Bank of America vs. Wells Fargo: Which Is the Right Banking Choice for You?
- Trying to decide between Bank of America vs. Wells Fargo for your banking needs? Discover the similarities and differences between these options so you can choose the one that's right for you.
There are hundreds of potential banking institutions throughout the United States you could choose. However, most people tend to bank with one of the dozen or so largest banking institutions because of the convenience. Among these larger options are Bank of America and Wells Fargo. While these two banks offer many similar options, there are a few key differences between the two.
What Should You Know About Bank of America?
Bank of America, often abbreviated BOA, is a popular banking option used by around 67 million individuals and businesses. According to recent statistics, this large number of clients allows the bank's total assets to rank it as the second largest financial institution in the U.S., falling behind only JP Morgan/Chase Bank.
Since its founding in 1998, Bank of America has continued to grow its assets and clientele with offerings including checking accounts, savings accounts, CDs and other services. Below, we've broken down some of the most significant offerings from Bank of America and pain points customers have experienced.
To open a new checking account with Bank of America, you'll need to provide a minimum opening deposit of $100. Monthly fees are $12 for Advantage Plus Banking accounts, although there are a few ways you can have this monthly fee waived. For example, you won't have to pay the $12 monthly fee if:
- You keep an average daily balance of $1,500 minimum
- Your direct deposits amount to at least $250 monthly
- You're enrolled in Preferred Rewards
A $100 minimum deposit is required to open an Advantage Savings account at Bank of America, which is the institution's typical savings account offering. Money deposited earns 0.01% APY, and the account has an $8 monthly fee that can be waived if you meet at least one of the organization's defined requirements. These requirements include:
- Maintaining an average daily balance of at least $500
- Linking to an interest-bearing checking account (called Advantage Relationship Banking)
- Enrolling in the Preferred Rewards Program
- Being an eligible student under 25
- Being under 18
Certificates of Deposit (CDs)
If you're looking to use your new banking institution for investments, certificates of deposits are a standard option. CDs offered by Bank of America can be for 1 or 5 years (both at 0.04% interest), each with a minimum deposit of $1,000.
Bank of America charges $10 per overdraft, with a maximum amount of daily overdrafts capped at two. They also charge a $12 overdraft protection transfer fee, where applicable.
ATMs, Branches and Phone Apps
Bank of America has approximately 16,000 ATMs and 4,100 branch locations in over 35 states. There's a $2.50 fee each time you use an out-of-network ATM. The Bank of America banking app is rated 4.8 out of 5 stars by iPhone users and 4.7 out of 5 stars by Android users.
If you need help with your Bank of America account, you can reach customer service between:
- 8 a.m. and 11 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday
- 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. ESTA, Saturday and Sunday
Customer service is available via live chat, email or social media.
What Should You Know About Wells Fargo?
According to recent statistics, Wells Fargo has around $1.75 trillion in total assets as of 2022, placing it as the third largest banking institution in the United States. The organization provides services to individuals, small businesses and larger corporations, each with various banking options.
Wells Fargo has been in the banking industry for a long time, as it was founded in 1852, and has provided its individual banking customers with checking, savings and investment options for decades. We've broken down some of the most significant offerings, benefits and pain points relevant to Wells Fargo below.
To open a checking account with Wells Fargo, you only need a $25 minimum deposit. The monthly fee for an Everyday Checking account is $10. To waive the $10 monthly fee:
- You can keep a minimum average daily balance of $500
- Have at least $500 monthly in direct deposits
- Link a Wells Fargo Campus ATM or debit card
- Be between the ages of 17 and 24
A Wells Fargo Way2Save savings account requires a $25 minimum deposit to open and earns 0.01% APY. There's a $5 monthly maintenance fee that can be waived if you meet at least one of the following requirements:
- Maintain an average balance of at least $300
- Set up a recurring automatic transfer of at least $25 from a linked checking account
- Are under 24
- Have automatic transfers of at last $1 daily per business day from a linked checking account
- Use at last one Save As You Go transfer each period from a linked checking account
Certificates of Deposit (CDs)
Wells Fargo offers CDs for 1- or 5-year periods with a minimum deposit of $2,500. The 1-year CDs mature at an interest rate of 0.01%, while the interest rates for 5-year CDs aren't publicly available.
Wells Fargo charges an overdraft fee of $35 per transaction, with a maximum of three overdrafts charged daily.
ATMs, Branches, and Phone Apps
Wells Fargo has over 12,000 ATMs and 4,900 branch locations in more than 35 states. There's a $2.50 fee for using an out-of-network ATM. You'll also be charged additional fees if the ATM owner requires it. The Wells Fargo banking app is rated 4.8 out of 5 stars by iPhone users and 4.6 out of 5 stars by Android users.
You can reach Wells Fargo customer service 24/7 via social media or phone.
Bank of America vs. Wells Fargo: Which Is the Right Bank Choice for You?
As you can see, there are many similarities between what Bank of America and Wells Fargo offer for individual banking customers. However, a few key differences can help you make the best choice for your unique situation.
Bank of America is likely the better choice for you if:
- You plan to receive direct deposits totaling at least $250 monthly
- You want a more extensive ATM network
- Lower overdraft charges are important to you
- You plan to invest in CDs and are looking for higher interest accrual rates
Wells Fargo is likely the better choice for you if:
- You tend to have $500 or less in your savings accounts
- Having access to 24/7 customer service is a priority for you
- You plan to make a lower opening deposit for your checking or savings accounts
- You're looking specifically for lower monthly fees on your checking or savings accounts
- You want a more extensive network of physical branch locations
- You plan to regularly make transfers into your savings account from a linked checking account