classes. The growth portfolio looks something like this:

Intuitive Investor portfolios automatically include tax-loss harvesting. That’s an investment strategy in which losing positions are sold off to reduce capital gains elsewhere in your portfolio. Similar asset positions are then purchased at least 30 days later, to maintain the desired portfolio allocation. But as the strategy is employed, your annual capital gains tax liability is minimized.

The annual advisory fee is 0.05%, which works out to be $50 on a $10,000 portfolio. There are no commissions, and no transaction or trading fees. Portfolios are available for both regular taxable accounts, as well as various retirement accounts.

Other Wells Fargo Investment Services

In addition to Intuitive Investor, Wells Fargo also offers financial advisors. They’re available to provide guidance and solutions designed to maximize your financial life. They get to know you and understand your goals. They’ll then work to build a financial strategy to help you reach those goals. This will include bringing other professionals into the mix to cover legal, tax and provide investment advice.

They also offer WellsTrade Online and Mobile Brokerage, when you invest with Wells Fargo Advisors. There you can trade securities at $5.95 per trade. The trading fee drops to $2.95 per trade when your account is linked to a Wells Fargo Bank Portfolio.

That portfolio has a $30 monthly service charge, which can be waived when you have at least $25,000 in qualifying linked bank deposits, or $50,000 or more in qualifying linked bank, brokerage, and credit balances.

Wealth planning also comes with The Private Bank. This provides personalized wealth management for high net worth individuals. It includes dedicated specialists with expertise in investment management, banking, and financial planning.

Whichever option you choose, Wells Fargo offers you an opportunity to both invest and engage in financial planning at the same institution where you do your banking.

Wells Fargo Advantages and Disadvantages

Pros:

  • As one of the largest banks in the U.S., Wells Fargo can accommodate clients and customers of all sizes, as well as execute international transactions.
  • Offers all banking services, including checking and savings accounts, CDs, home equity lines and loans, credit cards, auto loans, and personal loans.
  • Wells Fargo is one of the largest mortgage lenders in the country.
  • Wells Fargo is one of the preeminent commercial banks in the country, offering the full range of business services to both small and large business organizations.
  • High interest rates offered on large savings balances and select CDs.
  • Wells Fargo can accommodate investors, whether through automated investing or personal wealth management.

Cons:

  • Savings and CD rates aren’t competitive with online banks (except on larger CD balances).
  • Wells Fargo offers interest-bearing checking, but the rates are extremely low. However, this is not unusual with interest-bearing checking accounts at most banks.

Wells Fargo: Are They For You?

If you’re looking for the highest interest paid on savings products or CDs, Wells Fargo won’t be your choice.

While they do offer fairly aggressive pricing on high balance savings accounts and select CDs, their real strength is in the diversity of the banking services they offer. This is a service range that high interest online banks are not in a position to provide.

Wells Fargo is a prime choice for anyone looking for business banking services, in addition to personal banking.

They also offer first-rate investment services, including wealth management and financial planning. And as one of the largest banks in the world, they can easily accommodate international transactions.

Wells Fargo is also one of the leading mortgage lenders in the country and offers certain relationship benefits when you have both banking and one or more mortgage loans with the company. They’re also one of the most prominent credit card lenders, offering some of the most attractive card programs available anywhere.

If you’re looking for a truly full-service bank – and one that’s available in nearly every state in the US – Wells Fargo is the bank for you.

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About Ryan Guina

Ryan Guina is the founder and editor of The Military Wallet. He is a writer, small business owner, and entrepreneur. He served over 6 years on active duty in the USAF and is a current member of the IL Air National Guard.

Ryan started The Military Wallet in 2007 after separating from active duty military service and has been writing about financial, small business, and military benefits topics since then. He also writes about personal finance and investing at Cash Money Life.

Ryan uses Personal Capital to track and manage his finances. Personal Capital is a free software program that allows him to track his net worth, balance his investment portfolio, track his income and expenses, and much more. You can open a free Personal Capital account here.

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