Chase Total Checking Review: Strong Option for Everyday Banking Needs

Chase Total Checking Review: Strong Option for Everyday Banking Needs

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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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 Total Checking is the most popular checking option among the five main checking accounts that Chase Bank offers. If you don't really need extra bank services beyond the usual deposits, withdrawals and transfers, Chase Total Checking may be a decent choice for you among brick-and-mortar banks. Chase's online banking tools and nationwide network of more than 4,700 branches help to make Chase Total Checking a comprehensive and convenient option for people in most areas.

Review: Should you open a Chase Total Checking account?

Chase Total Checking: At a Glance
APY: N/A
Minimum to open: None
Monthly fee: $12
Monthly fee waiver: $1,500 average daily balance, $500 in monthly direct deposits or $5,000 across Chase accounts

Sign-up bonus may be available

As long as you live in one of Chase's many service areas, the Chase Total Checking account can be a strong choice for meeting your everyday banking needs. This checking account delivers reliable and convenient access to your money for minimal fees. There is no opening balance requirement, and the monthly fee is easily avoided through either direct deposits or a reasonable minimum balance.

While Chase Total Checking doesn't earn any interest, that’s not necessarily uncommon for checking accounts at this price point. Some traditional brick-and-mortar banks offer premium checking accounts that do earn interest, but their rates are usually too low to make up for the higher fees and minimums. For the highest rates on deposit accounts, you should start by examining online savings options.

Chase Total Checking features

The greatest strengths of Chase are, arguably, its branch and ATM network and its broad and deep account roster. Chase Total Checking is an important part of this ecosystem, as it benefits from the strengths of the bank as a whole.

Notable features that benefit Chase Total Checking customers include the following:

  • Access to 16,000 Chase ATMs and more than 4,700 branches: One of the main reasons to bank with a national bank is to have access to in-person assistance and to your cash. Chase offers thousands of branches and tens of thousands of ATM locations, providing broad appeal to those who value easy access.
  • Comprehensive Chase Mobile app: Even though Chase is primarily considered a brick-and-mortar institution, it does have highly rated, fully functional apps for both iOS and Android users. You can use these apps to perform banking functions such as managing your accounts, depositing checks remotely, finding branches and ATMs and transferring money.
  • Chase QuickPay with Zelle: With any Chase checking account, including Chase Total Checking, customers can use the third-party payment service Zelle to request money and send payments to virtually anyone with a U.S. bank account, email address or phone number.
  • Chase debit card with chip and cardless technology: In addition to being able to use a debit card for purchases, Chase Total Checking customers can add the Chase debit card to their digital wallets for cardless transactions.

Chase Total Checking fees and limits

Chase Total Checking Fees
Monthly maintenance fee$12
Overdraft/insufficient funds fee$34 per item (maximum of 3 fees per day, or $102)
Non-Chase ATM transaction$2.50, or $5 for international ATMs
International exchange fee3%
Deposited item returned$12
Incoming wire transfer$15, or $0 if the transfer was originally sent with the help of a Chase banker or using chase.com or Chase Mobile
Outgoing domestic wire$35, or $25 using chase.com or Chase Mobile
Outgoing international wire$50, or $40 using chase.com or Chase Mobile
Money order$5
Cashier’s check$8

Aside from the Chase High School and Chase College Checking accounts, Chase Total Checking comes with the lowest maintenance fees and lowest waiver requirements of any Chase checking product. To waive the monthly fee, you can either keep a daily minimum of $1,500 in the account or receive $500 in direct deposits to the account. You can also avoid paying the fee with a combined daily average balance of $5,000 across all of your Chase accounts.

Overdraft fees for the account are about average for big banks, but high when compared with some online competitors that charge no overdraft fees. Fees for non-Chase ATM transactions are lower than the average for big banks — however, some competitors, like Charles Schwab Bank, offer unlimited rebates of out-of-network ATM fees. Outgoing wire transfer fees are also high, although they can be reduced by using Chase’s website or mobile app for transactions.

Chase Total Checking Daily Spending Limits
Chase in-branch ATM limit$3,000
Other Chase ATM limit$1,000
Non-Chase ATM withdrawal limit$500 ($1,000 for accounts opened in Connecticut, New Jersey or New York)
Debit card purchase limit$3,000

The withdrawal limits are set by Chase Bank for accounts that use the Chase Debit Card. The ATM limit is about average when compared to limits at other banks, but you can withdraw up to $3,000 from Chase's in-branch ATMs.

Chase's debit purchase limit of $3,000 is somewhat lower than the average, as some banks, like Capital One, allow daily charges up to $5,000.

How does Chase Total Checking stack up?

We looked at Chase Total Checking in comparison to another Chase account, as well as similar offerings at Chase's biggest competitors. For the most part, Total Checking comes out as a reasonable compromise between account features and service fees.

Chase Total Checking vs. Chase Premier Plus Checking

Chase Premier Plus Checking is essentially the enhanced version of Chase Total Checking. Chase Premier Plus offers additional features that aren’t available with Chase Total Checking, but the monthly fee is more than double, at $25 versus Chase Total Checking’s $12 fee.

The general fee schedule is the same for all Chase checking accounts, but Chase Premier Plus does offer more fee waivers than Chase Total Checking. For example, Chase Premier Plus waives the first four non-Chase ATM fees monthly, and there are no fees for counter checks, money orders and cashier’s checks.

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Chase Total Checking vs. Wells Fargo Everyday Checking

Wells Fargo Everyday Checking has a slightly lower monthly fee than Chase Total Checking, at $10 versus $12. It’s also easier to waive this fee, as Wells Fargo requires maintaining just a $500 balance to do so, rather than the $1,500 asked by Chase Total Checking. You can also waive the Wells Fargo fee with a $500 direct deposit, a linked Wells Fargo Campus ATM or Campus Debit card or if you, the primary account holder, is between ages 17 to 24. However, Wells Fargo does have a minimum opening deposit of $25 for its Everyday Checking account, while Chase Total Checking has no such requirement.

Functionally, the accounts are similar, as they both offer the standard digital and mobile tools such as remote check deposit and Zelle. Chase does have more available ATMs, at 16,000 versus Wells Fargo’s 13,000, and its overdraft fee is slightly lower, at $34 versus Wells Fargo’s $35.

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Chase Total Checking vs. Bank of America Core Checking

Bank of America’s Core Checking account is a fairly similar counterpart to Chase Total Checking. Both banks have a $12 monthly service charge and a $2.50 non-bank ATM fee, but Bank of America’s Core Checking account offers a fee waiver with just $250 in monthly direct deposits, compared to Chase Total Checking’s $500 requirement. Both accounts also waive monthly fees with $1,500 on deposit in the account.

Fees overall are comparable at the two banks. However, Bank of America does offer an overdraft transfer service that reduces its $35 overdraft fee to just $12; Chase Total Checking doesn’t offer such a service. Neither the Chase Total Checking nor the Bank of America Core Checking account pays interest.

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