Capital One vs. Wells Fargo: Which Bank is Best?

BANKING - BANK REVIEWS
Capital One provides a more online banking experience and has more credit cards, whereas Wells Fargo has more in-person locations and overall banking services.
Updated June 6, 2024
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Capital One is the better option for banking due to typically higher interest rates on its bank accounts and a greater number of credit cards. But Wells Fargo makes sense if you want more in-person locations and a wider variety of banking services, including home loans, personal loans, and retirement accounts.

Let’s dig into our Capital One versus Wells Fargo review to compare details between checking accounts, savings accounts, and other available products to see which bank is the better option for you.

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In this article

Capital One vs. Wells Fargo

Capital One Wells Fargo
Year founded 1994 1852
Number of branches Around 300 5,600+
Number of states with in-person locations 6 36
Number of fee-free ATMs 70,000+ 12,000
Products offered
  • Checking accounts
  • Savings accounts
  • Certificates of deposit (CDs)
  • Credit cards (30)
  • Auto loans
  • Small business services
  • Commercial banking services
  • Checking accounts
  • Savings accounts
  • CDs
  • Credit cards (5)
  • Home loans
  • Personal loans
  • Auto loans
  • Retirement accounts
  • Brokerage accounts
  • Wealth management services
  • Small business services
  • Commercial banking services
  • Corporate and investment banking services
Best for Elevated interest rates and a large selection of credit cards In-person locations and a wide range of banking services

Capital One

Capital One makes sense if you want a bank that typically provides elevated interest rates and a large number of credit cards. Capital One doesn’t have many in-person locations as you might expect from other banks such as Citi, Chase, Bank of America, and U.S. Bank.

But being mostly online with fewer branch locations and a mobile app means lower overhead costs, which appears to translate to additional customer benefits. Compared with Wells Fargo, Capital One provides over 20 more credit cards in addition to its deposit accounts, which gives you more options to find the best fit for your financial situation.

And if you want your savings account to earn some money, the 4.25% (as of May 22, 2024) APY on the Capital One 360 Performance Savings easily beats the 0.01% (as of May 22, 2024) APY on the Wells Fargo Way2Save or the 0.05%-0.06% (as of May 22, 2024) APY on the Platinum savings accounts.

Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo makes sense if you prefer to visit in-person banking locations and have a wide variety of banking needs. Wells Fargo has thousands of more in-person locations in dozens of more states than Capital One.

And although Wells Fargo doesn’t have as many credit cards or the best interest rates on its banking products, you have loads more banking products and services to choose from. This includes home loans, personal loans, and retirement accounts.

With Wells Fargo, you can have most or all of your banking services with one company, potentially making it easier for you to manage your finances.

Checking accounts

Wells Fargo Capital One
Clear Access Banking Everyday Checking Prime Checking Premier Checking 360 Checking
APY None None 0.01% (as of May 22,2024) 0.01% (as of May 22, 2024) 0.10% (as of May 22, 2024)
Monthly fees $5 $10 $25 $35 None
Account minimum to avoid fees None $500 daily balance $20,000 linked balance $250,000 linked balance None
Minimum opening deposit $25 $25 $25 $25 None

Capital One is the overall winner in this category if you want an easy-to-use checking account with little to no fees and no minimum account balance or opening deposit requirements. Wells Fargo has more checking accounts to choose from, but they all have minimum opening deposit requirements and come with monthly fees.

You can avoid the monthly fees on the Wells Fargo checking accounts by performing certain actions, such as having $500 or more in qualifying direct deposits or a $500 minimum daily balance on the Everyday Checking account. But you don’t have to worry about a monthly service fee at all with the Capital One 360 Checking account.

Note that the APY on the Wells Fargo Prime Checking and Premier Checking accounts can match or outperform the APY on the Capital One 360 Checking. But you also need large balances in linked Wells Fargo accounts (including checking, savings, CDs, and investment accounts) to avoid monthly maintenance fees on the Prime Checking and Premier Checking accounts.

The 360 Checking account strikes a better balance between interest rates and not having many fees.

Savings accounts and CDs

Wells Fargo Capital One
Way2Save Savings Platinum Savings CDs 360 Performance Savings 360 CDs
APY 0.01% (as of May 22, 2024) 0.05%-0.06% (as of May 22, 2024) 1.50%-4.75% (as of May 22, 2024) 4.25% (as of May 22, 2024) 3.90%-5.00% (as of May 22, 2024)
Minimum deposit $25 $25 $2,500 None None

Capital One wins in this category because of its high-yield savings account and higher CDs rates with no minimum deposit requirements.

Savings accounts and CDs are designed to park your funds in low-risk, FDIC-insured environments, and both the Capital One and Wells Fargo products accomplish that. But the Capital One accounts simply provide better benefits.

You can earn more interest on your savings with the available Capital One savings accounts and CDs. And it’s easier to get started because you don’t have to put down a minimum amount of money to open an account. In contrast, all the Wells Fargo products have minimum deposit requirements, and the requirements on the Wells Fargo CDs could be quite high for some people.

Credit cards

Wells Fargo Capital One
Wells Fargo Reflect® Card Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
Welcome offer N/A Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $500 in purchases in the first 3 months Earn 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months (that’s a $200 cash redemption value) Earn a one-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening Earn a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening Earn 75,000 miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
Balance transfer offer 0% intro APR for 21 months from account opening on qualifying balance transfers (then 18.24%, 24.74%, or 29.99% Variable); 5%, min: $5 balance transfer fee 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on qualifying balance transfers (then 20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% Variable); 3% for 120 days from account opening, then up to 5%; min: $5 balance transfer fee N/A 0% intro APR for 15 months on balance transfers (then 19.99% - 29.99% (Variable)); Balance transfer fee applies N/A N/A
Annual fee $0 $0 $0 $0 $95 $395

There’s no clear winner in this category because both Capital One and Wells Fargo provide useful credit cards. But you might discover that going with one card issuer over the other is better in certain circumstances. It depends on the situation and what credit card offers are available, but here are some points to consider with both banks.

Wells Fargo credit cards generally don’t have annual fees and typically provide cell phone protection. Many of them also provide intro APR offers, which could be helpful if you want to do a balance transfer and avoid interest charges for a certain period of time.

Capital One credit cards have a lot more variety, including many cards that are focused on travel rewards and benefits. This could be helpful if you want to use credit cards while traveling abroad and not have to worry about foreign transaction fees. Travel credit cards can also help you earn rewards that can be redeemed for flights, hotel stays, and more.

Other products

Wells Fargo wins this category because it provides more banking products and services compared with Capital One. Both banks provide credit cards, checking accounts, savings accounts, CDs, and auto loans.

But Wells Fargo also provides home loans, personal loans, retirement accounts, full-service financial advisors, brokerage accounts, and corporate and investment banking solutions.

If you use any of these additional services, it could be helpful to have all your banking needs under one roof. Then you can manage your finances from one location rather than having a credit card with one bank, a home loan with another bank, and a retirement account with a third bank — which is a possible scenario with Capital One because it doesn’t provide as many financial services.

FAQs

Is Capital One 360 better than Wells Fargo?

Yes, because Capital One 360 accounts generally have fewer fees and better interest rates than similar Wells Fargo accounts. Wells Fargo checking and savings accounts typically require a minimum opening deposit and have monthly fees. But Capital One 360 checking and savings accounts have no minimum opening deposit and no monthly fees.

Is Capital One bigger than Wells Fargo?

Wells Fargo is bigger than Capital One in terms of the number of branches and employees, but Capital One has a higher net income.

Wells FargoCapital One
Number of branches5,600+Around 300
Number of employeesOver 283,000Over 50,000
Net income4.31 billion4.58 billion

What is the difference between Wells Fargo and Capital One?

Wells Fargo has been around for more than 150 years, while Capital One was founded about 30 years ago. This makes Wells Fargo more established with in-person locations and a wide variety of banking services, including credit cards, loans, and investment accounts. Capital One has fewer in-person locations and banking services but provides better interest rates and more credit card options.

Bottom line

Wells Fargo is better if you prefer in-person banking locations or want a full-service financial institution for all your banking needs. This is because Wells Fargo has loads more in-person branches and provides services you won’t find at Capital One, including home loans and brokerage accounts.

But go with Capital One if you want better interest rates and more credit card options. The interest rates on Wells Fargo checking and savings accounts are generally quite low, especially compared with the higher rates on Capital One 360 accounts. And it’s likely easier to find the right credit card fit with Capital One because it provides more credit cards overall than Wells Fargo.

For our recommended banking options, check out our list of the best banks.

Disclaimer: All fees are accurate as of May 20, 2024.

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Author Details

Ben Walker, CEPF, CFEI® Ben Walker, CEPF, CFEI®, is credit cards specialist. For over a decade, he's leveraged credit card points and miles to travel the world. His expertise extends to other areas of personal finance — including loans, insurance, investing, and real estate — and you can find his insights on The Washington Post, Debt.com, Yahoo! Finance, and Fox Business.