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Wells Fargo Checking Account Fees: How to Avoid Them

Learn what fees you'll have to pay with a Wells Fargo checking account and how you can avoid them easily.

Wells Fargo is one of the largest banks in the country, so it's no surprise that you're considering it during the search for your next checking account.

The bank operates the most extensive branch and ATM network in the U.S., which is great from a convenience standpoint.

You can gain access by opening one of several Wells Fargo checking accounts, all of which come with monthly fees -- and they can be waived if certain criteria are met.

Find out more about these checking accounts and what you can do to avoid save hundreds of dollars per year in checking account fees:

Multiple Checking Options Available

Like many banks, Wells Fargo has different checking accounts that cater to different types of consumers -- ranging from basic checking to premium checking:

  • Everyday Checking
  • Preferred Checking
  • Portfolio by Wells Fargo
  • Wells Fargo Opportunity Checking

Everyday Checking

Everyday Checking is the basic checking account available from Wells Fargo. It has a $10 monthly fee ($5 discount if you're age 17-24) that can be waived with one of the following:

  • 10 or more debit card purchase/payments
  • Qualifying direct deposits totaling $500 or more
  • $1,500 minimum daily balance
  • Have a linked Wells Fargo Campus ATM or debit card

Note: Wells Fargo Opportunity Checking has the same fee and fee waivers (minus the linked Wells Fargo Campus ATM/debit card option). With this account, you cannot write checks because it is designed for people who have trouble getting a bank account.

Wells Fargo Everyday Checking Account Fees

Type Fee
Monthly Maintenance Fee $10
Out-of-Network ATM Fee $2.50
Overdraft Fee $35
Overdraft Protection Transfer $12.50
Returned Item $35
Stop Payment $31
Deposited Item Returned or Cashed Check Returned $12
Incoming Domestic Wire Transfer $15
Incoming International Wire Transfer $16
Money Order $5
Cashiers Check $10

Preferred Checking

Preferred Checking is the next-tier checking account that you can get. It has a $15 monthly fee, which can be waived with any of the following:

  • $10,000 in combined minimum deposit balances
  • Qualifying direct deposits totaling $1,000 or more
  • A linked Wells Fargo mortgage

Wells Fargo Preferred Checking Account Fees

Type Fee
Monthly Maintenance Fee $15
Out-of-Network ATM Fee $2.50 (waived once per statement cycle)
Overdraft Fee $35
Overdraft Protection Transfer $12.50
Returned Item $35
Stop Payment $31
Deposited Item Returned or Cashed Check Returned $12
Incoming Domestic Wire Transfer $15
Incoming International Wire Transfer $16
Money Order $0
Cashiers Check $0

Portfolio by Wells Fargo

This is the top-tier interest-checking account from Wells Fargo -- ideal for people who manage a large amount of their finances with the bank. It has a hefty $30 monthly fee that can be waive with either of:

  • $25,000 or more in linked qualifying bank deposits
  • $50,000 or more in linked qualifying bank, brokerage, and credit balances

Portfolio by Wells Fargo Checking Account Fees

Type Fee
Monthly Maintenance Fee $30
Out-of-Network ATM Fee $0 (ATM operator fees may still apply)
Overdraft Fee $35
Overdraft Protection Transfer $12.50
Returned Item $35
Stop Payment $31 ($0 with a $250,000 balance)
Deposited Item Returned or Cashed Check Returned $12
Incoming Domestic Wire Transfer $15 ($0 with a $250,000 balance)
Incoming International Wire Transfer $16
Money Order $0
Cashiers Check $0

How to Avoid the Wells Fargo Value Checking Monthly Account Fee

Most banking customers do not keep a substantial amount of money in their checking accounts, usually because they either feel that is it more profitable to save the money in a high-yield savings account or simply don’t have that much money.

Others don’t necessarily have the option of receiving direct deposit from wages, Social Security income, or other retirement benefits. Hope isn’t lost yet for free checking from Wells Fargo.

Try an ACH credit transfer

Wells Fargo may consider certain ACH credit transfers to be direct deposits. Current Wells Fargo customers have been able to transfer funds from online savings accounts, through banks such as Ally Bank and PayPal into their Wells Fargo checking accounts to find that these ACH credit transfers triggered a direct deposit alert.

It would be a viable method of curtailing the monthly account fee for customers trying to maintain “free” checking.

It would not hurt for current Wells Fargo Value Checking account customers to give it a try.

  1. Set up account alerts to notify you when a direct deposit of $250 or more is posted to your account.
  2. Initiate a $250 transfer from an external bank account into your checking account.
  3. If the ACH credit triggers an account alert, you can set up monthly automatic transfers to move money back and forth with little effort and, all the while, avoiding the $5 monthly account fee.

Note: Wells Fargo may change their computer systems and nullify this method at any time.

Make small debit card purchases

For some people, it's not the best to make purchases with debit cards. More often than not, you'd probably prefer to use a rewards credit card to get something back from your spending.

If you want to use your debit card to avoid the monthly fees on your checking account, you can always just limit the debit card usage on minor purchases. Meanwhile, save the bigger purchases on a rewards credit card.

Making a Stronger Case for Online Checking Accounts

Many people can bank without using a physical branch -- online banks may be a better alternative.

The major benefit is that checking accounts from online banks are able to charge lower fees and offer higher interest rates.

Most online checking accounts don't have any monthly fees, so there are no waiver requirements to worry about.