A Review: Is Chase Bank the Best Option for Your Money?
Shopping around for a new bank? Or maybe you just need an additional single-use checking account to keep your budget straight? We review Chase Bank to find out if this is the best place for your money.
- Great Rewards Programs
- Big Balance Transfer Savings
- 24/7 Customer Service
While small banks and credit unions are a great option, don’t leave the big names off your list, either. Chase Bank is a big name in the industry, and they offer their customers quite a few benefits.
Right now, in fact, is a great time to sign up for a new account at Chase, as they’re currently offering some great bonuses for new checking and/or savings account holders. We’ll cover the bonuses in a moment. First, let’s talk about the basics.
They’ve Got it All
One of the best parts about banking with Chase is that they offer literally everything. From checking and savings to credit cards to mortgages and other loans, you’ll find it all here. If you want to streamline your finances by having all of your accounts, loans, and cards with the same company, Chase is worth a look.
While this isn’t always the best financial strategy, as it pays to shop around, you can benefit from having all your financial “stuff” with a single provider. Often, making payments is easier, and your local bank could really get to know you and your needs well if you typically visit them for customer service.
Besides having all the financial services that you might want, Chase is also available quite widely. While it doesn’t serve all regions of the country, it does operate nearly 4,900 branches in the U.S. right now, as well as tens of thousands of ATMs. And if you can’t find a branch or ATM near you while you’re traveling, Chase offers a fairly robust online banking system.
Besides offering everything, like most big banks, what are the other major benefits of choosing Chase Bank? Here are the most important:
Great Technology: Chase has invested a lot of time and money into creating a great technological experience for its customers. Its website is intuitive and easy to use, and so is its mobile site. You can use your phone to make mobile deposits of up to $2,000 per day, which is great if you’re not near an ATM.
Speaking of technology, Chase’s incorporates all of your accounts with the bank. When you pull up your mobile account, for instance, you can get instant access to your checking and savings account balances, as well as your outstanding credit card balance. You can make transfers between accounts, wire money to a friend or family member, or pay bills all from your mobile.
Like many large banks with mobile apps, Chase offers mobile alerts, too. These can help you stay on top of your finances by letting you know when your account is running low or when your paycheck gets to your checking account. Useful tools, to be sure.
Good Offers: Many large banks, especially, are jumping on the rewards bandwagon right now. Chase is one of them. When you sign up for a Chase Total Checking® account as a new customer, you just have to set up direct deposit to get a $200 bonus added to your account.
Besides bonuses for checking accounts, Chase offers bonuses for many of its credit card accounts, too. So if you’re also in the market for a travel or points rewards card, consider consolidating this with Chase, as well. The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and Southwest Rapid Reward Premier Credit Card are both good options.
Free Options: One thing to look out for, of course, when switching banks is the fees a bank charges. Like most other large banks, Chase doesn’t offer outstanding interest rates on its checking and savings accounts. So be sure that any interest you’re earning doesn’t get swallowed up by monthly account fees.
Right now, the basic Chase Total Checking® account comes with no monthly service fee as long as you’re making direct deposits totaling $500 or more each month, maintaining a $1,500 minimum daily balance, or have an average daily balance of $5,000 or more in qualifying linked deposit or investment accounts.
Meeting the first requirement will be pretty easy if you work full-time and have your paycheck automatically added to your account each month. But you could also nix the fees if you keep your emergency fund savings account or an investment account linked to your checking account.
Chase’s higher-level checking account options, including Chase Premier Plus Checking and Chase Premier Platinum Checking both earn interest. But maintaining no fees in these accounts requires a much higher average daily balance in linked accounts: $15,000 and $75,000, respectively.
However, you could qualify for a free Chase Premier Plus Checking account if you have a qualifying mortgage from Chase and make automatic mortgage payments out of your checking account. This is worth looking into for current mortgage customers, since an interest-bearing checking account (that doesn’t charge fees!) is a great option.
Finally, Chase offers an account specifically for high school and college students. Monthly fees for this account go up to $6 per month. But you can avoid the fees by setting up the account for monthly direct deposit or by linking it with a parent or guardian’s Chase checking account.
Unlike with some banks, Chase checking accounts aren’t unequivocally free. But meeting the free account requirements for the non-interest-bearing accounts isn’t that difficult, either.
What about Chase’s savings accounts? Similarly to the checking options, the savings accounts come with a monthly service fee, which can be waived for a variety of reasons.
The basic Chase Savings(SM) requires a $300 minimum daily balance, a minimum of one automatic repeating transfer of at least $25 from a checking account, or linkage to a higher-level checking account. Also, account owners under the age of 18 can get a free checking account.
As with the checking accounts, the higher-level savings accounts, which offers higher interest rates, has tighter requirements for avoiding the monthly service fee. This includes either a $15,000 minimum daily balance or having the account linked to a high-level checking account.
Low Minimums: It doesn’t take much to open a Chase account. The basic checking account has just a $0 minimum to open.
All banks have their drawbacks, even those with generally good products and reviews. Here’s what you should look out for from Chase:
Lower Interest Rates: You’ll often find that online-only banks that streamline their services can offer higher interest rates. The opposite is true of full-service, brick-and-mortar banks like Chase. As of this writing, Chase’s savings account APY is just .01%.
Regional: Though Chase Bank is technically a national chain, it’s not available everywhere. Be sure to check out the availability of banks and ATMs in your area, or areas where you often travel, before deciding to open an account.
Account Fees: Though you can avoid account fees with Chase checking and savings accounts, you’ll have to meet all the parameters to do so. Other banks offer free checking and savings accounts without any hoops to jump through.
If you’re planning to go the traditional route and just open a single checking and a single savings account, preferably linked, you can probably avoid most of Chase’s account fees. But if you’d like to have dedicated checking or savings accounts to keep your money separated out for different purposes, Chase is probably not your best option.
Low Mobile Deposit Limits: If you’re a business owner or freelancer who often gets payments in the form of a check and likes the convenience of a mobile deposit, think twice about Chase. Their daily mobile check deposit limit is just $2,000, and the monthly limit is just $5,000.
Users who have their regular paychecks deposited into the accounts probably won’t find this to be an issue. You can just use mobile deposit for the personal checks you receive once in a while. But for those who deposit more checks, this low limit could be problematic.
Pros and Cons
- Top Tier Credit Cards, Checking Accounts and Bonuses
- Great Rewards Programs
- Big Balance Transfer Savings
- 24/7 Customer Service
- Poor Interest Rates on Deposit Products
The Bottom Line
Chase Bank can be a good option for checking and savings, especially if you already do or plan to take advantage of some of the bank’s other offerings. And if you’re looking for a bank with a strong online presence and intuitive mobile app, this is certainly one to check out.
However, if you’re looking for the most affordable accounts with the best interest rates possible, you’ll probably need to look elsewhere.