In a move that is sure upset many checking account customers, Chase (NYSE:JPM) announced today that they would be officially ending their Chase Ultimate Rewards debit card program on July 20, 2011.
UPDATE2: Chase will end the debit card rewards program as scheduled.
UPDATE: Chase has decided to hold off on canceling its debit rewards program if debit fee rules are delayed. Read the story here.
After July 19, 2011, Chase customers who participate in the Ultimate Rewards program will no longer be able to earn points on purchases using their debit cards.
While Chase promises no one will lose any points already collected, the announcement comes only weeks after consolidating its checking customers to the new Total Checking account system. The new account received negative publicity after the requirements to avoid a $12 monthly fee became more difficult. Chase also increased fees for overdraft, stop payment and wire transfer services.
Near the end of 2010, MyBankTracker.com had hinted at the possibility of Chase phasing out its rewards program by February 2011. This move was delayed, after Chase made the decision to introduce the new checking structure mentioned above.
How Your Chase Ultimate Rewards Debit Card Changed
- After July 19, 2011, when you make purchases with your debit card, you will no longer earn points in Ultimate Rewards.
- You will no longer be charged an annual fee for your Chase Ultimate Rewards Debit Card. Because you have paid the annual fee already, Chase will be refunding its members $13.25 directly into their checking account on April 19, 2011.
- Chase debit card customers can transfer Ultimate Rewards points to an eligible Chase credit card account.
It is important to mention, that your card will continue to function after July 19th, with no changes to your debit card number or PIN. Account information will also stay the same, so customers can be thankful that there will be no need to change any automatic bill payments, transfers or direct deposits.
These changes also apply to the Chase RealCash debit card.
The Durbin Amendment Strikes Again
Though the new law hasn’t even been approved and is not scheduled to be until April, Chase clearly states in their announcement that the restrictions placed on debit card swipe fees (12 cents down from 44), is the reason for the change to their debit rewards program.
The Durbin Amendment only directly impacts debit cards, therefore, Chase will continue to offer the Ultimate Rewards program to members who carry a Chase Freedom® or Chase Sapphire credit card.
Racking Up Reward Points
Those looking to rack up as many points as possible before the deadline should be aware that all purchases must be posted by July 22, 2011. It is also important to recognize that posting dates usually fall a few days after the purchase date and so Chase recommends customers plan for any purchases after July 19, 2011 not to be counted.
To view your current point balance or redeem your points visit chase.com/ultimaterewards.
How do you feel about the change to the Chase Debit Card program? Will you be staying with Chase after the summer or will this push you to consider a bank relationship?