Is The Chase Liquid Prepaid Card Right For You?
The Chase Liquid card is a prepaid debit card from one of the largest banks in the United States. With very similar traits to Chase’s basic checking account, the Chase prepaid card known for its far-reaching access to mobile and online banking services as well as its ATM networks and branch locations.
Chase’s website and state-of-the-art mobile app provide a number of free, convenient services, from sending money to non-Chase accounts to checking balances on-the-go.
However, if you don’t live near a Chase branch or ATM or you rely on convenience stores for reloading, you may be hard-pressed to load checks or cash onto your card. Plus, there’s a $4.95 monthly fee that is difficult to waive, so it’s important to carefully examine the benefits and drawbacks of the Chase Liquid card before signing up.
Chase Liquid Prepaid Card is Almost Like Chase Checking
Prepaid debit cards have become popular replacements for checking accounts as well as smart budgeting tools. Since these cards typically do not have minimum balance requirements or overdraft fees, they work well for consumers who need an inexpensive way to spend and save money.
The Chase Liquid prepaid debit card comes with many of the features that one would find with a basic checking account, all backed by the award-winning Chase institution. After your initial $25 opening deposit, Chase Liquid allows you to reload money for free, use Chase ATMs, and make purchases, and cardholders have access to customer service support for no additional cost, which isn’t always the case for prepaid cards.
Chase’s mobile app and website allow you to transfer money to people with Chase QuickPay, pay bills with Online Bill Pay, deposit checks, sign up for text alerts, and check your purchase history and balance. The money on your Liquid card is also stored in a bank account, so you can rest assured that your funds are federally insured. Chase Liquid cards also offer zero liability protection, so you are reimbursed for unauthorized purchases, and EMV chips mean more secure in-store purchases.
The biggest drawback to Chase Liquid is the lack of check writing. For many people, this may not be an issue. One way to get around this inconvenience is to use online bill pay, which allows you to set a person as a payee and Chase will send a check on your behalf.
Cash Reload Methods Include Chase ATMs and Mobile Deposit
One of the best features offered by Chase Liquid is that the card offers many ways to reload money for free including:
- Chase ATMs that accept deposits
- 5,400+ Chase branches
- Online transfers
- Chase QuickDeposit
- Direct deposits for government payments or paychecks
If these reload and deposit options match your financial situation, then Chase’s prepaid card becomes even more suitable for you.
Free Access to Chase ATM Network
Like other Chase customers, cardholders of the Chase Liquid prepaid have access to more than 15,500 ATMs in Chase’s network across the country, and more than 11,500 of these locations accept deposits. While some prepaid card issuers handle deposits at their ATMs, not all do. So, this is an important feature to keep in mind when considering this particular card.
Monthly Service Fee is Unavoidable
As is the case with many prepaid cards, Chase Liquid comes with a $4.95 monthly service fee, and the only way to avoid it is to link your card to your Chase checking account. While $59.40 per year isn’t the worst in the world of prepaid cards, you can also find cards with easier ways to waive this monthly fee, and others, like Bluebird by American Express and American Express Serve®, don’t have a monthly fee at all.
If access to Chase locations and services proves to be helpful, the monthly fee can be worth paying.
Generous Reload and Transaction Limits
When considering Chase Liquid for your prepaid needs, keep in mind that there are several transaction and reload limits that might mean an easier decision. The limitations are as follows:
- Mobile check deposits: The standard limit is $5,000 per month and $2,000 per day for any eligible Chase account.
- Cash reloads: You can load up to $48,000 in cash onto the card per year or up to $4,000 per month.
- Purchases: Chase Liquid cardholders can spend a maximum of $3,000 per day.
- ATM withdrawals: You are entitled to withdraw up to $500 per day in cash.
- Other reloads: Transfers from Chase checking, check deposits at a Chase branch or ATM, or direct deposits are unlimited.
Also, keep in mind that many prepaid debit cards don’t come with the same features of typical checking accounts. In other words, while Chase Liquid does offer unbeatable protection, an assortment of reload options, and outstanding customer service, Chase Liquid cardholders can’t make wire transfers or pay for rentals such as furniture or cars.
Other drawbacks include:
- Potential credit check: Unlike other nonbank prepaid issuers, Chase may pull your credit history when you apply for the card, so you’re not necessarily guaranteed approval.
- Inconvenient opening requirements: In order to get this card, you have to visit a Chase branch; you can’t simply register online. You’ll also need to load $25 when you receive the card, which is also the requirement for opening a standard checking account with Chase.
- Monthly fee is difficult to waive: Although some prepaid cardholders with other institutions can waive the monthly fee by authorizing direct deposits are over a certain amount, the only way you can say “goodbye” to your Chase Liquid monthly fee is by opening and maintaining a Chase checking account.
- No subaccounts: While you can apply for up to three Chase Liquid cards for one account at no extra cost, you can’t link them. In other words, you are not entitled to have subaccounts for family members that are tied to one primary account. Such a feature be helpful for families who wish to send money to relatives, give a child an allowance, or monitor balances. Although transfers from one Chase Liquid account to another are free, the cardholder must be 18 years of age.
Final Verdict: Chase Liquid is Your Chase Checking Alternative
Once again, Chase Liquid is great choice for someone who wants a basic Chase checking account, but doesn’t need the ability to write checks or perform wire transfers. In addition to these missing features, you should be comfortable with paying the monthly fee.
The Chase Liquid prepaid debit card allows you to conveniently manage your money while simultaneously providing access to a strong collection of mobile and online banking features. While it is excellent for consumers who make many online payments and transfers, if you plan to reload your prepaid cards at local convenience stores or at bank branches outside of Chase’s network, you’ll come face-to-face with some of the card’s limitations. However, the above-average fraud protections and reasonable fees make it a solid option in the world of prepaid cards.