Chase vs. Wells Fargo: Which Is Best for You?

Margarette BurnetteFebruary 18, 2020

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Wells Fargo and Chase are two of the largest U.S. banks, and they make it convenient to bank in person, with many ATMs and branches. One big difference: Chase offers a savings bonus and a checking bonus with easy qualifications. Keep in mind, though, the interest rates both banks pay are low compared with other banks.

Here’s a quick look at how they stack up against each other:

Snapshot comparison

Chase

Wells Fargo

Checking accounts

Chase Total Checking®

  • Monthly fee $12. (See below for three ways to waive it.)

  • Minimum opening deposit: $0.

Wells Fargo Everyday Checking

  • Monthly fee: $10. (See below for five ways to waive it.)

  • Minimum opening deposit: $25.

Savings accounts

Chase Savings℠

  • APY: 0.01% (effective 6/12/20; rates are variable and subject to change).

  • Monthly fee: $5. (See below for five ways to waive it.)

Wells Fargo Way2Save

  • APY: 0.01%.

  • Monthly fee: $5. (See below for three ways to waive it.)

Certificates of deposit

Chase interest rates on CDs

  • 1 year: 0.01%.

  • 5-year: 0.01%.

  • Minimum deposit: $1,000.

Wells Fargo interest rates on CDs

  • 1 year: 0.15% for standard CDs.

  • 5-year: N/A.

  • Minimum deposit: $2,500.

Overdrafts, ATMs, customer service

  • Overdraft fee: $34, maximum of three per day.

  • Overdraft protection transfer fee: $0 per transfer.

  • ATMs: 16,000.

  • Branches: Nearly 4,900.

  • Customer service: Available via email and social media, and 7 a.m.-12 a.m. ET by phone.

  • Overdraft fee: $35, maximum of three per day.

  • Overdraft protection transfer fee: $12.50 per transfer.

  • ATMs: 13,000+.

  • Branches: 5,400.

  • Customer service: Available via email and social media, and 24/7 by phone.

Chase Chase Overall Star Rating
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Wells Fargo Wells Fargo Overall Star Rating
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Choose Chase if:

  • You want a larger ATM network.

  • You prefer lower minimums for certificates of deposit.

  • You need to link a savings account for overdraft protection.

Choose Wells Fargo if:

  • You prefer lower monthly checking fees that are slightly easier to waive.

  • You want access to more branches.

Or go with an alternative

Unlike these brick-and-mortars, online banks don’t have thousands of branches. But they do have excellent annual percentage yields, or APYs, that make your savings grow faster. And fees tend to be low or nonexistent.

Chase vs. Wells Fargo: Basic checking accounts

Chase Total Checking®

Wells Fargo Everyday Checking

Monthly fee

$12.

  • Receive $500 or more in direct deposits each month.

  • Keep a daily balance of at least $1,500.

  • Have a daily balance of at least $5,000 spread across qualifying Chase accounts.

$10.

  • Make 10 or more debit card purchases each month.

  • Receive $500 or more in direct deposits each month.

  • Keep a daily balance of at least $1,500.

  • Link a Wells Fargo Campus ATM or Debit Card (available for college students).

  • Fee waived for ages 17 through 24.

Minimum deposit to open

$0.

$25.

APY

None.

None.

ATM fees and network

  • 16,000 Chase ATMs.

  • $2.50 for using out-of-network ATMs in the U.S.

  • 13,000+ Wells Fargo ATMs.

  • $2.50 per withdrawal for out-of-network ATMs in the U.S.

Sign-up bonus

$200 (expires 10/14/2020); our bonuses roundup explains how to qualify.

N/A

Wells Fargo has slightly lower monthly fees, and more ways to waive them. But Chase tips the scale with its current checking bonus offer, which rewards you for simply opening an account and setting up direct deposit within the first 90 days.

Otherwise, the Chase Total Checking® and Wells Fargo Everyday Checking accounts are comparable, with large ATM networks and many branches. Both banks also offer premium checking accounts that earn interest — but not much.

» See more options on our list of best checking accounts

Chase vs. Wells Fargo: Basic savings accounts

Chase Savings℠

Wells Fargo Ways2Save

APY

0.01% (effective 6/12/20; rates are variable and subject to change).

0.01% APY.

Monthly fee

$5.

  • Have a daily balance of at least $300.

  • Set up an automatic transfer of at least $25 a month from a Chase checking account.

  • Link to a premium Chase checking account.

  • Link to a Chase College Checking℠ account.

  • Fee waived for those younger than 18.

$5.

  • Have a daily balance of at least $300.

  • Set up a recurring automatic transfer from a Wells Fargo checking account.

  • Fee waived for those younger than 18 (19 in Alabama).

Minimum deposit to open

$0.

$25.

Sign-up bonus.

  • $150 (expires 10/14/2020); our bonuses roundup explains how to qualify.

  • N/A

    Both accounts have monthly fees, but they are easy to avoid. Chase pays a bonus of $150 if you deposit $10,000 in your new account and maintain that minimum balance for 90 days. That said, having a $10,000 balance in either bank's savings account would earn you just $1 in interest over a year. For savings options with higher yields, read NerdWallet’s list of best savings rates.

    » Looking for higher rates? Explore NerdWallet's list of top online savings accounts

    Chase vs. Wells Fargo: Certificates of deposit

    Chase

    Wells Fargo

    1-Year APY

    0.01% standard rate.

    0.15% standard rate.

    3-Year APY

    36-month Relationship rate of 0.10% for customers with linked Chase personal checking account.

    The standard rate is 0.01%.

    None online. Call or visit branches for rates.

    5-Year APY

    0.01%.

    None online. Call or visit branches for rates.

    Minimum deposit to open

    $1,000.

    $2,500.

    For more details:

    See our post on Chase CD rates.

    See our post on Wells Fargo CD rates.

    Rates may vary by location.

    Chase requires less than half the amount Wells Fargo does to open a standard CD, but neither bank offers high APYs. You can find one-year rates at online banks higher than 1%.

    » To compare, see the latest top CD rates

    Chase vs. Wells Fargo: Banking experience

    Chase

    Wells Fargo

    Branches

    Nearly 4,900.

    5,400.

    Banking apps (current ratings from app store users)

    • 4.8 out of 5 stars for iOS. 4.4 out of 5 stars for Android.

    • 4.8 out of 5 stars for iOS.

    • 4.7 out of 5 stars for Android.

    Customer service

    • Available 7 a.m.-12 a.m. ET by phone.

    • Email support available.

    • Social media support available.

    • Available 24/7 by phone.

    • Email support available.

    • Social media support available.

    Wells Fargo has more branches than Chase, but in general their methods of customer support and mobile app ratings are similar. In 2017, Wells Fargo settled a lawsuit over employees opening more than 2 million unauthorized accounts. The bank has since taken steps to alter practices and reimburse customers.

    Chase vs. Wells Fargo: Overdraft fees

    Chase

    Wells Fargo

    Overdraft fee

    $34, maximum of three per day.

    $35, maximum of three per day.

    Overdraft protection fee

    $0 per transfer.

    $12.50 per transfer.

    Extended overdraft fee

    None.

    None.

    Neither bank is lenient on overdraft fees, but Chase offers overdraft protection from a linked savings account for free. Wells Fargo charges $12.50 per transfer from savings or a line of credit.

    Big banks, small rates

    If you’re seeking the broad reach and expansive product selection of a national bank, you’ll find those at Wells Fargo or Chase. For similar banks, see our roundup of best national banks. If the low interest rates or hefty fees at these institutions don’t work for you, however, check out other top bank options such as credit unions or online banks.

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