U.S. Bank vs. Wells Fargo: Which Is Best for You?

Margarette Burnette
By Margarette Burnette 
Edited by Carolyn Kimball

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If bigger is better when it comes to banking, you’ll like what U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo have to offer. Both megabanks have thousands of branches and ATMs across the country. We compared them to help you find which one might suit you best.

Snapshot comparison

U.S. Bank

Wells Fargo

Checking accounts

U.S. Bank Smartly Checking

  • Monthly fee: $6.95. (See below for five ways to waive it.)

  • Minimum opening deposit: $25.

Wells Fargo Everyday Checking

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

  • Minimum opening deposit: $25.

Savings accounts

U.S. Bank Standard Savings

  • APY: 0.01%.

  • Monthly fee: $4. (See below for three ways to waive it.)

Wells Fargo Way2Save

  • APY: 0.15%.

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

Certificates of deposit

U.S. Bank interest rates on CDs

  • 1 year: 0.05% APY.

  • 5 years: 0.25% APY.

  • Minimum deposit: $500.

Wells Fargo interest rates on CDs

  • 1 year: 1.50% APY for standard CDs.

  • 5 years: Not available online.

  • Minimum deposit: $2,500.

Overdrafts, ATMs, customer service

  • Overdraft fee: $36, maximum of four per day. No charge if account is overdrawn by $50 or less at end of day. Customers can also have an overdraft fee waived if a deposit is made to cover the overdrawn amount by 11 p.m. ET on the day the overdraft fee was charged.

  • Overdraft protection transfer fee: $0.

  • Extended overdraft fee: None.

  • ATMs: More than 37,000.

  • Branches: More than 2,000.

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

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

  • Overdraft protection transfer fee: $0.

  • ATMs: More than 12,000.

  • Branches: About 4,700.

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

U.S. Bank Overall Star Rating
NerdWallet rating 
Read review
Wells Fargo Overall Star Rating
NerdWallet rating 
Read review

Choose Wells Fargo if:

  • You want to have your monthly checking account fee waived with lower minimum deposits or balances.

  • You are closer to Wells Fargo locations.

Choose U.S. Bank if:

  • You live in a state where the accounts are available (Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin or Wyoming).

  • You have an eligible U.S. Bank credit card, which waives your checking account monthly fee.

  • You want access to more ATMs.

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.

U.S. Bank vs. Wells Fargo: Basic checking accounts

U.S. Bank Smartly Checking

Wells Fargo Everyday Checking

Monthly fee

$6.95.

  • Receive over $1,000 in direct deposits each month.

  • Keep an average account balance of at least $1,500.

  • Have an eligible U.S. Bank credit card.

  • Be age 24 or younger, or age 65 or older or in the military.

  • Qualify for a Smart Rewards tier (requires a minimum balance of $20,000).

$10.

  • Keep a daily balance of at least $500.

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

  • Have a primary account owner who is 17-24 years old.

  • Link a Wells Fargo Campus ATM or debit card.

Minimum deposit to open

$25.

$25.

APY

None.

None.

ATM fees and network

  • More than 37,000 free ATMs.

  • $2.50 at non-U.S. Bank ATMs.

  • More than 12,000 free Wells Fargo ATMs.

  • $2.50 fee at non-Wells Fargo ATMs, plus any fees from ATM owner.

Sign-up bonus

Up to $600 (expires 02/07/2023); our bank bonuses roundup explains how to qualify.

$200 (expires 03/28/2023); our bonuses roundup explains how to qualify.

Compared to online banks, both banks have steep monthly fees on their accounts, though they can be waived if you meet certain requirements. Wells Fargo has the edge when it comes to balance requirements, however, since its minimum is lower.

Both banks offer a sign-up bonus for opening a new account, but U.S. Bank offers the opportunity to earn a bigger bonus.

U.S. Bank vs. Wells Fargo: Basic savings accounts

U.S. Bank Standard Savings Account

Wells Fargo Ways2Save

APY

0.01% APY on all balances.

0.15% APY on all balances.

Monthly fee

$4.

  • Have a daily balance of at least $300.

  • Have a $1,000 minimum average balance.

  • Have an account older who is under age 18.

$5.

  • Have a daily balance of at least $300.

  • Set up a recurring automatic transfer of at least $25 from a Wells Fargo checking account.

  • Have an automatic transfer of $1 or more each business day from a linked Wells Fargo checking account.

  • Have at least one Save As You Go® transfer from a linked Wells Fargo checking account.

  • Be younger than 24.

Minimum deposit to open

$25.

$25.

Sign-up bonus

N/A.

N/A.

The basic savings accounts at both banks earn only slightly more interest than zilch, with annual percentage yields of 0.01%. At that rate, putting $10,000 into savings would earn you a grand total of $1 over 12 months. And the fact that each bank has a monthly fee means you can actually lose money in your savings account.

U.S. Bank vs. Wells Fargo: Certificates of deposit

U.S. Bank Standard

Wells Fargo Standard Fixed Rate

Minimum opening deposit

$500.

$2,500.

APY on 1-year CD

0.05%.

1.50%.

APY on 3-year CD

0.10%.

Not available online.

APY on five-year term

0.25%.

Not available online.

Rates may vary by location.

Both banks offer rates that are low compared to CD rates offered by online banks. Exact APYs depend on where you live.

U.S. Bank vs. Wells Fargo: Banking experience

U.S. Bank

Wells Fargo

Branches

More than 2,000.

About 4,700.

Banking apps (current ratings from app store users)

  • 4.8 out of 5 stars for iOS.

  • 4.7 out of 5 for Android.

  • 4.8 out of 5 stars for iOS.

  • 4.7 out of 5 for Android.

Customer service

  • Available 24/7 by phone.

  • Social media support available.

  • Available 24/7 by phone.

  • Social media support available.

Both banks have thousands of branches and ATMs, but Wells Fargo has more. Wells Fargo has also been in the news for its customer experience, though not in a good way. Back in September 2016, Wells Fargo agreed to pay a $185 million settlement after the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found the bank had opened fake accounts in customers’ names, an illegal practice that federal officials say was widespread. Since then, the bank has faced a large class action lawsuit.

U.S. Bank vs. Wells Fargo: Overdraft fees

U.S. Bank

Wells Fargo

Overdraft fee

$36, maximum of four per day. No charge if account is overdrawn by $50 or less at end of day. Customers can also have an overdraft fee waived if a deposit is made to cover the overdrawn amount by 11 p.m. E.T. on the day the overdraft fee was charged.

$35, maximum of three per day.

Overdraft protection fee

$0.

$0.

Extended overdraft fee

None.

None.

U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo continue to charge expensive overdraft fees even as an increasing number of banks are removing overdraft penalties. Both banks will waive fees if your account is overdrawn by a certain amount — $50 or less at U.S. Bank, $5 at Wells Fargo — but for transactions over those amounts, charges can add up.

If you want to avoid being penalized for overdrawing your account, consider one of the best banks for avoiding overdraft fees.

Big banks with a broad range

U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo both have a range of products for customers, but they also tend to have high fees. If you prefer large banks with thousands of ATMs and branches, the best option likely depends on where you live. If you are closer to Wells Fargo locations, that bank may be the better choice. But if U.S. Bank branches and ATMs are more convenient, it may be the one to consider.

For a closer look at comparable financial institutions, check out our roundup of the best national banks.

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