Wellstrade rating

Wells Fargo Brokerage Review (2024)

Review of WellsTrade

WellsTrade may not be the most popular brokerage firm in the market, but it does offer some decent investment services in certain areas. Let's take a closer look to see if Wells Fargo's online discount broker can beat your current firm.

Investments and Accounts

Wells Fargo Brokerage Customer Rating

WellsTrade provides both self-directed and managed account options. On the portfolio management side, they offer a robo program called Intuitive Investor®. This program has an annual cost of 0.35% and trades low-cost ETFs with zero commissions. Wells Fargo Bank customers may receive a 5 basis points discount. Regardless of the discount, a minimum deposit of $5,000 is required. Licensed human advisors are available over the phone to address inquiries and provide limited advice.

Alternatively, there's the traditional package offered through Wells Fargo Securities. This option allows for a personalized relationship with a human advisor at a Wells Fargo branch location. Fees are based on the value of the account and the assets selected. You can compare these rates with the fees charged by the best-priced financial advisors in your area.

For investors who are confident in their own abilities, self-directed accounts are available. These include various types such as IRAs, individual and joint taxable accounts, solo 401(k) plans, and Coverdell education accounts.

Self-directed traders will find a moderate selection of tradable assets:

  • Fixed-income securities
  • Stocks
  • Options
  • ETFs
  • Closed-end funds
  • Mutual funds

Unlike managed accounts, self-directed accounts have no ongoing fees or minimum requirements.

Cash Management Features

Wells Fargo Brokerage Management Rating

Although WellsTrade is owned and managed by Wells Fargo, it does not offer impressive banking tools, or any at all, for that matter. Unfortunately, the brokerage does not provide a debit card or checkbook. As a result, ATM fee refunds are not available.

However, it is possible to link a Wells Fargo checking or savings account to a WellsTrade account and access them with a single login. Additionally, a few banking tools can be accessed without an actual bank account, such as a free FICO score (updated monthly) and Zelle transfers.

Website Trading

Wells Fargo Brokerage Trading Rating

WellsTrade's website offers basic trading tools, and during our investigation, we found the site to be user-friendly, largely due to its simplicity.

To start exploring the site, you can use the search field located in the upper-right corner. This widget provides a drop-down menu for entered ticker symbols and offers features such as a small graph, option chains, alerts, detailed information, and a trade button.

Wells Trade Review

The broker’s order ticket has 4 trade types. They are:

  • Market
  • Limit
  • Stop
  • Stop limit

There is also an "all or none" radio button and two time-in-force selections: GTC (Good 'Til Canceled) and day. Options and mutual funds have their own order tickets with relevant fields, which can be accessed through the tabs at the top of the stock trading ticket.

Wellstrade review

Charts on the WellsTrade site cannot be expanded to the full width of a computer monitor, which is a significant drawback. However, there are seven plot styles available, including dot and candlesticks, along with several drawing tools and a few technical studies. Price data for up to 30 years can be displayed for securities with a lengthy history.

Wellstrade reviews

Option chains on the WellsTrade site display puts and calls only, without any spreads. Greek values and special derivative tools are also absent, although volume and open interest are shown.

Mobile App

Wells Fargo Brokerage App Rating

The WellsTrade mobile app offers the same trade types and duration choices as the website. It also includes alerts and watchlists. However, the charting functionality is limited, lacking drawing tools and technical indicators.

Wells Fargo brokerage review

On a positive note, the WellsTrade app allows trading of options and mutual funds, which is not always available with all brokers. Additionally, the app provides some banking services, including check deposit.

Other Software

Wells Fargo Brokerage Software Rating

If you're looking for a desktop program to enhance your trading, WellsTrade does not offer one. Similarly, there is no browser platform available. These omissions are compounded by the presence of two very basic platforms, which are the only software options for WellsTrade clients.

Customer Support

Wells Fargo Brokerage Customer Rating

None of WellsTrade's software platforms include a chat widget, either with automated or human support. The website does have a self-help section that provides a few useful resources, such as a tax center and a tool for password changes.

For live assistance, WellsTrade has representatives available by phone from Monday to Friday, 8 am to midnight EST. Unfortunately, there are no weekend hours, and physical branch locations are not available (although some Wells Fargo locations may offer services for investment advisory clients).

Pricing Schedule

Wells Fargo Brokerage Pricing Rating

Like most of its rivals, WellsTrade now charges $0 for stock and ETF trades when they are placed online or through the broker’s automated phone system. Using a live stock broker over the phone to place a trade costs $25.

Trades of mutual funds don’t have this $25 surcharge, so they are the same price whether traded online or over the phone with an agent. Funds with transaction fees are $35 on each side (buy and sell).

Although WellsTrade has eliminated commissions from stock and ETF trades, it unfortunately still has option per-contract fee of 65 cents.

Using a living, breathing agent over the phone to place a derivative trade tacks on a $25 charge. Exercises and assignments can only be done over the phone with a broker, so they carry the additional charge.

Margin Borrowing

Wells Fargo Brokerage Borrowing Rating

Most WellsTrade accounts are eligible for margin borrowing. The brokerage house charges margin rates on a tiered schedule. Currently, the sliding scale ranges from 14.25% (for debits below $25,000) to 6.75% (for debits above $10 million).

Households with sufficient assets do get discounts on the broker’s margin rates. A household is defined as accounts with the same address or ownership. A household with at least $250,000 in assets currently is eligible for a discount of 50 basis points. Larger balances qualify for larger discounts, reaching a maximum of 2.5%.

Research and Education

Wells Fargo Brokerage Research Rating

On the WellsTrade site, we discovered screeners for most of the investment vehicles offered by the broker, such as equities, bonds, mutual funds, and ETFs. However, there are no screeners available for closed-end funds or options.

Wells Fargo brokerage account

To access the broker's screeners, you can go to the Research tab in the top menu, where you will also find other educational resources.

WellsTrade's equity screener is available in both basic and advanced modes. The advanced mode offers more criteria, but even in this higher-level mode, there are some missing search variables.

The mutual fund screener provided by WellsTrade does a better job by offering a wide range of criteria, including fund family, standard deviation, and turnover ratio.

Wells Fargo investing account

Under the Research tab, you will find a Commentary & Strategy section, where you can access numerous articles in PDF format. These articles mainly focus on recent market trends, such as "S&P 500 slides for a fifth straight day" or "FOMC Meeting Key Takeaways." Some articles also concentrate on specific investments, like "Dynamic Growth Equity List: Holdings by Sector" or "Recommended Closed-end Funds by Asset Class." These articles are typically published by the Wells Fargo Investment Institute.

News articles can also be found under the Research tab, including publications from GlobeNewswire, the Associated Press, and PR Newswire. Market news covers data on stock indexes, futures contracts, forex pairs, and interest rates. However, not all of these products are tradable with a WellsTrade account.

Stock profiles on WellsTrade provide trade recommendations and PDF reports from Morningstar and Wells Fargo Securities. Additionally, there is a Consensus Rating from multiple analysts.

Find a Financial Advisor

If you are looking for a professional money management service in your area, you can find a Financial Advisor on the Wiser Advisor (or read Wiser Advisor review).

Visit Wiser Advisor

Miscellaneous Services

Wells Fargo Brokerage Service Rating

DRIP Availability: WellsTrade customers can enroll both ETFs and stocks for automatic dividend reinvesting. They have to call in, however, because the broker-dealer doesn’t have an online enrollment tool.

Initial Public Offerings: IPOs will not be found at WellsTrade. We recommend Webull.

Fractional Shares: WellsTrade continues offering only whole-share trading for stocks and ETFs.

Recurring Mutual Fund Purchases: As with dividend reinvesting, this service is available via phone enrollment.

Extended Hours Trading: The broker does NOT offer the pre-market session. There is after-hours trading from 4:01 pm till 6:30 pm EST. It is available only on mobile. Webull offers trading from 4:00 am till 8:00 pm EST.

Individual Retirement Accounts: SEP, SIMPLE, Roth, and traditional accounts are available at WellsTrade. What we don’t like is a $49.95 closeout fee.


Retirement Savers and Long-Term Investors: On top of its IRAs, WellsTrade also has solo 401(k) accounts and profit sharing plans. Its robo and old-school management services would be good choices for retirement planning, and we do like its selection of target-date mutual funds.

Beginning Investors: Novices will find much to like about WellsTrade’s robo service, not least of which is free phone calls with licensed investment advisors. Self-directed trading is a completely different story, however. Although WellsTrade does supply quite a few market and security analysis reports, these are not geared towards beginners. Charles Schwab, on the other hand, does have a large library of learning materials for new traders.

Small Accounts: WellsTrade’s $5,000 minimum deposit amount for Intuitive Investor is rather steep. We endorse Robinhood, who has no minimum at all. For taxable self-directed trading, WellsTrade has no minimums or fees of any kind. For IRAs, Robinhood would be a better pick because it has no closeout fee and it matches 1% of contribution.

Mutual Funds: We do like WellsTrade for mutual funds. On the company’s website, we found 8,151 funds open to new investors. Of this amount, 2,887 have neither load nor transaction fee. Firstrade has over 11,000 free to trade mutual funds. Broker’s mutual fund screener has many search criteria, and profiles include Morningstar ratings and links to fund documents.

ETF and Stock Trading: Without a browser platform or desktop trading system, it’s hard to defend WellsTrade. Charles Schwab, by contrast, has both types of platforms with fractional-share trading and good security research tools (plus advanced options trading).

Free Charles Schwab Account

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WellsTrade Review Verdict

No, WellsTrade won’t top your current firm in most areas. It does do well in the realms of mutual funds and portfolio management. But other areas, like customer service, software, cash management, and margin rates, need significant improving.

WellsTrade Margin Rates

Debit Balance Wellstrade Margin Rates
under $24,999.99 14.25%
$25,000 - $49,999.99 13.75%
$50,000 – $99,999.99 13.25%
$100,000 - $249,999.99 13%
$250,000 - $499,999.99 12.25%
$500,000 - $999,999.99 11.75%
$1,000,000 - $4,999,999.99 11.25%
$5,000,000 - $9,999,999.99 10.75%
above $10,000,000 10.25%

WellsTrade IRA Fees

Fee Amount
WellsTrade IRA setup fee $0
WellsTrade annual IRA fee $30. Coverdell Education Savings Account annual fee: $20. Command Asset Program/Command Asset Program for IRAs: $125
WellsTrade IRA termination fee $49.95
WellsTrade account inactivity fee $0
WellsTrade outbound full account transfer (ACAT) fee $49.95

About the Author
Chad Morris is a financial writer with more than 20 years experience as both an English teacher and an avid trader. When he isn’t writing expert content for Brokerage-Review.com, Chad can usually be found managing his portfolio or building a new home computer.