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LAST UPDATED: June 27th, 2019

When Wells Fargo acquired Wachovia Bank during the financial crisis in 2008, the company acquired Wachovia's other services like its brokerage firm. WellsTrade is the modified version of that brokerage firm, which provides similar services to what past clients would expect from Wachovia Bank's broker. By using WellsTrade, investors can place trades on stocks, ETFs, and options, among other investments. Since it's a division of Wells Fargo, investors can take advantage of the parent company's banking services while investing with the brokerage firm. This means clients can smoothly link their banking accounts to their trading accounts, which makes it easier for them to transfer funds as needed and make use of the parent company's other provisions.

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The Good

  • Integration with wells fargo
  • Educational resources
Those that use WellsTrade for their stock trading needs will find a number of beneficial aspects to the platform. Prospective clients that decide to use WellsTrade can expect the following from the overall service:

Integration with Wells Fargo

There are several advantages to using WellsTrade, especially for investors who bank with Wells Fargo. These investors can seamlessly transfer funds, online, from their banking account to their trading account all on the same day. This feature helps the brokerage firm compete against some of its tough competition that tend to take days to transfer funds for their clients. Another great advantage for Wells Fargo bankers is their ability to borrow funds from their bank, via a margin account, which will allow the bank to cover some of the costs of securities. When all of these services are under one roof, it's easier for a firm to lend its clients funds and manage their finances accordingly. The third advantage for Wells Fargo bankers is their access to discounted trades. Since banks tend to assess their relationship with clients before providing benefits, a Wells Fargo banker is more likely to gain access to discounted trades, premium account services, and lower lending costs. The fourth and last great perk for Wells Fargo customers is their access to financial advisors. Banks tend to offer specialized, financial advisors to help guide their customers and Wells Fargo is no exception. The parent company provides each customer with a licensed advisor, even if the trader in question only has 10,000 invested or is beginning to invest at just $50 a month. Having an advisor can be a pretty crucial factor for traders, especially for investors who are fairly new to the game.

Educational Resources

WellsTrade, in addition to providing financial advisors through its parent company, also offers educational resources to further facilitate the investing process. They offer videos on how to invest, what types of securities are out there, and much more. They even provide guides on stocks, bonds, options, and mutual funds, explaining the difference between these different options for novice investors. Additionally, the brokerage firm provides great research tools to help investors better understand the market and its securities. This tool provides quotes, trading ability, and investor recommendations to capture and share dynamic market data. If customers require further assistance beyond these resources, they are always urged to get in touch with an advisor who can further explain benefits and trading options.

The Bad

  • Fees
  • Minimums
  • Application process
  • Trading tools
While there are a number of redeeming qualities associated with the WellsTrade platform, there are also limitations that need to be pointed out. Prior to making a decision about what platform to use, prospective clients should be aware of the negative features. These drawbacks include the following items.


While WellsTrade provides great assistance for its customers, it has some of the highest commission rates on stocks, ETFS, and options in the entire industry. The brokerage firm charges $8.95 per trade for stocks and ETFs, and $9.95 for options trades plus $1 per contract. These fees are well above the industry average of what other brokerage firms tend to charge. In addition to this, the company has some additional, hidden fees that investors should be aware of. For instance, they charge for penny stocks, either $34.95 or 3.5% (whichever is greater) of the stocks below $1. For each penny stock above 1,000, the firm charges a $0.0015 surcharge. These fees are dropped to $6.95 if the account is linked to what they call a "PMA Package." These fees make the firm incredibly unaffordable, especially for investors looking for extremely discounted trades.


While these additional fees may be enough to turn some investors away, the brokerage firm also sets a minimum account balance for its traders, $1,000 to be exact. That means that investors who want to test out a brokerage firm, maybe even virtually trade with some play money, won't get the chance to do so since they have to start off with this minimum balance. The firm also charges its investors an annual account maintenance fee of $60, which is yet another turn off for potential clients.

Application Process

When it comes to WellsTrade's application process, many users wish it was simpler. The process requires printing out forms, taking about 30 minutes to fill out these forms, and then mailing these forms in. This seems pretty counterintuitive for an online broker, especially since investors with the big names in the industry-OptionsXpress, TD Ameritrade, and E-Trade-could place a couple of trades in the time it takes to fill out WellsTrade's application.

Trading Tools

If these issues weren't enough, the brokerage firm's trading tools also need major improvements in their design and functionality. They lack several key features, which the firm's competitors seem to have standardized on their trading platforms. Furthermore, while the company provides financial assistance, we've found that users have complained about its customer service. Customers say they receive automated replies to their emails and have logged long wait times while trying to call a company representative. Many believe that the rushed acquisition of Wachovia is to blame for most of WellsTrade's aforementioned problems.

The Bottom Line

WellsTrade is a good brokerage firm for investors who currently bank with Wells Fargo. They can reap the many benefits that come with banking with their firm's parent company like being able to seamlessly move funds from their different accounts and making use of their financial advisors to help with both their banking and investing needs. The brokerage firm's research tools and educational resources can also be pretty valuable tools for investors, especially novice ones who need the extra help to get their feet wet. Outside of Wells Fargo customers, WellsTrade isn't a great choice for investors looking to save money with their brokerage firm. The company has high commission rates, annual fees, and maintenance fees, on top of providing limited trading tools. Its trader workstation is relatively slow and standard at best. When compared to what WellsTrade's competitors provide at their discounted rates, it would be difficult to justify the additional costs to potential investors.
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3 Reviews

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Frustrated Seattle, WA

I can't warn you enough, stay away from this company! Trust me, you are in for a nightmare if you go with them. I have spent 16 + hours total time on the phone with Wellstrade ( yes 16 + hrs) over the past 2 months trying to get a simple address change resolved! They have frozen my account because of this. I have been placed on a never ending cycle of faxes, e-mails, phone calls, plus many trips to Wells Fargo bank seeking help from the bank manager where I bank. It is still not resolved, and it looks like I am going to have to hire a lawyer to get my simple portfolio worth less than $1,000 freed up. Unbelievable! Stay away, I can't say it enough stay away!!!......

7 years ago

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Muni Absecon, NJ

I like the review on Wells Fargo's Wells Trade (Brokerage), however the score you have given 5.5 is not appropriate, they do not deserve 5.5 but perhaps 1 or 2. There are several reasons for it, first of all, Wells Trade fees are lower only to the PMA or preferred customers, not to all the brokerage customers of Wells Fargo. Besides, the wells trade website site is an ancient type website, few features, redundant, not user friendly and looks and color of the website design is poor and uninteresting. Another important reason why they do not deserve more than one star, the way they process paper work and approval process, this is unlike any other brokerage out there is ridiculous, they have too many papers and too long a process. They are not upright about those paper works, keep inserting one after another even after month of opening account and without any notice or warning they restrict trades when it is so critical to make trades you are not allowed to in the name of paper work. I will not recommend Wells Trade to any customer and please re-rate your score to appropriate level. Thanks

7 years ago

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graengr Vashon, WA

Very poor customer service. We have $1.2 million with them, still get bad service. Philippine call center, unaccountable personnel, inconsistent directions from phone reps, very difficult hardcopy formwork frequently rejected, etc, etc. Better rating is half-star.

6 years ago