Chase Bank Review: Good for Sign-Up Bonuses and Frequent Travelers

Chase Bank Review: Good for Sign-Up Bonuses and Frequent Travelers

Editor's Rating

While fairly similar to its competitors, Chase differentiates itself with generous bonuses for new customers and the option of consolidating your credit cards, loans and deposits in one place.

Good for

  • Strong sign-up bonuses for new customers
  • People with regular direct deposit
  • Existing Chase credit card customers

Bad for

  • Earning interest on savings deposits and CDs
  • Premium and high-yield checking accounts
  • People located far from major cities
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Opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed here are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed or endorsed by the issuer. We may be compensated through the issuer’s Affiliate Program. For a full list of our advertisers and bank offers, see our disclosure page.

Editor's Rating

While fairly similar to its competitors, Chase differentiates itself with generous bonuses for new customers and the option of consolidating your credit cards, loans and deposits in one place.

Good for

  • Strong sign-up bonuses for new customers
  • People with regular direct deposit
  • Existing Chase credit card customers

Bad for

  • Earning interest on savings deposits and CDs
  • Premium and high-yield checking accounts
  • People located far from major cities
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Chase Bank offers several different account options and operates many physical branches nationwide. It even offers flashy sign-up bonuses on some of its accounts in an effort to rope you in. Once you do have an account open, though, things start to sour. Each of its accounts comes with a lot of fees, and you’ll earn little to nothing in interest — especially compared with today’s best checking accounts.

Review: Should you open a Chase bank account?

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Chase Bank is really only good for two types of people: Those looking to earn a sign-up bonus for opening a checking account, and those who want the convenience of being able to walk into a brick-and-mortar branch wherever they go across the U.S. Only Wells Fargo has more nationwide branches than Chase Bank, at 5,300 branches versus Chase’s 4,700.

However, running all of those branches comes at a high cost that’s passed onto you, the customer, through high fees and low interest rates. These rates may vary around the country, but for the “higher yielding” checking accounts, generally they’re around 0.01% — so low that it’s not technically possible to go any lower without axing interest payments completely. The savings accounts, unfortunately, offer the same kind of low rates.

It’s for this reason that we caution against opening a Chase Bank account if you’re interested in saving money and earning interest. Your bank can be a great partner in helping you better your finances by offering high interest rates and low (or better yet, no) fees. That’s just not the case at Chase Bank, unfortunately, so unless you have a compelling reason to use nationwide branches or earn a sign-up bonus, we’d suggest passing on this one.

Chase checking accounts

Account Name
Details
Chase Total Checking
  • APY: None
  • Minimum to open: None
  • Monthly fee: $12
  • Monthly fee waiver: Electronic deposits of at least $500, or a daily balance of at least $1,500, or a combined daily balance of at least $5,000 across your other Chase bank accounts.
Chase Secure Banking
  • APY: None
  • Minimum to open: None
  • Monthly fee: $4.95
  • Monthly fee waiver: None
Chase Premier Plus Checking
  • APY: Varies by location
  • Minimum to open: None
  • Monthly fee: $25
  • Monthly fee waiver: Average balance of $15,000 across your other Chase bank accounts, or having a Chase mortgage with automatic payments set up.
Chase Sapphire Checking
  • APY: Varies by location
  • Minimum to open: None
  • Monthly fee: $25
  • Monthly fee waiver: Average balance of $75,000 across your other Chase bank accounts.
Chase College Checking
  • APY: N/A
  • Minimum to open: None
  • Monthly fee: $6
  • Monthly fee waiver: No monthly fee for your first five years in college. After that, no monthly fee if you have any direct deposit into your account or an average daily balance of $5,000 or more.
Chase High School Checking
  • APY: N/A
  • Minimum to open: None
  • Monthly fee: $0
  • Monthly fee waiver: N/A
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The good news with Chase Bank’s checking accounts is that, aside from the Secure Banking account, there’s always a way to avoid the monthly fees. But that’s about where the benefits end. Chase Bank’s checking accounts pay low interest rates (that is, when they pay interest at all) and come with high monthly fees. It’s relatively easy these days to find a checking account with no monthly fee. And while Chase does offer monthly fee waivers, this requires you to always be on your toes to make sure you’re meeting the waiver requirements every month. Frankly, it’s probably not worth the hassle.

Chase does offer many different checking accounts at different levels. The more premium-level accounts with the higher monthly fees come with more perks, but even these are relatively dull. For example, its Chase Premier Plus Checking — which has a $25 monthly fee — allows four free ATM withdrawals per month at non-Chase machines, free rent on a small bank safe deposit box, and free money orders and cashier’s checks, among other things. But if you didn’t meet the monthly fee waiver requirements, you’d be paying up to $300 per year for all of that — not a great bargain.

Chase savings accounts

Account Name
Details
Chase Savings
  • APY: Varies by location
  • Minimum balance for APY: $0.01
  • Monthly fee: $5
  • Monthly fee waiver: Daily balance of $300 or more, or automatic monthly transfers of $25 or more into this account from a Chase checking account, or a Chase College Checking account linked to this account as overdraft protection, or have an account owner who’s younger than 18, or have a certain type of linked Chase checking account.
Chase Premier Savings
  • APY: Varies by location
  • Minimum balance for APY: $0.01
  • Monthly fee: $25
  • Monthly fee waiver: Daily balance of $15,000 or more, or a linked Chase Premier Plus Checking or Chase Sapphire Checking account.
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Chase Bank’s savings accounts are similar to its checking accounts in that they offer ultra-low interest rates and carry the possibility of high fees. And again, you can have those fees waived every month, but then the burden is on you to remember to ensure you’re doing what you need to in order to avoid them. Unless you’re saving up a ton of money, having to pay even one month’s fee will easily wipe out your interest earnings for many months thereafter.

You can earn higher ”relationship” rates with the Chase Premier Savings account if you have an additional linked checking account from Chase and you use it to make at least five transactions per month. But still, these rates are especially measly, even in a low-interest-rate environment. The highest interest rate threshold reserved for balances over $250,000 (which is the maximum amount you can keep in any one bank account and still get full FDIC insurance coverage) is five times what the base interest rate is. But five times not much is still not much. You can find much better savings rates at other U.S. banks.

How does Chase compare to other banks?

Chase operates thousands of branches around the U.S., and if you’re the type of person who’s on the go a lot and prefers to do their banking in person, this might be reason enough for you to choose Chase Bank. Most people are more likely to be motivated by a bank that offers low fees and a good interest rate, however, and for those people, we say: Give Chase Bank a pass.

Chase vs. Capital One

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Capital One does have a few branch locations, but by and large, it’s mostly an online bank. It also has far fewer accounts to choose from than Chase Bank, but the accounts available are much more consumer-friendly. Its checking account and savings account both charge no monthly fees and offer higher interest rates than any of Chase Bank’s accounts.

Chase vs. TD Bank

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If you still prefer to do your banking in person and you’re on the Eastern seaboard, you might have noticed a lot of TD Bank locations around. You may not be eligible to open an account if you don’t live in one of its states of service, however. Aside from that, the story is much the same with TD Bank as with Chase Bank: There are a lot of account options, a lot of fees and not much in the way of good interest rates.

Chase vs. Citibank

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Citibank has a bit more of an even distribution nationwide, but still not as many branches as Chase Bank. Further, you can still open an account online if you don’t live near a branch. Citibank is a bit different in that it offers “account packages” in place of checking accounts. These account packages contain two accounts: a checking account and a savings account. Its highest-earning savings account does offer quite a good rate, although the fees with its account packages are also much higher than we like to see.

Lindsay VanSomeren is a freelance financial writer living in Kirkland, WA with a houseful of pets including two cats, a dog, and a husband. She has been a professional dogsled racer, a wildlife researcher, and a participant in the National Spelling Bee. In her spare time she enjoys weightlifting, homebrewing, and helping scientists learn to manage their money at Science Finance.

Responses to comments in the discussion section are not provided, reviewed, approved, endorsed or commissioned by our financial partners. It is not our partner's responsibility to ensure all posts or questions are answered.

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