Wells Fargo small business account: What you need to know

Wise
05.20.19
8 minute read

Every business, big or small, needs its own business checking account. And if you’re running a small business, especially one that’s just starting out, then it’s especially important that you choose the right one. Even small-sounding concerns like monthly fees, minimum account balances and so on can make a serious difference: plus, any account should come with decent options for if and when your business grows into something bigger.

All of which means that it’s not enough just to choose Wells Fargo as your business bank and think you’re done. First, you’ll need to take a look at all your available options. Secondly, if you do choose Wells Fargo, you’ll need to choose between the 4 Wells Fargo small business checking accounts that they offer.

This article will tell you about Wells Fargo’s different offerings for small businesses, including:

  • How to choose a small business bank account
  • How to open a Wells Fargo business account
  • Wells Fargo small business account breakdown
  • Wise Business — a good addition to your Wells Fargo business account
  • Wells Fargo business account fees and limits

How to choose a small business bank account

Before we get into the details of what a Wells Fargo small business bank account offers, here’s an overview of what to look out for when you’re choosing an account, whether with Wells Fargo or not. Remember to find out about the following:

  • Service fees. Most business checking accounts charge a monthly service fee. It’s not going to be huge, but it might be big enough to think about. Check as well to see if the bank offers any ways to get out of it.
  • Minimum account balances. Some accounts insist on you having a minimum amount in your account: otherwise, you might have to pay extra fees. Particularly if you’re just starting out, this could be an important factor.
  • Number of transactions. Basic business accounts might offer you, say, several hundred transactions per month for free. Is that enough for you? Other accounts come with several thousand for free, or with no limit at all.
  • Ease of access. It’s not just about numbers. It might be useful to choose a bank that has a branch near where you work, or perhaps one that has good online services. Think about how easily available their customer support is, too.
  • Possibilities for growth. Sometimes small businesses become… well, large. That should be a good thing, not something to worry about. So make sure it’s possible to upgrade your small business checking account if and when your business grows.
  • Smallprint. There are many different things that banks can charge you for. Make sure you read the full terms of your potential new account so you’re not caught out by surprising extra fees.

How to open a Wells Fargo business account

You can open most Wells Fargo business accounts online or by phone, or of course you can go down the traditional route and head into a nearby branch.¹ ²

If you apply online or by phone, Wells Fargo will still need to see various documents from you, and you’ll receive instructions on how to send them in. If you apply in person, you’ll need to take your documents with you.²

What documents do I need to open a Wells Fargo business account?

Like all banks, Wells Fargo is required to see a few documents about your business, and also have a few pieces of information about you personally, plus any other important members of your business.

The exact documents will depend on what sort of business you have: whether you’re a sole proprietor or running a partnership, an LLC, a corporation, or a social club or similar. But in a nutshell, you’ll need to prove that your business is properly registered.²

You’ll also need to provide Social Security numbers for everyone who registers as a signer on the account.¹

How long does it take?

Wells Fargo doesn’t specify online exactly how long it will take to get you set up, but it should be a smooth process if you have all the right documents and information. Be prepared to wait a few days for things to arrive in the mail.

Wells Fargo small business account breakdown

As mentioned above, for small businesses, there are 4 Wells Fargo accounts on offer. Which one is right for you will depend on what sort of business you have and what you need and want from your bank. Here’s a look at each of them in turn. This is a basic overview and there’s a comparison table further down.

All of them have a minimum opening deposit of $25: that’s all you need to get started.

Simple Business Checking account

As the name suggests, this is Wells Fargo’s simplest small business account. It’s perfect for small-scale operations, but it might not get you very far if you’ll have a lot of transactions to deal with. Here are the key details.³ ⁴ You can also create and send your invoices by using our downloadable free invoice templates.

  • Service fee: $10, but you don’t have to pay if you have an average balance of $500 each month
  • Transactions: 50 per month for free; $0.50 per transaction after that
  • Cash deposits: Up to $3,000 for free; £0.30 per £100 after that
  • Wire transfers: $15 for incoming domestic (or internal) transfers; $25-30 for outgoing domestic (or internal) transfers. $16 for incoming international transfers; $30-45 for outgoing international transfers⁵

Other perks of Simple Business Checking include the opportunity to customize your business debit card with your own details and reimbursements for unauthorized debit card or ATM transactions. Additional fees might apply: the above isn’t a complete list.

If you work at home, don’t deal with large amounts of cash and don’t make loads of transactions each month, Simple Business Checking is an account with your name on it. It could also be ideal for some other small businesses or non-profits. However, for larger operations, it is likely to prove limiting.

Business Choice Checking account

This small business account will get your business further if you deal with bigger numbers. Here are the key details:⁶ ⁷

  • Service fee: $14, but you don’t have to pay if you meet any of various criteria, including if you have an average balance of $7,500 each month
  • Transactions: 200 per month for free; $0.50 per transaction after that
  • Cash deposits: Up to $7,500 for free; £0.30 per £100 after that
  • Wire transfers: $15 for incoming domestic (or internal) transfers; $25-30 for outgoing domestic (or internal) transfers. $16 for incoming international transfers; $30-45 for outgoing international transfers⁵

As above, that’s not a complete list. You get additional perks just like with the Simple Business Checking account. There are also special offers and discounts available.⁶

The Business Choice Checking account is designed for larger operations than the Simple option. If you can get out of paying the $14 service fee, it’s an especially attractive option.

Platinum Business Checking account

Wells Fargo’s next step up is designed for “established businesses,” so may not prove great value if you’re just starting out. But even then, it’s worth knowing the details, as it might be something you’ll consider upgrading to, further down the line.[8,9]

  • Service fee: $40, but you don’t have to pay if you have an average balance of $25,000 each month or $40,000 across all your accounts (including savings accounts etc.)
  • Transactions: 500 per month for free; $0.50 per transaction after that
  • Cash deposits: Up to $20,000 for free; £0.30 per £100 after that
  • Wire transfers: 2 free incoming domestic wire transfers per month; then $15 for incoming domestic (or internal) transfers; $30 for outgoing domestic (or internal) transfers. $16 for incoming international transfers; $30-45 for outgoing international transfers⁵
  • Interest: Unlike with the two previous account types, you earn interest on your balance with the Platinum Business Checking account.
  • Extra free services: With this account, a few extra things are included fee-free, including 2 non-Wells Fargo ATM withdrawals per month, stop payments, cashier’s checks and money orders.

That’s not all: there are some extra advantages too, plus some potential extra costs.⁸ ⁹

In sum, there are numerous attractive features with the Platinum Business Checking account. But they’re only likely to represent good value to you if your business is already well set up and running, with a lot of money flowing in and out each month.

Analyzed Business Checking account

What’s better than platinum? “Analyzed.” It might sound like a strange choice of word, but Wells Fargo’s top-tier account for small businesses is named after its key feature: the ability to get into serious detail regarding your business’s considerable and complex finances.

For this advanced option, Wells Fargo is less specific about the exact figures its clients have to pay, which is understandable, as it’s all likely to be tailored to the specific business in question. But here are the key benefits of this sort of account:[10]

  • Treasury management services. This includes the bank’s “Commercial Electronic Office (CEO) Portal,” through which you can get really detailed about your company finances.
  • Earnings allowance. This account gives you an earnings allowance that can offset some of the fees you’d otherwise have to pay.
  • Grouped accounts. Businesses at this level may well have numerous bank accounts. With the Analyzed account you can group them together for a more efficient cash management system and fee structure.

This isn’t for what most people would think of as “small” businesses, but if your business is at the point where its finances are starting to get both large and complicated, then the benefits of the Analyzed Business Checking account will likely be clear.

Wise account for business

Wise — a good addition to your Wells Fargo business account

Those are your 4 options at Wells Fargo for your small business, each carefully tiered to appeal to businesses at different levels of development.

If you're looking to make international transfers, it's good to consider Wise Business as an extra feature in your Global business' cap - these two go very well together.

You can also take advantage of Wise multi-currency account with no monthly fee, and let you send and receive money in over 40 currencies, always at the mid-market exchange rate. You can integrate your Wells Fargo account to Wise and pay through domestic wire or ACH direct debit to fund your transactions.

It’s perfect for paying invoices or people abroad, and also for receiving payments. Work can even be automated via the API. The low fees are always clearly stated before the transfer, and compared to PayPal it could work out 14x cheaper.

Wells Fargo business account fees and limits

Here’s an overview of the fees with Wells Fargo’s various small business accounts. The Analyzed Business Checking account isn’t included: for detailed figures there, it’s worth talking to Wells Fargo directly.

Fee Simple Business Checking³ ⁴ Business Choice Checking⁶ ⁷ Platinum Business Checking⁸ ⁹
Monthly service charge $10, or $0 with average $500 balance $14, or $0 with average $7,500 balance or other criteria $40, or $0 with $25,000 balance (or $40,000 across all accounts)
Transaction fee 50 free, then $0.50 per transaction 200 free, then $0.50 per transaction 500 free, then $0.50 per transaction
Cash deposit fee $3,000 free, then £0.30 per $100 $7,500 free, then £0.30 per $100 $20,000 free, then £0.30 per $100
Interest earned No No Yes
Incoming wire transfer⁵ $15 for domestic (or internal) transfers; $16 for international transfers $15 for domestic (or internal) transfers; $16 for international transfers $15 for domestic (or internal) transfers; $16 for international transfers
Outgoing wire transfer⁵ $25-30 for domestic (or internal) transfers; $30-45 for international transfers⁵ $25-30 for domestic (or internal) transfers; $30-45 for international transfers⁵ $25-30 for domestic (or internal) transfers; $30-45 for international transfers⁵

Getting the right bank account for your small business is a key decision, and one you shouldn’t make lightly. If you’re interested in using Wells Fargo, you should find the key facts and figures above, but don’t forget to look around for the very best offer for you: every business is different, after all.

And when you’re thinking about the specific needs of your business, don’t forget about sending money abroad. International wire transfers are often way down the list of bank accounts’ priorities, hidden in the back pages of fee schedules, yet for plenty of small businesses they’re absolutely critical. If you send or receive a lot of money internationally, do consider Wise Business, as the borderless account could save you some serious money.

Most importantly, though, good luck with your small business. Don’t let the search for a bank account stand in the way of turning your new business into the success you’ve always dreamed of.


Sources:

1.https://www.wellsfargo.com/biz/help/faqs/accounts/
2.https://www.wellsfargo.com/biz/required-documents
3.https://www.wellsfargo.com/biz/checking/simple/
4.https://www08.wellsfargomedia.com/assets/pdf/small-business/simple.pdf
5.https://www08.wellsfargomedia.com/assets/pdf/small-business/information-schedule.pdf
6.https://www.wellsfargo.com/biz/checking/choice/
7.https://www08.wellsfargomedia.com/assets/pdf/small-business/choice.pdf
8.https://www.wellsfargo.com/biz/checking/platinum/
9.https://www08.wellsfargomedia.com/assets/pdf/small-business/platinum.pdf
10.https://www.wellsfargo.com/biz/checking/analyzed/
11.https://wise.com/us/business/
12.https://wise.com/us/business/pricing-and-coverage

All sources checked 9 May 2019


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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