Chase Checking customers may need to rethink their banking habits next year, as Chase is planning on not only consolidating a number of checking accounts, but also introduce new checking fees to help cover the losses they have endured with new federal regulations.

Starting February 5, 2011, Chase members who have one of the following checking accounts: Chase Free Extra Checking, Chase Free Classic Checking and Chase Basic Checking will be switched to their new account, the Chase Total Checking account.

How Chase Total Checking Changes Things

This change brings new Chase (NYSE: JPM) fees that consumers should prepare to pay if their banking habits do not meet minimums.  The biggest change is the increase in the monthly service fee which will now cost customers $12 a month ($10 for accounts in California, Oregon or Washington), a $6 dollar increase unless you:

  • Have at least one direct deposit of $500 or more made to your account.  The direct deposit must be an ACH credit, may include a payroll, pension, or government benefit payment such as Social Security.
  • OR, keep a minimum ledger balance of $1,500 or more
  • OR, have an average ledger balance of $5,000 or more in a combination of accounts that linked
  • OR, have paid other Chase checking related fees of at least $25

Previously the fee could have been avoided, when customers completed five or more transactions using their Chase Debit Card or Chase ATM Card.

For consumers who are unable to keep a daily balance of $1,500 a month, avoiding this fee may be difficult. The Social Security Administration highlights that about 7% of beneficiaries receive a monthly check of less than $500 and this number is even lower for those who collect unemployment checks (source. USA Today).  Unlike other direct deposit requirements this fee can not be avoided by grouping direct deposits, instead the $500 must come from one source.

Changes to additional banking services and fees starting February 5, 2011:

DescriptionNew FeesOld Fees
ATM and Debit Card Fees outside of the United States$5.00$3.00
ATM and Debit Car Fees: Non-Chase ATM$2.00 / $2.50 for accounts opened in IN, KY, TX$2.00
Statement Print Out at an ATM$1.00N/A
Overdraft Protection Transfer Fee$12.00$10.00
Deposit Item Returned$12.00$10.00
Stop Payment$34.00$32.00
Stop Payment via.$27.00$25.00
Wire Transfer - Domestic Outgoing$30.00$25.00
Wire Transfer - Domestic Outgoing via$25.00$20.00
Counter Check$2.00N/A

How do you feel about these new Chase fees?  Will you be staying with Chase in the New Year or will this increase cause you to look for a new checking account?

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