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Reviews

The best brick-and-mortar savings account for banking at Wells Fargo

CNBC Select reviews Wells Fargo's Way2Save Savings so you can decide if it's right for you.

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Editor's Note: APYs listed in this article are up-to-date as of the time of publication. They may fluctuate (up or down) as the Fed rate changes. CNBC will update as changes are made public.

The biggest difference between opening a savings account with a brick-and-mortar bank versus an online bank is that the former has branches you can visit in person, whereas the latter operates entirely on the web.

Online banking has become more popular because of the higher interest rates and lower fees offered. But many consumers still choose to open bank accounts with the traditional big brick-and-mortar banks solely for the personal, one-on-one experience that they provide.

With about 5,400 physical locations and over 13,000 ATMs, Wells Fargo is the largest brick-and-mortar bank in the nation by number of branches. For those looking to open an account at a bank with the most opportunity for in-person access, Wells Fargo is your best choice.

The WellsFargo Way2Save® Savings ranks on CNBC Select's list of the top brick-and-mortar savings accounts because it has a low minimum daily balance requirement in order to avoid the monthly service fee ($5 per month) and makes it easy to automate your savings through Save As You Go®.

Below, we take a close look at the WellsFargo Way2Save Savings by breaking down its annual percentage yield (APY), access to your cash, perks and fees so you can decide if this brick-and-mortar savings account is right for you.

WellsFargo Way2Save Savings review

Way2Save® Savings

Way2Save® Savings
Information about the Way2Save® Savings has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by the bank prior to publication. Wells Fargo is a Member FDIC.
  • Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

    0.01%

  • Minimum balance

    $25 to open

  • Monthly fee

    $5 per month, with options to waive

  • Maximum transactions

    Up to 6 free withdrawals or transfers per statement cycle

  • Excessive transactions fee

    Each withdrawal over the 6 per month limit will be assessed

  • Overdraft fees

    Overdraft protection when you link your savings account to your checking account

  • Offer checking account?

    Yes

  • Offer ATM card?

    Yes, if have a Wells Fargo checking account

See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • Wells Fargo is the largest brick-and-mortar bank in the nation, by number of branches
  • Encourages automatic saving through Save As You Go®
  • Monthly maintenance fee can be waived with automatic transfers into your savings
  • Low minimum deposit to open an account
  • Up to 6 free withdrawals or transfers per statement cycle

Cons

  • Has monthly maintenance fees
  • Low APY

WellsFargo Way2Save Savings APY

The current APY for the WellsFargo Way2Save Savings is 0.01%, which is about on par with the rate most brick-and-mortar savings accounts offer.

Unlike other brick-and-mortar savings accounts, like the Bank of America Advantage Savings and Chase Premier Savings℠, there are no options offered to increase the interest you earn on your savings.

Access to your cash

Wells Fargo has about 5,400 branches and over 13,000 ATMs throughout the country — making it the largest brick-and-mortar bank by physical footprint and easier access to your cash.

Each withdrawal over the six-per-month limit will be assessed and may come with a fee. Those who link a Wells Fargo checking account can opt for overdraft protection. Opting in is free to do, but a single transfer fee will be assessed if the bank ends up transferring funds to cover your transactions.

The six-per-month deposit and withdrawal limit is a federal law known as Regulation D that has been temporarily lifted during the coronavirus pandemic.

Perks

Wells Fargo makes it easy to set aside cash with Save As You Go when customers link a Wells Fargo checking account to their Way2Save account.

Wells Fargo will automatically transfer $1 of a customer's funds from their checking to their savings for each qualifying transaction that is a non-recurring debit card purchase or online bill payment when you opt into Wells Fargo Online® Bill Pay.

Reach your savings goals quicker by setting up additional automatic transfers from your checking account each month.

Fees

The WellsFargo Way2Save Savings account requires a $25 opening deposit, which is a standard amount for most brick-and-mortar savings accounts. Some even require higher, like a $100 minimum with the Bank of America Advantage Savings, and some may require $0 to open, such as with the Chase Premier Savings.

There is a $5-per-month maintenance fee, which is on the lower end. Monthly fees can range from $4 to $25, depending on the bank. Account holders can avoid the monthly fee on their Way2Save by maintaining a $300 minimum daily balance (low compared to the elevated Wells Fargo Platinum Savings requiring a $3,500 minimum daily balance) or by setting up their choice of automatic transfers from their checking to their savings: $25 in total, $1 each business day per month or at least one Save As You Go transfer.

Bottom line

If you are someone who prefers in-person banking, Wells Fargo with its thousands of physical locations, is a good bet for opening a new savings account.

The WellsFargo Way2Save Savings stands out for making it easy to waive your monthly service fee and to hit your savings goals through Save As You Go.

For those who prefer banking with U.S. Bank or PNC Bank, consider their two brick-and-mortar savings accounts we rated as our favorites: U.S. Bank Standard Savings Account and PNC Bank Virtual Wallet®.

Learn more: How much cash should you keep in your savings and checking account? A financial planner weighs in

Our methodology

To determine which brick-and-mortar savings accounts offer the most convenience, CNBC Select analyzed dozens of U.S. savings accounts offered by the largest national banks and credit unions. We narrowed down our ranking by only considering those savings accounts that come from brick-and-mortar banks with broad availability, offering access to at least 2,000 physical branches and over 4,000 non-fee ATMs in the U.S.

While the accounts we chose in this article are from the largest banks, we compared each savings account on a range of features, including its fees, opportunities to earn interest higher rates, customer service and any other special offerings or programs. We also considered factors such as insurance policies, users' deposit options, other savings accounts being offered by the same bank and customer reviews when available.

All of the accounts included on this list are FDIC-insured up to $250,000. Note that the interest rates and fee structures for brick-and-mortar savings accounts are subject to change without notice. Product and feature availability vary by market so they may not be offered depending on where you live. Most brick-and-mortar banks require you to enter your zip code online for the correct account offerings. Any return on your savings depends on the associated fees and the balance you have in your brick-and-mortar savings account. To open a savings account, most banks and institutions require a deposit of new money, meaning you can't transfer money you already had in an account at that bank.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the CNBC Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.