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 and Bank of America®
Bank of America® is one of the worlds 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.
Based on MyBankTracker.com’s customer reviews, Bank of America® has an overall B grade on its banking report card.
Wells Fargo & Company is a nationwide, diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.3 trillion in assets. 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, the Internet (WellsFargo.com and Wachovia.com), and other distribution channels across North America and internationally.
Based on MyBankTracker.com’s customer reviews, Wells Fargo has an overall B+ grade on its banking report card.
Here is some additional information as well as a comparison of fees for Wells Fargo and Bank of America®
Fees and Information Wells Fargo Bank of America
Number of locations 5,380 6,236
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
The two checking accounts
Bank of America®
Basic: 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 a core checking account requires a low deposit. There is a $12 maintenance, but that can be waived by either maintaining a balance of at least $250, or by having at least one qualifying direct deposit into your account on a monthly basis. Also, students under the age of 23 may have their maintenance fee waived, which means it’s is good for students or someone who simply wants a place to hold their money.
Advance: The advance checking account from Bank of America® is the Bank of America® Interest Checking. 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 an interest checking 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 rates
- Less than $10,000 = 0.01% APY
- $10,000 – $99,999 = 0.02% APY
- $100,000 and higher = 0.03% APY
Basic: The Value Checking is the Wells Fargo 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 $50. There is a monthly maintenance fee of $9 (or $7 with paperless statements) that can be waived by maintaining a minimum balance of $1,500 or by receiving a total of $500 in qualifying direct deposits every month. 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. The minimum requirements for fee waivers may be a bit tough to achieve, which can force you to pay maintenance fees you’d want to avoid.
Intermediate: The Way2Save checking package is a bundle of both a checking and savings account. To open this type of account you are required to provide a minimum deposit of $50 in your checking account, as well as a $25 balance in your savings account. A $12 ($10 for paperless statements) monthly maintenance fee is applied to the checking account, which can be waived by maintaining a balance of at least $2,000, by completing 10 debit card purchases and/or payments a month or through receiving a total of $750 in qualifying direct deposits a month. The savings account has a monthly service fee of $5 that can be waived by maintaining a minimum balance of $300, completing a $1 daily automatic transfer, completing a $25 monthly automatic transfer or enrolling in the Save As You Go transfer option. In addition to the features available in the Wells Fargo Value Checking, the Way2Save checking package also provides a free online bill pay feature.
Advance: The Wells Fargo PMA package is one for people who are interested in opening an interest-bearing checking account. All that is required to open this checking account is a minimum deposit of $50. The total balance in your account will determine how much interest you earn with this premier checking account.
Wells Fargo PMA interest rates
- $0 – $4,999.99 = 0.01% APY
- $5,000 – $99,999.99 = 0.05% APY
- $100,000 or more = 0.08% APY
The features included with this checking account are vast. By having a PMA checking account you are eligible for fee waivers for common banking services, bonus interest rates on other packages (such as CDs) and discounts on other products or services. Additionally, you are given access to superior customer support via phone 24/7.
There is a $30 monthly service fee. The fee can be avoided by maintaining a minimum balance of $25,000 in linked bank deposit accounts (checking, savings, CDs, FDIC-insured IRAs), or by maintaining a balance of $50,000 or more in both linked banking accounts as well as brokerage accounts through Wells Fargo.
There is no real difference between the basic checking accounts between Bank of America® and Wells Fargo other than the maintenance fee amount. Bank of America®’s basic checking account may be more appealing for consumers since only a balance of $250 is required to avoid the monthly maintenance fee, as opposed to a minimum balance of $1,500 required for a waiver from Wells Fargo’s basic checking account.
Wells Fargo offers intermediate banking account options, (which is one for people who want more than a basic checking but aren’t ready to commit to an interest checking account), while Bank of America® does not. The Way2Save checking/savings account option at Wells Fargo can be a valuable account for people who want assistance in saving. This account allows you the option to have a set amount of money transferred from your checking into your savings each month. Anyone interested in saving and managing their money should choose this account over any of the basic checking accounts presented by both banks.
When it comes to interest checking accounts, Bank of America® offers a more appealing incentive. A rate of 0.08 percent APY for maintaining a balance of $100,000 or more from Bank of America®’s Interest Checking is far more appealing than the 0.03 percent APY from Wells Fargo’s PMA checking. In addition to the higher APY, Bank of America®’s interest checking account is a better option because of leniency on fee waivers.
For basic checking and interest, Bank of America® is a better option.