Wells Fargo CD Rates Review

Wells Fargo offers an extensive list of financial products with everything from checking accounts to mortgages to wealth management services. One product you may be interested in if you’re looking for a risk-averse investment is a Wells Fargo CD.

Min. Deposit
2.8 / 5.0
SimpleScore Wells Fargo 2.8
Savings APY 2
Customer Satisfaction 2
Mobile App 4
Product Variety 4

Comparatively, the bank’s certificates of deposit have a higher minimum deposit requirement than other banks, but its APY rates are on par with the rest of the traditional brick-and-mortar banking industry. What is interesting is the bank also offers step rate CDs that come with rate increases at three points throughout the life of the CD.

Dating back to 1852, Wells Fargo is one of the oldest banks in the U.S. Headquartered in San Francisco, California, the bank serves millions of customers as the 6th largest bank in total assets and the 10th largest public company in the entire world as of 2019. If you’re looking for a CD provider that can also handle all of your other banking needs under one roof, you may want to consider Wells Fargo.

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In this article

    Wells Fargo at a glance

    BankMin. Deposit1-Year APY3-Year APYPenalty
    Wells Fargo$2,5000.01%0.01%30 days interest on CDs less than 3 months

    90 days interest on CDS 3 to 12 months

    180 days interest on CDs 12 to 24 months

    365 days interest on CDs more than 24 months

    What we like about it

    Investors looking for a unique CD product might like the step rate CDs from Wells Fargo. The CDs are two years in length and have guaranteed rate increases at three different points throughout the life of the CD. Additionally, the bank is offering a special five-month CD with an APY rate of 0.01%. Keep in mind you will need to meet a higher than usual minimum deposit requirement of $5,000 to take advantage.

    Things to consider

    You have some limitations when it comes to Wells Fargo CD options. First, term lengths on standard CDs are only available in three months, six months and one-year increments. You can get a two-year CD through the bank but only as a step-rate CD. You can also get a five-month Wells Fargo CD, but you will need to meet a higher account minimum.

    Compared to other banks, the minimum account requirement of $2,500 is rather high. Other traditional banks like Chase and Bank of America only require a $1,000 minimum deposit. When you expand your search to online banks, providers like Capital One offer CDs with a $0 minimum required opening balance. This higher limit may price out some newer or smaller-level investors.

    What you need to know

    Term lengths are severely limited when it comes to Wells Fargo CDs. Your only options for standard CDs are three months, six months and a year — APYs on these products are 0.01%. On the other hand, step rate CDs are available in two-year terms with an APY of 0.01% as well. If you’re looking for something shorter, your only option is the special five-month CD that has a higher minimum deposit of $5,000 and an APY of 0.01%.

    When you compare Wells Fargo CDs to traditional brick-and-mortar banks, the rates are comparable. However, when you include online banks into the mix, the rates at Wells Fargo are much lower.

    Wells Fargo CD products are available to all consumers, even if you’re not a customer with the bank, but existing customers who link a Wells Fargo CD to a Portfolio by Wells Fargo account will receive a higher APY rate. Regardless of your relationship with the bank, there are no additional fees for opening or maintaining a CD account.

    Early withdrawal penalties

    The idea of a CD is that you invest the money and leave it untouched for the term length. The bank counts on this, so when you have to unexpectedly access your funds early, there is a penalty. With Wells Fargo, the penalty is dependent on the length of the CD.

    For CDs of less than three months, the maximum penalty is 30 days interest. For Wells Fargo CDs between three months and 12 months, the penalty caps out at 90 days of interest. CDs from one to two years have a maximum of 180 days of interest. The bank’s website lists a maximum penalty of 365 days of interest for CDs over two years, but there are currently no such options through Wells Fargo.

    Here’s an example of how this would work. If you invested in a year CD through Wells Fargo but needed to access the money after six months, you would incur a penalty of 90 days of interest. Since you had already accrued 180 days of interest, you would keep 90 days of the interest and Wells Fargo would take the other 90 back as an early withdrawal penalty.

    Other CD products

    In addition to the standard Wells Fargo CDs, the bank also offers a two-year step-rate CD. With this CD, your interest rate will be increased at the 7, 13 and 19-month marks.

    Rate guarantees

    Wells Fargo does not have rate guarantees on any of its CD products. But due to the nature of CD accounts, whatever rate you receive when you open your account will be locked in for the duration of the time. All APY and interest earnings are guaranteed with Wells Fargo CDs as long as you don’t access your funds before the maturity date.

    How do I pick the best CD?

    To pick out the best CD for you, consider all factors and not just the APY rate. In addition to getting the best CD rate possible, you want to look at FDIC or NCUA insurance, available term lengths, early withdrawal penalties, account minimums and any additional fees that might be applicable. It’s all about finding out how to make your money work the best for you in a secure environment.

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    The SimpleScore is a proprietary scoring metric we use to objectively compare products and services at The Simple Dollar.

    For every review, our editorial team:

    • Identifies five measurable aspects to compare across each brand
    • Determines the rating criteria for each aspect score
    • Averages the five aspect scores to produce a single SimpleScore

    Here’s a breakdown of the five aspect scores and their rating criteria for our review of the best CDs of 2020.

    Why do some brands have different SimpleScores on different pages?

    To ensure the SimpleScore is as helpful and accurate as possible, we developed unique criteria for every category we compare at The Simple Dollar. Since most brands offer a variety of financial solutions, their products and services will score differently depending on what we’re scoring on a given page.

    However, it’s possible for brands to have multiple SimpleScores. For instance, if we compare CDs offered by Discover, it scores a 3.75 out of 5 SimpleScore according to our metrics and rating system. But if we review Discover’s savings account according to our SimpleScore, it scores a 4.5 out of 5. We adjust our rating system to account for different products and industry standards.

    Questions about our methodology?

    Email Hayley Armstrong at hayley@thesimpledollar.com.

    12-month APY

    We awarded brands that offered higher APYs on 12-month certificates of deposit — the higher the APY, the higher the score.

    3-year APY

    We awarded brands that offered higher APYs on 3-year CDs — the higher the APY, the higher the score.

    Customer satisfaction

    We leveraged J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Retail Banking Satisfaction Study and 2020 U.S. Direct Banking Satisfaction Study to rate each brand for customer satisfaction. The higher the satisfaction score, the higher the SimpleScore.

    Minimum deposit

    Some providers require a minimum deposit to open a CD. We rated and rewarded brands that required low minimum deposits with higher scores.

    Customer support

    Providers with multiple channels of customer support were rewarded with higher scores in this aspect. We considered social media, mobile app support, in-branch support, phone and email as channels of support for customers.

    Jason Lee

    Contributing Writer

    Jason Lee is a U.S.-based freelance writer with a passion for writing about dating, banking, tech, personal growth, food and personal finance. As a business owner, relationship strategist, and officer in the U.S. military, Jason enjoys sharing his unique knowledge base and skill sets with the rest of the world. Follow Jason on Facebook here