Chase and Wells Fargo have over 11,000 branch offices combined, provide checking and savings accounts, certificates of deposit, extensive ATM networks, and intuitive websites coupled with easy-to-use banking apps. So how do you choose between Chase vs Wells Fargo?
Regardless of whether checking or savings accounts, fees, # of ATMs, or # of branches are important to you, a clear winner exists in almost every category.
Whichever bank you choose, you will find nationwide coverage and around-the-clock customer support. So which bank is best: Chase or Wells Fargo?
Table of Contents
- Which Is The Best Bank To Use?
- Where Wells Fargo Bank Shines
- Where Chase Bank Shines
- Chase vs Wells Fargo: Where They Are Equal
- How To Waive Checking Account Fees
- How To Waive Savings Account Fees
- Compare Chase vs Wells Fargo: The Bottom Line
Which Is The Best Bank To Use?
For years, Wells Fargo had a stellar brand name. It was known to be a conservative bank that assessed risk carefully and navigated the 2008-9 stock market crash better than many of its rivals.
It has long been a favorite of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway because of its strong balance sheet and conservative lending approach.
But Wells Fargo has seen its fair share of turmoil in recent years. For example, it was hit with lawsuits following its admission of dubious practices to goose financial reports.
On the other hand, Chase has grown from strength to strength and earns high marks for products like the Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ credit card, which is among the very best credit cards offered by any bank.
If you look only at recent history, Chase seems like the better choice but when we compare Wells Fargo vs Chase side-by-side, it’s no slam dunk.
In fact, Wells Fargo may be a better choice for many customers.
Where Wells Fargo Bank Shines
Compared to Chase, Wells Fargo has many more nationwide branches. Over 6,000 feature in its network compared to 5,100 at Chase.
But unless you are a frequent traveler, other factors are probably more important to you.
From checking accounts to certificates of deposit, here are the categories where Wells Fargo comes out on top when compared to Chase.
|Checking Account||Monthly Fees||$10|
($5 if aged 17 → 24)
|Certificates of Deposit||APY 1-Year CD||0.05%||0.01%|
|APY 3-Year CD||0.80% → 0.85%|
(39 month CD)
|APY 5-Year CD||1.01% → 1.06%|
(58 month CD)
|# Branches||Nationwide Branches||6,000||5,100|
|Overdraft Fee||Extended Overdraft Fee||$0||$12.50|
Checking Account Fees
For fee sensitive customers, Wells Fargo has a slight edge over Chase in bank checking accounts.
It may only be an extra few bucks a month, but over time that can add up to some decent savings in your pocket versus the bank’s!
CD Savings Rates
If savings rates are a priority for you, Wells Fargo has the edge with its certificates of deposit.
The APY on 1-year, 3-year, and 5-year CDs are all more favorable than the equivalent rates offered by Chase.
You will need to tie up your money longer at Wells Fargo but you are more than compensated for so doing.
For example, on a “3-year” Wells Fargo CD, you will actually need to lock up your money for 3 years and 3 months but the reward for so doing is a much higher annual percentage yield (APY) compared to Chase.
When it comes to extended overdraft fees, Wells Fargo won’t hit you with any penalty whereas Chase charges $12.50 per transfer.
Where Chase Bank Shines
Where Chase shines when compared to Wells Fargo is it provides customers lower fees on overdrafts, lower minimum deposit thresholds on Certificates of Deposit, and sign up bonuses for checking and savings accounts.
|Checking Account||Sign Up Bonus||–||✅|
|Savings Account||Sign Up Bonus||–||✅|
|Certificates of Deposit||Minimum Deposit||$2,500||$1,000|
|Overdraft Fees||Overdraft Fee||$35||$34|
|Overdraft Protection Fee||$12.50||$0|
|Banking App||iOS or Android||✅||✅✅|
Chase also has a slightly larger network of ATMs nationwide and a superior banking app.
Chase vs Wells Fargo:
Where They Are Equal
Wells Fargo and Chase are virtually identical when it comes to minimum checking account deposit levels, out-of-network and international ATM fees, savings account interest rates, and customer support access.
|Checking Account||Minimum Deposit||$25||$25|
|ATM Fee||Out of Network||$2.50||$2.50|
|Savings Account||Monthly Fees||$5||$5|
|Customer Support||Time/Day||All day everyday||All day everyday|
How To Waive Checking Account Fees
Although both Chase and Wells Fargo impose checking account fees, it is possible to waive them.
How To Waive Chase Checking Account Fees
At Chase, the best ways to waive fees are to keep your checking account balance above $1,500 or to keep your overall balance above $5,000 in multiple accounts.
If you receive $500 or more monthly in direct deposits, that also qualifies you for free checking account privileges.
|Daily Balance Across Multiple|
|Monthly Direct Deposits||$500+|
How To Waive Wells Fargo Checking Account Fees
At Wells Fargo, the best ways to waive fees are to keep a daily balance of $1,500 or more, receive monthly direct deposits of $500 or more, or use your debit card monthly at least ten times.
|Monthly Debit Card Purchases||10 or more|
|Monthly Direct Deposits||$500+|
College kids may also waive fees by linking to an ATM or debit card.
How To Waive Savings Account Fees
Similarly, you can waive Savings Account fees at both Chase and Wells Fargo.
How To Waive Chase Savings Account Fees
As long as you have a daily balance above $300, you can waive savings account fees.
Other ways to enjoy a free Chase savings account is to link to a premium Chase checking account, transfer at least $25 monthly, or be under the age of 18.
|Link to:||Premium Chase Checking Account|
|Monthly Automatic Transfer||$25|
How To Waive Wells Fargo Savings Account Fees
Similarly, Wells Fargo waives savings account fees when daily balances of $300 are held.
Fees are also waived for individuals under the age of 18 and for account holders who make monthly automatic transfers.
|Monthly Automatic Transfer||> $0|
Compare Chase vs Wells Fargo:
The Bottom Line
Chase and Wells Fargo both have nationwide branch offices, extensive ATM networks, and around-the-clock customer support.
When it comes to minimum deposits on checking and savings accounts, and out-of-network and international ATM fees, you can’t separate them either.
Where they diverge is on the interest you can earn on certificates of deposit where Wells Fargo offers significantly more attractive yield.
It also charges lower monthly checking account fees and won’t penalize you with extended overdraft fees.
However, checking and savings account fees can easily be waived at both banks by meeting some reasonable daily balance or transfer requirements.
Where Chase has the edge over Wells Fargo is in three areas. It has one of the best credit cards on the market for individuals with excellent credit (Chase Sapphire Reserve), lower minimum account balance requirements on CDs, and offers attractive sign-up bonuses for new customers.
Plus, Chase won’t hit you with an overdraft protection fee as Wells Fargo does.
Have you compared Chase Vs Wells Fargo and found other differences? Tell us more, we would love to hear from you.