Compare Banking
6 min read

Relay vs. Wells Fargo: What's the best pick?

By Vanessa Hojda

Writer and Content Manager

Fast-growing startups and well-established businesses have one common worry: cash flow. 💰

With the right banking platform, you can get that healthy cash flow, your bills paid on time, all your money organized, good sleep, and an improved appetite. Alright, maybe not the last two—although we can’t deny that cash flow stressin’ is probably messing with your peace of mind. 😔 You get the idea, though; You'll be cashing in big time with a banking solution that gives you the features you need to become a money owner.

There are just too many banking options out there—and not all of them are designed to empower you with financial intelligence—so we're here to help you out. In this article, we’ll dive into some Relay vs. Wells Fargo comparisons.

Table of Contents

What is Relay?

At Relay, we understand that cash is your growing company’s lifeblood—we know about the money tasks, resources, and grit needed to fuel the engine of your business. So, we built a banking and cash management platform to make life easier for you, the ambitious small business owner, as well as your team. When you sign up, you get up to 20 checking accounts, up to 50 virtual or physical Visa debit cards, and direct integrations with your existing financial tech stack (QuickBooks Online, Xero).

Relay gives you visibility into your cash position, detailed data about your transactions, automated savings accounts to stash away cash for a rainy day, and more—all in one place. And that’s without any account fees, overdraft fees or minimum balances.

The result?

Increased confidence, healthy profits, and happier teams. 🙌

What is Wells Fargo Business Banking? 

The next stop on our comparison journey is understanding what Wells Fargo offers for business owners. Depending on the stage your business is in, you can choose from three different business checking account types and three savings accounts. Let’s take a closer look: 🔍

Wells Fargo Business Checking account options

  • Initiate Business Checking: Crafted for ambitious business owners starting out, this account helps users complete simple payment and money tasks online using mobile banking. The monthly fee is $10. However, Wells Fargo waives the fee if you keep a $500 minimum daily balance or a $1000 minimum daily ledger balance. Initiate also comes with mobile deposit and bill pay features.

  • Navigate Business Checking: This account is created for the evolving business owner. Wells Fargo charges a $25 monthly fee which they’ll remove if you keep a $10,000 minimum daily balance or $15,000 average combined business deposit balances. You can also earn rewards and interest.

  • Optimize Business Checking: Designed for the experienced business owner, this account has a $75 monthly maintenance fee which you can’t waive, but you can offset an earnings allowance. You’ll get up to 5 Optimize Business Checking accounts that are linked. Plus, you’ll gain access to advanced digital solutions for business management, premium benefits, and treasury management services.

All of Wells Fargo’s business checking accounts have benefits like online banking, semi-customizable cards, checks, and mobile deposits via the mobile app. Plus, 24/7 fraud monitoring, and options for paying vendors and employees. Every Business Checking account has a $25 minimum account opening deposit.

Wells Fargo Small Business Savings accounts

With an APY that starts at 0.25% and caps at 2.50%, here are Wells Fargo’s savings options:

  • Business Market Rate Savings account: Made for businesses just starting to save for small purchases or have lower balances. This account has a $5 monthly fee which you can have waived by keeping a $300 minimum daily balance or setting up automatic transfers ($25 or more) from a Wells Fargo business checking account into this account.

  • Business Platinum Savings (and CDs) account: Created for businesses with higher balances or saving for large projects like future expansion. This account has a $15 monthly service fee, which you can get around by linking this account to the Navigate Business Checking or maintaining a $10,000 minimum daily balance.

  • Business Time Accounts (CDs): This account offers a fixed interest rate for a set time, allowing users to save for future projects. While there’s no monthly service fee, the Business Time Account has a $2500 minimum deposit requirement to open one.

The biggest downside of Wells Fargo’s small business checking and savings accounts are the costs. As your business transactions add up, so do the fees. Or you may find it hard to meet the minimum balance requirements, especially if you’re a growing business. 💸 That’s where the cash-stressin’ we mentioned earlier kicks in.

What are Relay’s Business Banking features?

Relay offers business checking features built for business owners—features that will keep you and your team on top of your cash all of the time. No worrying about fees, paperwork or branch visits. 

Rather than offering accounts set up for specific banking functions, Relay lets you choose what to do with your accounts. Here’s what you can expect:

  • Organize income, expenses and reserves using 20 accounts, including 2 savings accounts with 1-3% APY1

  • Issue up to 50 physical or virtual Visa® debit cards

  • Send and receive ACH transfers, wires and checks

  • Deposit and withdraw cash at Allpoint ATMs

  • Collect payment from tools like Stripe, Square, Shopify and more

  • Use auto-transfer rules to move cash between accounts automatically

  • Give team members and financial advisors secure, role-based banking access

  • Get personalized customer support by email and phone

  • Each Relay account is FDIC insured through Thread Bank, and covered by the Visa® Zero Liability Protection Policy.

Relay’s savings accounts let you put your money to work with auto-transfer rules that move idle cash out of your operating accounts. Users don’t have to worry about monthly or hidden fees—no account fees, no overdraft fees, no minimum balance requirements—and interest is paid monthly. It’s as simple as that. 👌🏼

Relay vs. Wells Fargo at a glance



Wells Fargo***

Ideal fit for

Small businesses with 2 to 100 employees

Small businesses wanting to grow and save

Entity types that can apply

Sole proprietorships, partnerships, LLCs, S corporations, C corporations

Sole proprietorships, partnerships, LLCs, S corporations, C corporations

Sign up online

✅Create an account in less than 10 minutes

⛔️ Must go in-person to a bank branch

Free checking accounts

✅ 20 individual checking accounts with unique account and routing numbers

⛔️ The Optimize Business Checking allows users to have up to five linked accounts included

No monthly account fees

🟡 Most accounts have a service fee waiver, provided you meet the requirements

No minimum balance requirements

⛔️ Minimum daily balance requirements range from $300 to $10,000 depending on the account type

No overdraft fees

🟡 $35 for every overdraft item

Free ACH payments

⛔️ ACH payments are available for commercial banking customers

Free check deposits and incoming payments

Mobile check deposits

No fees on deposits


🟡 Cash deposits are free up to $5000

Currency exchange for international wires

Domestic wires

✅ $5 (Free with Relay Pro)

International wires

✅ $10 (Free with Relay Pro)


✅ $40 for outgoing, $50 for outgoing in U.S. dollars

Same-day ACH

✅ (Relay Pro)

⛔️ ACH payments are available for Commercial Banking customers

Savings accounts

✅ Automated savings that earn you 1% to 3% APY1

✅ APY starts at 0.25% and caps at 2.50%

Debit cards

✅ (Up to 50)

Business credit cards


Cashback and rewards on card spend


Percentage-based auto-transfer rules


All-in-one accounts payable automation

✅ (Relay Pro)

🟡 Available through treasury management for global commercial customers

Collaboration permissions

✅ (7 unique user permission levels)

QuickBooks Online integration

Xero integration

Gusto integration


FDIC insured


Bank from

Web, iOS, or Android

Web, iOS, or Android

Trustpilot rating

4.6 Stars (Source)

1.7 Stars (Source)

**FDIC insurance provided by Thread Bank.

*** Please note the information on Wells Fargo's business banking services is gathered from its website and promotional materials. While we have conducted checks to ensure accuracy, the information is subject to change.

Payroll comparison

Wells Fargo’s payroll services

Wells Fargo's payroll services, known as RUN and Powered by ADP®, provide small businesses with a suite of basic HR tools. The RUN platform gives Wells Fargo customers automatic payroll processing and smart-matching technology for hiring candidates quickly. The platform is powered by AI, which helps detect potential errors in payroll data and provides proactive alerts to ensure compliance with payroll taxes.

To access RUN, Wells Fargo customers need to enroll in the Direct Pay for Business service, which costs $10 per monthly billing cycle for each business enrolled. Direct Pay allows businesses to pay employees and vendors by depositing directly to U.S. bank accounts. On top of all that, payee information is securely stored online: The service offers RSA SecurID® device and Advanced Access authentication for added security. Their multiple access levels also give users the option to delegate by task while maintaining control over disbursements.

Relay's payroll integrations

While Relay doesn’t offer built-in payroll services, it offers integrations with small business-friendly payroll solutions like Gusto. As a result, you get super clear payroll transaction data, alerts, and simplified accounting.

For example, to prevent direct deposit transactions from bouncing, Relay’s Gusto integration notifies you if your account balance is too low to hit your payroll bill. So, you’ll always have time to rectify the shortfall before the processing date. Once the payment clears, Relay will give you a detailed transaction breakdown, including wages, taxes, and garnishments.

Overall, Wells Fargo is for those business owners looking for a comprehensive payroll, and HR solution rolled into their banking services. Business owners that don’t already work with a tech stack dedicated to HR and payroll.

Relay, on the other hand, is best for business owners wanting to stay updated on their available cash, pay staff quickly, and track their payroll obligations.

Additional banking services

Additional banking services offered by Wells Fargo

On top of all of the above, Wells Fargo offers services beyond small business checking. Let’s zoom in on a few:

  • 🏪 Merchant Services: Wells Fargo offers POS solutions and payment devices to collect money from anywhere. You can also access invoicing, online payment, and subscription solutions with a simplified fee structure and payouts within one business day. 

  • 💳Business Rewards Credit Card: A business credit card is coming soon to Wells Fargo’s Small Business solutions. It’ll be tied to a rewards program in which you can redeem points on travel, gift cards, merchandise, and more.

  • 🤝Lines of Credit and SBA loans: Whether you’re facing a sales slump or planning your expansion, you can secure funding from $10,000- $150,00 with no annual fees the first year and a fair interest rate.

 Additional banking platform features from by Relay

Relay’s additional features and services are crafted specifically for growing small businesses. As a customer, you’ll get access to things like:

  • 📊 Detailed transaction data: Relay empowers you to control your cash flow through enriched data. We’re talking specific vendor details for transactions, payment information, and customer stats to help you clarify purchases and reconcile accounts quicker and easier.

  • 🌎 Flexible domestic and international payment options: Get same-day ACH payments with the Relay Pro account and unlimited international and domestic transfer wires with transparent fees. Also, Relay lets you send wires in the recipient's destination currency, giving you clarity and saving you money on international exchange fees.

  • 📜 FDIC Insurance and Visa® Zero Liability Protection: While Relay itself is a technology platform, not an FDIC-insured bank, your money is safe with Relay. That's because each business is FDIC insured through our partner bank, Thread Bank. Plus, thanks for Visa's Zero Liability Protection, you're also protected in the event that your card is ever stolen.

  • 👨‍💻 Branch-free account setup: With Relay, you can complete the entire setup process online, which is especially handy if you have a remote team or executives in different states or abroad.

  • 🧾 Accounting and bookkeeping integrations: Relay’s integration with technology like QuickBooks OnlineGusto, and Xero will empower your bookkeepers and accounts to reconcile accounts accurately without breaking a sweat.

  • ✅ Easy account management: Relay makes it easy to manage multiple businesses with one login. Simply toggle between the accounts.

  • 💷 Profit First focus: Relay makes implementing the Profit First methodology a breeze, especially its nil-balance approach. Relay leans into the reality that most business owners manage their daily finances with spreadsheets, guesswork, and mental math—and equips you with the tools to flip the script. So, Relay equips you to get the lowdown on your business’ money in seconds rather than minutes or hours.

  • 🖥️ Auto transfer rules and percent-based transfers: Relay offers automation for sending money to various accounts. You can set up rules so that cash is automatically transferred out of an account once it reaches a set threshold.

  • 🔒 Security features: Set up different permissions to assignees on an account or card, control who sees what and when, set spend limits, and create and terminate accounts—all remotely.

To wrap up the Relay vs. Wells Fargo weigh-up on additional services, Wells Fargo’s Small Business Checking accounts are good solutions for companies with slow cash conversion cycles, capital-intensive operations, or slow marketplace payouts.

Relay’s additional services make it most suitable for small businesses wanting to prepare their finances for the future, handle everyday money tasks efficiently, and get and stay profitable.

Multiple checking account budgeting

Setting up multiple checking accounts with Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo doesn’t offer additional accounts for the Initiate Business Checking. However, you can get more accounts with the Navigate Business Checking accounts at $25 each. You can also secure up to five Optimize Business Checking options, and all additional accounts beyond this amount cost $30 each. However, five accounts still aren’t enough to split your finances in a way that drives clarity and efficiency. 

Setting up multiple checking accounts with Relay

On the other hand, with Relay, you can create up to 20 accounts and 50 virtual or physical Visa debit cards. So, you can allocate your money by tasks and functions like debt repayment, savings, and taxes. You can also get particular about how you control spending. For example, you can assign cards to specific accounts and set cardholders, spend limits, and access controls. ✔️

As a result, you can get the lowdown on your business’ finances in seconds rather than needing to do investigative work into your checking accounts and accounting software, which can take hours or days. 

Wire transfer options

Wire transfers with Wells Fargo

The Navigate Business Checking account comes with free incoming domestic and international U.S. and foreign currency wire transfers. Also, the first two outgoing domestic wire transfers per fee period are gratis.

For all other Wells Fargo Business Checking accounts, the incoming domestic wire costs $15 each. Outgoing domestic wires cost $30 (applicable to the Navigate Business Checking after the first two outgoing domestic wires), and recurring outgoing domestic wires cost $25.

For international wires, fees depend on whether you use US or foreign currency. For example, international outgoing wires cost $45 if you use US currency, and if you pick a foreign currency, it’ll cost $35. It’s worth noting that Wells Fargo will add a markup to foreign currency rates which will impact the final amount and could make your wires costly. This feature also makes it challenging to calculate the actual cost of your wire transfers.

Wire transfers with Relay

On the flip side, when you use Relay for your transfer wires, the process is transparent and cost-effective pricing. For instance, it costs $5 for outgoing domestic wires and $10 to send an international wire transfer. Receiving a domestic or international wire transfer is free. You can also complete currency exchanges in your Relay account, and there are no hidden fees, allowing you to work out the cost bother-free.

Monthly and incidental fees

Wells Fargo: Monthly incidental fees and ATM fees

Wells Fargo Bank has a range of incidental fees, which vary according to your account type and usage. Here are a few:

  • Transaction fees: These vary depending on the account type and the number of transactions completed over what’s included with accounts benefits. For instance, with the Initiate Business Checking, all transactions over the 100 included in the plan cost $0.50. For transactions over the 250 included in the Navigate and Optimize accounts perks, it’s $0.50. 

  • Cash deposit fees: All accounts come with free cash deposits ranging between $5,000-20,000. Once you exceed the account cash deposit amount included in your benefits, the cash deposits cost $0.30 for every $100.

  • Withdrawal fees: Each small business checking account gets free withdrawals from Wells Fargo ATMs and access to over 11,000 ATMs. For all non-Wells Fargo ATMs like AllPoint, it costs $2.50 to take out cash in US territories and $5 in international territories. A balance query or funds transfer is also $2.50. 🏧

Relay: No monthly incidental fees and ATM fees 🙅

At Relay, we know simplicity brings ease and better decisions. So we’re very upfront about fees and have one price for service regardless of how long you’ve had your account with us.

Choosing the right small business banking platform 

Digital banking has taken the small business world by storm and for good reasons. The right banking platform can help you create healthier cash flow, keep you on top of your money all the time—in one place, and take a load of admin off your back. But what works well for one business could be a new headache for another. To find the right fit, work with a banking platform that understands the struggles and triumphs in small business, reduces admin, and makes tracking and organizing your money painless.

So don’t delay. Jot down your business goals for the next five years, plus its strengths and weaknesses, then find a banking platform that can support you on your journey. 🍀

Need a hand managing your business’ finances? Learn how Relay can help you. Or, check out our other comparisons, like Chase, Bank of America, and Capital One.