Wells Fargo Way2Save: Gimmick or Gold Mine?

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When it comes to saving money, I’m a big believer in doing whatever it takes. If having too much tax taken out of your check each week so you get a big refund helps you save, do it. While you’ll lose interest on your money while Uncle Sam is holding on to it, that’s better than blowing it on stuff you don’t need. Besides, interest rates today are anemic at even the best online banks. And that brings me to the Wells Fargo (formally Wachovia) Way2Save savings account.

Way2Save is a basic FDIC-insured savings account with two twists. The first is that it pays 2.96% interest on balances of less than $501. While that’s not a lot of money, 2.96% interest is about three times greater than the highest interest rate savings accounts today. That’s the good news. The bad news is that for balances of $501 and higher, the current rate is just 0.05%. And that’s the first reason I ask whether Way2Save is a gimmick or a gold mine.

The second reason has to do with what Wells Fargo calls the Save As You Go option. Save As You Go requires you to have a Wells Fargo checking account in addition to the Way2Save savings account. With both in place, Wells Fargo will help you save by transferring $1 from your checking account to your savings account when one of the following occurs:

  • You Make a Check Card purchase (using a PIN or signature).
  • You Pay a bill online with Wells Fargo Bill Pay.
  • You Have an automatic payment deducted from your linked checking account.

As I said at the start of this post, I’m all for doing whatever it takes to save some dough. And if the Save As You Go option helps some save money, that’s great. Still, it seems like more of a gimmick to me. And if you keep relatively small sums of cash in your checking account, the last thing you may want is for money to be transferred to savings. Wells Fargo won’t make the $1 transfer if it would cause the account to be overdrawn. But keeping track of your balance while $1 transfers are being made could be a real headache.

So what do you think about Way2Save, and what other tricks have you used to help save money?

Published or Updated: March 22, 2012
About Rob Berger

Rob founded the Dough Roller in 2007. A litigation attorney in the securities industry, he lives in Northern Virginia with his wife, their two teenagers, and the family mascot, a shih tzu named Sophie.

Comments

  1. Pamela says:

    I’ve never been a big fan of large banks, even before the mortgage debacle.

    The high interest rate will catch people’s eye but you nailed it when you mentioned that headaches it will cause to keep track of balances and transfer fees.

    I’ve been very happy with my community development credit union because my time is worth something to me and I can’t be bothered with playing stupid money games to earn an extra dollar here and penny there. That said, I have money in a 4% CD at that credit union so I’m not complaining now.

    • Gregory says:

      Thank you Pamela.

  2. pfstock says:

    It seems more like a gimmick to me. The total annual interest that you stand to gain from the offer is about $15. And there are a lot of hoops to jump through to get that.

  3. Matt says:

    I find it extremely advantageous for the bank. It’s peculiar that we are now allowing for money to be transferred into a savings account, without consent or request from the banker. I personally have this as an option, and on a frequent basis, Wells Fargo will transfer funds from my checking account into my savings account. This happens so frequently in fact, that I will not be completely sure where my funds are, despite logging into my online services a mere hour previously. This “Save-as-you-go” method of a ‘savings account’ is merely Wells Fargo moving funds into a savings account so bankers are more subjected to overdraft charges and transfer fee’s. It’s completely deceitful, elusive and fraudulent. It offers the banker a powerless and purportless method of handling their funds. Wells Fargo are the most mendacious group of people I’ve ever grown to know.

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