Wells Fargo Clear Access Banking Review for 2024


Access to a checking account can be difficult for those with a history of banking problems or insufficient funds. Fortunately, Wells Fargo has recognized this issue and has introduced Clear Access Banking – a second chance checking account. Although not marketed as such, the account is designed for those who have had trouble opening traditional bank accounts.

Wells Fargo sign

With Clear Access Banking, customers have access to a vast brick-and-mortar branch network, making banking accessible for all. Wells Fargo is one of the few major national banks that offers a second-chance checking account, and it is designed for customers with lower balances, including teens.

Features and Benefits

The Clear Access Banking account requires a $25 minimum deposit to open and has a $5 monthly fee. However, the fee is waived for customers between 13 and 24 years old. Unlike other checking accounts, Clear Access Banking does not have overdraft or insufficient-funds fees, making it a safer option for those who are struggling to keep their accounts in the black.

Checkless Checking with a Broad Network

This checkless checking account does not offer paper checks, but customers have access to around 5,400 branches and more than 12,000 ATMs nationwide. This feature is a great advantage for customers who prefer to have face-to-face interaction with bankers. Clear Access Banking also includes a contactless debit card for fast, secure payments and Wells Fargo ATM access.

Advanced Security Measures

To ensure customers’ security and peace of mind, Wells Fargo has implemented advanced security measures. With 24/7 fraud monitoring and Zero Liability protection, customers are not held responsible for unauthorized transactions. This feature is crucial in preventing fraudulent activities in your account.

Digital Tools for Easy Banking

In addition to these security features, the Clear Access Banking account also offers convenient digital tools. Customers can use Zelle to send and receive money in minutes, and mobile deposit allows for easy check depositing from their smartphones. The digital wallet feature permits customers to add debit and credit cards to their mobile devices for fast and easy tap-and-pay transactions.

More Control Over Your Account

To further enhance security, the account also includes biometric authentication, which allows for secure sign-on to the mobile app using a fingerprint or face. With card control, customers can easily turn credit and debit cards on or off and track recurring payments, giving them even more control over their accounts.

What is a second chance checking account?

When it comes to banking, not everyone has a perfect track record. For those who have had trouble with their finances in the past, traditional checking accounts may be out of reach. That’s where second chance checking accounts come in.

These types of checking accounts cater to people who have a history of financial setbacks, such as overdrafts or bounced checks. By granting them an opportunity to rebuild their banking history, second chance checking accounts can facilitate a transition to a traditional checking account in the future.

If your past financial difficulties have prevented you from opening a standard checking account, a second chance checking account could be a viable alternative. With the chance to start anew and manage your finances responsibly, this option may be the fresh start you need.

What are some alternatives to Wells Fargo Clear Access Banking?

U.S. Bank

Features & Benefits

  • Up to $400 bonus
  • Minimum opening deposit of $25
  • Monthly service fee: $0 or $6.95
  • Over 40,000 surcharge-free MoneyPass ATMs

The U.S. Bank Smartly® Checking account comes with a free debit card and the option to lock or unlock the card if it’s ever lost or stolen.

Additionally, you won’t have to worry about ATM transaction fees at U.S. Bank ATMs or surcharge fees at over 40,000 MoneyPass Network ATMs.

Although U.S. Bank uses ChexSystems, it has a reputation for being more lenient with records than most banks. So, as long as you don’t have a history of fraud or owe any money to U.S. Bank, you may be eligible to open a checking account with them.

The minimum opening deposit for this account is only $25, and the monthly service fee is $6.95. However, you can avoid the monthly fee by maintaining a minimum balance of $1,500 or having a minimum monthly Direct Deposit of $1,000.


Features & Benefits

  • Sign-up bonus up to $300 with qualifying direct deposits
  • No monthly fee
  • Earn up to 4.60% APY on savings
  • Over 55,000 fee-free ATMs

The SoFi Checking and Savings account provides a multitude of benefits, including no overdraft fees, balance requirements, or monthly charges.

For a limited time, there’s an enticing sign-up bonus of up to $300 with qualifying direct deposits.

In addition, account holders can utilize 55,000 ATMs free of charge via the Allpoint® Network. Those establishing direct deposit are entitled to an annual percentage yield (APY) of 4.60% on their savings and 0.50% on checking accounts.

Direct deposit users also get the added benefit of early access to their paychecks – up to 2 days sooner.


Features & Benefits

  • Over 14.5 million downloads
  • No credit check or ChexSystems
  • No minimum opening deposit
  • Over 60,000 fee-free1 ATMs

Chime® offers a solution for individuals with a poor banking history, providing an award-winning financial app, and a debit card, all without requiring a credit check.

The Chime Checking Account boasts no monthly fees, including no monthly maintenance fees, foreign transaction fees, or minimum balance fees.

Additionally, Chime’s Secured Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card enables you to establish your credit without annual fees, credit checks, or interest charges.

With Chime, you get access to over 60,000 fee-free MoneyPass® and Visa® Plus Alliance ATMs and the ability to receive your paycheck up to 2 days earlier with direct deposit. In addition, over 8,500 Walgreens stores offer free cash deposits.

Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services and debit card provided by The Bancorp Bank N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A.; Members FDIC. Credit Builder card issued by Stride Bank, N.A.

1. Out-of-network ATM withdrawal fees may apply with Chime except at MoneyPass ATMs in a 7-Eleven, or any Allpoint or Visa Plus Alliance ATM.