Chase shocks, makes it easier to avoid checking fee

Hand clutching money

How can a bank make a move in our favor and not think to tell us?

That's just what Chase did recently when it quietly dropped an unreasonable checking policy that made it cumbersome to avoid its new $12 monthly service fee.

Given the current low approval rating of banks, you'd think they would shout it from the rooftops!

Instead, we heard about this encouraging development via a tweet from Money magazine: "Chase changed its Total Checking again: if your monthly direct deposits TOTAL $500+, fees are waived. (Used to need 1 deposit at $500+)."

I emailed my contact at Chase, who verified that indeed, the bank had relented on its previous True Checking policy, which required that you have one direct deposit of $500 or more per monthly billing cycle to duck the monthly service fee. It's all part of the shakedown of the Total Checking product that made its debut in February.

That particular policy drew the ire of customers who could show more than $500 a month in total direct deposits from their employer or government benefits like Social Security but no single deposit at or above $500.

So what did Chase do? It listened and changed the policy!

Crikey, this could be the start of something big!

Not that the good news is readily apparent on its website yet. The Total Checking sales page still lists the old policy, and even this asterisk footnote: "Two or more smaller deposits that add up to $500 or more do not qualify."

It's only when you drill into the account rules and regs document that you find the following: "Monthly service fee not charged in any statement period when you: Effective with statement periods beginning on or after August 24, 2011, have direct deposits totaling $500 or more made to this account."

Singular to plural, but a savings of $12 a month for many.

You know what? I'm going to chalk this little oversight up to lack of practice.

Speaking as a Chase customer myself, my sense is that it's been so long since Chase actually made a change in our favor the bank has misplaced the directions on how to do it.

So let me reciprocate by cheering: Well done, Chase! That's a bank! Make me proud!

I'll keep it up if you will.

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