You may have heard of, or even used, Wells Fargo’s past checking accounts with debit cards for teenagers. However, both the Wells Fargo Teen Checking and Wells Fargo Opportunity Checking accounts have been discontinued by Wells Fargo and are not offered in 2022.
Today, the Wells Fargo Clear Access Banking account takes their place and combines many of their best features.
This account is a basic checking account with no check writing capabilities. It comes with a secure debit card with chip technology and must be opened in a branch with an adult co-owner. It requires a minimum deposit of $25 or more.
To see if this account meets your family and child’s needs, continue reading our review below.
Who is it For?
Average age: 13 to 16.
Good candidate: Younger teens who want a simple checking account, a secure debit card with chip technology, no overdraft fees and low account balances.
Kids aged 13 to 17 must open the account in a branch and kids 13 to 16 need to have an adult co-owner. Once you’re 18 you can open the account online and by yourself.
From age 18 to 24 you can enjoy this account fee free, however once you turn 25 you’ll need to meet monthly balance and activity requirements to avoid a $5 fee.
Noteworthy Features and Benefits
Lack of fees. There are no monthly service fees for ages 13 – 24, no overdraft fees and no non-sufficient fund fees.
This account helps people manage, save and spend their money wisely with budgeting, cash flow, and spending tools.
Account holders will have access to the vast Wells Fargo ATM and branch network with approximately 12,000 Wells Fargo ATMs. You can use your contactless debit card or digital wallet to make free ATM withdrawals.
This is also an ideal account for those looking for a second chance bank account that are unable to open standard checking accounts due to past credit history.
Features and Benefits for Parents
When a parent and teen open a Wells Fargo Clear Access Banking account, they become joint account owners with the parent as the primary account holder.
Parents can stay on top of their child’s spending by setting up alerts that can be sent via email, text, or push notification in the Wells Fargo Mobile App.
Wells Fargo is committed to account safety. They offer Zero Liability protection which reimburses you for any promptly reported unauthorized transactions. They also offer 24/7 customer support and fraud monitoring.
With the Wells Fargo Mobile App parents and kids can pay bills, deposit checks, send and receive money with Zelle and set up alerts. Zelle allows you to send money to friends and family similar to Paypal or Venmo by using a phone number. Both ends of the transaction must be enrolled in Zelle.
Features and Benefits for Teens
Teens get a simple, yet reasonably high tech account that offers secure chip technology, digital payments and a mobile app for easy account management.
Use the Wells Fargo Card Design Studio service to design a card that is custom to you.
The mobile app can be downloaded on iPhones and Androids and can be used on most smartphones and tablets. With the app you’ll have the ability to check your balance, pay your bills and send money digitally.
Fees and Costs
For most day to day usage there will likely be no little in the way of fees. There are no overdraft fees and non-sufficient fund fees. There are also no service fees for account holders aged 13 – 24. On your 25th birthday you may be subject to a $5/month fee if you do not meet monthly balance and/or activity requirements.
Here’s a full breakdown of fees:
|Wells Fargo ATM Fee||$0|
|ATM Fee: Out-of-Network||$2.50|
|Debit Card Design Studio Fee||$0|
|Debit Card Replacement Fee||$0|
|Foreign Transaction Fee (Debit Card)||3%|
|Monthly Fee||$0 – $5|
|Online Bill Pay Fee||$0|
|Paper Statement Fee||$0|
|Returned Deposit Fee (Domestic)||$12|
|Returned Deposit Fee (International)||$12|
|Wire Transfer Fee – Domestic (Incoming)||$15|
|Wire Transfer Fee – Domestic (Outgoing)||$30|
|Wire Transfer Fee – International (Incoming)||$16|
|Wire Transfer Fee – International (Outgoing)||$40|
Wells Fargo Clear Access Banking vs Competitors
One of the primary benefits of the Wells Fargo Clear Access Banking account over competitors is its simplicity. It’s a simple and secure checking account with a debit card using chip technology.
You can do all the basic stuff on the mobile app like monitor activity, send and receive money and pay bills. The account also has limited fees as noted above.
If you’re looking for a more robust account however, there’s been an explosion of new FinTech companies offering sophisticated apps with debit cards that have chore management features, financial literacy courses, etc. To see a rundown of these products, check out our best debit cards for kids and teens report for 2022.
Depending on how you’d planned to use this account you have some concerns. For example, if you are accustomed to writing checks this account won’t be for you as there is no check writing capability at all.
If you tend to send or receive wire transfers, you’ll find this account to be a bit expensive as Wells Fargo’s wire fees are higher than other banks and credit unions.
If you were expecting an interest rate on your balance or a sign up bonus for opening an account, you’ll be let down as this account provides neither.
Lastly, if there aren’t many Wells Fargo branches in your area and will need to make out of network ATM withdrawals you’ll face a $2.50 fee for each from Wells Fargo. Remember, this is on top of whatever that particular bank or ATM is charging. This is costlier than other banks and credit unions – many of which don’t have their own fees for out of network ATM usage.
There is little in the way of customer reviews for the Wells Fargo Clear Access Banking account since it is still relatively new and replaced two former accounts, but there is plenty of data on how people feel about banking with Wells Fargo.
Out of 750 reviews on Consumer Affairs, Wells Fargo receives an average rating of 3.5/5 stars.
Out of 513 reviews on the Better Business Bureau, Wells Fargo receives an average rating of just 1.07/5 stars with many links of government action against the institution involving the business’ marketplace conduct.
The Wells Fargo Mobile Banking app, which you’d use as a Clear Access Banking customer, has a 4.8/5 star rating with 6.7 million ratings on the App Store and a 4.7/5 star rating on Google Play with just over 1.4 million ratings.
Is it Safe?
Like any other checking account with an accredited financial institution, this checking account is FDIC-insured up to the federally allowed limit of $250,000.
The account also comes with:
- 24/7 fraud monitoring
- Account activity alerts that can be sent via text, email or in the app
- Zero liability protection. Get reimbursed for any promptly reported un-authorized card transactions.
- debit card with chip technology for added security
How to Sign Up
An adult parent or guardian must be present with the teen age 13 – 16 and go into a local Wells Fargo branch to open this account. For those aged 17 you can open the account on your own by going into a local branch. Anyone over the age of 18 can open the account online here.
What you’ll need to apply:
Adult co-owners and kid(s) will need the following if applicable:
- Social Security number (or ITIN)
- Valid ID (driver’s license, state ID, Matricula card)
- $25 for minimum deposit to open account