Advertiser Disclosure

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

April 16, 2018
Banking, Banks & Credit Unions, CDs, Checking Accounts, Savings Accounts
At NerdWallet, we adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.
We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.

If bigger is better when it comes to where you bank, 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 might suit you best.

Snapshot comparison

US+Bank
Wells Fargo
Checking accounts
U.S. Bank Easy Checking

  • Monthly fee: $8.95 ($6.95 with e-statements) (How to waive it)
  • Minimum opening deposit: $25
  • Wells Fargo Everyday Checking

  • Monthly fee: $10 (How to waive it)
  • Minimum opening deposit: $25
  • Savings accounts
    U.S. Bank Standard Savings

  • Interest rate: 0.01%
  • Monthly fee: $4 (How to waive it)

  • Wells Fargo Way2Save

  • Interest rate: 0.01%
  • Monthly fee: $5 (How to waive it)

  • Certificates of deposit
    U.S. Bank interest rates on CDs

  • 1 year: 0.10%
  • Minimum deposit: $500
  • Wells Fargo interest rates on CDs

  • 1 year: 0.10% for standard CDs; 0.15% APY bonus rate for customers with premium linked accounts
  • 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: $25 per week, beginning on the 8th calendar day that your account stays overdrawn
    • ATMs: 5,300
    • Branches: about 3,000
    • Customer service: available via email and social media, and 24/7 by phone
    • Overdraft fee: $35, maximum of three per day
    • Overdraft protection transfer fee: $12.50 per transfer
    • ATMs: 13,000
    • Branches: More than 6,000
    • Customer service: available via email and social media, and 24/7 by phone

    Choose Wells Fargo if

    Choose Wells Fargo if


    • You want easier ways to waive your monthly checking account fee
    • You prefer more access to branches and ATMs

    Choose U.S. Bank if

    Choose U.S. Bank if


    U.S. Bank

    at U.S. Bank,

    Member, FDIC

    • You want mobile banking with a highly rated app

    Ready for more detail? Read on for a breakdown of their offerings.

    » Want to see other options? Browse NerdWallet’s best banks and credit unions

    Basic checking accounts

     U.S. Bank Easy Checking account
    Wells Fargo Everyday Checking
    Monthly fees
    $8.95 ($6.95 if you opt for online statements)



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

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



    10; or $5 if primary account owner is age 17 to 24



    • 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)



    Minimum opening deposit$25$25
    ATM network5,300 ATMs13,000 ATMs
    ATM fee$2.50 at non-U.S. Bank ATMs$2.50 per withdrawal for out-of-network ATMs in the U.S.; $5 per withdrawal for international out-of-network ATMs
    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.

     

    Basic savings accounts

     U.S. Bank Standard Savings AccountWells Fargo Ways2Save
    Monthly fees$4



    • Have a daily balance of at least $300

    • Have a $1,000 minimum average balance


    $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)


    Interest rate0.01% APY0.01% APY
    Minimum opening deposit$25$25
    » For more great options, check out NerdWallet’s best savings accounts
    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 charges a monthly fee if you don’t meet a minimum balance means you can actually lose money in your savings account.

     

    Certificates of deposit

     U.S. BankWells Fargo
    Minimum opening deposit$500$2,500
    APY on 1-year CD 0.10%
    0.10% for standard CDs; 0.15% bonus rate for customers with premium linked accounts
    APY on 5-year CD0.75%58-month Special CD rate of 1.20%, but requires $5,000 minimum balance and bank relationship
    CD rates may vary by state. Those displayed above are based on ZIP codes in the state where each bank has its headquarters.
    » To compare see our latest top CD rates
    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 they probably don’t beat the CD rates offered by online banks. Exact APYs depend on where you live.

     

    Bank experience

     U.S. BankWells Fargo
    BranchesAbout 3,000
    More than 6,000
    WebsiteNicely arranged; helpful for comparing accountsAttractive and well-organized, covering all product lines
    Banking apps (current ratings from app store users)4.8 out of 5 stars for iOS; 4.0 out of 5 for Android3.3 out of 5 stars for iOS; 4.3 out of 5 for Android
    Customer serviceAvailable via email and social media, and 24/7 by phoneAvailable via email and social media, and 24/7 by phone
    Wells Fargo has more branches and ATMs than U.S. Bank, but U.S. Bank’s mobile app gets better reviews. Wells Fargo has been in the news for its customer experience, though not in a good way. 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, the bank has faced a large class action lawsuit.

     

    Overdraft fees

     U.S. BankWells 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$25 per week, beginning on the 8th calendar day that your account stays overdrawnNone
    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 more ATMs and branches, Wells Fargo may be the better choice. But if you want a better return for CDs and you value good customer service, U.S. Bank may be the better option.

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

    Updated April 16, 2018.

    About the author