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Wells Fargo Prime Checking account review

Wells Fargo Prime Checking
2.5
★★★★★
Finder score
Fee
$15 per month
APY
0.05%
Minimum deposit to open
$25

Our verdict

An interest-bearing checking account designed for customers with high balances.

The Prime Checking account can earn you interest if you carry a balance over $0, but said rate hardly stands up to interest-bearing checking accounts from other providers. The monthly fee can also get in the way of growing your hard-earned cash if you don't qualify for it to be waived. It does come with online account management tools and overdraft protection, but that may not be enough value to balance the potential service fee, longer processing times and limited branch availability.

Pros

  • Earn interest
  • Wide-ranging support
  • Mobile app
  • Easy access
  • Overdraft protection
  • Tools

Cons

  • Opening deposit requirement
  • Monthly service fee
  • Overdraft fees
  • Miscellaneous fees
  • Longer processing times
  • Limited branch availability

In this guide

  • Our verdict
  • Your reviews
  • Ask a question

How do I open a Wells Fargo Prime Checking account?

You can open this account online, by phone or at a branch:

Online

  1. Go to the provider’s site and follow the steps to apply.
  2. From the Wells Fargo website, hover over Banking and Cards, then click Checking accounts.
  3. Click Compare all accounts.
  4. Scroll down to Prime Checking and click Open Now.
  5. Choose an individual or joint account, then sign in if you have a Wells Fargo online banking account.
  6. Enter your personal information, verify all details and click Continue.
  7. Choose your account options, fund your initial deposit and review the terms.
  8. Submit your application.

By phone

Call 877-250-2239 at any time to speak with a customer service representative.

At a branch

Make an appointment or visit your local branch to get started.

Eligibility

To open this account, you’ll need to meet a few eligibility requirements:

  • Make a minimum deposit of at least $25.
  • Have a valid Social Security number or tax ID
  • Have a valid state-issued ID
  • Have a valid US address

Required information

Regardless of how you choose to open an account, you’ll be asked for the following information:

  • Name and date of birth
  • Address
  • Social Security or tax ID number
  • Driver’s license or other state-issued ID
  • Contact information
  • Employment information

What are the benefits of the Wells Fargo Prime Checking account?

  • Earn interest. You’ll earn 0.05% interest on any balance above $0.
  • Wide-ranging support. Get customer service anytime you need it with 24/7 support.
  • Mobile app. Download the mobile app to send payments, deposit checks and more.
  • Easy access. This account comes with a debit card that offers fee-free access to over 13,000 ATMs and 5,800 branches.
  • Overdraft protection. Choose from two optional overdraft services that ensure your transactions are covered.
  • Tools. Get access to a suite of budgeting and spending tools that help you get the most out of your money.

Wells Fargo ATM network and fees

The Wells Fargo Visa debit card allows you to make purchases almost anywhere and comes with chip technology to protect your account when you shop. You’ll get free access to over 13,000 Wells Fargo ATMs and 5,800 branches. But if you choose to use a non-Wells Fargo ATM, you’ll be charged the following fees:

  • Domestic ATM fee: $2.50 per withdrawal, transfer or inquiry — plus fees from the ATM owner
  • Foreign ATM fee: $5 per withdrawal — plus fees from the ATM owner

What should I look out for?

  • Opening deposit requirement. This account requires a $25 minimum deposit to open.
  • Monthly service fee. There’s a $15 monthly fee which Wells Fargo will waive if you:
    • Maintain a monthly $10,000 in combined deposit balances.
    • Schedule direct deposits totaling at least $1,000 a month.
    • Link a Wells Fargo mortgage account.
  • Overdraft fees. You’ll be charged $35 for each transaction that overdraws your account.
  • Miscellaneous fees. Wells Fargo has higher fees than some of its competitors, so watch out for things like stop payments and lost cards.
  • Longer processing times. Wells Fargo doesn’t process transactions on weekends, which can lead to longer processing time for transactions and payments.
  • Limited branch availability. Wells Fargo has no branches in HI, KY, LA, MA, ME, MO, NH, OK, RI, VT or WV.

Before you sign up, you may want to compare your checking options to find the best account for your financial needs.

Case study: Adrian’s experience – April 2019

profile pic

Adrian Tomkins
Senior Product Manager

I went with a Wells Fargo checking account because it was recommended by a close friend when I first arrived in the US. The process for getting started was straightforward and relatively fast.

I’ve had the account for almost a decade now and only have a couple of small grievances.

I was disappointed when I was charged a fee for a check.
I was also surprised by the high fees charged for international money transfers, but that appears to be a fairly common drawback across all banks — money transfer services are typically much better.
Overall, the account has proved satisfactory for my needs. The convenience found in the number of branches and ATMs works well for me, and I’ve always been impressed with the customer service, especially in branches.

Compare with other checking accounts

Name Product Fee Minimum deposit to open Annual Percentage Yield (APY) Offer
SoFi Checking and Savings
Finder Score: 4.5 / 5: ★★★★★
Bonus
SoFi Checking and Savings
$0 per month
$0
4.60% on balances of $0+
0.50% on balances of $0+
1.20% on balances of $0+
Get up to $300 cash bonus with qualifying direct deposit. Terms apply. This offer is available until June 30, 2024.
Earn up to 4.60% APY on savings by meeting deposit requirements, and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Members without deposit requirements will earn 0.50% APY on both savings and checking balances. Turn on automatic savings or use the Roundups feature to help you reach your savings goals faster. Get up to $2M of additional FDIC insurance through a network of participating banks.
Upgrade Rewards Checking Plus
Finder Score: 4.3 / 5: ★★★★★
Upgrade Rewards Checking Plus
$0 per month
$0
N/A
Earn up to 2% cashback rewards on everyday purchases. Pay $0 fees for overdraft, domestic wire transfer and monthly maintenance. Member FDIC.
Cash Card by Cash App
Finder Score: 4.4 / 5: ★★★★★
Cash Card by Cash App
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$0
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The Cash App Cash Card lets you pay for goods and services both online and in stores using your Cash App balance. Enjoy features like ATM access, direct deposit, instant discounts at select stores and a customizable card.
Axos Bank Rewards Checking
Finder Score: 4.2 / 5: ★★★★★
Bonus
Axos Bank Rewards Checking
$0 per month
$0
3.30% on balances of $0 to $50,000
Use promo code AXOS300 and apply by June 30th, 2024, to earn up to $300 bonus, $50 each month you meet requirements: Make direct deposits of $5,000+ each month for the first 7 months and maintain an average balance of $7,000.
Earn up to 3.3% APY after meeting rate requirements. Get ATM free reimbursements at all domestic ATMs. Pay $0 monthly or overdraft fees. FDIC insured.
Chime® Checking Account
Finder Score: 4.8 / 5: ★★★★★
Chime® Checking Account
$0 per month
$0
N/A
Save easily and access your paycheck up to 2 days early with direct deposit. Pay $0 monthly fees, and no minimum balance is required. Access 24/7 support and get daily balance and transaction alerts. FDIC insured.
Current
Finder Score: 4.6 / 5: ★★★★★
Bonus
Current
$0 per month
$0
4.00% on balances of $0.01 to $2,000
Get a $50 referral bonus by inviting your friends to join Current. Once the person receives the invite link and makes qualifying deposits of at least $200 within 45 days of opening the account, you and the referred friend each earn $50
Earn 4% bonus on the first $2,000 in each savings pods. Also get budgeting tools, early direct deposit and up to 15x cashback points. All with no monthly fee or opening deposit requirement. Member FDIC.
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How much do I need to open an account?

There’s a minimum deposit of $25 to open this account.

What other checking options does Wells Fargo offer?

If you want to explore other options, Wells Fargo offers several other checking accounts:

  • Wells Fargo Clear Access Banking. Never pay an overdraft fee with this account that’s free for kids and students age 13 to 24, but you won’t be able to write checks.
  • Wells Fargo Everyday Checking. A low-fee checking account that provides easy access to your money when you need it.
  • Wells Fargo Opportunity Checking. If you can’t qualify for another checking account because of past credit history, this limited account can help you get back on your feet.
  • Wells Fargo Portfolio Checking. A full-feature checking for a higher monthly fee.

Frequently asked questions

Checking account ratings

★★★★★ — Excellent

★★★★★ — Good

★★★★★ — Average

★★★★★ — Subpar

★★★★★ — Poor

We analyze top checking accounts and rate them one to five stars based on factors that are most important to you. These factors include: monthly fees, the ease at which monthly fees can be waived, the breadth of ATM access, ATM and overdraft fees, and customer service.

Read the full methodology of how we rate checking accounts.

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