Banking powerhouse Chase is taking on the likes of Monzo, Starling and Revolut by opening a new digital bank in the UK offering 1% cashback on spending, among other perks. We take a look at its new current account.
What is Chase?
Chase is one of the largest consumer banks in the US, serving nearly half of the country’s households and boasting 55 million digitally active customers. It offers a variety of consumer banking products and is the largest bank in the US for deposit taking, digital banking and credit card issuance.
Chase is part of the American banking giant JPMorgan Chase, which announced in January 2021 that it had plans to launch a digital bank in the UK, operating under the Chase brand. That UK launch happened on 21 September 2021, with Chase saying that it intends to introduce a broad range of banking products here in the future, including savings accounts, investment accounts and lending products. But first up is its digital current account.
What are the features of the Chase current account?
This is what you can expect from Chase’s digital-only current account:
- No monthly fees. There are no fees for opening or operating this account.
- Free spending and cash withdrawals abroad. There are also no charges for using your Chase card to make purchases or take out cash at ATMs overseas. Handy for all you keen travellers out there.
- 1% cashback on debit card spending. This applies to a wide range of purchases, including groceries, travel, meals out, entertainment, fashion, homewares and holidays. However, the offer is active only for 12 months.
- 5% interest on savings generated by the “round-ups” feature. You can round up your debit card transactions to the nearest pound, set the money aside in a linked savings account, and Chase will pay 5% interest on this amount. This also only applies for 12 months, though, and as we published our review, this feature wasn’t yet live.
- A numberless debit card. This helps to keep your card details safe (you can view your card number, expiry date and security code in the app if you need to). The debit card is also made from recycled plastic (rPVC).
- Budgeting tools. To help you manage your money via the mobile banking app.
- 24/7 customer support. Chase says that you can reach a customer service agent (no bots) at all hours of the day through its app.
You can’t deposit cash or cheques, and the account does not yet offer the functionality to set up direct debits. However, Chase says that direct debits will be coming soon, along with the option of applying for an overdraft.
How can I sign up to Chase?
To open an account with Chase you can sign up via its website or download its app from the App Store or Google Play Store.
Whichever route you take leads to a waiting list, currently.
At the moment, you also can’t switch your current account to Chase using the Current Account Switch Service (CASS).
Is Chase safe?
A UK-based subsidiary of JPMorgan Chase is licensed to operate the new bank. Its activities are regulated by both the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
Funds in your Chase account will be protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), which covers deposits of up to £85,000.
Who’s in charge of Chase in the UK?
Sanoke Viswanathan has been appointed CEO of the new digital bank, having previously been chief administrative officer and head of strategy at JPMorgan’s corporate and investment bank.
The new venture is headquartered at Canary Wharf in London, and its customers will be served by a purpose-built customer contact centre in Edinburgh. Chase already has around 600 staff in the UK.
Pros and cons
- Free digital current account.
- No fees for spending or making cash withdrawals abroad.
- 1% cashback on a wide range of purchases.
- 5% interest on savings generated by the “round ups” feature.
- 24/7 in-app customer support.
- Fully FCA-licensed and FSCS-protected.
- 1% cashback and 5% interest offers only run for 12 months.
- No branches if you prefer face-to-face banking.
- Can’t deposit cash or cheques into the account.
- Direct debits and overdrafts not available yet.
The new current account from Chase has all the things we’ve come to expect from a digital bank, including 24/7 in-app support, budgeting features, no monthly fees and no charges for using the card abroad (although notably, there is no direct debit functionality yet).
Chase is also hoping to stand out from the crowd by offering 1% cashback on debit card spending and the opportunity to earn 5% interest on savings that are put aside using its “round up spare change” feature – although it’s disappointing these two account benefits will only apply for 12 months.
It’s still early days for Chase here, but although this will be its first venture into everyday retail banking in the UK, parent group JPMorgan Chase has got roots in this country going back 160 years. This, coupled with its introductory offers for new account holders, deep pockets for product development and digital banking expertise from the American market, will make Chase one to watch. Get started by downloading the app or compare other digital banks.
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