Wells Fargo and Chase are both national banks that make it easy to have all your accounts under the same roof.
Both have below-average interest rates, though their breadth of services may make up for it. Each has thousands of ATMs, 24/7 customer service and a robust suite of online banking services.
Why choose Chase over Wells Fargo?
- Sign-up bonuses for basic checking and savings accounts
- Larger ATM network
- Lower minimums for certificates of deposit
Why choose Wells Fargo over Chase?
Read full review
- More ways to get monthly checking account fee waived
- More branches
Basic checking accounts
|Chase Total Checking®||Wells Fargo Everyday Checking|
|Sign-up bonus||$200 (expires Jan. 18, 2018); see how to qualify||No nationwide offers
|Monthly fees||$12||$10, or $5 if primary account owner is age 17 to 24
|Minimum opening deposit||$25||$25
|ATM network||16,000 Chase ATMs||13,000 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|
|Interest on balances||None||None|
The Chase Total Checking® and Wells Fargo Everyday Checking accounts are comparable, including fees and breadth of ATM access, but Chase’s current bonus offer tips the scale in its favor. Both banks also offer premium checking accounts that earn interest but have higher minimum deposits.
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% annual percentage yield — but come with higher monthly fees that are harder to get waived: $25 and $35, respectively. 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 get waived, too, and you earn interest — again, 0.01% APY — only if your balance is $500 or more.
Basic savings accounts
|Chase Savings℠||Wells Fargo Ways2Save|
|Sign-up bonus||$150 (expires Jan. 18, 2018); see how to qualify||None nationwide
|Minimum opening deposit||$5||$5
|Interest rate||0.01% APY (effective as of 11/2/17; interest rates are variable and subject to change)||0.01% APY|
|Minimum opening deposit||$25||$25|
Chase has 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.
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. Top rates are barely higher than 0.05% APY.
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.
» There are better rates elsewhere. Read our round-up of the best savings accounts to find what other banks and credit unions offer in your area.
Certificates of deposit
|Minimum opening deposit||$1,000||$2,500|
|APY on 1-year CD||0.02% for balances under $100,000; 0.05% above that||0.05% APY for standard CDs; 0.10% APY bonus rate for customers with special premium linked accounts|
|APY on 3-year CD||0.15% for balances under $10,000; 0.35% from $10,000 to $99,999.99; 0.40% above that||Not available. 39-month Special CD rates are 0.50% for all balances, but require $5,000 minimum deposit|
|APY on 5-year CD||0.35% for balances under $10,000; 0.55% from $10,000 to $99,999.99; 0.60% above that||Not available. 58-month Special CD rates are 1.06% for all balances|
|CD rates may vary by state. Those displayed above are based on ZIP codes in the state where each bank has its headquarters.|
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 0.28% APY. Meanwhile, some online banks, such as Ally Bank, have savings rates north of 1% for one-year CDs.
» Read NerdWallet’s full Ally Bank review to learn more about its rates for checking accounts, savings and CDs.
|Branches||5,100||More than 6,000|
|Website||Easy to compare accounts side by side, detailed information on ATMs and branches, large online banking menu||Can 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 Android||3.0 out of 5 stars for iOS; 4.3 out of 5 for Android|
|Customer service||Available 24/7 by phone, email and social media||Available 24/7 by phone, email and social media|
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 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 days||None|
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 best banks for checking and savings.
Updated Nov. 6, 2017.