Wells Fargo vs. Bank of America: Which Is Best for You?

Amber Murakami-FesterFebruary 18, 2021
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Comparing two giant banks can be like choosing between vanilla and French vanilla: What the heck is the difference? Bank of America and Wells Fargo, the second- and third-largest U.S. banks, respectively, offer similar flavors of traditional-style banking, packed with networks of ATMs and branches.

Here’s a quick look at how they stack up.

Snapshot comparison

Wells Fargo

Bank of America

Checking accounts

Wells Fargo Everyday Checking

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

  • Minimum opening deposit: $25.

Bank of America Advantage Plus Banking®

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

  • Minimum opening deposit: $100.

Savings accounts

Wells Fargo Way2Save

  • APY: 0.01%.

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

Bank of America Advantage Savings

  • APY: 0.01%.

  • Monthly fee: $8 (See below for ways to waive it).

Certificates of deposit

Wells Fargo CD interest rates

  • 1 year: 0.01%.

  • 5 year: No standard rates available online beyond one-year terms. Call or visit a branch for rates.

  • Minimum deposit: $2,500.

Bank of America CD interest rates

  • 1 year: 0.03%.

  • 5 year: 0.03%.

  • Minimum deposit: $1,000.

Overdrafts, ATMs, customer service

  • Overdraft fee: $35, maximum of 3 per day.

  • Overdraft protection transfer fee: $12.50.

  • ATMs: More than 13,000.

  • Branches: About 5,200 in nearly 40 states.

  • Customer service: Available 24/7 by phone.

  • Overdraft fee: $35, maximum of 4 per day.

  • Overdraft protection transfer fee: $12.

  • ATMs: 17,000.

  • Branches: About 4,300 in more than 35 states.

  • Customer service: Available by phone Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 11 p.m. ET; Saturday - Sunday, 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. ET.

Wells Fargo Overall Star Rating
NerdWallet rating 
Read review
Bank of America Advantage Plus Banking®
NerdWallet rating 

at Bank of America, N.A., Member FDIC

Choose Wells Fargo if:

  • You tend to have less than $500 in your savings account.

  • You prioritize 24/7 access to customer service.

Choose Bank of America if:

  • Your direct deposits total at least $250 in a month.

  • You want a larger ATM network.

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.

Wells Fargo vs. Bank of America: Basic checking accounts

Wells Fargo Everyday Checking

Bank of America Advantage Plus Banking®

Monthly fee

$10.

You must meet one of the following requirements:

  • Keep a minimum daily balance of at least $500.

  • Make $500 in direct deposits per month.

  • Have a linked Wells Fargo Campus ATM™ or Campus Debit Card (for college students).

$12.

You must meet one of the following requirements:

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

  • Make $250 in direct deposits per month.

  • Be enrolled in Preferred Awards, which requires at least a $20,000 average combined balance across bank accounts.

Note: The fee is waived for students under 24.

Minimum deposit to open

$25.

$100.

APY

None.

None.

ATM fees and network

  • More than 13,000 ATMs.

  • $2.50 for each out-of-network ATM transaction.

  • About 17,000 ATMs.

  • $2.50 for each out-of-network ATM transaction.

Neither checking account earns interest. You’ll have to find another bank if you want to see your money grow there, although Bank of America does offer a bonus.

The monthly fee is lower at Wells Fargo, but you need a higher direct deposit amount to avoid it. Be aware that other banks charge no monthly fees with no strings attached.

» Explore other options with NerdWallet’s list of best checking accounts

Wells Fargo vs. Bank of America: Basic savings accounts

Wells Fargo Way2Save

Bank of America Advantage Savings

APY

0.01% APY.

0.01% APY.

Monthly fee

$5.

You must meet one of the following requirements:

  • Keep an average balance of $300.

  • Set up a recurring auto-transfer from a linked account.

Note: There’s no fee if the primary account owner is 18 (19 in Alabama) or younger.

$8.

You must meet one of the following requirements:

  • Keep a minimum daily balance of $500.

  • Link to the interest checking account, Advantage Relationship Banking®.

  • Be a Bank of America Preferred Rewards client.

Note: Students under 24 can waive the fee.

Minimum deposit to open

$25.

$100.

Bank of America has a slight edge: a savings program. The savings interest rate can increase if you’re enrolled in Preferred Rewards, but even if you do this, the rate is still extremely low compared with some other banks, especially online banks.

Bank of America’s Keep the Change program rounds up your Bank of America debit card purchases to the nearest dollar, and deposits the difference automatically into your savings account.

» Find strong interest rates on our list of best savings accounts

Wells Fargo vs. Bank of America: Certificates of deposit

Wells Fargo

Bank of America

1-year APY

0.01% APY.

0.03% APY.

3-year APY

No standard rates available online beyond one-year terms. Call or visit a branch for rates.

0.03% APY.

5-year APY

No standard rates available online beyond one-year terms. Call or visit a branch for rates.

0.03% APY.

Minimum deposit

$2,500.

$1,000.

For more details:

See our post on Wells Fargo CD rates

See our post on Bank of America CD rates

Rates may vary by location.

Both banks have very low CD rates compared with national averages. Rates may also vary by ZIP code. Bank of America’s minimum deposit amount is lower.

» To compare, see the latest top CD rates

Wells Fargo vs. Bank of America: Banking experience

Wells Fargo

Bank of America

Branches

About 5,200 in nearly 40 states and Washington, D.C.

About 4,300 in more than 35 states and Washington, D.C.

Banking apps (ratings from app store users)

4.8 out of 5 stars for iPhone; 4.7 for Android.

4.8 out of 5 stars for iPhone; 4.7 for Android.

Customer service

  • Available 24/7 by phone.

  • Social media support available.

  • Available by phone Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-11 p.m. ET, Saturday-Sunday, 8 a.m.-8 p.m. ET.

  • Live chat support available.

  • Email support available.

  • Social media support available.

Both banks cover a majority of states, though Wells Fargo has the edge over Bank of America when it comes to branch count and state coverage.

Both have multiple ways to contact customer service. Unless you need 24/7 access to customer service, the two banks are roughly on par with each other.

Note: Wells Fargo paid several penalties to government regulators in the past few years due to a series of abusive practices. This included bank employees opening roughly 1.5 million bank accounts without customers’ consent.

Wells Fargo vs. Bank of America: Overdraft fees

Wells Fargo

Bank of America

Overdraft fee

$35, maximum of 3 per day.

$35, maximum of 4 per day.

Overdraft protection fee

$12.50 per transfer.

$12 per transfer.

Extended overdraft fee

None.

None.

Overdraft fees are high at both banks. Other banks charge less, or limit the number of times you can overdraft to once a day. Some of the best banks don't charge a fee at all.

Neither bank charges an extended overdraft fee, which is what banks can charge for having a negative account balance for a certain number of days.

Similar but not identical

Wells Fargo and Bank of America have similar offerings but slight differences in avoiding fees that might tip either bank in your favor. If you’re looking for competitive interest rates on savings accounts and CDs, however, you’ll have to check elsewhere. You can find options at NerdWallet's best banks and credit unions.

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