Are you fed up with your bank not giving you much in return? Well, there’s a new player in town (well, the UK). And it’s called Chase. Take a look at this Chase current account review to see what benefits are on the table and why this is an account worth considering.
Chase current account review
Rather worryingly, 75% of us have never switched our current account. But why should you worry about that? Well, for one reason you’re probably not getting great value from your bank. Companies generally don’t reward loyalty and always offer their best deals to new customers.
And for another reason, you’ve been missing out on a switching bonus. Lots of banks will pay you up to £150, just for switching your current account over to them.
But, it’s never too late to switch your current account and it’s a surprisingly easy process. Thanks to the Switch Guarantee, everything is done for you and you hardly have to lift a finger.
So, why is all that important? Because there’s a new account that has just arrived on the shores of the UK called Chase. And it’s an account that has some benefits you won’t see compared to traditional UK banks.
What is Chase Bank?
Also known just as Chase, it is a subsidiary of JP Morgan Chase. It’s one of the ‘Big Four’ banks in the USA, has over 56 million digital customers and now operates in over 100 countries.
Is Chase safe?
Chase uses 128-bit encryption technology to protect your username, password and other personal account information. Now, that may sound impressive but I’m a big user of budgeting apps and I’m well aware that many apps in the UK use 256-bit encryption. But I’m not sure why Chase hasn’t opted for a higher-grade technology.
But when it comes to your money, your funds are held with a UK establishment of J.P. Morgan Europe Limited. This means that up to £85,000 is covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).
The physical card that you receive will actually be blank and not have any number listed on it. This adds a little security if you should lose your card, so people will not be able to use it to make online purchases. The only way you can access the card’s numbers is through the app.
Chase also has active fraud monitoring and will send you instant alerts if it thinks something is amiss. You can freeze and unfreeze your card at any point from the app.
What are the benefits of Chase?
So, why would you switch from your long-held current account and open an account with Chase? To entice you in, there are some pretty tempting offers.
Is there a switching bonus?
Not yet. But Chase is probably well aware that people often take up a switching bonus and then never actually use their new account. Instead, Chase offers some longer-term benefits.
One of the biggest attractions to new customers would be the offer of 1% cashback every time you spend using your debit card. However, the cashback only lasts for 1 year and there are some exclusions. It’s quite a long list and includes things such as
- Antique shops
- Art dealers and galleries
- Boat dealers
- Car and van dealers
- College and university fees
- Gambling transactions
- Hospital fees
- Money transfers
- Tax payments
But the exclusions won’t apply to the majority of transactions.
Your cashback is automatically added to a separate part of your account and can be moved to your current account at any time.
5% interest on round-ups
If you haven’t heard of round-ups before, they’re quite simple. When you purchase something worth 60 pence, it’s automatically rounded up to £1. That extra 40 pence is then moved to another account.
When Chase does this, it’s moved to an account that pays 5% interest. Interest is calculated daily and is paid monthly. After one year, your money will be automatically moved back to your main Chase account.
It is possible to move your money back earlier, but you will need to close your round-up account. You can also pause round-ups at any time.
1.5% interest on savings
The Chase saver account offers 1.5% AER interest on your savings for as much as £250,000. Although 1.5% may not sound like much, it still beats the rates offered by most high street banks.
No fees or charges when abroad
This seems to be becoming a (welcomed) regular feature from digital banks. Instead of charging you horrific fees and a terrible exchange rate when you’re out of the country, Chase will just charge you the current Mastercard exchange rate instead.
Easily manage your account
If you like to keep an eye on your finances, then Chase breaks down all of your spending into categories and merchants each month.
And if you like to keep your money in separate pots, you can create new accounts in the app and rename them. They all have different sort codes and account numbers. This is particularly useful if you’re making a payment to a company that you don’t want to make further payments to. Once that account is empty, no more money can be taken.
Chase in action
Now we know all the benefits, how does the account perform in real life?
Opening the account, in principle, should be quite simple. You need to provide a copy of an official government ID (a driving licence or passport should suffice) and then take a selfie.
But this took me several attempts to be accepted. I’m not sure if the problem was with Chase or with me. However, my photo was around 6 years old and I now have a beard, so this is probably why I failed the ID check a couple of times. It did eventually go through though.
Using the account has been very easy. The ability to create extra pots and accounts just through a touch of a button is incredibly useful.
And as for the benefits, these are pretty impressive. With round-ups, you’re not going to put away a fortune, but 5% interest is far better than you’ll see compared to any other account.
And the 1% cashback is also generous. You’re basically being paid to spend as you normally do.
I do find that almost all transactions I make online need to be approved via the app. Although I can understand the security aspect, it’s still frustrating.
And one evening, I attempted to make 2 transactions with one retailer in quick succession. This was declined by Chase, so I got in contact with their support to sort out why. But after almost 15 minutes, the advisor couldn’t help and wanted to put me through to someone else. It was late, so I gave up.
I’m not sure why, when I have to approve transactions through the app anyway, that Chase can decline them. In the end, I used another card.
So Chase is looking quite positive, but it can’t all be good. Can it?
The first major negative point is that Chase isn’t part of the current account switching scheme. If you wanted to change your main bank account over to Chase, you will have to switch all of the direct debits and standing orders yourself.
The next negative is that the 1% cashback only lasts for 1 year. Once that finishes, the account will no longer be so attractive.
Another important point is that if you’re making a purchase for more than £100, you’ll get more protection from a credit card than you would from your Chase debit card.
And then there’s the security side. I don’t have a big problem with Chase only using 128-bit encryption, although that’s partly because I don’t fully understand it. However, I do have an issue with the fact that between May and June 2021, the bank accidentally exposed customers’ details to other Chase customers. This isn’t the first breach, with 465,000 customers having their details exposed between July and September of 2013.
But these problems were pretty small when you consider that 83 million customer accounts were exposed over a 2 month period back in 2014.
Sadly, I have got to that point in life where I don’t expect my details to be safe. But it does appear that Chase seems a little more susceptible compared to other banks.
And my final gripe comes with the card. It’s all well and good not having the account numbers listed on the physical card, but it can be a pain when you’re making an online purchase on your phone. You’ll need to come away from the checkout screen and log in to your Chase account so you can grab your card number, CCV number and expiry date. Then, transfer them back to the checkout screen.
It’s not the end of the world but makes purchases a little more fiddly.
Direct debit now supported
When I originally wrote my review, you couldn’t set up direct debits to your Chase account which meant that Chase couldn’t really act as a main current account. However, in March 2022, direct debit support was added.
Is the Chase current account worth it?
I really like it. With the ease of using the account aside (except for mobile purchases), the round-ups encourage me to save and the cashback is generous.
I’m not convinced that I will continue to use the account once my first year finishes. If I’m not getting 1% back on spending, there’s no real reason for me to continue using Chase. I’m a big fan of cashback, so will probably go back to using my Amazon card. Although this only pays around 0.5%, it’s better than nothing.
Yes, the 1.5% savings account is fairly generous, but it’s nothing compared to what I receive when investing in my Fidelity stocks and shares ISA.
Unless that is, they can bring in another offer that might earn me money when paying bills, like some of the best cashback bank accounts.