Wells Fargo is one of the largest banks in the United States and offers an array of services, including cards and student loans. It was founded in 1852 and is a top choice for many recent college graduates looking for money to pay their way through college. Student loans are something we have covered extensively here on DebtReviews and the Wells Fargo name has been brought up many times. But is this a company that you should be working or is it one that you need to avoid?
About Wells Fargo Student Debt
- Address: 1 Montgomery St 2nd Fl, San Francisco, CA 94104-4505
- Web Address: http://www.wellsfargo.com/
- Date of Founding: 1/1/1852
- Contact Number: (800) 869-3557
- BBB Accredited? No.
Wells Fargo have been in business for over 150 years and are one of the oldest financial institutions in the United States of America. It is the world's second largest bank based on market capitalization, and they have more than 70 million customers in 35 countries, with the biggest share of these coming from the United States.
Wells Fargo offer private student loans and student consolidation loans, the latter of which can be taken out by customers who need to consolidate a number of debts and get things back under control.
There are over 260,000 employees on the Wells Fargo payroll and they work in locations worldwide. This is a huge bank, with many departments and a colossal turnover. There are a number of bad reviews from former employees, complaining about everything from low pay to limited training, managerial issues and more.
For the most part, however, the reviews are positive, suggesting that this really is a good place to work. That is especially true if you have some qualifications and experience behind you, as there are a number of higher-paying roles at Wells Fargo that could set you up in a very comfortable career.
There are a mixture of good and bad reviews concerning Wells Fargo's student-centric loans. We found a number of complaints as well, but these were quickly resolved as far as we could tell.
One of the things that is of concern is the number of red flags on their BBB profile. This is the result of government action and regulatory action, and these seem to revolve around many different issues. These are not entirely unexpected for a major bank such as Wells Fargo, but it's still something to keep an eye out for. Banks no longer have the aura of invulnerability that they had before the crash of 2008, so these sort of warnings raise more concerns than they used to.
Wells Fargo Student Loan Reviews
As mentioned at the outset of this guide, we have covered Wells Fargo a lot in the past. You can find our guide to Wells Fargo credit cards here, where we look at their secured and unsecured offerings, and there have also been mentioned in guides to the best student loans and the many different types of student loan. But now it's time to put them into the spotlight and focus entirely on their products, services, and support.
Interest Rate Options
Wells Fargo offers customers a number of ways to get reduced interest rates. These include:
- 0.25% interest rate reduction for borrowers who register for their automatic payments program.
- 0.25% interest rate reduction for customers with who have taken out federal or private student loans with Wells Fargo in the past.
- 0.50% interest rate reduction for customers who have Wells Fargo PMA packages.
- 0.25% interest rate reduction for customers with a checking account from Wells Fargo (providing they meet the requirements).
No Upfront Fees
Wells Fargo does not charge any origination fees, application fees, or prepayment fees. They are not alone in this, but it's a welcome sight nonetheless and helps to raise Wells Fargo in our estimation. However, there are late fees, so you need to make sure you meet those payments in time.
While most other companies in the industry require minimum loans of $5,000-$10,000, Wells Fargo does not. There is a minimum of $5,000 for consolidation loans on Wells Fargo, and a minimum of just $1,000 for student loans, which means they have some of the lowest minimums in the business.
Consolidation loans are also offered to borrowers who did not graduate. However, where these loans are concerned there might be better options. Take a look at some of our highest rated consolidation loan companies, including DelRay, Credit.org and DebtWave.
High Interest Rates
At 6.49%, Wells Fargo has some of the highest interest rates in the student loan refinancing industry. The differences are slight and are only a few small percentage points above what some of the cheaper providers offer, but those percentage points add-up to a lot of cash over the course of a loan, especially if you miss payments and don't get things cleared up quickly.
Private Loan Consolidation Only
Wells Fargo does not offer borrowers the option for federal loan consolidation. They do provide private student loan consolidation though and are one of the best of the major banks in this area. For students who have both federal and private loans, there would be separate payments each month and this can be an issue for Wells Fargo customers.
Lack of Transparency
Wells Fargo’s website does not provide all of the information needed for potential customers to make informed decisions regarding student loans. This information is made available to customers when they make contact, but it really should be listed on the site in order to save customers a little time.
Although Wells Fargo offers forbearance options, they are significantly less helpful than many other student loan companies. Forbearance means that the student loan company will temporarily stop payments if an unexpected life event occurs, such as economic hardship.
Customers who have made 12 consecutive on-time payments maybe considered for this, at which point they ca get a reprieve of 2 months should they need it. Considering that many other lenders offer up to 3 months forbearance for a total of 12 months, Wells Fargo is below industry standards in this area. It's not a huge deal, but it's a little extra insurance that provides stability when needed.
The Bottom Line
Wells Fargo is an established company and one of the largest banks in the U.S., so when it comes time to secure student loans they are often the first and only company that thousands of Americans choose. This is never a good idea as you should always shop around, but you could certainly do much worse than to go with Wells Fargo for your student loans. Their minimum loan requirements are lenient, their lack of fees are appealing, and the fact that they have such a big reputation is also a plus.
However, they have relatively high interest rates and do not consolidate federal loans. You can most likely do better than Wells Fargo for student loan refinancing so we recommend exploring other options, if possible. There are many different student loan providers listed on DebtReviews, so make sure you check with all of these before going any further.