Wells Fargo is testing a new basic checking account in three states, with plans to extend it to other states after collecting customer feedback. The account aims to consolidate some of the bank’s checking accounts for a more streamlined suite of checking products.The new Wells Fargo Everyday Checking account was launched on Nov. 18 in Arizona, North Carolina and South Carolina under the pilot program.
“We’re going to see how consumers respond, then we’ll decide where to go with the account,” said Richele Messick, a Wells Fargo spokesperson. “It does replace several checking accounts with simplification in mind.”
The Everyday Checking account has a $10 monthly fee that can be waived by: (a) making 10 debit card purchases or payments, (b) post a total of $500 in combined direct deposits, (c) maintain a $1,500 minimum daily balance, or (d) linking to a Wells Fargo Campus ATM or Campus debit card.
The monthly service fee is $5 if the primary account owner is age 17 to 24.
Everyday Checking vs. Value Checking
In Wells Fargo’s other markets, the basic checking account offered is the Value Checking account.
The Value Checking account has a $7 monthly fee ($9 for customers who also want paper statements) that can be avoided posting total direct deposits of $500 or maintaining a $1,500 minimum daily balance.
Value Checking does not come with free online bill pay while the service is free with the Everyday Checking account. Wells Fargo charges $3 per month for online bill pay (first two months free).
For customers who prefer paper statements and want to use online bill pay, the Everyday Checking account ends up being less expensive. Furthermore, the additional fee-waiver option through debit card purchases and payments may allow more customers to avoid the monthly service fee.
Also, students are going to have different options when looking for a checking account at Wells Fargo.
In non-test states, college students can get a College Checking account, which has a $3 monthly fee. The account’s fee waiver requires that customers maintain a $500 minimum daily balance or direct deposit of at least $25, and the account must be linked to the Way2Save Savings account, a Wells Fargo Campus ATM or Campus debit card or Wells Fargo PMA package.
There is no designated student checking account in the three test states. Instead, students are pointed toward the Everyday Checking account, which would cost $5 per month if the primary account owner is 17 to 24 years old. However, it might not be too difficult for students to make 10 debit card purchases or payments to avoid the monthly fee.