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

March 21, 2019
Banking, CDs, Checking Accounts, Savings Accounts
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Wells Fargo and Citibank are two of the nation’s largest megabanks — with thousands of branch locations, a full array of financial products and sizable ATM networks. Our head-to-head comparison will help you sort out the differences and decide which is best for you.

Snapshot comparison

Citibank

3.5 NerdWallet rating
Wells Fargo

3.5 NerdWallet rating
Checking accounts
Citibank Regular Checking

  • Monthly fee: $12 (How to waive it)
  • Minimum opening deposit: $0.

  • Wells Fargo Everyday Checking

  • Monthly fee: $10 (How to waive it)
  • Minimum opening deposit: $25.
  • Savings accounts
    Citi Savings

  • Interest rate: 0.04%
  • Monthly fee: $4.50 (How to waive it)
  • Minimum opening deposit: $0.
  • Wells Fargo Way2Save

  • Interest rate: 0.01%.
  • Monthly fee: $5 (How to waive it)
  • Minimum opening deposit: $25.
  • Certificates of deposit
    Citi CD interest rates

  • 1 year: 0.25%.
  • 3 years: 1.00%.
  • Minimum deposit: Generally ranges from $500 to $2,500, depending on location.

  • Wells Fargo CD interest rates

  • 1 year: 1.25%. Rates may vary by location.
  • 39-month: 2.05% ($5,000 deposit required)
  • Minimum deposit: $2,500.
  • Overdrafts, ATMs, customer service
    • Overdraft fee: $34, maximum of 4 per day.

    • Overdraft protection transfer fee: $10 per day.

    • ATMs: 60,000+ fee free.

    • Branches: About 700 in the U.S. and 1,800 overseas.

    • Customer service: 24/7 by phone. Also extended weekday hours via online chat and social media.

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

    • Overdraft protection transfer fee: $12.50 per use.

    • ATMs: 13,000.

    • Branches: 5,700.

    • Customer service: 24/7 by phone and email and 7 days a week on social media.

    Choose Citibank if:

    Choose Citibank if:

    • You want to qualify for a checking or savings sign-up bonus of $200, $400 or $600 (expires March 31, 2019).
    • You need wide-ranging ATM access.
    • You value a bank that operates internationally.

    Choose Wells Fargo if:

    Choose Wells Fargo if:

    • Visiting a branch is important to you.
    • You can deposit more to receive higher CD rates.

     

    Below is a detailed breakdown of how the banks compare when it comes to checking, savings, CDs, bank experience and overdraft fees.

    Basic checking accounts

     Citibank Regular CheckingWells Fargo
    Everyday Checking
    Monthly fee$12


    You must meet one of the following requirements:

    • Make one qualifying direct deposit and one bill payment per statement cycle.

    • Keep your balance above $1,500 (can include balance in eligible linked Citibank savings or money market accounts).

    • The owner of the account is 62 or older.

    $10


    You must meet one of the following requirements:

    • Make 10 debit card purchases per month.

    • Make $500 in qualifying direct deposits per month.

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

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

    • The owner of the account is 17 to 24 years old.

    Minimum opening deposit$0.$25.
    InterestNone.None.


    ATM network60,000 ATMs.13,000 ATMs.
    Out-of-network ATM fee$2.50.$2.50.
    » Explore other options with NerdWallet’s list of best checking accounts.
    Citibank’s and Wells Fargo’s checking accounts are standard for large, national banks. Pick Citibank if you want more ATM access.

     

    »MORE: Citibank review.

    Basic savings accounts

     Citibank Basic SavingsWells Fargo
    Way2Save
    Monthly fee$4.50


    You must meet one of the following requirements:

    • Keep an average monthly balance of $500.
    • Have a linked Citi checking account.
    • The owner of the account is 62 or older.


    $5


    You must meet one of the following requirements:

    • Keep a minimum daily balance of $300.
    • Have a recurring auto-transfer from a linked account at least once per month.
    • You are younger than 18 (19 in Alabama) and are the primary account holder.


    Interest rate0.04% APY.0.01% APY.
    Minimum opening deposit$0.$25

    » Find rates well above 2% on our list of best savings accounts.
    Citibank’s and Wells Fargo’s savings accounts are also standard for large banks — and that means earning almost no interest. To earn more money on your balance, consider putting at least some of your savings into an online bank. Check out NerdWallet’s best savings account tool and explore other options.

     

    Certificates of deposit

     CitibankWells Fargo
    Minimum depositGenerally ranges from $500 to $2,500, depending on location.$2,500.
    APY on one-year term0.25%.1.25%. Rates may vary by location.
    APY on three-year term1.00%.2.00% ($5,000 deposit required, 39-month term).
    APY on five-year term1.50%.Call or visit branch for rates.
    » Find out where you'll get the best CD rates this month.
    Like most comparable banks, Citibank and Wells Fargo have very low CD yields. You won’t lose money, but to find better options, use NerdWallet’s best CD rates tool.

     

    Bank experience

     CitibankWells Fargo
    BranchesAbout 700 in the U.S. and 1,800 overseas.5,700
    Banking apps (ratings from app store users)4.8 out of 5 stars for iPhone; 4 stars for Android
    4.8 out of 5 stars for iPhone; 4.4 for Android
    Customer service24/7 by phone, also extended weekday hours via online chat, email and social media.24/7 by phone and email and 7 days a week on social media.
    Big banks really shine when it comes to access, and you’ll find that with both Citibank and Wells Fargo. Choose Wells Fargo if domestic branches are important to you and Citibank if you’d like more options overseas. And keep in mind that Wells Fargo was recently fined for opening around 1.5 million bank accounts and over half a million credit card accounts without customer knowledge.

     

    Overdraft fees

     CitibankWells Fargo
    Overdraft fee$34, maximum of 4 per day.$35, maximum of 3 per day.
    Overdraft protection transfer fee$10 per day.$12.50 per use.
    Extended overdraft feeNoneNone.
    Neither Citibank nor Wells Fargo is especially friendly to those who overdraw accounts. Their fees are in line with the national median, but if you tend to overdraw, check out these banks that don’t charge overdraft fees.

     

    Almost evenly matched

    Citibank and Wells Fargo share most of the perks and drawbacks of large, national banks. If having access to a branch and ATM network is most important to you, one of them might be a fit. Wells Fargo has more branches and Citi more ATMs overall, though Citi also has branches overseas.

    If the traditional banking model of full service with high fees and low yields doesn’t seem too appealing, see NerdWallet’s list of best checking accounts for other options.