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

Banking, Banks & Credit Unions, CDs, Checking Accounts, Savings Accounts
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Wells Fargo and Chase are two national banks that make it easy to keep all your accounts under the same roof. The interest rates they pay are low, but they have thousands of ATMs and 24/7 customer service.

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: $25
  • Wells Fargo Everyday Checking

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

  • Interest rate: 0.01% (effective 2/16/18; 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: 0.05% for standard CDs; 0.10% 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
    • Extended overdraft fee: $15 each time your accounts stays overdrawn for five or more consecutive business days
    • ATMs: 16,000
    • Branches: about 5,100
    • 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: 12,800
    • Branches: More than 6,000
    • Customer service: available via email and social media, and 24/7 by phone

    Why choose Chase over Wells Fargo?

    Why choose Chase over Wells Fargo?

      • $200 sign-up bonuses for checking; $150 for savings (expire 4/16/2018)
      • Larger ATM network
      • Lower minimums for certificates of deposit

    Why choose Wells Fargo over Chase?

    Why choose Wells Fargo over Chase?

      • Lower monthly checking fees
      • More branches

    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

     Chase Total Checking®Wells Fargo Everyday Checking
    Sign-up bonus$200 (expires 4/16/2018); our bonuses roundup explains how to qualify


    No nationwide offers


    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 Chase accounts



    $10 ($120/year); or $5 if primary account owner is age 17 to 24 ($60/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)


    Minimum opening deposit$25
    $25

    ATM network16,000 Chase ATMs12,800 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
    Interest on balancesNoneNone
    » Want to see how other banks stack up? Read NerdWallet’s best checking accounts
    The Chase Total Checking® and Wells Fargo Everyday Checking accounts are comparable, including fees and breadth of ATM access, but Chase tips the scale with its current bonus offer. Both banks also offer premium checking accounts that earn interest but have higher minimum deposits.

    At Chase:
    Chase has two high-end checking accounts, Chase Premier Plus Checking℠ and Chase Premier Platinum Checking℠. Each earns a little bit of interest — 0.01% APY (effective 2/16/18; rates are variable and subject to change) — but come with a higher monthly fee, $25, that is harder to waive. You do get some or all out-of-network ATM fees waived, depending on the account. The ATM operator may still charge a separate fee.

    At Wells Fargo:
    Wells Fargo has one interest-bearing account, Preferred Checking, with a $15 monthly fee. Its requirements are harder to waive, too, and you only earn interest — again, 0.01% APY — if your balance is $500 or more.

     

    Basic savings accounts

     Chase Savings℠Wells Fargo Ways2Save
    Sign-up bonus$150 (expires 4/16/2018); see how to qualify
    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

    • Be younger than 18

    • Link to a premium Chase checking account


    $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% APY (effective 2/16/18; rates are variable and subject to change)0.01% APY
    Minimum opening deposit$25$25
    » For more great options, check out NerdWallet’s best savings accounts
    Chase gets the edge because it has a savings bonus. 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 that are easy to avoid.

    At Chase:
    In addition to a basic account, the bank offers Chase Premier Savings℠, which earns a slightly better rate, depending on where you live. But you have to have a daily balance of at least $15,000 to avoid the monthly fee of $25, or link the account to a premium Chase checking account.

    At Wells Fargo:
    The bank also has a premium offering, Wells Fargo Platinum Savings. You have to maintain a minimum daily balance of $3,500 to avoid a $12 monthly fee, and the top rate isn’t much over 0.05% APY.

     

    Certificates of deposit

     ChaseWells Fargo
    Minimum opening deposit$1,000$2,500
    APY on 1-year CD 0.01% ($5,000 deposit)
    0.05% for standard CDs; 0.10% bonus rate for customers with premium linked accounts
    APY on 3-year CD 0.05% ($5,000 deposit)39-month Special CD rates range from 0.80% to 0.85%, but require $5,000 minimum deposit and bank relationship
    APY on 5-year CD0.25% ($5,000 deposit)58-month Special CD rates range from 1.01% to 1.06% but require $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
    Chase’s minimum opening deposit is less than half of Wells Fargo’s requirement for a standard CD. But neither bank’s standard one-year certificate beats the federal national average, which is currently 0.31% APY. Meanwhile, some online banks, such as Ally Bank, have savings rates north of 1% for one-year CDs.

    » You can read NerdWallet’s full Ally Bank review to learn more about its rates for checking accounts, savings and CDs.

     

    Bank experience

     ChaseWells Fargo
    Branches5,100

    More than 6,000
    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)4.7 out of 5 stars for iOS; 4.6 out of 5 for Android3.2 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
    As far as reach, Wells Fargo has more than 6,000 branches, compared with Chase’s 5,100 branches. But Wells Fargo suffers in customer experience because of the scandal in which employees opened more than 2 million unauthorized accounts. The bank has since taken steps to alter practices and reimburse customers.

    » Does Wells Fargo owe you money? Read our article on the bank’s $110 million payout and find out if you’re owed cash.

     

    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 fee$15 each time your accounts stays overdrawn for five or more consecutive business daysNone
    Neither bank is lenient on overdraft fees. Wells Fargo charges $35 per transaction when your account goes negative, up to three times per day. Chase’s fee is $34, up to three times per day. But Chase also charges an extended overdraft fee of $15 if your account remains in the red for five or more consecutive days. Wells Fargo doesn’t have this type of fee.

    Both offer overdraft protection for moving money from a linked account to cover you. Wells Fargo charges $12.50 per transfer from savings or a line of credit, while Chase’s service, which offers transfers only from a linked savings account, is free.

     

    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. However, if the low interest rates or hefty fees at these institutions don’t work for you, consider browsing NerdWallet’s list of top high-yield online banks for other options

    » Looking for better rates? See how Chase and Wells Fargo compare to CIT online bank



    Learn more
    at Chase Bank
    Wells Fargo

    Read full review
    on NerdWallet


    Learn more
    at CIT Bank

    Savings APY

    0.01%*





    Monthly savings fee

    $5





    Bonus Features

    Sign-up bonus for new customers (expires 4/16/2018)


    Savings APY

    0.01%





    Monthly savings fee

    $5





    Bonus Features

    Thousands of branches



    Savings APY

    1.55%





    Monthly savings fee

    $0





    Bonus Features

    Stellar CD rates



    Compare high-yield savings accounts
    *Effective 2/16/18; rates are variable and subject to change

    Updated Feb. 23, 2018.