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

Margarette BurnetteJune 26, 2019

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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 Easy Checking

  • Monthly fee: $6.95 ($8.95 with paper statements). (See below for 3 ways to waive it.)

  • Minimum opening deposit: $25.

Wells Fargo Everyday Checking

  • Monthly fee: $10. (See below for 5 ways to waive it.)

  • Minimum opening deposit: $25.

Savings accounts

U.S. Bank Standard Savings

  • APY: 0.01%.

  • Monthly fee: $4. (See below for 3 ways to waive it.)

Wells Fargo Way2Save

  • APY: 0.01%.

  • Monthly fee: $5. (See below for 3 ways to waive it.)

Certificates of deposit

U.S. Bank interest rates on CDs

  • 1 year: 0.10% APY.

  • 5 years: 0.35% APY.

  • Minimum deposit: $500.

Wells Fargo interest rates on CDs

  • 1 year: 0.15% APY for standard CDs.

  • 5 years: N/A

  • Minimum deposit: $2,500.

Overdrafts, ATMs, customer service

  • Overdraft fee: $36, maximum of four per day.

  • Overdraft protection transfer fee: $12.50 per day.

  • Extended overdraft fee: $36, beginning on the 8th calendar day that your account stays overdrawn.

  • ATMs: 4,700.

  • Branches: about 3,000.

  • Customer service: Available 24/7 by phone.

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

  • Overdraft protection transfer fee: $12.50 per transfer.

  • ATMs: 13,000.

  • Branches: About 5,500.

  • Customer service: Available 24/7 by phone.

U.S. Bank U.S. Bank Easy Checking
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Wells Fargo Wells Fargo Everyday Checking
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Choose Wells Fargo if:

  • You want ways to waive your monthly checking account fee without minimum deposits or balances.

  • You prefer more access to branches and ATMs, and are closer to Wells Fargo locations.

Choose U.S. Bank if:

  • You want to open a CD for less than $2,500 (but can deposit at least $1,000 to earn promotional rates).

Or go with an alternative

Unlike these brick-and-mortars, online banks don't hae 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 Easy Checking

Wells Fargo Everyday Checking

Monthly fee

$6.95 ($8.95 if you opt for paper statements).

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

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

  • Be age 65 or older.

$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).

  • Be between 17 and 24 years old.

Minimum deposit to open

$25.

$25.

APY

None.

None.

ATM fees and network

  • 4,700 free ATMs.

  • $2.50 at non-U.S. Bank ATMs

  • 13,000 free Wells Faro ATMs.

  • $2.50 fee for using out-of-network ATMs in the U.S.; $5 for using international out-of-network ATMs.

Sign-up bonus

N/A

N/A

Both banks have steep fees on their accounts, though they can be waived if you meet certain requirements. Wells Fargo has the edge, however, since it offers more options to waive the fee, including some that don’t require minimum deposits or balances.

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.

0.01% APY on all balances.

Monthly fee

$4.

  • Have a daily balance of at least $300.

  • Have a $1,000 minimum average balance.

  • Be under age 18.

$5.

  • Have a daily balance of at least $300.

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

  • Be younger than 18 (19 in Alabama).

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

Wells Fargo

Minimum opening deposit

$500.

$2,500 or $5,000, depending on the type of CD.

APY on 1-year CD

0.10% APY.

0.15% APY for standard CDs.

APY on 3-year CD

0.20% APY.

Not available online. Call or visit a branch for rates.

APY on five-year term

0.35% APY.

Not available online. Call or visit a branch for rates.

Rates may vary by location.

In addition to the standard rates, both banks offer special CD rates with higher minimum deposit requirements. The promotional rates may be better than the standard, but are still 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

About 3,000.

About 5,500.

Banking apps (current ratings from app store users)

  • 4.8 out of 5 stars for iOS.

  • 4.2 out of 5 for Android.

  • 4.8 out of 5 stars for iOS.

  • 4.5 out of 5 for Android.

Customer service

  • Available 24/7 by phone.

  • Social media support available.

  • Email support available.

  • Available 24/7 by phone.

  • Social media support available.

  • Email 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.

$35, maximum of three per day.

Overdraft protection fee

$12.50 per day.

$12.50 per transfer.

Extended overdraft fee

$36, beginning on the 8th calendar day that your account stays overdrawn.

None.

U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo have overdraft charges above the national median of $34. Both banks will waive fees if your account is overdrawn by $5 or less, but if it’s in the red by $5.01 or more, the charges can add up. If you’re concerned about limiting what you’d pay if you overdraw your account, a credit union or online bank with lower fees would be a better option.

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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