If you’re a Wells Fargo customer, there are consequences when you spend more money than you have in your checking account. How much you pay in fees depends largely on the type of transaction you make and the status of your linked accounts.
» Find out how to avoid overdraft fees from any bank
How Wells Fargo treats overdrafts
For everyday transactions: If you don’t have enough money in your Wells Fargo account, the bank typically won’t cover ATM or everyday debit transactions that exceed the balance. Instead, it declines them without charging a fee.
For checks and recurring bills: But the institution — like many others — uses its own discretion when it comes to checks and recurring bill payments. So those payments may go through even if there is not enough money in your account, and you'll be charged an overdraft fee. How much? Here are some details:
Fee: $35 is the standard overdraft charge.
Limit: Three fees per day, for a maximum of $105.
Unlike some banks, Wells Fargo charges no continuous overdraft fee if your account remains in the red for multiple days.
Overdraft protection transfer
Fee: $12.50; for credit accounts, you'll pay interest charges, too.
What it is: This optional service links one or two Wells Fargo accounts — a savings account, credit card or line of credit — to your checking account to cover any shortfalls. Only one fee is charged per day that a transfer occurs. The service isn't free, but it’s cheaper than a $35 overdraft fee.
“Wells Fargo will transfer or advance money from a linked account and charge you a fee of $12.50.”
From a savings account, Wells Fargo will transfer enough to cover the transaction plus the $12.50 fee, or a minimum of $25. And this counts toward the monthly limit of six transfers or withdrawals out of a savings account, as required by federal law. Exceeding the limit leads to an additional $15 excess activity fee.
From a credit card or line of credit, Wells Fargo will advance the exact amount needed to cover the transaction or a minimum of $25, and the $12.50 fee will be charged to your card (in the case of a linked credit card) or your checking account (in the case of a line of credit).
If there are two linked accounts, Wells Fargo will use the savings account first, unless you specify that it use the credit card or line of credit first.
Debit card overdraft service
Fee: $35, up to three times per day
What it is: This optional debit card overdraft service means the bank will approve everyday debit card and ATM transactions at its discretion, even if there’s not enough money in your bank account.
Why it should be avoided: Signing up means that when ATM and debit card use puts you in the red, you're charged the maximum overdraft fee of $35, up to three times in a day. By law, the bank must get your permission before enrolling you in debit card overdraft service. If you skip this service, your transactions are declined and no fee is assessed.
“With debit card overdraft service, ATM and debit card use that puts you in the red will cost you $35.”
If your account isn't in good standing or if you’ve had frequent overdrafts, Wells Fargo may decline to cover the overdraft whether you’re enrolled in the optional program or not. In that case, debit or ATM card transactions also will be declined without incurring additional fees.
If Wells Fargo returns a check you wrote, however, or declines a recurring bill payment because of a lack of funds, you would be charged a nonsufficient funds fee of $35 — the same amount as an overdraft charge.
» Fees too high? Compare Wells Fargo with other banks and credit unions in our list of overdraft fees by financial institution.
Wells Fargo grace period and buffer
Day-of grace period: The bank gives you a cutoff time at the end of the business day to cover any overage without charging you a fee. Typical cut-off times are:
9 p.m. local time for most Wells Fargo ATMs.
9 p.m. Pacific time for Wells Fargo mobile app deposits.
12 a.m. local time for online transfers.
Limited overdraft “rewind” program: Unlike other big banks, Wells Fargo reverses overdraft fees under two conditions: if there is a direct deposit by 9 a.m. local time the day after your account goes negative, and if that amount would’ve prevented the negative balance. You’re automatically part of this free program if you receive direct deposits.
Small safety buffer: Wells Fargo has a $5 margin of error. If your balance is overdrawn by $5 or less at the end of the day, it doesn’t charge overdraft fees.