Avoid Chase’s New "You Invest" Program
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Avoid Chase’s New "You Invest" Program

JP Morgan Chase has always been a torchbearer in the banking arena.   Under Jamie Dimon’s leadership, it has become a pioneer in mobile banking, provides some of the most valuable credit card offers for consumers and small businesses, and  does everything better than other major money center banks.

I, however, would note that it remains quite remarkable that people still keep savings or CD monies with any of the major money center banks.   Savings and money market rates are just much higher with online banks and even some local banks and credit unionsMoney center banks do sometimes entice people with aggressive promotions.

When I learned that Chase was introducing a new online brokerage, I was intrigued.   As I indicated in an early article when Chase first announced this intention in August, I thought Chase could instantly become a leader in this space by making discount brokerage services available to its vast clientele, giving away free trades and making the account easy to open online. 

At launch in October, Chase's online brokerage was branded as You Invest.   Since the launch coincided with Chase's launch of Sapphire Checking, many were also told through credit card forums and other blogs that they could meet Chase’s 60,000 Sapphire point bonus for Sapphire Checking through a You Invest account. (I suspected and have now confirmed that was incorrect.)  I nonetheless wanted to see if I was right that Chase would instantly be a leader among discount brokerages with You Invest, so I was quick to try out the platform.  Experiences can differ, but my view is that Chase produced a product which wasn’t even 1/10th baked and that never should have seen the light of day.   I would almost call it disastrous.

The interface is awful.   It is completely bare bones and lacking in functionality.  Finding anything in the interface – such as a trade or balance history - is basically impossible.  For a company that has always focused like a laser on getting the user experience right, Chase seems to have just completely left it out of the equation here.

Placing a trade in this program is difficult and cumbersome, requiring many more time-consuming steps than Schwab, Fidelity or TD Ameritrade.  Active traders will find managing or adjusting a trade to be frustrating.  There is no options trading or after-hours trading.   Chase didn’t seem to involve anyone who knows anything about what an active trader looks for or expects during the trading process.

The absolute worst experience, however, comes if and when you need to reach someone by phone.   The first and second line customer support representatives are completely unable to figure out their own system or answer even the simplest questions about either the interface or account activity.  Online brokerage CSRs are generally well trained and can field simple account and interface questions.   My own hunch after one series of phone interactions is that Chase has not trained its staff specifically for YouInvest, and is using the same phone staff that fields checking and savings account queries.  Getting an answer about your account will take 30 or 40 minutes, and then may be inaccurate or outright incorrect.  

Surprisingly, but true, Chase has introduced a product that is just grossly unfit for any market, much less for the one that they are addressing.

Chase desperately needs to pull back its You Invest product.

Until they do, view it is as “You Avoid”.

Ari Socolow
Ari Socolow: Ari Socolow is the Chief Economist and Editor-in-Chief at BestCashCow. He is particularly interested in issues relating to financial literacy and bank transparency. Since co-founding this website in 2005, Ari has been frequently cited in the media as an expert on local and national savings accounts, CD products, mortgage and loan products and credit card rewards products.
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