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Wells Fargo checking accounts

Bankrate logo Bankrate 6 days ago Libby Wells
a close up of a machine: Wells Fargo ATMs © MariaX/Shutterstock Wells Fargo ATMs

As one of the biggest banks in the U.S. in terms of assets and physical footprint, Wells Fargo offers several checking accounts with different features. Wells Fargo is a Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.-insured bank, so its checking accounts are safe places to deposit your paycheck, Social Security benefits or other income. And it doesn’t matter whether you prefer to visit a branch or bank online because Wells Fargo has more than 13,000 ATMs and 5,500 branches in the U.S., in addition to having the necessary tools for digital banking.

Wells Fargo checking accounts

Wells Fargo’s main checking account offerings include:

Account nameAPYMinimum depositMonthly fee
Wells Fargo Everyday CheckingNone$25$10
Wells Fargo Preferred Checking0.01%$25 to open, $500 to earn APY$15
Portfolio by Wells Fargo0.01%$25 to open, $10,000 to stay enrolled$30

Note: The APY (Annual Percentage Yield) shown is as of Oct. 23, 2020. The APY may vary by region.

Here are more details about Wells Fargo’s three main checking accounts.

  • Wells Fargo Everyday Checking
  • Wells Fargo Preferred Checking
  • Portfolio by Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo Everyday Checking

Everyday Checking is for people who may keep lower account balances, such as students. The opening deposit is only $25. The account comes with access to budgeting and spending tools, online bill pay and 24/7 customer service.

There are two overdraft protection options for Everyday Checking: Customers can either make a transfer from a linked Wells Fargo savings account or potentially get an advance from a linked Wells Fargo-issued credit card. Transfers from a savings account count toward the monthly limit set by the Federal Reserve Board of six withdrawals or transfers per month.

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:

  • Posts 10 or more debit card transactions per month
  • Maintains a $1,500 minimum daily balance
  • Makes at least $500 in direct deposits per month
  • Is between 17 and 24 years old
  • 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 (for incoming domestic) 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

Wells Fargo Preferred Checking

The Wells Fargo Preferred Checking account is an interest-bearing account that is suited to customers who maintain higher balances and want to earn a little interest. The opening deposit is $25.

Interest is earned on Preferred Checking balances of $500 or more. The annual percentage yield is 0.01 percent. APYs can rise or fall, though, so inquire about it before you sign up.

In addition to earning a little bit of interest, Preferred Checking comes with a few other perks in the form of waived or reduced fees.

Wells Fargo Preferred Checking Fees


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The Wells Fargo Preferred Checking account has a $15 monthly maintenance fee that can be avoided if the account holder meets one of the following criteria:

  • Maintains $10,000 in combined minimum deposit balances
  • Makes monthly direct deposits totaling $1,000 or more of paychecks, pension, Social Security or other qualifying regular monthly income
  • Has a linked Wells Fargo home mortgage

The $5 fee for money orders is waived (up to $1,000) for Preferred Checking customers. So is the $10 fee for a cashier’s check. Preferred Checking customers also get a $10 discount on check printing and one free non-Wells Fargo ATM cash withdrawal per month. Overdraft fees can be avoided by linking the Preferred Checking account to a Wells Fargo savings account or credit card; however, you will pay a toll.

Some of the other fees a Preferred 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)
  • ATM fee, $2.50 for every cash withdrawal from a non-Wells Fargo ATM in the U.S.
  • Overdraft protection, $12.50 per transfer from a linked Wells Fargo savings account or line of credit advance to cover an overdraft
  • 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.

The annual percentage yield on balances of $0 and up for Portfolio by Wells Fargo customers is 0.01 percent. APYs can fluctuate and differ depending on where you live, so ask about the APY before you open an account.

To stay in the Portfolio by Wells Fargo program, the account holder must maintain $10,000 in banking, brokerage and credit balances, including 10 percent of mortgage balances.

Portfolio by Wells Fargo account holders have access to discounted interest rates on personal loans, home equity loans and lines of credit and other perks. They also get round-the-clock telephone customer support.

Portfolio by Wells Fargo Fees

This account carries a $30 monthly service fee unless the account holder meets one of the following balance requirements:

  • $25,000 or more in Wells Fargo linked bank deposit accounts (checking, savings, CD, IRA)
  • $50,000 or more in Wells Fargo linked bank, brokerage and credit balances

Portfolio account holders pay no fees for services like cashier’s checks, money orders and non-Wells Fargo ATM withdrawals.

Fees for stop payments, incoming wires and overdraft protection are waived for Portfolio customers with balances of $250,000 or greater. This account tier is called Portfolio by Wells Fargo Plus. These customers also get unlimited reimbursement of non-Wells Fargo ATM fees in the U.S. and up to five per month for international ATMs.

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 a mobile app.
  • Big network of surcharge-free Wells Fargo ATMs.
  • Free access to Zelle, a person-to-person payment platform for sending and receiving money.
  • Wells Fargo online with bill pay is free to all checking account holders.
  • Will not charge overdraft or insufficient funds fees if a direct deposit large enough to cover those charges is received by 9 a.m. local time the day after the account goes negative.

Wells Fargo also has a couple of niche checking accounts: Opportunity Checking for customers with a blemished credit or banking history and the Teen Checking account for ages 13 to 17, which is a good tool for teaching kids about money and financial responsibility.

Wells Fargo Checking Account Promotions and Bonuses

Since the bank got slapped with a whopping fine by the federal government in 2016 for opening unauthorized accounts, Wells Fargo has tried to change its sales strategy. One way it’s luring new checking account customers is with a $400 promotional offer that’s good until July 31, 2020.

The offer is for new Wells Fargo customers who deposit $25 to open an Everyday Checking account. The promotion has a couple of caveats though. It’s good only in certain cities: Dallas, Denver, Houston, Miami, Orlando, Phoenix, Seattle and Washington, D.C.

The new Everyday Checking customer must also have at least $4,000 in qualifying direct deposits in the account within 90 days of opening it. Throughout the 90-day “qualification period,” the new customer must maintain a balance greater than $0. After the qualification period, Wells Fargo will deposit the bonus into your new Everyday Checking account within 30 days.

Read the fine print in the offer before you sign up.

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 and you’re comfortable doing all your banking online, you might be happier with an online or challenger bank where it’s possible to find yields of 0.75 percent APY or more.

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 credit unions.

Featured image by MariaX of Shutterstock.

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