Wells Fargo Business Checking and Savings Review: Avoid It for Now

Wells Fargo’s corrupt and fraudulent business practices force us to caution against this popular bank.
Wells Fargo
2.4 out of 5 stars
2.4
  • pro
    Variety of accounts and services
  • pro
    Locations in 36 states
  • con
    Bad reputation and reviews
  • con
    Current government action

We are committed to sharing unbiased reviews. Some of the links on our site are from our partners who compensate us. Read our editorial guidelines and advertising disclosure.

Wells Fargo is a popular bank with locations across the nation. And since it has a variety of business bank accounts (not to mention loans, merchant services, and other products), it’s easy to see why many entrepreneurs turn to Wells Fargo for business banking. But should they?

In this review, we’ll unpack the good (some of its bank accounts), the bad (its customer reviews), and the ugly (the government action) to help you decide if Wells Fargo is the right business bank for you.

Shall we?

Wells Fargo is best avoided

There are some obvious reasons you’d want to bank with Wells Fargo:

  • You’ve heard of it, unlike some of those online banks.
  • It’s pretty widespread, with locations in 36 states.
  • You might already do personal banking with Wells Fargo.
  • You’ve seen that Wells Fargo has a bunch of stuff for small businesses.

And honestly, we get it. Wells Fargo has some big brand-name recognition as one of the largest banks in the United States.

But much like with Chase Bank, we have a hard time actually recommending Wells Fargo to anyone.

You’ve probably already heard of the 2016 fake account scandal—you know, when we found out that Wells Fargo opened over two million unauthorized bank accounts in customers’ names?1 Yeah, that wasn’t great. But that was just the tip of the corrupt iceberg. Here are some other highlights from Wells Fargo’s last 10 years:

  • Fined for price gouging via overdraft fees2
  • Paid fines for violating credit card laws3
  • Settled a racketeering lawsuit regarding overcharging on home appraisals4
  • Agreed to pay customers $575 million to settle a suit about improper sales practices5
  • Settled a lawsuit about fraudulently forcing customers to get auto insurance6

But let’s not forget the grand finale:

  • Mandated by the U.S. Federal Reserve to no longer grow or expand “until it sufficiently improves its governance and controls”7

In other words, the Fed told Wells Fargo that it’s grounded until it cleans up its act. (That regulation is still in place, a year later.)

That’s a pretty big deal. In fact, Wells Fargo is the only bank the Fed has ever smacked down quite like that (and given Chase’s colorful history, that’s saying something). And when the Fed says that a bank needs to make some big changes, we think it’s wise to pay attention.

So we ask you: Is that the kind of institution you want to hand over your business’s hard-earned cash to? Because we can’t, in good conscience, recommend that you do so.

Wells Fargo fast facts

Feature
Wells Fargo

Online banking

Mobile banking

In-person banking

Branch locations

4,900

ATMs

12,000

24/7 support

Customer service options

Phone, email

Maybe you don’t care. After all, the likelihood that the employees at your local branch are scheming about how to best scam you is, admittedly, small.

US map showing where Wells Fargo does business (all states except Connecticut, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Mass., Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tenn., West Virginia, Vermont)

Wells Fargo availability

Of course, it’s ultimately your choice. We’ve told you why we don’t recommend Wells Fargo. But we’re also going to tell you all about the different bank accounts and other products that Wells Fargo can offer your business.

If you do decide to do your business banking with Wells Fargo—though we strongly suggest you go with one of the best online banks, one of the other big banks, or your local credit union instead—you’ll know full well what you’re getting into.

So let’s dive in.


Banking built for small businesses: Bluevine

Set your business up for success with a checking account that has no monthly or overdraft fees and earns you up to $1,500 in interest each year.


Wells Fargo checking and savings accounts

Wells Fargo has the types of business bank accounts you’d expect to find: checking accounts, savings accounts, and certificates of deposit (CDs) for your business.

Checking accounts

Wells Fargo has several business checking accounts you can choose from. It has options for both flat-rate checking and analyzed checking accounts.

Bullhorn
What is analyzed checking?
Analyzed checking accounts charge fees per transaction (with no freebies), but you can get earnings credits based on your account balances. Your earnings credit can offset the fees on your account—potentially making the account free if you maintain big balances.

Wells Fargo small-business checking account options

Feature
Min. opening deposit
Monthly service fee
Monthly fee waivable?
ATM fees
Out-of-network ATM fees
Free transactions
Additional transactions
Free cash deposits
Cash deposit fee
Open an account
Initiate Business Checking
$25
$10
Icon Check  DarkN/A$2.50 per transaction100$0.50 eachUp to $5,000$0.30 per $100
Navigate Business Checking
$25
$25
Icon Check  DarkN/A2 free withdrawals per period; then $2.50 per transaction250$0.50 eachUp to $20,000$0.30 per $100
Optimize Business Checking
$25
$75
Icon No  DarkN/A2 free withdrawals per period; then $2.50 per transaction250$0.50 eachN/A$0.0030 per $1 of cash deposits

Data as of 05/30/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

If you don’t plan on having loads of transactions and you keep a low account balance, Initiate Business Checking is probably your best bet. It has the lowest monthly fee, which you can waive by keeping an average balance of $500 in your account. But this business checking account has the fewest freebies, so it’s not right for heavy users.

Navigate Business Checking gives you more free transactions and cash deposits with only a slightly higher monthly fee, making it a solid everyday checking account. You have plenty of ways to waive that fee: keep a $10,000 average account balance, have a $15,000 combined balance across your business accounts.

Pricetag
Debit card included
If you tend to make a lot of debit card payments, don’t worry—each Wells Fargo business checking account comes with a debit card.

Then you’ve got Wells Fargo’s Optimize Business Checking. It has a higher, non-waivable, monthly service fee with no free cash deposits. So why get them? Easy—a higher ledger balance gives you credits that offset the per-item fees. That makes them ideal for power bank users.

Money
Are you an attorney or real estate broker?
Wells Fargo also has Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts (IOLTAs) and Real Estate Trust Accounts (RETAs). You’ll have to talk to a banker for more information.

Savings accounts

When it comes to savings, Wells Fargo gives you a few options. Let’s start with its standard savings accounts.

Wells Fargo small-business savings accounts

Feature
Min. opening deposit
Monthly maintenance fee
Monthly fee waivable?
APY
Free cash deposits per cycle
Cash deposit fee
Penalty-free withdrawl
Open an account
Business Market Rate Savings
$25
$5
Icon Check  Dark0.01%Up to $5,000$0.30 per $1006 per cycle
Business Platinum Savings
$25
$15
Icon Check  Dark0.01%Up to $5,000$0.30 per $1006 per cycle

Data as of 05/30/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

The Business Market Rate Savings account is your most basic option for business savings. It has a low monthly fee, which you can waive with an average account balance of $25 or by scheduling automatic monthly transfers of at least $25 into your savings account.

The Business Platinum Savings account has a higher service fee, but it gives you the potential to earn more with its higher APY (annual percentage yield). And of course, you can waive the monthly fee—in this case, by linking your account to a Platinum Checking account or by maintaining a $10,000 minimum balance.

Neither of these accounts gives you a great APY. If you’re looking for higher returns on your savings, then you’ll want to look at Wells Fargo’s certificates of deposit (CDs) instead. (Or get your savings account at Small Business Bank, which has APYs ranging from 0.75% to 1.76%.)

Wells Fargo small-business CDs

Feature
Min. opening deposit
Monthly service fee
APY
Term length
Penalty-free withdrawl
Open an account
Standard CD
$25
$50.01%1-144 mos.
Icon No  Dark

Data as of 05/30/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Wells Fargo has one CD option you can choose from, with varying term lengths and a fixed APY.

Standard CD has the lowest APY, but it also offers the shortest and longest terms. So if, say, you just want to stash some money for a handful of months, this will be your best bet.

Don't Make a Mistake That Costs You Your Funding
Apply confidently for a loan with our free guide. Enter your email below and we'll send it to you shortly.

By signing up I agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

Other small-business products and services from Wells Fargo

While it might be best known for its bank accounts, Wells Fargo has far more than just those. Here are some of its other offerings for small businesses.

Small-business financing

Wells Fargo is the biggest small-business lender in the United States.9 No surprise, then, that it has a wide range of financing options, from unsecured term loans to lines of credit to real estate loans.

Compare Wells Fargo’s small-business lending

Product
Min/max loan amount
Lowest listed rate
Term
Learn more

Business line of credit

$10,000/$100,000

Prime + 1.75%

Revolving

Small Business Advantage line of credit

$5,000/$50,000

Prime + 1.75%

5-year revolving

Prime line of credit

$100,000/$500,000

Unlisted

1 yr. with annual renewal

Commercial real estate purchase loan

$50,000/$1 million

Unlisted

Unlisted

Commercial real estate refinance loan

$50,000/$1 million

Unlisted

Unlisted

Commercial real estate equity loan

$50,000/$500,000

Unlisted

Unlisted

Commercial equity line of credit

$50,000/$500,000

Unlisted

Unlisted

Health care practice financing

Unlisted

Unlisted

Unlisted

SBA 7(a) loans

Up to $5 million

Unlisted

10–25 yrs.

SBA 504 loans

Up to $6.5 million

Unlisted

10–25 yrs.

Data effective 12/6/21. At publishing time, pricing is current but is subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

Like most traditional lenders, Wells Fargo’s rates are quite low and competitive—if you can qualify for them. Wells Fargo expects your business to be at least three years old, have a healthy credit history, and make at least $1.50 in revenue for each $1 you’re trying to borrow.

You can learn more about Wells Fargo’s financing options in our Wells Fargo business loans review.

(Or if those requirements sound too strict for you, check out our ranking of the best alternative business loans to see some easier-to-qualify-for options.)

Small-business credit cards

Interested in a business credit card? Wells Fargo gives you three options: two Visas and one Mastercard. All three offer cash back rewards, but the fees and APR vary from card to card.

The right card for your business will depend on how established and healthy your business is. The Business Secured Credit Card works best for young businesses getting off the ground, while the Business Elite Signature Card is for businesses that make over $1 million a year. The Business Platinum Credit Card provides an option for businesses in between.

Miscellaneous

Finally, Wells Fargo has a few more services that might interest you:

What customers say about Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo’s customer reviews aren’t great. In fact, in most cases, they’re downright bad. Wells Fargo has a 1.3 out of 5 on Trustpilot and 1 out of 5 stars on the Better Business Bureau (BBB).10, 11 On the other hand, Wells Fargo did manage to earn a 2.9 out of 5 on Bank Branch Locator.12

The negative reviews range from annoyances (a bad app) to accusations of fraud (which, given all those lawsuits, are probably true). Many people complain that employees misled or outright lied to them, while others complain about horrendous customer support.

Most of the positive reviews are about specific interactions with employees, with customers writing to praise a local bank manager or a helpful customer service rep.

For what’s it’s worth, we asked small-business owners about their banks, and at least one person reported a (mostly) positive experience with Wells Fargo.

Icon Quote  Dark
For my business, I use Wells Fargo Simple Business Checking. Since my business is entirely online, I wanted a bank account that can transfer money electronically with minimal or no fees. They offer a unique feature for business owners, the ability to provide separate account access for your CPA so that they can keep the books up to date. It saves me from having to download and send data to them separately. I don’t use them for my merchant account, as their fees are slightly higher. Also, they don’t integrate with my website payment software. So for that, I use Stripe.

So it’s entirely possible that you’ll have a nice experience at your local Wells Fargo branch. But it’s also possible that Wells Fargo will give you the runaround and charge you fraudulent fees.

Proceed with caution.

The takeaway

We’ll be blunt: we recommend that you take your business elsewhere—at least until Wells Fargo figures out what it will do differently. We’d rather see you get a business account (whether that’s checking, savings, or a CD) at a bank that doesn’t have quite as many scandals.

But, as always, we know that no one knows your business and your needs better than you do. We hope the information we provided can help you decide if Wells Fargo does, in fact, meet those needs.

Just be careful out there, okay?

We may not recommend Wells Fargo, but we do have some great alternatives. Check out our ranking of the 10 best banks for small business to find the right one for you.

Disclaimer

At Business.org, our research is meant to offer general product and service recommendations. We don't guarantee that our suggestions will work best for each individual or business, so consider your unique needs when choosing products and services.

Chloe Goodshore
Written by
Chloe Goodshore
Chloe covers business financing and loans for Business.org. She has worked with many small businesses over the past 10 years, from video game stores to law firms. Those years watching frustrated business owners try to sift through their many options gave her a passion for breaking down complex business topics. She wants to help business owners spend less time agonizing over their businesses so they can spend more time running them.
Recent Articles
How to Avoid Hidden Business Banking Fees
Citizens Bank Business Banking Review 2022
Need to know more about Citizens Bank’s business banking? Business.org breaks down its bank account...
Small Business Bank, KeyBank, and Citizens are some of the best banking options for small businesses
10 Best Banks for Small Business 2022
We compared more than 30 banks to bring you our business banking ranking. Best small-business...
Two women sitting at a bank desk shaking hands
Aspiration Review 2022
Curious about Aspiration and its promise of climate-friendly banking? Business.org reviews Aspiration, including its fees,...
Best Online Business Bank Accounts
Best Online Bank for Small Business in 2022
We compared checking accounts, savings accounts, and other banking services at more than two dozen...