In the complex world of fee-laden prepaid cards, the Chase Liquid prepaid card is a game-changer. For a low monthly fee of $4.95, new users get a prepaid product that comes with no activation fees, no load fees, no transaction fees, and no deposit fees – and all with access to one of the broadest ATM and bank networks in the nation.
Savvy prepaid card users can use the Chase Liquid card for fee-free withdrawals at 15,500 Chase ATMs nationwide, load money with direct deposit or a smartphone app, and pay bills with Chase OnlineSM Bill Pay. Where other prepaid cards charge an array of fees for these everyday services, Chase Liquid offers a new type of prepaid experience – one with few fees and the backing of banking behemoth Chase.
The Simple Dollar’s Key Takeaways
- Pay one low monthly fee for unlimited use of your card. For $4.95 per month, you can use the Chase Liquid card without fear of “extra” charges for deposits, transactions, or customer service.
- Use your card anywhere Visa is accepted. You can use your prepaid card anywhere that accepts Visa, which is almost everywhere.
- Take advantage of 15,500 Chase ATMs nationwide. Chase features one of the largest ATM networks in the nation, and you can use it to make fee-free withdrawals at any time.
- Get Chase Liquid at your local branch, with no fees to open or activate. You’ll leave the branch with a fully functioning card. Just a $25 initial load to get started.
- Load cash and checks at any Chase DepositFriendly℠ ATM, load checks using Chase QuickDeposit℠ or Direct Deposit, or transfer funds from eligible accounts.
- Use Chase Liquid to make purchases in stores and online and withdrawal cash at any Chase ATM or branch. Plus, pay bills using your card number or Chase Online Bill Pay and use Chase QuickPay to send and receive money.
- Reload easily without any fees with Direct Deposit, at more than 11,500 Chase DepositFriendly℠ ATMs, using Chase QuickDeposit or transfer funds from accounts.
Where most prepaid cards charge fees for everything from customer service to transactions, the Chase Liquid card takes the opposite approach. For $4.95 per month, you score a prepaid card that won’t charge you for something at every turn. In fact, the only charges you can accrue in addition to the monthly charge on this card are a $2.50 fee to use non-Chase ATMs for a withdrawal or balance inquiry, a $5 charge to buy a money order, an $8 charge to purchase a cashier’s check, a 3% foreign exchange fee, and additional charges for returned checks or use of the legal process. All of these charges are easily avoidable if you plan to use your card for everyday transactions and are able to stick to Chase ATMs.
Another huge boon is that you can load your card for free. Where some other prepaid cards make you buy “reload packs” for as much as $4.95 to load money, the Chase Liquid card allows you to deposit cash in a branch or at Chase ATMs. If you plan to use your card for purchases frequently, being able to reload it for free will save you a ton of cash over the long haul. And if you live near a Chase branch or plenty of Chase ATMs, that’s even better.
Chase Liquid: What to Watch Out For
The biggest disappointment that comes with the Chase Liquid card is the fact that, at $4.95 per month, it still costs $59.40 per year. Compared to using cash, that is a large investment of capital.
The benefit of the Chase Liquid card is also highly dependent on your proximity to a Chase branch and Chase ATMs. As of now, you can’t even open a Chase Liquid card without going to a branch to do so. And if you don’t live near plenty of Chase ATMs, the $2.50 you’ll pay each time you get money out-of-network can start to add up quickly.
Further, as a prepaid card, the Chase Liquid will not help you build credit. If you have bad credit or a thin credit profile, you might be better off applying for a credit card and using it for your everyday purchases with the goal of paying it off each month.
Further, there are also plenty of secured credit cards – or, credit cards for people with bad credit – to choose from. These cards charge fees that are similar to the Chase Liquid card, but report to the three credit reporting agencies and allow you to build your credit profile and score over time.
Who This Card Is Good For:
- Prepaid card users who want to pay as few fees as possible
- People who live in an area with a Chase branch and plenty of Chase ATMs
- Anyone who wants to use cash, but with the convenience of credit
Who Should Pass:
- People who don’t live near a Chase branch or Chase ATMs
- Anyone who would be better off with a secured credit card that will help them build credit
- People who don’t want to pay $4.95 per month to access their own money
How Does It Compare to Other Prepaid Cards?
To see how the Chase Liquid card stacks up, we decided to compare it to another prepaid card that charges an unusually low monthly fee, the Kaiku Visa® Prepaid Card.
|Chase Liquid||Kaiku Visa® Prepaid Card|
|Monthly Fee||$4.95||$3 (waived if you load at least $750 per month)|
|ATM Access||$0 at15,500 Chase ATMs and $2.50 out-of-network||$0 at 55,000 Allpoint ATMs and $1.45 out-of-network|
|Free Online Bill Pay||Yes||Yes|
|Card Purchase Fee||$0||$0|
|Card Replacement Fee||$0||$0|
|Loading Fees||$0 if loaded at Chase ATM or Chase Branch||$2.95 - $4.95 depending on merchant, $0 for direct deposit|
|Foreign Transaction Fees||3%||0%|
As you can see, the Kaiku Visa® Prepaid Card is another low-fee card excellent for anyone who wants to avoid any extra charges. With the Kaiku Visa® Prepaid Card, you can even avoid the $3 monthly service charge just by loading $750 on the card every month.
What helps the Chase Liquid card stand out is its affiliation with Chase and access to Chase ATMs. Where loading the Kaiku Visa® Prepaid Card costs $2.95-$4.95 depending on the merchant, loading your Chase Liquid card with cash at a Chase ATM or Chase Branch is absolutely free. You can load your Kaiku Visa® Prepaid Card via direct deposit or load checks via your iPhone or android app, but there is no way to load actual cash for free.
In short, the Chase Liquid card may be a better option if you live near plenty of Chase ATMs and a Chase Branch and need to load cash often. If you only load your card with direct deposits from a bank, the Kaiku Visa® Prepaid Card might be your best bet. Here are some additional details on the Kaiku Visa® Prepaid Card if you want to consider this option instead:
Kaiku Visa® Prepaid Card
- No fees when you direct deposit $750/mo and use in-network ATMs
- Notifications & mobile quicklook to monitor spending and alert you of fraud
- Ingo mobile check loading with the Kaiku mobile app
- 6 eye-catching colors to reflect your style
- Use everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted (Kaiku is Visa clear prepaid designated)
- No cost to apply and no minimum balance
- Low monthly fee of $3
- Kaiku’s “Funds-Ometer,” app tracks card users’ spending and compares it to their average spending over the past 60 days in non-essential categories, like eating out, bars and entertainment.
- No activation fees, usage fees, card declined fees and currency conversion fees.
- Low $1.45 fee for out-of-network ATM use.
- Mobile checking loading
- Easy card to card transfers
If you’re looking for a prepaid card with minimal fees and plenty of reach, it makes sense to look into the Chase Liquid card. Not only will you be able to load cash for free at Chase ATMs and your local Chase branch, but you’ll gain access to Chase online bill pay and a prepaid card affiliated with one of the world’s biggest brands.
If you don’t live near any Chase ATMs, however, you might be better off considering one of the other top prepaid cards on the market. This post on the top prepaid cards highlights some of your best options – and lets you compare cards to find the best deal: