WellsTrade Review: Commissions, Fees, and Minimum Deposit
|Stocks and ETFs|| $8.95|
|Stocks and ETFs with PMA package|| $6.95|
|Stocks and ETFs (broker assisted)|| $33.95 ($31.95 with PMA)|
|Options|| $9.95 + $1 per contract|
|Mutual funds|| $35|
|Auction of Treasury Bills, Notes and Bonds|| $50 per transaction|
Wells Fargo Brokerage Account Setup
To get lower pricing we decided to open a WellsTrade account linked to a PMA package (basically it's a checking account). First, we went to a local Wells Fargo
branch and were able to open the PMA package very fast. They gave us account and PIN numbers which we used to set up access to checking account online and
setup ACH link to our external bank account (requires a deposit verification process). In two business days we saw the deposits in our external bank account
and were able to finish ACH setup. Unfortunately, it turned out that Wells Fargo limits daily online transfers to and from external account to $2,000 and monthly
to just $6,000. But to avoid the PMA package's $30 monthly fee, a client needs $25,000 in PMA checking account. Only half of WellsTrade brokerage balance counts
toward that requirement, meaning that a client needs $50,000 in WellsTrade account to avoid the monthly PMA fee.
We had no choice but to go to a branch and make a deposit by check. Because the amount deposited was large, Wells Fargo made only $4,800 of the
amount available three business days later, and for the rest we had to wait 10 days! Once we finally had money in our PMA checking, we signed in into our
account online, clicked the "Brokerage" tab, and filled out a few required forms. We were then told our WellsTrade account will be approved two business days later.
It actually took two weeks.
Wells Fargo is required to withhold 28% of all sales proceeds, dividends, and interest payments until the signed Account Services Agreement Signature Page is
received. We filled this form out and emailed it to them. None of the other brokers we have used had this procedure. This was easily one of the worst new
account set ups we have encountered.
WellsTrade Review: Website/Trading Platform/Tools
Wells Fargo brokerage offers good selection of independent, third party investment research and education resources: market commentaries,
profiles, S&P Stock Reports, and Morningstar® mutual fund ratings. Charting features are less comprehensive than in most other brokerages. The gain/loss
information on the positions screen is not updated right away.
Advanced Trading Platform
Unlike many of its competitors, Wells Fargo brokerage service is not offering an advanced, sophisticated trading platform. Overall, WellsTrade trading
tools are disappointing.
Wells Fargo created a good app for both iPhone and Android that brings access to its banking and investment services to mobile devices. Investment part of the
app is not very sophisticated but it allows users to place trades and track orders, manage watchlists, get real-time quotes, view account activity, and
access market news and data.
- Good banking services
- Good independent investment research amenities
- High commissions if not in PMA program
- $30 monthly service fee if linked PMA Package has less than $25,000 in bank accounts (or $50,000 in brokerage accounts)
- For stocks below $1 per share commission is greater of $34.95 and 3.5% of principal
- Poor trading tools
- Poor executions; randomly altered limit orders
- High margin rates (9.25% for debit balance under $25,000)
- $25 minimum balance fee, if account balance is less than $5,000
- Shortened after-hours trading: 4:05 pm - 5:00 pm EST, instead of 4:00 pm - 8:00 pm EST
Wells Fargo Brokerage Review Summary
WellsTrade is a brokerage service of the U.S. banking giant Wells Fargo Bank. It is expensive to invest in or trade stocks and ETFs with WellsTrade: at
$8.95 per trade the rate is higher than the average among online brokerage firms. The pricing, however, drops to a reasonable $6.95
per trade for those who are willing to hold $25,000 in PMA package bank accounts or to have $50,000+ brokerage balance and open PMA checking account too.
Mutual funds are not cheap at $35 per transaction. The company has shortened extended hours trading, and charges huge commissions on penny stock trades.
WellsTrade is offering its account holders a full range of banking services through its parent company Wells Fargo bank. The firm provides very
good selection of independent, third party investment research from a few sources.
Unlike most other brokerage firms, WellsTrade charges $25 annual minimum account balance fee if account value is less than $5,000. The company has very high margin rates and suffers from slow-to-respond
customer service. Its trading tools are archaic and slow compared to the competition.
For investors with large portfolios ($100,000+), Wells Fargo has a private advisory group. This
enables them to gain the benefits and attention given to clients at large brokerage houses, while retaining the benefits found in the banking environment.
The clients are offered additional perks and special pricing on services beyond their investments.
There are better brokerage companies for beginner investors than WellsTrade, that offer vibrant online communities, where users can ask questions, learn from
more experienced traders and even get investment ideas. Some of them offer virtual trading that allows customers to practice trading without risking real money,
others offer no additional charge on broker-assisted trading. If you are new to investing, check out our
Best Brokers for Beginner Investor recommendations.
To stay competitive with other large banks, Wells Fargo is trying to offer full range of financial services to its clients. Online investing is,
obviously, one of these additional services for customers who want to do all of their money operations with one company. It is definitely not getting all the
attention it requires and therefore its quality is not as high as at leading online brokers. We can't recommend opening a Wells Fargo brokerage account
unless someone is already a Wells Fargo bank customer who invests infrequently. For everybody else there are a lot of other low-cost, highly-rated
Online Brokerages to choose from, that offer better investing tools, pricing, and services.
None right now.
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Reviewed by Brokerage-Review.com on
Reviewed by Editor and Wellstrade customers.