Posted by sirtheta on January 30, 2017
Checking Accounts

Published on January 30th, 2017 | by sirtheta

119

Can We Just Be Cool About Closing Those Wells Fargo Accounts?

I’d love to christen this a hot take, but I’ll have to settle for HOT TIP: don’t close your Wells Fargo account right after getting the $250 bonus.

There’s one thing that keeps popping up recently—I’ve seen it tens of times across multiple websites & platforms: since there’s no early account termination fee, can I close my Wells Fargo account right after getting the $250 bonus?

Here’s my take: don’t.

What is one thing that banks truly hate? Losing money. What happens when you close your account right after getting the bonus? They lose money, and in a very obvious fashion. What are the possible repercussions for the future? Fewer good new account bonuses from Wells Fargo (affects everyone), institution of an early account termination fee (affects everyone), and/or Wells Fargo blacklisting you—to name the obvious ones. Your individual actions when summed across a community can create very real reactions.

The cost to keep the account fee-free is 10 debit transactions per statement cycle (+$5 to your Amazon balance), and the fee is waived for your first two statement cycles (at least, according to my first statement). Do whatever you like with your $250, but is it really that hard to keep the account open for a couple of months? It’s not like you can’t find any use for a Wells Fargo account—especially since Wells Fargo values a banking relationship with them if you’re angling for some of their very nice credit card offerings.

A common refrain is that people don’t care about their relationship to Wells Fargo or if they lose money because they opened accounts for people illegally. That was bad and some consumers will likely never be made whole, no two ways about it. However, it is flat out wrong to claim that Wells Fargo (as a monolithic entity) did it to make money, or for some other sordid reason. There’s a very simple & obvious reason it happened: Wells Fargo used a metric (and put in place repercussions for not meeting the metric) that incentivized behavior they didn’t intend. David Manheim over at ribbonfarm has two very fine pieces about why this happens that were published independently of the Wells Fargo fiasco. We could debate the obviousness of what would happen, or who knew what when, from here to the moon, but I don’t think it’s relevant to my point: closing your account is detrimental to the community as a whole.

Let’s just be cool.

Hat tip to u/CarnalCowboy on r/churning for inspiring me to do a complete write-up of my thoughts.

update, January 31: added a small note to the end of the final (true) paragraph to tie it back to the larger point — apologies for forgetting that!



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119 Comments on "Can We Just Be Cool About Closing Those Wells Fargo Accounts?"

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joe
joe

Amen. I actually plan to keep my wells fargo account open. I actually kind of like the features, and I also get the side benefit of closing out of my chase account so my wife and I can finally start getting those annual chase bonuses!

Merlin treichel
Merlin treichel

I have banked.wells for a longtime they have always been above expectations. I. use a wells credit card. everything favorable to any other bank ive done bus. with

J.M.
J.M.

Mine will stay open even though it won’t be a primary. Their branch is closest to my house so it’ll get some use. I may close it in 180 days if it makes sense to.

But I agree, be respectful to the community and don’t destroy a good thing just bc you can.

Evan
Evan

Any advice for those that tried to open an account late and only got “conditionally approved” but still haven’t heard from them?

Milo
Milo

I too got the conditional approval but no communication. It s been 5 days since I opened the account

Gadget
Gadget

I imagine they are being flooded with sign-ups. The account opening e-mail says:

“Next Steps:
Please sign, date, and return the Consumer Account Application included in your account information packet (which will arrive in 3 business days).
Once we have verified your information, we’ll send you the status of your application by email and we’ll follow up with a letter within 2 to 5 business days of our decision.
Once your account is approved and we process your opening deposit, you can access your account within 24 hours at any Wells Fargo location.

Mike
Mike

The same thing actually happened with me. Put in online application but no response for several days. So went in branch and they said the system only stored the information but wasn’t processing the application. Ended up applying in branch again.

Darv
Darv

Were they able to apply the promotion in your branch? Did you get some written confirmation it was applied?

I applied on Friday and tried to speed things up by going into a branch Saturday morning. The branch manager told me the online process can only be handled by their online team and I would have to wait for them to process it.

I last received a bonus from them early January 2016, and technically it is more than 12 months since I received it, so decided to apply. My app went conditional approval, I tried using a credit card to fund. My wife’s application was instantly approved although she did external checking funding. They never pulled the money so she transferred it in manually.

Jesse
Jesse

Took my G/F’s 8 days from Conditionally Approved to fully approved. Give it time, imo. If the 2 week mark hits, call in and/or apply in branch.

Evan
Evan

Did anyone have success calling in? There’s just isn’t any branch nearby, so if I can’t do it over the phone/internet, I would have to give up.

William Charles

No advice at the moment, maybe if you live near a branch you could inquire there? If anybody does this, let me know how it goes.

Adam D
Adam D

I called in, gave them my account # on last screen, didnt have to wait for signature card in mail, answered a few questions, was given a temp password n set up a username from a csr to enroll, have access to online banking now. Just signed up for cap1 360 $200 bonus also. going to deposit $250 to cap1 360 them ach it to WF, I’ll DP if that fulfillsxthe DD requirement for $250 bonus.

Evan
Evan

Can you tell me what number you called? Some people say they were put on hold and never reached anyone that could help them with the account. I will wait a few more days just in case, but I think I will have to eventually call them.

Adam D
Adam D

800-956-4442. this was the general number i think

Adam D
Adam D

forgot to mention, my initial ach deposit of $25 has not been credited yet, but already im process of adding a dofferent external account to WF online profile.

RTC
RTC

Where did you get your account #? All I can find in the email is an “Application Reference number”.

Elias
Elias

I hate to disagree but this is completely wrong: “However, it is flat out wrong to claim that Wells Fargo did this to make money, or for some other sordid reason, or did it as a monolithic entity.”

It was determined by the congress investigation that they systematically opened new accounts without their clients approval to boost their numbers on their reports so that investors were mislead to get more valuation on their stock on the market…. they did it on purpose AND to get more money. It was not an “accident”.

Jake
Jake

Fully agreed.

It takes an enormous amount of verbal gymnastics and nuance to try to credibly say otherwise

PD
PD

For sure. I have one relative who is a certified auditor and certified fraud examiner, and another who is a researcher in the field of corporate ethics. This was systemic and top down, and incredibly common/typical/ unsurprising behavior for a corporation. They knew exactly what they were doing and what effects it would have at different levels of the company.

Charles Reinhart
Charles Reinhart

They did to my account’s in Palm springs at the Wells account at the springs.they also embezzle d 600k out if my trust account when they thought I was dying of brain tumour. When I did NB not die as expected the reginal manager waited a year to ask me if I knew one of their staff had taken funds oout of my account m I asked him if they didn’t have financial obligations legally to inform me of this. And was informed they were asked not To alarms went off in my Head. And knew that it was my ex husband Joseph Hyder who started NB out in banking 40 years ago in sf with the top executives of Wells Fargo and has been his closest friends for 40 years. Who was involved. Wells Fargo did not terminate bank manager and senior loan manager. Just transfered them. They have been complicit in covering this up. Had copies of transfered funds turned over to Ps FBI by my business partner Munich masuda.who had to return to Japan for his own safety on advice of fbi

james snider
james snider

workers did this . Not corportate. Big different . Corportate put forth a policy that was abused by workers or managers in branch that had unintended concequences.

Kind of the way this $250 sign up bonus is to encourage new sign ups but is getting the unintended concequence churners who don’t want to have a wells account but just get the cash

James
James

Wells Fargo accepts money orders for mobile deposit. That’s reason enough to keep my account open.

J.M.
J.M.

Any limits, official or unofficial, that you’re aware of with regards to MO deposits?

Franholio
Franholio

Believe it’s 5K/month on mobile. No hard limit on ATM but excessive volume will get you shut down almost anywhere.

Brett
Brett

Thanks for this. It’s infuriating to see how greedy some of these people are who jump into the hobby for a quick buck with complete disregard of ramifications on the hobby as a whole. I fully support you guys continuing to call out this awful behavior.

ORION GOD OF WAR
ORION GOD OF WAR

So people were greedy not Wells Fargo, I see. Oh poor Wells Fargo. Hey if u wanna keep ur money with them and support them don’t be surprised if they burn u in the future. I don’t keep my money with people who have shown me they can’t be trusted with money.

Brett
Brett

Oh please. I hate what Wells Fargo has done as much as anyone, but we are here to take advantage of this deal, not establish a portfolio of relationship accounts with them. Lighten up.

Mimi
Mimi

I concur with everything you said sirtheta. I plan on keeping my account open and try their billpay service. I got an extra $10 statement credit which came instantly for one time paying using wallet app. My bonus also posted two days after I fulfilled ten debit transactions so this is an account I’ll keep using.

Den
Den

I see no point. If you keep the account open and use it for ten $0.50 transactions per month than bank will make maybe couple of cents.
Bank loose the same amount of money in both cases. Personally I do not understand why banks do not blacklist people for bonus chasing. Maybe it is a small loss for them…
It is relatively easy to track how profitable is each person.

Dave
Dave

Good point. I wish I had kept mine open after last year, actually. Their ATM withdrawals are much faster than my BoFA ones.

Dave
Dave

Nice post sirtheta. Let us hope this will enlighten the readers who have
the “take the money and run” mentality.

Vijay
Vijay

I would agree with Doc and hope everyone be fair to a bank promotion. We should not abuse it just for the sake of getting bonus and for simple fact that they don’t charge Early account closure fee. It’s easy to keep this WF account open by making 10 transactions within statement cycle or ACH $500 from other bank. May be honor it by keeping the account open for 6 mos and then close it.

TIP: Normally their bonus states you should not have received a promotion bonus for the past 12 mos. So irrespective of whether you close it now or 6 mos after its not going to change your situation. They have never said “you should not have had checking account in the past 12 mos”.

I am going to honor 6-8 mos of account opening.

Frito Pendejo
Frito Pendejo

Speaking of Wells Fargo credit cards, has anybody actually been able to get a 40k propel offer in branch? I tried once so far and the banker wasn’t aware of it. I’m going to try again but I don’t have high hopes

Dave C
Dave C

Word is they have mobile deposits for MOs, so it is useful long term.

Jan B
Jan B

Respectfully submitted.

Look, folks, please stop closing early after bonus receipt. Tough to fathom why that would be necessary. Isn’t there a “price” to pay for early closing?

I have to have my DH’s blessing to do a bank bonus these days and this one doesn’t require the DD. Big plus in my debate.

I have yet to go for this but plan to after the present illness that I am tolerating subsides. Don’t bring negative attention to this, causing others to miss. After all, we are not in competition. Thanks.

Jan B
Jan B

Thanks. I missed this because of the recently adding of the targeted language.

David
David

You must’ve missed where Wells fired whistle-blowers who reported the fraud through the corporate compliance line. Either that or you’re being deliberately obtuse….

I already closed and have zero regrets.

Ed
Ed

Exactly what is the incentive for closing the account so quickly? So that you can start the 365 day clock to open another one next year? You can’t reasonably assume this offer will even be available. My honest opinion is that $259 is a generous enough incentive for me to give Wells Fargo an honest try. It doesn’t mean I will remain a customer forever. But if this type of promotion doesn’t entice you to at least give a business a chance then nothing will.

prussiablue
prussiablue

I don’t like closing bank accounts early after getting a bonus, just like I won’t close my credit card if I received a retention offer on it and took it. It messes with my churning karma (yes, as an atheist and LessWrong rationalist I still feel that karma is the appropriate word here.)

My philosophy is with Sartre, that “L’homme n’est rien d’autre que ce qu’il se fait” (Man is nothing else but that which he makes of himself.)

olympi
olympi

Related question – is it possible to close a current checking account and open another with this bonus? I’m outside of the 12 months since bonus but wasn’t sure if closing and opening could happen in the amount of time remaining.

cm

Someone mentioned they have coffee in-branch. If true, I intend to churn their coffee as I have a need for MO deposits, one at a time. 🙂

But if coffee ain’t good, would probably close as soon as the third month hits or whatever.

kt
kt

Their coffee is meh. At least from the 4 local branches I’ve been to.

R
R

post about nothing everyone have specific reason to close or not and this post will not change this reasons

ORION GOD OF WAR
ORION GOD OF WAR

Agree, total waste of time. Pure garbage

arch
arch

Why is this worth a post? I closed immediately after getting the bonus and don’t regret it. Everything in this hobby has a limited shelf life and if Wells Fargo stops offering bonuses who cares. We have limited methods of expressing our outrage at all the corporate malfeasances, mine was to take them for the bonus and run. If you can be bought for $250 then fine. Just don’t try to spread your contrived justifications on the readers of this blog. This whole post should be deleted and you should get over yourself.

Adam D
Adam D

Closing an account right after the bonus posts right away is harmful for your future with the bank (some people dont care or intentionally do it since they hate the corrupt bank) and harmful to us churners in the long run, its common sense as to why.

I think the main point of this post was dont close right after because it will ruin it for others who are new to the game and is bad for churning as a whole. Its your right to do so, but I think its the same as why chargebacks are harmful for offshore sportsbooks. (Research that if you want some serious free money).

mark
mark

I have criticism here. I HATE THE TITLE TO THIS POST. This is not a news site. It’s like one of those crap ads with those perky titles. Please don’t do this. I have been able to scan headlines on your site and get the info i need, this was just annoying!

Besides the fact that i love you guys, im a perfectionist, and so im taking the time to vent. Dont take it personally:)

mark
mark

Just summarize the post in a sentence and call it a title. Dont go “you wont believe what kim wears at night”….

Ur momma
Ur momma

Lol best post ever. Not because of the content but because of the writers reaction to comments on this post. Who is this guy anyways and where did they find him. Hope this is not the new trend for the site. This was my happy place, hate to have to find a new one. Letting the comments get to u like this is no Bueno for anybody.

J Mahon
J Mahon

The minimum Amazon GC is now $1. So $10/month into your AGC balance.

William Charles

Still 0.50 if you do a reload.

J Mahon
J Mahon

Mind=blown.

PJC
PJC

I rec’d the targeted offer weeks ago and just got around to going in branch today. Gave them $25 and all signed up with temp debit card. I have no clue how to do the Amazon GC thing to meet the ten debit card transactions per month. Can anyone talk this newbie through it? Thanks so much for your help.

arch
arch

Go to your Amazon account. If you don’t have a GC already, buy one with your debit, I believe $1 is smallest. Then look for reload your gift card, and do the 50c reloads for the rest of the transactions

PJC
PJC

I get it now! Thanks for the clear explanation.

Jim

My Wells Fargo checking account was closed automatically, without warning, after a mere 60 days of “inactivity”. Mind you, I was still getting payroll direct deposits into the account every two weeks during this time. Apparently, only actions initiated by a real person (e.g. using the debit card, atm withdrawal, one-time bill pay) counts as activity. I actually wanted to keep the account open so I could get the relationship bonus on my credit card rewards, but oh well.

Logan
Logan

sounds like grounds for a CPFB complaint. Although not sure what you could get out of it.

VM
VM

My SO’s and my account was also closed automatically. Only transactions that have happened in the account are DD to avoid monthly fees and then pulled that money out every month. They closed it without any notice – which I think is due to “inactivity” or zero balance.

My concern is if this is reported negatively to Chexsystem?

Alan
Alan

Mine was also closed automatically this morning due to zero balance, I think. It was zero balance only yesterday.

duni
duni

Mine was closed probably due to the same reason. But I just initiated a $1500 transfer from my capital one account and it is already gone. Will the money be returned automatically?

Terri Clark
Terri Clark

Thanks for an excellent post, Sirtheta. I agree with you, how hard is it to do 10 debit transactions per month and keep the account open awhile just like you would with a credit card if you’re wise. I don’t get the “bite the hand that feeds you, or flies you” mentality.

sam
sam

Why they don’t have early termination fees? I don’t understand! 0.O

Laura
Laura

I expect to see them next time! Although when Wells reports “new account openings” numbers with earnings it should be a really good looking number for this quarter.

Bob
Bob

Any DPs on whether Amazon reloads count toward the 10 monthly debit transactions. WF has a nice feature that tells you how many qualifying transaction you have. I show only 2. I made 2 gas purchases and 8 Amazon reloads. Seems Amazon may not work.

Pat
Pat

I was pleasantly surprised with the features: free clearxchange person to person, no ach fees in or out (as opposed to boa), low minimum daily balance of 1500 (as compared to 5000 average daily balance for chase). I am planning to make it my regular account.

Doug
Doug

Doesn’t look like these offers are helping WF attract new customers:

“— Customers are still turning their backs on Wells Fargo…new checking accounts people opened was down 31 percent in January from a year earlier.

Applications for credit cards were even worse, dropping 47 percent.”

– NYT

David Berresheim
David Berresheim

There are 2 things I would like to say:

1. as long as one is playing by the rules, no one is in a position to judge others. In my view, those who close in 1-2 months are not materially different from those who close in 1-2 weeks or 1-2 days after the requirements are met.

2. It is a free market and money will flow wherever it can make the most out of it. Otherwise, stock market won’t work anymore. I know there are things more important than money in life. But it is not wrong to seek return through legal and lawful approaches. At least I know that is what banks do. Sometimes, they do that even illegally. Still remember how wells fargo employees tried to open accounts for customers without their consent? That was how long ago???

R
R

rules changes,
often

lin
lin

most branch replace hot coffee for water only.

Jan B
Jan B

Anyone receive an ATM promo lately from Wells?

If I can’t get the current bonus everyone else got here, I would welcome a lesser amount of $150 with an non-WF card ATM transaction. TIA

William Charles

Why can’t you get current bonus? Working for everybody at the moment

JeffySmits
JeffySmits

I plan to keep mine open for a few months, at least. I feel that the rep at the local WF office did me a favor by even accepting me for the bonus since I wasn’t targeted ( she was under no obligation to do so ). Purchasing a few odds and ends with the debit card each month, is hardly a heavy load to lift. Potentially killing the gift horse for future offers is just plain short-sided and stupid.

Information Booth
Information Booth

I’m new to this hobby and I think it’s pretty cool. Speaking of WF, I’ve got a dp for y’all. After setting ca to $0, I opened a v-wallet w/PNC using my WF cashwise visa. It coded as a purchase. Hope this helps somebody.

Theory
Theory

You’re basically asking us to treat the account as though it has some type of ETF or closing penalty, even though it doesn’t, so that it will be less likely that one will be imposed in the future.

This doesn’t make any sense to me, because if it does prevent future ETFs, you’re still jumping through ETF-like hoops pre-emptively. And if it doesn’t, then your previous behavior won’t help you out later. It seems like a waste of my time (as little as it may be) and mental space to make sure I’m avoiding fees.

If WF wanted an ETF, they would have put one on the offer. And when they do in the future, I’ll figure out what makes the most sense for me at that point.

Mark-NY
Mark-NY

I agree with the author’s caution (or appeal) regarding closing bank deposit or even credit card accounts immediately after getting a sign-on bonus. However, I must say I signed up for the Wells Fargo Checking in January, got my bonus and I am ready to close it. Here are my reasons:

1. Upon opening the account, WF did not send me any correspondence on what to expect, so I spent some hours in total figuring out what documents to expect, when my ATM card or PIN would arrive. My PIN did not arrive as they advised, so I had to cal back. Not even a supervisor knew for sure what the process was or what I should expect in the mail. I got an email from them stating I opened an account, but they missed a HUGE opportunity to provide this info in the email as other banks have done.

2. Long winded customer service reps who go on and on about trying to provide the best service 2 minutes into the call and then after you finally tell them your issue, they seem distracted or constantly put you on hold. As a more specific example, just today, I called in to inquire about direct deposit, I reached a rep, who after about a long minute of intro (I’m from NY, hurry the hell up 😉 ), he asked for my account #, I provided my checking account starting with 1995xxx. He asked me if that was my social security (lol), then I said no, that’s the account number. He did his thing and pulled up my account and asked, “How can I help you with your credit card?” I was like wtf?

3. I live out in the suburbs of NYC (outer borough) and there isn’t a WF branch in a 10-mile radius. This on was on me partially, and partially on WF for letting me believe I can conduct business effortlessly online as I’ve done with most banks.

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