Trust Wells Fargo with your Finances? No Thanks.

By: Andrew Dietrich on 25 July 2017

Here's 3 ways they have already proven they cannot be trusted.

Last week, Wells Fargo asked its customers to trust it with more personal data with the announcement of its new Control Tower functionality. On its head, it’s a good step forward to provide more consumer control in an industry that has shown little innovation. Control Tower will compile every device with access to their accounts and every merchant with their debit/credit card information on file in Wells Fargo’s app. If a card is lost or stolen, users will be able to to update all payment relationships directly from the Wells Fargo app. They would also be able to turn off individual payment relationships after, for example, a free trial expires and they no longer wish to make monthly payments to that merchant.

However, we have some security concerns about Wells Fargo’s new feature. Why is it a bad idea to trust Wells Fargo with more personal information and data? Check out our list below of disappointing actions that make it hard to want to give them more control over our financial lives.

“8 is great”

Infamously, the Wells Fargo CEO defiantly testified before the Senate about his bank’s sales practices that led to the opening of 2 million accounts without customers’ consent.. CEO John Stumpf told employees “8 is great”, encouraging Wells Fargo retail bankers to get every customer to sign up for 8 accounts and services, even if they didn’t need them.. And to top it off, Wells Fargo blamed its individual employees, claiming it had fired 5,300 employees since 2013 when these practices started.

The real leaders who pushed this initiative refused to take responsibility for their actions. The CEO and the executive involved in leading retail sales were still employed by the company until public scrutiny and the Senate got involved. The bank was fined $185 million and the executives’ outgoing “golden umbrella” pay packages were cut.

It is hard to place trust in an organization that thought that the best way to serve its customers was to sign them up for costly services and accounts they never asked for. Like many big banks, they have become too far removed from their customers, and started serving Wall Street and their own needs instead.

Recent Data Breach

In another stunning revelation, Wells Fargo just last week released confidential information about 50,000 of some of its wealthiest clients. In a legal dispute between two employees of Wells Fargo Advisors, the bank’s private wealth management division, a records request from an outside lawyer turned into a massive data breach. Names, social security numbers, account balances, and more were accidentally delivered via a CD, with no data confidentiality agreements in place. As a result, it would now be perfectly legal for the attorneys to publicly disclose all of this data.

Big banks’ lack of rigorous security resources and gaps in their data sharing procedures, cause many vulnerabilities that could lead to additional data leaks. This breach occurred due to negligence by a third party vendor responding to a single lawsuit. There are many access points to big banks’ data, many people with authority to access it, and old / overlapping systems that make it even harder to integrate appropriate controls.

Hidden Fees

In another whopper of a scandal last week, several sources reported that Wells Fargo has secretly been fighting customer lawsuits for its debit card fee practices. Every other major bank with similar practices has settled class action lawsuits with its customers and moved on. Not Wells Fargo. At a high level, Wells Fargo intentionally re-ordered customer purchases when their account balances were low in order to maximize the amount of overdraft fees Wells could charge a customer. Talk about looking out for your customers’ best interests (not even close). As VICE reports:

“The case centers on something called debit card reordering. Let’s say you have $100 in your bank account, and you make three purchases, costing $20, $30, and $110. Under Wells Fargo account guidelines, the bank can charge you a $35 overdraft fee for taking out more than you have in your account. But by reordering the transactions from highest to lowest, putting the $110 charge first, the bank could charge three separate overdraft fees, one for each attempt to draw insufficient funds. Simply by altering the transaction order, Wells Fargo could make an additional $70.”

Trust Wells Fargo with your Finances? No Thanks.

It’s hard to imagine anyone signing up for a relationship with a bank that has repeatedly shown its true colors – as evidenced above, it continuously stands against its own customers’ interests.

It’s time to start holding banks accountable for their actions. If a bank treats you like a cash machine and not a lifelong valued customer, it’s a good time to take your business elsewhere.

We built Final because we were tired of customer unfriendly practices by the big banks, their lack of investment in digital services, and the absence of products that make our lives easier. We built Final because we care about customers and aim to rebuild trust in banking.

And if you’re looking for something like the newly announced Wells Fargo Control Tower functionality, look no further than Final. As it turns out, Final was built to provide a better experience with your credit card, including eliminating the hassle of remembering and replacing your card information across merchants after a lost or stolen event. And with Final, it already works everywhere Visa is accepted, today. Wells Fargo is rolling out its control functionality merchant by merchant and have yet to build many of the features they’ve announced. Another false promise by a big bank.

It’s time to stop expecting big banks to change. Join us at Final as we rebuild trust in banking and focus on what makes our customers happy and their lives better. This way we all win, together.