After roughly 4 years as a Chase personal checking account customer, I finally closed my Chase Checking account to avoid the monthly maintenance fee, but I’m not happy about it.
Why I Opened My Chase Checking Account
I originally wanted a new bank account, because I had moved to a new town and needed a bank with conveniently located branches.
My new job also required that I set up a direct deposit, so I was searching for a basic checking account with no fees.
Chase was offering a Cash Bonus to Open a Chase Checking Account, so I decided to take advantage of that offer.
Plus, Chase had a few nearby branches that were close to where I lived and worked.
Although the Chase Checking account did have a monthly maintenance fee, you could avoid this fee with a direct deposit, so it was as good as a free account for me.
I opened my Chase Checking account, set up my direct deposit, collected my bonus cash, and didn’t experience any problems for a few years.
Why I Started Getting Charged Fees
After a few years, I moved on from my job and could no longer meet the direct deposit requirement to avoid the monthly fee for my Chase Checking account.
The funny thing is that Chase Bank did not actually start to charge my account for the maintenance fee after my direct deposit stopped.
I hadn’t met any of the alternative requirements to avoid the monthly fee, yet Chase waited for an entire 6 months before charging the first maintenance fee to my account.
I had pretty much forgotten about the Chase Checking fee altogether, until one day I saw that initial maintenance charge appear on my statement.
I realized I would either have to find a way to Avoid My Chase Checking Account Maintenance Fee or close my account altogether, because I certainly wasn’t going to pay for my once free checking account.
Why I Decided To Close My Account
In the end, the only viable option for me to avoid the monthly maintenance fee was to meet the debit card purchase requirement on a monthly basis.
Basically, I would have to make 5 or more debit card purchases each month to avoid the monthly fee.
However, I do not regularly use my Chase debit card, because I prefer to use my Chase 5% Cash Rebate Card to make purchases, so that I can earn a better rewards ratio on my spending.
Plus, I don’t like the idea of needlessly making debit card purchases in order to avoid a checking account fee, because I figure that the actual cost is the same in the end if not more.
So I decided that I would have to close my Chase Checking account.
How I Closed My Chase Checking Account
I suppose that I could have closed my account by phone, but I was driving by my Chase branch one day, so I just decided to stop in and finally take care of the task.
I was directed to one of their sales department members, who escorted me to their cubicle and asked how they could be of service.
I sort of dreaded this moment, because I just wanted to get it over with as quickly as possible and not have to deal with their counter-sales measures, like pressuring me with reasons why I should keep my account open.
I indicated that I wanted to close my account today.
About My Banker
My banker was a 24-year-old guy who had previously been a car salesperson.
He had made over $60,000 in the year before the economy collapsed and under $20,000 in the next year, so he had to quit his job and ended up working at Chase Bank.
He has a unique first name and is the third generation in his family to carry it. His infant boy is the fourth.
His grandfather used to own a local car repair shop until he moved to the South and started a construction business building custom houses, but he passed away a few years ago.
My banker genuinely seemed like a nice guy, and I would probably have bought a car from him if I had pulled into a car dealer lot that day.
Reasons I Shouldn’t Close My Account
After reviewing my account details for a few moments, my banker came to the same inevitable conclusion that I had for my circumstances, which was that the only way to avoid my monthly maintenance fee was to make the required debit card purchases.
He did his best to explain how easy it would be to just make a few debit card purchases each month, like by purchasing lunch once a week with my debit card, although he agreed that it made more sense to use my cash rebate card.
In the end, he succumbed to the idea that it didn’t really make sense for me to make the debit card purchases, and that the best option in my circumstances was to close my account.
Closing My Chase Checking Account
After everything was said and done, the actual act of closing my account was an easy and quick process.
We completed some simple paperwork, I withdrew my remaining cash, and Chase closed my account.
Life After My Chase Checking Account
I did lose a bit of convenience with my Chase Checking account.
They have several branches near me, which made it extremely easy to cash my checks in person.
My closest bank branch now is Wells Fargo, which is in the next town over and about a 30-minute drive from my house, as compared to the 5-minute trip to my previous Chase branch.
I’ve reviewed checking accounts at other local banks, but they all seem to have some type of requirements to avoid a monthly fee.
I’ve even considered the new Chase Total Checking account, which now allows you to avoid monthly fees by maintaining a $1,500 minimum balance, but that just seems like another requirement that I may not want to deal with in the future.
For now, I’ve simply chosen to remain without a local bank to call my own.
I’ll miss my Chase personal checking account, but I definitely won’t miss the monthly fees that I could no longer avoid.