Wells Fargo is a household name—a bank with as much recognition as history. Founded during the peak of the Gold Rush in 1852 to transport gold by steamship from San Francisco to New York City, this behemoth of a bank has grown tremendously alongside the American economy.
However, although the bank’s history is rich, their current savings rates will leave you far from it. Their most recognizable savings account – the Wells Fargo “Way2Save” – plus its current certificate of deposit rates are appallingly low.
The Wells Fargo Way2Save savings account may have racked up a lot of users in the past due to its previous incentives and lucrative rates, but it doesn’t have a lot of rave reviews currently and today’s APYs are abysmal. Similarly, Wells Fargo CD accounts would need to reward much higher rates in order to stand up to competitor products.
Simply put, there are minimal (if any) benefits to saving with a Wells Fargo Way2Save or a certificate account at the moment. Take a look at the rates, account details, and customer reviews of Wells Fargo accounts before you dismiss these products entirely, but don’t expect too much from the savings side of this bank anytime soon.
Way2Save Savings Account Details + APY
The Wells Fargo Way2Save savings account was designed for individuals (including minors) that need help setting aside savings regularly in an automated way. The account remains mildly popular despite historically low rates because of this benefit.
A Wells Fargo Way2Save savings account offers the option of having funds automatically transferred from a linked Wells Fargo checking account. You can achieve this by enabling “Save As You Go” transfers or by scheduling automatic transfers on a monthly basis. The Save As You Go savings feature is an optional program that automatically transfers $1 from your checking account into your Way2Save account for each debit card or online bill pay transaction.
Wells Fargo Way2Save Savings Account APY
|$0 or more||0.01%|
To put this offer in perspective the current national average for a savings account is 0.07% APY, although many online only banks still offer above 1.50% APY on all sums. And in addition to offering a shockingly bad rate, the Way2Save account comes with some potential monthly service fees, minimum daily balance requirements, and incidental charges that many consumers only put up with in exchange for high yields.
You will be charged a $5 monthly service fee unless you meet one of the following criteria in any given month:
- maintain an average daily balance of $300 or more,
- make one or more Save As You Go transfers from your checking account,
- schedule an automatic transfer of at least $25 per month or $1 per day from your checking account, or
- you are under the age of 18.
Interest is compounded daily and credited monthly. These accounts are regulated by federal regulation D, which limits transactions to six a month. You will be charged $15 for each withdrawal or transfer over this.
As we mentioned, the Way2Save account was designed to help people reach savings goals without requiring them to plan or take much action. With a savings account of this nature, you’re prioritizing ease and convenience over everything else – namely respectable rates.
Generally speaking, savings accounts with higher interest rates are considered to be the best. But if you struggle with saving money and just want to take the pressure off of remembering to set aside funds each month, then this account might be beneficial for you.
Wells Fargo CD Rates + Account Details
You won’t find excellent certificate account rates with Wells Fargo either, but you will at least have options. The bank offers standard, step rate, and special CDs with normal and bonus APYs that in more favorable interest rate environments can be quite competitive. Currently however, the rates sit well below the national average.
Wells Fargo CD Rates
|CD Term||Normal APY||Bonus APY|
|*5 months special CD||0.30%||0.33%|
|**24 month Step Rate CD||0.10%||0.13%|
All the deposit products (above) require an opening deposit of $2,500. There are no monthly service fees on certificate accounts with Wells Fargo and their rates are the same across all balances currently.
* 5 Month Special CD – This promotional deposit will earn you 0.30% interest normally and 0.33% if you qualify for the bonus rate. You will need to make a deposit of at least $5,000 to open this account.
** A Step Rate CD with Wells Fargo will earn you either 0.10% (standard) or 0.13% (bonus) and the only term available is 24 months. Over the course of this term, you will receive guaranteed rate increases and the option of making one penalty-free withdrawal per six month period (as long as the minimum opening deposit of $2,500 is maintained).
To qualify for bonus rates on any certificate, you must maintain a Wells Fargo Portfolio Checking account. This account comes with a $30 monthly service fee (avoid by maintaining $25,000 or more in qualifying linked bank deposits or $50,000 or more in qualifying linked bank, brokerage, and credit balances).
Normally, Wells Fargo CD accounts earn tiered interest rates based on balance. Right now, APYs are the same across all balance tiers. For future reference, these balance tiers are as follows:
- $0 – 4,999.99
- $5,000 – 9,999.99
- $10,000 – 24,999.99
- $25,000 – 49,999.99
- $50,000 – 99,999.99
Interest is compounded daily and paid at your interval of choice. If your term is 12 months or less, you may choose to have your dividends paid monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or at maturity. If your term is 12 months or more, you may choose to be paid your dividends monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or annually. These payments can be redeposited into the certificate account, transferred to a linked Wells Fargo saving or checking account, or paid by check (provided your balance is $5,000 or more).
Wells Fargo CDs can be altered within a grace period of 7 days after renewal or account opening. Making changes or withdrawals after that qualifies as early withdrawal. Early withdrawal from terms of less than 3 months will cost 1 month’s interest, from terms of 3 to 12 months will cost 3 months’ interest, from terms of 12 to 24 months will cost 6 months’ interest, and from terms over 24 months will cost 12 months’ interest.
Wells Fargo Banking Experience and Consumer Reviews
You might be wondering how Wells Fargo performs in the eyes of the people from a customer service and overall experience perspective. According to 311 ratings submitted to Consumer Affairs, not well. With an overall score of 1.2 stars out of 5 and almost entirely 1-star ratings in 2020, the verdict is that Wells Fargo does not deliver high-quality customer care but instead delivers unexpected closures and poor account protection in addition to enforcing rigid policies.
Many customers have reported being solicited by Wells Fargo to take out loans they shouldn’t take out, experiencing longer-than-usual wait times on everything from payments to getting customer service help, and having their accounts locked for no apparent reason. Of course, all customer reviews should be taken with a grain of salt—Wells Fargo is one of the biggest banks in America and it’s difficult to consolidate all customer experiences into a neat and tidy description of what to expect.
It’s worth mentioning also that Wells Fargo is still trying to restore its reputation as a trustworthy institution after its 2016 public account fraud scandal in which credit and debit accounts were wrongfully opened under customer names by Wells Fargo representatives in order to boost sales, and it’s clear that the people haven’t recovered from this offense. So while it may not clear whether Wells Fargo can be trusted as a corporation, you should at the very least be wary if you choose to bank with them.
There’s no shortage of Wells Fargo branches and ATMs. You can get a separate ATM card with a Way2Save account or link your funds to an existing debit card. And if you do wish to manage your money from an ATM or branch, you’ll have no problem locating one. You’ll have access to more than 13,000 ATMs and about 5,400 in-person branches. But if you prefer to manage your money on-the-go, you can through the Wells Fargo mobile app or secure online portal.
To contact customer service with general banking questions or concerns, call 1-(800)-869-3557. To get online banking help, call 1-(800)-956-4442. Both lines are open 24/7. If you don’t mind a longer wait time, you can mail a letter to one of these addresses or reach out on social media through Twitter or Facebook.
Although FDIC-insured savings products from Wells Fargo have been lucrative in the past – both on their deposits and the Way2Save account – they are downright awful at the moment. They don’t come close to the national average and online institutions are offering APYs up to 20x Wells Fargo’s rates.
A Wells Fargo Way2Save savings account only has the benefit of automating the money one sets aside for savings each month. If you’re after high rates and zero fees, we’d suggest looking elsewhere.