Back in July, Wells Fargo started the ripple, which would turn into the wave of big banks dropping their Free Checking accounts due to federal regulations. Since then, Wells Fargo has reorganized their checking accounts, by introducing new relationship packages and checking fees.
Current Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) members in most cases have already experienced the reorganization of checking accounts, but for those who have not, or areconsidering Wells Fargo, here is a summary of their offerings.
Wells Fargo prefers relationship checking accounts
Unless you are between the ages of 13 to 17 and qualify for their Teen Checking account, the only checking account available to those who do not want to avoid monthly fees by opening a savings account is the Wells Fargo Value Checking.
Wells Fargo Value Checking: This is the closet you will get to a free checking account with the bank, Value Checking offers no interest, no free online bill pay and is essentially an account for those who do not want to keep their money under their mattress.
Back in July Wells Fargo changed their Basic checking account to become the Value Checking account. Below are the new fees and requirements.
- Minimum Opening Deposit – $100
- Monthly Service Fee – $5
- Waive Fee – Monthly Direct Deposit of $250 per deposit (not combined) OR maintain an average daily balance of $1,500
With the change we saw the monthly fee go from $2 to $5, minimum balance requirements increase from $1,000 to $1,500 and simple direct deposit become a minimum non-combined $250 direct deposit.
Open a savings account or pay a fee
Once you move past the Wells Fargo Value Checking, checking accounts will require you to open a savings account or be forced to pay an avoidable minimum monthly service fee. This new direction was Wells Fargo’s response to covering the revenue losses caused by new Fed rules.
Wells Fargo offers three types of checking packages, the first two are very similar, and with the only difference being one is designed for college students and carries a monthly fee of only $3 compared to the non-student package which carries a monthly fee of $10.
Wells Fargo Custom Management Package: This checking account requires you to also carry a Goal Savings Account. Both the checking and savings accounts carry their own requirements to avoid fees and from what we can gather the only additional benefit over the Value Checking is free online bill pay.
For the college students looking for a new account, we should point out that the college checking option carries fewer requirements to avoid fees. Fee and information on the College Combo can be viewed here.
Wells Fargo Complete Advantage Package: The first of two Wells Fargo accounts that are interest earning. Along with being interest earning, the account also offers check replenishment discounts and free online bill pay. Unlike the Custom Management and College Combo, which carries a Goal Savings account, the Complete Advantage is paired with a Money Market Savings account.
The current APY as of 01.03.2011 for this checking account is 0.05% and requires a $500 minimum deposit to earn interest.
Tip: Avoid both monthly service fees by setting up a recurring $75 transfer from your Complete Advantage Checking account to your Money Market Savings account.
A Checking Account for those who invest
Wells Fargo PMA Prime Checking Package: Wells Fargo final checking option, actually offers the best opportunity to earn a competitive interest rate as long as you also carry a credit account, such as a home mortgages and or a brokerage account with the bank.
As of 01.03.2011 the PMA Prime Checking offered the following rates:
- $0 – $24,999.99 – 0.05% APY
- $25,000 – $99,999.99 – 0.15% APY
- $100,000 or more – 0.25% APY
You can open the PMA package with only a $100, but it does carry a monthly fee of $30 when statement-ending balances in qualifying accounts total less than $25,000.
If the PMA Package is terminated your account will be automatically converted to the Wells Fargo Complete Advantage Checking account.