The End of Chase Free Checking?

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If you don't have a single direct deposit of $500 or more each month, Chase’s free checking account may no longer be free for you beginning February 8, 2011.

ABC News recently reported that Chase’s free checking accounts will be going away beginning February 8, 2011 for existing customers who don't have a direct deposit of at least $500 or more each month. The qualifying $500-or-more direct deposit must be made in a single deposit; multiple deposits that add up to $500 or more will not qualify. Social Security and Unemployment direct deposit checks are often beneath the $500 threshold Chase requires, so many of these customers may now face a $6 per month fee on their previous “free” checking account. However, ABC News reports that if customers make five or more debit card purchases within a month, the fee can be waived for that month. New customers who would like to sign up for a Chase checking account before February 8, 2011 will automatically be subject to the new fees, if they don't have a qualifying direct deposit or make five debit card transactions each month.

This news is one of many recent reports of banks attempting to recoup lost revenue since they are no longer able to obtain fees from automatically enrolling customers in overdraft protection programs, which often charges people $35 or more per overdraft. Customers may need to look into alternative banking options, such as those offered by online-only banks, in order to get the deals that were once standard in many brick-and-mortar banks. This week I’ll feature a series on some of the best free checking deals out there, for any of the current Chase customers who are affected by this change or for anybody else who is merely looking for a better deal on their checking account.

For the best information on reward checking accounts, click here.

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  • Steve T.

    December 29, 2010

    I have been with Chase (Wamu, Home Savings, Coast Federal...all taken over) for over 15 years, with free checking. Sadly..this month I'll be closing my accounts due to the end of free checking. I did some investigating..and found that US BANK offers free checking with no minimum balance, and no other "catches"..So, that is where I will open my new accounts.

  • Davdi L

    December 29, 2010

    Went to my local Chase bank today, and asking why are they changing my free checking account to a non-free account. I was total that new Federal banknig regulations forced them to make the changes. And, I'd need to keep a min. balance of $1,500.00 in my account(just one of the new changes) to avoid any fees. "Yeah, right". My last question to them was, "what is the procedure for closing my account". I started with WaMu to avoid such fees, and I'll be damned if I'll let Chase do that same thing to me now. I can't see the advantage of having the privilege of having Chase's banking services, while they hold $1,500.00 of my money hostage.

  • Dave

    January 06, 2011

    All these threads are full of whiny little B's. Sure its sucks but how hard is it to use your debit card 5 times in a month for free checking? Is it principle? Times change, man up. 99.9% of ppl without event trying will get free checking.

  • who uses debit cards

    January 06, 2011

    dave, i never use my debit cards, i always use my credit cards for everything. there are many reasons for using credit over debit (ability to easily dispute charges and being much easier to deal with in case of fraud (as in not having all your funds from your checking/savings account being unavailable while you sort it out) being just two). plus i get much better rewards from my credit cards. debit cards now start to give rewards but nothing like what the best credit cards offer.

  • Terrry

    January 07, 2011

    As much as it sucks, I'll live with it. I'll close one account I use to pay bills. So I'll just have two. No big deal.
    I think we are forgetting these banks answer to stock holders and of course the craziness of greed.
    Hey, it could be worse.

  • Vanessa Garcia

    January 08, 2011

    I currently have a free checking account with Chase. I use my debit card often for groceries and eating out so the 5 debit card transaction minimum is no problem for me. If you have a Chase Freedom credit card you get 10 points per $1 spent when using your checking debit card, which means you earn more points using your debit card. You can then combine the points to get cash back. So whether you use your Chase debit or credit card you still get the points, plus when you get enough points to get cash back you can deposit the money straight into your checking account without having to wait for a check to arrive in the mail. That to me is a pretty good deal.

    We are in a day in age when knowing how to stretch a $1 is crucial. No more sitting back and thinking that your money will not be touched. You have to monitor your spending, your accounts, monitor is the key here. I work at a bank and a few years ago I worked behind the teller line, I can’t even count how many people would walk in complaining about fees and overdraft charges. If people would monitor their account they would not get charged such fees. With all the technology today with text alerts and email alerts, there is no excuse. Even if it’s hard for you to manage your money, there are so many tools online now to help guide you in the right direction. Get schooled people, become more informed, more aware of your money. If you don’t monitor your money, then you leave loop holes for others to take the money from you.

  • Bummed

    January 21, 2011

    I'm with Steve T. but I've been with Chase (Wamu, Home Savings, Coast Federal) for even longer. My parents started a savings account for me there when I was little. I stayed with them even through its changes when opening a checking account as an adult. It must have been over 25 years altogether! I loved Wamu... miss it. So long Chase. ($500 in one direct deposit, psh! Guess they only want the rich folks.)

    Oh, and Union Bank offers free checking, too. (Plus you get a $50 bonus when first signing up for direct deposit :D.)

  • Bummed

    January 21, 2011

    Hah, just realized that was a terribly confusing opening sentence. That's what I get for writing this late at night when I should be in bed! I meant that I agree with Steve T. and am in a similar situation. I have banked there for a long time, even longer than what he said.

  • Fred

    May 16, 2011

    I just found out about the new fees. They did reverse the fees but I am going to close my account and go to Union Bank for my personal account.
    My Wells Fargo checking account is still free.

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