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Ways to Avoid the Chase Checking Account Fees

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Due to tougher financial regulations following the Great Recession, Chase tightened its checking account products to the point where it can be difficult for some people to waive their monthly checking account fee.

As a result, Chase checking account customers need to pay more attention to their account in order to avoid monthly checking account fees.

Who knew free checking accounts required such high maintenance?

Similar to how banks have found ways to adapt to the financial rules and legislation, customers also have discovered ways of avoiding bank rules and restrictions.

Chase Checking Accounts Fees

Chase Total Checking Chase Premier Plus Checking Chase Student Checking
Monthly Service Fee $12 $25 $6
Non-Chase ATM while using a non-Chase ATM in the U.S. $2.50 $2.50 $2.50
Non-Chase ATM while using outside the U.S. $5 $5 $5
Overdraft Fee $34 $34 $34

For those who already meet these requirements, there is nothing more they need to do.

How To Avoid The Monthly Chase Checking Fees

Chase Total Checking Chase Premier Plus Checking Chase Student Checking
Direct deposits totaling $500 or more made to this account An average daily balance of $15,000 or more in any combination of qualifying linked deposits/investments Up to five years while in college
OR, a $1,500 minimum daily balance in this account OR, automatic payments to your qualifying linked Chase rst mortgage from your Chase account OR, a direct deposit made to this account. Direct deposits can be an ACH credit, payroll, pension or government bene ts such as Social Security
OR, an average daily balance of $5,000 or more in any combination of qualifying linked deposits / investments OR, an average daily balance of $5,000 or more in this account

See MyBankTracker best picks of free checking accounts.

For others who are struggling to keep their checking account “free,” here are two popular ways to meet the fee-waiver requirements of these Chase checking accounts:

Take Advantage Of ACH Credit Transfers

Currently, Chase’s computer system considers direct deposits to be ACH credits.

Therefore, a transfer from your online savings account or from a PayPal account fulfills the direct deposit requirement because it is an ACH credit.

You have to initiate a monthly ACH transfer of $500 into your checking account.

Afterward, you can move the money back to where it belongs. This will mean that you have to keep $500 readily available every month.

To keep this from being a monthly task, use monthly scheduled transfers to automate the process.

Disclaimer: Chase may change system protocols and nullify this method at any time.

According to existing "Chase Checking" account holders, an ACH transfer of $500 or more is confirmed to trigger a direct deposit alert and the monthly fee was not charged.

Convert To Chase Checking and Make 5 Debit Card Purchases

Customers who had the Chase Basic Checking, Chase Free Extra, and Chase Free Classic checking accounts could have requested that their accounts be converted to Chase Checking -- or closed their account and open a Chase Checking account.

The grandfathered Chase Checking account would allow you to make debit card purchases to waive the monthly fee.

It is important to point out that you have to make "credit" purchases with the debit card. There is no minimum spending amount per purchase. So, you can make five small debit card purchases every month to avoid monthly checking account fees.

Tip: Quick trips to the convenience store, drugstore, or dollar store for inexpensive items such as a piece of candy will easily meet the requirement.

You can even charge your debit card five times in a single trip if you so desired. Remember that you must select “credit” at the checkout counter.

How Much to Keep to Avoid Fees

If you can keep a minimum balance in an account to avoid the monthly fee, that would be best. You don't have to worry about performing certain transactions every month just to waive the fee.

Usually, the better the checking account, the higher the balance that you'll have to maintain to meet the fee waiver requirements.

Additionally, as you move to higher-tiered checking accounts, these minimum balances may include a combination of deposits from different Chase accounts under your name, including savings, CDs, and investment accounts.

For Chase checking accounts, these are the minimum balances that you have to maintain to avoid the monthly fee:

  • Chase Total Checking: $1,500 or more in this account
  • Chase Premier Plus Checking: $15,000 or more in this account and linked qualifying deposits/investments
  • Chase Platinum Checking: $75,000 or more in this account and linked qualifying deposits/investments

Note that Chase counts the average beginning daily balance for these requirements.

Why Does Chase Charge a Monthly Fee

Chase, like most banks, are a business and need to earn profits to satisfy shareholders. More importantly, it also has to cover the costs of running its operations in order to provide banking services to customers.

As a major national bank with a large branch and ATM network, Chase does have to pay for the expenses to run these physical locations, including real estate, utilities, and employee salaries.

This plays a role in how Chase prices its products -- meaning monthly fees and other service fees.

Banks that don't charge monthly fees

There are many financial institutions throughout the country that don't charge monthly fees on their checking accounts. These often include online banks and smaller community banks.

The reasons that these banks are able to offer accounts (and usually with lower services fees and higher interest rates) is that they don't have to pay the huge expenses of operating a wide branch or ATM network.

The savings on operating costs is translated to a better checking account for potential customers.

Those that Offer Free Checking Accounts

If you feel that it is too difficult for you to avoid an account's monthly fee, it's a sign that the account is not the right fit for you.

Free checking accounts can be found more commonly through online banks. In fact, some of the top online banks offer checking accounts with no monthly fees, unlimited ATM fee refunds, and interest earnings on balances.

To see if there's a better checking account for you, our personalized quiz can help you find it.

Top Online Banks With the Highest Savings Accounts Rates and Free Interest Checking Accounts:

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