Chase Bank is unmatched in accessibility and customer service, but it may not be the best option for those looking for high interest-earning potential.
Chase offers all major banking services, including checking and savings accounts, credit cards, loans, and investments. Its mobile tools are the best of the national banks, and it has the second-largest network of branches in the country, behind Wells Fargo. It also has the most ATMs, with over 16,000 around the nation. Customers have reported a high degree of satisfaction with Chase, with its easy accessibility being a key determiner.
The only thing customers seem mildly dissatisfied with was Chase’s rates and fee schedule. Its monthly maintenance fees are nothing special, though there is the opportunity to waive them if you meet certain criteria. Its interest rates, too, are disappointing. In most cases, you only earn 0.01% APY (effective as of 12/18/2017. Interest rates are variable and subject to change). If you’re interested in higher interest rates, you may want to check out another company, like U.S. Bank, which offers up to 0.05% APY on certain accounts.
|Checking Account Monthly Fees||$12 or $25, both with option to waive by meeting certain criteria (e.g., average account balance or value of monthly direct deposits)|
|Minimum Deposit to Open||$25 or $100|
|Savings Account Monthly Fees||$5 or $20, both with option to waive by meeting certain criteria (e.g., average account balance or value of monthly direct deposits)|
|Savings Interest Rate (APY)||0.01% (effective as of 12/18/2017. Interest rates are variable and subject to change)|
|ATM Surcharge||$5 per withdrawal and $2.50 for any transfers or inquiries at ATMs outside the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Fees from the ATM owner still apply.|
|Best For||Customers who value easy access to their money|
|Not For||Customers interested in earning a lot of interest on their accounts|
|Standout Features||Offers all major banking products
High customer satisfaction ratings
Large selection of credit cards
Excellent mobile banking tools
Chase Bank puts the customer first. It offers a broad range of services, from checking and savings accounts, to credit cards and loans. It lets you decide what you need, and how you want to access your money.
Is it True?
Yes. Chase Bank provides all major banking services, including checking and savings accounts, credit cards, CDs, auto loans, mortgages, investing, and business banking. Within each service, you have several options, so you can choose the one that best fits your lifestyle. This is especially true of its credit cards. Chase offers 21 cards, each catered to different interests like small businesses or cash back rewards.
Chase has 5,100 branches, making it second only to Wells Fargo, which has 6,000 locations in 39 states. Chase was also named one of Time Magazine’s Best Banks in America in 2015 because of its huge network of 16,000 ATMs. But where the company really excels is its mobile banking. As brick-and-mortar banks continue to disappear, a clean web interface and user-friendly apps become increasingly important. Chase outshone its competitors, earning a 4.5 out of 5 rating for iOS devices and a 4.6 for Android. The next best was Citi, earning a 3.5 and 4.1 on iOS and Android, respectively. The worst — U.S. Bank — only scored a 2.5 and 3.8.
Customers have reported a high degree of satisfaction with Chase. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reports Chase has a below-average number of consumer complaints for a bank of its size, which is a good indication that customers are largely satisfied with the service they receive. In J.D. Power’s 2016 U.S. Retail Banking Satisfaction Study, Chase Bank scored above the regional average in eight out of 11 regions and consistently outscored competitors like Bank of America and Citibank. The survey found customers were most impressed with the ease of accessing their Chase accounts, but they were less impressed with the company’s fee structure. Chase’s monthly maintenance fees are slightly above average, and it’s one of the only large banks to charge customers for mobile check deposits, along with U.S. Bank.
Our Deep Dive
- Branches: Chase has 5,100 branch locations around the country, making it one of the largest networks of any bank. However, most of them centered in the West, New England, and only parts of the Midwest. Residents of the Southeast and North Central U.S. won’t have the option of visiting a brick-and-mortar location, but they can still access their Chase accounts online or through the mobile apps.
- Average checking accounts: Chase offers three checking account options. The Total Checking plan is what most people will go with, because it has the lowest monthly fee at $12, but those interested in interest-earning checking accounts should consider the Chase Premier Plus Checking℠ for a higher fee of $25 per month. The interest rate is nothing special, though. You only earn 0.01% APY (effective as of 12/18/2017. Interest rates are variable and subject to change). That’s pretty standard for checking accounts, but Citibank and a few other companies give you the option to earn more. You have the option to waive the monthly maintenance fees if you meet certain criteria, like maintaining an average account balance or direct deposits every month, but that may be difficult for Chase Premier Plus Checking℠ members to do.
- Over 16,000 ATMs: Chase has the most ATMs of any national bank, so no matter where you live, you shouldn’t have to travel far to find one. And that’s a good thing, because Chase charges an industry-standard $2 per transaction for using out-of-network ATMs to its Total Checking customers. Chase Premier Plus Checking℠ members can use out-of-network ATMs four times per statement period without incurring any charges.
- Credit cards for all lifestyles: Chase currently offers 21 credit cards tailored to a variety of customers. Frequent travelers can choose between several options that earn them travel rewards and have no foreign transaction fees. There are also cards designed for small businesses and, of course, your standard rewards cards. If you’re unsure which card is best for you, Chase’s Card Finder tool can help you narrow it down.
- On-the-go account management: Chase’s mobile apps for iOS and Android devices enable you to view your account balances, find the nearest ATM, pay your credit card bills, and transfer money. There’s also Chase QuickDeposit, which enables you to deposit checks simply by taking photos of them. Chase is one of the few banks that charges a small fee for its QuickDeposit service, however, so if you can make it to a branch office to deposit your check, that’s the better way to go. (You’ll need to check the fine print on your account to know just how much those fees are.)
- Low interest rates on savings accounts: With Chase’s Savings account, the standard interest rate is 0.01% APY (effective as of 12/18/2017. Interest rates are variable and subject to change). That isn’t uncommon for a basic savings account, but most major banks give you a choice of a higher-earning account as well.
- Offers all types of mortgages: Chase Bank offers 10-, 20- and 30-year fixed-rate mortgages, and 5/1 and 7/1 adjustable-rate mortgages. It also provides more specialized loans, including FHA, VA and Jumbo loans.
- Broad range of investment products: Chase Financial Advisors can help set you up with the right investment strategy based on your goals and risk tolerance. The company offers managed accounts, college savings plans, and mutual funds. If you’re looking to save for retirement, you can also set up a traditional or Roth IRA. Chase doesn’t offer annuities directly, but it partners with several insurance providers that do offer this product, so your Chase Financial Advisor can still point you in the right direction if you’re interested in an annuity.
- Business banking: No matter the size of your organization, Chase offers checking accounts, credit cards, and lines of credit to suit your needs. Chase’s Merchant Services enable you to easily collect payment from your customers, wherever you are — even on the go, if you have the Chase Mobile Checkout app. Chase also partners with ADP to offer you payroll solutions, as well as the ability to track time and attendance.
Chase offers banking solutions to individuals and businesses of all financial situations. The cost to you will depend on your lifestyle and the services you choose. For example, a basic checking account from Chase could cost you a $12 monthly service fee. But if you meet the account’s criteria, you won’t have to pay a fee at all. Certain credit cards have annual fees while others do not. And if you frequently deposit checks via mobile apps or visit out-of-network ATMs, you’ll incur additional charges.
You also have to weigh the gains of opening an account with Chase. In some cases, it may be worth it for you to pay an annual fee on a credit card if it’s going to offer you great rewards down the road. On the other hand, individuals interested in savings accounts with high interest rates may be disappointed with Chase’s. Those interested in a higher earning potential may want to consider another option, like Wells Fargo.
Cheaper (or Free!) Alternatives
Before committing to any financial institution, you should do some research and see what your options are. If you were looking to take out a mortgage, for example, you wouldn’t go with the first company to pre-approve you. You’d want to compare the rates that several companies offered you to be sure you were getting the best deal. Similarly, you should consider the terms of any credit cards or checking and savings accounts to ensure you’re choosing the one that’s most in line with your goals.
The right bank for you largely depends on your values. If it’s all about the money to you, you may prefer a company like U.S. Bank over Chase. Its monthly maintenance fees are lower than Chase’s and it gives you the option to lower them further by opting for paperless statements. It also gives you the option to earn more interest on your savings accounts, in some cases up to 0.05% APY. But on the flipside, U.S. Bank has a much smaller network of branches and ATMs than Chase does, and its mobile tools aren’t as strong. If convenient access to your money is more important to you, Chase may be the better option.
- Wells Fargo: Wells Fargo has the largest network of branch locations of any national bank. With over 6,000 branch locations in 39 states and 13,000 ATMs, accessing your money is quick and convenient. Its fees are on par with Chase’s, but its interest rates are higher, so it’s a good company to choose if you’re looking for greater earning potential. Wells Fargo doesn’t have the selection of credit cards that Chase does, but there are still several options for those looking to earn rewards on their purchases.
- U.S. Bank: U.S. Bank may not have the network of Chase or Wells Fargo, but it hangs right with them in terms of customer service. It scored well in the J.D. Power survey, and it has fewer CFPB complaints than any other bank on this list. Its mobile banking isn’t as strong as its competitors, so if that is a priority for you, U.S. Bank isn’t the best choice. It does offer lower monthly maintenance fees and higher savings account interest rates than Chase, though.
- Citibank: Citibank has the smallest branch network of any bank on this list, with less than 800 brick-and-mortar locations across the U.S. Citi has a good selection of checking accounts with no minimum opening deposits. The fees on its basic accounts are about on par with Chase’s. Citi’s Citigold account gives consumers the opportunity to earn 0.03% APY — which is very high for a checking account. The downside is you have to pay a $30 monthly fee, and it’s unlikely that most people will meet the criteria necessary to waive that fee. Citi’s savings account is less impressive. The company only offers one account option, and interest rates are low until you accumulate a sizeable balance. You don’t exceed 0.01% APY until you hit $10,000. Citi also failed to impress when it came to customer service, consistently scoring average or below in the J.D. Power survey.
- Bank of America: Bank of America has a sizeable branch network and a decent selection of services, but it regularly fails to please its customers. It received the most CFPB complaints of any bank on this list, and it scored average or below in every region in J.D. Power’s customer satisfaction survey. Its selection of checking and savings accounts is smaller than most of the other companies as well. That being said, its fees aren’t unreasonable, and Preferred Rewards clients can earn up to 0.06% APY with the Rewards Money Market Savings Account. And it has a decent selection of credit cards, too.
- Ally: One of the top online banks, Ally doesn’t have any branch locations you can visit. But it makes up for this with no monthly maintenance fees, convenient mobile tools, and interest rates higher than what you’ll find with any traditional bank. Checking accounts earn anywhere between 0.10% and 0.60% APY, and savings accounts can earn up to 1.15% APY. That’s a 100% increase over what Chase offers you. Ally also offers a rewards credit card, CDs, IRAs, and auto loans.
- Barclays: Barclays is another online bank that’s worth considering if you’re after high interest rates. It offers 1.50% APY on savings accounts and no monthly maintenance fees. Barclays isn’t a good choice if you want to do all your banking in one place, though. It only offers savings accounts and CDs, so those interested in credit cards, checking accounts, or loans will have to check out other options.
What Others Are Saying
- The Dallas Morning News reported that Chase, along with four other national banks, were cited for failing to develop adequate plans for how they would restructure their organization in the event of bankruptcy. The banks had been ordered to remedy the problem by October 2016. Chase’s CEO assured reporters that the company would resolve the issue as quickly as possible. But while this may seem like a significant issue, it’s unlikely to cause issues for consumers, as the article points out: “The big banks are in strong financial shape and are facing no threat of collapse. They sit on sturdy bases of capital that the regulators ordered them to shore up in recent years. The banking industry as a whole has recovered steadily since the financial crisis, racking up climbing quarterly profits.”
- The Chicago Tribune picked up a story about Chase’s bank error policies. Per their terms of service, the company may not attempt to correct deposit errors of $10 or less. In some cases, this means the bank keeps your $10. In other cases, it may mean you get a bonus $10 you shouldn’t have had. This shouldn’t be an issue for most consumers, unless you make frequent deposits. If you do and you notice an error, you can contact Chase and they will fix it, according to their spokesperson: “If we haven’t done it and you call us within a year, we’ll definitely make the adjustment…This is just saying we may not automatically do it.”
- U.S. News & World Report named Chase one of its 10 Best Banks of 2016, citing its broad range of services and large branch network as key factors. It does point out its low interest rates as a detractor, though: “Accessibility through its 5,300 branches and 15,500 ATMs is a major feature for Chase because, although its savings rate of 0.01 percent APY is similar to many banks on this list, its 0.02 percent APY CD rate is one of the lowest on this list.”
Chase makes it easy to access your money wherever you are, and customers have continually voiced their approval. Whether you’re planning for retirement, opening a new savings account, or taking out your first mortgage, Chase has options for you.
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