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

April 25, 2019
Banking, Banks & Credit Unions, CDs, Checking Accounts, Savings Accounts
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Two of the largest U.S. banks, Wells Fargo and Chase, make it convenient to bank in person, with many ATMs and branches. The biggest difference: Chase has consistent bonuses on checking and savings. Keep in mind, though, the interest rates it pays are low compared with other banks.

Here’s a quick look at how they stack up against each other:

Snapshot comparison

Chase
Wells Fargo
Checking accounts
Chase Total 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
    Chase Savings℠

  • Interest rate: 0.01%
    (effective 3/15/19; rates are variable and subject to change)
  • Monthly fee: $5 (How to waive it)

  • Wells Fargo Way2Save

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

  • Certificates of deposit
    Chase interest rates on CDs

  • 1 year: 0.01%
  • Minimum deposit: $1,000
  • Wells Fargo interest rates on CDs

  • 1 year: 1.25% for standard CDs; 1.30% APY bonus rate for customers with premium linked accounts
  • Minimum deposit: $2,500

  • Overdrafts, ATMs, customer service
    • Overdraft fee: $34, maximum of three per day
    • Overdraft protection transfer fee: $0 per transfer
    • ATMs: 16,000
    • Branches: Nearly 5,000
    • 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: 5,700
    • Customer service: Available via email and social media, and 24/7 by phone
    Chase

    at Chase,

    Member, FDIC

    Wells Fargo

    at Wells Fargo,

    Member, FDIC

    Choose Chase if:

    Choose Chase if:

    • You want to easily qualify for a $200 checking sign-up bonus. There’s also a $150 bonus for savings (expires July 15, 2019).
    • You want a larger ATM network.
    • You prefer lower minimums for certificates of deposit.

    Choose Wells Fargo if:

    Choose Wells Fargo if:

    • You prefer lower monthly checking fees that are slightly easier to waive.
    • You want access to more branches.
    • You want higher yields on CDs.

    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 (APYs) that make your savings grow faster. And fees tend to be low or nonexistent.

    » Want to know more? Check out NerdWallet’s best high-yield online savings accounts and top online checking accounts

    Chase vs. Wells Fargo: Basic checking accounts

     Chase Total Checking®Wells Fargo Everyday Checking
    Sign-up bonus$200 (expires 7/15/2019); our bonuses roundup explains how to qualify


    $400 (expires 7/26/19); our bonuses roundup explains how to qualify


    Monthly fees$12 ($144/year)



    • Receive $500 or more in direct deposits each month

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

    • Have a daily balance of at least $5,000 spread across qualifying Chase accounts



    $10 ($120/year)



    • 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)
    • Fee waived for ages 17 through 24


    Minimum opening deposit$0
    $25

    ATM network16,000 Chase ATMs13,000+ Wells Fargo ATMs
    ATM fee$2.50 for using out-of-network ATMs in the U.S.; $5 for ATM withdrawals abroad$2.50 per withdrawal for out-of-network ATMs in the U.S.; $5 per withdrawal for international out-of-network ATMs
    » Want to see how other banks stack up? Read NerdWallet’s best checking accounts
    Chase tips the scale with its current bonus offer, which rewards you for simply opening an account and setting up direct deposit. Wells Fargo’s has more requirements. However, the Chase Total Checking® and Wells Fargo Everyday Checking accounts are comparable, including fees and ATM access. Both banks also offer premium checking accounts that earn interest — but not much.

    Chase vs. Wells Fargo: Basic savings accounts

     Chase Savings℠Wells Fargo Ways2Save
    Sign-up bonus$150; see how to qualify
    (expires 7/15/19)
    None nationwide
    Monthly fees$5



    • Have a daily balance of at least $300

    • Set up an automatic transfer of at least $25 a month from a Chase checking account

    • Link to a premium Chase checking account
    • Fee waived for those younger than 18


    $5



    • Have a daily balance of at least $300

    • Set up a recurring automatic transfer from a Wells Fargo checking account

    • Fee waived for those younger than 18 (19 in Alabama)


    Interest rate0.01% APY
    (effective 3/15/19; rates are variable and subject to change)
    0.01% APY
    Minimum opening deposit$0$25
    » For more great options, check out NerdWallet’s best savings accounts
    Chase gets the edge because it has a savings bonus, although it’s less generous than Chase’s checking offer. Not counting that perk, having a $10,000 balance would earn you just $1 in interest over a year with either account. Both accounts have monthly fees, but they are easy to avoid.

     

    Chase vs. Wells Fargo: Certificates of deposit

     ChaseWells Fargo
    Minimum opening deposit$1,000$2,500
    APY on 1-year CD 0.01%
    1.25%
    APY on 3-year CD 0.30%39-month Special CD rate of 1.55%, but requires $5,000 minimum deposit
    APY on 5-year CD0.35%N/A
    For more details:See our post on Chase CD ratesSee our post on Wells Fargo CD rates
    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
    Chase’s minimum opening deposit is less than half of Wells Fargo’s requirement for a standard CD, but Wells Fargo currently offers higher APYs. Still, neither bank matches the yields of some online banks, such as Marcus by Goldman Sachs, which have one-year CD rates approaching 3%.

    » Learn more about Chase’s CD rates and Wells Fargo’s CD rates.

     

    Chase vs. Wells Fargo: Bank experience

     ChaseWells Fargo
    BranchesNearly 5,000

    5,700
    WebsiteEasy to compare accounts side by side, detailed information on ATMs and branches, large online banking menuCan compare different accounts on the same page, easy to find information on ATMs and branches, large online banking menu
    Banking apps (current ratings from app store users)4.8 out of 5 stars for iOS; 4.6 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

    Wells Fargo has more branches than Chase, but in general their methods of customer support and mobile app ratings are similar. Wells Fargo has a history of government penalties, including one over the scandal in which employees opened more than 2 million unauthorized accounts. The bank has since taken steps to alter practices and reimburse customers.

     

    Chase vs. Wells Fargo: Overdraft fees

     ChaseWells Fargo
    Overdraft fee$34, maximum of three per day$35, maximum of three per day
    Overdraft protection fee$0 per transfer$12.50 per transfer
    Extended overdraft feeNoneNone

    Neither bank is lenient on overdraft fees, but Chase offers overdraft protection from a linked savings account for free. Wells Fargo charges $12.50 per transfer from savings or a line of credit.

     

    Big banks, small rates

    If you’re seeking the broad reach and expansive product selection of a national bank, you’ll find those at Wells Fargo or Chase. For similar banks, see our roundup of best national banks. If the low interest rates or hefty fees at these institutions don’t work for you, however, check out other top bank options such as credit unions or online banks.