Wells Fargo Merchant Services Review
Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.
Wells Fargo Merchant Services helps small business owners accept debit and credit card payments online and in person. The bank offers competitive rates and multiple point-of-sale systems by Clover. However, it could be an inconvenient option if you don’t already use Wells Fargo Bank — you need a deposit account to qualify. Existing and new customers will have to decide if using the bank’s merchant services is worth its past scandals.
What is Wells Fargo Merchant Services?
Unless you run a cash-only business, you’ll most likely need a point-of-sale (POS) system to accept credit cards, debit cards and mobile payment methods like Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay from customers. Common POS providers include independent sales organizations or ISOs, payment service providers like Square or Stripe or banks like Wells Fargo.
Wells Fargo and other banks often use an ISO to provide the software or hardware you’ll need including card readers, receipt printers and the like. Wells Fargo Merchant Services partners with Fiserv, which acquired third-party vendor First Data, to provide Clover POS stations to small businesses.
Wells Fargo fees, pricing and rates
Wells Fargo Merchant Services offers two pricing plans for small businesses: volume tier or interchange plus, the fee that goes to a specific card network plus the processor’s markup. We cover volume-tier pricing in this review, but it’s always a smart idea to ask if you qualify for interchange plus and compare costs.
Processing rates vary based on whether you’re a business-to-consumer (B2C) merchant or business-to-business (B2B) merchant. You’ll need to request a quote to get a full picture of your costs — the chart below does not account for service charges, chargeback and compliance fees or software costs charged by Clover. We’ll talk more about fees in a minute.
|Wells Fargo Merchant Services Fees and Rates by Monthly Processing Volume|
|$0-$14,999.99||$15,000-$39,999.99||$40,000 & up|
|Rate Per Tap, Dip, Swipe||B2C Merchants: 2.60% + $0.15
B2B Merchants: 2.60% + $0.20
|B2C Merchants: 2.40% + $0.15
2.50% + $0.20
|B2C Merchants: 2.20% + $0.15
2.40% + $0.20
|Rate Per Online or Keyed-In Transaction||B2C Merchants 3.40% + $0.15
B2B Merchants: 3.99% + $0.20
|B2C Merchants: 3.20% + $0.15
B2B Merchants: 3.75% + $0.20
|B2C Merchants: 3.10% + $0.15
B2B Merchants: 3.50% + $0.20
|Monthly Equipment Fee*||$9.95 for in-person payments and $24.95 for online payments. You’ll pay $34.90 monthly if your business accepts both. There is an additional $15 monthly fee for wireless access.|
|Terms||You may choose to buy or lease a POS device. Lease terms are available for 36 or 48 months. Lease fees vary depending on which option you choose and are not included here.|
*$14.95 monthly fee if you provide your own POS equipment
As we mentioned earlier, you can either lease or buy the Clover hardware needed to accept cards or contactless payments. Either way, you’ll pay a monthly equipment fee, but you would avoid the additional monthly lease fee. Here’s a look at pricing for three Clover POS stations:
- First Data® FD150: $419 + tax. Available for B2C and B2B merchants.
- Clover® Go: $69 + tax. Available for B2C merchants.
- Clover® Flex: $ 499 plus tax. Available for B2C merchants.
All three devices can accept mobile and contactless payments, including Apple Pay, Fitbit Pay, Garmin Pay, Google Pay or Samsung Pay. Wells Fargo offers additional POS solutions beyond what’s listed above — more information can be obtained when speaking with a Wells Fargo representative. Clover, as we said, may charge its own software fees.
Beyond the processing and equipment fees, watch out for these additional costs:
- Service charges, also known as a discount rate, vary by your payment processing method, card types you process, which device you use and how fast you settle transactions.
- Compliance fees may apply. All merchants are expected to meet Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliance requirements to help ensure the security of the cardholder’s data during a transaction. Failure to comply may incur fines, penalties and a monthly noncompliance fee.
- Chargeback fees occur when an original charge credited to your bank account is reversed. The amount of the original sale and a chargeback fee will be deducted from your account.
Other services provided by Wells Fargo Merchant Services
Today’s POS systems do more than just accept payments. It’s not uncommon for them to sync with your accounting software or help you manage inventory, taxes and more. Alongside basic card processing capabilities, Wells Fargo also offers other types of merchant services for running your business:
Wells Fargo Business Track is a secure online account management and reporting portal that allows you to access monthly statements and tax-reporting assistance and resolve disputes and chargebacks. More information about the Business Track program can be had by calling 1-800-451-5817.
Business line of credit
If you need small business financing, you can submit a separate application for a revolving credit line of up to $500,000. You can use your Wells Fargo line of credit for several purposes, including purchasing inventory and even paying your tax bill. And unlike a traditional small business loan, you pay interest only on the amount you spend. Wells Fargo Bank offers traditional business loans in addition to its business lines of credit.
Is Wells Fargo Merchant Services right for you?
Wells Fargo Merchant Services has its advantages, especially if you’re already a banking customer. If you’re looking to work with a large bank and like the Clover POS systems, Wells Fargo could be a good fit. It provides resources to make sure you’re staying within PCI security standards and can deposit funds to your Wells Fargo account as soon as the next business day. But the fee structure can be confusing, which may give you cause for concern in light of Wells Fargo’s checkered past. We’ll talk more about that in a later section.
How to apply for Wells Fargo Merchant Services
In order to apply online, Wells Fargo Bank requires small businesses to have:
- Wells Fargo Bank business checking account
- Annual sales less than $500,000
- At least one owner who is a U.S. citizen
- E-commerce website and shopping cart (for merchants accepting online payments)
If you don’t meet the above qualifications, you may still be eligible to open an account. For more information, you can contact Wells Fargo online or by using the Wells Fargo Merchant Services phone number.
Submit a contact form: A Wells Fargo Merchant Services representative will call you to explore your options. The form will require your name, business, address, email address and phone number.
Call by telephone: Speak with a Wells Fargo Merchant Services representative by calling 1-866-380-9828 on weekdays, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. PT and Saturday, from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m., PT.
After confirming your eligibility, follow these steps to complete your online application for a Wells Fargo merchant account:
- Head to the Wells Fargo website and go to the Merchant Services Payment processing page.
- Click the “Apply Now” button.
- The first question will ask how you accept card payments with the following options: in person, online or both. The option you select will reflect which products show in the next step.
- Choose the device from the list of Wells Fargo payment processing solutions for your business.
- If you do not have an existing Wells Fargo merchant services account, this step will require you to create one.
- Follow the instructions that will guide you through the application process. Be aware that Wells Fargo may check your credit during the assessment process.
- If Wells Fargo approves your application, it will set up your Wells Fargo merchant account, debit your account and ship your equipment overnight.
Please note that choosing both an in-person and online solution will create two separate accounts with separate statements. Also, you will need to agree to the Wells Fargo Merchant Services operating rules.
Wells Fargo Merchant Services pros and cons
If you already use Wells Fargo for business banking, then a Wells Fargo Merchant Services account can conveniently centralize your finances within a single institution. Wells Fargo is still a worthy consideration even for business owners who haven’t worked with Wells Fargo.
Wells Fargo Merchant Services pros
Next-day funding: Instead of waiting two to three business days — something you might do with other merchant service providers — Wells Fargo can deposit funds into your account as soon as the next business day. Gaining quicker access to your funds can be essential for liquid cash flow, especially if you need the funds to complete payroll.
Interchange plus pricing: Wells Fargo offers an interchange plus pricing plan in addition to tiered rates. Interchange rates are the rates that the card payment network charges. Experts believe processing plans based on interchange rates are more transparent — compare costs to see which one is right for you. Wells Fargo’s tiered rates are competitive with rivals.
Lower fees for high-volume transactions: Tiered processing rates are based on your monthly transaction volume. If your business relies heavily on credit card payments, you’ll enjoy lower processing rates.
Wells Fargo Merchant Services cons
Must bank with Wells Fargo: To qualify for Wells Fargo Merchant Services, you must have a Wells Fargo business deposit account. If you’re seeking only a POS solution to work with your existing business bank account, Wells Fargo Merchant Services may not be for you.
Multiple fees, lack of pricing transparency: Wells Fargo buries various fees across its website and other guides. You will need to go through the application process before knowing your full costs. Rivals may charge fewer fees.
Recent scandals: Wells Fargo has received continuous government scrutiny after a string of scandals stretching over several years. Moreover, its third-party vendor, First Data, acquired by Fiserv in 2019, also got into hot water for the misbehavior of a company executive. We’ll talk more about this, below.
Millions of unauthorized Wells Fargo accounts
Wells Fargo has been rocked by multiple scandals, perhaps most notably when the bank admitted to opening fake accounts and unlawfully collecting millions of dollars in fees and interest from their customers. As a result, Wells Fargo agreed earlier this year to pay $3 billion to resolve these criminal and civil investigations.
Former First Data executive accused of scams
Third-party vendor First Data has since merged with Fiserv, but a former vice president, Chi “Vincent” Ko, was the subject of a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) complaint alleging Ko laundered credit card payments for companies involved in scams. First Data and Ko agreed to pay $40.2 million to settle the charges.
Any fees mentioned in this article are accurate as of the date of publishing.