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Wells Fargo vs

Consumers can count on two things when shopping for products at national banks: a lot of options and below-average interest rates. Wells Fargo and Chase have both and many other similarities besides.

But we looked closely at the fine print and found that Chase has a narrow edge in a few areas.

If you want to keep all of your accounts under the same roof and have access to thousands of ATMs and stellar online tools, you might find yourself deciding between these two juggernauts. Wells Fargo and Chase earned the same NerdWallet star rating — 3.5 out of five stars — when the overall scores were rounded, and both provide a very good customer experience. But Chase did a little better in three product categories, partly thanks to its strong checking and savings sign-up bonus offers. Those were enough to declare it the winner.

Here’s a closer look at how Wells Fargo and Chase compare.

Basic checking accounts

The two are similar, but tipping the scales in favor of Chase is the bank’s current bonus offer. To earn a $150 bonus, you must open a new Chase Total Checking account and set up direct deposit (expires 10/15/16).

Wells Fargo’s debit card option for avoiding the monthly service fee on basic checking isn’t available at most banks. Wells Fargo also offers two interest-bearing accounts, though the rates are minimal. Holders of a Wells Fargo home loan can get the $15 monthly fee waived for the Preferred Checking account; it’s also waived with $1, 000 in direct deposits or $10, 000 in combined minimum balances.

The other premium checking option isn’t a stand-alone account; it’s part of the PMA Package, to which you can link other accounts to earn more benefits. There are some valuable ones, like discounts and fee waivers on certain Wells Fargo loans. Its $30 monthly fee can be avoided if you maintain a balance of $25, 000 in qualifying linked checking, savings and other accounts, or $50, 000 in a combination of linked bank accounts, Wells Fargo Advisors brokerage accounts and credit balances.

Chase, meanwhile, has two advanced checking options. Your best bet will probably be the Premier Plus checking account, which comes with a solid mix of perks, including four free cash withdrawals each month from non-Chase ATMs and free checks. It has a $25 monthly fee that’s scratched for customers who keep a balance of at least $15, 000 or who sign up for automatic payments on their linked Chase mortgage.

» MORE: NerdWallet’s Bank of America review

Basic savings accounts

Again, the two banks’ basic savings accounts are nearly identical, but Chase is offering a $100 sign-up bonus. To qualify, open a new Chase Savings account and deposit $10, 000 of new money within 10 business days, then maintain at least a $10, 000 balance for 90 days (expires 10/15/16).

Wells Fargo’s Way2Save account makes it easy to boost your savings by moving $1 from checking to savings every time you make a debit card purchase or use online bill pay.

The banks’ advanced savings accounts are slightly different. Customers will have to deposit $50 to open a Wells Fargo Platinum Savings account and can avoid a $12 monthly fee by keeping a minimum balance of $3, 500. With a meager annual percentage yield of 0.01% (effective 3/15/16; interest rates are variable and subject to change), this product’s biggest draw is that it comes with checks, an unusual feature for a savings account.

Meanwhile, Chase’s Plus Savings account has a $100 initial deposit requirement and a $20 monthly fee that can be dodged by maintaining a balance of at least $15, 000, or having a linked Chase Premier Plus or Premier Platinum checking account. Balances between $0 and $49, 999 earn an APY of 0.03%.



Big bank CDs offer a safe option for parking some cash, but many of them pay very little yield. The national average for a five-year CD is 0.79%, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., but both Wells Fargo and Chase pay far less on comparable CDs. Meanwhile, some online banks — like Ally Bank — pay rates that are north of 1%.

Wells Fargo also requires a high minimum deposit of $2, 500 to open a basic CD, with higher minimums for other CDs. By contrast, Chase’s minimum is a more consumer-friendly $1, 000.

» MORE: See NerdWallet’s best CD rates

Customer experience

Wells Fargo offers an impressive suite of online tools and services that are more multifaceted than those offered by Chase. Customers can use the My Savings Plan tool to set individualized savings goals before tracking their progress on the easy-to-use platform. However, app store users gave higher props to Chase’s mobile banking app, with both iPhone and Android versions rated very highly. Both banks’ websites offer comprehensive overviews of their products and tools and make it easy to compare their checking and savings options. Their mobile apps include essential services like mobile deposits, bill pay and peer-to-peer payment services. Wells Fargo lets you make mobile check deposits of up to $2, 500 per day, while Chase’s limit is $2, 000.

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