How To Avoid Chase Bank Checking Account Monthly Maintenance Fees

Chase Bank offers several ways for basic personal checking account members to avoid Chase checking account monthly maintenance fees.

I had a conversation with my Chase banker today in regards to avoiding the monthly maintenance fees on my Chase checking account, now that I no longer have a direct deposit going to that account.

This conversation took place at a Chase Bank in Wisconsin, and the following information about avoiding Chase Bank checking monthly maintenance fees is based on that conversation, as it’s important to note that Chase Bank account details could possibly vary between different states.

Grandfather Clause for Older Chase Checking Accounts

Chase Bank has now replaced their basic Chase Checking account with the Chase Total Checking account, which is their new basic personal checking account.

I have the older Chase Checking account, which was known as Chase Free Checking with Direct Deposit when I opened the account, and is currently titled Chase Checking as of more recently.

Apparently, Chase Bank has grandfathered the older Chase Checking account and is maintaining the same requirements to avoid monthly maintenance fees for older account members.

If you have an older Chase Checking account, you can choose to maintain your account as long as you like, and you will still be subject to the original requirements to avoid your monthly maintenance fee.

However, if you choose, you can transfer your original Chase Checking account over to a new Chase Total Checking account, and you will then be subject to the new requirements to avoid monthly maintenance fees.

So older Chase Checking account members have the option of remaining within the grandfather clause or transferring over their old Chase Checking account into a new Chase Total Checking account package.

Chase Checking Versus Chase Total Checking

The older Chase Checking account and newer Chase Total Checking account have 3 important differences in their requirements to avoid monthly maintenance fees:

1. The older Chase Checking account allows you to avoid monthly fees by making 5 or more debit card purchases each month.

2. The new Chase Total Checking account allows you to avoid monthly fees by maintaining a $1,500 minimum balance or $5,000 or more in linked deposits/investments.

3. The older Chase Checking account monthly fee is only $6, while the new Chase Total Checking account monthly maintenance fee is $12.

Both Chase personal checking accounts offer the direct deposit option to avoid monthly banking fees as well.

For the direct deposit, you must have at least 1 direct deposit of $500 or more post to your account each month (2 or more direct deposits that add up to $500 or more do not qualify).

The Chase Total Checking account also has no monthly fee if you’ve paid other Chase checking-related fees of at least $25 in the same month, but that’s not really a viable option for avoiding monthly fees in the long term, as the overall goal is to avoid banking fees altogether.

Chase Checking – Monthly Maintenance Fee Requirements

To avoid the monthly maintenance fees for older Chase Checking accounts, you must do 1 of the following:

  • Have a Monthly Direct Deposit of $500 or More (this was recently updated to the $500 amount)
  • Make 5 or More Debit Card Purchases Each Month

Otherwise, there is a $6 monthly maintenance fee for the older Chase Checking account.

Chase Total Checking – Monthly Maintenance Fee Requirements

To avoid the monthly maintenance fees for new Chase Total Checking accounts, you must do 1 of the following:

  • Have a Monthly Direct Deposit of $500 or More
  • Maintain a $1,500 Minimum Daily Balance
  • Maintain an Average Daily Balance of $5,000 or More in Linked Deposits/Investments
  • You Must Have Paid Other Chase Checking-Related Fees of at Least $25 within the Same Month

Otherwise, there is a $12 monthly maintenance fee for the Chase Total Checking account ($10 monthly service fee in CA, OR, and WA).

Should You Update Your Chase Checking Account to a Chase Total Checking Account?

If you have an older Chase Checking account, you may either remain under the grandfather clause or you can transfer your account over to a new Chase Total Checking account.

However, once you switch from Chase Checking to Chase Total Checking, you can never go back to your old account benefits.

If you plan to avoid the monthly maintenance fee either way, whether by direct deposit or an alternative option, then the difference between the amount of the fee being $6 or $12 doesn’t really matter.

If a direct deposit isn’t an option, then the main question becomes whether you would prefer to make 5 debit card purchases per month or if you would rather maintain a minimum account balance of $1,500 (or $5,000 in total Chase deposits/investments).

My Chase banker pointed out to me that it’s pretty easy to make small debit card purchases like single iTunes song purchases or on simple everyday spending, but I personally prefer to use my Chase 5% Cash Rebate Credit Card for all of my card purchases, plus I don’t necessarily like the idea of having to make purchases just to meet requirements.

It would be nice to simply keep $1,500 or more in my account to avoid the monthly fee, but then that money wouldn’t be earning any interest, and I’m already doing that to Avoid Monthly Fees on My Bank of America Checking Account.

I could always close my Chase Bank account, but I live conveniently close to 2 Chase Bank branches for cashing checks, and I also use this account for various payments and account transfers, so it would all require additional organization and time to complete.

The best option for you depends on your spending habits and the average balance that you like to maintain as well as other factors.

If you are planning on opening a new Chase personal checking account, make sure that you review these Chase Bank Checking Account Bonuses for the latest cash bonus rewards from Chase Bank.

If Chase banking details vary in your state or for your Chase checking accounts, please feel free to leave additional details in the comments section below this article for the benefit of other Chase customers.


  1. Shane says

    This is a perfect example why you don’t bank with Chase. There are so many rules… what happened to convenient free banking. Almost all your local credit unions or local banks have better options than Chase.

    • Cloudyyo says

      I hear that brother. What Chase is doing is blatant theft. Setting up all these by-rules that would punish those who do not have much to deposit or much to spend on their credit cards. To think we didn’t put their ringleaders behind bars in 2008……

      Local credit unions all the way, before these big investment banks suck us dry for their gambling habits. They’ll never learn…..

  2. Steve says

    Recently our local Chase Bank started enforcing what they say is a long-standing policy: if I want to cash my paycheck at Chase, I can’t get more cash back than I have in my checking account. For example, if I have $300 in checking and my paycheck is $1000, I have to deposit at least $700 because the bank will not give me more than $300 in cash. The check is from the U S Postal Service—does Chase think the check may not be any good?

  3. Kim says

    Why don’t you avoid casing your check at Chase altogether ? You can cash any government check for free at any US Post Office. A lot of people don’t know this. I hate Chase, as I have had three accounts with them for over 5 yrs, and they treat me like a stranger. I was never offered the option of keeping my old checking account,or being grandfathered in. I was never told this, until I called them to complain about them charging me $12 for each account for service fees. Why do they keep changing the rules on us ? And yes, I do make 5 or more debit card charges every month, and I have an auto savings plan to avoid charges. But they are still charging me. Now, because of the service charges, I am overdrawn and have to make another deposit. Less then $2 (go figure)! They never mentioned the grandfather clause, untill I called and complained. She just kept talking really fast about all of the types of accounts that they have, and the rules for each (which had nothing to do with me) I sure wish they would get off of their high horses!!!! It was bad enough that they took away our free overdraft/yr benefit. And the thing about cashing a check is true. And then you can’t take your money out for three days (even a government check) What I would like to know is this: How is someone, who gets their check on the 1st,going to pay their rent that’s due right on the first ? Sounds like they’re robbing Peter to pay Paul, and they are getting ready to haul a** with all of our money.
    I think we should rally together, and picket,or at least call a town meeting for all of Chase’s disgruntled customers. Who agrees with me ?

  4. Kim says

    BTW… Just how do you go about getting “Grandfathered in” ? I thought it was supposed to be automatic ?

  5. Mr. Eric. says

    Just got off the phone with a Chase Cust. Serv. Rep., and was told that ONLY NEW accounts started after July 20, 2011 will have the new Total Checking w/the $12 monthly fees. Please call and talk to them DIRECTLY. Because it’s a lot of false information floating around out here. I also have the old accounts.

  6. says

    Hello Kim,

    I cash a lot of personal and business checks at my local Chase branch, so it’s not necessarily just for government checks, but thank you for sharing that information about cashing government checks at the post office.

    From what my banker told me, you don’t have to do anything to be grandfathered in to the old rules, as it is automatic, but you would just need to have opened the old account type during the time that the previous requirements were in place. Basically, I don’t have to do anything and my old account rules will remain in place, just as long as I don’t upgrade to the new account.

    Thank you for your comments.

  7. says

    Hello Steve,

    My local Chase branch has the same policy that your deposited funds must cover the amount of the check that you are cashing.

    They wouldn’t cash my IRS return check from the government, and I said the same thing to them about not thinking the check is good, to which the teller admitted their policy in that situation didn’t make much sense.

    I understand to some degree why they wouldn’t cash personal checks if your deposits couldn’t cover it, as they’re just protecting themselves from any problems, but there should be some exceptions to this rule in place.

    Thank you for commenting.

  8. says

    Hello Mr. Eric,

    There is definitely a lot of confusion over Chase’s checking account policies.

    It’s strange that the customer service rep would indicate that only new accounts opened after July 20, 2011, will have the new Total Checking rules with the $12 monthly fees, because you can currently apply for the new Total Checking account online at with the $12 monthly fee and new policies to avoid that fee.

    When I visit the Chase checking account page at and enter my ZIP code, I see the new Total Checking account option available.

    Different ZIP codes may see different account options, so maybe the Total Checking account is only available in certain areas at this time and the policies are different elsewhere.

    I definitely agree that the best thing to do is to talk to your local Chase Bank directly about the policies for your account.

    Thank you very much for commenting.

  9. John B says

    The people who state that you will automatically be left in grandfather mode unless you initiate the change to total checking are wrong. They changed the account type without any option to remain “grandfathered”. I even had a Washington Mutual free checking account from 2005. So guess again. There is no more free checking.

  10. Luis A says

    I have had an account with washington mutual. So i started with a free checking account there years ago. just informed me that I got hit with a $12 maintenance fee.

    Calling chase now.

  11. Rohan says

    I totally agree with you all! I’ve been charged $12 on a MONTHLY basis $144 per annum for some absurd reason. I’m sick and tired of chase and their unfair charges to valuable costumers pockets. I’m closing my account!!!!!!!

  12. Nikki says

    My basic checking was never changed. It stayed in tact when the new accounts took effect. It is so much better to keep your old basic checking account and do 5 small debits. I go to a store like the $ store and ask them to ring up my 5 $1 transactions separately in one trip and it’s done.
    This keeps an account open to receive my bonus points of 10 per transaction with my Chase Freedom card. This is like 10% back on a $1 charge(and I make many of these as well by having my transactions broken down to smaller amounts at checkout). This is my favorite bank to use. I have never had any problems with them. They have many offers all year long and as long as you play the game with their rules, you can get great pay back. Even when I have made a error, they have always fixed it for me. I appreciate being able to take my credit card payments into the local bank to assure that the payment is on time and save on a stamp.
    If you are usually on top of all of your payments, they will adjust fees for you if you ask. I have NEVER had a problem with any of our 9 credit card accounts. We open accounts with offers every year and receive their bonuses. It’s a great way to have your money make some money with every little effort.

  13. Nikki C. says

    All this BS started happening when Washington Mutual was switched over to Chase. This is why I’m switching banks, Chase can suck it!

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