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February Changes In Chase Checking Accounts

Saturday, December 4, 2010 - 7:03 AMChase Manhattan Bank - Details
As readers mentioned in my free checking post, Chase will be making it harder to avoid monthly fees. Here's what this WSJ article described:
In February, for example, J.P. Morgan Chase will no longer waive its monthly Chase Checking fee if depositors make five or more debit-card purchases. Those who use direct deposit will be able to avoid the maintenance fee—but only if each deposit is at least $500.

Ken TuminKen Tumin5,472 posts since
Nov 29, 2009
Rep Points: 125,708
1. Saturday, December 4, 2010 - 10:16 AM
Checked with my local Chase banker, who confirmed some changes will be made.  Accountholders affected will be notified by letter, with mailing of letters expected to be complete by the end of December so as to give sufficient time to make a decision on one's account. 
pearlbrownpearlbrown1,479 posts since
Nov 2, 2010
Rep Points: 6,432
2. Monday, December 6, 2010 - 11:16 AM
The wording on the Chase fees is as follows:
Monthly Service Fee
None when you have 5 or more debit card purchases (withdrawals from the ATM or cash advance transactions do not qualify) or a direct deposit post to your account during each statement period. The direct deposit qualifier changes to at least one direct deposit of $500 or more and takes effect with the statement periods beginning February 8, 2011. Two or more direct deposits that add up to $500 or more but do not individually equal or exceed $500, do not qualify; otherwise $6 per month

I read that to say that 5 debit card purchases DO qualify to waive the monthly fee.  The direct deposit change for February is simply the amount that qualifies.  It doesn't say anything about 5 debit card purchases no longer qualifying instead.  Am I reading it wrong?
edlisaledlisal13 posts since
Sep 8, 2010
Rep Points: 37
3. Monday, December 6, 2010 - 10:23 PM
This is one of the reasons I left chase after over 12 years of being a loyal customer via WAMU.  I opted to go to my community bank for my family's banking needs.  I can truly do away with the $5.00 charge if I go to someone elses ATM or 3% transaction fees for all foreign transactions + $5.00 ATM withdrawal fee.  My community bank charges .8% on foreign transaction fees plus $1.00 ATM withdrawals.  For me apples to apples review on fees, my community bank won hands down.  The only thing I will miss with chase is my app on my iphone.  Second thought who cares!!!
leletileleti1 posts since
Dec 6, 2010
Rep Points: 10
4. Thursday, December 30, 2010 - 2:52 PM
I have a chase checking account and a friend of mine told me about the changes. But my question is, am I going to be affected? I mean, I don't have a job and I don't understand the $500 direct deposit change. I'm a student but I don't have the student account because of my age (I'm 18) but I didn't receive any letter so I guess I'm not going to be affected. I don't get it! I'm thinking to change to Bank of America but I'll just wait until February 8 to see if I get affected.
andrenochromeandrenochrome1 posts since
Dec 30, 2010
Rep Points: 1
5. Monday, January 3, 2011 - 6:05 PM
i did some investigating today and discovered that Chase has an account called "Basic Checking" in which the conditions still apply that if you have 5 debit card transactions or a direct deposit of 500 or more per statement period, the $6 fee is waived. Now... any account transfered over from an institution that Chase aquired (such as WaMu) will as of Frb 8th, be changed to something they call "Better Banking Checking" (which, you should know, is NOT an account that is offered to customers who are new to Chase. this is ONLY applied to accounts Chase aquired - such as WaMu accounts) As a former WaMu account holder, I may close my existing account and open up a new "Basic Checking" account with Chase. I was told by a telephone representative this afternoon that "It's basically like cheating the system." So... there you have it.

I for one cannot decide which I would rather do, "cheat the system" or switch to US Bank or Uninon Bank which both still offer free checking with no strings attached. I DO know that I've been working on this ever since I got that INFURIATING letter informing me that I was soon to be facing a $12 a month service fee. (Notice that with Chase's "Basic Checking" if you do not make a direct deposit over 500 or make 5 debit card transactions in a singe statement period, then the fee is only $6.)

Hope this helps anyone else.
lalanallalalanalla1 posts since
Jan 3, 2011
Rep Points: 11
6. Thursday, January 27, 2011 - 11:25 PM
I had a newly opened Chase Checking account that was then converted to Better Banking Checking, so the above is incorrect.

The WSJ article also seems to be incorrect. Chase's "Account Rules and Regulations" clearly states that for "Chase Checking" accounts, after Feb 8, the monthly fee will be waived if you either

- have one direct deposit of $500 or more, or

- have five or more purchases using your Chase Debit Card or Chase ATM card

But... yesterday, my Chase "personal banker" informed me that as of Feb 6 Basic Checking will no longer be offered... open or change over now if you want one.
primerateprimerate9 posts since
Jan 27, 2011
Rep Points: 23
7. Friday, January 28, 2011 - 11:14 AM
For clarification:

Chase Checking - currently Chase's entry-level checking account, scheduled to be replaced on Feb 6. with Chase Total Checking.  Existing accounts will remain open; a $6 monthly service is waived if there's a single direct deposit of $500 OR 5 usages of a debit card per statement.

Chase Total Checking - this will be Chase's new entry-level checking account later next week.  Many existing, older Chase accounts -- including all former WaMu accounts -- will be converted into this product.  A $10 or $12 (depending on location) monthly service fee applies unless there's a single direct deposit of $500, $1,500 min. daily average balance or $25 in consumer-paid fees per statement cycle.

Chase Basic Checking - these are free checking accounts offered by Chase (BillPay incurs a fee), predominately converted from banks Chase has acquired (notably Bank One).  These accounts are being converted into Chase Total Checking.

Chase Better Bank Checking - An account a step-up from Chase Checking, offering free money orders, official checks & travelers checks as well as a free Money Market Savings account with higher rates for consumers meeting a minimum balance requirement.  This account is no longer open for new sign-ups. 


My banker suggested that Chase will ultimately streamline all of its entry-level accounts into Chase Total Checking, but is withholding doing so the most recent products.  Chase Total Checking is pretty steep for an entry-level product.  Personally, I think Chase should follow BoA's lead and offer a discounted (free?) checking product for those utilizing electronic services, or offer to waive the service fee for persons regularly using a linked Chase credit card (as opposed to those paying $25 in interest per month).
SouthwesternSouthwestern23 posts since
Jan 25, 2011
Rep Points: 98
8. Tuesday, February 1, 2011 - 1:06 PM
I am the author of Wellness On Less (, and have ten years of financial services marketing experience. I write on the activities of banks frequently and want to make sure folks understand the changes to Chase accounts, as there seems to be some confusion remaining based on the comments.

The direct deposit has to be $500. That means, two direct deposits of $250 each DO NOT COUNT as a qualifier for a waived monthly fee. At least one deposit has to total $500 on its own.

The debit card purchases cannot be PIN BASED in order to qualify. That means, you must use your debit card at least 5 times in a statement cycle (find out when your cycle starts and ends), and swipe it PUSHING CREDIT at checkout. Hope this is helpful.
wellnessonlesswellnessonless1 posts since
Feb 1, 2011
Rep Points: 3
9. Tuesday, February 8, 2011 - 11:14 AM
The debit card purchases cannot be PIN BASED in order to qualify . 

wellnessonless, I am curious where you found this information? I couldn't find this anywhere, neither on line nor in writing (Account Rules and Regulations).

I then asked my "personal banker", emailed using Chase's on line secure messaging system, and called Chase Service Center's 800 number and every time I get the same answer: both PIN based and signature based transactions count.

On a more interesting note, the lady I spoke to on the phone suggested that for the "Chase Checking" type accounts, the debit card transactions requirement may be upped to 10. Although she said this wasn't decided yet, the fact that a phone rep would know this makes me think it's more than just an idea floating around...
primerateprimerate9 posts since
Jan 27, 2011
Rep Points: 23
10. Tuesday, February 8, 2011 - 12:13 PM
I just opened Chase Total Checking account (to get $100 bonus).

Banker Nathan Buth (IL) told me direct deposit/ACH transfer from other bank of $500 (then NO minimum balance)

     or keep $1500 minimum balance let me avoid montly fee.

I can use debit card as debit or credit, but they don't count for qualifications to avoid monthly fee.
dkdk6 posts since
Oct 7, 2010
Rep Points: 12
11. Tuesday, February 8, 2011 - 2:16 PM
A little clarification of what Chase considers a direct deposit/ACH transfer from another bank.  I learned something here, cut my losses and ran.
Date: 01-28-2011 16:45:33
From: Chase Online
Subject: Re: Account Inquiry
Dear CraigPD,

Thank you for contacting the Internet Service Center. I
can certainly understand your concern in regards to the
Direct Deposit on your account. I sincerely apologize for
any inconvenience.

In response to your inquiry, please be advised that the
ACH credit from an external account is not considered a
Direct Deposit
. Please note that Direct Deposit comes from
your place of employment, or pension, or government.
External account are account that you transfers between
accounts that you are signers on.

Again, I sincerely apologize for any inconvenience you may
be experiencing at this time. Please be assured that we
value you as a customer and wish for your experience with
Chase to be one of satisfaction and ease.

If you have any questions or require further assistance,
please e-mail us via the Secure Message Center or contact
our Internet Service Center at 1-877-242-7372.

Thank you,

Loretta Veronica Moore
Internet Service Center

CraigPDCraigPD94 posts since
Jun 12, 2010
Rep Points: 336
12. Wednesday, February 9, 2011 - 7:16 PM
Chase's definition of direct deposit has not changed; its systems have long misinterpeted ACH deposits from ING, PayPal, etc. as a qualifying direct deposit.  Whether Chase will be agressive in correcting this is to be determined.  And primerate is correct: the literature accompaning my account clearly states that PIN-based purchases qualify in waiving the monthly fee.  FWIW, multiple people from Chase I've dealt with believe that ultimiately ALL of Chase's existing entry-level accounts will be converted to Chase Total Checking; the only reason Chase Checking was reprived from the recent transition is that the accounts were recently opened.  
SouthwesternSouthwestern23 posts since
Jan 25, 2011
Rep Points: 98