WellsTrade makes it easy to add a brokerage account to your existing bank account, but you can also open an account if you are new to Wells Fargo. You can set up a standard account, traditional IRA, or Roth IRA account.
The process takes a few minutes to complete, but you’ll have to wait to be approved, which can take some time. Once your account is open, you may not have access to all of the capabilities. You’ll need approval for options and margin accounts, which also requires some additional paperwork.
Once you have your account setup, you can access all of the research, charting, and mobile app features.
Analysis, Charting, and Research Tools
WellsTrade is not a discount brokerage due to its fees and account costs. However, it does provide value to those who want portfolio analysis and investment breakdown. You can use charts and tables that break down your investments by asset type as well.
The performance reporting option lets you see your trades over specific time periods. You will know when stocks are performing well, but you can’t customize these reports to send alerts to your phone or other notifications that are more helpful in real-time. There are also tax accounting reports, which are useful when it comes time to report to the IRS.
Charting is simple and not very customizable, but you’ll be able to see overall performance for different assets. If you wish to improve your portfolio, you have access to advisors for an additional fee. Some investors may find this more useful to fill in the gaps than simply working with the traditional analysis and reporting platform.
Account and Investment Costs
For those who like traditional stocks and ETFs, excluding penny stocks, you’ll find that WellsTrade offers $0 commission fees. However, there is an annual fee of $30 per household to use the service. There’s also a $95 outgoing account transfer fee and a $15 per hour rate for a human advisor. In addition, you’ll pay $5 per document for account research and documental retrieval.
Options are also more expensive with WellsTrade. Investors pay $5.95 plus $0.75 for each contract, which is considered a pretty old school based on other online brokerages. For this reason alone, it’s more costly overall to invest with WellsTrade than other platforms like Fidelity or even TD Ameritrade.
Besides a few frequently asked question pages and hover tips, education courses and other content like you might find on E*Trade is not available with WellsTrade. If you are a new investor looking for strategies and testing tools, you won’t find these on WellsTrade.
In fact, you may only be able to access 24/7 phone support or walk through the app with an advisor at a physical location to learn about the platform in greater detail. You will need to navigate the application mostly on your own and figure things out for yourself.
The retirement planning tool is the most robust when it comes to education, but it doesn’t match the depth of a historic brokerage platform like TD Ameritrade or Charles Schwab. Instead, you’ll find the basics here and access to a robo-advisor for recommendations.
Manual Order Types
Unfortunately, you can not automate anything with WellsTrade. All of the trades are manually entered, so you’ll need to do your research before using the platform if you are unfamiliar with order types.
While the order entry process is pretty standard for stocks, funds, and options on desktop, it’s different on the mobile app and maybe confusing to use. For example, the mobile app does not allow you to enter advanced order types, and the quotes are slow to update.
Your account requires no minimum investment, but you will pay some fees, such as the $30 per household fee that is charged annually. You can remove this fee by enrolling in e-delivery or having a qualifying account balance, but there is still a $95 IRA distribution fee and a $95 outgoing transfer fee.
For retirement investors, WellsTrade shines in no-transaction-fee mutual funds. There are over 2,000 NTF mutual funds available through the desktop and mobile app platforms. You can use the mutual fund screening tool to find the best offerings for your portfolio as well.
You can set up a margin loan with Wells Fargo as long as you are a banking member with decent credit. It’s a convenient way to access liquid funds, and you can use it to purchase securities or borrow against them if they are already in your account.
While Wells Fargo has made some changes to increase security, the bank has had several data breaches over the past five years. Client information has been accidentally leaked and accessed by malicious hackers multiple times.
Today, Wells Fargo offers two-factor authentication and uses Face ID on the mobile app. Since WellsTrade overlaps with the bank, there may still be security problems and issues with future breaches based on past experiences.
Funding, Payments, and Withdrawal
There are several ways to fund your account, but the most convenient is through your bank account, which automatically connects and instantly transfers funds to your brokerage account.
You can also make a deposit at a physical branch, deposit a check, run a wire transfer, or transfer from another investment account at another firm.
WellsTrade does not charge any account closure fees. There is a $95 charge to terminate an IRA account though.
When ready to withdraw, you can send funds instantly to your bank account from your brokerage account.
This is one area where WellsTrade excels if you want to speak to a human. With their 24/7 customer support, you can access customer service reps and brokers with more knowledge. The hold times are not that long, and it’s the best way to get detailed information as the online app offers limited information beyond frequently asked questions. In addition, there are no chat options.
Access to human advisors at physical locations vary depending on where you live. In larger cities, customers report that it is easier to talk to an advisor, but you may have to make an appointment.