Breaking free from Chase Once-Free Checking

For those of you who were once Washington Mutual customers, or long-time Chase customers, you may have been notified of an upcoming change in the terms of your free checking.

In order to avoid a new $10 monthly service fee, you must meet at least one of the following criteria: – Have at least 1 direct deposit of $500 or more (and multiple deposits that add up to $500 does not count), – Keep a minimum daily balance of $1,500 or more in your checking account (calculated at day’s end), – Keep an average balance of $5,000 in deposit or investment accounts with Chase (savings, checkings, or Chase Investment Services Corp.), – Pay $25 in “qualifying” account fees (excluding the monthly service fee).

Personally, I resent any checking or credit card account with fees, and will be closing out all accounts with Chase except my oldest one immediately. The oldest one still has a pile of useable checks associated with it and I could easily link up a direct deposit-like payment from an ING Direct account to it which should qualify as a direct deposit so we’ll see if that’s sufficient to avoid the $10/monthly fee.

Since I use two other banks which serve more of my needs and don’t charge fees, it wouldn’t be a hardship to switch entirely, it’d just be a bit inconvenient. Having the Chase app to deposit checks via the iPhone has been useful every so often as well, when checks come in and getting to the bank has to be scheduled for the third Saturday of the next month.

Will you be making any changes if you’re an existing Chase account holder? Are any similar changes coming to your bank or have you already seen fees applied to formerly free accounts?

About Revanche

Revanche writes the personal finance blog A Gai Shan Life.