Review of Wells Fargo CD Rates

Review of Wells Fargo CD Rates
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Wells Fargo offers numerous products and services, including savings and checking accounts, insurance and investment products. They also offer certificates of deposit (CDs), though their rates are significantly lower compared to other big name competitors. Keep in mind that their rates will differ depending on where you live. The rates you’ll see in this article are based on their headquarters in San Francisco. If you want an accurate list of Wells Fargo CD rates based on your location, head over to their rates page and type in your ZIP code.

Wells Fargo’s fixed-rate CDs

Wells Fargo’s Standard CD Rates

CD Term

Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

Minimum Deposit Amount

3 months

0.01%

$2,500

6 months

0.01%

$2,500

1 year

0.05%

$2,500

As of Dec. 6, 2017

The Wells Fargo Standard CD ensures that you get a guaranteed return for the entire CD term. Your rate is locked in once you make an opening deposit into your account. Anyone can open an account online or in person as long as they have a minimum of $2,500 to deposit into an account.

Wells Fargo’s Standard CD Bonus Rates

CD Term

APY

Minimum Deposit Amount

3 months

0.06%

$2,500

6 months

0.06%

$2,500

1 year

0.10%

$2,500

As of Dec. 6, 2017

You can get the Wells Fargo Standard CD bonus rates if you link your CD to a Portfolio by Wells Fargo® account and make a $2,500 minimum deposit. This product is their upgraded checking account which offers better interest rates across many Wells Fargo products. You also get certain fees waived from your account, discounts on loans, as well as additional credit card benefits. This includes avoiding the $30 maintenance fees if you have $25,000 in qualifying linked bank deposits or more than $50,000 in qualifying linked bank, brokerage and credit accounts. All you need to open this checking account is a minimum opening deposit of $25.

If your CD is no longer linked to your Portfolio by Wells Fargo® account, the bonus CD rate will revert back to the standard rate.

Wells Fargo’s Special CD Rates

CD Term

APY

Minimum Deposit Amount

9 months

0.25%

$5,000

19 months

0.45%

$5,000

39 months

0.50%

$5,000

58 months

1.01%

$5,000

As of Dec. 6, 2017

To open a Wells Fargo’s Special CD, you’ll need a minimum opening deposit of $5,000. Additionally, these rates only apply to the initial agreed term. Once your CD matures, it’ll automatically renew to the standard rates.

Wells Fargo’s Special CD Bonus Rates

CD Term

APY

Minimum Deposit Amount

9 months

0.30%

$5,000

19 months

0.50%

$5,000

39 months

0.55%

$5,000

58 months

1.06%

$5,000

As of Dec. 6, 2017

To be eligible for the special bonus CD rates, you’ll need to meet the same requirements as the regular Special CD, plus link your account to a Portfolio by Wells Fargo® and make a $5,000 minimum deposit. This will revert back to standard rates once it matures and you decide to renew your CD. You may be eligible for the bonus Standard CD rate upon renewal.

How to get one of Wells Fargo’s fixed-rate CDs

To open a fixed rate CD, you can apply online using their secure online application form. During the application process, you’ll be asked to choose the term you want and submit details such as your Social Security number, funding account information and a valid ID. You can fund your CD using any bank account, credit card or by mailing a check or money order after you submit your application. (Note: Using a credit card to fund a CD only makes sense if you’re paying off the credit card balance in full. Otherwise, credit card finance charges could significantly outweigh CD interest earnings.) Once you complete the application, you’ll get instant notification of your application status and possible next steps.

Wells Fargo Step Rate CDs

CD Term

APY

Minimum Deposit Amount

24 months

0.16%

$2,500

As of Dec. 6, 2017

The Step Rate CD offers multiple rate increases and a penalty-free withdrawal every six months as long as you are able to maintain the minimum opening balance. You’re guaranteed automatic rate increases at seven, 13 and 19 months into your CD term. At these times, the interest rate (not APY) goes up in increments of 0.10%:

  • 1 to 6 months: 0.01%
  • 7 to 12 months: 0.11%
  • 13 to 18 months: 0.21%
  • 19 to 24 months: 0.31%

To make your penalty-free withdrawals, you’ll need to do it within five business days at the start of the days when your interest rate goes up. If the rate increase happens to fall on a weekend or on a holiday, the withdrawal period will begin on the next business day. Once your account matures, the CD will be automatically renewed and reverted to a standard 24-month fixed rate CD.

Wells Fargo Step Rate Bonus CD

CD Term

APY

Minimum Deposit Amount

24 months

0.21%

$2,500

As of Dec. 6, 2017

To be eligible for the bonus rate, you’ll need to link your Step Rate CD to a Portfolio by Wells Fargo® account. Keep in mind that there is a monthly maintenance fee of $30 for the checking account unless you have at least $25,000 in qualifying bank deposits or $50,000 in qualifying brokerage, bank and credit balances.

You’ll also get rate increases and penalty-free withdrawals every six months as long as you keep the minimum opening balance. You are subjected to the same interest rate increases and requirements as the regular Step Rate CD.

Upon account maturity, your CD will automatically renew into a standard fixed rate bonus CD. If you don’t have a Portfolio by Wells Fargo® account, your rate will revert back to the standard rate.

How to Get a Wells Fargo Step Rate CD

You can only open a Step Rate CD in person at any Wells Fargo branch. You can show up at any one of their physical locations. You can also make an appointment online or by calling 1-800-869-3557.

Here’s how Wells Fargo CD rates compare to other banks

Wells Fargo rates don’t even come close to the top competitors’ offers, even with the bonus rates. Those better CD rates often also come with a lower minimum deposit than what Wells Fargo requires. However, competitors with the highest rates tend to be online-only banks, which is only a disadvantage if you prefer to bank in person. If it’s important to you to keep all your banking products in one place, then Wells Fargo may be worth considering, though that strategy isn’t a financial advantage, as far as CDs go.

Additional information about Wells Fargo CDs

Founded in 1852, Wells Fargo is considered the third largest bank in the U.S. This FDIC insured bank provides retail, commercial and corporate banking services through its branches and online in the U.S. and internationally. Wells Fargo has over 13,000 ATMs and 6,000 branch locations across the country.

All rates earned are compounded daily and interest starts to accrue as soon as you make your deposit, as long as it’s on a business day. Otherwise it’ll begin on the next available business day. Any interest earned is paid out monthly and deposited into a checking account, savings account or via check. You could also opt to leave it your CD until maturity. You can also choose to have your interest payments paid out annually, semi-annually or when your CD matures. The only exception is for CD terms 12 months or more, where you can’t choose to have your interest paid out at maturity.

There are penalties if you make early withdrawals on fixed-rate CDs. You either have to pay the early withdrawal fee or be subjected to the Regulation D penalty.

Those who may need to pay the Regulation D penalty include those who make withdrawals within seven days of account opening. This penalty also applies if you make withdrawals during the grace period and the withdrawal is more than any additional deposits during that time. Regulation D penalty means you’ll need to pay seven days’ simple interest.

Any withdrawals after the first seven days are subjected to the following early withdrawal fee:

  • 90 days or less: one month’s interest
  • 90 days to a year: three months’ interest
  • 12 to 24 months: six months’ interest
  • 24 months and over: 12 months’ interest.

If you make a withdrawal on a Step Rate CD or the Step Rate Bonus CD, the early withdrawal fee will apply if the money you take out will cause the balance to be under the minimum opening deposit. The penalty will be based on the whole amount taken out. You’ll also be subject to early withdrawal penalties if you make a withdrawal on days other than the five day withdrawal period when interest rates increase.

There are some exceptions where you may be able to get early withdrawal penalties waived. Common ones include death of the account owner, but you’ll need to contact Wells Fargo customer service to chat about your exact situation and circumstances. (This exception isn’t unique to Wells Fargo.)

Wells Fargo will send you a notice to remind you of the CD maturity date about a month before it happens. When your CD actually matures, you have a seven day grace period. You can either renew the CD or choose to change the terms (such as linking your Portfolio by Wells Fargo® account). Other options include closing the CD, making another deposit or withdrawing money as long as the remaining balance can meet minimum balance requirements.

If you choose not to do anything, the CDs renew automatically. However, no interest will be paid during the seven day grace period if you don’t choose to reinvest your CD or you take money out of the account.

Overall review on Wells Fargo CD rates

Although Wells Fargo offers a myriad of services, including the ability to link your checking account to your CD, their rates fall short compared to other financial institutions as well as national averages. There are online banks that offer much better rates and with lower minimum deposits.

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