Wells Fargo student account review: What you need to know

TransferWise
01.15.20
6 minute read

Having a student account is a good way to manage your money when you head off to college. However, finding the right one for your needs can be a bit of a headache.

To kickstart your research, take a look at our Wells Fargo student account review. We’ll also touch on an alternative as a comparison - the multi-currency account from TransferWise - to help you decide which account might work for you.

Table of contents:

How to open a student account with Wells Fargo

You can apply for a student account with Wells Fargo online, and get an instant update on the status of your account and any further action you might need to take. To get started you’ll need the following:¹

  • Social security Number or Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN)
  • Valid photo ID such as a driver’s license or state issued identity card
  • An opening deposit of $25 - payable by check or wire transfer from another account²
Get free access to 40+ currencies and bank details to use as a local for US, Australia, New Zealand, Europe and UK with TransferWise

What kind of student bank account does Wells Fargo offer?

Firstly, it’s good to know that Wells Fargo products may vary from state to state. That means the features and fees you are able to access may be different from those set out in this article. For reference we have used a location in California to get account and product information - but do check the details for your own location before you decide which account is right for you.

Let’s take a look at the key student products on offer from Wells Fargo - and some of their important features.

Wells Fargo Student Checking Account

Wells Fargo offers students the Everyday Checking account. If you’re aged 17 to 24 and enrolled in a college course, you might be able to access the account without a monthly fee. If you’re older, you’ll pay $10 a month, unless you hit other qualifying requirements such as receiving at least $500 a month in direct debits, or holding $1,500 or more in the account. More on the fees associated with this account a little later. ³

With this account you can get mobile and online banking, make free domestic payments via Zelle, and set up alerts so you’ll always be able to keep track of your money.¹

Wells Fargo Campus Card

Wells Fargo works in partnership with some selected universities and colleges to offer more benefits to their students. **You might be able to get a school issued ID card which works as a university card as well as an ATM card - so you can use the same card to take a book from the library and pay for your shopping in a local store. **

If this isn’t an option, you might be able to apply for a separate branded Visa card which comes with smart perks like rebates on some chargeable services, and a waived monthly service fee. Ask at your university or college to see if they offer these options.⁴

Overdrafts

If you have a Wells Fargo Student Checking Account, you’ll have a few options when it comes to your overdraft. Under the standard coverage, you could be charged a $35 fee for payments which dip into your overdraft, up to a maximum of 3 a day. Alternatively you can choose the free Overdraft Rewind service, which means you won’t be charged if you top up your balance by the next working day - or pay for the Wells Fargo overdraft protection service. More on the costs of overdrafts, later.⁵

International payments

You can receive international payments into your Wells Fargo account for a $16 fee per transaction. You may also be able to send money overseas, but Wells Fargo doesn’t publish fees or exchange rates for this service online. Instead you’ll be able to see the full costs when you start to set up your payment.⁵


TransferWise Mastercard with balances

If you need to send a payment overseas, it’s worth comparing the costs of the transaction with Wells Fargo against the fees for using a currency specialist like TransferWise. With TransferWise you can send money around the world for a low fee using the mid-market exchange rate, which often works out cheaper than using a regular bank. See if this could save you money before you decide which service you’ll use to make or receive international payments.

Receive and send international payments at great rates and low fees with TransferWise

International transaction fees

Another cost to consider is the international transfer fee added when you use your debit card to withdraw cash or make a purchase in a currency other than dollars. You’ll pay an additional 3% for these services, which can quickly mount up.³

To avoid these fees, check out a smart alternative like the multi-currency borderless account from TransferWise. You’ll have a linked debit card, and it’s always free to spend a currency you hold in your account. Receive payments to your borderless account fee free in US, Australian and New Zealand dollars, euros and British pounds and switch your balance to the currency you need for a low fee, using the mid-market rate. You can then spend fee free when you travel using your borderless card, wherever you see the Mastercard logo.

TransferWise's free multi-currency Mastercard can be up to 4x cheaper when spending abroad, compared to banks and PayPal

What are the requirements to open a student bank account with Wells Fargo?

To open an account you need a Social Security Number or TIN, valid photo ID, and an opening deposit of at least $25.

Get started online, entering your Social Security Number or TIN, as well as details of your photo ID and address. You’ll then be able to customize your account to suit your needs, and get an update on your progress immediately.


Wells Fargo student account fees

Of course, even when you choose a student account product, there are fees for some services. Here are the charges you’ll want to know about if you choose a student account from Wells Fargo.

Service Fee³ ⁵
Monthly service fee $10 - waived for students aged 17 - 24. Minimum opening deposit $25. If you’re 25 or older, you can also have the fee waived if during each fee period you:
  • Maintain a daily balance of at least $1,500 OR
  • Have at least $500 paid into the account by direct deposit OR
  • Hold a Wells Fargo Campus Card OR
  • Post at least 10 eligible debit card transactions per month
ATM Charges Wells Fargo ATM withdrawals are free Non Wells-Fargo ATM withdrawals in the US will cost $2.50 $5 for international ATM withdrawals Some account types will offer refunds on selected ATM transactions
Overdraft The standard overdraft charge is $35 per transaction, capped at 3 charges per day. Alternatively, you can use the Overdraft Rewind feature, which waives this fee if you top up your balance by 9am the next business day. You can also link a savings account or credit account, and pay an admin fee of $12.50 to cover each transaction when your student account is overdrawn³
International transaction fee 3% of the transaction value for all purchases made in a currency other than US dollars
Domestic wire transfers Incoming domestic wire transfers - $15 Outgoing domestic wire transfers - $30
International wire transfers Incoming international wire transfers - $16 Outgoing international wire transfers - fees are disclosed at the time of arranging the payment
No foreign transaction fee and international ATM withdrawal fee ( up to $250 per month) with the TransferWise multi-currency Mastercard

Going to college or university is an exciting time. But as well as working out how to manage your classes, make new friends and get the grades you deserve, you’ll also need to think about how you keep on top of your finances. Getting a great account can help.

Check out a range of options to find the right one for you, including the Wells Fargo Student Checking Account, and smart new alternatives like the borderless account from TransferWise. Good luck!


Sources:

  1. Wells Fargo - Student Checking
  2. Wells Fargo - Apply
  3. Wells Fargo - Everyday Checking - A guide to your common checking account fees
  4. Wells Fargo - Campus Card
  5. Wells Fargo - Consumer Overdraft services

All sources last checked 15 January 2020


This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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