Banking powerhouse Chase has taken on the likes of Monzo, Starling and Revolut by opening a new digital bank in the UK offering 1% cashback on spending (up to £15 per month) for the first year, among other perks. We take a look at its current account.
Chase’s current account
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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. In the US it has over 4,700 branches and 16,000 ATMs.
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.
- Direct debits. Chase did not offer this option when the account first launched, but you can now set up direct debits to be paid from your Chase account and manage them in the app.
- 1% cashback on debit card spending. This applies to a wide range of purchases, including groceries, travel, meals out, entertainment, fashion, homewares and holidays. New customers can get this perk for their first year but cashback is capped at £15 a month. For existing customers, cashback was originally due to expire after 12 months, but was extended by a further 12 months.
- Monthly interest. 1% AER interest on your current account balance.
- 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 round-up pot, and Chase will pay 5% interest on this amount. Every 12 months, the money you’ve rounded up is transferred to your Chase current account and you’re free to start saving all over again.
- Linked saver account. Another feature that the bank has added since its initial launch is a linked Chase saver account. Here you can earn 4.1% AER variable interest daily (paid on a monthly basis). The account is instant access and there is no minimum opening balance.
- 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 into the account, and Chase does not yet offer overdrafts.
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.
Chase is now part of the Current Account Switch Service (CASS). This means you can switch to Chase and it will move all your payments over and transfer the balance from your old account.
Is Chase bank and the app 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.
The Chase app is protected by 128-bit encryption and 2-factor authentication, which helps verify it’s you signing in. The app will also automatically log you out after 2 minutes of inactivity.
Who’s in charge of Chase in the UK?
Sanjiv Somani is currently CEO of the new digital 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 1,000 staff in the UK.
Alternatives to Chase
Chase offers many of the same features that can be found on other digital banking apps. You can benefit from savings round-ups, fee-free spending abroad and linked savings accounts. What makes Chase stand out from its competitors is its cashback offer and numberless debit cards designed to keep your information safe.
Pros and cons
- Free digital current account.
- No fees for spending or making cash withdrawals abroad.
- 1% monthly interest on current account balance.
- 1% cashback on a wide range of purchases (up to £15 per month).
- 5% interest on savings generated by the “round ups” feature.
- 4.1% interest on balances in the linked Chase saver account.
- 24/7 in-app customer support.
- Fully FCA-licensed and FSCS-protected.
- You’ll only get 5% interest on your round ups for 12 months at a time.
- No branches if you prefer face-to-face banking.
- Can’t deposit cash or cheques into the account.
- Overdrafts not available yet.
Our verdict: Is Chase a good bank?
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.
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. As a new customer, you’ll get 1% cashback for a year without having to deposit £500 into your account. After the 12 months is up, you’ll still be able to earn cashback but you will need to deposit £500 a month to qualify. Cashback is capped at a maximum of £15 per month for both new and existing customers. You’ll also only earn 5% interest on your round up balance for 12 months at a time as your balance will automatically transfer to your current account each year.
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 visiting Chase’s website and downloading the app or compare other current accounts.
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