As one of the “big four” banks of the U.S, and in operation since 1852, Wells Fargo should be familiar to most. Offering everything from banking, investment, and mortgage products, through to consumer and commercial finance, its reach is almost unsurpassed. And with a stated aim of wanting to help people manage their money effectively, it’s unsurprising that Wells Fargo should feature in a rundown of the best debt consolidation companies.
If you have high-interest loans and credit cards, and are struggling to manage multiple monthly payments, Wells Fargo provides a loan option whereby you can consolidate everything into one monthly payment. The loan should allow you to pay off all your existing debts, and leave you with just the one outstanding borrowing with Wells Fargo, which will hopefully work out cheaper than what you are currently paying too. Unlike some other lenders, Wells Fargo offers student loan refinancing and consolidation options as well.
Wells Fargo Debt Consolidation review: Eligibility
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- Credit score above 620 likely
- Joint applications welcome
In order to stand a chance of successfully applying for a Wells Fargo debt consolidation loan, you will likely need a credit score in excess of 620. The lender says that anyone in the bracket of “Fair”, with a rating of 621-699, is likely to have more difficulty obtaining credit, and will likely pay higher rates for it. The very best rates are reserved for those with a credit score of 760+, and even then, it will depend further on your debt-to-income ratio.
That said, each case is assessed individually, and the rate and payment calculator which gives you an idea of the APR you might be looking at does provide a result if you describe your credit rating as poor - unsurprisingly, it is the most expensive rate that there is, and there are, of course, no guarantees that you will be accepted on application. Indeed, the only way to find out for sure what your exact rate will be is to complete a formal application, which requires a hard credit inquiry and may affect your credit score.
If you fail on your own, Wells Fargo does allow you to apply with a co-applicant. It is an option that not many lenders provide, and improves your chances of acceptance by evaluating the combined income and debts of the two applicants.
Wells Fargo Debt Consolidation review: Application process
Loan amounts: $3,000 - $100,000
APR: 5.24% - 20.24% fixed
Loan terms: 12 - 84 months
Fees: No origination or prepayment fees
Waiting time for funds: Next business day
- Existing customers can apply online
- New customers in branch
If you are an existing Wells Fargo customer - and as the bank serves one in three households in the U.S, there is a decent chance that you could be - an application for a debt consolidation loan can be made online or over the phone. If you are new to the bank, however, an appointment must be made in-branch to apply.
For existing customers, you can talk your debt consolidation options through with a virtual financial health banker first, if you so wish, or head straight to the application itself. As Wells Fargo will hold many of your details already, you are able to sign on for a faster, pre-filled application. If you apply online, you can expect an instant response, and if approved, you can verify your information online too. For most applications, you will be able to track your application status using the yourLoanTracker by sharing your email address, and can also upload required documents, review disclosures and documents online, and electronically complete the closing process too. If you’d prefer, it is also acceptable to provide any required documentation and complete the closing process in person at a Wells Fargo branch.
In terms of what you are expected to supply, personal and contact information, details of your employment and income, and an idea of how much you’d like to borrow and over what term are all required. Once an application is reviewed, additional information may also be requested, including recent pay stubs, W2s, or tax returns, utility bills to verify your address, and a copy of your driver’s license or Social Security card.
Wells Fargo Debt Consolidation review: Essential details
- High maximum loan amount
- Rate discounts for existing customers
Wells Fargo will offer debt consolidation loans ranging from $3,000 to $100,000, with the upper limit among the highest that is available at present - LightStream offers a similarly high amount, but not all providers do. Loan terms can range from between 12 and 84 months, with the option for spreading payments over seven years also the exception rather than the norm, but on a par with the maximum term that Discover has to offer.
There is no origination fee to worry about, and no prepayment penalties either, should you be in a position to pay off your loan early. In terms of the interest rates on offer, these can range from a minimum of 5.24% APR through to 20.24%, but will, of course, depend on the loan amount, term and your credit rating.
For existing customers with a qualifying Wells Fargo consumer checking account, it is also possible to benefit from a “customer relationship discount” of either 0.5% or 0.25% on your rate, depending on the type of account you hold, by setting up automatic payments from a Wells Fargo deposit account.
Wells Fargo Debt Consolidation review: Features
- Direct to creditor payments
- Estimates of rates and payments
Wells Fargo provides the option to pay the credit card and loan providers that you owe directly when you apply. Alternatively, you can choose to have the funds deposited directly into your bank account to pay off the debts yourself.
The co-applicant option might already have been mentioned, but is worth reiterating as a feature once again, as is the existing customer rate discount. The aforementioned rate and payment calculator is also useful for getting an estimate of the monthly payments you might expect to pay for a particular loan, and can be tailored to your specific state. However, as a tool, it should be used for illustrative purposes only, and not taken as a guarantee that you will qualify for a given loan at any given price.
Wells Fargo Debt Consolidation review: Service
- Support from wide branch network
- Excellent educational resources
Managing your loan account with Wells Fargo should be straightforward, given the online and phone options available, and the vast branch network that can be relied upon too. Indeed, the option of face-to-face service and support is not something that all debt consolidation providers can offer, and will certainly be appreciated by some.
If you don’t wish to leave home, it is possible to make a one-time payment or set up recurring payments through your Wells Fargo Online account, and also set up automatic payments from your checking or savings account. Equally, you can pay in person at your local Wells Fargo branch, call to pay by phone, or mail your payment in the form of a personal check, cashier’s check or money order. However, note that if you wish to change your payment due date, you will need to call.
In terms of turnaround times, once your loan is approved and you have accepted the terms, you will often have access to the funds by the next business day.
As to wider information and support, the Wells Fargo website plays host to numerous articles, videos, and calculators, while the FAQ section should hold the answers to most queries. Perhaps most impressive, however, is the standalone Financial Education section, where tutorials and tips can be found not only on better managing your credit, but on almost any aspect of personal finance that you could think of.
Should you use Wells Fargo Debt Consolidation?
If you’re looking for an all-round debt consolidation solution, Wells Fargo does little wrong. The potential loan amounts are high, the term can be long, and there are some excellent rates for those with the best credit scores, particularly if you can take advantage of the existing customer discount.
Where it perhaps falls down is in terms of providing a truly reliable indication of whether you will actually receive a loan, and on what terms, without having to apply first, while new customers who wish to apply online may be frustrated that they have to visit a branch.
That said, if you’re looking for an established lender, want the option of face-to-face support, and would welcome some educating in how to manage your finances going forward, Wells Fargo will prove an excellent option.