Wells Fargo Clear Access Banking review
Don’t worry about overdraft fees with this simplified account for teens and young adults.
finder.com’s rating: 3.5 / 5.0
The Wells Fargo Clear Access Banking account is designed for teenagers and young adults learning to manage their money. The account has no overdraft fees or insufficient funds fees, but it lacks any check-writing abilities, and depending on your age, you might have to visit a branch to open the account.
$5 per month
Minimum deposit to open
|Fee||$5 per month|
|To waive the fee||If you’re 13 to 24 years old, you won’t pay a monthly fee|
|Minimum deposit to open||$25|
|ATMs||more than 13,000 ATMs in Wells Fargo’s nationwide network|
|Out-of-network ATM fee||$2.50 for using domestic ATMs outside of its network, and a $5 fee for using ATMs outside of the United States|
|Foreign transaction fee||3%|
|Nonsufficient funds fee||$0|
Michael Benninger is a staff banking writer at Finder. He is a former credit analyst and longtime freelancer whose articles have been published by Intuit, Business Insider and the Los Angeles Times. Michael is passionate about all facets of personal finance and has written hundreds of articles about money management during the past decade.
The Wells Fargo Clear Access Banking account is a no-frills checking account best for teens and young adults who don’t need to write checks and don’t want to worry about accidentally overdrawing on their accounts.
But unlike other modern teen banking accounts like Copper and Capital One Money, it doesn’t offer perks like digital budgeting tools to help teens learn how to manage their money or a competitive APY so your child can watch their money grow.
How do I open a Wells Fargo Clear Access account?
If you’re under 18 — or 19 in Alabama — you must visit a branch to open an account. Otherwise, you can open an account online in a few minutes:
- Go to the provider’s site and follow the steps to apply.
- From the Provider site, select Banking and Credit Cards, then Checking Accounts.
- Select Compare All Accounts, then choose Open Now under Clear Access Banking.
- Select whether you’re opening an individual or joint account and whether or not you’re an existing Wells Fargo customer, then select Continue.
- Fill out the About You form and select Continue.
- Choose the type of debit card you would like and whether you want to open a Wells Fargo savings account.
- Select the source of your initial deposit, review your responses and read and accept the terms.
To open a Wells Fargo Clear Access account, you first need to meet the following eligibility requirements:
- Be at least 13 to 17 years old with a joint adult co-owner or 18 years and older as a primary owner
- Deposit a minimum of $25
You must also provide the following to open a Wells Fargo Clear Access account:
- Valid Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification number
- Birth certificate or a valid driver’s license, state-issued ID, US passport or Consular Identification Card
What are the benefits of a Wells Fargo Clear Access Banking account?
Once your Clear Access Banking account is open, you can take advantage of the following benefits:
- No overdraft or NSF fees. Any purchase that brings your teen’s balance below $0 is automatically denied, which means they can learn to manage money without being dinged for mistakes.
- No monthly fees for teens and young adults. If you’re 13 to 24 years old, you won’t pay a monthly fee. But if you’re 25 and older, you’ll no longer qualify for a fee waiver will have to pay $5 a month.
- 24/7 customer service. You or your teen can contact customer service at any time if you have questions or concerns about your account.
Wells Fargo’s ATM network and fees
You can access your Clear Access Banking account from any of the more than 13,000 ATMs in Wells Fargo’s nationwide network. And if you add your account to a digital wallet, you can use Wells Fargo ATMs with your smartphone instead of your debit card. Wells Fargo charges $2.50 for using domestic ATMs outside of its network, and the bank charges a $5 fee for using ATMs outside of the United States.
What should I look out for?
There are a few drawbacks to consider before opening a Clear Access Banking account:
- No check-writing privileges. Unlike other checking accounts, Clear Access Banking doesn’t support check-writing capabilities.
- No interest. Some teen checking accounts, like Axos Bank First Checking and Alliant Credit Union Free Checking, earn a modest interest rate to reward your teen for developing good money habits, but this one doesn’t.
- May have to open in person. If your teen is between the ages of 13 and 17, you and your child must visit a local branch to open this account. But if they’re 18 or older, they can open the account online.
Wells Fargo Clear Access Banking reviews and complaints
Wells Fargo doesn’t have many fans on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) or Trustpilot. It’s not accredited with the BBB, and as of June 2021, it holds a 1.09 out of 5-star BBB rating based on 307 customer reviews and has a whopping 3,240 complaints lodged against it in the last three years. Its Trustscore is along the same vein, coming in at 1.4 out of 5 stars based on nearly 500 reviews.
Most reviews aren’t about its Clear Access account specifically, although we found that one customer was ecstatic about how his Wells Fargo Clear Access Banking account seamlessly transitioned into a regular checking account. The majority of feedback centered on its customer service. Some customers praise how the bank handles issues, including incorrect charges, while others had frustrating experiences with representatives on the phone and at their local branches.
Compare Wells Fargo Clear Access Banking with other kids checking accounts
If Wells Fargo isn’t the right fit, take a look at a few other kids checking options with assorted interest rates and monthly fees.
How do I deposit or withdraw my money?
There are several ways to move money into and out of your Clear Access Banking account.
- ATM deposits
- Branch deposits
- Mobile deposits
- Direct deposits
- Incoming bank transfers
- Incoming Zelle transfers
- Incoming wire transfers
- ATM withdrawals
- Branch withdrawals
- Cash-back at retailers
- Outgoing bank transfers
- Outgoing Zelle transfers
- Outgoing wire transfers
What other checking options does Wells Fargo offer?
Aside from the Clear Access Banking account, Wells Fargo also offers these checking accounts:
- Everyday Checking. This account for young adults aged 17 to 24 includes check-writing privileges and waives the $10 monthly fee for anyone under the age of 25, but it has a $35 overdraft fee.
- Preferred Checking. This checking account lets you earn interest on your balance and waives the $15 monthly fee if you have a Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, monthly direct deposits totaling at least $1,000 or more than $10,000 in combined minimum deposit balances.
- Portfolio by Wells Fargo. This account offers favorable interest rates, and although there’s a $30 monthly fee, you can avoid it by having $25,000 or more in linked bank deposits or at least $50,000 in combined bank, brokerage and credit balances.
- Business Checking. Wells Fargo offers three types of business checking accounts — called Initiate, Navigate and Optimize — that each offer varying features based on your business’ needs.
Frequently asked questions
Kids’ debit card ratings
★★★★★ — Excellent
★★★★★ — Good
★★★★★ — Average
★★★★★ — Subpar
★★★★★ — Poor
We analyze top debit cards for kids and rate them one to five stars based on factors that are most important to you. We rate kids’ checking accounts by these factors: Monthly fee, features, ATM access, customer support options, and availability. We also consider APY as a factor only for those that earn interest. We rate prepaid debit cards for kids by these factors: monthly fees, features, customer support options and account availability.