Wells Fargo Checking Account Review – Personal

Wells Fargo checking account info and their other services are what I’ll be reviewing here. I’ll cover over the basics, like what they offer and various terms for managing your money. You’re probably pretty familiar with them, the bank has been around for a really long time. Love ’em or hate ’em, they do have an impressive suite of services for personal money and business banking.

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Quick History

You’ll probably skip this part, but it’s always kind of fun for me to read up on a business’s history. The first time someone could open a Wells Fargo account was way back in 1852, when Henry Wells and William G. Fargo were just starting out. Those two guys started making money deliveries for people via stagecoach and steamboat. One thing led to another and now the company has over 200,000 employees.

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Wells Fargo Checking Account Options For Personal Use

You have a couple different options when it comes to opening an account with them. Their main offerings are personal, small business, and commercial. Within personal, you can get banking and credit card options, loans and credit, investing and retirement, wealth management, and rewards + benefits.

The Wells Fargo Checking Account

I’ve actually been using their checking account for a long time. It’s been about 10 years since I opened my first one with them (it was a teen-friendly one or something back then). There are three different Wells Fargo checking account options:

  • Clear Access Banking
  • Everyday Checking
  • Portfolio by Wells Fargo

The Clear Access Banking Wells Fargo Checking Account Plan

The Clear Access plan has a way for you to avoid overdraft or non-sufficient funds (NSF) fees. However, there is this disclosure in the footnotes to be aware of. “Other fees may apply, and it is possible for the account to have a negative balance. Please see the Wells Fargo Consumer Account Fee and Information Schedule and Deposit Account Agreement for details.”

That kind of makes it sound like you can keep drawing cash to the point of owing the bank money anyway but in a different form than a standard overdraft fee. I’d imagine you would at least need to add funds back to your account to get it back to a positive or zero balance, and it sounds like you could be charged something else. Either way, it’s good if they don’t ding you for overdrafts like some banks do.

This account is also listed as great for customers who want e-checking and don’t need paper checks. The opening deposit for this Wells Fargo checking account is $25. If you’re a teenager 13-17 (or 18 in AL) you need to go to a branch to open it. Those between 13-24 years old who are the primary account holder do not need to pay the $5 monthly service fee.

More Fun Account Features

You get to use the Wells Fargo mobile app for your Wells Fargo checking account. I can’t say that seems like it should be the first feature listed, feels like it should be assumed there’s an app. You’re able to deposit checks from almost anywhere, track balances, get alerts, and pay bills.

The debit card also comes with an “off” switch, that could be convenient. You can send and receive money with Zelle. They have zero liability debit card protection plus fraud monitoring. Also, no check writing abilities. This Wells Fargo account also comes with some other important disclosures, see those footnotes here. After that, they have the Everyday Checking account.

Everyday Checking Wells Fargo Account

This one is branded their most popular Wells Fargo checking account in personal banking. They say it’s best for customers who want convenience, college students, and those who keep lower account balances.

That was definitely me in college. This one also lets you use their banking app, a debit card, and alerts. For a disclosure on the alerts, they also mention that a sign-up might be required. Availability can also be affected by your mobile carrier’s coverage area. Message and data rates may apply.

If you want to get one of those, the minimum opening deposit is $25. There’s normally a $10 monthly service fee, but, you can avoid it by doing a few things. Either: carry a $500 minimum daily balance, have $500 or more in total qualifying direct deposits, a linked Wells Fargo Campus ATM or Campus Debit Card, or have the primary account owner be age 17-24 years old.

An important note on that – kids must be 18 years or older (19 in AL) to open the account online. If teens are 17 (or 18 in AL) they need to open this Wells Fargo checking account at a branch. See the footnotes here for additional important disclosures. Their third personal account offering is Portfolio.


This is an interest-bearing checking account that they offer. It features a portfolio relationship interest rate and fee waivers. Plus, there’s 24/7 phone support from their dedicated Wells Fargo Premier Banking Team.

This Wells Fargo checking account includes no-fee bank services, which includes Wells Fargo Personal Wallet checks, cashier’s checks and money orders. It should also be noted that those benefits only apply to the primary checking account within the Portfolio by Wells Fargo program.

They also waive ATM fees at non-Wells Fargo ATMs for cash withdrawals made in the U.S. and abroad. However, other fees by non-Wells Fargo ATMs could apply. Read the full disclosure for details here.

There’s also an annual relationship bonus and you can save on loans/credit lines. This one is listed as best for customers who want their highest level of benefits and service, rewards/loan discounts, a portfolio relationship interest rate non-promotional linked CDs and savings accounts.

The Interest Rates

The major claim to fame for this Wells Fargo checking account is its interest bearing ability. At the time of this writing, the annual percentage yield is .01% on a balance of $0 or more. That APY is specific to my location – Minneapolis/St. Paul area. It could be different where you are or be subject to change anyway even if you are in Minnesota.

An important bit about Investment and Insurance products:

They aren’t insured by the FDIC or Any Federal Government Agency

Not a Deposit or Other Obligation of, or Guaranteed by, the Bank or Any Bank Affiliate

Subject to Investment Risks, Including Possible Loss of the Principal Amount Invested

My Thoughts

I might be missing something on this Wells Fargo checking account, but I’m not sure if this one makes that much sense (for me or anyone in their 20’s). My reasoning is that if the interest rate (at the time of this writing) is 0.01% and the account isn’t FDIC insured, that sounds like I could potentially lose everything.

I’m not sure if it’s worth making $200 on my minimum $20,000 deposit annually. Plus, I don’t think I’d be able to maintain that balance anyway. If you can withdraw from a high-yield savings account up to 6 times per month, that probably makes more sense. You can make somewhere around .5% on a lot of the ones out there now.

Final Thoughts

Those were the personal Wells Fargo checking options for you to consider for places to store your money. I might even make a change myself to Everyday Checking since I’m still using the College Checking that I set up a long time ago. At least my statements still say “College Checking” even if it’s really the Everyday one that they advertise now.

Because of all the branch locations around the United States and the size of it, you probably won’t be disappointed opening an account with them. At the same time, there are other ways to earn more from your money, like high-yield accounts. Plus, the ethical issues with the fake account scandal from a few years ago might deter some people. That being said, most big organizations have issues with things like that once in a while. Yes, it’s terrible that it happened but I’m sure similar things will show up at other banks between now and 2121. I’ve never had an issue personally with my Wells Fargo checking account.

All information in this article was current at the time of this writing, however, it could change without notice. We do our best to keep these updated, however, there is no guarantee you will find the same information on the bank’s website or at the time of opening an account with them.

Bob Buckley

Bob Buckley writes about food and business.