The masked men, dressed all in black, forced their way into the Nationwide bank on the Springs yesterday.
The trio, wearing balaclavas, broke into the front of the bank building and attempted to break into an inner office.
But they were unsuccessful and fled empty handed in a black Alfa Romeo moments later.
The car was later found in the Eastmoor area.
Detective Inspector David Rogerson of Wakefield CID, said: “We are carrying out a number of enquiries regarding the attempted robbery and have recovered the car we believe was used in the offence.
“I would like to speak with anyone who saw a black Alfa Romeo being driven in city centre and then subsequently in the Eastmoor area just after the offence was committed, or the three men dressed in black and wearing balaclavas.
“Detectives would also like to speak to anyone who saw the break-in at the bank itself or the black Alfa Romeo in the city centre just prior to it."
The attempted bank robbery occurred at around 6.10pm on Thursday, January 25.
No one was hurt in the incident.
Anyone with any information should contact Wakefield District CID on 101 referencing police crime number 13180041436.
Information can also be given anonymously to the independent Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.