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Having a bank account is a core part of our financial lives,
but choosing the right instiution can be tricky. In this article,
I'll compare the pros and cons of two of America's largest banks:
Bank of America
A bit about bank safety
Before the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. was created in 1933,
picking a bank meant accepting that if itwent under, your money
could disappear. Nowadays, ordinary bank account holders have
their first $250,000 covered by the FDIC, essentially meaning
that small bank accounts are backed by the federal
Assuming you put less than $250,000 in your account, bank
safety is not a major part of a Wells Fargo versus Bank of
Wells Fargo and Bank of America have some of the largest branch
networks in the U.S. today. In this category, Wells Fargo's 6,200
locationsedge out Bank of America's roughly 5,100.
source: Wells Fargo.
But both banks have been looking to change the branch model of
banking. With so much being done online now, cutting
branch-related costs is a focus.
Wells Fargo is doing this by creating minibranches, which are
about half the size of regular branches but feature the latest
technology, including tablets and folding walls.
Bank of America has reacted to the growth in online banking
with branch cuts and sales. At the same time, the Charlotte,
N.C.-based bank is under pressure from investors who want cost
reductions and generally approve of shedding branches.
Both Wells Fargo and Bank of America have created mobile
banking apps to cash in on the trend toward mobile usage and
online banking. Not surprisingly, they share many of the same
features, including access to your account, bill payment, and the
ability to transfer funds and deposit checks.
source: Bank of America.
When it comes to device flexibility, Bank of America has the
edge. While the Wells Fargo app can be downloaded onto iPhones,
iPads, Android products, and the Windows Phone, Bank of America's
app is available on all these platforms, as well as Kindle Fire
Investment account connection
As two of the largest banks in the U.S., Wells Fargo and Bank
of America have extensive investment sides in addition to their
Along with wealth management and other managed investment
services, both banks offer self-directed accounts. Wells Fargo
has WellsTrade and Bank of America has Merrill Edge branded
around the Merrill Lynch unit it acquired during the financial
Merrill Edge is cheaper at $6.95 per trade, compared to
WellsTrade at $8.95 per trade (although WellsTrade offers $6.95
trades for those meeting additional requirements). Both platforms
used to offer a number of free trades for customers with $25,000
in assets, but WellsTrade discontinued that practice last year.
Merrill Edge still offers up to 30 free trades per month, but
$25,000 must be held either as cash in your Merrill Edge account
or as a balance in a Bank of America account.
Wells Fargo and Bank of America are among the largest in the
world, and their competition for depositors' money continues.
Both banks are transitioning more toward online and mobile
banking with the development of mobile apps and the reshaping of
their branch networks.
Interestingly, even though Wells Fargo and Bank of America are
archrivals, Warren Buffett has taken multibillion stakes in each.
Decide for yourself whether joining Buffett by investing in one
of these banks is right for you after reading Battle of the
Buffett Stocks: Wells Fargo vs. Bank of America.
Bank of America + Apple? This device makes it possible.
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investors. To be one of them, and see Apple's newest smart
Wells Fargo vs. Bank of America: Which Bank
Deserves Your Account?
originally appeared on Fool.com.
owns Bank of America Class B warrants. The Motley Fool recommends
Bank of America and Wells Fargo. The Motley Fool owns shares of
Bank of America and Wells Fargo. Try any of our Foolish
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