Advertiser Disclosure

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

June 26, 2019
Banking, Banks & Credit Unions, CDs, Checking Accounts, Savings Accounts
At NerdWallet, we strive to help you make financial decisions with confidence. To do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. However, this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

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

3.0 NerdWallet rating
Wells Fargo

3.5 NerdWallet rating
Checking accounts
U.S. Bank Easy Checking

  • Monthly fee: $6.95 ($8.95 with paper 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%, but offers 9-month CD special at 2.00%.
  • Minimum deposit: $500, or $1,000 for CD special rates.
  • Wells Fargo interest rates on CDs

  • 1 year: 0.25% for standard CDs; 0.30% 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: $36, beginning on the 8th calendar day that your account stays overdrawn.
    • ATMs: 4,700.
    • 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: About 5,500.
    • Customer service: available via email and social media, and 24/7 by phone.

    Choose Wells Fargo if

    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

    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).

    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 account
    Monthly fees
    $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 opening deposit$25$25
    ATM network4,700 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.

    • 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).


    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 has a monthly fee 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% APY. Offers a 9-month CD special at 2.00% APY with $1,000 minimum.
    0.25% for standard CDs; 0.30% bonus rate for customers with premium linked accounts. Offers a 9-month CD special at 1.90% APY (1.95% APY bonus rate with premium linked accounts), but requires $5,000 minimum.
    APY on 3-year CD0.35% APY. Offers a 37-month CD special at 2.05% APY with $1,000 minimum.39-month special CD rate of 1.40% APY (1.45% APY bonus rate with premium linked accounts), but requires $5,000 minimum.
    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 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
    About 5,500
    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; 4.2 out of 5 for Android4.8 out of 5 stars for iOS; 4.5 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
    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.

     

    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$36, 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 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.

    About the author