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Free Chase checking ?
Old 05-09-2023, 09:15 PM   #1
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Free Chase checking ?

I have had a Chase checking account as far back as I can remember. To get the free checking, I kept a minimum of 15K in a savings account and had my social security and pension checks automatically deposited to the checking account. I checked the interest rates on Chase and saw it was .01% (One tenth of 1 percent).

Did a rough calculation and realized that this "free" checking account was costing me anywhere from $800 to $1100 a year in lost interest. Chase may be a fortress bank, but it was time for a change as paying .01% interest is practically criminal.

I opened up a Cash Management Account (CMA) at Fidelity that is currently paying 2.57% checking and linked it to a brokerage account that is paying a minimum of 4.65% on money market funds. Configured the CMA to automatically pull money from the brokerage account whenever my balance was less than $2500. Fidelity also reimburses ATM fees literally the same day that the fee was charged.

The entire process was lengthy as I had a significant number of automatic debits/credits that had to be changed. The one negative item is that Fidelity uses a third party Bank (UMB) that does not currently support Zelle. Luckily, I keep some money in Ally as I always liked their service and CD rates, so switched my Zelle from Chase to Ally.

In two weeks, I will be calling Chase to close my checking/savings accounts and they will not be missed.
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Old 05-09-2023, 09:29 PM   #2
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As the late great Bruce Williams used to say: the cheapest option is not always the least expensive.
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Old 05-09-2023, 09:36 PM   #3
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$1500 is the minimum that I know of, not $15K. I guess it depends on the type of Chase checking account.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bossman View Post
I opened up a Cash Management Account (CMA) at Fidelity that is currently paying 2.57% checking and linked it to a brokerage account that is paying a minimum of 4.65% on money market funds. Configured the CMA to automatically pull money from the brokerage account whenever my balance was less than $2500. Fidelity also reimburses ATM fees literally the same day that the fee was charged.
You can simplify even further. You can buy the 4.65% MM fund directly in the CMA, and Fidelity will automatically pull from that to pay bills when the core is depleted. I keep nothing in the core account most of the time.

You can transfer MM shares in kind between Fidelity accounts as well. I assumed your brokerage account is Fidelity as well?
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Chase Free Checking ?
Old 05-09-2023, 09:47 PM   #4
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Chase Free Checking ?

Chase Premier Plus Checking requires a minimum 15K to avoid fees. Chase Total Checking requires a minimum $1500. No longer remember why I needed the Premier, but no longer matters.
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Old 05-09-2023, 09:51 PM   #5
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What do you think about owning the higher yielding MM fund in your Fidelity CMA?
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Chase Free Checking ?
Old 05-09-2023, 09:55 PM   #6
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Chase Free Checking ?

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Originally Posted by audreyh1 View Post
$1500 is the minimum that I know of, not $15K. I guess it depends on the type of Chase checking account.


You can simplify even further. You can buy the 4.65% MM fund directly in the CMA, and Fidelity will automatically pull from that to pay bills when the core is depleted. I keep nothing in the core account most of the time.

You can transfer MM shares in kind between Fidelity accounts as well. I assumed your brokerage account is Fidelity as well?
I chose a minimum of $2500 as that would cover my quarterly property taxes, which is typically my highest bill to pay. Will considering dropping it down. Thanks for the idea.
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Free Chase Checking ?
Old 05-09-2023, 09:57 PM   #7
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Free Chase Checking ?

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Originally Posted by audreyh1 View Post
What do you think about owning the higher yielding MM fund in your Fidelity CMA?
You can not have MM funds in a CMA, only FDIC insured cash that Fidelity parses to different banks. Thanks!
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Old 05-09-2023, 10:09 PM   #8
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Chase Premier Plus Checking requires a minimum 15K to avoid fees. Chase Total Checking requires a minimum $1500. No longer remember why I needed the Premier, but no longer matters.
I have Chase credit cards for a number of years. A while back, Chase offered me bonus to open one of these checking accounts. Deposit $15,000 for 6 months, earn $1000 (was it $900?). So, I did. As soon as I received the bonus I transferred the money out, and closed the checking account.
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Old 05-09-2023, 10:10 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bossman View Post
You can not have MM funds in a CMA, only FDIC insured cash that Fidelity parses to different banks. Thanks!
Yes you can. The Fidelity CMA is actually a brokerage account that uses FDIC insured bank deposit as its core fund, but you can buy other things. I know because I own MM funds in mine. It took me a while to discover this and glad I did. Check it out.

A key benefit is that Fidelity will automatically pull from your other MM funds in the CMA when your core is depleted. This comes in very handy.
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Old 05-09-2023, 10:24 PM   #10
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Chase Premier Plus Checking requires a minimum 15K to avoid fees. Chase Total Checking requires a minimum $1500. No longer remember why I needed the Premier, but no longer matters.
Chase Premier (which I used to have) gets rid of the minimum on all linked Chase accounts.

Total Checking is per account. I have a Savings account at Chase and those require a minimum of $300.

I actually do find this annoying. I recently opened up a CapitalOne checking account for a bill autopay that I don't want to make from my Chase account. It was refreshing to have no monthly fee and no minimum balance.

One reason I keep my Chase account is that I do have a safety deposit box there and if I give it up I can't get it back as they are not renting them out unless you are renewing a rental.
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Old 05-10-2023, 12:39 AM   #11
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Chase Premier Plus Checking requires a minimum 15K to avoid fees. Chase Total Checking requires a minimum $1500. No longer remember why I needed the Premier, but no longer matters.
Chase has always been weird but for a good reason. When I was still in high school I opened a checking account with Valley National Bank in Arizona that eventually got swallowed by Chase. I never paid any fees or had to keep any minimum balance.

Through the years when I occasionally met with bankers for various reasons like getting a Medallion guarantee or something they often commented that I had one of those great accounts. Chase apparently has a policy of honoring the account conditions of predecessor banks even though they don't always have to. So until I closed my account when I moved to Hawaii about 10 years ago (because they have no branches here) I was getting a great deal. Closing that account is one of my biggest regrets. I still have 3 credit cards through Chase and like them.
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Old 05-10-2023, 04:07 AM   #12
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My bank has free checking. I don't think it has a minimum (if so, it's small.) Nor does it require any direct deposits (though they sure would like to have them.) YMMV
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Old 05-10-2023, 06:23 AM   #13
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Huh, I’d forgotten some banks charge for checking.

Most of our cash is in vanguard for a very good interest rate (for now at least). Next we keep a health chunk of cash in capital one performance savings. Finally, we keep nothing in the cap one checking, but transfer the amount of any check we write from the savings account when we write the check.

Transfers from vanguard to cap one take two days. Transfers from cap one savings to checking at instantaneous.

That said, we write few checks.
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Old 05-10-2023, 06:29 AM   #14
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My Chase checking is free as I have a direct deposit of $500+ each month.
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Old 05-10-2023, 06:33 AM   #15
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You can also get a Chase Premier Plus checking account with no monthly fee and no minimum balance if you're a military veteran.
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Old 05-10-2023, 06:40 AM   #16
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I cancelled my "free" chase account when they charged me $35 for an Incoming domestic wire transfer that I had not expected...
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Old 05-10-2023, 06:51 AM   #17
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As the late great Bruce Williams used to say: the cheapest option is not always the least expensive.
The corollary is the "poverty tax": being able to spend more up front usually saves you money in the long run, which actually makes being poor expensive.
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Old 05-10-2023, 08:39 AM   #18
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The one thing that the CMA lacks is Zelle. I have tenants that have Chase checking and use Zelle to pay their rent. Chase has been useful for that.

My experience with banks during the GFC convinced me that having accounts with the Big Three (Wells, Chase, and B of A) is very helpful in a financial crisis. I'm not sure how that would work out with a Fidelity CMA.
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Old 05-10-2023, 09:07 AM   #19
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The corollary is the "poverty tax": being able to spend more up front usually saves you money in the long run, which actually makes being poor expensive.
Hi Cosmic Avenger!

You are correct. And you can see this in the business models of appliance and furniture rental companies and pawn shops for example. Also in 60 months car loans and low-down-payment auto leasing.

Not meaning to hijack. Banks can do this to you also with "free" checking alongside ridiculous fees for low balance, overdraft, checks, overdraft etc.
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Old 05-10-2023, 04:04 PM   #20
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I used to have everything at FIDO, but opened a Chase account so I'd have a B&M bank. I might need to rethink that since I'm losing around $300/year interest. Still trying to figure out if it's worth it. Since I opened the account a year ago, I've only be in the actual bank twice. Once to get a decent amount of cash and once to get a Bank Signature - which I think I could do at the Fidelity office.
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