Wells Fargo vs. Bank of America Checking Accounts Review

Oct 05, 2017 | Be First to Comment!

Wells Fargo and Bank of America apps
Wells Fargo and Bank of America apps

Choosing the right bank for your lifestyle is not an easy decision to make. Depending on what types of features you are looking for, where you live and a variety of other factors could determine the bank you want to open an account with.

Wells Fargo and Bank of America® are two of America's biggest and most popular banks. What type of accounts does each bank have, and what should you expect to pay for common fees? Find out what each bank has to offer with the following comparison.

Wells Fargo vs. Bank of America®

Bank of America® is one of the world's largest financial institutions, serving individual consumers, small- and middle-market businesses and large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management and more. It operates in 32 states, the District of Columbia and 30 foreign countries.

Wells Fargo is a nationwide, diversified, community-based financial services company. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through more than 9,000 stores, 12,000 ATMs, and other distribution channels across North America and internationally.

Here is some additional information as well as a comparison of fees for Wells Fargo and Bank of America®:

Wells Fargo vs. Bank of America

Fees and Information Wells Fargo Bank of America
Non-Bank ATM fee $2.50 $2.50
Non-sufficient funds (overdraft) $35 $35
Stop payment $30 $31
Return deposit $35 $35
Domestic wire transfer (outbound) $25 $30
Domestic wire transfer (inbound) $15 $15

Bank of America® Checking Accounts

Core Checking Account

The Bank of America® Core Checking is the basic checking account type that can be opened from the bank. This bank account is good for people who use direct deposit and simply need a simple account to hold and manage their money. Opening this account requires a low deposit.

There is a $12 monthly, but that can be waived by either:

  • Maintaining a minimum daily balance of $1,500
  • Having at least one qualifying direct deposit of at least $250 into your account on a monthly basis
  • Being a student under the age of 24

Bank of America Core Checking® Account Fees

Type Fee
Monthly Maintenance Fee $12
Out-of-Network ATM Fee $2.50
Overdraft Fee $35
Returned Item $35
Stop Payment $30
Deposited Item Returned or Cashed Check Returned $12
Incoming Domestic Wire Transfer $15
Incoming International Wire Transfer $16
Money Order $5
Cashiers Check $10

Bank of America Interest Checking Account

This type of account is ideal for someone who is interested in keeping their account balance high, and who wants multiple interest accounts with complimentary services.

The major appeal about opening this account is that you earn interest on your balance. Other features include no fees for money orders and cashiers checks, three additional interest checking accounts and four savings accounts with no monthly maintenance fee and no fee for overdraft protection transfers from a linked deposit account.

There is a $25 monthly maintenance fee that can be waived by maintaining a balance of $10,000.

Bank of America Interest Checking® Account Fees

Type Fee
Monthly Maintenance Fee $25
Out-of-Network ATM Fee $2.50
Overdraft Fee $35
Overdraft Protection Transfer $0
Returned Item $35
Stop Payment $0
Deposited Item Returned or Cashed Check Returned $12
Incoming Domestic Wire Transfer $15
Incoming International Wire Transfer $16
Money Order $0
Cashiers Check $0

Related: View Bank of America Checking Accounts Sign-Up Bonus Deals

Wells Fargo Checking Accounts

Everyday Checking Account

The Everyday Checking is Wells Fargo's basic checking option. This checking account is primarily for anyone who is interested in a simple account. Opening this account requires a minimum deposit of $25.

There is a monthly maintenance fee of $10 that can be waived by either:

  • Maintaining a minimum balance of $1,500
  • Receiving a total of $500 in qualifying direct deposits every month
  • Post 10 or more debit card purchases/payments
  • Be linked to a Wells Fargo Campus ATM or debit card (students)

The account features include free access to Wells Fargo online banking, a platinum debit card, account alerts and mobile banking options. This account can also be convenient for students.

Preferred Checking Account

The Preferred Checking account is a mid-tier account for Wells Fargo customers who want some more banking perks. Some of the increased benefits include:

  • Earn interest on balances of $500 or more
  • One waived non-Wells Fargo ATM transaction per month
  • Free money orders and cashier's checks

Understandably, this account can be a little more expensive with tougher fee-waiver requirements. To avoid the $15 monthly fee, you must either:

  • Have a minimum $10,000 in combined deposit balances
  • Have qualifying direct deposits totaling $1,000 or more
  • Have a Wells Fargo mortgage

If you can easily meet these requirements, the added benefits would help cut the costs of some of your banking needs.

Portfolio by Wells Fargo®

Portfolio by Wells Fargo® is the premium checking account offered by the bank. It comes with an extensive list of additional benefits that include interest earnings, fee waivers for many bank services, and fee for using non-Wells Fargo ATMs. With larger balance tiers, the account will even provide rate discounts on Wells Fargo loans, ATM fee refunds, credit card bonus rewards, and more.

The account has a $30 monthly fee, which can be waived with either:

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

The Verdict

Generally, the options offered by the two big banks are very similar, especially if you're considering just a basic checking account. Either entry-level checking account from Bank of America® and Wells Fargo will do just fine.

Wells Fargo offers a couple premium banking account options while Bank of America® offers the one extra interest-checking option. However, Bank of America® has a Preferred Rewards program that allows all checking account customers to gain more benefits based on their increased relationship with the bank -- essentially, the more deposits in Bank of America® accounts, the more benefits. These benefits are similar to what you'd get with the premium Wells Fargo checking accounts.

Again, generally, the premium checking offerings will end up to be very similar.

What your choice ultimately comes down to is your unique financial situation. How much money do you plan to keep with the bank? Then, you can see which account offers the most benefits while you're still able to avoid the monthly fees. Furthermore, you should consider the proximity of the branches and ATMs to your home and places that you frequently visit.

Compare to Online Bank Checking Accounts

More: View MyBankTracker Best Checking Accounts Picks
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